Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Encyclopedia Brown

We had to include Encyclopedia Brown in our book, of course. I for one was never able to solve his cases because I was terrible about knowing any of the random trivia he knew.

Here are the 10 most ridiculously difficult EB mysteries.

I remember the ginger ale one so clearly, with the art of the blind guy putting it inside the safe. And another one that I think was an Encyclopedia Brown but could have been Two-Minute Mysteries, where someone claimed to have been awakened by thunder and then saw a crime committed in the light flash from some lightning. But lightning comes before thunder, so that couldn't have happened. I think of that whenever there's a storm.

Did you read Encyclopedia Brown? Remember any of his cases and the random trivia with which he solved them?

(Via Metafilter.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Striped tube socks

Spotted these at American Apparel and did a total double-take. Remember when these were THE only socks anyone wore in the 1970s? (Ha, I typed "1870s," it only SEEMS that long ago.)

We all had them, at least in my school, always with three bold primary colored stripes, and I remember for a whole being totally fascinated with rolling them down to make huge donuts around my ankles. Do not know why. Did not look or feel good.

Like so many things of our past, they were everywhere one day and nowhere the next. Do you remember these striped tube socks?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Classic Clip Monday: Network promos

Remember back when the TV networks had jazzy little theme songs?

This might be the most memorable to me "We're still the one...we're really alive! Still the one, as the Eighties arrive!"

NB Seeeeee Us. Uh, OK?

I liked this one better: NBC, proud as a peacock!

Which ones do you remember?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Funky Food Friday: Push-Ups

Push-Ups! No, not that exercise you had to do to get your Presidential Physical Fitness award, but the frozen treat. In a way I liked these better than Popsicles, though nothing touched Fudgcicles.
I always remember Push-Ups being only orange sherbet flavor, but this ad for Flintstones Push-Ups shows a variety of fruit flavors.

Pretty sure this rap/hip-hop ad came after my Push-Up heyday. I think they also had them on ice cream trucks, although those rarely came to my neighborhood.

This woman made a Push-Up flavor smoothie.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Popomatic Trouble

Popomatic Trouble!

I remember thinking the Popomatic feature, which is just a little dome trapping the die so you don't lose it, was the coolest feature ever. Just loved pushing on that darn little dome.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Check out my brand new sweater ... I just bought it from The Gap!

Love this Tears for Fears literal video, where some guy sings amazingly funny lyrics that describe what's actualy happening, sung to the real tune.

Atari Home Computers

Atari had home computers? I had the 2600 but had no idea they were in this market, but Rob claims they had a super-cool space game that he would play for as long as he could at Sears.

I like this line: "Numerous games were released on cassette tape." CASSETTE TAPE?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Classic Clip Monday: Life Day on the Star Wars Holiday Special

Hoo, boy. Carrie Fisher sings a song about Wookiee Life Day to the tune of the "Star Wars" theme song.

"The Star Wars Holiday Special" only aired once, in November 1978, but thank Boba Fett somebody somewhere taped it, because it is unforgettably bad. We have an item on it in "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops," of course.

Have you ever seen it? Do you remember the fuss about it at the time? I don't, didn't hear about it until years later. Kinda like the round Wookiee treehouse though.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Funky Food Friday: Grape Nuts--ever eat a pine tree?

Last week's Buc Wheats post reminded a bunch of folks of another healthy cereal, this one still around: Grape Nuts!

I kind of like them now, but as a kid I thought it was like eating a bowl of quarry gravel. You too?

But I can't forget this commercial and the million parodies. "Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible, you know."

Also, Euwell Gibbons, like Rula Lenska, was a name that meant nothing to me outside of commercials where we were supposed to know who they were.

And of course, Ms. Rula Lenska (WHO?)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Martha, Martha, Martha!

On Friday from 2:30-3 pm ET, we'll be interviewed on Martha Stewart Living Radio, and will take questions about lost 70s-80s products.
If you have Sirius XM satellite radio, it's on channel 110.

If you don't, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial and listen online.

Old playground equipment

By the way, if you're on Facebook, join us there. We post even more links there simply because it's so easy to post as opposed to posting with Blogger.

