Category: 90’s

Watch me Teach My Daughter How to Play POG’s!

So I recently picked up some POG’s off ebay, thinking I would do some kind of video with them.  My oldest daughter showed quite a curiosity in them, so what better thing to film than teaching her how to play the game.  So we pulled them out, set up the camera, and away we went.  Check it out, and if you played POG’s back in the day, leave a comment and we’ll talk about it!

You can also check out the post from a while back about the history of POG’s here on Retro Ramblings.

 

8 Board Games I Love

Board games have long occupied space in closets and on book shelves, and have entertained families of all types and sizes for decades. While growing up, my brother and I spent many days and hours playing games, just like my daughters do today.

I admit, when the original Nintendo came along, I spent far less time with the conventional board game, and shifted most of my focus to video games. Even so, I have so many fond memories attached to board games, so here today I’m taking a trip down memory lane to look at six of my favorite board games from days gone by, and two more recent ones.


Monopoly

Monopoly

When I hear “board game”, Monopoly is the first thing that comes to mind. I would consider it the “Boardwalk” of board games, while all the others are “Vermont Ave” or “St. James Place”.

The current recognized version was first published in 1935 by Parker Brothers. It underwent a major resign in 2008 that saw Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues colors from purple to brown, and GO from red to black. It also changed the Income Tax to a flat $200, and upped Luxury Tax from the original $75 to $100.

When I was a kid, my family would play, but in the beginning, I was too young to be in on the game. When my time finally came, I instantly fell in love with it. I thought I was a big deal when I could barter my way to a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, or buy Oriental Ave. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand back then how the game worked and would usually be quickly put out of the game due to faulty business decisions.

As I grew older, I graduated from playing with family to playing with friends, where the playing field was a little more level. As an adult, my friends and I came up with a set of additional rules that we called “Survival Monopoly”. It threw in things like “everyone moves one chair to the left”, meaning that you now owned all of your neighbor’s property, and left yours behind to be taken over by someone else.

From the simple color schemes, to the simple rules, playing this board game these days always takes me back to another place in time. A place when I was sitting in front of the fire-place, with my brother and my folks enjoying the evening together. It’s one of the things that brings back some of the strongest feelings of nostalgia within me, and makes me ache to go back. But at the same time, the game helps me stay anchored in the present, as I love to play the game with my daughters. I see in their faces the same joys of playing the game that I have always experienced, and know that I am helping to create in them something that one day they will look back on with similar nostalgic feelings.

Continue reading “8 Board Games I Love”

Retro Round Table: Our Favorite Old School Wrestlers

Welcome back to another edition of the Retro Round Table.  This is where I get together with several of my online, retro-minded friends and we each give our opinion on the topic of choice.  With Wrestlemania coming up this weekend, what better time to talk about our favorite old school wrestlers?

I’m joined again this week by Hoju Koolander of the SequelQuest Podcast, Spyda-Man from 20 Years Before 2000, and Eric Vardeman of Eric V Music and Retro Ramblings fame.  So let’s get into the discussion, and when you’re done reading, join the discussion in the comments by telling us who YOUR favorite wrestler was back in the day.  Let’s get to it!


Junkyard Dog

My favorite WWF/WWE wrestler of all time has to be Junkyard Dog! He was so crazy and I will never forget his snarling face as he would enter the ring to the sounds of Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” while barking at his opponent and swinging that badass chain around his neck. My introduction to JYD was in the form of the animated Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestlingcartoon. Out of all the iconic characters in that show JYD’s character just stood out to me and I was hooked. The one match of his that stands out more than any other to me is when he gave Macho Man Randy Savage a beat down to win the WWF Wrestling Classic in 1985. I didn’t see it live since it was Pay-Per-View, but I had friends who were wrestling junkies, so I borrowed their VHS tape of the event. Unfortunately, I never got to see Junk Yard Dog wrestle in person and I will never have that chance. In 1998 JYD was in a car accident after leaving his daughter’s high school graduation. He passed away at the age of 45. For his contributions to wrestling Sylvester Ritter aka Junk Yard Dog was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2004 and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012.

