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Test Pattern: ‘Clonus’ returns?

Plus: Still more memories of Mr. Scott. By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

Five-link Friday: Wasn't this a MST3K film?

It's Friday, so time for five fun links. And at the end, I'm going to print some more of your comments on the passing of James "Mr. Scott" Doohan, because they were so touching. Back to commercials on Monday.

• One of the new movies out this week is and as much as I like goofy movies set in the future, I don’t know if I can bring myself to see this one. You see, I’m a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” diehard, and “The Island” seems to have stolen its plot directly from a great MST3K movie, “Parts: The Clonus Horror.” Here’s a that goes through “Clonus” bit by bit. Now if only “The Island” featured Chet from “Emergency” and the second Darrin from “Bewitched” as “Clonus” did, you might get me in the theater. (The Web site creator has certainly as well.)

• Some TV show fan sites are only of interest to those who are enormous fans of the show in question, but this section, from, cracked me up and I was never a huge fan. It’s the , including the (“If you want to know the correct time call the phone company but do not talk to the lady because she is a record”), , and a to Beaver’s teacher.

• Admittedly I do not get the David Hasselhoff obsession, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find a video game in which Pac-Man is replaced by DH, pretty funny. Scroll down for Hoff-Frogger, and more pictures of the H man than you’d ever hope to see in a lifetime.

• OK, so “American Idol” ended months ago. But if you’re shopping online for stamps or other postal products, you can also buy the U.S. lettercarrier who was the third singer remaining, getting the boot just before Bo and Carrie duked it out in the finale. The shirts say “United States Postal Service (heart) Vonzell,” and has her ZIP code, 33916, on the back. Even though she's not competing anymore, the post office suggests people might want to wear the shirts to the "Idol" tour. Aww. Good to see an impersonal government agency showing some fandom for one of its own.

• Reader link o’ the week: Says Andrew: “I know you love LOST — so you’ve . It’s a British promo for the show — in music video format.” That is one weird promo. I have to say. Keep sending in your link suggestions — I love them!

Farewell, Mr. Scott: More of your thoughts

PRE-SCOTTY“Well, I can remember James Doohan on an episode of HAZEL. Does anyone remember HAZEL? He was doing the brogue that became his trademark in his most famous role. I was quite surprised the first time I heard him speak without it.”    --Steve

“My favorite Scotty moment came in ‘Star Trek V: The Final Frontier’ (in fact, it was the only good moment in the whole film—ugh!): Scotty tells Kirk that he knows the Enterprise like the back of his hand; and promptly walks into a bulkhead, knocking him on his behind and out cold! We’ll miss you, Jimmy!”    --Drew

“Scotty ‘overstimulating’ an alien in human form by imbibing vast quantities of alcohol, saving for last his ‘...very, very old bottle of Scotch...WHISKEY!’ After the alien passes out, Scotty reports mission accomplished, then slowly slides down the wall.”    --Tim

“One of the funniest memories for me was on the original series when Commmander Scott got into a drinking contest with a humanoid alien. He finally pulled out a dusty bottle of decades-old scotch. When he finally put the alien under the table, he picked up the bottle and put it by his cheek saying, ‘We did it—you and me’ He then passes out before he can get out the door with a device the Captain Kirk needed. Farewell Scotty, and thank you for your service during WWII.”    --Roy

“Dennis, STAR TREK III was the movie with your favorite quote. And it was Kirk who asked Mr. Scott, ‘do you always estimate your repair times by a factor of four?’ which he replied ‘Aye sir how do you think I keep my reputation as a miracle worker.’ I just figured I’d let you know.”    --Matt

“I’m an avid fan of the original series, but the phrase that most sticks in my mind is when the Enterprise’s engines are shut down cold, I think in ‘Naked Time’, ‘I caannot chaange the laalws of physics, E’ve gott ta haave thertey minutes!’ ”    --Rich

“For years I’ve had a license plate frame saying ‘Very funny Scotty, now beam down my clothes’ and I’ve never changed it because every so often I still see people looking at the frame and laughing. Right now I’m happier than ever to have it as a tribute to ‘Mr. Scott.’ ”   --Steve

“I met Mr. Doohan, at Universal Studios on the Star Trek set, he was helping a child with stage fright, saying to him, close your eyes and see all the endless possibilities before you, and give it your best shot, then he turned to me and said, I was told that on my first screen test, and have never forgotten it, I just pass it on...My son and I will miss him.. all our love to his family.”    -- Leilani

