Retro Rerun Review: Kate and Allie

The Show: Kate & Allie 

Ran for:  122 episodes— 6 seasons from 1984 to 1989.

What it’s about: Two lady detectives? I really don’t know. I assume they were detectives. And possibly lovers.

My relationship with it: None, clearly. I’m sure I’ve seen bits and pieces of episodes, but it was when I was young and not the target audience for lesbian detective shows. 

This Episode: Season 4, Episode 6— “Halloween II”

Original Air Date: October 27, 1986

Kate and Allie are walking down the street and there is a very fancy car parked at the curb. They stop and talk about it for a long period of time like normal people do when they see a nice car. They are mad that the car owner— who they assume is a man— spent this much on a car when he could have given the money to charity. This is a weird hill to die on. Anyway, they walk off and the car phone rings, then goes to the answering machine and it is a woman on the message. “You have reached the phone of Dr. Walker…” So, I’m not sure if this is funny because they thought it was a guy and it’s a woman or if it’s funny because it’s a doctor or if, in fact, this is funny at all. I also wonder if this will be mentioned again or if it was totally pointless.

Now the doorbell rings and Kate-or-Allie (whichever one is Jane Curtin) answers and it is trick-or-treaters. The woman WITH the trick-or-treaters is Gloria Greenley, someone who Kate-or-Allie apparently knows. Then they leave and some other trick-or-treaters come. Then they leave and two older guys show up. One of them says, “we’re here for your daughters,” then he introduces himself as Dr. Frankenstein, then he shakes her hand and his fake hand comes off. Kate-or-Allie calls up the stairs for “Jenny” and “Emma” who might be her daughters, I guess? Two boys come down instead, one of whom is Kate-or-Allie’s son, and one who looks like a discount AC Slater. Dr. Frankenstein says, “which one of you is Jenny,” which is creepy. Kate-or-Allie stops the boys and searches their persons. She finds eggs, presumably for mischief-making. Expositionally, we learn that there is a parade on the street just outside.

Allie-or-Kate comes down the stairs, and she is dressed as Peter Cottontail. Okay, she calls Jane Curtin “Allie,” so I can stop with the ___-or-___ nonsense. Everyone leaves except for Kate and Allie. Allie says, “why do I feel a lecture coming on?” Kate is mad that Allie isn’t dressed up or seemingly even into Halloween. She tells her she’s going to make her into a ghost.

Continue reading “Retro Rerun Review: Kate and Allie”

Music Monday – Week of October 15

 

Music Monday

US Top 40 Singles for the Week Ending October 15, 1983

Bonnie Tyler still has a stranglehold on the #1 spot. In fact, the top four stay locked in. The biggest mover of the week is “Modern Love” by David Bowie that jumps 14 spots. Some recognizable songs that debut on the chart this week are:

  • “Love Is a Battlefield”, by Pat Benatar, which moves up to #35.
  • “Cum On Feel the Noise”, by Quiet Riot, which moves into the #31 spot.
  • “Say, Say, Say”, by McCartney and Jackson, which DEBUTS on the chart at #26.

Wax Pack Flashback: Ghostbusters II Trading Cards from 1989

It’s time to pull another pack of old cards from the vault and rip them open to see what we find inside.  With Halloween right around the corner, I turned to a pack that is somewhat appropriate for the season, and selected Ghostbusters II cards from 1989.  Produced by Topps, this was a 99 card set featuring scenes from the movie.  Well, 88 cards and 11 stickers.

As part of any good marketing machine from that time period, a set of trading cards were produced to capitalize on the anticipated success of the movie.  These cards really hold no value in modern times, except for things like this post.  So if you never had any of these cards, or if you did and just want to refresh your memory on them, check out the scans below.

Ghostbusters II Trading Cards

Ghostbusters II Trading Cards

Ghostbusters II Trading Cards

Ghostbusters II Trading Cards

Ghostbusters II Trading Cards

Ernest Scared Stupid

Ernest Scared Stupid

 

Having already applied his bumbling shenanigans to one holiday in 1988’s Ernest Saves Christmas, slapstick neighborhood doofus Ernest P. Worrell set his sights on Halloween in 1991’s Ernest Scared Stupid. Purring singer/actress Eartha Kitt joined in the spooky/goofy shenanigans, as did an army of slimy trolls.

This time around, Ernest is in suburban Missouri, working as a garbage collector. As always, he’s a friend to kids everywhere, so when a group of neighborhood preteens asks for his help building a treehouse, Ernest naturally obliges. But this particular oak tree happens to hold Trantor, a 200-year-old evil troll, and as local crone Old Lady Hackmore warns, the troll will be released if a Worrell puts his hand on the tree the night before Halloween and says, “Trantor, I call thee forth.” Well, stupid is as stupid does…

Once Trantor is released, the mean, mucous-covered munchkin sets out to capture the souls of Ernest’s young pals by turning them into wooden dolls. That’s bad enough, but when Trantor tries to pull his wooden magic on Ernest’s pet dog Rimshot, the little snotface has crossed the line. Ernest is out to kick some troll tushie, and this time, it’s personal.

The Halloween season wasn’t as good to Ernest as Christmas had been three years earlier. Ernest’s “human cartoon” slapstick still brought in fans, but not as many as previous films had. Ernest Scared Stupid was the last Ernest movie made in partnership with Disney subsidiary Touchstone, but director John Cherry and actor Jim Varney plugged ahead without the corporate backing, turning out Ernest Rides Again in 1993 and four more direct-to-video Ernest films over the following five years.

