The True Story Behind The Birth Of The Video Mashup

Ant Timpson speaks with the creator of APOCALYPSE POOH, the very first pop culture mashup.

This was originally published years ago on a now-defunct blog, and author Ant Timpson wanted to share it with us here at BAD! -mb-

1995. Olympia, WA.

In the basement of a two-story house, Jimmy inserts a vhs tape into a video cassette recorder. He then withdraws an album and places it on a turntable.

The man sees a spider crawl into the video cassette recorder. The spider is not real. The film is The Wizard of Oz and the album is The Darkside of the Moon by Pink Floyd.

The timing is crucial.

Simultaneously the play button is pushed as the stylus is placed.

Magic is in the air.

This is how the romantic envisions the birth of what is known as the contemporary pop-culture mashup. The truth behind the birth of the fusion now known as The Darkside of the Rainbow will probably never be known.

What we do know now, is that it wasn't the first, nor the most influential mashup of all time. That honour belongs to an analog video mashup known as Apocalypse Pooh, a hilarious and surreal amalgamation of Apocalypse Now and Winnie The Pooh. The simple and highly effective pairing of two endearing and enduring iconic 20th Century properties, became an '80s tape-trading sensation. To this day, it still really hasn't been given the recognition and status it so deserves.

The history of mashing two pop-culture properties together has a long and robust history. Synching, channeling and mashing were all names for the same stoner pastime, the act of combining two or more tracts to create a new work of pleasure. Synchronicity has been defined by psychologist Carl Jung as a phenomenon in which coincidental events seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality. Non-eggheads explain it away as the brain scrambling to recognize patterns amid disorder.

The true chronology of the video mashup is rather sketchy. The confusion comes from the overlap between it and its oft mistaken cousin (in certain media circles) Culture Jamming, which is a politicised version of the mashup. Early provocateurs like Emergency Broadcast Network, CutUp, Guerilla Girls, Yes Men and The KLF were pranksters taking pot shots at the State, Art Scene and Big Business.

At the other end of the scale are the descendants of Jimmy, our aforementioned VHS/LP imaginary masher and others who discovered the joys of watching late night television with different audio sources, waiting for that epiphany of unexplainable synchronicity.

A video mashup (also written as video mash-up) is the combination of multiple sources of video—which usually have no relevance with each other—into a derivative work, often lampooning its component sources or another text. Many mashup videos are humorous movie trailer parodies. They are one of the latest genre of mashups, and are gaining popularity. To the extent that such works are 'transformative' of original content, they may find protection from copyright claims under the "fair use" doctrine of copyright law. - Wiki

Culture Jamming : Culture jamming, a tactic used by many consumer social movements, is a mechanism in which an activist attempts to disrupt or subvert mainstream cultural institutions or corporate advertising. Culture jamming is often seen as a form of subvertising. - Wiki

The modern mashup that the youtube generation has embraced falls into three categories.

[1] REANIMATION

Breathes new life into works with the simple addition of contrasting music, title cards and original dialogue that appears in a whole new context.

[2] FUSION

Mashes two wildly opposing properties into one coherent and funny whole. The fusion uses imagery and audio from both sources to create a new entity.

[3] SYNCHRONICITY

The original mashup. Where an audio source meshes seamlessly with a video source creating a new entity.

In 2007 the centenary old and highly acclaimed Toronto magazine Maclean's did a feature on the Rise of the Youtube Auteur. The article talked about the birth of the mashup, specifically lauding praise on Robert Ryang's The Shining in 2005 and then proceeding to honour Ari Eisner and Mike Dow, as two of the most "prominent auteurs" of the modern mashup.

The failing of the respected periodical to not recognize the achievement of a hometown hero in this pseudo history of the mashup is just another account of an originator being overlooked by populist Johnny Come Latelys.

Twenty two years before anyone decided to put horror music over A Tom Hanks comedy, a Canadian named Todd Graham made a video he made called Apocalypse Pooh. It used footage from Disney Corp and was the worlds first widely distributed video mashup.

This is the story behind Apocalypse Pooh in the words of Todd Graham, the Godfather of the Mashup.

Todd Graham grew up Peterborough, a small Canadian city a couple of hours outside of Toronto in the heart of what he calls cottage country. Peterborough is a district of recreational lakefront properties and a pretty conservative sports town.

A kid with an overactive imagination, Graham spent a lot of his early childhood creating worlds for him to play in, rearranging furniture into elaborate landscapes to immerse himself as either a member of GI JOE or Johnny West.

