Thursday, December 31, 2009


To ring in 2010, here's a great 10-minute montage of Times Square ball drops from 1978 to 2009 that features glimpses of folks like Donny Osmond, Regis Philbin, Ashlee Simpson (!) and Paul Anka, plus plenty of cheesy graphics and -- of course -- Dick Clark.

Happy New Year!

More toy commercials

Now I don't remember a SINGLE ONE of these products. CHUCKLEBUG? The Best of the West playset? The Chopperoo? Zestabs chocolate vitamins?

But even though I don't remember them, damn if I don't love the ads. The Best of the West ad is apparently hawking a main character as a "scout for General Custer." Doin' a great job there, Brownie.

There was a doll named Crumpet?

As you ease into 2010, here are some commercials from 40 (40!) years ago that might throw you back in time. That's Henry Fonda in the Talking View-Master ad!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wax on! Wax off!

So how do you feel about Will Smith's kid starring in the "Karate Kid" remake?

Or better yet: How do you feel about the fact that there IS a "Karate Kid" remake?

And where's Billy Zabka when you need him?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Growing up Heroes

I knew about the Growing Up Star Wars Flickr pool, but not about the Growing Up Heroes blog, which features photos of little kids, from the 1960s thru the 1990s, dressed up like superheroes.

Awesome if only for the background photo!

(Via Kottke)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Classic Clip Monday: A real change of underwear

Underoos came out in 1979, so these boys dancing around in their cool superhero undies are probably just about old enough to have their own kids who are now horribly embarrassed by these ads.

Now I always loved Aquaman, but seriously, who would want Aquaman Underoos when you had other choices like Spiderman, Superman and Batman? Also, shouldn't Aquaman be on swim trunks or something instead?

Who had Underoos? Confess in the comments!

(Need more Underoos ads? Here's a block of them. VERONICA LODGE was on Underoos? That seems pretty declasse for the rich girl of Riverdale High.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

They learned nothing from the failure of "Bionic Woman"

From the NY Times: "Among the most prominent projects under consideration as new series next fall are these familiar names: “The Rockford Files” on NBC; “Charlie’s Angels” on ABC; and “Hawaii Five-O” on CBS."

Hollywood, QUIT REMAKING OUR SHOWS! They always suck, and we really just want to sit home and watch the old reruns on DVD or Nick at Nite or whatever's replaced that.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Muppet Style

Happy Holidays from! Here's a classic clip from 1979's "John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lemon Up

Body on Tap, Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific, Herbal Essences...the 1970s and 1980s were shampoo's golden age.

Who else remembers Lemon Up, which supposedly had lemon juice in it, and had an irresistable plastic lemon on the top of the bottle?
You can now buy many of these at Vermont Country Store. Bless them!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kate Gosselin as Carol Brady?

Kate Gosselin as Carol Brady? Oh, not even.

It's really all her fault for buying JARRED BEETS

The Retroist linked to this funny vintage Tide commercial.

I don't remember seeing this exact one on TV, but the daughter's hair is so wonderfully 1980s. And I love the Retroist's commentary: "Not sure why I remember this commercial so clearly. Either its the slow motion shot of the beets hitting the coat or just the idea that people write letters to a product and not the company that made it. I do it all the time. “Dear Twinkie, Are you and Chocodiles friends?”

Monday, December 21, 2009

Nostalgic Christmas lights

We're not the only nostalgia freaks out there: Retro Christmas lights are in, baby!

Rob and I have the giant bulbs outlining the peak of our house, and I love 'em.

Farewell to a Sesame Street resident

I have to admit, I don't remember Olivia--Gordon's sister--on "Sesame Street," but she sounds like an awesome lady who took her role on the Street very seriously.

Please note that she was also married to the 7-foot-2-inch guy who played Harry in "Harry and the Hendersons." That just struck me as really cool.

Mother Nature's revenge

Who else remembers those wonderful killer animal movies of the 1970s and 1980s? Bunnies! Ants! Ticks! Bees! Grasshoppers! They all came after humans and at last took their sweet revenge on us for inventing Raid, or something.

Best were the ones with William Shatner or Joan Collins, and the money shot was always when the camera showed us the ants massing in the sink drain, or the worms crawling through the showerhead, and the oblivious characters just cheerfully whistled and saw nothing, until they were eaten alive.

This one, simply called "ANTS!", with Suzanne Somers, is my favorite. I like to blame the ants-in-the-drain scene for the fact that I still don't like to wash dishes.

Share your favorite killer-animal movie memories in the comments.

Classic Clip Monday: Farrah Fawcett shampoo

Man, Farrah Fawcett had it going on. Few women were as gorgeous as she. It's hard to believe she had such a sad end-of-life.

I never bought, or even saw, her shampoo, but this commercial reminds me what a star she was.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best Christmas commercials of the 1970s and 1980s

Are you following JenX67 via her blog or on Twitter? You really should be!

Check out her list of 10 Christmas commercials from the '70s and '80s. The classic remains the Folgers ad where big brother Peter comes home for Christmas, but there are other greats, too. (Underoos! Christmas Crunch Berries! McDonald's gift certificates!)

In the Peter ad, I notice that 1982 was still the era where they didn't cast blonde babes of approximately 26 years of age to play moms of college students--the mom is frumpy and momlike. I miss those more realistic casting choices.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Funky Food Friday: Orbitz soda

OK, this isn't a '70s and '80s product...ORBITZ soda, with the little balls in it, came out in the '90s.

But it's been gone so long I feel a little nostalgic for it anyway. Kind of a predecessor to bubble tea. I mean, bubble tea might have been around first, but weird gummy little snacks in beverages? Orbitz trained us to like bubble tea. Which I don't, actually. But I like the concept of bubble tea, so...halfway there.

Don't Google Orbitz now and expect the beverage, by the way. The name has been seized by the travel site.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who will mourn the cassette tape and the card catalog?

