Friday, December 31, 2010
--The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas. (1973) Casey Kasem narration! Tommy Smothers as Ted E. Bear!
--The Glo Friends Save Christmas (1985). Remember that Glo-Worm toy? Yeah. Featuring the voices of "All in the Family" stars Carroll O'Connor and Sally Struthers. Watch it online.
--He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985). Perhaps the best title of the bunch. Awesomeness. Just try to follow the plot summary at Wikipedia. That thing's as complicated as Ulysses.
--Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. (1977) Rankin/Bass greatness! Yet somehow not nearly a famous as Rudolph and crew.
--Ziggy's Gift. (1982) Look, has Ziggy ever been funny or witty? Yet this thing won a Emmy. Also, the Wikipedia summary was apparently translated from the Bulgarian or something. Actual line: "Ziggy lets the cat know the fealling his mutchle but the cat is need at the poor famlys house more."
--Raggedy Ann and Andy in the Great Christmas Caper. (1978) Raggedy Ann must have had a slight comeback in the 1970s. I had and loved the doll and had a couple of the Johnny Gruelle storybooks, too. Wholesome yet somehow mischievious, I loved her. That said, I don't ever remember seeing this special, which includes the encasing of toys in something called "gloopstick."
--A Snow White Christmas. (1980) Do not remember this AT ALL. Was it even shown in this country? Snow White and KING Charming have a daughter, also named Snow White, with snow white hair?
--The Night The Animals Talked. (1970). Kind of a cult fave. Apparently passed around on bootleg tapes like The Star Wars Holiday Special, only, you know, not as crappy.
--The House Without a Christmas Tree. (1970) Aw, I loved these Gail Rock books, in part because they were written by a "Gail" and my name was just not that common. But also, who couldn't love Addie, when her dad blames her for killing her mom and won't let her have a Christmas tree, and then she wins one at school? There were other holiday books (The Thanksgiving Treasure, Addie and the King of Hearts) and all were awesome.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
This classic clip from "A Christmas Story" pretty much sums up what it was like to be a kid in a cold-weather state.
From bright red earlobes to frozen snot to getting my chin split open when a giant icicle dropped from the roof onto my face like a dagger, playing outside on the frozen tundra of Minnesota was full of memories for me -- most of them painful. How about you?
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
1) Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.
Actually recorded in 1979, but close enough. This was one of those songs that was funny the first couple times you heard it, but later made you want to take the kid who kept singing it outside and make sure SHE got run over by a reindeer. (It had its own TV special in 2000, but Grandma didn't die.)
Best line: "You can say there's no such thing as Santa! But as for me and Grandpa, we believe."
2) Christmas Wrapping
Aw, I love The Waitresses (Square pegs, square pegs, square, square pegs!). This song makes me a little sad, because lead singer Patty Donahue died in 1996 at age 40 after battling lung cancer for a year. Much too short a life. The song sketches out a story that everyone can relate to, really painting a picture. I have in my head the image of the exact store that the song ends in--to me it's a little neighborhood place behind my old apartment in Minneapolis.
"I'm spending this one alone," he said.
"Need a break; this year's been crazy."
I said, "Me too, but why are you?
You mean you forgot cranberries too?"
3) Christmas in Hollis
Not only catchy, but appears in the Christmas-set "Die Hard" (1988) as well as 1996's "Jingle All the Way." Talk about Christmas rapping. And now Rev Run is a reality show star. As a Midwestern white kid, I didn't know where Hollis was and never had collard greens, but chicken, rice, stuffing and mac and cheese sounded like a damn fine holiday meal.
Best lines: "It's Christmas time in Hollis Queens,
Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens.
Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese,
And Santa put gifts under Christmas trees."
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Because what's more awesome than getting Canadian stuff like this from your true love? "Four pounds of back bacon, three French toast, two turtlenecks and a beer"? Here's a link to all the lyrics.
Here's an animated version of the tune:
Monday, December 27, 2010
But have you checked out the second tier of Rudolph specials? Last weekend I caught a bit of two that I hadn't seen in years: "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" and "Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July."
