Category: Do You Remember?

Welcome to Spooktober 2018!

Retro Halloween

 

With the exception of that traditional eve when jolly St. Nick visits the chimneys of the world, there is perhaps no holiday quite as beloved, or more anticipated by kids than Halloween, the last day in October that we have long set aside as an evening to congregate in costume and perhaps even scare ourselves silly. It is a time of ghouls and goblins, of witches and black cats, of costume parties and grinning pumpkins. And, if that wasn’t enough, every kid knows that it is the one night when it is perfectly acceptable to beg door-to-door for candy. Now, that’s a holiday!

The origins of Halloween trace back centuries, a mixture of Roman and Celtic customs that celebrated the transition from fall into winter. Trick or treating may be traced as far back as the Middle Ages, when it was called “souling”. Poor folks went from door to door, saying prayers for the dead and, in return, received a few scraps of food. In Scotland, they called it “guising” where participants would hollow out turnips, turn them into lanterns and carry them from door to door. For their efforts, they might receive money, cakes or perhaps some fruit. That sounds nice, but it took some American ingenuity to create the confection-heavy version we’ve come to know and love.

The trick or treating we are now accustomed to started in the 30s, then was brought to a grinding halt when sugar rations became necessary during WWII. Shortly after the war ended, however, children’s magazines like Jack and Jill began promoting the practice again, as did the Peanuts comic strip, and even Walt Disney, who released the classic cartoon, “Trick or Treat,” in 1952.

 

 

Kids have been banging on doors ever since, begging for treats, and if denied, perfectly willing to exact revenge via mischievous pranks. Hell hath no scorn like a kid deprived of candy. Most pranks involved such household items as eggs, toilet paper, shaving cream and soap. You can use your imagination, but let’s just say that they were often used in ways in which they weren’t intended. And, of course, the granddaddy of pranks was the smashing of some poor soul’s pumpkin (there’s a band name in there somewhere) on the pavement.

 

Ben Cooper Costumes

 

Perhaps the most important decision to make prior to the arrival of Halloween was the choice of costume. Whether trick or treating or going to a party, a costume was a must. Perhaps as a small child, you picked out a Ben Cooper costume at the store, complete with vinyl smock and sharp plastic mask. Or, maybe you made your own (hobo, anyone?). Two holes poked into a sheet and you had an instant (and inexpensive) ghost. More enterprising youngsters even employed the two-costume technique, where you canvased the entire area for candy, then switched costumes and hit it again.

 

Halloween Sunset

 

When the sun finally set on Halloween, most of us began walking the streets, trusty plastic jack o’ lantern or pillowcase in hand, ready to collect Smarties, candy corn, Dum Dum Pops and an assortment of miniature candy bars. We took our hard earned bounty home and dumped it on the counter so our parents could inspect it closely. Thanks to some pesky (and mostly unfounded rumors) many of us (or at least our parents) believed that there just might be a razor blade, needle or poison lurking in that inviting pile of confections. We waited not-so-patiently for mom or dad to give their candy clearance, and then it was ours to do with as we pleased (in most cases, at least). Some kids would eat only a few pieces each day, while others polished off all the good stuff within the first 24 hours. You also might have had to guard your candy from the likes of larcenous siblings, or a even a sneaky parent with a sweet tooth.

Once kids began to outgrow trick or treating, of course, parties began to take precedence. Still costume clad, kids gathered to dance to The Monster Mash, eat creepy looking food, watch scary movies, and thrust their faces into metal tins of water, in the hopes of grasping a bobbing apple in their teeth. And if you didn’t have a party to go to, you could always go out and try to scare the crap out of the younger trick or treaters. There was always something for a kid to do on Halloween.

But why let the fun and memories be confined to just one night?  Well, you don’t have to.  We’re here to help you get your spooky retro groove on all month long!  Each and every day from now until Halloween, stop back by here at Retro Ramblings for a different “Halloween treat” to bring back those old memories.  Let Retro Rambling’s Spooktober 2018 begin!

