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.

Revisiting the Christmas of 2017

Christmas 2017

Ah, 2017.  It was a magical time indeed.  Why, it seems like it was only a year ago that it happened.  Wait…it WAS just a year ago that it happened.  Generally I try to keep this retro site grounded at least 25 years in the past, but I’m making an exception this time.  Hey, it’s my blog, I can do whatever I want, right?  I’m glad you agree.

I’m going back in time to just one year ago for a very good reason though.  In the last 12 months, this blog has seen a healthy growth spurt in new visitors.  So I imagine there are quite a lot of folks visiting the blog these days that weren’t coming around these parts last Christmas.  I put out a lot of Christmas goodies and nostalgic memories last year, and I would hate for the newer Ramblers to be deprived of all the joys that the Christmas season of 2017 brought to the rest of us.

So I thought I would go back and revisit all of those crazy good times, pull it all back front and center, and make it easy for everyone to go back to the Christmas’ of their childhood.  So what you’ll find below is a rundown and recap of everything I put up on the blog last Christmas.  If you’re new around here, get yourself a cup of warm apple cider or cold egg nog, put on your robe and slippers, and settle into your favorite chair by the fire and let these features take you back to the glory days of childhood…Christmas!  Specifically Christmas’ of the 80’s and early 90’s.  I hope you find several things you enjoy.  Just click on any title to be taken to that piece.


The Retro Rambler’s Christmas Gift Guide

What do you get for the young at heart?  The man or woman on your list who loves to live in the past is sure to be happy with anything you gave them from these fine retro selections.  I curated the list myself, and there is plenty of variety, whether it’s stuff to bring memories back, old school tunes, toys of yesteryear, and even some movie selections.  Since this list is a year old now, a few of the items may no longer be available.  Disclaimer:  All of these items are links to Amazon products that I would receive a small percentage of if you should buy them.


How I Remember Christmas

This is a selection of takes on various things that I’ve always associated with the Christmas season since I was young.  I was fortunate to enjoy many wonderful Christmases, and there are even some of my personal old Christmas photos included.  Maybe you enjoyed a lot of the same things through the years?


Making My Christmas Wish List From the 1986 Sears Wish Book

Man did this thing really bring back the memories!  I sat down and went through the old Wish Book finding things I wanted to add to my wish list just like I did every year back then.  And the selections I made weren’t just through the eyes of a child.  Heck no, this list was made by adult me with things I would still love to find under my tree these days!


The Year Santa Became Real

This is probably the most personal thing I’ve written for the site.  It’s a story of the magical Christmas of 1986, and the years preceding it as well.  This thing will tug at your heart, and make you believe in the full magic of Christmas.  Hell, it should probably be made into a movie someday.  I better get started trying to figure out who to cast as a young Retro Rambler.


Hot Wheels Snake Mountain Challenge

The Mega Haul of Christmas 1986

Following on the heels of The Year Santa Became Real, I look back in depth at the presents I got that year.  If you love tales of G.I. Joe, Construx, Masters of the Universe, and other such legendary toys, then this one is certainly for you.


Christmas Mornings of the Past

I didn’t spend all my time focusing on my own Christmas magic, I even went so far as to take a peak into the Christmas mornings of other kids from back in the day.  With the help of Google, I found all kinds of pictures taken by various families in various parts of the country on Christmas mornings of the 80’s to see what all those kids found under their trees.  Some of them really hit the jackpot!


5 Classic Christmas Commercials

To me, one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole season every year is the endless supply of Christmas movies, specials, and TV episodes.  As much as I remember all the cool offerings on the tube each year, I can also clearly remember several commercials that I saw year after year in the middle of them.  I take a little dive down the rabbit hole with some of those commercials.


Woolworth’s Christmas Book from 1954

Sears didn’t always corner the market on gift catalogs through the years.  Here, I pulled out this old Woolworth’s book from the mid-50’s and scanned the whole thing in so everyone could see what was being offered to parents to buy for the little ones back then.