We generally focus on the 1970s and 1980s and things that went extinct then, but NY Magazine has a slideshow of (mostly officey) things that were essentially killed off in the 2000s, from answering machines to cassette tapes to fax machines.

Hey, as far as I'm concerned, phone books have been a fairly useless species for some time now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

10 worst lunchboxes of all time

Are these the 10 worst metal lunchboxes of all time?

I myself had a shabby copycat version of the more-coveted Holly Hobbie (Polly Pal!), so I don't really think HH herself should be on this list. Oh, look, I could buy Polly Pal on eBay. Which I will not do.
Cannot argue with The Metric System or Laugh-In making the list, though.

(Lunchbox Labs, the somewhat famous burger joint near my house in Seattle, has a display of lunchboxes that includes either this metric system one or another one, which leads to the scary possibility that there could be more than one metric system lunchbox. Horrors!)

Also, I am not quite sure what parent would think it fitting for a kid who's little enough to carry a lunchbox to have one from a movie as bloody as "Rambo."
The Campus Queen lunchbox on this list is actually quite coveted, I believe.

Also, disco! On a lunchbox!
What was on yours?

This means they're healthy now, right? Right?

Less sodium for Spaghettios! Miss Kelly has yet to try this taste treat, but apparently I lived on them till I was like six, so I'm sure she'll appreciate the fine bouquet just as mom did.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yeah, he's holding her in his arms, late, late at night

Rick Springfield is coming out with a memoir, with its title taken from the lyrics of "Jessie's Girl": "Late, Late at Night."
Apparently the singer has battled depression for years, and his book will examine those struggles.

Funny how, when all we know is the person's public facade--fame and money and talent--we can't imagine how anything at all could be wrong with their lives. "Richard Cory," anyone?

Johnny Bravo meets Johnny Law

According to TMZ, Barry "Greg Brady" Williams is having some legal trouble with his girlfriend.

Their lede: "Barry Williams, the actor who played Greg Brady on "The Brady Bunch," claims his ex-girlfriend threatened to kill herself and him after losing a beauty contest ... and he's obtained a restraining order to keep her far away."

Yikes. Things were so much easier when Carol and Mike were laying down the law about how he couldn't read the back of a record album while driving, or how he had to take Bobby on his date to the drive-in movie.
(Reposted from PCJM)

A Merry Movie Christmas

This Christmas, we're going to forgo the yule log and instead bask in the glow of Encore's "Big '80s Weekend," featuring just about every beloved movie made when Reagan was president. The merry marathon kicks off on Dec. 25 with The Breakfast Club, and bobs and weaves its way through more than two dozen classic '80s flicks -- Lost in America! The Goonies! Fletch! Weird Science! -- wrapping up with Purple Rain on the 27th. (Hey, Apollonia? That ain't Lake Minnetonka.)

Girls Just Want to Have Fun is also part of the deal, but that's likely because Cyndi Lauper hosts the whole shebang. (Encore hasn't offered an explanation about why Weekend at Bernie's made the list.) Far as we can see, the only real glaring omission is the Rodney Dangerfield/William Zabka classic Back to School.

The weekend also includes the world premiere of a new documentary, Don't You Forget About Me, about a group of young filmmakers' quest to track down director John Hughes, and starring everybody from Ally Sheedy and Andrew McCarthy to Alan Ruck and Kelly LeBrock.

Check out the whole lineup here, and let us know what else Encore forgot to include.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Werewolves of TV

I'm sorry, but there is no "Teen Wolf" but Michael J. Step off with your remake, MTV.

Luxury kitchens: A generational thing?

This article claims that folks raised on Food Network (not to mention "Real World," and their massive kitchens that served only as places to get drunk and cry at your roomies) are still interested in luxe appliances, despite hard times.

Classic Clip Monday: Let's go record shopping!

Via the awesome Retroland: Hey everyone, let's go buy records at Woolworth's back in 1971! $1.57 for Canned Heat, and just 87 cents for the "Sesame Street" cast album.

This is truly an awesome ad.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Give a hoot, don't pollute

One of the creators of Woodsy Owl has died.

Do we even teach kids about not polluting anymore? Or not littering? It seems like recycling is everywhere, but those simple things are forgotten.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Funky Food Friday: Mmm...paper...

Ever try cramming a cheeseburger into a Christmas stocking, or sending a shake through the mail? Us neither. We did, however, salivate over giving and receiving something just as delicious, and a whole lot less messy: McDonald's Gift Certificates. Back in the day, a 50-cent single gift certificate was plenty to buy a burger, and get change back. And if you were lucky enough to score an entire 10-pack, you could keep the whole neighborhood in french fries and hot apple pies until well after New Year's.

Check out this McDonald's commercial from 1975. Most important, it reminds us that there was once a time when Corey Feldman was adorable.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

25 Best Gen X books ever?

Are these the 25 Best Generation X books ever? By "Gen X" I assume that Details means the authors are of our generation, not the topic.

I agree with Donna Tartt's "Secret History" and love a couple of the other choices, but seriously, "American Psycho"? That's not even Bret Easton Ellis' best book.

I would lead this list with "Retro Hell." Just saying. And somewhere on there would be "Microserfs," Ariel Schrag's high-school saga (perhaps she's a Millennial?), Melanie Thernstrom's "The Dead Girl," Steve Almond's "Candyfreak," the achingly touching "Somehow Form a Family," and a few others.
What books would make your list, either written by authors born in our generation (be generous, call it 1960s to 1980s) or about it?

We made love in my Chevy van

1970s custom vans make me think of two things: "That 70s Show" and Ted Bundy. I know, not fair to all the good vans out there that half of that list is a serial killer, but what can I say?

(Via Ultimate Insult)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I met him in a swamp down in Dagobah...

