Michael Macrone
Articles & Essays
The NewPaper, October 6, 1982
Video Week
Video Week story

But Will the Antichrist Guest-Host The Tonight Show?

by Michael Macrone and The Mad Peck

Our ace field correspondent Tom Russo was out in Los Angeles recently to scoop us the poop on the year’s hottest TV question—how in hell are they gonna end M*A*S*H?

While he was skulking around he got a chance to talk to Johnny Carson and reminded The Great One of the promise he made back in 1972, when The Tonight Show migrated to Burbank, to return to The Big Apple for periodic visits. Johnny claimed his staff has looked into the possibility but it was unfeasible since NBC is now using his old studio (6-B) for their local news broadcasts, and there are no other facilities suitable at Rockefeller Center. C’mon, J.C.! That’s a pretty lame excuse. There’s plenty of facilities available in Noo Yawk—the Ed Sullivan Theater, for one. Or how about the once-endangered Radio City Music Hall? You could have done a week of really big shows there to help them get back on their feet. Johnny, you (or your staff) are simply getting lazy.

The Mark of the Beast

Geniuses though we are, it’s not within our grasp to second-guess the Prime Mover or His Grand Design. Luckily the ever-diminishing elect who are beneficiaries of the species’ rather skimpy ration of true hipness somehow seem to trip over each other in what can only be explained as Divine Pranksterism.

Not over half a season ago when we partook of the font lesser men call “babble,” our eyes were filled with fires which we did deem Vision, as we divined in the dross-caked entrails of a certain local television station the MARK OF THE BEAST. It was clear as a newborn’s unanointed brow that the finger of Beelzebub, lackey of Lucifer, if not the digit of Satan himself, was “dialing the dollars” nightly on said station.

The eyes of the Lord sooner or later set upon the inspired prose laid down in the column and yea we did find in them a glimmer of approval. A fortnight thence we received a NEW SIGN which rose like a sigh on hot wisps from the sores of the damned, who moan in despair as the Machinations of Right unfold to spite their lot with naught save pity, bitter morsel, thrown upon their scorched flesh like tears upon a frying pan.

And lo this sign came in guise of pamphlet, as so much of the Word in this New Age. The pamphlet, available in quantity upon remission of the proper and due currency, arrived at Video Deluxe anonymously, but at origin from the blessed publisher of Bible Prophecy News (P.O. Box 5700, Huntington Beach, CA 92646).

Humbly but not uncannily it spoke, as such inspired ranting is wont, of a Great Conspiracy afoot in 10 nations united in anticipation of the Antichrist. For the forces of Evil are couched in the organs of the Great Moneychangers (Bank of America, exempli gratia). As we live, breathe and simulate mental activity while camped before our idiot boxes, the Conspiracy assembles an army under the MARK OF THE BEAST, a computer “tattoo” applied to the flesh with a laser-beam imprinter. The tattoo may be “read” by an IBM #3666 scanner, which is also capable of “reading” Universal Product Code imprints. Soon, every individual on the face of this decaying mudball will carry the MARK, his own UPC as it were, keyed by the code “666” to a master computer complex located in the Monet Building in Luxembourg.


Dr. Patrick Fisher, Canadian Computer Scientist, says: “You and I are tied into this computer by one or more keys; our social security number, our driver’s license, our birth certificate, our passport number and whate’er credit cards we use. Every move you have made, y’know, and every penny that you have paid to Internal Revenue each year is all on record, y’know.”

Not to slight the means of the IRS, we are frankly more intimidated by the specter of Big Brother hovering over our little screens as we chow down our daily carcinogens. Let alone the brand of mindrot that crawls into our mailboxes when we only wanted the damn paycheck.

Thanks a Lot, Ronnie

Our distinguished Commander-in-Chief, who is affectionately coming to be known as “The Great Prevaricator,” really knows how to capture the hearts of the masses. For example, he spared both himself and the public any televised press conferences for a good two months. Then, when he finally managed to dodder in front of the cameras for the ceremonial dismemberment, it was a good hour and a half earlier than the customary slot of 9 p.m. The reason: it was the first full week of the New Season in prime time, and the Prez thought disrupting the networks’ new schedule would hardly endear him to a nation of vidiots. Thanks a lot, Ronnie; we’d have been real upset at missing the first episodes of Gavelin and Three’s Company.

Knock Your Eye Out, Ba-Boom!

Here’s a couple of slots to circle in your mental TV “must” checklist for this week. First, Rudy Cheeks debuts his show Club Genius Wednesday night on Cox Cable, Channel 44. (Sorry, Cranston and Johnston only.) Some are touting CG as Rhode Island’s first locally-produced comedy TV show. Gosh, we guess the Channel 12 evening news doesn’t qualify because it’s not intentionally comedic. Either way, Rudy assured us personally that he was going to have a topless lady dancer on his first show. Knock your eye out. Ba-boom!

On the grimmer side of videoreality, Channel 25 is showing the greatest anti-war-movie movie ever made—Attack, starring Jack Palance, Eddie Albert, Lee Marvin and Jed Clampett, Saturday at 11:30 p.m. If you’re a fan of war movies, this one will keep you honest. The “good guys” get fucked on every level. There is no funny guy from Brooklyn and The Kilroy gets his arm chewed off by a tank track and dies needlessly. Not exactly the old John Wayne formula in this one, folks. It’s got lots of action and none of that stiff philosophical “So this is what war is all about” bullshit dialogue. Just the straight scoop.

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First published in the Providence, RI alternative weekly The NewPaper (October 6, 1982)

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