“For anyone who has seen the documentary ‘Trekkies’ you might remember the story of how Jimmy Doohan got a letter from a fan discussing her depression and plans to commit suicide. Mr. Doohan took it upon himself to befriend this woman and invite her to meet him at several conventions and other events. Long story short: He saved her life. James Doohan was more than a fine character actor, he was also a beautiful human being.”   --Jeff

“When I was a high school student in 1973, I met James Doohan at a Long Beach State College talk. I asked him how many transporter rooms there were on the Enterprise. Since I was planning on being an engineer, I wanted to know if they had any backup systems. He told me 13. Then I asked, why they did not use another one of them broke down. He thought for a second and said 'when one breaks down, they all break down.’ “  --Rick

“My family met James Doohan in Longview at Hollywood video. He was a gracious man who truly loved his fans and took the time to speak with everyone he could. He made people feel good about meeting him. As far as favorite lines, there were many. Several notable lines occure during his scenes drinking an invading alien under the table. My favorite of these are after producing his last bottle of scotch and is asked what is it? Scotty hesitates and says, ‘it’s green’.”    --Pat

Memories of Mr. Scott

Before returning to the commercial discussion, I wanted to share some of your memories and favorite quotes from

FAREWELL, SCOTTY“Scotty was the reason I became an engineer. My favorite Scotty line was from Doohan’s guest appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation. At the end of the episode, he’s walking with Geordi and says ‘I may be a captain by rank, but I never wanted to be anything more than an engineer’.”    —Shaun

“For most my age who remember the series from being children at the time Mr Doohan’s passing will be hard to take, as i believe its not stretching it to say that his portrayal of Montgomery Scott was the most steady, trustwothy and reliable of the original cast and crew, and to think that he was a D-day vet makes his passing all the more profound. Farewell Mr Doohan, the Enterprise will no be the same without ye laddie. ‘May you be in heaven a half an hour before the divel knows yer dead.”    —Edward

“Thank you for posting the correction and clarification on the ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ line. Trekkies, and the even more fervent Trekkers, will appreciate your willingness to ‘get it right’ when it comes to their favorite characters in the world.”    —Howard

“What would usually have been said was, ‘Scotty, two to beam up,’ ‘One to beam up from my coordinates,’ etc. Kirk, Spock, etc, would never use “me”. It always had the numerical count of how many.”    —Jeff

“My favorite Scotty quote was from the end of the same ‘Tribbles’ episode when Kirk notices that all the Tribbles have suddenly disappeared; he goes up to Engineering to his Engineer: ‘Scotty, what happened to all the Tribbles?’ ‘Ah, Captain, I beamed them all up to the Klingon cargo bay, where they’ll be no tribble at all’.”    —Anonymous

“My favorite memory is in ‘Star Trek IV’ when he revealed that he always multiplied his repair estimates by a factor for four, ‘ I keep my reputation as a miracle worker’.”  —Dennis

“The best line from Scotty was in the movie ‘Star Trek III,’ when he observed, after sabotaging the USS Excelsior, “The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain!” One engineer to another, you are so right Mr. Scott.”    —Matt

“From ‘Star Trek IV’...‘Admiral, there be Whales here!’....‘the beasties seem happy to see ya doctor’.”   —Brendan

Farewell, Mr. Scott

We'll get back to the squirm-worthy commercial discussion tomorrow, but first, a farewell to someone who never made us squirm, James Doohan, who played Mr. Scott on the original "Star Trek" and in the later movies, and who died today at age 85. Doohan was a great character and apparently a great man — he was among the Canadian forces that stormed Juno Beach on D-Day, losing a finger in the process. Other actors starred in war movies, he lived it.

I personally have not memorized every single line in every single "Trek" episode (I know! Gotta get on that...), but at least one reader responded to the by protesting that the line "Beam me up, Scotty" was never uttered on an original "Star Trek" episode.

Wikipedia has a , and this one leads the list (along with Jack Webb supposedly never saying "Just the facts, Ma'am" on 'Dragnet.") According to Wikipedia, while "Beam me up, Scotty" was never uttered on the original "Trek," it was in fact said in an early animated series (there was an animated — oh, never mind). And apparently "Scotty, beam me up" was said in the film "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home."

