11 March 2008

HANK RANKS, No. 14

MY 15 FAVORITE JOHN CANDY CHARACTERS FROM SCTV


15 = LUCIANO PAVAROTTI John Candy portrayed Pavarotti on several occasions throughout SCTV's history, and it's an easy fit for Candy, in much the same way Orson Welles was...Candy played Pavarotti as a soft-spoken glutton with a lust for wine, cheese, sausage, women and song, of course...Like many SCTV characters, regardless of the actor underneath, this one is as much about the costume and wigs/beards as Candy's portrayal.

14 = JEAN PIERRE YANG -as- HARRY WOK Harry Wok was the central character in an SCTV Movie Of The Week called Wok On The Wild Side. The character was a television cooking show host and private eye, and he solves the murder mystery while cooking chicken and mushrooms with brandy. Again, this character is as much about the fu manchu moustache and eyebrows as it is Candy's portrayal of a half-French, half-Chinese chef-detective.


13 = BEAVER CLEAVER SCTV did a parody episode of Leave It To Beaver back in the early years, and Candy played the Beav', who borrows a handgun from Whitey and kills Eddie Haskell. In the end, nobody learns anything, and the Cleavers live happily ever after.


12 = JULIA CHILD Candy played Julia Child on two or three occasions throughout his years on SCTV. In the above screengrab Julia is boxing Mr. Rodgers in the Battle Of The PBS Stars. Fred defeats Julia by hitting her over the head repeatedly with a King Friday puppet. Classic.


11 = MR. MESSENGER That's Andrea Martin as Mrs. Falbo, on a childrens show called Mrs. Falbo's Tiny Town, a surreal and scary kids show that brings to mind Wonder Showzen and the like. That's John Candy as Mr. Messenger. Nuff said.


10 = GROGAN That's John Candy as Grogan, a Japanese monster movie star who is appearing on the Tim Ishimuni Show to promote his autobiography. Candy plays Grogan straight, and the monster remains quite calm even after Ishimuni unleashes a fighter jet on Grogan in the television studio.


09 = BILLY SOL HUROK Billy Sol Hurok and Big Jim McBob were hosts of the Farm Film Report on SCTV, on which they would discuss hog futures, weather conditions, and modern cinema. The conceit here is that they initially come off as a couple of uneducated rubes, but then discuss serious films with thoughtful insights and an academic vernacular. Then they would have a celebrity guest, such as Meryl Streep, and these guests would literally "blow up real good" during their interviews. Yeah, blowed up real good.

08 = HARRY, THE GUY WITH A SNAKE ON HIS FACE Harry is the owner and proprietor of Harry's Sex Shoppe in downtown Melonville, and he appears in numerous commercials on the SCTV television network. I don't think anything more needs to be said. He's the guy with a snake on his face.
07 = WILLIAM B. WILLIAMS One of the shows broadcast on the SCTV television network was The Sammy Maudlin Show, the conceit here being that these guys were the "Rat Pack" of the SCTV/Melonville universe. Joe Flaherty is Sammy Maudlin, on the right, who is probably best described as a Joey Bishop-type talkshow host. John Candy is on the left, as William B. Williams, Maudlin's sidekick, and he's played as a slick showbiz phoney, constantly sucking up to Sammy and all his guests. The guy in the middle is Bobby Bittman, a stand-up comic -cum- serious actor/singer who royally sucks, a fact that only he himself, and possibly William B., don't realize. Here he is reacting to a violent heckler.


06 = YOSH SCHMENGE Yosh Schmenge and his brother Stan were better known as The Schmenge Brothers, a polka act that had their own variety show on SCTV. Words cannot describe the delicious midwesternish goodness of these guys. Of note is the very large growth on Yosh's forehead, another costuming touch that really adds to the character.

