Friday, January 29, 2010

Funky Food Friday: Giggles Cookies

Aw, who remembers Giggles Cookies? ME! They had smiley faces cut into the top cookie, and the creme below was chocolate and vanilla both.

The cookies were pretty darn good, and really shouldn't have been discontinued, NABISCO. But the laughing kid in this commercial gets pretty annoying. Someone get the DeLorean, go back in time, and smack him for me, 'kay?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

School lunch

This teacher is eating her school's hot lunch, same as the kids, every day in 2010, and blogging about it

The PB&J lunch made her throw up. (Look how even the PB&J is not made by the cafeteria ladies, but prepackaged. Maybe that was part of the problem.)

What was your school lunch routine? I was picky and was not a giant fan of hot lunch very often, but I didn't eat much of what mom packed, either. Then I got to high school (hail, Derham Hall!) and we were that rare high school that while we had a kitchen, it went unused except for a rare nighttime event. Our lunchroom was stocked with vending machines. Totally unhealthy, and for us girls, totally awesome. Our boys' school across the field had a kitchen, and they envied us our machines.
That photo, the Polly Pal lunchbox, is the one I had in grade school. A weird ripoff of Holly Hobbie, I think it was. Needless to say, I did not pick it out.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm a Pepper, You're a Pepper

On Monday, to celebrate the soda-with-a-medical-degree's 125th anniversary, Dr Pepper rolled out David Naughton, the guy from the "I'm a Pepper" commercials, to lead a song-and-dance routine on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. For some reason, we have an odd craving for a combination of carbonated beverage and failing 401Ks.

After finding fame working for the good (and bubbly) doctor in the mid-to-late '70s, Naughton went on to star in "An American Werewolf in London," and then opposite Pam Dawber in "My Sister Sam."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weird movie-theater snackage

When I was a kid, my mom never let us get snacks in the movie theater. I grew up thinking it was weird to do so! Why eat when you're already occupied?

When that wall was finally broken down, movie theaters in our area seemed to only offer three candies: Chocolate stars, Goobers (chocolate peanuts) and Raisinettes. We took to the chocolate stars, being kids who didn't like crap in our chocolate.

Now the movie theaters are crazy town. (IN MAH DAY...YOU KIDS GET OFF MAH LAWN!) Tacos, hot dogs, meals served from waiters, Icees,'s insanity. When we visited New Orleans a few years ago (pre-Katrina), I remember we killed time before the airport by taking in a movie, and I insisted on ordering a frozen daiquiri only because WHEN WAS I EVER AGAIN GOING TO GET TO DRINK AT THE MOVIES? Rob and Todd tolerated my weirdness, but didn't join in. Party poopers.

Anyway, all this is just a big wind-up to this cool Travel & Leisure link to the weirdest movie-theater snacks worldwide. Caviar in Russia! Roasted chestnuts in Korea! Baked fish skeletons in Japan! Oh, Japan. You always have to win, don't you?

Share your thoughts on current and past movie-theater snackage in the comments. Would your mom let you buy movie treats in your childhood? What did your local theaters offer back then?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Classic Clip Monday: Ice, Ice, Baby

I've been researching Ice Capades for the book, and stumbled upon this little video gem that I just had to pass along. It's a late-80s Ice Capades ABC special hosted by Alyssa Milano and a “Hogan Family”-era Jason Bateman that imagined what would happen if the characters from Nintendo’s Mario Brothers came to life -- and skated. Mr. Belevedere played King Koopa.

Dear YouTube, thank you.

Love, everybody (except modern-day Jason Bateman and Alyssa Milano).

Got some memories of Ice Capades to share? We'd love to hear them!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Funky Food Friday: Food toys

Modern food toys vs the toys of our youth.

Come on, no Barbie Food TV kit, or Wii cooking game, can possibly beat the Easy-Bake Oven and Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine. Both of which are still kickin', thankyewverymuch.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cheezy movie trailers

My pal Bob told me about these Cheezy (their spelling) movie trailer collections on Netflix. Horror, sci-fi, etc., each is about an hour long, and they're pretty darn fun.