I-Mockery found the awesomest geek gift: A "Star Wars" Dagobah frog habitat.

I kind of thought they were making this up, but it appears REAL. You can buy it at Amazon!

'80s holiday gifts

Retrofaze has a fun list, with art, of the 20 best toys a kid could have gotten for Christmas in the 1980s.

Not all of these are on my personal list, but this is still awesome and fun to read through.

We totally need Sit N Spins and Big Wheels for adults, don't you think? Also, I had no idea there was a Daisy Duke-themed Big Wheel. Sweet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Someday my prints will come

Who doesn't remember a Fotomat in their past? Whenever I drive through the Lunds grocery store parking lot in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul, I think of the little hut that used to be there. Back then, we had no idea that film and smelly developing companies and waiting for pictures would all be a thing of the past.

And fans of "That '70s Show" remember that Tommy Chong's character worked at a Fotomat, although it wasn't allowed to use that brand name, apparently.

Metafilter had a wonderful discussion of the long-gone Fotomats.

I just love this photo, such a bright and sunny look at our more innocent days.

And don't miss this slideshow. Looks like many of the Fotomats tried to make it as other ventures -- coffee shops, snowcone stands, etc. -- and many of those new businesses didn't make it, either.
Tell us about your Fotomat memories, and what happened to the specific little shack that you knew best, in the comments.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh, little Andy Keaton

We were JUST talking about you, steel-fanged Brian Bonsall from "Family Ties." Thanks for getting into a bar brawl so our news was up-to-date!

Excerpt: "Bonsall claims he was so drunk he doesn't remember a thing." Yikes. Here's hoping he can get his life together.

Classic Clip Monday: I can bring home the bacon! Fry it up in a pan!

Time for another Classic Clip Monday!

OK, raise your frying pan if you remember this infamous Enjoli commercial from the 1970s. She can bring home the bacon! Fry it up in a pan! And never never never let you forget YOU'RE A MAAAAAN...'cause she's a WOOOOO-MAN!

Sounds like a heck of a lot of work for her, seriously. What's HE doing while she's working, cooking, and making him happy?

Apparently, Enjoli is still around, and this ad kind of makes me want to find a bottle (Walgreen's?) and take a whiff, just for old time's sake.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Funky Food Friday: Funny Face drink mix

Oh, Funny Face drink mix, you were so much more fun than Kool-Aid! Even though two of your original characters were canned for being racist (Chinese Cherry and Injun Orange became Choo-Choo Cherry and Jolly Olly Orange), you were awesome, and your plastic cups live on in every thrift store I've ever visited.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Through the eyyyyyyes of a reeeeemake

Holy cow, they remade "Ice Castles"? With a Vancouver Olympics tie-in?

That's so cheesily brilliant I am left speechless. Left speechless, and left looking throoooough the eyyyyyyes of looooooove.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Drink up!

Didn't you think we solved the accidental consumption of pop-can tabs issue back when they replaced the pull-offs with the bend-backs?

Apparently not.

Family Ties cast as they look today

Meredith Baxter's coming out is in the news, and here's a slideshow from Gael's employer,, showing how the entire "Family Ties" cast looks today.

Tina Yothers has come through her awkward stage and looks fine now, but oh, Justine Bateman. Mallory was such a fashion plate in the '80s, and now?

Also, I am still waiting for someone to explain to me the steel fangs that the troubled Brian Bonsall is sporting.

Patrick Duffy and the Crab

To millions of people, Patrick Duffy is best remembered as Bobby Ewing from "Dallas" or the dad from "Step by Step." To others of us, though, he'll always be The Man from Atlantis, which is why the fact that he lives with a crab in this awesome Web short is especially hilarious.

Who plays the deadpan crab? (Best line: "Omigod.") None other than David Leisure, who shot to fame in the '80s on "Empty Nest," but more notably as pathological-liar pitchman Joe Isuzu. You have my word on it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Magical musical Trapper Keeper

We were discussing Trapper Keepers here and on our Facebook GenXtinct fan page, and my niece April mentioned that she had a Trapper Keeper with a built-in radio.

What what, you say? That's what I said, until I found this video of one on YouTube. AWESOME!

Trapper Keeper time

Let's talk Trapper Keepers!

Mine had a baby harp seal on a background of icy blue snow. Beautiful and adorable, and as girly as all get-out.

What was on yours? Smurfs, unicorns, Mr T, New Kids on the Block? Fess up in the comments.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Jo Polniaczek lives!

TV holiday movies featuring 1980s stars!

Via The Great 80s on Twitter.

Classic clip Monday: Somebody come and play

Ever since I saw the updated version of "Somebody Come and Play" while watching "Sesame Street" with Miss Kelly, the song has been stuck in my head.

I agree completely with the comments from the original YouTube poster. Joe Raposo, the famous "Sesame" songwriter, took what could have been fluffy, nothing, happy-little-kid lyrics, and set them to a tune that gives them a wistful, almost sad twist.

And then when the original video was shot with some sad looking orangutans in a gloomy cement zoo of the 1970s jail-like style, well, that only added to the malaise.

They later re-recorded it over footage of snow leopards who didn't look quite as glum as the monkeys, and then again with a much more chipper Ernie, which is the one I saw this week. But it's still a haunting and sad song, and reminds me that "Sesame Street" often surprised you, and it wasn't just a bunch of kiddie fluff slammed down on video to make a deadline.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Talk about Barbie and the Rockers

Barbie now has dolls of Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, and Debbie "Blondie" Harry.

Joan Jett is by far the best. I really don't recognize Debbie Harry.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Funky Food FRIDAY: A loaf of bread...

On this, the biggest shopping day of the year (and also Funky Food Friday here at, let us pause to honor one of the most memorable shopping trips of our childhoods.

It's been 37 years since it first aired, and "a loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter" still flitters through my brain every time I set foot into a grocery store. Thanks, Sesame Street.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving from We hope it's filled with jelly beans, popcorn, pretzels and toast.

