Author: The Retro Rambler

I'm the Retro Rambler, and this is my online home where I relive all the stuff that made my childhood cool. I've never really grown up, and don't really want to either. Enjoy your stay here, and come back often to see the latest memories we're posting. Drop me a comment when something strikes you and we'll chat about it. Retro Ramblings....your childhood lives here.

Help Chance Rasberry Bring Little Billy to Life

Little Billy

My friend and Emmy award winning animator on The Simpsons, Chance Rasberry, has a new animated series that he needs our help with.  This new series titled, Little Billy, is right in our wheel house too, because it’s set in the 80’s, and is chocked full of our favorite 80’s cartoons, toys, cereals, and so much more!  Not only that, it’s done in the classic animation style of the 80’s.  The premise?  I’ll let Chance explain that himself….

Little Billy

Chance is looking for help from folks like to get this off the ground, and has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money.  And brother, he’s got some very cool perks that come along with your pledge.  Things like awesome t-shirts, Count Chokula inspired Little Billy prints, the Little Billy Poster in the style of Garbage Pail kids, and my favorite…the set of Little Billy stickers done exactly like Garbage Pail Kid’s stickers we used to love in the 80’s!  And if you’re feeling really generous, you can get an hour long, one-on-one animation lesson from Chance himself!

I would love to see this dream become a reality for several reasons.  One, this world can never have enough 80’s fueled entertainment.  Two, I miss the classic animation style of the 80’s and am craving some more of that goodness.  Third, I love the premise, and with a daughter that has severe tics herself, I know how important something like this could be for kids like her.  And fourth, the trailer is just oozing with retro goodness…..

Chance has some of our favorite creators involved in this project as well.  Folks like Charles Zimbillas who was the animator on the original He-Man and She-Ra series, Bill Kopp from Better Off Dead, the Roger Rabit shorts, the Simpsons Tracey Ullman shorts, and the creator of Eek the Cat.  Also involvedd is Joe Simko, the master painter behind the Topps Garbage Pail Kids cards of the 80’s, who also hand painted the Little Poster print that you can get a copy of with a pledge!  There is no shortage of talent in this project, so you know just how cool it can be if it gets made.

So give Chance a chance (see what I did there?), and head over to the Little Billy Indiegogo page and help get it funded!

 

Little Billy on Indiegogo

 

You can also help out by spreading the word by sharing it on your Twitter feed, Facebook page, Instagram, and wherever else you can.  Hell, if nothing else throw him some moral support by reaching out to his Twitter page, or Facebook page.  He would appreciate it, and so would all of us who really want to see this get made.

Little Billy

 

 

5 Classic Christmas Commercials

Christmas Commercials

Man, what better way to keep getting pumped up for Christmas than watching some old commercials!  No?  You’re not a fan of commercials, are you?  Well, once upon a time I didn’t used to be.  But that was back in the days before Tivo, Netflix, and other streaming services that allow you to skip all the advertising.

These days, I find myself kind of missing commercials.  Not every commercial break, but some old commercials in particular.  It was rare, but sometimes commercials could actually enhance the show you were viewing.  Hang on…hear me out!  I can remember watching the Mickey’s Christmas Carol Special that aired on NBC every year in the mid-late 80’s, and when the commercials that aired were Christmas in nature, it kept the cool Christmas vibe going for my young self.  So these commercials we’re viewing here today get a pass.

Folgers Coffee, “Peter Comes Home for Christmas”
(1986)

I’m not sure why this commercial ever touched me as a kid.  It probably had something to do with the fact that my old man traveled a lot, and there were times he would come in early in the morning like this.  Never at Christmas though.  He was always in town for that.  But whatever the reason, this commercial has continued to resonate with me for all these years since I first saw it air.

I think it really embodies the spirit of Christmas in the form I like to think of it.  Families being together, and enjoying simple things in life like a fresh cup of coffee is endearing to me.  I actually keep this commercial on my Christmas playlist on YouTube to make sure I see every season.

 

Polaroid Cameras
(1985)

One of the great frustrations for me growing up was trying to prove or disprove that Santa Claus was real.  I tried my own ways of getting to the bottom of things, but trying to snap a picture with a Polaroid camera was never one of them. I give these two kids an A for effort here, as their plan kinda worked.  They just didn’t anticipate Santa being a petty thief and sneaking away with their snapshot.

Continue reading “5 Classic Christmas Commercials”

The Year Santa Became Real

By the fall of 1986, my thoughts were starting to turn to the coming Christmas season, and anticipation was starting to build for the holiday. The hope of children isn’t easily pushed to the side, but back in those days, I would be lying if I said that Christmas didn’t feel a little lacking.

Admittedly, I personally never felt slighted on Christmas morning. Whatever was under the tree from Santa Claus always left a lasting impression on me, even if I sometimes felt the little internal tug of wanting a little bit more. But when I would return to school, and see and hear about all the cool things my friends and others had gotten for Christmas, I would get a little jealous.

