Television and Movies

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Back to So Long And Thanks For Laughing

Things you would never know without the movies...

Film strips
During all police investigations it will be necessary to visit a stripclub at least once.

All telephone numbers in America begin with the digits 555.

If being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St. Patrick's Day parade - at any time of the year.

All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets which reach up to the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.

All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French Bread.

It's easy for anyone to land a plane providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.
A film projector and a screen
Once applied, lipstick will never rub off - even while scuba diving.

The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place;

No-one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.

If you need to reload your gun, you will always have more ammunition -even if you haven't been carrying any before now.

You're very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.

Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German
accent will do.

If your town is threatened by an imminent natural disaster or killer beast, the mayor's first concern will be the tourist trade or his forthcoming art exhibition.

The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.

A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

The Chief of Police is always black.
When paying for a taxi, don't look at your wallet as you take out a bill - just grab one at random and hand it over.
It will always be the exact fare.

Kitchens don't have light switches. When entering a kitchen at night, you should open the fridge door and use that light instead.

If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.

Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and waffles for their family every morning even though their husband and children
never have time to eat it.

Cars that crash will almost always burst into flames.

The Chief of Police will always suspend his star detective - or give him 48 hours to finish the job.

A single match will be sufficient to light up a room the size of RFK Stadium.

Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.

Any person waking from a nightmare will sit bolt upright and pant.

It is not necessary to say hello or goodbye when beginning or ending phone conversations.

Even when driving down a perfectly straight road it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.

All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they're going
to go off.

It is always possible to park directly outside the building you are visiting.

A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.
A film strip
It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts - your enemies will wait patiently to
attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.

When a person is knocked unconscious by a blow to the head, they will never suffer a concussion or brain damage.

No-one involved in a car chase, hijacking, explosion, volcanic eruption or alien invasion will ever go into shock.

Police Departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.

When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.

You can always find a chainsaw when you need one.

Any lock can be picked by a credit card or a paper clip in seconds -unless it's the door to a burning building with a child trapped inside.

Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally at that precise moment.


A meteor shower
From Time magazine, "Numbers" section:

$5 million:

Estimated annual cost for a 10-year program that would identify large asteroids most threatening to earth.

$75 million:

Budget for "Deep Impact", a film about the devastation caused when a comet hits earth.

Cartoon Laws Of Physics

Cartoon Law I

Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.

Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.

Cartoon Law II

Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly.

Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon characters are so absolute in their momentum that only a
telephone pole or an outsize boulder retards their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called this sudden termination of motion the stooge's surcease.

Cartoon Law III

Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter.

Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the speciality of victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless cowards who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving a
cookie-cutout-perfect hole. The threat of skunks or matrimony often catalyzes this reaction.

Cartoon Law IV

The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken.

Such an object is inevitably priceless, the attempt to capture it inevitably unsuccessful.

Cartoon Law V

All principles of gravity are negated by fear.

Psychic forces are sufficient in most bodies for a shock to propel them directly away from the earth's surface. A spooky
noise or an adversary's signature sound will induce motion upward, usually to the cradle of a chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole. The feet of a character who is running or the wheels of a speeding auto need never touch the ground, especially when in flight.

Cartoon Law VI

As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once.

This is particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a character's head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of altercation at several places simultaneously. This effect is common as well among bodies that are spinning or being throttled. A `wacky' character has the option of self- replication only at manic high speeds and may ricochet off walls to achieve the velocity required.

Cartoon Law VII

Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel entrances; others cannot.

This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall's surface to trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical space. The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to follow into the painting. This is ultimately a problem of art, not of science.

Cartoon Law VIII

Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.

Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives might comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed, accordion- pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be destroyed. After a few moments of blinking self pity, they reinflate, elongate, snap back, or solidify.

Corollary: A cat will assume the shape of its container.

Cartoon Law IX

Everything falls faster than an anvil.

Cartoon Law X

For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.

This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to the physical world at large. For that reason, we need the relief of watching it happen to a duck instead.