Together, these two contain some phenomenal nuggets of nostalgia, including appearances by Red Buttons, Ethel Merman, Shelley Winters, Morey Amsterdam and Frank "The Riddler" Gorshin. They're worth it for the voice talent alone. But then you add the odd plots -- Rudolph teams with a caveman, a knight and Ben Franklin to go find Baby New Year, for instance -- and you've got yourself some must-see holiday TV right there.
Check out some clips, and decide for yourself whether these hold up against the more popular stop-action specials:
Friday, December 24, 2010
The prospect of this 1978 TV gem was enough to make our light sabers tingle with glee — a bonus chapter of the tale as we eagerly waited for the Empire to strike back. In reality, though, it was a disaster of intergalactic proportions. The plot, such as it was, focused on Chewbacca’s family — his wife Mala, son Lumpy, and freakish (and, no doubt, flea-ridden and stinky) father Itchy — as they waited for Chewie to return home.
The original Star Wars gang made perfunctory appearances, including an overly made-up Mark Hamill and a stumbly Carrie Fisher. And it all spiraled even further into surreal territory when Bea Arthur, Art Carney, and Harvey Korman showed up. The special was so embarrassing that it only aired once.
If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out. And as an extra little stocking stuffer, have you seen this? The guys at GamerVision put together their own awesome take on Christmas in Star Wars land. Definitely worth checking out.
From all of us at GenXtinct, happy holidays!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Do kids even use Christmas catalogs any more? Or do they get all their gift ideas from TV and the Internet and, I dunno, random texts from online strangers.
We LOVED our Christmas catalogs. Wards, Penneys, whoever...we treasured them the way I imagine Laura Ingalls Wilder treasured a new book in the town library or something. Forget the clothes, forget the auto parts and furniture and towels, we found that index right away (the cover always said "index on page whatever" to help us get there ASAP) and went zooming straight to the toy section.
I don't know about you, but I read through the entire toy section every holiday season. Multiple times. I never just stuck to the toys for my age at the moment or the ones recommended for girls. Baby dolls, Barbies, action figures, cars and trucks, microscopes and microphones, chemistry sets, I was intrigued by them all. You could tell what movies were hot (Star Wars!), which trends were taking over (home video game consoles--Atari!) and which franchises were getting reborn (will Strawberry Shortcake ever die?). One of my favorite sections was the make-it-at-home food machine-toy sections. Easy Bake Ovens! Snoopy Sno-Cone Machines! There were others, but we never knew anyone who had them.
I realize today that this fascination may have indirectly led to this site, and our upcoming book. No toy was uninteresting to me, even if only to wonder why someone would covet it.
We dogeared pages in the catalogs, starred items we wanted, circled them, put them on a list. But it didn't, in the end, matter if we got them all, or really, any. The hours spent curled up with the catalog were like a present in itself.
Plaid Stallions has some of the most awesome vintage toy catalogs online if you want to relive those childhood days. There are also some relevant Flickr groups.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
First is the famous Norelco Santa spot, where Old St. Nick drives around on a razor. Watch out for the internal gear system in that thing, Mr. Claus! (Here's a newer, slicker CG version of the original.)
Next is one that many people continue to list among their all-time top holiday commercials: the Folger's ad where Peter comes home to surprise his family. Here's an interview with Peter himself.
And finally, the Clio-winning McDonald's gift certificates commerical starring a cherubic Corey Feldman. Aaw. He was such a little pumpkin.
All three of these commericals really take us back, sparking a little smile and heartwarming feeling -- and they do it in 60 seconds or less. What are some of your holiday favorites?
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
What kid would be thrilled with a pillowy king doll that probably smelled like grilled beef? We're guessing they still have crates and crates of this ill-conceived toy stacked in some Burger King warehouse someplace, Ark of the Covenant-style.