Teenaged years saw the dreamer disappear into the highly addictive role-playing netherworld of Dungeons & Dragons, a hugely popular '80s pastime where time stood still as adolescence was arrested. When rolling a 20-sided die became too predictable, the youngster dabbled in various creative outlets, from fake news reports to drawing comics to his first foray into the world of pop culture parody, a comic version of The Maltese Falcon called The Malted Falcon.

Though the biggest influence on Graham was television, like many other '70s kids, he nuzzled the cathode teat, drawing inspiration from a variety of sources. Cartoons from the Hanna Barbera stable (Top Cat, Yogi Bear, Tom and Jerry), Mad Magazine, Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes, comic book maestro Jack Kirby and standup comedians from SNL, Tonight Show and Mike Douglas provided the foundation for his sense of humour. The most vigorous influence may have come from Andy Kaufman, the renegade Saturday Night Live performer who broke all the rules of comedy by deconstructing humour itself (kill all the jokes) in what many thought to be a self-induced career homicide.

Todd Graham 1987/Todd Graham 2009

What sort of teenager were you before you attended Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD)?

My money was primarily invested at a spectacular used book store I took the bus to every Saturday, an arcade called Space World Amusements where I played a lot of a game called Reactor and the Cineplex in the mall where I saw just about everything that showed there. We never had a VCR back then they were still very expensive, so if my parents went away I would rent one and basically skip school for the week to watch movies.

I was a little bit like Max Fisher in the Wes Anderson movie Rushmore. I majored in extracurricular activity. Most of my energy went into things like the school newspaper and a weekly radio show I did. I also spent an inordinate amount of time drinking beer and drawing in my room. I think retrospectively a lot of my behavior stems from ADD which Iove only come to recognize after my son's diagnosis.

I'm curious about your self-diagnosed ADD as in the '70s they didn't even really acknowledge it and tended to just classify kids like that as hyperactive. Which seems in direct contrast for your ability to focus and follow through on a project such as Pooh. Or was it specifically the round and round nature of ADD that in some ways was the key to you producing it. What does your son think of your works and how's his iMovie skills?

I still don't know for sure – I might just be lazy like my Dad said. My son seems to have a combo of the ADHD subgroups where as I seem to fall primarily into the inattentive realm not really very hyperactive. A bit of a Ralph Phillips type (for the die hard Chuck Jones fans out there). ADHD is funny as far as focus goes because you can focus remarkably well on something that interests you – my son will play with Lego for hours but math homework is an impossible nightmare. This is where people tend to dismiss you as spoiled and lazy but it's real, I assure you. (I've reread this question several times now.) He's seen a few things I've done but the context is kind of lost on him. With ADHD (according to a leading theory) your maturity level is at two thirds your age (which I guess explains why I still behave like I'm in my 30s), so my son is also still very much digging the physical and scatological humor of a younger kid. We are entering the realm of the Lego stop motion movie but it's been tough getting started between the two of us. Mom needs to become an Exec Producer.

What was behind the decision to attend OCAD and did you have a plan B at any stage before starting your first semester?

I had been doing the school announcements with a friend who went into radio and got me a gig at the local top 40 station, CKPT overnight on weekends. So, I was interested in radio college but I would have probably lived with my best friend at the time who turned into a raging alcoholic living above a strip club in a redneck town smaller than our own. So I think I made a pretty good choice. It was never a question really OCAD was in the big city and that was key. I was intending to become an illustrator but even though I was pretty confident in my skills I worked much slower than a lot of the other kids so I changed my focus to film & video.

What was the environment like back in the mid-'80s, were there any memorable mentors in the art / media at that time? Were there any fellow students from your year that created work as enduring as yours?

I became friends with one of my film instructors, Ross McLaren (who made the seminal punk doc Crash & Burn 1977). He lives in New York and would come up once a month to teach his class over a weekend. In a stifled environment of hardcore political correctness his class was a welcome reprieve and was always packed. Even his detractors would show up to see what goodies he brought us from the outside world. I used to give him lists. He brought in Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story after it made a stir at the Toronto International Film Festival. We had an awesome 16mm Telecine at OCAD that I ended up pulling a clandestine copy from.

Like many others around the globe, I first came across APOCALYPSE POOH in the mid '90s, watching it over and over on what must have been a 3rd or 4th generation VHS tape. So when specifically exactly did the conceit first enter your head?

