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A lot of people are familiar with “Dead Puppies Aren’t Much Fun”; some are probably familiar with “Kinko The Clown“, and maybe even “Daddy’s Money“, all common appearances on the Dr. Demento show. But I don’t know if many people know that Bill Frenzer and Ogden Edsl (or, more accurately, the Ogden Edsl Wahalia Blues Ensemble Mondo Bizarrio Band) made a lot of short comedy films. I didn’t, and I’m a fan of theirs!
Oglio Records (who also issued the “Mower of the Ogden Edsl” compilation) has for sale a DVD compilation of these short films. Some of them are music videos, like “The Fish People Of Berondenon” and “The Crocodile Song”, some are live song performances, including “Thank God I’m A Rich Kid” and “Dead Puppies”, though most are comedy sketches, like “McTheatre” (McDonalds as Dinner Theater), “Pecos Bob & Dead Willie” (about a cowpoke and his dead sidekick), and “Chariots of the Clods”, an extended parody of “Chariots of the Gods?” by Erich von Däniken. And then there’s “Food Mow”, which, well, is basically what it sounds like.
The Damaged Tapes is, unfortunately, an apt title; the video quality isn’t the best — “Chariots” in particular suffers from lots of tape glitches; almost if the source tape had been heated. Of course, with material like this, there probably aren’t pristine masters around, given that they weren’t a platinum selling act on a major label. Luckily, the glitches aren’t too bad — the footage is definitely watchable — and the content is pretty good, too. Some of it is very skilled — others have the feel of talented amateurs; I’m not sure what their background in film was, so I’d bet it’s a combination of the two.
Even the bits that seem a little lame (“Cavemen And Bone”, “The Poetry Of Himling Gerbel”) are entertaining due to the enthusiasm and energy of the performers. Luckily, there aren’t many of those lame bits, and most bits average about 2 minutes long, so even if a bit isn’t up your alley, it goes by pretty quick. The only bit that doesn’t seem to work at all is “Talkin’ Trash”, but one out of 14 isn’t bad.
If you’re a fan of the Bonzos, I’d recommend checking this out. “Fish People” and “The World Is Gone” are particularly in a Bonzo Dog vein. There’s also a bit of a low-budget Barnes & Barnes vibe, too — which makes sense as they did work together on “Work The Meat” from the Fish Heads picture disc. The disc is really enjoyable, and it’s great to see material that might otherwise have been lost, or remain unseen. People who are already fans of Ogden Edsl should definitely check this out — but fans of comedy and novelty music should also find this pretty entertaining.