Monday, January 21, 2008

Mr. T in the 'Pan???

So I have come across what I consider to be a quite amazing discovery over the past week or so- Japanese people know and love Mr. T!!!! The thing is, they don't actually know that they love him... allow me to explain.

Recently, I've been walking around with the cover of Pity the Fool, Season 1 (the one with the felt on the cover - you need this NOW if you don't have it already) as the wallpaper on my spiffy high-res Japanese cell phone display. This usually gets at least a nice smirk on my face, but there are times that I just totally forget it's there and open the display only to be unable to control the ensuing fit of laughter. Priceless.

So obviously people are going to ask me what I'm laughing at, or I'll just preempt this inevitability and feel compelled to share some of the coolest American culture ever to wear a mohawk and 300 lbs of gold chains. Some laugh (ok most), some give me weird looks (what's new), but the best reaction was the one I received the other day... "oh, the guy from the A-Team!" whawhawhaaat!!! As I delve deeper into this matter like it were a nice hearty bowl of cheese and spinach dip, I find that in fact the A-Team was in syndication in Japan in the 80's!! Not only that, but this guy was obviously a fan - he remembered Murdock and Hannibal by name and that B.A. Baracus "don't fly on no planes fool!" So it apparently went by the moniker 特攻野郎Aチーム (tokkou yarou A-chiimu), which is funny because it's made up of the same word they use to describe kamikaze pilots, asshole/bastard, and then the group we all dotingly refer to as the A-Team. This means that basically the Japanese name means "Crazy bastard A-team"... wrap your head around that one for a minute if you will. I only wish that American writers had thought of it first. He said people used to go around calling people A-yarous and stuff even! But- couldn't remember the name "Mr. T".

This has inspired me to look up more random factoids on the one, the only, the T. So I wiki'ed it. So he was apparently first a bodyguard for famous people, including boxers!!?? And charged $3000/day, and people paid it?!?? Ok, if a professional boxer pays someone to protect him, this must mean he believes that the guy could pick him up, snap him like a twig, and chew him up. Maybe Mr. T really does eat trees.

So anyhoo, I asked another friend today who previously told me how he grew up with Uncle Jessie, Uncle Joey, DJ, Bob Saget and the Olsen twins on Full House (man that was a surreal convo), and sure enough he remembered the face but couldn't place the name. I asked a guy at work that's a little younger than I and he didn't know, so I guess the cutoff is probably somewhere around 26-27 year old and up Japanese had the opportunity to see this gem of a show.

Try to imagine if you will the A-Team... dubbed in Japanese. I have a new mission in my life now, and it is to find video-taped evidence of this modern miracle in action.

UPDATE: It exists!!! On the Japanese wiki it said that the show aired in its entirety from '85-'87 in Japan. I found the opening (unfortunately nothing more though) on youtube after like 5 secs. of searching:

So yeah... if you didn't catch all that, Murdock goes by "Crazy Monkey", and B.A. Baracus says to call him "Kong". wtf??? Well I guess it does involve monkeys so....

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