Apocalypse Now was a teenaged obsession of mine. I'd probably seen it 20 times by then and many of the lines would be deployed in regular conversation. My friend (Jeff Moffet) was horsing around with this Tigger puppet one day and I just yelled out "It's a fucking tiger mannnnnnn!!!" I thought it would be funny to cut that scene for the next cabaret screening we had, even though this sort of copyright infringing was seriously frowned upon. When I brought the two elements together however there was so much more there.

Can you provide some background and chronology on the works I've seen of yours (APOCALYPSE POOH, BLUE PEANUTS, ARCHIES GOD SAVE THE QUEEN). Did you work on them alone or did others assist along the way?

I had some suggestions from friends but it was a solo effort. One of the first things I found when I brought together Apocalypse Now and Pooh was that the opening helicopter sequence was the exact same length of the Winnie The Pooh instrumental theme. It was too perfect I couldn't not include it even though the usual criticism that people have is that it is way too long an opening for a short film. My friend Brad Bell realized this when he re-cut it digitally for me a few years ago. Basically I learned to edit on A. Pooh. I didn't know how to create a dramatic pause on film so I faded into black in a couple spots just for purposes of cadence. After receiving some positive response I cut together Blue Peanuts as a trailer to tag on the end of Pooh and a bonus rock video of The Archies singing God Save The Queen (I like to call it The Anarchies but that never seemed to catch on).

The idea was that this mimicked the format of a rental tape which back then had trailers at the end of the movie. The three pieces together were called Homeformat but it's never really been referred to as that by anyone else but me. I made a VHS box for it and then started taking dubs to video stores and galleries. Later I added fake commercials at the beginning as some of the studio features had started doing that. One was for Black Label Lager which was in response to a series of overly stylized ads put out by the brewing company when they found that hipster artists types were drinking their beer. Ironically they drank it because it was an unassuming un-marketed brand that the old boys drank.

So I made this series of shitty looking black & white ads of my friends getting pissed. This is pretty standard advertising now so it doesn't really work as well. The other was for Nature (which was a PBS nature doc series). The narrator says "Nature is brought to you by Public Television Stations" which I thought was funny as a blanket statement since that is the only connection some people have with nature. The footage was from another old show similar to The Wild Kingdom where some cuckoo researcher in the wilds of Africa wanted to see if wild animals could differentiate themselves from plastic blow up doll versions. It seemed to represent our relationship with nature pretty well. So all this stuff was put together to mimic a consumer product, a Hollywood Studio rental videotape. I would just keep adding stuff on. Of course having finished parts at different times, people just picked and chose what they liked and everything was eventually separated and it was never known as one piece. Oh well, I'm pretty open to things being organic.

Was the decision to use children's pop iconography as the base for the anarchic adult layers originally intended to amuse or provoke?

Both probably, but really I just thought this shit was funny. Of course being at an art school and being forced to over analyze everything I had to examine it intellectually - Jungian archetypes and all that jazz. With so much information in an increasingly busy world of media things eventually collide in synchronistic ways - Law of averages. Both stories are so heavily layered to begin with. I used to think David Lynch was full of shit when he would say that he worked completely intuitively but now I don't think there is any other way.

At any stage did you have other pieces that didn't work or were simply abandoned and lost over time?

I abandoned a lot of work when I started a full time job. Since I'm such a movie geek, I got lured into Broadcast television as an acquisition screener which meant I watched movies for 8 hours a days. Ross McClaren always told me if you watch too many films you stop making your own. which is true. I watched other people's movies for almost 15 years. I got laid off for the second time in early 2008 and the TV Programming arm of the industry has shrunk so much I'll never get back in - which turns out to be a good thing. You can get pretty sedentary sitting on a couch for that long. In some ways it was a dream job but sort of in the same way as being a battery module in the Matrix.

I'm finishing up a lot of the half-done projects which seem still worthwhile. I'm also working on a pseudo-documentary called The Hearts of Pooh which is sort of a making of parody (Hearts of Darkness obviously but also the genre of the DVD extra) and it touches on a few things that I've been working on or am stuck on as well as the crazy life of its own the film has had.

I saw mentioned somewhere that you cut these on an old analog system. What was the system and what were the editing hours involved for each of the works?

It was an old JVC RM-86U 1/2 inch system (don't worry, I looked it up, I'm not that much of a nerd). It took about 50 hours? I can only guess I'm bad with time & space.

Was VHS the source material used for all of them?

I lived on Ramen noodles in those days. I couldn't afford to buy the tapes so I would rent them for each session from Queen Video in Toronto. Later on I got a job there and in the OCAD video department as well.

