Monday, October 31, 2011

Worst Halloween costumes of all time

Love this Retrocrush classic post on the Worst Halloween Costumes of All Time.

Our book "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?" has a section on those bad store-bought Halloween costumes with the masks you could barely breathe through, with the mask strings that practically put your eye out if they snapped back in your face. Yep, these are them. (There's a picture of Gael and her niece illustrating that entry. Gael is unrecognizable behind a plastic Cinderella mask.)

Anyway, Retrocrush found some classic costumes from the 1970s-1980s, and wrote hilarious captions for them. Father Murphy! Mis-tah Kot-tah! Chachi! Jaws! Vicci the creepy robot child from "Small Wonder!"

But I do think their best caption is this one, for the Rubik's Cube costume: "How many poor kids that got stuck with this one had to hear, "Hey Rubik, how about if I rearrange your face?" This very well may be the least popular costume of all time, 2nd only to the failed Parcheesi costume of 1974."

FYI, the Rubik's Cube costume is popular again, though the homemade ones are much cooler than this ready-made version.

What did you dress up for on Halloween in the '70s and '80s? I remember a lot of generic princesses and gypsies in my past...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wonder Woman on a skateboard

Oh man, I loved Lynda Carter's "Wonder Woman." She was one Amazon of an actress.

But somehow I managed to miss this amazing clip. Note how she spins around and conjures up a helmet before jumping on the skateboard.

The Metafilter comments are priceless. One says "Oh and when VCRs became common and we got to fool around with them, rumor was that if you freeze-framed Lynda Carter spinning into her Wonder Woman costume at just the right moment you would see her completely naked."

Were you a "Wonder Woman" fan?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Worst songs of the '70s

Rolling Stone did a list of their 10 Worst Songs of the '70s. It's surely a decade that's ripe for such choices, but here are some thoughts.

10. "Loving You." Oh, come on. There are thousands of songs worse than this one. It's not my favorite, but it's kind of pretty. I've been to Minnie Riperton's (mom of Maya Rudolph) grave, and the opening notes of the song are carved on it.

9. "Feelings." Well, no argument here. This song is horrible and I sang it to death as a kid. It was one of my piano recital piees and for no apparent reason, my piano book had the lyrics in Spanish. ("Dime!")

8. "Billy, Don't Be a Hero." As I talked about earlier, this was my favorite song of first grade, I made my poor sister drive all over town to buy me the 45.

7. "Seasons in the Sun." Yay, the death song. How is this song not #1? Goodbye Michelle, my little one!

6. "Escape: The Pina Colada Song." Oh man, total guilty pleasure here. Check out this fun fact: The lyrics originally went "If you like Humphrey Bogart," at the last minute he changed it to "pina coladas," a drink he didn't even particularly enjoy."

5. "Muskrat Love." This was also in my piano book. "Shop Around" was my favorite Captain and Tennille Song, though this may be the only song ever with weird little muskrat chirping sounds in it.

4. "You Light Up My Life." The trifecta! It's official, I had THE worst piano book in the history of the world. Because yes, this was in there, too. Read about what happened to the songwriter and you'll never hear this tune the same way again.

3. "(You're) Havin' My Baby." On second thought, how is THIS not #1?

2. "Afternoon Delight." OH COME ON! Why is this song even on here, let alone as high as second place? It's catchy and fun, and no 'Seasons in the Sun." And as they said in "Anchorman," "if you don't think this song is the greatest song ever, I will fight you."

1. "Disco Duck." What? Why would a novelty song even be considered for a list like this? It's a parody! And when it comes to animal sounds in '70s songs, "Muskrat Love" is way, way worse. Side note: My husband grew up in L.A. where Rick Dees was a DJ, and when I ask him for the temperature he often tells me it's "75 (or whatever) Dees Grees," which I seriously hope is a hangover from a childhood of listening to Dees give the weather, and not just weirdness on his part.

What do you think? What's the worst 1970s song ever, and what do you think of this list?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Barney Miller"

The entire "Barney Miller" series on box set comes out today, and it includes the first season of "Fish," which I watched regularly even though I think it was probably terrible.

I wrote an appreciation of the main "Barney Miller" characters for MSNBC and I think Wojo was always my favorite, but I still kind of have a crush on Hal Linden. So calm, so debonair, so unshakable.

"Barney Miller" really should be in our book. It was such a Seventies classic. So New York, so kind of grubby. None of the detectives looked like the glamour pusses who fill out police dramas today. And Abe Vigoda! Tessio! He played Fish like a 100-year-old guy back then, and yet he's still alive today at 90.

Were you a "Barney Miller" fan? Which character was your favorite?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Classic Clip Monday: Lawrence Welk Show goes one toke over the line

Whose grandma (or parents, if you have old parents like me) didn't watch The Lawrence Welk Show?

Oh man, it's SUCH a time capsule, and doubly so. It's not just 1970 or whatever specific date the episode you're watching was taped. It's a time capsule of what was old-fashioned even in 1970whatever.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say. There's something so wonderfully charming about any Lawrence Welk clip. The host himself, with his "wunnerful, wunnerful" accent. The singers, with beautiful voices and clothes straight out of a square-dance supply store and lyrics clean-cut enough for any nun.