– Spyda-Man

You can check out Spyda-Man’s retro home on the web at 20 Years Before 2000.  You can also follow him on twitter @20_Years_Before.


Mean Gene Okerlund

When it comes to wrestling, I’ve always been hooked more by the peripheral personalities in the business over the “Superstars”. It’s weird that the muscular bodies slamming into each other in the ring that were being celebrated by everybody else often took a backseat to Sensational Sherri, Jimmy Hart or Mr. Fuji when I was watching a WWF show. None had more glory in my eyes than the man, the mustache, the tuxedo, Mean Gene Okerlund. Though he did once train very comedically for a tag team match alongside his partner, Hulk Hogan, Gene was primarily a backstage interviewer, which meant he was given audience to the wackiest turns of phrase to come out of the mouths of the Macho Man Randy Savage or the Ultimate Warrior. His reactions to the madness were just fantastic. Gene was that familiar face I could always count on during my early days as a wrestling fan, so this golden voiced, balding man was the glue that held the federation together in my eyes. Just think about it, everybody had to pass by Mean Gene’s microphone to state their reason for beating up their opponent that night or at the next Wrestlemania. He was in a way, my idol. Not being very athletic as a kid, I instead pretended to be an interviewer like Gene Okerlund, running up and down the basketball court at recess getting sound bytes from my classmates during the game. Most common were the phrases, “Shut up” and “Get out of here”. In the 90s I even got to eat at the short-lived fast food chain, Mean Gene’s Burgers and have cherished the napkins, placemats and t-shirt purchased that day. I hear Mean Gene even announces for weddings now, so maybe when my wife and I renew our vows he can break out the tuxedo one more time for me to cut a promo on my beloved, brother!

– Hoju Koolander

You can follow along with all of Hoju’s retro shenanigans on his twitter feed, @hojukoolander, read a lot of his his fine writing on a variety of retro topics at Retro-Daze, keep up with him at PopGeeks, and listen to his awesomely fun pod cast at SequelQuest Podcast where he and his cohorts craft sequels that we never got to movies that we loved!  And if you haven’t checked it out yet, Hoju recently did a review for us of the cheesy 80’s movie, Body Slam.  Check it out here!


Kerry Von Erich

My favorite old school wrestler, without a doubt, is “The Modern Day Warrior” Kerry Von Erich. He was a part of the WCCW out of Dallas/Fort Worth. Their syndicated show was on in my home town every Saturday night from 10 to midnight and I watched it religiously. He feuded with Gentleman chris Adams, Gino Hernandez, “Iceman” King Parsons and even wrestled against Jerry “The King” Lawler and Ric Flair. He and his brothers were in an ongoing feud with the Fabulous Freebirds that was always entertaining. While all the Von Erich’s used the move, nobody perfected the Von Erich “Iron Claw” like Kerry.

– Eric Vardeman

Give Eric a follow on Twitter at @Eric_Vardeman, and you can find his retro memories right here on Retro Ramblings!  His new weekly feature here on Retro Ramblings, Music Mondays, is awesome too.  He looks back at the songs gracing the Top 40 list from 35 years ago in 1983!  He’s also a talented singer/songwriter, and you should check out his music at EricVMusic


Rock and Roll Express

The very first time I came across professional wrestling on television, I saw what would go on to become my favorite act.  It was late 1985 on a Saturday afternoon while I was scanning the channels.  I flipped through and saw smoke, flashing lights, and heard rock music.  I went right on past it, but stopped and backed up, and watched as two men clad in bandanas strode through a crowd of people.  It was the Rock & Roll Express on their way to the ring for a match.  I had never seen or heard of wrestling before, but was instantly intrigued.  I watched their match and was blown away by what I saw.  And then, when they hit one of their helpless opponents with their patented double drop kick, I came out of my seat.  I was instantly hooked.