Now this is a company we can get behind

Found via Bubbledog: Jellio makes products, like the Rubik's Cube stuff I linked to earlier, that's inspired by toys and treats of our childhood era.

These Gummi Bear Lights are pricey, but adorable.

These monkey mirrors are reminiscent of Barrel of Monkeys.

This bench is decorated with candy buttons that look real enough to gnaw.

You've got Ants in the Plants! (Oh, the fun they must have coming up with these...)

Gumball machine clocks that really dispense prizes!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Classic Clip Monday: The Osmonds cartoon

We have a "Dancing With the Stars" pool at my office (I know!) and I have Donny Osmond to win it all. In honor of his still hanging in there and dancing in the finals at age 51, here's the opening to the 1972-73 cartoon show, "The Osmonds."

I never saw this show, but apparently the Osmonds, sans Marie, were "goodwill ambassadors who go out into the world to spread their musical happiness."

Seriously, other than Donny, Marie, and for a very short time, Jimmy, did anyone remember the other Osmonds? Were there fan clubs for Wayne, Alan and Merril like there were for Jermaine Jackson? For that matter, were there fan clubs for Tito, Marlon and Jackie Jackson?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cowabunga, dudes!

We could not let today go by without mentioning that tomorrow, Nov. 21, is THE DAY when "Turtles Forever" airs on The CW4Kids.

The cartoon was made to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the heroes on the half-shell (25 years of turtles? Man, we are OLD) and supposedly features the 1987 turtles meeting up with those from 2003.

Then the Wikipedia entry says this, which may as well be written in ancient hieroglyphics as far as me understanding it, but I'm sure some turtle fanatic out there is laughing at my ignorance. "The Mirage Turtles have been confirmed to appear as well, along with Krang, Hun, Karai and three of the Shredder (1987 Shredder, 2003 Utrom Shredder, and Mirage Shredder)."

Are Mirage Turtles like Bizarro Superman? I am TMNT illiterate, I guess.

Funky Food FRIDAY: Tab, Tab cola, what a beautiful drink

Tab is one of those weird childhood memories that you can still go out and buy today! Not every grocery store has it, and those that do don't seem to carry that much, but it's definitely out there, still in the pink can, and still with the weirdly tangy, almost metallic taste.

This commercial is a version of the jingle I remember best. But the one I remember was faster..."Tab, Tab cola, what a beautiful drink! Tab, Tab cola, for beau-tiful people! Tab! You're beau-ti-ful to me! Sixteen ounces and JUST one calorie, Tab!"

Apparently for a while in the '80s, Tab had "SASS!" I don't remember this ad campaign at all, and really don't mind that I missed it. Also, that's kind of a weird drippy sandwich the model takes a chomp out of, no?

I had to link to the embedded one below, though, where they encourage the 1970s woman to drink Tab to "become a mind-sticker." In other words, if you keep your shape thanks to Tab, you stick in his mind and he won't dump you for being fat. Check out the woman's hideous long dress as they walk up the oh-so-mod Brady Bunch house stairs!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Goodbye, JC Penney Big Books

Oh JC Penney Big Books, we never got everything we longed for, but you and your Wish Book partners, you taught us to dream. And now you're leaving us.
(No one better tell those awesome Plaid Stallions.)

We'll miss you. Online shopping is great and all, convenient and clean and oh so fast. But we spent so many contented hours with you, cuddled up while the snow flew, dog-earing pages, comparing the merits of Big Barbie Head vs the Crissy Doll, the Easy-Bake Oven vs. Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine. It was a toy department all of our own that never closed, where no mean manager ever yelled at us to stop daydreaming.

Well, goodbye and thanks, we guess. Just ... thanks. Wish our kids could've known ya.

Where it bubbles all the time like a giant carbonated soooooda

Is it wrong that I like Weird Al's "Yoda" better than the original "Lola"?

I also love this LEGO Yoda video.

Cannot look at a tube of Crest without thinking of this

What's your favorite Wacky Pack? Hostage Cupcakes? Busted Finger Candy Bars? Slaytex Living Gloves?

I think Crust Toothpaste, an oldie but a goodie, is mine.
I love that this site is offering a "stocking stuffer" -- 60 packs for $27.50! That would occupy my whole Christmas day right there, just opening and reading them, and then sorting and trading. Uh, what do you mean I'm not nine anymore?

Da plane, da plane!

"Fantasy Island" is going to be a reality show.
Which...fine, but instead of going on the show and winning your own fantasy, the contestants are competing to be the next MISTER ROARKE.

COME ON! I mean, who ever watched that show and dreamed about being the guy in the white suit? Or even Tattoo?

I've said this before, but I seriously need some channel to buy both "Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island" and run them back-to-back on Saturday nights, so I can relive my childhood weekends. With Retromercials, of course. Get to it, networks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Leggo my EGGO, set it freeee, don't break up the faaaamily

Dammit if EGGO doesn't have one of the most memorable jingles/slogans of all time. Leggo my Eggo!

And now there may be a shortage. HORRORS! How shall we as a planet continue?

Time to clash again

How did I not know they are remaking 1981's "Clash of the Titans"? Here's the 2010 trailer. (Via Triptych Cryptic.)

All I remember about this movie is the Medusa head, and that I think you could get extra credit for Mythology class if you saw it.

But I just watched the 1981 trailer, and huh--Laurence OLIVIER was in it?

In Search Of...Bigfoot

Where's Leonard Nimoy when you need him? Animal Planet is going all In Search Of-y on us with a poll that says that more than a third of Americans would like to see Bigfoot proven as real.

When asked what legendary creature they would like to see proven as real, 36 percent of people said they would like Bigfoot to be real, while 21 percent said ghosts. Twenty-seven percent said various other creatures, including vampires and werewolves.