05 = THE #5 GUY IN THE 5 NEAT GUYS The 5 Neat Guys were a singing sensation, and favorite of teenagers everywhere. They had a ton of hit songs, but my favorite has got to be "Patsy Has Got The Largest Breasts In Town".
04 = MAYOR TOMMY SHANKS Tommy Shanks was the mayor of Melonville, the fictional city in which the SCTV television station broadcasts. As mayor, he would give frequent fireside chats in which he would talk to and attempt to feed treats to his dead, stuffed dog, and ramble incoherently about random subjects. In the above screen grab, he is giving his State Of The City Address, which is 20 seconds long and consists of the mayor saying a few words about a chipped tooth. Mayor Shanks was institutionalized, but that didn't keep him from being re-elected mayor of Melonville, at which time he was released to give more incoherent fireside chats.

03 = GIL FISHER Gil Fisher was a genial and heavily-bearded man who hosted a show called The Fishin' Musician. Gil Fisher was that fishin' musician, and every episode a famous musician or band would visit the Scuttle Butt lodge to go fishing, or hunting, with Gil. Gil and his guests would watch video footage of those excursions, like this one, where he took Jimmy Buffett fishing from a hot air balloon. And each episode wouldn't be complete without a live performance and plenty of mishaps.


02 = DR. TONGUE One of the great regular shows on SCTV was Count Floyd's Monster Chiller Horror Theater, and Count Floyd would often show films starring Dr. Tongue. Films such as Dr. Tongue's Evil House Of Pancakes and Dr. Tongue's 3-D House Of Beef. Yes, most of his films were in 3-D, which consisted of nothing more than the actors in the films moving objects in and out from the camera. Dr. Tongue spoke with an attractive lisp, and became easily flustered by his deformed assistant, Igor.
01 = JOHNNY LA RUE The Johnny LaRue character was at the core of SCTV from the very beginning. The SCTV television station was the focal point, the main conceit, of the SCTV show itself, and it was the station from which all the other shows and "skits" were broadcast. Shows like Gil Fisher's Fishin' Musician, The Sammy Maudlin Show, Mrs. Falbo's Tiny Town, etc...At the SCTV station, Don Caballero was the president of SCTV, Edith Prickley was the program director, and Johnny La Rue was the main "talent" - writing, directing, producing and acting in made-for-tv-movies broadcast on SCTV, as well as hosting a live talkshow called "Street Beef", appearing in countless TV commercials for products such as Johnny LaRue's Speed Drinking Program, and LaRue's Fish Flakes. Yes, the LaRue character itself was larger than life, louder than you, a drunk, a flirt, half-charmer, half-bore, and in the end not quite the successful star he thinks he is, his self-branded products all failures, and a bigger glutton and drunk than he cares to admit. In high school, my nickname was "LaRue" among a few of my friends.


Hotcha! Hank

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7 Comments:

Blogger Dr Zibbs said...

This is so friggin great. Thanks!

July 01, 2008 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic read! But isn't it Guy Caballero and not Don Caballero? Though I have to say I'm also a fan of Don Cab.

August 05, 2009 10:07 PM  
Blogger Roz said...

Long overdue. Thank you for showing me Jean Pierre Yang as Harry Wok -- I am not sure I ever saw that character before however if he solved a murder while cooking mushrooms in brandy I should know about it.

December 07, 2009 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Craig said...

Beautiful web page my friend. Made me weep.

November 23, 2010 7:10 PM  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Thanks, from a long-time SCTV fan and denizen of the Great White North! One Candy character I always loved was Mr. Mambo. I don't know why, but there was always something so sunny and imperturbable about him. No matter what went wrong, he'd just shout "Let's mambo!" and take off with happy music playing.

January 17, 2012 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nicely done and well thought out. You could put 4 or 5 of these great characters together and get the mayor of Toronto.
The only character I would add to this list would be Pepi Longsocks.

November 08, 2013 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i liked mr science,mr science, why does water boil? i dunno because its hot.

January 03, 2014 12:06 AM  

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