I was a good kid. I never caused trouble at school, and I definitely knew better than to cause trouble at home. I did my chores and I ate my vegetables, so why did I seem to be farther down Santa’s Nice list than some of the other kids? “Jonathon pushed Samantha down and hurt her arm”, “why did he get a huge Lego set and I only got a trumpet?”. “Zach punched me in the arm all year…hard.” “Why did he get a cool G.I. Joe HISS Tank and all the Dreadnoks figures and I ended up with a set of cars?” Such are the worrisome wonderings and questions of a kid who is not aware of all the comings and goings of adulthood.

What I didn’t know or understand back then, and actually I’m still learning and gaining a greater perspective on now, is that times were very tough for my family in the early eighties. My Dad was a self-employed business man. He bought and sold new and used conveyor belts to coal mines, and as the coal business went, so did my family’s financial well-being.

1983 was a very tough year. My Grandfather’s alcohol addiction was in the last stages of consuming his life, and my Dad spent more time helping my Grandmother, both emotionally AND financially, than he did on the business. The first week of December, my Grandfather passed away. Christmas was lean due to dealing with the emotional struggles of losing someone close, and the fact that so much time had been spent away from the business.

1984 came along, and so did the large-scale United Mine Workers of America strike in West Virginia…..primarily against the A.T. Massey Coal Companies and subsidiaries. West Virginia was always the bread basket of my Dad’s business. When strikes occurred, it crippled his business and our financial well-being for quite some time, and unfortunately, this strike would not be over quickly.

1985 came, and the strike was still on. It wasn’t resolved until late in the year. Too late for lost income to be made up. Several straight years of lean and underwhelming visits from Santa Claus was wearing on my faith in the man.

But then came 1986. The strike had been resolved, and with the mines back in full-time operation, orders poured in from all sides. It was a VERY good year. Not so coincidentally, Santa seemed to fill his sleigh completely just for my family. I guess he was making up for lost time.

Continue reading “The Year Santa Became Real”

Retro Rambler’s Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Christmas Gift Guide

As a true retro lover perpetually stuck in the 80’s and 90’s, sometimes it’s easier for me to spot awesome retro gifts than say you’re average joe or millennials.  What if someone from the current generation wanted to get their Pop something cool from Christmas to remind them of their childhood?  Would they have any clue what he would like?  Or what if you’re like me, and want to get something for someone who isn’t as retro as we are?  Would you know what is out there to be had?  Well have no fear, because the Retro Rambler is here!

I’ve scoured the ‘net to find the gifts that all retro lovers will love, and taken a lot of guess work out of the gift buying process for you.  We’ve put together a list of 25 gifts that are retro through and through, so take a look and find that perfect gift for someone in your life.

We’ve added links to all these products to their Amazon page.  If you see something that you’re going to buy, we ask that you use our link here.  It will help the site as we get a small cut for sending traffic their way.  It don’t add anything to your cost, and you would be helping the site here stay afloat.  With that all said, let’s take a look at this years top gifts for the retro lover.

 

Rubiks Cube

01.  Rubik’s Cube

Does it get any more 80’s than the Rubik’s cube?  This thing was everywhere throughout the decade, and if you were alive back then, you probably had one in your hands at some point.  This would make a great gift for anyone, as it will test their skill and patience trying to solve it.

Get Rubik’s Cube at Amazon for $11.59

 

Simon

02:  Simon

The classic 80’s game of quick action, memory, and recall is back and has a sleek new look and improved performance; it’s surprisingly addictive.

Get Simon at Amazon for $24.02

 

Lego

03:  Lego Classic Brick Box

Lego’s were one of the top toys of the 80’s and 90’s, and still are today.  You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them, as anyone can have fun making and building things with them.  These boxes include a wide range of Lego bricks in 35 different colors so your imagination can run wild.

Get the Lego Classic Brick Box on Amazon for $27.99

 

Lego Ideas Book

04:  Lego Ideas Book

If you’re thinking of getting the Lego’s Classic Brick Box, or if you already have a bunch of Legos on hand, then you’ll want to pick up this Lego Ideas Book.  It’s got details on how to build all sorts of stuff, and no matter what you have in mind, you’ll probably find an idea that works in this book.

Get the Lego Idea Book on Amazon for $17.86

Continue reading “Retro Rambler’s Christmas Gift Guide 2017”

Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas Lineup for 2017

25 Days of Christmas

Once again, Freeform is back with their 25 Days of Christmas programming, and here is their complete schedule for this year.  Once again, it’s loaded with plenty of old school cartoons and movies, so have a great “retro” time watching these and getting ready for Christmas.