So what's your favorite on-screen rendition of Bigfoot? Sure, 1977's "Sasquatch, the Legend of Bigfoot" is low-budget cheese. But Andre the Giant as the hairy monster on "The Six Million Dollar Man" beats them all -- to death with their own arms. Raaaaahr! Anybody want a peanut?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

RIP Ken Ober

When I heard that "Remote Control" host Ken Ober had died, the first thing that hit me was the theme song, which hadn't flicked across my brain in years: "Kenny wasn't like the other kids...TV mattered, nothing else did..." Then I wondered why I hadn't thought about the show in so long. It took the traditional game show format and cut away everything but the pop culture references. No questions about pesky topics like history or geography. Just TV. And that was just fine with me.

Ober and his crew -- including everybody from Colin Quinn to Denis Leary to Adam Sandler to Kari Wuhrer -- put on a sometimes hilarious, always entertaining show down there in his mom's basement.

Former "Remote Control" writer Jeff Kahn has a nice little tribute on the Huffington Post.

And she and Billy Joe was throwin' somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge

It always kind of bugged me that Bobbie Gentry never said what the "Ode to Billy Joe" narrator was throwing off that darn bridge, and I was never buying in to the idea that it was their baby (because -- UGH!) or a rag doll symbolizing the end of childhood (because -- whaaa?).

I was less interested in why Billy Joe committed suicide (in the movie it was because he had a gay experience...again, whaaa?), and more interested in what the heck got tossed off the bridge.

This page does a very academic analysis of the song itself and shares some reader thoughts on what was thrown. Pass the biscuits, please.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Childhood Memory Keeper

Have you checked out our Links We Love page? It's chock full of other great retro Web sites run by people that we think we'd really like if we only knew them.

I just discovered, and added, Childhood Memory Keeper. How could I not, when she has a post about "Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great"?

Classic Clip Monday: Vanilly and Punch Crunch

We're planning to offer up a fun retro YouTube clip every Monday to get your week started off right, or at least distract you from work for a few minutes.

Remember these little-known Cap'n Crunch family members?

I actually think I'd love Vanilly Crunch, and I'm sure I did during the .085742 of a second it was out on shelves during the 1980s.

But PUNCH CRUNCH? Cereal that tastes like FRUIT PUNCH? And then you put MILK on it? Milk and fruit punch sounds like something you'd take if you'd accidentally consumed poison and needed to throw it up. (Yes, I know Trix and Fruity Pebbles are fruit-flavored cereals...but fruit punch is just so...tangy.)

KISS! That's right, KISS!

I remember when Rob and I were first married and we were broke, broke, broke, I still managed to come up with an unbelievable $150 to buy him KISSTORY, this giant book all about the band KISS, and signed by the original four -- Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter.

Now there's another book, but it's a lot cheaper: KISS Army Worldwide: The Ultimate Fanzine Phenomenon Book. Apparently it collects a lot of concert pics and fanzine covers. The book cover itself is just a giant collage of zine covers. Remember when people made zines? Today I guess they just make blogs. I was a zine girl for a long, long time myself, and I kind of miss them still.

I also have always loved that KISS doesn't have fans, they have an army.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Now, they work for me

"Charlie's Angels" coming back to TV? Oh, why mess with the memories of our childhood?

Jaclyn Smith could just slip seamlessly back into the role of Kelly. Look at her! I swear she has not aged a day since 1977. Also, I can't be the only one who loves that purry voice she has.

Funky Food FRIDAY: Working up a RONDO thirst!

We're going to post a fun food memory every Friday in hopes that we'll strike up a Proust-ian flashback to your taste buds. First up: RONDO!

Who else remembers RONDO citrus soda? This ad is hilarious...the whole point of the soda seems to be that you could "slam it down fast." Screw the taste! Which actually, was pretty darn good.

And look how easily he crushes the can! They were made differently back then, right? It's like they're made of paper to watch ths guy smush it.

Web references claim the soda ceased production in 1983, but I swear that is NOT true. I worked at a grocery store (Knowlan's in White Bear Lake, Minnesotans represent!) in 1985-1986, and I swear I remember taking returns of Rondo glass bottles then. (Glass bottles, for deposit, because I am old.)

LEGO: One-trick pony, or creative inspiration?

When we were kids, LEGOs were just bricks, and you built whatever you want with them. (I liked the basic bricks best...I never knew what to do with the windows and other one-use objects.)

Now, Jason Kottke argues that LEGOs are too single-use, that you can't find plain old LEGOs as easily, and it's harshing kids' imagination because they just build what's on the box.

Lilly at Girlhacker strongly disagrees, and finds that her son loves to build the new kits, and doesn't feel his creativity's squashed at all.

Kell's too young to do much with her garage-sale box o' MegaBloks yet, so I can't really weigh in with much experience, but I'm sure I'll find out soon. But I have to say I kind of love the LEGO Indiana Jones (home page here, including the heart-pounding Indy theme music).

And this really makes me want to look at the Brick Testament again...the Bible via LEGOs!

If they've got a blue space monkey with them, we're outta here.

Wonder Twin powers, activate! Look who's set to show up on tonight's episode of "Smallville": Zan and Jayna, better known to fans of "Super Friends" as The Wonder Twins. A replacement for even lamer teen "heroes" Wendy and Marvin, the alien siblings would knock knuckles, then transform into some unnecessary combination of an animal and a type of H2O. Please, please, please let them change into an eagle and a bucket of water. ("We're going to circle majestically overhead, and then get the criminal slightly moist!")

According to an article in TIME from last year, some people actually point to the Wonder Twins' power-activating gesture as the first national use of the fist bump. Right. And Black Vulcan discovered electricity.

For plenty of clips of this not-so-dynamic duo -- and some excellent snark -- check out Seanbaby's Wonder Twins "tribute."