I tuned in to wrestling every chance I got after that, looking to see more of the Rock & Roll Express.  They were the reason I begged my Dad to take me to the matches when they came around the next time.  I had their shirts, their gloss 8×10’s, their magazine, was a member of their fan club, and wore bandanas on my wrists to school.  It was an intense fandom.  As the years rolled on, and their star started to fall a little, I still followed them in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and to this day, I still enjoy catching Ricky Morton in action on local shows.

– Retro Rambler

As you know, you can find me right here at RetroRamblings, and you can follow me on Twitter, check out my Facebook page, and subscribe to my YouTube channel!


So what about you?  Who is your favorite old school wrestler, and why?  Join in the conversation in the comments section below.

My Favorite Memories of Wrestlemania

WrestleMania is just days away, and as always, hopes are high that it is a blow away show.  Through the years, the “sports” biggest event has left lasting memories on millions of fans world-wide, and I’m no different.  So with that in mind, here are five of my favorite memories from Wrestlemania’s gone by.

 

#5:  WWF vs NFL Battle Royal, WrestleMania 2, 1986

As a kid who was a huge wrestling fan, battle royals always held a special intrigue with me.  Maybe it was having so many guys in the ring, or the possibility that any of them could win, I’m not sure.  But what I do know, is that to an 8-year-old, when you put some of the biggest and best wrestling stars and some of the biggest and best football players from the NFL in the same ring, anything can happen!

I was so pumped to see this affair heading into the event, that it was really the only match that I talked about at school.  While all of my wrestling friends wanted to see Hulk Hogan get his revenge against King Kong Bundy in a cage, I wanted to see if Superbowl Champion William “The Refrigerator” Perry could be the last man standing in the big battle royal.

Wrestlemania 2 William Perry

With an impressive lineup of WWF talent including Andre the Giant, Big John Studd, Bruno Sammartino, The Hart Foundation, The Killer Bees, Pedro Morales, the Iron Sheik, King Tonga and NFL stars like Jimbo Covert, Bill Fralic, Russ Francis, Harvey Martin, and William Perry, the ring was filled with star power.  And if that wasn’t enough, NFL legends Dick Butkis and Ed “Too Tall” Jones patrolled the ringside area as referees for the match.

Wrestlemania 2 Battle Royal

The most interesting part of the match was when Big John Studd and William Perry got to square off.  Perry held his own until Studd tricked him into running into his big elbow.  He then simply beeled Perry over the top rope to eliminate him.  But once on the floor, Perry wanted to shake Studd’s hand and congratulate him.  When Studd reached down to shake his hand, Perry gave a big tug and pulled John Studd over the top rope to eliminate him too!

Andre the Giant went on to win the match, last eliminating both members of the Hart Foundation.  Andre was always referred to as the king of Battle Royals, so it was fitting that he took home the top honor in this mammoth match.

Continue reading “My Favorite Memories of Wrestlemania”

Tag Team TV Pilot

In the mid – late 80’s, professional wrestling, and the WWF in particular, was big business. A lot of the WWF superstars were becoming household names thanks to Vince McMahon and his traveling circus. Two of the better known superstars were “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Piper had spent years as the biggest bad guy wrestler on the roster, while Ventura was well known as one of the voices of the shows as color commentator. Each broke out of the WWF world to become moderate successes in Hollywood. Piper had starring roles in B – Movies like Body Slam, Hell Comes to Frogtown, and They Live. Meanwhile, Jesse was becoming a solid back up man in action flicks with Running Man and Predator.

In 1991, they teamed up on the small screen in the pilot episode of Tag Team. The shows premise was simple. These two wrestlers couldn’t wrestle for a living anymore, so they decide to become cops. That decision was made after they used their wrestling moves to stop a robbery at a grocery store. It was a simple idea, but one that a television series could conceivably be based around.