Cartoon Law Amendment A

A sharp object will always propel a character upward.

When poked (usually in the buttocks) with a sharp object (usually a pin), a character will defy gravity by shooting straight up, with great velocity.

Cartoon Law Amendment B

The laws of object permanence are nullified for "cool" characters.

Characters who are intended to be "cool" can make previously nonexistent objects appear from behind their backs at will. For instance, the Road Runner can materialize signs to express himself without speaking.

Cartoon Law Amendment C

Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries.

They merely turn characters temporarily black and smoky.

Cartoon Law Amendment D

Gravity is transmitted by slow-moving waves of large wavelengths.

Their operation can be wittnessed by observing the behavior of a canine suspended over a large vertical drop. Its feet will begin to fall first, causing its legs to stretch. As the wave reaches its torso, that part will begin to fall, causing the neck to strech. As the head begins to fall, tension is released and the canine will resume its regular proportions until such time as it strikes the ground.

Cartoon Law Amendment E

Dynamite is spontaneously generated in "C-spaces" (spaces in which Cartoon laws hold).

The process is analogous to steady-state theories of the universe which postulated that the tensions involved in maintianing a space would cause the creation of hydrogen from nothing. Dynamite quanta are quite large (stick-sized) and unstable (lit). Such quanta are attracted to psychic forces generated by feelings of distress in "cool" characters (see Amendment B, which may be a special case of this law), who are able to use said quanta to their advantage. One may imagine C-spaces where all matter and energy result from primal masses of dynamite exploding. A big bang indeed.

64 TV Axioms

    The BBC doesn't allow advertising
  1. Good guys always shoot better than bad guys.
  2. Good guys are always outnumbered.
  3. Good guys always win and get the girl.
  4. Good guys are always good looking.
  5. Good guys are the only ones with a sense of humour.
  6. Good guys will only get shot in the arm or leg.
  7. Nothing cures the blues like killing 30 or 40 bad guys.
  8. Good guys don't take drugs.
  9. Heros wear clothes that dirt can't stick to.
  10. Ugly people are always bad guys.
  11. Bad guys will make elaborate inventions to kill the good guys, but they will never stick around to see if it works.
  12. The bad guy chickens out first.
  13. The police are smart.
  14. Police never wait for back-up.
  15. Undercover cops are too good to be spotted, especially when wearing dark sunglasses.
  16. All police killings are in self-defense.
  17. Police chases must include a car going through a plate glass window.
  18. Car wheels screech on any corner, even on dirt.
  19. After being shot, there is always enough time to escape.
  20. The chances of getting into an accident increases proportionally as the car goes slower.
  21. Advertising
  22. Burglar alarm system's connection box is on the outside wall.
  23. Private detective work is glamorous.
  24. Cars will explode in all accidents.
  25. Court cases are all solved with a surprise witness.
  26. Teenagers who have sex are destined to die in grotesque ways.
  27. Teenagers are always smarter than their parents.
  28. High School students look thirty years old.
  29. The suburbs are exciting.
  30. Cream pies are made to be thrown, never eaten.
  31. All Chinese people know Karate.
  32. Indians make good fodder.
  33. All baseball games will be won with a home run in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the bases loaded.
  34. Everybody wins in Las Vegas.
  35. Nobody has time to watch TV.
  36. Nobody ever has trouble finding parking spots when they are in a hurry.
  37. Housework is never needed.
  38. Street vendor's carts are magnetically attracted to high-speed car chases.
  39. Everyone knows how to pick a lock with one tool.
  40. The last 5 minutes of any TV show will expain the entire plot.
  41. The last 5 minutes will be stretched out for 20 minutes with commercials.
  42. In case of emergency, speak in cliches.
  43. 95 pound women in tight skirts can throw around 300 pound muscle-bound men.
  44. Fist-fights don't result in bruises.
  45. Helicopters are attracted to mountains.
  46. No one ever mumbles, stutters, or says "um..."
  47. People normally wake up in the morning with make-up on.
  48. There are no really ugly women, only really ugly men.
  49. If a women is running away from someone she will trip and fall.
  50. Your car will always start immediately unless you are being chased by a maniacal killer or a monster of genetic creation.
  51. Crazed maniacs have super-human strength.
  52. Everyone has a "dark" secret.
  53. Haunted houses are never locked.
  54. Murders will always be accompanied by sinister music.
  55. Rich people are unhappy.
  56. Thunderstorms spontaneously create murders.
  57. When someone is dead or dying, there will be a trickle of blood from the corner of their mouth.
  58. Christmas Eve and Halloween night last for three of four days.
  59. Midnight happens more than once in a monster movie.
  60. To kill a vampire, you must set out 5 minutes before sunset.
  61. Nobody ever realizes until the end of a monster movie, that everyone that went into the dark cellar never came out.
  62. The group always splits up to look for the alien.
  63. Movies based on true stories are always made up.
  64. Computers never crash.
    • a) Teenagers can access any computer by using their home PC.
    • b) Computers know everything.
    • c) You must type frantically to keep a 3-D image moving on the screen.
  65. In the end, all resource limitations are overruled.