Who doesn't think the goofy, sharp, shin-burning playground equipment of their childhood was better than the rainbow-colored, soft-edged, plastic stuff kids have today?

Here's a great Flickr photo pool of old playground equipment. You WILL see something you remember and forgot all about.

Reading this Metafilter discussion of old playground equipment is like sitting around talking to your old grade-school buds.

This Retrojunk essay sums it up nicely.

Datsun, we arrrrre driven!

Remember Datsun? Now they're Nissan, but their commercial "nobody demands more from a Datsun, than Datsun...we arrrrrre driven!" will live on wherever earworms are sold.

Also, check out how he brags about cars that use regular (not unleaded gas). And check out how cheap it was and they're all worried about it. Oh, how little they knew...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Come on and fly me: Dead airlines

My first flight ever was in 1977 or 1978, MSP to LAX, on Western Airlines, the ohhhhhnly way to fly. Remember this little birdlike guy who rode on the wing? I'm pretty sure we didn't get pizza though.

We also flew Braniff somewhere before they went under, and I loved their colorful planes.

And my hometown airline was Northwest, which is now Delta, but at the time was Northwest Orient! (GONG!) AIIIIIIR-LINES!

Which dead airlines do you remember?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Scent of the past

Not all of these scents at the Vermont Country Store are discontinued, but some of them bring back really fun old memories.
Giorgio! Wind Song! (It stays on my mind...) Coty Wild Musk! Sunflowers! Tigress! Aspen! My Sin! Emeraude! Vanderbilt! You're the Fire!

Remember any of them? What were the perfumes you remember from your childhood? I remember a lot of cheap Avon scents that came in really cool shaped bottles but never smelled too great. Everyone's mom had them on her bathroom counter though.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Classic Clip Monday: It's not nice to fool Mother Nature

Man, this commercial kind of freaked me out as a kid. Do you remember it? Do they even still make Chiffon margarine?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Funky Food Friday: New York Seltzer

Who remembers The Original New York Seltzer? Clear liquid in rounded bottles with those styrofoamy labels that were sheer awesomeness to peel off. It always kind of unnerved me that flavors like root beer, which I knew as brown, appeared clear.

As recently as 2001, it was sold at Big Lots, but now it's truly discontinued as far as we know.

The guy who used to run the company, Randy Miller, once appeared on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." He wasn't just a seltzer man, he works with exotic animals trained for the movies.

Do you remember this delightful beverage? It has a Facebook fan page.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

B. Kliban cat art

I never knew if B. Kliban was a man or a woman, but damn if I didn't know the name, and associate it with his oh-so-distinctive cat art that was everywhere in the 1980s.
Turns out he was a man, Bernard Kliban, who died in 1990. He was only 55 when he died of a pulmonary embolism. (His widow later married Bill "David Banner" Bixby -- how's that for a 1980s connection?)

His cats were everywhere. Mugs. Greeting cards. Stationary. It was hard to go to a mall in the 1980s and not see it somewhere.

Do you remember Kliban's cat art?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Dirty Dancing" Redux

Do you bring a watermelon to every party you attend and know full well that nobody puts Baby in a corner? Well, you just might be a "Dirty Dancing" fan. So what do you think about the news this week that a remake is in the offing?

From my perspective, the only saving grace to this project is the fact that original choreographer Kenny Ortega is slated to direct. Steve Spears at Stuck in the '80s and Jen Chaney at the Washington Post's Cebritology blog have a few ideas on the subject. Jen posted a poll asking what her readers think, and the last time I checked, 86 percent of respondents said it was "the worst idea I've ever heard."

Although, the remake's got its supporters, too. Original Baby Jennifer Grey said in the Wall Street Journal that she's "excited" about it.

What do you think? Does this thing have legs?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Clip-on koalas

Remember when clip-on koalas were all the rage? All of a sudden everyone had one of the little marsupials with the squeezy paws. I guess they were pencil add-ons or something, but we all tried to wear them on our monogrammed sweaters even though they were kind of heavy and awkward and sagged and really were an odd thing to wear on clothing.

In my mind, I think this sprung from the 1980s fascination we Americans had with Australia (Olivia Newton-John! Men at Work! Crocodile Dundee!) but I suppose it could have just been a coincidence.