That's why this is perhaps the best "Lawrence Welk" clip ever. What did they think "toke" meant? Hey, we don't have time to look that up, it mentions Jesus, just sing it already! (When the song is over, Lawrence Welk calls it a "modern spiritual." Sure, in the Church of St. Mary Jane.)

And now let's listen to Gail (not me! Gail Farrell, who later did some voice work in "The Little Mermaid") and Dale (love when he gets all bassy) and "one of the newer songs." And share your memories of Lawrence Welk in the comments.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

United Colors of Benetton

Oh, Benetton.. More than any of the specific clothes you had, I remember the details.

There was a Benetton store at my mall and it didn't have any clothing racks, everything was folded and stacked in cubes.

The ads were all over my Seventeen magazine, and they were striking and international and diverse and just plain cool. And sometimes, shocking.

And for a short time I really loved wearing their fragrance, Colors. I can still remember the smell. It came out in 1987 and is a mix of orange blossoms, marigold, and vanilla. It's only $14 at Amazon. Not sure it's worth even $14 just to ger a 30-second time machine trip back to 1987, but if I wanted to, it's good to know that's an option.

Did you ever wear Benetton, or do you remember the ads? Of course, they are still around, but not as prominent.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Party like it's 1989

Debbie Gibson is a partner in this oh-so-80s New York club, which has Jenny's phone number written on a bathroom wall. Man, they should sell our book in the lobby.

Speaking of Debbie Gibson, she's holding a 1980s costume contest. Winner gets a phone call from her.

Kickass Hot Wheels Track Goes Upstairs, Downstairs, Around The Freaking Block

Kickass Hot Wheels Track Goes Upstairs, Downstairs, Around The Freaking Block

Cavity Creeps

A reader reminded us via the AIM/Aquafresh post about The Cavity Creeps! We make holes in teeth!

Man, these were truly disturbing ads. When they take their little hook-pick things and start hacking into the teeth...ugh! It also cracks me up that they not only have a teeth wall surrounding their city, but that they call it "our beloved wall of teeth."

Also, the Crestmobile is hilarious, and reminds me of Ace and Gary on "Saturday Night Live."

Do you have traumatic memories of these ads?

And don't miss when Peter Griffin of "Family Guy" falls in with a bad crowd, aka the Cavity Creeps, in a perfect parody.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AIM and Aquafresh

AIM toothpaste came out in 1975, one of the first new toothpastes I remember coming out in my lifetime. And I thought it was so cool. It apparently had a milder taste and so they talked up that kids liked it.

Wikipedia says "In stores in the U.S., Aim is typically priced at a significant discount to the major toothpaste brands." Never knew that! But I remember the "Take AIM against cavities"

Aquafresh actually beat AIM to the punch, coming out in 1973. And it had the coolest gimmick, what with the stripes. They originally were blue and white, but now are red, white and blue.

What 1970s toothpaste innovations do you remember?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Classic Clip Monday: RIF, Reading is Fundamental

Raise your hand if you remember RIF: Reading Is Fundamental.

Now raise your other hand if you ... were never really sure what it was.

I guess it was a literacy program? That gave poor kids free books? And I shouldn't be speaking of it in the past tense, because it's still around. But of course is in trouble, as everything is in these days of budgets being pruned left and right.

RIF's origin story is truly touching. "Margaret McNamara knew there was something special about giving children the power to make choices. But she didn't know her simple act of kindness—bringing a few used books to four boys she was tutoring—would start a reading revolution. That was more than four decades ago. When the former teacher told the children they could choose a book to keep as their own, their delight and astonishment led her to conclude that they, and other children, had never known the excitement of owning a brand new book. She knew it was extremely important to get more books into the hands of children who were learning to read but didn't have the resources. And she knew it was time to act."

Do you remember RIF--its PSAs, if nothing else?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sorry, wrong number

We're getting rid of our land line today. Although we haven't had a phone connected to it for months, this will be the first time in my life I live in a house without a land line. (My mom still does NOT think this is a good idea, by the way.)

It's kind of inspiring me to muse on phones and phone memories. The days when the arrival of the new phone book was actually pretty cool. When your friends had a "children's line" listed in the book under their parents' main number. When clunky heavy dial phones slowly gave way to options, like the Mickey Mouse phone. (My parents for some reason chose the old-fashioned candlestick phone, which looked cool but was impossible to do homework on, as you couldn't cradle it under your chin and talk/listen while you wrote notes.) The times when you thought you would absolutely die if he didn't call. The days when push button sloooowly replaced dial calls. (My parents wouldn't go to touch-tone FOREVER, stubborn as they are, because it cost something like $2 more a month or something.) I also had friends who were forever working on their house, and since their kitchen walls weren't finished, their mom let them write the most-called numbers right on the wall next to the phone, which I thought was unbelievably cool.

What are your favorite phone memories?