That red-bearded meat monarch couldn't hold a candle to Ronald, Grimace or Hamburglar. Heck, he wasn't even to Mayor McCheese's level. (Maybe it's because we had much more respect for the mayor: he had to win elected office; Burger King was probably born into it.)
Did anybody ask Santa for this chintzy looking thing? "Merry Christmas, Billy. They threw this in the bag when I bought some french fries." Ho, ho, ho...hum.
Monday, December 20, 2010
And aren't they about due for another resurgence?
What's your favorite Monkee memory? Mine is when some high school friends and I went to a Monkees concert in the mid-'80s, and we ran into Peter Tork in the parking lot after the show. We asked for his autograph, but he waved us off with a "Nope -- sorry, folks."
Friday, December 17, 2010
I think the first ever salad bar I saw was in ... Burger Chef. Which sounds weird, but then as kids, we weren't going to many real restaurants -- we ate most of our meals at home.
I remember it was a pretty novel thing, and they also had a condiment bar so you could dress up your burger yourself. You were in charge at Burger Chef! It also introduced us to things that our houses never had, whether it was garbanzo beans and sunflower seeds on salads, kinds of dressing that our mom never bought (Russian?), or the sheer novelty of something called a "sneeze guard." I always thought about the results of what would happen if someone DID sneeze and there was NO sneeze guard, because really, once you hear that name, can you think of anything else?
Do you remember the first salad bar you saw? What salad toppings and dressings were familiar to you and which ones were way weird?
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Farrell's (warning: link has annoying music) was my favorite, since I like ice cream more than I like pizza. Here's their history: The first one opened in 1963 in Oregon, but they were everywhere by the early 1970s, just as I was starting to have birthday parties.
It's supposed to look like an old-fashioned ice-cream parlor, with striped shirts on the employees and those goofy straw hats. The menu looked like a vintage newspaper and they had jars of penny candy.
The big treat, however, was The Zoo. It's like 40 scoops of ice cream (and a bunch of plastic animals, I think, which inspired the name?) and they bring it out on a stretcher with accompanying fanfare--sirens, drums, the staff running it out. I have no idea how much it cost when we were kids, but this blogger went to a Farrell's recently and it's $50!
You could certainly make a Zoo at home for a ton cheaper, but it's the experience, dammit. And Farrell's are expanding--they even have a Facebook fan page--so one might be coming to a mall near you. Rob and I laugh every time we go past what obviously was a Farrell's in L.A., and whoever bought it just turned the F into a B and renamed it "Barrell's.)
Shakey's was a big birthday party place, too. And they also had that turn-of-the-century feel, with banjo and employees in red striped shirts and hats. When we were kids, chain pizza places were a lot more rare than they are now, so going out for pizza was quite novel, and Shakey's party atmosphere made a lot of us grow up associating pizza with parties.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
It had a rounded tree-shaped two-level house that you pulled open at the top, little people (not Weebles, though I always associate it with Weebles -- they had their own tree house) and best of all, a tiny bush that was the dog house!
It is apparently being made in a new version in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, as one of the videos below attests. It's called the Magic Klorofil tree house -- no, really! Sadly, they won't ship overseas. (Someone is trying to sell one on eBay for $300 last I checked--no thanks!)
Thankfully, my sister kept hers, and now my niece and I can bring our kids over to play with the same exact toy we played with as kids. Did you have one?
Monday, December 13, 2010
Wikipedia points out that two other Milton Bradley games, Headache and Frustration, also utilized Pop-o-Matic, uh, "technology," but they never were as popular as Trouble.
I don't remember Trouble being a very fun game though, do you? I mean, I guess you got to land on someone's spot and then send them back, but lots of games had a variation of that. But, it had POP-O-MATIC MAGIC!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Our grand prize winner is Thomas Hunt. He'll be receiving the awesome 40-DVD box set of every "Six Million Dollar Man" episode, plus all the TV movies and a bunch of great extras. Plus, the box makes the doot-doot-doot bionic sound, which is icing on the cake.
