Thursday, February 09, 2006

Gus goes to the Grocery Store

In 1976 Disney released one of the single most bizarre films ever made. Gus told the story of a mule that was recruited from Yugoslavia to be a kicker in the NFL. The flick starred Ed Asner, Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Bob Crane and Tom Bosley. It's hysterical and I highly recommend it.

Near the end of the film the mule is preparing to play in the Superbowl. Suddenly he gets kidnapped by Tom Bosley and Tim Conway. While that sounds like a dream date for any HUMAN, Gun is unhappy. So he runs away.

And into a supermarket.

The supermarket scene lasts 10 minutes and features every slapstick gag you can imagine.

It's easily my favorite scene in the film.

First of all, I like any scene that takes place in a store. I find myself looking around and trying to read everything on the shelves. It's like a weird little time capsule. Moreover, I think it's cool that these are usually REAL items in the background. Someone probably BOUGHT that can of peaches and ate them never knowing that a mule bumped into them as he fled Mr. Cunningham and Dorf. Then they recycled the can (in 1976 that meant "throw into ocean") never knowing that they had discarded a piece of American cinema.

Let's take a look at the grocery scene in Gus.

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There goes Gus, right into Ralphs.

Ralphs is a grocery store chain in Southern California, founded in 1873.

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As Gus moseys past registers 7 & 8 we see a sign advertising the "Anniversary Celebration." This could be a real sign since Ralphs was founded 103 years before the movie's release and so it could have been close to 100 years at the time of filming. Or, perhaps, 103 years is an important milestone in food years.

Take note the liquor supply in the background. California grocery stores usually sell booze. BTW, Gus gets drunk in this film. Not this scene, unfortunately.

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Here some goofball erects a giant tower of canned fruit.

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And of course, the mule knocks 'em down. Then Conway and Bosley trip over 'em.

I wonder if anyone ever REALLY stacked cans this way. It seems incredibly stupid.

Hey look! Pepsi is on special!

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Now, Gus gazes at the diaper aisle. Since this was made in the mid 70's that kid in on the package is in his 30's today. I feel bad for him. No matter what else he accomplished in life it probably never equaled the achievement of being on the Pampers package. Yup, he peaked at 1.

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Conway gets into a fight with a guy who looked like the WWF's own Hercules Hernandez. It happens right in front of Tony the Tiger, Post Toasties and Carnation products.

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This is a great shot. They should have made it the poster. Tim Conway stares at the mules behind as the woman in white stares at Tim. The girl in the red and the kid next to her stare DIRECTLY INTO THE CAMERA.

Behind Tim is a display telling you to "Enter Shasta's Toyota Corolla Contest." Funny thing is, I bet that sign would fetch a little more on eBay than a 1976 Toyota Corolla.
I can also imagine it's worth more than that 1964 Adam Corolla I see on TV.

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Eventually Tim hops on the mule and rides it past the snack aisle. In the center you can see some old-style Dorito bags and Ruffles are on the right. Ruffles seems to have changed little over the years. Still, if you were Ruffles, would you EVER change?

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Finally Gus runs away giving us another look at Ralphs and the Magnolia Pharmacy next door.

Well, now I'm starving.


  1. All fans of Gus, Ralphs or Ruffles speak your mind!

  2. Once again you have made me feel completely obligated to see a movie I had never heard from before. I will go to Best Buy tonight.

  3. Anonymous2/09/2006

    For a long time I thought I looked like one of the coaches in this movie. Then I realized I actually look like Norman Fell, the other landlord from Three's Company.

  4. Anonymous2/09/2006

    Two mentions in one week! You have brought much joy to Bosley's everywhere!

  5. Anonymous2/10/2006

    Where's the love for Wilford? It's the right thing to do and the right time to do it.

  6. I have never met Gus or been to Ralphs but I love Ruffles. They have r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-idges. They don't make that sound in the commercials anymore though. In fact I don't think I've seen a commercial for Ruffles in a long time.

  7. Anonymous2/10/2006

    Jassssson, I too love Rufflessssssss and their rrrrrrrrridgesssssssss.

  8. Anonymous2/10/2006

    There was a guy named Gus who helped Ed Gein dig up bodies and make stuff with them.

  9. I love this film and have it on vhs somewhere. I remember first seeing it on tv probably around 79 or 80. Michigan Mammoths rule! (even though they lost the super bowl in this film).