Friday, December 1
7:30 – 9:30 a.m. EST – ELOISE AT CHRISTMASTIME
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – RICHIE RICH’S CHRISTMAS WISH
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. – JACK FROST
2:00 – 3:35 p.m. – TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
3:35 – 4:35 p.m. – THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS
4:35 – 7:05 p.m. – WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
7:05 – 9:15 p.m. – NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
9:15 – 11:25 p.m. – ELF
11:25 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. – DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL
1:30 – 2:00 a.m. – FROSTY’S WINTER WONDERLAND

Saturday, December 2
7:00 – 9:00 a.m. EST – RICHIE RICH’S CHRISTMAS WISH
9:00 – 9:30 a.m. – MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
9:30 – 11:00 a.m. – MICKEY’S ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS
1:05 – 3:10 p.m. – DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL
3:10 – 4:50 p.m. – TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
4:50 – 7:00 p.m. – NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
7:00 – 9:10 p.m. – ELF
9:10 – 11:50 p.m. – DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (LIVE ACTION)
11:50 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. – THE POLAR EXPRESS

Sunday, December 3
7:00 – 7:30 a.m. EST – MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
7:30 – 9:00 a.m. – MICKEY’S ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS
9:00 -11:05 a.m. – A DENNIS THE MENACE CHRISTMAS
11:05 a.m. – 1:10 p.m. – SANTA PAWS 2: THE SANTA PUPS
1:10 – 2:15 p.m. – SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN
2:15 – 3:55 p.m. – TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
3:55 – 6:05 p.m. – THE POLAR EXPRESS
6:05 – 8:45 p.m. – DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (LIVE ACTION)8:45 – 10:50 p.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE
10:50 p.m. – 12:55 a.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE

Monday, December 4
7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. EST – SANTA PAWS 2: THE SANTA PUPS
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – MICKEY’S TWICE UPON A CHRISTMAS
12:30 – 2:30 p.m. – ARTHUR CHRISTMAS
2:30 – 4:35 p.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE
4:35 p.m. – 6:40 p.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE
6:40 – 8:50 p.m. – ELF
8:50 – 11:00 p.m. – NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
12:00 – 2:00 a.m. – FOUR CHRISTMASES

Continue reading “Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas Lineup for 2017”

7 Retro Thanksgiving Advertisements

If you’ve been a reader of mine for any length of time, you already know that I love vintage advertising, and love to share it with the rest of the world.  Those ads that are long forgotten, and maybe haven’t seen the light of day for many years.  Sometimes, I bust out ads for products that haven’t even been available in many years, and some feature stuff you can still get today, albeit in a slightly different form.

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, here are seven vintage ads that were created to push products for the holiday.

Miracle Baste Turkey

First up, we’ve got this ad for Maple Leaf’s Miracle Baste frozen turkey.  Now I don’t recall of ever hearing of Miracle Baste, because in my lifetime, Butterball has been the gold standard of frozen turkeys.  In addition, we’ve got Captain Obvious telling us that “Butter makes it taste better”.  Well no shit.  I can’t think of a single thing that butter doesn’t make better, but good on them I guess for capitalizing on people’s love of butter.  I’m not sure exactly when this ad is from, but judging by the fashion and hair style choice of the “model” in this ad, I’d place it in the late 70’s.

Continue reading “7 Retro Thanksgiving Advertisements”

How Major Retailers Changed When We Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

In the early part of the 20th century, American retailers were up against a unique challenge.  Falling at the end of November, Thanksgiving, with it’s football rivalries, quiet family gatherings, and emphasis on gratitude rather than wanting was antithetical to the whole commercial ideal.  Yet such a major holiday, and one so thoroughly American, could hardly be bumped aside.  The solution was to Christmas-ize Thanksgiving, and make it the official start to the shopping season.

Gimbels

In 1920, Gimbel’s department store in New York organized the first Thanksgiving parade, the highlight of which was a fireman hired to dress as Santa Claus.  Other stores around the nation quickly followed up on this idea themselves.  In Detroit, Hudson’s started the Santa’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, and that same year, back in New York, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade got it’s start.  With Santa arriving in the very last float, Christmas – and the shopping season – was officially underway.  Since many people had the next day off, store owners made the Friday after Thanksgiving a sort of national shopping day, with special sales, special hours, and special attractions to lure in customers.  In most American cities, the Friday after Thanksgiving became the day when downtown shopping districts turned on their holiday lights and stores unveiled their Christmas windows.

So important did the intense, month-long burst of Christmas related shopping become to the national economic well-being, that, in 1939, when Thanksgiving fell on the last day of a five-Thursdayed November, Federated Department Stores protested the shortened shopping season.  President Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week, thus adding six days to the shopping season.  In 1941, Congress passed a bill officially moving Thanksgiving from the “last Thursday” of November to the “fourth Thursday”, ensuring that there would always be a maximum number of shopping days.


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