Jenn Beck and Carole Donald are our runners up. We'll be sending them DVDs of the first season of the show.
Thanks again to the folks at Time Life, who provided the prizes. Check out 6MDM.com for more info on this great DVD release.
We'll be doing another contest soon -- stay tuned!
Yes, there are eight zillion kinds of Doritos out there, and they often use Taco in their name. We even hear Frito-Lay will be releasing a limited-edition throwback Taco flavor this month.
Whatever. It's NOT THE SAME. We've tried all their taco variations and none have ever been the same as the original version. (No, "Tacos at Midnight" is NOT the same.)
According to Wikipedia, Doritos came out in 1964, and Taco was their second flavor ever, right after Toasted Corn and EVEN BEFORE NACHO CHEESE.
People all over are still mourning the damn things, even comedian Michael Ian Black. (Oh, and me.)
I suspect Doritos HQ actually lost the original recipe -- we were kind of a disorganized country in the 1960s and 1970s -- and just can't admit it, so they keep reissuing flavors with "taco" in the name and acting like they don't know any different.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
The movie is supposedly one of President Obama's favorites, too, and he admitted to welling up while watching it as a child when Elsa, the lion raised by George and Joy Adamson, is released back into the wild. Don't tell me you don't get a lump in your throat when she lopes after their Jeep, all "why are you leaving me?"
Anyway, mark your calendars now: On Jan. 9, 2011, PBS will show "Elsa's Legacy: The Born Free Story," about the Adamsons and the making of the film. PBS says "The program is a tribute to Elsa the lioness, probably the first environmental icon, who died nearly 50 years ago (Jan 24, 1961.)"
You can watch the whole movie on YouTube, Do your tear ducts need some exercise? Here's part one:
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
And regardless of what you think of the song itself, you've gotta tip your hat to the good it did: It raised millions of dollars for famine relief in Ethiopia in 1984, and was the centerpiece of Live Aid, the worldwide concert event the next year.
However, it seems like it reeeally gets on the nerves of the guy who wrote it, former Boomtown Rat Bob Geldof.
"Any day soon, I will go to the supermarket, head to the meat counter and it will be playing," he told Australia's Daily Telegraph last week. "Every f----ing Christmas."
Geldof calls the holiday tune one of "the two worst songs in history." The other? "We Are the World," a song that was no doubt inspired by Geldof's effort.
Geldof may have a point,at least about "We Are the World": In an interview with Rolling Stone, Billy Joel reminisced: "Most of us who were there didn't like the song, but nobody would say so. I think Cyndi Lauper leaned over to me and said, 'It sounds like a Pepsi commercial.' And I didn't disagree."
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Dennis Miller used to joke that the 1982 movie was on TV so much, HBO actually stood for "Hey, Beastmaster's On." And it was, but for good reason: How can you go wrong with a sword-and-sorcery flick starring Singer, "Good Times'" John Amos and a nuded-up Tanya Roberts, ferrets named Kodo and Podo, plus scenery-chewing Rip Torn as the villain?
Monday, December 6, 2010
The original, though? Awesome. Could it have been more custom-made for a 15-year-old boy? Intrigue! Lizard people! Half-lizard babies! A pre-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund! Nazi-Germany allegory!
But the best moment was the one people are still talking about today: When Jane Badler's Diana unhinged her jaw and swallowed a guinea pig. Gross-out and cringe-inducing? Sure. But it also was the big reveal, and carried with it an ominous meaning: There was more to these Visitors than we thought. If you haven't seen it, please do (it's below).
Beat that, 2011 "V." Actually, maybe they can. Now, there's word that the new series is serving up a delicious piece of '80s ham: original star Marc Singer. (They'd already announced a move to bring back Jane Badler.)
If Singer and Badler can reignite some of that '80s sci-fi cheesiness that made the original must-see TV, count me in as a viewer. If not, well, thank goodness for YouTube.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Grade school gym was OK. I liked kickball, and sometimes we played Red Rover or with parachutes. (Also, when I went to Catholic school, I remember us always being completely freaked that the ball was going to break one of the church's elaborate saint-centered stained-glass windows, though it never did). I haaaaaated running. The 600-yard dash was torture. (Was this only a Midwest thing? Someone online comments on what a weird distance it was.)