Ice, ice, baby

OK, help me out, here. When I was in kindergarten, my classroom had all the Schaeper Toys games--Cootie, Ants in the Pants, and Don't Break the Ice.

Don't Break the Ice is still around (but I'll be damned if the purple guy on his back on the box doesn't look just like Grimace to me). You use a little pick to hammer out ice cubes and try not to break the ice. Duh.

But at the dollar store (again, costing more than a dollar), I saw this game: Thin Ice. Looks like you pile marbles on the fake ice and, again, try not to break the ice.

Homage, or rip-off? Or is there room in the world of toys for two ice-breaking kid games?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Spotted at the dollar store (but for more than a dollar!)

Operation Hulk
Now, I'm sure this is just a spin-off of the original Operation, and it gets decent reviews at Amazon, but seeing the Hulk being vivisected gave me a start. And what ARE his ailments?
The Amazon review mentions Toxic Gas (!!!!) and Betty Butterflies, but in the one I saw, he seems to have a teddy bear on his foot? Since when is "teddy bear on foot" an ailment?

The Force better be with you

I love this Metafilter discussion about how the "Star Wars" heroes pretty much had no real plan when they went to rescue Han in "Return of the Jedi."

It cracks me up how much fun it can be to take a simple movie and just take it way, way, beyond what was in the script or on the screen. I think the commentor who says "you all are way overthinking this" does not get the point.

LOLcat-like Solo image from I Can Has Force?, which is definitely worth checking out. They feature a weekly "Star Wars" caption contest.

Jabba Cat is pretty darn awesome.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sugar Daddy Palm Beach Ken!

Man, and we thought Mod Hair Ken was a little weird. He's got nothin' on this guy. (Link via Emeri.)

Dig the mint green patterned smoking jacket.

Oh Smurfberry Crunch, we hardly knew ye

Oh man, how did SmurfBerry Crunch not come up in our cereal discussion, either here or on Facebook?

This commercial is hilarious on so many levels. Is that "The Nutcracker Suite" music? How annoying would it be to get squirted in the face with warm milk direct from a cow's udder? Does Papa Smurf deserve no privacy? He kind of looks terrified. Why would you think he's be excited about a breakfast consisting of the only cereal you make in your Smurf slave-labor factory? Wouldn't he want, I dunno, a bowl of Apple Jacks now and again?

And how did this cereal not last FOREVER? (Don't answer that last one. The rumor is that it was yanked for, uh, turning a certain waste product weird colors. You'd think they would have caught that in beta.)

Keep watching the video for a race car track toy ad, and a teaser into a whole pile of video-game themes cartoons that I dearly wish was on there. Also, my pal Matt over at X-Entertainment has a wonderful post of Smurfy goodness. What does a Smurf-scented scratch-n-sniff sticker smell like? (Again, don't answer that.)

Libby the kid!

Rob was just reminscing about Libby the Kid, the cowboy that hawked Libbyland dinners.

I only know these dinners from "Mystery Science Theater" riffs, although I remember the canned veggies, and the "If it says Libbys, Libbys, Libbys, on the label, label, label, you will like it, like it, like it, on your table, table, table..." jingle. Man, if anyone can find that online, post it in the comments. I'm dying to hear it again.

In its place, a really odd Libby's ad featuring Tony Randall as a guy about to be tortured by being forced to eat inferior canned veggies (contradiction in terms, no?), but no jingle.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sesame Street, I'm awfully fond of you

Forty years ago, my great aunt, an educator, insisted that my mom and dad plop one-year-old Brian in front of the black-and-white TV to check out a newfangled show that was going to change the way kids learned. I visited “Sesame Street” the first day it aired, and I’ve never really left. Sure, I’ve gotten up on occasion to use the bathroom, make a sandwich, get married, have kids – but I’ve never left behind the joyous world that Henson built.

It was, of course, an early lesson on the tremendous power of combining information and entertainment. And it was also a major part of my life. It’s still all drilled into my 41-year-old brain: The cartoon songs (“10 tiny turtles on the telephone”), the live-action vignettes (“There’s a bird on me”), the flesh-and-blood people, just hanging out and often breaking into song (“If you’re happy and you know it”).

All good. But “Sesame’s’ finest legacy is its Muppets. Kermit, Ernie and Bert and Grover were as real to me as Bob, Maria, Luis, Susan and Gordon. And they still are. I suspect trench-coated Kermit doing his Sesame Street News Flash live-shots was a major reason I eventually became a TV news reporter.

Now that I’m watching it again with my own toddler, I’m feeling Twiddlebug-sized pangs of regret. As nice -- and comfortable -- as “Sesame” is today, I still consider relatively recent additions like Telly, Barkley the Dog, Elmo and Abby Cadabby part of a slightly different neighborhood, one that’s just around the block from the older, rawer and a little grittier Sesame Street of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Like “Saturday Night Live’s” Not Ready for Primetime Players, the original “Sesame Street” cast will always be the one that comes to mind when I think of the show. Heck, I even consider Linda, who came on board in 1972 and taught a generation sign language, to have just moved in. The new ‘hood looks and sounds pretty much the same, but the property values are just a hair lower.

For me, “Sesame Street” will always be what it was in the beginning, back in the day when Gordon was a completely different person, Mr. Hooper still ran the store, and Elmo was just a ticklish, red-fur-covered glint in his daddy’s eye.

Have you played Atari today?

I love Retrocrush, and I love that they found an ancient Atari video game catalog.

I almost forgot about Outlaw, their little ol' Wild West shooting game.

Says Retrocrush: "The one player game was lousy, because you just had to do ricochet shooting around catches to hit bouncing targets (just like the real Wild West!), but the two player version was about as close to Halo as us poor kids of the ’70s were going to get."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tra la la, la la la la

I'm with Retrocrush: When are the Banana Splits coming out on DVD?