Anyway, my favorite quote from him had nothing to do with the transporter. It's from when Scotty gets in a fight with a Klingon who called his beloved Enterprise a "garbage scow." Insulting Kirk didn't get Scotty's hackles up, but insulting the ship! As I remember the scene, he draws himself up to his full height and purrs with menace "Laddie, don't you think you should rephrase that?"

He'll be missed.

Some ads get personal — way too personal

You can still vote in , by the way. The poll’s results so far are intriguing, and I noticed one connecting thread between three of the commercials we hate the most. They cover excruciatingly personal products and attempt to tackle them in humorous fashion.

Now, it’s got to be tough to make an ad for some of these products. We may need them, but we don’t always want to think about why we need them. Selling a medicine used for sensitive conditions has to be a lot harder than selling, say, puppy food. We’ve seen from earlier columns that we almost all love romping puppies, and it’s easy to feel good about those kind of ads. But when you’re selling diarrhea medication? Well, all I can say here is that there’s a fine line between sly and stupid, and all the products mentioned below chose to come down solidly on the stupid side.

Rock the boat1) An early leader for worst commercial features a couple in a rowboat that springs a leak. They’re saved when the woman, who for some reason has an entire box of tampons with her, uses one to stop the leak. Look, Tampax, we understand you’ve got a tough product to advertise. And there’s no need to go back to the old days where menstruation was a dirty word. But there’s something about this ad that’s both too direct and too cutesy. I don’t exactly want to go back to the days when these ads featured women in flowy sundresses romping through meadows, but there’s abstract and weird (the meadows) and there’s the dumb boat ad. Tampax obviously has some people on board with a sense of humor, though. Their opens with the words "Beguile your senses with a fragrance so light, so beautiful ... oh, whatever. It's a tampon." Now that's the kind of smart advertising we might respond to.

Stomach-ache2) The Tampax ad doesn’t bother me as much as the ad, though. You’ve seen these, even though you may not know what the product was. These are the ads showing people pulling up their shirts to reveal stomachs with words like “BLOATING” and “CONSTIPATION” written on them in Magic Marker. Now, I have no idea if this product works for its poor sufferers or not, but the rest of us think it’s one lame way to sell a product. I for one don’t want to see people’s stomachs and think about their constipation. Perhaps this is the kind of item that needs to return to boring doctors in white lab coats delivering their serious message. (And also, if I had this problem, I’d ask my doctor what to do, not run out and buy something based on a commercial.)

Danceline from hell3) While we may never have heard of Zelnorm, we’ve certainly heard of  Pepto-Bismol. Most people have probably purchased a bottle of the pink stuff at some point in their lives, and its distinctive color and name ensure we’re well acquainted with it. But do we really need to see it promoted by a danceline of people grabbing parts of their anatomy associated with the symptoms they’re talking about? (As one reader pointed out earlier, invites you to create your own Pepto dance, as if anyone would want to.)

And don’t even get me started on the ads for Viagra and its many competitors. They’re in a whole class of badness by themselves. “More than four hours”? Yikes.

Are there any ads for, uh, sensitive products that actually deliver their message without grossing out the audience or insulting our intelligence? I don’t know the answer to that, but you’re welcome to send in your thoughts on those and any ads.

Vote for best, worst ads

We’re about halfway through the summer, and it's time to take a poll. I've combed through your e-mails, and picked 6 commercials that repeatedly come up on your Best lists, and 6 that show up on the Worst side of things. I've also identified four commercials that you're completely torn about — some folks love them, others hate them — and am asking you to vote on them to once and for all determine which side of the fence they fall on. (Yes, you can still send in others, but these are definitely contenders.)

To vote, just and have at it.

Need a reminder of what these commercials are like? Not all of them have online versions, but I'll link here to our previous comments on them, so you can refresh your memory.

Best commercials:1)      HP frames, “Picture Book”2)      GE elephant “Singing in the Rain”3)      K-9 Advantix puppy goes to camp4)      Starbucks cheering for Hank5)      “100 Years” song for Chase6)      Capital One huns have to get new jobs

Worst commercials:
1)      Family behind frames2)      Woman stops boat leak with Tampax3)      Zelnorm women with words on their stomachs4)      Burger King with plastic head5)      Pepto-Bismol Macarena dance6)      AOL apple-crumbcake woman

Good or bad? You decide1) Baby Bob for Quizno's2) Direct TV Sunday Ticket singers3) Raisin Bran Crunch: Johnson gets fired4) David Spade says no no no