High school gym for me wasn't terrible because I went to an all-girls school, and there just wasn't the major pressure I think there might have been at a co-ed school. Mostly we just stood around (volleyball, softball, I don't remember playing basketball) and hoped the ball wouldn't come our way, or moved around so we looked like we were getting some exercise and hoped the teacher wouldn't call us out. We didn't have a pool or a fancy gym--our gym was uber-basic and also contained the theater stage, which limited our moving-around space. And in Minnesota, there wasn't a lot of time when you could have gym outdoors.
We were given matching gym shirts and shorts in high school, but seriously, the amount of sweating we did in gym was so minimal that absolutely zero of us took showers after gym, and I can't even remember if we took our gym clothes home often to get washed. I'd say we must have smelled horrible, but we didn't sweat a lot, so it's more than possible we didn't. It was the 1980s! We weren't very smart about things!
I vaguely remember the Presidential Physical Fitness Award, which apparently was changed to be called the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award. I would say I'm sure I never qualified for one, except that I think I HAVE one somewhere in a box of school crap, so maybe I did.
No question that society as a whole is much more attuned to being fit and eating properly and all that stuff, and I imagine gym class is much better today than it was in the 1970s and '80s. I learned to like gym in college, when I could pick the electives I wanted (swimming!). But I imagine even if it is a more useful class today, it still stars in people's nightmares.
What are your gym class memories? What weird games/sports did your school play? Did you have gym suits? (We never called them that!) Did you win a Presidential Physical Fitness Award? And what did you call it -- gym, PE, phy ed, phys ed, none of the above?
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Also, if you really want to see a Wikipedia entry that goes off the rails, check out the equations in the Spirograph entry. Somehow they do not help me improve my Spirograph skills one bit.
Here's a fun blog entry where the writer remembers not just Spirograph, but plenty of other toys. She even remembers a variation I must have blocked out -- Spirofoil, saying "After I got bored with Spirograph, I moved on to Spirofoil. Just replaced the paper with thin sheets of aluminum that were incredibly sharp. The final result was colorful, though hardly the prettiest things in the world, but boy could they cut and shape wallpaper in a pinch."
Anyway, this is the trippiest, most 1970s toy commercial around. SPIRO MANIA!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
But the video? Admit it, it's as flat-out weird as the song is addictive.
WHY? WHY IS EVERYONE WEARING OVERALLS? WHY NO SHIRTS UNDER THE OVERALLS? (Or shirts with no sleeves...) WHY THE LINGERING CLOSEUPS ON ARMPIT HAIR? JULIEN TEMPLE, WHYYYYY?
Monday, November 29, 2010
I especially loved him in the short-lived, six-episode 1982 series "Police Squad," which set the stage for the three "Naked Gun" flicks. Not many actors can reinvent themselves from Serious Actor to agile comedian the way Nielsen did. Sure, the humor was broad and muggy, but man, Nielsen did it up right.
R.I.P., Mr. Nielsen. And no, we won't call you Shirley.
Friday, November 26, 2010
They came in a can! They stacked perfectly and didn't break! (That much...) They are so little related to potatoes that they had to be renamed "potato crisps"!
They have a number of flavors, including limited-edition ones that have included honey mustard, cheesy fries, onion blossom, mozzarella cheese stick, screamin' dill pickle, and Mexican layered dip (so sez Wikipedia -- I don't think I've tasted any of these).
Their cans are great for craft projects, and they have their own Facebook page. Really, they are a superb invention.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Thank you all!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I read an article that mentioned that Antin had been in "The Goonies," so I searched for a photo of him, but didn't recognize him. Turns out he doesn't look much like he used to. Not much at all. Here he is today:
And here he is back in the '80s:
Ring a bell? He was indeed in "The Goonies," as the jerk who tormented Josh Brolin's character. He was the jerk who got the girl in "The Last American Virgin." And best of all, he was Jessie -- yes, also a jerk -- in the video for Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl."