As the air date for the pilot episode drew closer, Vince McMahon was hyping the debut of the show on his wrestling shows, and as a 13 year old wrestling fan, I was salivating. I marked the date and time on my calendar so I wouldn’t miss it. Here was another chance to inject more wrestling into my world, and I wasn’t going to miss it. Although I can’t recall what night of the week that this premiered on, I DO remember getting everything set up in my room for it. My chair was at the right angle, I had a frosty beverage at my side, and some sort of snack at the ready. I was pumped.

Tag Team TV Pilot

As I remember it, the episode was pretty good, and I thought it was really cool that these two wrestlers were going to be in a television show every week. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of just how exactly television worked at that time, and was quite disappointed when the show never aired again. The series wasn’t picked up, and the show was thrown into the huge pile of “could’ve beens” with hundreds of other series that were never picked up.

I listened to a podcast featuring Ventura and Piper a while back, and Ventura explained why the series wasn’t picked up. The two companies who were producing the show together, Disney and Corelco, got into a lawsuit with each other over something not even remotely related to the Tag Team series, and while in litigation, the show was left in limbo since neither side was doing business with each other at the time. When the lawsuit dust settled, too much time had passed and the Tag Team series was abandoned.

It’s a real shame, because the two had great chemistry together in the pilot, the premise was solid for an action/comedy show, and would have probably drawn decent enough ratings to keep the 13 – episode first season on the air. Whether it would have been picked up beyond that is anyone’s guess, but I know one 13 year old who would have watched religiously.

Check out the pilot and see what YOU think.

Retro Round Table: Toys We Never Had

Toys We Never Had

It’s time once more for another Retro Round Table.  This time, my fellow Retro Knights have gathered around the table to talk about the cool old toys we always wanted by never had.  I like doing these round table discussions because I love to hear other people’s old memories just as much as I like sharing my own.

I’m joined again this week by Hoju Koolander of the SequelQuest Podcast, Jason Gross of Rediscover the 80’s, Spyda-Man from 20 Years Before 2000, and Eric Vardeman of Eric V Music and Retro Ramblings fame.  So let’s get into the discussion, and when you’re done reading, join the discussion in the comments by telling us what toy YOU always wanted but never had.  Also, if you ever had any of the the toys we mention here, we’d love to hear your thoughts and memories on them.  Let’s go!


X-Men Mutant Hall of Fame

As a kid, I was pretty moderate in my toy purchasing. I’d have a few He-Man figures, a single Visionaries knight and a couple of Food Fighters, but never put all my eggs into one toyline basket. Instead I made friends with “more fortunate” kids who had mountains of action figures and treated their homes as toy libraries. I’d spend an afternoon playing with Dino-Riders, move onto Police Academy figures and then throw a couple of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into the Sewer playset, it was heaven. Plus, if I waited long enough, I could always find somebody’s old toys at a garage sale cheap. That’s how I got the Real Ghostbusters Firehouse and even some G1 Transformers in the early 90s. As a result, I rarely had that feeling of disappointment that came from not getting any one toy. But if I had to pick one gaping hole in my childhood toy collection it would be the Toy Biz X-Men Mutant Hall of Fame collector’s set. I am fully aware that it was just 10 old figures (several of which I already owned) stuffed into a fancy new box, but the presentation was just so impressive. It gave new perceived value to these characters and I desperately wanted this displayed on my shelf. Sadly, I think the retail price at the time was like 50 bucks and there was no way I was talking my parents into forking over that much dough in a single shopping trip. So I just stared and dreamed. Today I can see it for the exploitative re-packaging trick it was, but at the time Toy Biz dangled a brightly colored molded plastic carrot in my face and I never got a bite.

– Hoju Koolander

You can follow along with all of Hoju’s retro shenanigans on his twitter feed, @hojukoolander, read a lot of his his fine writing on a variety of retro topics at Retro-Daze, keep up with him at PopGeeks, and listen to his awesomely fun pod cast at SequelQuest Podcast where he and his cohorts craft sequels that we never got to movies that we loved!  I highly recommend you stop back by here next week, as Hoju’s awesome review of the 80’s mat classic movie, Body Slam, drops as part of our Wrestlemania Week.