  10. Anonymous2/14/2006

    As others have said, the plot is just totally unreal. But the cast, bless their hearts, play this one straight and before you know it, you're sucked in watching. Tim Conway and Tom Bosley pretty much steal the show--my husband, 6-year-old daughter, and I roll on the floor laughing every time we watch this and it's time for the scenes in the hotel and grocery store. Also, worth mentioning are Bob Crane (as the "Old Pepper Pot"--a sports announcer who's even more obnoxious than Dick Vitale) and football great Johnny Unitas (who can't get a word in edgewise to do the play-by-play). Oh, yes--Dick Enberg's in this one--it was filmed when he still had hair! This one ends with a little twist, too.

    It's not if you win or lose its how you play the game. Football as a metaphor for life; you have to fight for every inch, on the field, as in life. Or perhaps on the `playing' field that `is' life. Take your pick, you get the idea; whatever you choose you can bet it's a concept director Oliver Stone apparently seems to think he originated in his over-long, self-indulgent miasma. A decent movie? Yes. Original? No. Stone pulls out every cliché in the book, twists it all like so much play dough to put his own spin on it and serves it up like so many hot dogs you can buy at the stadium while you watch his fictitious Atoms play. The recipe for this particular potpourri includes the quarterback willing to play-through-the-pain-for-the-team; the third-stringer whose success goes to his head; discrimination; locker room scene after locker room scene that play like, well, locker room scenes; players with names like `Madman,' `Beastman,' `J-Man,' `Shark' and `Cap;' a ruthless, young General Manager/owner who inherited the position from her father; the unethical team physician whose diagnoses of injured players coincide with the needs of the team; the young, ethical assistant team physician; and the legendary coach who just wants to inspire his team and win one more. All of which may seem contradictory after stating that this is a `decent' film. Perhaps. But understand that by decent I mean that this movie was, if nothing else, a professional endeavor that was packaged and delivered in a way you would expect from the star-studded cast Stone assembled here. The problem lies with Stone, whose work on this project fairly rings of arrogance and self aggrandizement. All of the aforementioned `potpourri' ingredients, for instance, are actually legitimate aspects of this story; but in Stone's hands the legitimate comes across as cliché, while any attempt at profundity seems merely pretentious. His endless use of slow motion photography during the game sequences ultimately has a nullifying effect on the drama it is, I assume, meant to enhance; and it's a perfect example of the excesses he allowed himself that give this movie the sense of pretending to be something it is not. It's a case of the artist who is too close to his work being given too much freedom, or in this case, enough rope with which to hang himself.

    I've never been really interested in sports, but this is one movie that's bound to please everyone! Football playing mule gets put in jail after a spat with his girlfriend. The mean-spirited warden and the guards are always taunting him and the other prisoners, until finally, they decides that it's time to have a football match between the prisoners and the guards.

    Gus has dreamed that he would play football for Notre Dame College. However his grades are low in high school and he misses out – ending up at his dad's steel mill.

    I taped this as I thought it would be the traditional sports movie where the underdog comes through to win the big game at the key moment. Happily this film aspires to be more than that and is very obvious that it has no desire to be a football film, in fact the game isn't really shown until the final few moments of the film. Of more interest is the look at his dream and how it is very difficult to reach, he has to work very hard to get his dream, it isn't something that he is entitled too or has dropped in his lap – it is an American Dream build on work and persistence. This took away a little from his story, but also it made it a better ending – his appearance is in a game already won with only seconds left, but it's HIS dream.

    Overall this is a good sports movie except it isn't really a sports movie. Despite it being sentimental and slightly predictable it is still a good story of chasing a dream and fair comment on the fact that the `American Dream' is not just something that happens, it is something to be worked on and chased, and even then – not everyone's dream will result in them being rich etc, but, it says, in America, if you work hard and persevere, then anything is possible.

    Some scenes are a little goofy (like the scene where they're shoveling mud), but they never seem out of place. This is a fine example of athletics at its best; it's what team spirit is all about. It's hard to believe that was Bernadette Peters playing the secretary.

    Great viewing for the whole family or for one of those nights you want to have friends over and just laugh yourself silly. . .

  11. I thought "I'm Da Bomb" was just a little weird, until I clicked on his website. Now, I am just scared.

  12. Anonymous2/17/2006

    He uses a diffrent website for each post. The site name or content always has something to do with the post... It is pretty funny...