Good times. Good times. It made me realize that as actors who played jerks go, Antin was underrated. So today, in conjunction with the release of his new movie, I hereby nominate Steve Antin as runner-up King of the '80s On-Screen Jerks, second only to the once-and-forever king, William Zabka.
Here's Antin strutting his smirky stuff in "Jessie's Girl":
Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl
Uploaded by jpdc11. - Watch more music videos, in HD!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
She's so popular, in fact, that there have been numerous reproductions of her, so you can buy one for the child in your life, or the child in your heart. (Note that at least one of the repros comes with suntan lotion--back in 1971 we didn't care about saving our skin! We just slathered on the oil and laid back.)
Malibu Barbie was and is my favorite Barbie of all time. What's yours?
Monday, November 22, 2010
In a hurry? Here's the episode, cut down to 30 seconds:
Of course, nothing beats the best line in the episode, and possibly of the entire series: "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
Friday, November 19, 2010
I've got to say, I didn't remember this episode, and was pleasantly surprised to find it on YouTube (awesome page-boy haircut, Mr. C!). Here it is, divided into three parts:
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Yes, Colonel Austin fared pretty well, what with all the bionic whatnots and whoozits six million Carter-era bucks bought. His action figure was even cooler, with a huge eye for kids to look through, a button on the back that ratcheted up his arm, and his best feature: the peel-back rubber skin on his forearm that revealed removable circuits beneath.
Were you among the countless kids spending hours making the doot-doot-doot bionic sound effect and forcing the Austin doll to put his sporty red jumpsuit and tennis shoes to good use and jog in slow motion around the ottoman? (I was!) And how about his bionic entourage? There was nothing better than the Bionic Bigfoot and Maskatron figures. Even bureaucrat Oscar Goldman, with his exploding briefcase, puts Barbie's Ken to shame.
If you're looking to relive those bionic days of yesteryear, don't forget to enter our contest by Nov. 22. You could win the entire 40-DVD set of "Six Million Dollar Man" episodes!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I remember really liking the chocolate ice cream cone one even though it didn't smell like chocolate. Which were your faves, and which scents grossed you out?
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
To celebrate the November 23 release of the never-before-available "The Six Million Dollar Man" on DVD, we're launching our first-ever contest.
The folks at Time Life have provided some awesome prizes, including a heckuva grand prize: "The Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Collection," a 40-CD (!) set. You can read all about the collection, which has a $239.95 value, at 6MDM.com, which is also the only place you can order it.
So how do you enter? It's easy: Between now and November 22, just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a memory from the '70s or '80s. On November 23, we'll choose our favorites. We'll select one grand-prize winner, as well as four runners-up, each of whom will receive either a collection of Season One of "The Six Million Dollar Man," or a collection of DVD extras.
Just one entry per person, please. By entering, you're giving us the OK to use your memory on the blog and to send you (very) occasional emails about GenXtinct.com, and our book, "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?", which is set to come out in June 2011 from Penguin's Perigee imprint.
Monday, November 15, 2010
What say you? Snuffy--love him or hate him?
Friday, November 12, 2010
The biggest headstone I remember is "Sugar." All kinds of products dropped the word "Sugar" from their titles when we started to get all aware of it in the 1970s and 1980s (Sugar Frosted Flakes, anyone?). Turns out that some kids' cereals were 50% sugar. No wonder we got all jacked up and ran around the house imitating The Bugaloos while jumping on the couch pretending to fly.
Most memorable for me is Super Sugar Crisp, which was a great cereal name and also had a mascot named Sugar Bear.
Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide has more on the mascots. And Dan Goosell has a photo timeline of Sugar Bear.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
In a classic scene, they agree to participate in 1986's Hands Across America with her 20 years after the fact, and are seen standing awkwardly in her living room holding her hands while Mom beams.