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to Me on Banzai Retro Club’s Podcast on Old Trading Cards

Recently I had the opportunity to sit in with Dave on an episode of his Banzai Retro Club Podcast to talk about old non-sports trading cards.  As you know, I’m a big fan of old cards, so I was ecstatic when I got the invite.  We spend well over an hour discussing everything from Marvel Universe cards to New Kids on the Block cards, and all the way back to Smurfs Super Cards.  There’s a lot of fun talk and plenty of informative discussion that you’ll get a lot of enjoyment from if you ever collected any kind of cards.  Check it out by clicking on the graphic below.

Then head on over to my Twitter page to enter the contest we mention on the show where YOU can win a grab bag full of old unopened packs of cards!  Just head over to @yesterdayville for all the details.

Music Monday – Week of July 16th

 

Music Monday

US Top 40 Singles for the Week Ending July 16th, 1983

Here’s what’s going on this week on the Top 40 chart…

    • The Police sit at #1 for the second week in a row with “Every Breath You Take”. It’s going to stay there till September.
    • Michael Jackson slips back into the top 5 again. For most of the year, his songs will keep meeting each other coming and going up and down the chart.
    • Def Leppard is steadily climbing the charts with “Rock of Ages”. It has one of the most recognizable intro’s of any song in the 80’s: “Gunter glieben glauten globen” spoken in a comical, quasi-German accent. While the band’s members have joked about the phrase meaning, “Running through the forest silently,” it actually is just plain nonsense, spoken by producer Mutt Lange, used in place of the usual “One, two, three, four” beat count.
    • “White Wedding” by Billy Idol falls out of the countdown after peaking at #36. For one of the most recognizable songs to come out of the 80’s, it barely cracked the Top 40.

Do You Remember the Cups That Came in Packages of Oatmeal?

Oatmeal Cups

So here is another from the “do you remember?” category….plastic cups that came in boxes of oatmeal.  For years upon years, I never knew this was a thing.  Mainly because I was never around when my Mom opened the new boxes of oatmeal, and also probably because we didn’t buy the brands of oatmeal that was still doing this in the 80’s.

But even though I was totally unaware of this being a thing, I knew all about the cups, and they were favorites of mine.  How is this possible you may be asking, but sit tight and I’ll tell you how I could be at both ends of the spectrum at the same time.

My grandmother on my Mom’s side had a lot of grandkids.  18 of us to be exact, and more times than not, there would be at least 5 or 6 at her house at any given time.  As kids do, one would get thirsty, and so that meant all of us were thirsty, because Lord forbid if one of us was getting something the others weren’t.  So off the kitchen we would go, and we all knew which glasses were for us grandkids to use.  The plastic tumblers in shades of blue, green, yellow, pink, and clear.

Continue reading “Do You Remember the Cups That Came in Packages of Oatmeal?”

Music Monday – Week of July 2nd

 

Music Monday

US Top 40 Singles for the Week Ending July 2nd, 1983

Here’s what’s going on this week on the Top 40 chart…

    • For the sixth week, Irene Cara is still holding on at #1 with “Flashdance”.
    • Michael Jackson’s fourth single from the Thriller album, “Wanna Be Startin’ Something”, enters the top ten. It’s a song that was originally written and recorded for his “Off The Wall” album but didn’t make the cut. It was rerecorded for “Thriller” which explains why it sounds a little out of place with the rest of the Thriller album. Unlike Thriller’s previous singles, this one didn’t not have a video.
    • The Human League, Loverboy and Michael Sembello all enter the charts this week. The Hollies also enter the charts this week with an updated version of “Stop In the Name of Love”.

Music Monday – Week of May 14th

 

Music Monday

 

US Top 40 Singles for the Week Ending May 14th, 1983

This is the last week at #1 for “Beat It” and, despite the enormous success of the album, this is Michael Jackson’s last number one song from the Thriller album. He’ll release four more singles that will all reach the top 10 but none will reach #1. INXS appears on the charts for the very first time with their single “The One Thing” (probably my favorite INXS song). This is also ZZ Top’s first peek inside the top 40 since “Tush” peaked at #20 in 1975.

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.