Thankfully, they're rerunning the series on Boomerang, and Kelly asks often to watch "na na na's." I now know the series freakishly well, much better than I did as a kid.

Tooly, on "The Three Musketeers" cartoon, seriously needs a punch in the face.

"Arabian Knights" is a little better since it doesn't have a kid sidekick (just a midget donkey), but it's odd to me that they never noticed the villains all are identical.

"Micro Ventures," or "Micro Adventures" as Drooper announces it, is the one where the scientist dad and his teen kid get shrunk down and go do things like explore the wonders of their lawn while a housecat tries to eat them. I swear that one only aired like twice.

On "Danger Island," the villain looks pretty non-threatening with his pink polka-dotted bandana, but supposedly he made Chongo (as in "Uh-oh, Chongo!") mute, which is a little on the uber-creepy side for a kids' show.

And best of all, of course, is the Banana Splits themselves, whether they're having a wacky race in their banana buggies (which all sport tails) or performing another of their Brady Bunch-esque bubblegum pop tunes.

Sweeeeet Valley Hiiiiiigh

Everyone knows by now that Diablo Cody is writing the "Sweet Valley High" movie, which I think is an awesome idea.

The Webmaster of The Dairi Burger, one of my favorite SVH sites, has an open letter to Cody offering her advice on the movie.

She had me at her first request, since I'd love to see the screenplay kept in the 1980s, but I kind of doubt that will happen.

However, she's a big fan of Malin Akerman for the dual lead role, and I'm not so sure. Anyone have any other blonde actresses to suggest?

TV dinner time!

Miami New Times has an awesome photo gallery of old-style TV dinners.

Some of these images just set off the nostalgia chime in my brain. Thankfully, I never had to eat the ham dinner with raisin sauce. Or was it the raisin dinner with ham sauce?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cereal killers

We've got a Facebook fan page for Gen Xtinct, and we're discussing the weirdest cereals of the 1970s and 1980s. Well, I am at least. Join in so I don't have to talk to myself!
(Not on Facebook? Discuss with us right here on the blog!)


Urkel-Os! Possibly from the 90s, but could not be left off.

Ice Cream cones cereal, with Ice Cream Jones!

Rainbow Brite cereal!

OJs cereal! Makes me kinda sick just thinking about it. Orange cereal topped with milk? Isn't that a way to get kids to throw up once they ingest poison?


Star War! The backstroke of the West

Star War! The backstroke of the West!

Oh, it just gets better from there. (Via my pal Chris Bahn.)
(Like "Star War"? Check out my Tauntaun sleeping bag post at PCJM.)

Takes the cake

Awesome 1980s cake, complete with Rubiks Cube, Smurfs, Pac-Man and more.

I wouldn't have recognized that Indiana Jones figure, though. (Via OldSchool80s on Twitter.)

Foods of the 1980s

A fun Ask Metafilter question about foods for a 1980s-themed event.

Sure, you've got yer New Coke and yer Cool Ranch Doritos, but other suggestions included sushi, blackened or jerk chicken, pesto, gyros, and more.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mahna Mahna, the original

Everybody knows "Sesame Street's" "Mahna Mahna," right? But we all remember this one, with two pink feathered cows (!) and one crazy caveman guy who looked like Animal, the "Muppet Show" drummer, YELLING "Mahna Mahna."

Apparently this was the original "Mahna Mahna" in 1969, with a much calmer delivery and a weird little hippie guy and two braided girls. YouTube has them both dated 1969, but with the crazy caveman guy appearing on "The Ed Sullivan Show," not "Sesame."

The Muppet Wiki has more details. I love how seriously they explain it: "Regardless of who is performing the number, the structure of the song remains the same: a central character attempts to conform to the structure of the song but falls into improvisational scat passages whenever possible. Although the back-up singers make an attempt to bring order back to the number, their effort is ultimately futile."


Sugar free, as free as the wind blows

This old A&W Root Beer ad takes me back.

Remember when sodas didn't have a "diet" version, they had a "sugar free" version?

And even the shape of the can is different, it's much straighter at the top. Today's cans slope in at the top, as seen here.

Why is this? I feel like I used to know. Is it to fit into vending machines or something?

Best TV bars to get drunk at

Here's an awesome list of the Top 10 TV bars to get drunk at. Many of them are from my fave shows of the '70s and '80s.

I heartily agree with at least some of these. I always wanted to have Isaac on "The Love Boat" make me a fruity drink and then do that snazzy pointing gesture he does in the opening credits.

And what kid in the '70s didn't think they were going to grow up and have their own slightly sleazy but oh-so-adult Regal Beagle just down the street?

The one they left out isn't really a bar, it's more a restaurant, but I always envied Quincy, M.E. hanging out at Danny's.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sesame Street is brought to you by the letter G and the number 40

Lordy, lordy, look who's forty! Tickle your Elmo and do the wah-wah pigeon dance: the Muppetastic Sesame Street is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Nov. 10. To get the party started, today's Google doodle sports a familiar pair of orange legs.

Up, Up and Awaaaaay!

Got $85 bucks and a jones for '70s action figures? Then you've already put in your order for the soon-to-be-released DC Universe Wave 1 World's Greatest Superheroes set, inspired by the much-loved Mego figures of Christmases past.

Superman, Lex Luthor, Sinestro and Green Lantern all feature designs guaranteed to rocket you back to days of yore, when action figures wore removable cloth costumes -- allowing kids to discover that Superman wasn't exactly very "super" under his red underpants, after all.

The Fall is with you

Yes, Halloween is over, but I still love these awesome "Star Wars" pumpkins.

They're all incredible, but the Death Star one just blows me away. (Via Coudal Partners.)

Oh, Danny Bonaduce

I work at, and our site has a slideshow on fallen child stars.