Apparently 5.5 million people participated in this goofy charity event, raising $20 million (not the hoped-for $70 mill) while linking in a human chain across the United States. If the United States does not include New England, Florida, Hawaii, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee ... well, you get the picture. Celebs joined in, too, from Scott Baio to Chewbacca to Charlene Tilton to Jamie Farr to a bunch of Elvis impersonators. If that isn't a weird slice of 1980s America, I don't know what is.
It's easy to make fun of now (ABC News calls it "one of the noblest failures in the history of American popular culture") , but watching the video below makes me a little less cynical -- who can be against feeding hungry kids? (And where are those now-grown kids today?) The comments on the YouTube video kinda say it all "Man, we really were socially conscious in the '80s, weren't we? What the fuck happened?!" and "Aw. 1986, a time when humans were more sympathetic toward each other."
Growing up in the Twin Cities we were skipped by Hands Across America, but I vaguely remember the hype. Did you participate? Was it as weird as it seems, but with a good heart?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
--Mr. Mouth, Mr. Mouth! Even those who hated it remember it, and the weird jingle.
--Happy 41st birthday, "Sesame Street!"
--Look, we get why Ponch and Jon of "CHiPs" got action figures, but what kid was out there demanding that Mom or Dad buy them Sergeant Getraer?
--The homecoming dress both Kelly and Brenda wore to Homecoming on 90210 lives on at Spiegel for $20.
--Did anyone like Toughskins? Maybe Mom, who didn't have to replace them often, but not us kids.
--It's the 35th anniversary of the storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Sure, I think it's a real kick to see a star in their natural habitat (like at an interview, or when they're coming out of an awards show, concert or theater performance), but it's especially fun to just run into somebody out and about -- like the time I saw Screech from "Saved by the Bell" as he was waiting in line for McDonald's at the Minneapolis airport. That's just not something you're really planning on seeing as you're running to catch your flight. My neck still hurts from the double-take.
Got a good '70s/'80s-celebrity run-in tale? Let's hear it!
Monday, November 8, 2010
It's a pretty sure bet that 1983's "Twilight Zone: The Movie" will go down in history for its horrible on-set accident that killed Vic Morrow and two child actors. But if that hadn't happened, the flick may have earned a reputation as a pretty nice homage to the black-and-white TV series. It featured four remakes of famous "Zone" plots, each by a famous director, plus an intro with Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks. (The segment starring Morrow, directed by John Landis, was apparently not actually a remake, but loosely based on a pair of "Twilight Zone" episodes.)
Steven Spielberg’s segment, "Kick the Can," starring Scatman Crothers, is a sweet but not really fulfilling episode about retirement-home residents who find their inner children. And "Gremlins" director Joe Dante's redo of the “It’s a Good Life” episode, with Anthony wishing people into the cornfield, is plenty weird and creepy. This version starred future Oscar nominee Kathleen Quinlan and “Valerie’s Family” kid Jeremy Licht, plus Bart Simpson himself, Nancy Cartwright, as his sister Ethel.
The final segment, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” -- with John Lithgow stepping into the role that William Shatner originally hammed up -- is especially creepy, and wins extra points for what happened afterwards: When Shatner later guested on Lithgow's “Third Rock from the Sun,” their characters joked about both seeing a gremlin on the wing of a plane. Totally meta -- Rod Serling would have been proud.
Here's what Siskel and Ebert had to say about the movie:
Friday, November 5, 2010
Just how awesome is this pork sandwich -- slathered with BBQ sauce, pickles and onions -- to deserve all the hype? Well, it's pretty good, but its appeal was pretty much tied to how difficult it was to find. Sure, we could visit the McRib Locator site to figure out where this sporadically available treat popped up, but now Mickey D's is putting on the menu of all its stores until mid-December.
It's the first time in 16 years it's been this universally easy to find. Are you going to take advantage of this McReintroduction and give this urban legend of a sandwich -- and its 26 grams of fat -- a taste?