Were the works screened for the public at any stage while you were at OCAD?

We put together quarterly film/video screenings which were usually in a film or video studio at OCAD and involved copious amounts of cheap beer. Anyone could come but it was usually populated by film and video students.

Apocalypse Pooh ended up debuting at a big anniversary show that was in the main auditorium so there was a much larger audience of students and alumni. They were actually cheering by the end. It felt like I scored the winning goal in triple overtime. I'd just started dating the woman who would later become my wife and I guess that pretty much sealed it for me.

Do you remember the very first reaction someone had to POOH?

Well sometimes you get a good idea and know that it will make your buddies laugh but I guess I didn't know until that show what I had on my hands. My teachers all liked it and I even got an Honourable Mention at the year end critique. My folks didn't really get it.

Do you have any idea of the path that the original followed out to the tape traders? I got mine after dubbing a tape out of Richard Linklater's office in the mid '90s. Did you personally send them to anyone or were they simply passed around friends in Toronto initially?

I worked in a mail room of this corporate travel place and had no qualms about using their facilities for the greater good. I got sloppy and they fired me but it was worth it. I sent copies to a lot of art galleries. All the Canadian ones turned me down flat but they were interested in New York at the Kitchen which was awesome. It ended up being part of the scene there for a while but without me to reap any benefits from it until they tracked me down for their Biennial retrospective at The Whitney. I also worked at a cool video store and so I befriended a lot of local celebrities who were members and one guy, Jaimz Bee (now a CBC Radio personality) took a few copies with him on tour with his then band. He said he showed it to Jim Carrey, who said he was gonna screen it for Coppola who lived nearby. I don't know if that ever happened. Dan Clowes gave me a plug in Eightball #3.

This is the first I heard about Linklater - maybe he'll give me a job!

My best friend Luis Ceriz, opened an alternative video store in 1991 called Suspect Video and Apocalypse Pooh went on to become the biggest renting tape for several years (of course all my buddies behind the counter where aiding in its popularity).

When your work showed in NYC and got a great response did you ever think that you needed to be in New York, to surround yourself in that thriving underground art scene? Or were your connections to Toronto to strong at that stage?

I played around with the idea but it was a pretty tumultuous prospect. I figured I was having enough trouble getting anything done in the comfort of Toronto. Frankly I've let things slide for many years.

Were you even aware of a tape trading underground back then?

Yeah I participated a little bit later. By the time I got involved however most of the trading folks already had Apocalypse Pooh but I had other stuff like an X-Mas reel from a local TV station and Winnebago Man. I had that pretty early on. I got it from a woman at work who¹s boyfriend was a broadcast editor.

There's a lot of academic discussion about culture jamming and why it resonates with certain individuals. What's your opinion on why your works remain so popular?

I think the films I was using as sources were already very enduring, iconic even, so it's just another layer. People interested in those films tend be interested in seeing everything related to them. I know a 5 hour cut of Apocalypse Now is floating around somewhere. Frankly I was disappointed with the Redux so I don't think I'd want to sit through that but I know a lot of people who would.

Would you call the younger you anarchic in any way whatsoever? Did you comprehend all the ramifications of the works or did they mean different things to you as time went on?

I used to dub my films onto the end of rental tapes. I liked the idea of leaving secret messages. I was an unassuming anarchist I guess. It was pretty common I think. Other people have used this tactic for evil though. I remember reading about a sicko who taped himself masturbating over kids films borrowed from the library. People used to covertly mislabel their shared music files in order to spread their own work on old P2P networks. I have plans for some mislabeled torrents in the near future to further spread my comedy tentacles. Regarding the copyright infringement, I never felt like I was doing anything wrong as long as the films were turned into something else. I was using their movies as raw material. It wasn¹t like I was just making dubs of Winnie The Pooh. I also always liked that people were expecting this madly pierced deviant but I would show up all normal looking. Some folks were genuinely disappointed.

When did you have an idea of how far geographically the works had gone? Did you keep track of their progress or was it impossible to do so?

Most of my mailing was to the States but a took a couple copies to Europe on a trip and sought out a few alternative video stores. You are the furthest flung I've come to hear about. I have a few Kiwi friends who will be pleased to hear about my vicarious journey to their homeland.

Did you read or collect fanzines? Personally I think that without the initial assistance of film zines I doubt that the shorts would have spread as far as quickly as they did? Is that a fair statement to make?

