New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.63: Night Shift

Night Shift

Sure, the line “Take LIVE tuna fish and feed ’em mayonnaise!” may not be as iconic as “Nice f*ckin’ model,” and definitely not as imitated as “I’m Batman,” but it’s also from a film in the career of an actor who has personified a multitude of quirky and hilarious characters. Many roles Micheal Keaton has chosen are zany and often outlandish, but those are the ones that continue to make me laugh ’til this day.

One of the early films I wore out on VHS was 1983’s Mr. Mom. Jack Butler is still one of my favorite characters ever even though he’s a lot more laid back than Bill Blazejowski in his first major movie role in Night Shift the previous year. Night Shift is right up there with Keaton’s best work. It’s hard to beat the team-up of The Fonz and Michael Keaton as morgue attendants who become pimps and start a brothel.

Keaton’s Billy Blaze was always amped up, humming The Rolling Stones “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and chock full of so many ideas that he had to dictate them into his handheld tape recorder so he wouldn’t forget them. Sounds a lot like what I do with the notes app on my iPhone. I related to Blaze since I worked the night shift for a few years and it’s certainly a whole other culture.

To pass the time, Blaze was always yapping a mile a minute to his partner Chuck (Winkler). A couple of the stories he told involved his trips down to Atlantic City to gamble. I always love watching movies that were filmed in New York City in the ’80s and the proximity to A.C is what gives this film that extra coolness. As Blaze told his stories I could just imagine him driving across the river and hopping on the GSP all the way down to Atlantic City, humming Stones songs all the way. In the early ’80s A.C was the Northeast’s answer to Las Vegas, but according to Blaze “Vegas knows how to treat you right… cause they got broads…and Wayne Newton…”


“Chuck, I’m really getting good at remembering these cards. (21 jeez!) Boy I’ll tell ya Chuck…this weekend is it. This weekend I go to Atlantic City and I do nothing but play blackjack straight through. I’m not even gonna get a room I’m just gonna get those wash’n dries…ya know? Did I tell you I thought of them first?”

“You know I’ve been working on my blackjack system, right? All right, so, I get down to Atlantic City this weekend and I’m sitting in the casino with my wash’n dries; Did I tell you I had the idea for them first? Anyway I’m sitting there and I’m playing blackjack right…they bar me, they bar me, I’m out, I’m barred, I can’t get in now, right. You know why? Being too good a player…”

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.58: Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3
Woody, Mr. Pricklepants, Buttercup, and Trixie in Toy Story 3
WOODY: “…Hey guys look I don’t know where I am!”
TRIXIE: “We’re either in a cafe in Paris or a coffee shop in New Jersey…”

I’m all for a company who milks their properties for all they are worth. Sometimes though, Disney really scrounges. For instance, I had no idea there was a third installment of Cinderella, let alone a sequel! Yes indeed, you can look it up for yourself, Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time went straight to DVD, and so did Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea. There’s also a Little Mermaid prequel, Peter Pan 2, Fox and the Hound 2, Lilo and Stitch 2, Tarzan 2, Mulan 2, Lady and the Tramp 2, Pocahontas 2, 101 Dalmations 2, and perhaps the most baffling…The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2. Seriously? Journeying into Pixar territory we have Cars 2, and today’s movie: Toy Story 3.

When the original Toy Story was released in 1995, I thought it was an incredibly imaginative film, and I still do. The Toy Story franchise is one of those Godfather type instances where the sequel may actually be better than the original, or at least funnier. I never thought I’d see a follow up to TS2 10 years after the sequel was released, but leave it to Disney! While I still love TS2, part 3 was pretty friggin’ great also. 
Although I thought it was released too long after Toy Story 2, there were a couple of things I loved about Toy Story 3. First, the story continued in a perfect way. In case you haven’t seen it I won’t spoil too much, but I identified with the film because when I was a kid my Dad broke it to me that I was growing up and I needed to part with my toys because I wasn’t a kid anymore. We gave a lot of my toys and action figures to the local day camp – a catastrophic event that I’m sure a lot kids endured. It was pretty frigging devastating for me, but as we see in Toy Story 3, it’s more devastating for the toys! 
The casting of Michael Keaton as the Ken doll scored major points with me. The world always needs more Michael Keaton. I miss seeing him star in movies and we need him back in a big way. His voice role as Ken allowed him to go back to his comedy roots and really do what he does best. When I first watched the movie I wasn’t even aware that Keaton was going to be the voice of Ken so it was a cool surprise. There’s nothing like hearing Michael Keaton play one of the most famous dolls of all time. He plays Ken very vain, but with a wink. He brags about his dream house having an entire room just for trying on clothes and compliments Barbie on how much he loves her legwarmers. I’ll tell you one thing: Taylor Lautner couldn’t have pulled that off!

Toy Story 3 is streaming on Netflix now!

Bob The Goon: Jersey’s Number One Guy!

Henchmen, for some reason, were always available and willing to abet The Joker. There must’ve been a waiting list to become one of Joker’s indistinct thugs, but why? The job of Henchman didn’t bring glory or kudos, it didn’t get their name in the Gotham Globe, and it undoubtedly lead to their demise. Whether it was thug #1 or Yock and Boff, they won’t be remembered for any of their dirty deeds against Batman or Gotham City. The Joker was the one who got all the press, save for one exception, and he actually had a name. His name was Bob, and motherf-cker even had his own action figure. It was from Toy Biz, but still an action figure nonetheless.

As if being known as a nondescript “henchman” was bad enough, Bob was known as ‘The Joker’s Goon,” or “Bob The Goon.” He was the highest level henchman The Joker had, hence “THEE GOON,” this guy wasn’t 2nd GOON or 6th GOON. That title was officially bestowed upon him when the Joker told Bob that he was his “Number One Guyyy.” Bob was a shabby man who looked as if he was freshly plucked from catching some zzz’s in a dumpster in a Crime Alley. Coming from those humble beginnings, having the Joker take him on as his henchman infused him with confidence. He felt like he could conquer the world, or at the very least, finally get his G.E.D. He was as loyal as they came, and he possessed a shimmer in his eye that showed us that a little part of him wished someday he could be half the criminal mastermind that The Joker is. He clung to that hope, even if it was all in vain.

When you’re down on your luck and you want some direction in your life, being the right hand to a super criminal like The Joker seems like an appealing and prestigious position. I’m almost positive The Joker didn’t offer any health benefits, and definitely no 401k. Perhaps dental? He did have one helluva smile. Love that Joker! In the case of Bob, The Joker granted him as much vacation time as he could ever possibly imagine when he blew him away point blank.


All other goons and henchman owe Bob a huge debt of gratitude for being such a superior role model. Bob was an icon, a go getter, and when he did hire a prostitute, he treated her with respect. It’s a shame that Bob was never able to take advantage of his fame. If he lived, he may have been able to ride the lucrative personal appearance circuit. Who wouldn’t want a B&W 8×10 of Bob signed “Bob, The Joker’s One and Only Muthaf–kin’ Goon!”

Bob The Goon was portrayed by Tracey Walter in the 1989 Batman film. It’s no secret that Jack Nicholson is a Jersey boy, but Walter also hails from the Garden State. He was born in Jersey City, NJ, and according to his IMDB bio, he “was working in a car parts store in Jersey City when he stumbled upon acting…” Walter’s impressive resume includes appearances in over 150 popular films and TV shows.
For more on Bob’s Toy Biz action figure, check out Cool Toy Review.

Notes on an ’80s Scandal: “Mr. Mom” Jack Butler’s Shocking Secret!


How many times have you heard the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce? I for one have heard it so many times that it makes me wonder why people get married in the first place. I take Gene Simmons stance on the subject, he remains “happily unmarried.” One of the most prominent reasons for rampant divorce is infidelity. Even the model husband is still not exempt from having his will power melted by some hot lingerie clad minx who’s bent on bedding him down.


Take the sexily milfish Joan (Ann Jillian) from Mr. Mom for instance. Her character was a divorcee whose main excitement consisted of grocery shopping, male revues, playing poker for coupons, and gossipping about daytime soaps. She didn’t fly into fiery jealous fits of rage and she never tried to make Jack’s wife Caroline’s life a living hell. She was slick and subtly made herself an accessible part of Jack’s life. Caroline wasn’t present that often in the household while she was pursuing her career, so Joan took advantage of a perfect opportunity to steal Jack’s affections away from her. She planned to be everything Caroline wasn’t. Unlike Caroline, Joan was enticed by Jack for who he was. She liked his beard, his old flannel shirt, and the fact that he gained a little bit of weight: “I like a man with a little meat on his bones.”


It wasn’t long before Jack had a dream involving Joan seducing him. We all know that’s the first step in realizing you want to bang someone. Let’s face it though, considering how thick she laid on the seduction sauce, it would’ve been pretty damn easy for Jack to fall into her clam trap. Alas, in the film Jack wakes up and the viewers can rest assured that it was only a dream. Don’t worry, our male-mom hero hasn’t cheated on his loyal wife. But has he?

The FBI agents here at The Sexy Armpit took a trip to the archives to view footage from the cutting room floor of Mr. Mom, and we found some interesting evidence. Actually, what we came across was more of a sex tape. Believe it or not folks, long before the days of Pam and Tommy, and Paris and Rick, Jack and Joan made a sex tape. Unfortunately, I do not have lawful clearance to show the footage to you, but I can clue those in who have an insatiable lust for the juicy tidbits: There was tons of anal.

Would you have been able to resist Ann Jillian knocking at your door, then opening her trench coat to reveal some sexy lingerie? Are you sure? She was ready to tend to Jack’s every want and need. I’m sure whatever fantasy he conjured up in his head she would’ve made it happen, after all, she was the original desperate housewife.

It wasn’t until recently when I made the connection and started gathering evidence to make my case. I realized that a few years later, in the 1989 film The ‘Burbs we have living, breathing proof of the Jack and Joan liaison in the headbanging neighbor, Ricky Butler. Ricky lived in Mayfield Place and relished in watching the hijinks his neighbors got themselves into. Just by his physical appearance I noticed the similarities Ricky had to Jack and Joan.


Ultimately, Jack Butler stayed with his wife Caroline but never admitted to her that he had actually bumped uglies with Joan. His sons Alex and Kenny grew up and were never aware they had a stepbrother. Listen up guys, your dad is a rotten cheating mr. man-whore! Joan never told anyone about her and Jack’s baby. Upon learning she was pregnant, Joan relocated to Mayfield Place when she realized she would never have Jack all to herself. (Incidentally, the set of The ‘Burbs is now used as the set for Desperate Housewives.) In her new neighborhood, she went on to become the town’s happy drunk and earned her title of town floozy. She decided that she wanted little Ricky to keep Jack’s last name in honor of her love for him. Little Ricky did not grow up to build cars like his dad, but he did become a skater/metalhead who obviously inherited ladies man status from his father: “Hey uhh Mrs. Rumsfield…no tan lines this morning…looks nice!”
Is it curious that we never actually see Ricky Butler’s parents in The ‘Burbs? In 1989, Michael Keaton was most likely too busy being Batman to make a cameo as Ricky’s estranged father. Let this be a lesson to all those bored homewrecking housewives out there: stop seducing your girlfriend’s hardworking husbands! Their almost non existent will power is no match for your shrewd womanly ways. A word to the wise: If you are going to pull a “Jack and Joan,” always keep in mind that you may just wind up with your own little mistake. Then again, who wouldn’t want a scraggly poster child for Vision Street Wear like Ricky Butler running around?

The Day I Got To Be Batman

This whole Dark Knight countdown is becoming a huge obnoxious competition against myself to find out who is the bigger Batman fan, ME or ME? Either way, it’s on like KONG! (the article above appeared in the Cineplex Odeon newsletter called “The Biz” in ’97)

When I was 16 I applied to work at the local Cineplex Odeon Cinema at the Menlo Park Mall. (Cineplex Odeon is now AMC Theaters) I knew it would be the perfect job for me especially since I was in high school and didn’t want a job where I had to be too serious or have too much responsibility. Without even realizing how fast the time went I wound up working there for about 5 or 6 years! I met so many awesome people throughout that time and saw a ton of movies. Sometimes on a Thursday night we would have screenings of the big films that were coming out the next day. I remember getting sneaks of all the cool movies especially for all the Star Wars re-issues and The Phantom Menace. I have some great memories of that place.

For the first 2 or 3 years I worked there the management was very supportive and excellent to work for. One busy night at the theater in 1997, Bob, the house manager, pulled me aside. I got a bit nervous. Bob was easy to get along with but he was nothing but business. He wasn’t smiling so I thought something was wrong.

JAY: “Did I do something wrong, Bob?” I always ask that of all my bosses…I just like the sound of it.
BOB: “No of course not, as always you’re doing a great job! I just have something I want to ask you…”
JAY: “Oh Ok sure”
BOB: “How would you like to be Batman for us at our premiere of Batman and Robin?”


JAY: “Are you serious? Holy Crap, of course!!!”

F–k Jean-Paul Valley! What an opportunity for me since I used to pretend I was Batman for the first 16 years of my life and now I could actually be him in front of people. I definitely felt like I was a shoe-in for the job because everyone there knew I was the resident Batmaniac. When I put on the cowl and cape, such a familiar feeling came over me as if I had put on a cape and cowl every day of my life. I did my best impression of Michael Keaton when he became Batman. Screw Kilmer and Clooney, I was still a Keaton mark! Not only did they get one of the more professional looking bat costumes for me to wear but they also had a few members of the management team create an overhang above the ticket ripper that made you feel like you were entering the Batcave!

To make the premiere even more of an event they had one of the girls who worked at the concession stand, Jen, play Poison Ivy. Like me, she really ate it up. She waltzed in like she spent months taking lessons from Uma Thurman! The kids and adults loved it! I shook so many hands that day, was asked to be in a ton of pictures, and I was also asked for autographs which was bizarre but I had prepared for it just in case. I remembered that back when I was a kid I met a Batman impersonator at the Wildwood boardwalk back in ’89. I took a picture with him and he signed the Polaroid. I dug it up and took a look at how he signed it and I sort of lifted his technique. I know, I know…you all want to ask the burning question: Did I stuff my codpiece with socks? Don’t you know that Batman never reveals his secrets? Let’s just say, the ladies seemed to be quite aroused! Come to think of it, they were probably more distracted by my huge batarang. (pictured below: Batman/Me trying to resist Poison Ivy’s pheromones)