The horror one includes some real exploitation flicks I've never even heard of, including 1980's "Humanoids from the Deep," where Creature from the Black Lagoon types rape all the women they can find, leading to some "Alien" like baby-bursting scenes. Uh, yuck. And "Abby," a blaxploitation-meets-"The Exorcist" type of movie. Oscar material for sure!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


If you're like us, every time you hear of a movie from our childhood being remade, you practically break out in hives.

You know it's gonna suck, you know it's gonna be all modernized up with super special effects and a smartass script and it's going to lose all the goofy, ugly charm that made us love it. "Bad News Bears," anyone? And that was even one of the better remakes!

Here's one man's list of the Top 10 Gen X remade films of this decade.
Hmm, I don't really think films from the 1990s should qualify, do you? And it's not like "Star Wars" was remade ... they just piled more sequels onto the gravy train. "Planet of the Apes," though not as cheesy as our beloved original, was actually an acceptable remake, in my judgment. (Via JenX67)
And speaking of remakes...if you can find them, maybe you can hire "The A-Team" remake. Or, you know, not.
Here's that film's new trailer, but you know, I will always miss the original credits. And the original Mr T. (The "Family Guy" parody was pretty right on, though.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More bloggage

How about a few links to some other fun Gen X blogs? I think I found these two via JenX67.

--70s Child
Man, what a trip back in time. Just scrolling down through his images, you'll see Pepsi Light, Susan Anton, the Bradys, Dynamite Magazine...pretty much half the content of our book right there. And his musings, while short, feel straight from the heart. Also, some awesome, and inspiring quotes.

--Dad's Dish Retro Blog
A dad of three and a Gen Xer to the core who shares some wonderful retro images. I remember going to Knotts Berry Farm and getting those same creepy postcards of the weird Old West scenes! Those mannequins looked so dead and gross, even for the time.

Adding both to our Links We Love page. Won't you check it out?

Adios, Glen Bell

Glen W. Bell, Jr., the founder of Taco Bell, passed away on Monday. We honestly had no idea that the "Bell" in Taco Bell was someone's last name, but the 86-year-old entrepreneur really did leave quite a legacy: the magazine Nation's Restaurant News credits Bell with introducing millions of Americans to Mexican-style food. “I always smile when I hear people say that they never had a taco until Taco Bell came to town,” Bell told the magazine in 2008.

The news got us thinking about a long-gone Taco Bell delight from the '80s, the BellBeefer (originally called the Bell Burger). We like to think it was invented one day when a frantic franchise ran out of taco shells. Really, it was just the contents of a regular beef taco -- beef, sauce, onions, lettuce and cheese -- dumped onto a soft white hamburger bun, kinda like a Mexican sloppy Joe. But somehow the hot meat and fixings melted the wimpy bun into sheer junk-food perfection, the perfect cross-cultural marriage.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Classic Clip Monday: Chuck Wagon dog food

And for Classic Clip Monday, one of the most enduring TV commercial images of all time. Who can forget the little chuckwagon driving through the house, pursued hotly by the family dog, only to disappear under the sink? Who didn't wish that would happen in their own house?

But the commercial has SO MANY things to notice. The dog looks EXACTLY like the uber-popular dog o' the moment, Benji. The woman is shown cutting up steak that looks better than any cut of meat I ever buy, only to have it magically transform into dried chipped beef. It's sold in a tiny cereal-size box that any dog worth his fleas would consume in ONE DAY. And of course, it's got the Gravy Train element, where you add water to make its own gravy!

We thought this was a fascinating experiment and wanted to add water to all dry kibble, but really, it only made a mess, and I doubt even the dog thought the "gravy" improved the chow.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Funky Food Friday: Farrell's vs. Shakey's -- take a side!

OK, on this Funky Food Friday, we have a good old-fashioned food fight: Farrell's vs. Shakey's, pick a side!