Did you have a clip-on koala? Did you try to wear it? They still sell 'em.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Funky Food Friday: Buc Wheats cereal

Do you remember Buc Wheats cereal? Not to be confused with Buckwheat from the Little Rascals, or the Eddie Murphy version from "SNL.' They were wheat flakes with kind of a sweet mapley taste.

As far as we know (and that teeny Wikipedia entry is no help), they were a pure Gen Xer food, existing only in the 1970s and 1980s. Must not have sold well enough, as they vanished before the '90s.

The commercial hypes them as "the only maple flavored cereal flakes." Perhaps there just wasn't enough call for that, or maybe people were secretly pouring Aunt Jemima on their Wheaties, and that was just fine for them. Or maybe, as the first comment on the YouTube commecial suggests, they were awful. But others loved them and are begging General Mills for their return.

Maybe it was the name. I mean, have you ever had buckwheat flour? Disgusting! My friend's dad bought a giant bag of it in Europe in the 1980s and had these elaborate plans of making his kids buckwheat pancakes every weekend, but his four girls and their mom all rebelled. The dad halfheartedly made them for himself a few times, and then I think eventually threw the bag away.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sticker mania

We just started following My80sChildhood on Twitter, and she shared these Flickr links to her 1980s sticker book.
Some really awesome stickers here. Trend (the round scented ones) were my favorite, but I remember so many of these. For some reason (colorful?), gumball machines and rainbows were popular topics. So were unicorns and kittens.

Do you remember any other popular trends in stickerdom? Which ones did you go for?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Groovie Goolies

We can just imagine the pitch meeting at the movie studio: "We'll, people love the classic Universal monsters, so why wouldn't they love a cartoon where they're a rock group?"

Well, lots of reasons, actually. Regardless, somehow "The Groovie Goolies" came into existence. From 1970 to 1972, Drac, Frankie and Wolfie (plus loads of other formerly creepy creatures of the night) were billed as cousins of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and all lived together at Horrible Hall, a boarding school for monsters.

Sure, various blood-sucking undead all living together isn't exactly natural. Even more unnatural? Having a laugh track on a cartoon.

Do you remember this musical monster mash-up?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ferris Bueller turns 25

Actually, 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off" turned 25 in June, but the 25th anniversary DVD is out today.
With no further ado, here are my 10 favorite lines from that oh-so-quotable movie.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." (Quoted in the introduction to our book!)

"I do have a test today, that wasn't bullshit. It's on European socialism. I mean, really, what's the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they're socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn't change the fact that I don't own a car."
"When Cameron was in Egypt's land... let my Cameron go!"

"Never had one lesson!"

Maitre D': You're Abe Froman?
Ferris: That's right, I'm Abe Froman.
Maitre D': The Sausage King of Chicago?

'In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?... raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. "Voodoo" economics."

"Excuse me: if whoever was in this house is still in the house, I'd like you to know that I've just called the police. I'd also like to add that I've got my father's gun and a *scorching* case of herpes.'

"This is my ninth sick day this semester. It's pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I'm probably going to have to barf up a lung, so I better make this one count."

Ed Rooney: What's the score?
Pizza Joint Owner: Nothin' nothin'.
Ed Rooney: [not really listening] Who's winning?
Pizza Joint Owner: The Bears.

"Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude."

More great "Ferris" quotes here.

Did you know Alan Ruck was 29 and married when he played 17-year-old Cameron Frye? Like most of us, John Hughes identified more with Cameon than with suave Ferris. Here's a 1986 interview with Ruck about the role.

Are you a Ferris fan? What's your favorite line or scene?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Classic Clip Monday: MTV turns 30

And now we meet in an abandoned studio / we hear the playback and it seems so long ago...

MTV turns 30 today. Only this is not our MTV, this is the MTV of a whole new generation, reinvented with foul-mouthed dummies from Jersey and pregnant teens.

Video killed the radio star, indeed.

What's your favorite video of all time?

Here's Gael's, the ultimate anti-video, where Minneapolis' Replacements pretty much gave the finger to the entire music-video industry. I also liked the local joke lyrics, singing "we are the Sons of Norway" instead of "we are the sons of no one."