Transformers Soundwave

The first toy that popped into my head when this week’s topic was unveiled was Transformers Generation 1 Soundwave! I never owned this toy as a kid, but my neighbor did. I loved playing with it because not only was he a badass, Decepticon robot, but he was also a kickass Cassette Recorder! To a young boy in the 80’s those were 2 great things rolled into one amazing blue and chrome plastic package. I still remember the feel of pushing the eject button to reveal the deadly sidekick cassete robot he hid in his tape deck!  I do have to say that I did own 2 of those cassette tapes. We had Laserbeak and Ravage. They both were pretty awesome, but the lasting memory I have of those guys is when my teacher took Laserbeak away from me because I was playing with him while we were on a class trip to the local library. I was so upset, I could barely learn about the Dewey Decimal system! I still don’t understand it to this very day! Every now and then I find myself scrounging around Ebay looking for a Soundwave in solid condition, but the prices go fairly high on this toy. One of these days I’ll be able to grab one and add it to my collection, just not today.

– Spyda-Man

You can check out Spyda-Man’s retro home on the web at 20 Years Before 2000.  You can also follow him on twitter @20_Years_Before.


Huffy Bike

Mine isn’t exactly a toy, it’s a bike. Like every other boy in the 80’s, my main mode of transportation was a BMX bike. I rode a Huffy Pro Thunder. Jet black with yellow highlights and bright yellow rims that were made of actual lead. It was as heavy as a full grown grizzly bear and unwieldy as all get out. It had a coaster break (meaning you couldn’t pedal backwards) and no hand brakes. At that time, your bike was a sort of status symbol and Huffy was pretty much the bottom rung on the ladder. One of my best friends had a tricked out Kuwahara that was gorgeous and light but he came from money (whatever that meant in 1982 when I was twelve). A guy across town that I knew had a real life PK Ripper but he actually raced BMX bikes. I knew I’d never have either one of those.

Redline Bike

A little closer to earth and possibly my grasp, however, was the Redline 700. Oh she was gorgeous. As its name might suggest, the paint and rims were highlighted with red and the saddle and tires were red. In my daydreams, mine would also have Oakley III grips and a set of California Lite pads. All red, of course. Anytime we rode anywhere that had BMX magazines, I’d find pictures of it and drool. I actually rode one once at a local bike store. Somehow I talked the guy into letting me take it for a spin. It was light as a feather compare to my Huffy and, for a split second, I thought about riding off to Mexico with it never to be heard from again. Truth be told, it was out of my reach, monetarily, as well but that didn’t stop me from dreaming. I wonder what it was cost to build that bike now?

– Eric Vardeman

Give Eric a follow on Twitter at @Eric_Vardeman, and you can find his retro memories right here on Retro Ramblings!  His new weekly feature here on Retro Ramblings, Music Mondays, is awesome too.  He looks back at the songs gracing the Top 40 list from 35 years ago in 1983!  He’s also a talented singer/songwriter, and you should check out his music at EricVMusic


USS Flagg

I was pretty lucky as a ‘80s kid (some may say spoiled) to have several iconic toys. I mainly collected action figures and their vehicles/playsets. For instance, I had Castle Grayskull with several Masters of the Universe figures. Likewise, I had the Electronic Cat’s Lair and many Thundercats figures. I (still) have my diecast metal Voltron which I guarded from my friends like it was made of pure gold. I collected M.A.S.K., Rambo, The A-Team, Transformers, and Gobots. If I circled it in the Sears Wishbook, there was a good chance I was gonna see it under the Christmas that year.