For sure - I was in contact with Chris Gore and Film Threat early on, he used to tour around American universities and show it as part of an underground film series. Fact Sheet 5 and Steve Puchalski's Slimetime. He wrote a very positive review. I think fanzines where part and parcel with the whole pre-internet scene. They were integral to alternative comics and music too.

You kept a very low profile over the years and were a mysterious figure for decades. I want to ask why have I never seen an interview with you over the years. Even the underground purveyors FILM THREAT only three years ago were still confused and unsure you were even truly behind the works. Were you always open about being the creator?

I always find it funny that I've been cast as a mysterious figure. In the flyer of a show I was in at The Kitchen they announced me as Canadian Bad Boy, which sounds like a contradiction of terms. The only thing I ever did to even slightly encourage that was to not include my full first name on the opening credit. I think it has to do with it getting chopped up into separate pieces, people just didn¹t include the credits. Film Threat is a puzzler since I even spoke with Chris Gore on the phone a couple times back in the day. Maybe he doesn't have any more involvement there.

I was interviewed in the early '90s by some local stations here in Toronto. I don't really have an answer other than I never screamed it to the heavens but I've always made myself available. Perhaps I should have hired a publicist.

Was there ever a time when others claimed ownership of them?

Yes, on YouTube occasionally but always someone who knows this guy in Portland or something about Kevin Bacon twice removed. There is a Mexican artist who made something called Apoohcalypse Now in 2002 which, yes, is an even goofier name but it's a serious-minded contemplation on the horrors of war (gosh!) - there are no jokes, he just has shots of Pooh with Brando talking over, no syncing. It's a mess actually. It showed in some gallery in Berlin in a tent (which I guess makes it artier, ask Tracey Emin about that). Turns out the guy studied at Parsons in New York in the '90s so he definitely saw Apocalypse Pooh but - whatever. I feel the same way about joke stealing. It's just kind of pathetic.

Was there any unpleasant experiences associated with the works over the years?

Just that dude, he even had a totally pretentious singular name: Artemio. Hey now - you want mysterious! He probably wears a full body leotard and smokes with a cigarette holder.

Did they ever hit public access television that you know of?

I spoke with some fellas in Baltimore who run Atomic Books and they had it on a public access show they made which was this cool rambling almost stream of consciousness collage. That was in the '90s.

Was there a period when you completely forgot about them? Recently I met the guys who made the doc WINNEBAGO MAN about the reclusive star of a viral phenomenon. Has anyone approached you over the years about capturing the significance of what you did?

Every now and again I meet somebody who has seen it and they find out I made it and they shake my hand. That's kind of cool. That's all I'd want. I don't know what else to expect really. I guess I'm making my own film about it but even then that will be part of the DVD extras along with a super deteriorated bootleg version. The guys who made Heavy Metal Parking Lot had that on their DVD release which I think was a great viewing option. I'm still not sure how I feel about the super digital clean copy my friend made.

The conclusion many people made over the years was that no one wanted to own up to the work due to how litigious Disney are known to be. Was this the reason you kept quiet?

There was always some concern. Disney was in the news then for suing nursery schools that had Mickey & Donald painted on their walls. I think someone quickly realized the short-sightedness of that. I think they now understand that their property is also part of the public consciousness and that trying to constrain that is just stifling more free advertising. Also, John Oswalt had made his audio opus Plunderphonics around this time and I heard he was visited by some of Michael Jackson's thugs that threatened him. They wanted him to destroy all his copies but they were already gone and he had distributed them for free. It was always my understand anyway that you first have to be issued a cease and desist warning. So there is always a shot over the bow.

Do you now know much about the Fair Use exemption of US Copyright legislation? What was your understanding of the legalities of your creations back in the '80s, especially since the tapes were making their way internationally where Fair Use didn't exist?

I don't know too much, I have to say. I just knew back then it was illegal and more so in Canada where we didn't have any parody/satire exemptions that always saved the porn titles in the States like Edward Penishands and Shaving Ryans Privates.

A lot of recent web writing about the origins of the trailer mashup puts their birth at the creation of youtube. This claim comes nearly 20 years after your original pieces were created; how does that make you feel? Do you sometimes feel that your seminal creations haven't been given their due in the mainstream press?

It got little mentions here and there. People would always bring me little snippets like a mention in Elle Magazine or Playboy. The UK film magazine Empire actually had it listed as one of the top 50 cult films of all time and since it was alphabetical it was #1! I really have never expected much from it. It's not like it's a novel or a feature film or even a painting!?