Interesting things that you learn about computers in the movies...

A computer in a bin
Word processors never display a cursor.

You never have to use the spacebar when typing long sentences.

All monitors display 2 inch high letters.

High-tech computers, such as those used by NASA, the CIA, or some such governmental institution, have easy-to-understand graphical interfaces.

Those that don't will have incredibly powerful text-based command shells that can correctly understand and execute commands typed in plain English.

Corollary: You can gain access to any information you want by simply typing "ACCESS ALL OF THE SECRET FILES" on any keyboard.

Likewise, you can infect a computer with a destructive virus by simply typing "UPLOAD VIRUS." Viruses cause temperatures in computers, just like they do in humans. After a while, smoke billows out of disk drives and monitors.
Computers with eyes on
All computers are connected. You can access the information on the villain's desktop computer, even if it's turned off.

Powerful computers beep whenever you press a key or whenever the screen changes. Some computers also slow down the output on the screen so that it doesn't go faster than you can read. The really advanced ones also emulate the sound of a dot-matrix printer as the characters come across the screen.

All computer panels have thousands of volts and flash pots just underneath the surface. Malfunctions are indicated by a bright flash, a puff of smoke, a shower of sparks, and an explosion that forces you backward.

People typing away on a computer will turn it off without saving the data.

A hacker can get into the most sensitive computer in the world before intermission and guess the secret password in two tries.


Complex calculations and loading of huge amounts of data will be accomplished in under three seconds.

In the movies, modems transmit data at two gigabytes per second.

When the power plant/missile site/whatever overheats, all the control panels will explode, as will the entire building.

If you display a file on the screen and someone deletes the file, it also disappears from the screen. There are no ways to copy a backup file-and there are no undelete utilities.

If a disk has got encrypted files, you are automatically asked for a password when you try to access it.
Superman with a computer
No matter what kind of computer disk it is, it'll be readable by any system you put it into. All application software is usable by all computer platforms.

The more high-tech the equipment, the more buttons it has. However, everyone must have been highly trained, because the buttons aren't labelled.

Most computers, no matter how small, have reality-defying three-dimensional, real-time, photo-realistic animated graphics capability.

Laptops, for some strange reason, always seem to have amazing real-time video phone capabilities and the performance of a CRAY- MP [darn fast freon cooled computer that uses enough power to light a small city - Win].
Whenever a character looks at a VDU [Video Display Unit - Win], the image is so bright that it projects itself onto his/her face.

Computers never crash during key, high-intensity activities.

Humans operating computers never make mistakes under stress.

Programs are fiendishly perfect and never have bugs that slow down users.

Any photograph can have minute details pulled out of it. You can zoom into any picture as far as you want to. For example: "What's that fuzzy thing in the corner? I don't know, let's check. It's the murder weapon!" "Let's look under the bed for the killers shoes. No, just some comic books (Marvel 1954, very rare). Let's check the closet shelves..."

So Long And Thanks For Laughing

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