It's one of those great ones where a pic of the star as a child is put right next to the one of him or her today, so you can say...oh, Bonaduce. It's tough when your life summary includes the words "crack house," "arrested" and "beating up a transvestite street prostitute."

Brian Bonsall's photos are even more shocking than Danny's, though. You gotta click. What ARE those things on his LIP? Steel fangs?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fizzling Jolt Cola may close

Fizzling Jolt Cola may close.

OK, raise your hand if you thought Jolt Cola had already closed.

(Via Brian Kane Online.)

Pickups from PCJM

I've been posting some retro links to PCJM, but it seemed like a few of them would fit well over here:

--"Battleship" the game is going to become a movie. Who in the what, now?

--Hostess Choco-Bliss is gone, but you can make it at home.

--Sure, you remember the arcade games from the 1980s, but do you remember the music?

--Susan Olsen co-wrote a book about what is possibly the worst show ever, next to "Pink Lady and Jeff" and "Manimal": "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour." The book has a stellar title, though: "Love to Love You Bradys."

--The toy we all wanted, but never got: The Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine!

The 80s in pictures

Now here's a great flashback of the trends of the 1980s in photos.

I think this blogger would definitely like our book. Plus he's a Twin Citian, as Brian still is and I was for the first 33 years of my life.

Love the picture of the metal slide. I take Kelly to the playgrounds now and everything is made out of plastic. You can still kill yourself on it, but you have to work at it. You can't just burn the skin off your legs by innocently sliding down a metal slide on an August day when the slide's been baking in a sunshine-based kiln for eight hours.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let's do the time warp again

Pudding Pops? Marathon candy bars? Koogle? Lip Lickers? Schoolhouse Rock? Time for Timer? Choco-Diles? Shakey's Pizza? Hugo, Man of a Thousand Faces? If your nostalgia bells are going off, this blog, and our upcoming book, are for you.

The baby boomers were louder, the millennials will be richer. Who cares? For a supposedly fractured generation, we kids of the 1970s and 1980s share a far more universal past than kids today. We all watched the same five channels, shopped at the same few chain stores, hummed the same commercial jingles. We may not remember the Moon Landing, but we remember Moon Boots. The Mystery Date board game didn’t seem sexist, and exploding Pop Rocks were the epitome of candy science.

Here's our question, then: What happened to all our STUFF?

You may know Gael Fashingbauer Cooper from Pop Culture Junk Mail and her other pop-culture writings. Brian Bellmont is an award-winning writer and pop-culture junkie. We're putting our retro memories together into a book, Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes, & Trends of the '70s & '80s, which is set to come out Summer 2011 from Penguin Books' Perigee imprint. But in the meantime, we're blogging memories and newsy bits about the things of our past right here. We'll even occasionally offer up a sneak preview from the book.

No less a Gen-X prophet than Ferris Bueller himself famously declared “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” As we move through life, it’s easy to forget the items we’re leaving behind on the trash heap of history.

Our goal, with both the blog and book, is to give you that chance to stop and look around, to bring you back to your childhood, even if just for a few minutes, and help you remember the tastes, the smells, and the sounds that made you who you are today.

Stop back often for our take on the lost toys, tastes and trends of the 70s and 80s; news and commentary about Gen-X stuff; and to join in the conversation by weighing in with your own comments and memories. Follow us on Twitter to get notifications of new posts.

So flip up the collar of that polo shirt and dig in. We’re off on a guided tour through a childhood of lost memories, back to the days when MTV played music videos and Quisp and Quake duked it out for cereal supremacy. Memories are made of this.

Burger Chef

Here's a rough example of the kind of item we'll be including in our book.

Fast food wasn’t as family-friendly in the 1960s and early 1970s as it is today. “Have It Your Way”? Have it our way or the highway, kiddo. Tiny tykes who didn’t care for mustard or onions on their burgers were expected to suck it up -- starving kids in Africa would have given anything to have some raw onion to chew on.

Into that bleak and grease-spattered world stepped Burger Chef, and the “works bar,” where kids and adults alike could gussy up plain burgers with onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard and the chain’s own “scrumptious sauce.” Want to deck your burger with a smiley-face of ketchup and a teetering ladder of pickle slices? Hey, as long as mom didn’t yell.

Burger Chef’s mascots were a portly, bespectacled cook, uber-obviously named Burger Chef, and his freakishly hyperactive … son? Life partner? Stunted-growth employee? Irreparably dense young ward? Well, some short guy named Jeff, anyway, possessor of a giant cowlick and prone to shrieking things like “Burger Chef, you’re incrediBURGible!” The franchise is still missed, but at least Jeff finally shut up.

X-tinction rating: Gone for good.

Replaced by: Although the chain had more than 1,000 stores at one point, a 1981 sale of the company meant most of the franchises became Hardee’s restaurants. Numerous Web sites honor the lost chain, and Burger Chef Memories reports that the final Burger Chef clung to life in Cookeville, Tennessee, until 1996. The chain is gone, but many of its former buildings remain recognizable, despite being disguised as other restaurants or drive-through banks.

Fun fact: It’s rumored that Burger Chef’s Big Shef sandwich lives on at certain southern and Midwestern Hardee’s locations. But to find that out would require actually setting foot in a Hardee’s.

Farewell, Wonka bars

Hometown Favorites is an awesome online food and candy store that has perhaps the greatest list of discontinued goodies. If you're wondering if they don't make Seven Up bars or Aspen apple soda any more, or if it's just that your local stores don't carry it, this list is the bible. (Both Seven Up bars and Aspen are gone, by the way. Sniff.)

HF has just announced that the Wonka bar has been discontinued. (For now, Hometown Faves still has some for sale.) I can't think that I've ever eaten a Wonka bar, but surely, somewhere, someone is sad.

Now if Wonka would only bring back Wonka Oompas, the split-level chocolate-peanut butter candy that did Reese's Pieces one better. Who's with me?