Just based on cost and practical purposes (like most kids who lived in a normal size home), the one toy that eluded my collection was the G.I. Joe FLAGG aircraft carrier. I collected several Joes and vehicles like the Skystriker but the FLAGG always seemed out of reach. My childhood home did have a full basement and plenty of space for it but I’m not sure owning it just never seemed probable. This was still in a time when a good deal of playtime was outside so the FLAGG was easier to imagine during our army battles in the woods rather than owning and physically transporting the toy to friend’s houses. So while it would’ve been a dream come true to land my Skystriker on the FLAGG, I likely would’ve preferred as a kid to defend it with my plastic arsenal of weapons in my imagination.

– Jason Gross

Jason is the creative force behind Rediscover the 80’s and is always posting some of the best retro content you’ll find anywhere on the web.  His twitter feed is a heavenly slice of the 80’s, so you should give him a follow there at @rd80s.  He also hosts a fabulous podcast called, Memory Jogger, that you can find on iTunes and other fine podcasts sites.  He and I collaborated last year to compile out list of our ten favorite episodes of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.  Check out his five here, and then give my five favorites a look too!


Hit Stix

Now while I don’t remember very much about this toy, I DO remember being super pumped when I saw the commercials. The producers did a very good job at making these things sound incredible. Supposedly, you could walk around playing “air drums” but actually produce drum sounds. Pretty cool concept.

They were a combo of fluorescent orange and yellow, a pretty extreme and eye catching color coordination back in the early 90’s. Each stick had a thin cord running from it to a sound box that you wore on a belt. All you had to do was make a striking motion in the air like you would while playing actual drums, and the sticks registered this “hit”, and sent a signal to the sound box that emitted a sound as if you had just rapped a snare drum.

I wanted these things so much. I could lay around and daydream about being the coolest kid in school if I had those things. Walking through the halls, playing a radical solo, with lots of girls following me and talking about how cool I was. Sigh. It just wasn’t meant to be I guess.

– Retro Rambler

As you should probably know, you can find me and my memories right here on Retro Ramblings, but you can also follow me on twitter @yesterdayville, like my Facebook page, and now you can see some cool retro videos over on the official Retro Ramblings YouTube Channel!

Don’t forget to let us know what toy YOU wanted by never had, and if you had any of this cool stuff we just talked about, share your thoughts and memories with us in the comments section below!

 

A Brief History of Jolt Cola

Jolt Cola

Way back in 1985, a fellow by the name of CJ Rapp changed the soft industry for years to come with his special concoction that would come to be known as Jolt Cola.  A few years before that though, he was still a student in college.  While he was there, he noticed that his fellow students would mix all kinds of beverages to help them stay awake to finish term papers and study for exams.  So when he was able, he set out working on Jolt.

He eventually packed it with 72 milligrams of caffine…which is the maximum amount allowed by the FDA.  In the mid-80’s, while other soda makers were promoting the idea of “less is more”, and marketed their products with zero caffine or less caffine, sugar, and calories, Rapp made his reputation by going in the opposite direction.  Rapp promoted Jolt by emphasizing that it had twice the caffine found in his competitor’s drinks.  By emphasizing that difference, Rapp gave Jolt Cola high visibility, and it wasn’t long until it was featured on the David Letterman Show, Good Morning America, and CNN.  He even boldly put the difference right on the can with the slogan, “All the Sugar, Twice the Caffine!”.

In 1987, the company began marketing a new low calorie version of Jolt, and then later diversified the line to include new flavors like CHerry Bomb, Citrus Climax, Orange Blast, and more.  In 2005, they revamped the entire line, changed the logo, and even their cans.  Instead of the standard soda can, Jolt was suddenly available in a AA battery shaped, aluminum bottle.  It wasn’t very long after that that they rebranded themselves as an energy drink.  In 2009, Jolt Cola had to file for bankruptcy due to a dispute over pricing for their distinctive cans with their supplier.

But now it’s 2018, and Jolt Cola is again on the market!  Since it returned in August of 2017, it has only been available at Dollar General Stores, but it’s available in all of their stores nation-wide.  You can also pick up a 4-pack of 16 oz. cans on Amazon.  But how does this latest generation on Jolt Cola stack up to it’s predecessor?  Check out my review in the video below: