Friday, April 20, 2007


The "REN & STIMPY SHOW" was a short-lived cartoon. Its founder, John Kricfalusi targeted the humor for teens and young adults. The show enjoyed a great success for two years until the network "stole" the rights from him. Then without Kricfalusi's creative genius, the network produced their own ersatz version. Driven by the it's early reputation the show remained popular but viewers noticed a drop in quality. Then within two years, the show was off the air. One of the bright spots throughout the run was Billy West, the voice of Stimpy.
Billy West molded Stimpy's voice from his impression of Larry Fine from the "THREE STOOGES." Apparently Mr. West is the only person in the world who does a decent Larry...of course, there probably isn't much of a call for Larry Fine impersonators anyway. Therefore on our family visit with Andrew's friend Vinnie last week to Philadelphia, I was surprised to see a huge (and not aesthetically beautiful) wall moral of Larry Fine over Jon's Bar & Grill on South Street.
Later when we wanted lunch, somehow Larry lured us back. The back of the menu included Larry's biography and we were surprised that he had actually lived in the building that the restaurant/bar now occupied. Oh, yeah in case you're curious...and PLEASE pardon the pun...the food was "FINE."

From there, we went to the Franklin Institute to see the King Tut Exhibit. They must have extremely long waits at times, because they had snaky railings set-up like at amusement parks. Our time slot was 5:30PM and luckily we walked past the railings directly to a holding area. At first it seemed like we would have a long wait but they allow 60 people in every three minutes. Our wait was about ten minutes.

Before going inside, a museum representative gives a short spiel on patron etiquette as well as some do's and don'ts . That's followed by a two-minute film narrated by Omar Shariff that gives a brief history of what you are about to see.

The exhibit is divided into five rooms. The crowds are small enough that if you wanted to see everything up close, the wait, if any was short. Also each item had a small plaque to read and this information was repeated in big print at the top and all sides of the individual showcases.

On the funny side, in the first room, a woman with a one-year old in her arm was dragging a whining three-year old along.
I was standing next to them when she suddenly bent down, stuck her finger in the tike's face and said, "You're NOT ruining this for me!" When the kid tried to rebut she interrupted, "When I take you to Disneyworld I don't ruin it for you, do I?"
I kept an eye on them and the boy never whined again.

In comparison to when I saw King Tut at the New York Museum of Natural History in 1978, the crowd was controlled much better this time around. I also think there was a lot more to see and the time restrictions in each room were more relaxed.

There were minor flaws in the presentation but I won't mention them because I wouldn't want to discourage any of my readers from attending.

On the way out, photography was permitted in the gift shop. They had tons of crap to buy to help you recall the memories of the trip but you should always remember, one picture is worth a thousand words.
It should be noted that the ticket price also includes the regular museum. If you've never been to the Franklin Institute, its great for all ages. We parked easily at a meter about a block bring plenty of quarters.

After we left, Andrew's friend wanted to see (as he called it) Independence DAY Hall. Being Philadelphia illiterate, I took the loooong way to get there but was able to come through on my promise. More importantly, through my guidance, Vinnie has dropped the word DAY.

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