You remember Farrell's, the ye olde fashioned ice-cream parlour, right? They had ginormous ice-cream sundae-type treats called The Zoo, The Trough, and other inedible item names. It was screaming booming birthday-party mania, wrapped in barbershop-quartet type design. And then they ... vanished.

But all is not lost! According to this site, there are four working Farrell's left in the U.S. One just opened, in Mission Viejo, California. And company founder Bob Farrell, who opened the first-ever Farrell's in Portland, Oregon in 1963, is planning a new location in the town where it all began.

Now I may be the only one, but I always cross-associate Farrell's with Shakey's Pizza. Come on! Both were everywhere chains, both were noisy as heck, both were beloved by kids for birthdays, and kind of tolerated by parents.

Apparently there are still 50+ Shakey's left in the U.S., with most of them in California. Fun fact: Wikipedia claims the name of the chain came from the malaria-caused nerve damage that gave the founder the nickname "Shakey." Well, way to turn a negative into a positive, no?

Since I liked ice cream better than pizza (still never quite took to pizza, I know, blasphemy!), I preferred Farrell's. But since I was kind of a nerdy kid who didn't really like BOOM BOOM POW loud places, I was not a giant fan of either.

What about you? Shakey's or Farrell's, what's your pleasure? Share any memories of both or either in the comments!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Uh, Oh

Donald Goerke, the creator of SpaghettiOs, died on Sunday. Here's a mid-80s commercial for the tomatoey pasta that starred Jaleel White, better known as Urkel. (What's especially weird is that this ad is done in the spirit of the "Our Gang" comedies, and I think Urkel is supposed to be Buckwheat. He even does the open-mouth expression of surprise that Eddie Murphy took to the bank.)

How many bowls of SpaghettiOs do you think you ate as a kid? I'm guessing I downed about seven million, but that may be a little low.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Life in the 1980s

I had no idea Archie McPhee, the cool pop-culture toy store near me in Seattle, has a blog.

They do, it's called Monkey Goggles, and I liked this post, a straightforward musing on growing up in the 1980s.

Excerpt: "It’s not all that different today. We wore funny clothes in the 1980s, but they’re the same funny clothes teens wear now. (Thanks to Hot Topic and the like, they’re even easier to find.) We played games that required one central nerd and a guild of followers. Television shows were either brainless or brilliant, and the latter variety still got canceled more often than the former. We had a telegenic president who many people loved and an equal number of people despised. Our favorite pop divas wore little clothes and couldn’t really sing well. We were addicted to Atari, Intellivision, Nintendo, Commodore. People were discriminated against and wars were fought, and while some of us made up our minds to do something about it, most of us didn’t."

And I adore his ending: "When my friends get to talking about how freaking wonderful the 1980s were, I don’t get sentimental or sad or even annoyed. I simply say this: Yeah, I had fun then. And I have fun now."

Bravo, Geoff Carter. Bravo.

Best, baddest 80s bullies

Check out this great list of the top 10 bullies from 1980s movies.

Of COURSE, Billy Zabka is #1. Um, spoiler?

Can't argue with much of the rest of the list, either. Steff from "Pretty in Pink," perfect. Ted McGinley's character from "Revenge of the Nerds." Principal Vernon from "Breakfast Club" (as opposed to hapless, wannabe bully Principal Rooney from "Ferris Bueller."

Anyone they missed? What about TV bullies? BUDDY HINTON, I'm looking at you (though he was '70s of course...)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Classic Clip Monday: Hey there, Suzy Homemaker!

This is so cool. I had no idea Suzy Homemaker was an actual line of household-appliance toys for girls. I thought it was just a nickname for housewives. I like the oven that bakes, a la Easy Bake Ovens, and the kid blender that blends (woo! kid margaritas!), but you know, as a kid I had absolutely no desire for an "iron that irons." I tried to stay away from ironing, thankyewvery much.

You have to watch this Suzy Homemaker promo video, though, if only for the spooky looking guy who suddenly shows up and starts talking in a weird deep voice about a doll named "Smartypants." The doll is actually kind of cool, but the ad for her reminds me of a horror movie, what between the weird guy's head looming, the talking doll, and the whispering woman who shows up and hisses, "Smartypants...she's more than a doll...SHE'S YOUR FRIEND!"

