Forgotten, awesome, not dead yet: Marshall Efron
June 30, 2012 3:37 AM   Subscribe

Two clips from the 70s kids show Marshall Efron's Illustrated, Simplified and Painless Sunday School: David & Goliath and Jonah.

In Better Living Through Chemistry, he makes a lemon creme pie without lemon, cream or eggs, just like the manufacturer. More recently, Efron showed us how to make Sardine Rarebit.
posted by JHarris (17 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Some years ago I was flipping through channels really late at night, as in, so late that it was actually early in the morning, and I inexplicably ran into an episode of Illustrate, Simplified and Painless Sunday School. It was the early 90s, I have no idea why it was on, and it was the first I had heard about it and the last I've seen of it until I searched for clips to make this post.

I don't know why I've remembered it for all these years, although it might have something to do with the shock of seeing the words CBS NEWS PRESENTS in the opening. Anyway, I've wanted to make a post about it for a long time, but like a lot of my weird and idiosyncratic obsessions there's just not a lot on the web about it. It did get mentioned in The High Hat's article Ten Shows In Search Of A Cult.
posted by JHarris at 3:41 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

There really is something wonderful about low budget religious media.
posted by Fizz at 5:22 AM on June 30, 2012

posted by Splunge at 5:36 AM on June 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

I always thought it was a little odd that the Lutherans produced a claymation series about a boy and his animal familiar; maybe they were more progressive than I thought.
posted by verb at 6:42 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

This isn't the "Davey and Goliath" you're thinking of.
posted by briank at 6:56 AM on June 30, 2012

He really reminds me of Jack Horkheimer, though with more beard and less vim.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:00 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

At first I thought this was purely for razzing, but Efron really does have a kind of PDQ Bach, Prairie-Home-Companion type charm going on. I would have liked to see this a heck of a lot more than other stuff I got shown at Sunday school.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:22 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

There really is something wonderful about low budget religious media.

Oh yes! Takes me back to my childhood. We lived on base in Okinawa in the late 80s, and we only had one English language channel, that played Gerbert on Sunday morning. We liked it so much, Dad would tape it for us, and we had tapes for years, watched 'em until they wore out.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:33 AM on June 30, 2012

A few years ago I was at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (right? I think? that's a thing?) and they had the lemon pie video playing. We arrived somewhere in the middle and it seemed so bizarre and out of nowhere that I had to record some of it on my phone. Its a partial clip of the segment but I had put it on youtube because it seemed so weird. That video keeps getting consistent views. I had never seen any of his things before but apparently it was on the minds of a lot of people.
posted by Phantomx at 7:37 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

He does have a bit of a Horkheimer laugh, huh?

I grew up with...Gospel Bill.

And on Wednesday Nights during my teen years we had the godawful Fire by Night (THE MULLETS! THE HORRIBLE SOAPY MUSIC! this was just one bit of the show - they had like interviews and shit, but this was like some shitty drama-sketch thingy they had... and omfg, yeah, this is bad)...

(and yes, Davey and Goliath, and also had the Music Machine record (and Bullfrogs and Butterflies), and don't forget that anime thing with the lighthouse and superbook or whatever)...
posted by symbioid at 7:48 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh jesus...

Blaine Bartel (the mulleted bigot on the previous Fire by Night clip) teaches how to "Market Your Church"


You know how they marketed the church back in the day homey? The died as a martyr.
posted by symbioid at 7:50 AM on June 30, 2012

Thanks for the Efron update... as a television addicted teen, I used to watch this on Sundays when I was bored, which was often.
posted by lotusstp at 7:55 AM on June 30, 2012

Always loved Marshall Efron, especially admired his voice work as Synonamess Botch in George Lucas' "Twice Upon A Time"
posted by Quasimike at 8:19 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I should note that, in my searching for information on the show, that I found a place that notes Efron is not religious. That might have something to do with the watchability of the clips, they don't have to approach the material from a pose of reverence.
posted by JHarris at 11:51 AM on June 30, 2012

and don't forget that anime thing with the lighthouse and superbook or whatever

They are "The Flying House" and "Superbook." Yeah, those things were many Americans' first exposure to anime.
posted by JHarris at 12:26 PM on June 30, 2012

Is it just me or is the zany tone combined with a wry, breathless narrator really reminiscent of Jay Ward?
posted by Bromius at 12:52 AM on July 1, 2012

Also, the going over of traditional stories is similar to Fractured Fairy Tales.
posted by JHarris at 3:12 AM on July 1, 2012

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