Before I saw your work, a buddy and I used to do something we called Channeling which was the stoned ability to watch one late television/video and listen to the audio of other channels. Sometimes the synchs were truly surreal. Were you aware of other analog mashing before you created Pooh? VHS tapes and albums ala Dark Side of the Rainbow.

I think this was always part of the stoner lexicon. When I was in high school we would watch old Max Fleicher cartoons with Pink Floyd or something else on. Later on I found it quite enjoyable to watch the hockey game with a lounge music soundtrack, something about the xylophone made it pretty magical. I saw once that somebody made an installation showing at the Whitney which was essentially Dark Side of the Rainbow. They were actually taking credit for this piece of folklore. Which seems to me like taking credit for the invention of peanut butter and jelly! I've figured there has been a lot of subconscious influence leading up to Apocalypse Pooh, particularly '70s comedians who did impressions because they would always take the celebrity voice into another context sometimes another genre of film. Woody Allen's What's Up Pussycat? would also be an influence even though I didn't really like it compared to his other films.

Compared to the boom period of the video mashup after YouTube exploded, one can instantly see that the modern digital cutters are simply playing on existing archetypes that modern trailers rely on. Are you impressed by any of these modern mashups or do you feel that they're mostly clones of each other? Do you even watch any of them?

I really liked the Superfriends Wassup video which was pre-YouTube. I remember hearing that the guy who made that was offered a job by The Cartoon Network. My favorite has to be Harvey Birdman though. The writing is brilliant. That would count I should think.

Who do you admire in terms of new visual comedy... Tim and Eric? Wonder Shozen?

Tim and Eric are awesome. I'm a big fan – especially since they combine stand-up and video sometimes. I have to see more of Wonder Showzen. I loved the short lived Robert Smigel show TV Funhouse (2000-2001) even though it was only 8 episodes, it was an expansion of the SNL short segment. I like the Demetri Martin's Awesome Show. I know a guy who is writing on the second season and I am so jealous. I loved the 1991 series Fishing with John and the TV work of the British duo Reeves & Mortimer. I am a big Chris Morris fan from Brass Eye and Jaaaaaam. I still haven't finished Nathan Barley. My wife is easily irritated by this type of humour so finding time to fit in the growing pile of "Todd only" discs is difficult. I loved Human Remains – saw it at my last job which bought a lot of UK programming. I liked Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive also – a bit UK-Centric but very funny mash of Larry Sanders (another great great show) and a celebrity game show format.

Robert Ryang the editor of the most well known contemporary mashup (THE SHINING), won awards and worldwide acclaim which resulted in him being offered work. In the first few years after you created them, did anyone attempt to get hold of you about your mashing and offer you work?

I liked that one, for sure! I was solicited to write a spec script for a Canadian TV sci-fi series called Lexx. I didn't think it would be worth the effort without any guaranteed compensation. I figured I might as well write something of my own that I liked. Of course I didn't do that either.

How does someone go from creating legendary underground works and remaining a mysterious figure for decades suddenly become a highly visible standup comic? What would Freud say?

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometime Freud was just a dick. I did a couple sets of stand-up in high school so I've just been retired for 25 years. I am about as mysterious as a garage sale with bad signage!

Many others who create singular influential works eventually become annoyed with the popularity to the exclusion of all the other work they've since created. How do you feel about them today?

I really haven't been doing much so I can't complain. I have a family now. I had a mean friend back then who said, 'How does it feel to have made the best thing you will ever do?' I don't think that's true. I'm only in my 40s!

You've mentioned new works you want to release next year. Can you give any info on what these might be?

Mostly just finishing stuff. I shot a couple films back in the day that I'm slapping together on Final Cut. A German take on Charlie Brown called Good Grief, Cancer Boy! and a French New Wave short called The Happy Clown of Death. I'm also making a decent document of my stand-up material and polishing up my website which is at www.idiotgallant.com.

The Hearts of Pooh is also a work in progress. I draw comics too. I'll have lots of time in the New Year unless I get a job!

Can we call you THE GODFATHER OF MASH?

I guess since Larry Gelbart and Robert Altman are both dead.

How different is the Todd Graham of today from the Todd Graham who created those shorts?

I think my penis was larger then. I don't know, maybe I could just see it better. What do you think?

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Todd Graham's Website

TOP 50 MASHUPS OF ALL TIME

RISE OF THE YOUTUBE AUTEUR

Apocalypse Pooh

Blue Peanuts

God Save the Queen

Superfriends – Wassup

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