Hottest Christmas Toys of the 1940’s

After going through the Woolworth’s book, I got a big old hankering to see what else was popular long before I was born.  As it turns out, a lot of the toys I played with in the 80’s got their starts over 40 years earlier.  This thing was an eye opener, and you really owe it to yourself to check out what the “Tickle Me Elmo” was for each year of the 40’s.


Hottest Christmas Toys of the 1950’s

After I wrapped up the 1940’s edition, I continued on into the 1950’s, and once again, I was quite surprise to see so many toys I recognized.


The Golden Age of Department Stores at Christmas

Learning about all those toys from the 40’s and 50’s got me nostalgic for a time I can only fantasize about.  You know how Ralphie and his family go out to see the window toy displays at the beginning of A Christmas Story?  This little ditty right here explains and expounds on that magical era.



Vintage Holiday Recipes from 1967

One of the most popular things I put together all of last year was this recipe book.  It was actually an insert in a 1967 issue of McCall’s Magazine that took out and scanned, and put some personal thoughts with.  If you are excited to learn what you can do with Bugles with make an impression this Christmas season, give this a look.


Drink Hot Dr. Pepper as an Old School Holiday Treat

I know what you’re thinking….that sounds disgusting.  Actually it’s not, and it’s the perfect compliment to many of the recipes found in the feature above.


Classic Advertising:  Christmas Edition

A collection of Christmas themed ads for some of the all-time iconic products from through the years.


Retro on the Web:  Christmas Edition

Every so often, I share a whole big old list of links to other great retro content around the web.  Well, I put together this mammoth Christmas edition special.  Once you’ve finished reading all of these things of mine I’ve listed for you, then check out this list and you’ll find many more hours of retro Christmas goodness to enjoy.  It’s a whole holiday season’s worth of reading all wrapped up in one neat little feature.


Well, that was the best of what I put out last Christmas season.  I hope you enjoy all of if.  Keep your eyes glued right here to Retro Ramblings for some more awesome (hopefully) stuff this Christmas season.

Retro Theater: In Search Of… Marathon

Midnight Drive-In

Well friends, it’s still Spooktober at Retro Ramblings, and the Midnight Drive-In is honoring that fact with another spooky selection for tonight.  In Search Of… starring Leonard Nimoy was an unintentional spooky show most of the time, so tonight, we’re going back in time and hosting a marathon of several of their most “Halloweeny” episodes.  Find something good to munch on, settle in, and get ready for Spock to chill you to the bone with his tales.

The Mummy’s Curse






Haunted Castles


The Amityville Horror


Dreams and Nightmares

Retro Theater: House II

Midnight Drive-In

It’s time once again for another trip to the Midnight Drive-In, sponsored by Retro Ramblings.  For tonight’s feature, we’ve got a campy, but overly fun offering for Spooktober in the form of House II:  The Second Story.  Released in 1987, House II features he new owner of a sinister house getting involved with reanimated corpses and demons searching for an ancient Aztec skull with magic powers.  So settle in and enjoy this Halloween treat!


Retro Theater: Halloween TV Episodes

Midnight Drive-In

Howdy neighbors,and welcome back once again to the Midnight Drive-In here on Retro Ramblings.  We’re right smack dab in the middle of Spooktober, so it’s time for some more spooky retro offerings here at the Drive-In.  Tonight’s selection is a fun little marathon of Halloween episodes from some of your favorite old shows.  Get some popcorn ready, and settle in for a night spooky fun!

The Facts of Life


The Fall Guy


Happy Days


Adventures of Pete and Pete


Highway to Heaven

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.

Retro Theater: Halloween Cartoon Marathon

Midnight Drive-In


Welcome back once again friends for another trip to the Retro Rambling’s Midnight Drive-In.  Tonight, we are going with something a little tamer as we travel back in time to enjoy some classic Halloween themed cartoons and specials.  Even the faintest of heart should be able to enjoy these selections, so if you have night owl kids, bring them along.  Enjoy.