Yeah lady, and so was Chucky, and we all know how that turned out.

Made by Topper Toys, who made the short-lived, much-loved DAWN DOLLS!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Comic-book ads

You know what we’re talking about. They filled up entire pages in Life With Archie and Dennis the Menace comic books.

Get a 7-foot Frankenstein’s monster for $1! (It was a poster.) Torment your brother with Onion Gum, 20 cents! Learn to throw your voice with a 25 cent booklet! Try X-ray Specs, a hilarious optical illusion, just a buck! 100 toy soldiers for $1! (They were flat plastic, but yes, there were 100 of them.)

The Haunted Closet, a new-to-me Weblog that I'm definitely bookmarking, has a great walk down memory lane that highlights these products.

I never sent away for any, but man, did I want to. How about you? Did you ever place any mail orders based on a comic book, and what did you think when the mailman FINALLY showed up with your prize? Were you thrilled, or more along the lines of Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" when he discovered his long-awaited decoder ring was just hawking Ovaltine?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This is a wild version of Kelly's fave song

Kelly loves the reruns of "Banana Splits" that Boomerang plays. We've seen every one many, many times, and she often asks if she can watch "Na Na Nas," which is what she calls it, based on its irresistably catchy theme song.

I don't think I'll let her see THIS movie, though... "Hit Girl," which is waaaay too mature for her, even if it does include a cool version of the "Banana Splits" theme song. Wonder why they picked it.

Update: Reader Michelle lets us know that the "Hit Girl" cover is from 1979 and it's by the punk band The Dickies. Thanks!

You must Whip It!

I'm addicted to TMZ's "Memba Them?" feature, where they show a celeb's pic from the 1980s or so, and then let you click through to how said star looks today.

Here's a then-now version of Devo. Seriously, can anyone see those flowerpotty ziggurat-shaped things anywhere, being used for anything, and NOT think of Devo hats?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Retro refreshment

Matt at Scrubbles found Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback at his local store.

Has anyone else tried these limited-edition sodas? They replace the corn syrup with cane and beet sugar, and feature old-fashioned packaging, too. The Mountain Dew packaging looks exceptionally cool. (Matt has an updated pic.)

Matt also links to a Bev Review review that notes "Ironically, the use of the "real sugar" line may also prompt potential customers to ask, "so, if this is real sugar, what was the stuff in Pepsi before?" I'm sure the folks over at the Corn Refiners Association would love to answer that question."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Classic Clip Monday: Syd Barrett meets Sid Krofft

What if Syd Barrett had done the theme song for the Sid and Marty Krofft show "The Bugaloos"? One YouTube poster has a pretty fun version of how things might have sounded.

I loved, loved, loved, the Bugaloos, and wanted nothing more in the world than to be Joy, the lone girl, in her cute pink tutu with wings and ballet slippers.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pez! Cherry-flavored Pez*

Look, I hate Pez. I think it tastes worse than those cherry-flavored medicines they give you when you're a kid.

But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the art of the Pez dispenser. Here's the obit of Curtis Allina, one of the men who helped get the Pez-people out into the world. Note that the article specifically doesn't say he thought of it, but he made it happen.

And our world is the richer for it.

Check out the full-body Pez dispensers that started it all...scroll down on this page.

What's the best Pez dispenser you ever bought? Or saw, and forever regretted not purchasing? Share in the comments.

*Title quote from "Stand By Me," of course.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Baby Sitters Club comes back!

Who loved The Baby-Sitters Club books?

They're making a comeback!

I missed these books--just a little too old for them--but I know people who loved 'em.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Funky Food Friday: Space Food Sticks

Remember when anything space-related was COOL?

Space Food Sticks played off that trend, even though they were pretty disgusting, from my memory.

This commercial is odd too because the voiceover guy sounds like he's lecturing you, not promoting a yummy product. Also, that spacecraft is made out of paper plates, and wiggles so much it makes you seriously fear for our astronauts.