The History of the Ouija Board

Ouija

Toy or device for speaking to the dead? Fun way to spend a slumber party or the deciding factor for what you should do with your life? The Ouija board is many things to many people, but one thing we do know is that for those that like a little mystery in their lives, the Parker Brothers Ouija board has remained on store shelves, and sold quite well, ever since the game manufacturer acquired the rights in the sixties.

In New York, min-nineteenth century, communicating with the dead was big business. Mediums – those people who claimed they could converse with the after-life – were big hits at chic parties across the city. In addition to letting the spirits speak though them, mediums also claimed the spirits could write messages on paper through them.

These mystics would hold a “planchette” (“little plank” in French), which was a heart-shaped board with a pencil attached in the center. The medium held this over a piece of paper and the spirit would “move” it to write a message. Unfortunately, the spirit didn’t always have the best handwriting, and nothing is more disappointing then an illegible message from the dead.

Three Americans – E.C. Reiche, Elijah Bond and Charles Kennard – developed a “talking board” that came with it’s own planchette. It was printed with the alphabet, numbers one through ten, and words ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ It is said that Kennard called the board “Ouija” after an Egyptian word for good luck, but rumor also said that the board itself suggested the word.

In 1892, Kennard’s ex-foreman, William Fuld, took the company over, named it the Ouija Novelty Company, and began producing the board in high volume numbers. Fuld came up with his own version of the Ouija’s genesis – that he had invented the idea himself, and that the word Ouija was actually an amalgam of the French “oui” and the German “ja” (which, incidentally, is the correct way to pronounce the name.)

There were other talking boards on the market at the time (for instance, Milton Bradley’s Genii) but Fuld’s was definitely the most popular. In a strange twist of fate, Fuld was killed in 1927 from a fall from a factory roof in his native Baltimore. Some said it was an accident, and some said it was suicide. (Didn’t anybody ask the Ouiji board?) Fuld’s children took over the company, and in 1966, they were bought out by Parker Brothers.

Today, the board looks almost the same as it did when it first came out, although now it’s made of folding cardboard instead of wood, and the planchette glides on velvet tabs instead of wooden pegs. It still has the alphabet and the numbers in two crescent rows, the words “yes” and “no” at the corners, and “goodbye” at the bottom.

Ouija 2

Atmosphere and mindset are crucial to play. Don’t play it alone. Don’t play it while angry. Play at night, since there’s less psychic static when it’s dark out. Let just one person ask the questions – you don’t want to get the spirits confused while they’re navigating Ouija games. Candlelight helps encourage conversation. It’s best to have two players work the board, with it either on their knees or on a table. Once you warm up the planchette by moving it around, let it rest, and ask a question out loud. If you’re lucky, the spirit in the room will answer the question by moving the planchette around the board to spell out the answer.

Either that or the players minute muscle movements move the planchette. Or some sneaky player moves the planchette to the answer they want to see. It’s never 100% clear – which is what gives the Ouija board its simultaneous coolness and creepiness. It remains an enigma – a game that you’re never certain you’re in control of. As such, it has been a staple of slumber parties and any other place people gather in the dark, intent on summoning the spirits.

Retro Rerun Review: Roseanne

The Show: Roseanne 

Ran for:  222 episodes from 1988 to 1997. (Oh, and then 8 episodes in 2018. Not sure if you heard about that, though.)

What it’s about: A gruff-yet-lovable family living an unremarkable existence in lower middle class America. Also, loose meat sandwiches.

My relationship with it: I have seen every episode at least once, and a majority of episodes multiple times. (It is a scientific fact that Roseanne is being shown at every given second of every day somewhere on television.)

This Episode: Season 4, Episode 6, “Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down”

A lady is approaching Roseanne’s door. It is open a crack, and you can hear Dan and Roseanne, household members, screaming inside. It is very clear that Roseanne is murdering Dan. Whoa! The lady enters the house and says, “it’s Kathy,” and now we know she’s Kathy. And yep. There’s Dan on the table with his guts hanging out. Kathy freaks out, understandably. And here’s Roseanne creeping up behind her! And she’s covered in blood and holding a butcher knife. I think Kathy is about to mess herself. Dan gets off the table and offers her some liver. She knows she’s been had. She storms away angrily and Dan and Roseanne laugh about it.

After the cold open, we’re back in the kitchen. Becky comes in— it’s the first Becky, by the way— and tells them she’s going out tonight. They mention dinner and, once again, offer up the liver. This liver has paid for itself already and we’re like, 3 minutes in. Darlene comes in and gets a soda. Roseanne asks Darlene if she is doing something cool and Halloween-ish and Darlene says no, I’m staying home. And then here comes DJ, and he’s dressed like Ed Grimsley, I think. Wait, no, he asks who he’s supposed to be, and he’s actually dressed as Alfalfa.

Anyway, he’s pissed because he wants to be the Terminator, natch. He runs off in a huff. Roseanne and Dan commiserate because Halloween “used to mean something.” Jackie, Roseanne’s sister, comes in and Dan tells her to take the insides out of the pumpkin he’s been cutting because he needs to go get the tubing for their costume. He won’t tell her what it is, though, and she’s mad. They’re all going to a party later, and Jackie is going stag. They talk about the dates she TRIED to get for the party that night, and it’s pretty good dialogue. Then DJ comes in and he’s dressed kind of like the Terminator, but still with elements of Alfalfa. Roseanne calls him the Alfalfinator, which is a pretty lame joke, actually. Continue reading “Retro Rerun Review: Roseanne”

Music Monday – Week of October 8

 

Music Monday

US Top 40 Singles for the Week Ending October 8, 1983

  • Not much change this week. Bonnie Tyler stays at in the #1 spot. The big movers are “All Night Long” by Lionel Ritchie (which jumps 14 spots) and “Tell Her About It” by Billy Joel, which jumps into the top 40 at #32.