Category: Do You Remember

Howard Johnson’s Restaurants

To the road-weary traveler in the early days of the motor car, an orange-colored roof was the closest thing they would find to an oasis. What lie ahead was reliably good eats, and clean and comfortable lodging. For that trademark orange roof meant only one thing, Howard Johnson’s – and the founder of the company made sure his customers were pleased with their visit.

Howard Deering Johnson was born in Boston in 1897. He served in WWI and, upon his return, went into the ice cream business. His premium quality confection was sold at his store and at the local beaches and was a big enough hit that he eventually expanded to 28 flavors.

Eventually, he decided to offer regular food as well and soon opened another popular restaurant. The typical fare included hamburgers, hot dogs, fried fish, and turkey dinners. The formula worked, and as the 1940s approached, his franchise restaurants (a new concept in the industry) could be found all along the east coast. Then WWII arrived and business declined considerably, causing many of these establishments to close. Johnson would bounce back though.

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The Centurions (1986)

Centurions

A rarity in the action cartoon world, The Centurions had a brainy, independent female character as its lead. Inspired by her heroic father, Crystal Kane gathered together a band of computer-generated specialists to battle the megalomaniacal Dr. Terror, his sidekick Hacker, and his army of Doom Drones. Kane’s squad consisted of Jake Rockwell, Ace McCloud, Max Ray, Rex Charger, and John Thunder. The team also had a pair of animal mascots, Shadow the dog and Lucy the orangutan.

Putting the emphasis on sci-fi action, The Centurions always featured fast-paced battles, dogfighting vehicles, and cool gadgets. Crystal outfitted her team with super-powered “exoframes,” bodysuits geared up with helicopter parts, tank treads, deep-sea jet engines, and other useful tricks.

Each episode of The Centurions also included a short lesson about astronomy and space travel, presented in a 30-second blurb at the end of the episode. The show managed a respectable run in its original syndication, winning enough of a fan base to spark a revival on The Cartoon Network in the 1990s.


Looking at classic movies, toys, games, cartoons, and television shows that are still fondly remembered today.

Cloak and Dagger (1984)

Cloak & Dagger told the story of the little boy who cried, “Government spies are selling out the country and I have the video game to prove it!” In this loose reworking of 1949’s The Window (which was in turn based on a Cornell Woolrich short story), an eleven-year-old boy with a vivid imagination got himself into more trouble than he could’ve imagined.

Davey Osborne is the tale-spinning son of widowed military officer Hal Osborne. When Davey gets handed a special copy of the video game Cloak & Dagger by a dying spy, he discovers a plot to sell vital U.S. secrets to enemies abroad. But who’ll believe him? No one, it seems, as Hal and the other adults think it’s simply another case of Davey’s overactive imagination.

Davey’s imaginary hero, Jack Flack, shows up to lend a hand, but he can only carry the boy so far. Once reality sets in, it’s up to Davey’s natural ingenuity and determination to get himself and his friends out of the villains’ clutches.

Henry Thomas, fresh off his starring role in the megablockbuster E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, starred as Davey, and Dabney Coleman played the dual role of Hal Osborne and Jack Flack. Along with Tron and WarGamesCloak & Dagger was one of the first Hollywood films to acknowledge the growing popularity of video games. But more importantly to its young fans, the movie acknowledged an older and greater truth: nobody ever listens to kids, even when murderous double agents really are out to kill them.


Looking at classic movies, toys, games, cartoons, and television shows that are still fondly remembered today.

M.U.S.C.L.E. Men Toys

M.U.S.C.L.E. Men started out as a manga comic in the late seventies in Japan called Kinnikuman. It proved to be so popular, that an anime series of it was adapted and ran from 1983 – 1986, and focused around an intergalactic form of professional wrestling. Toy company Bandai quickly started producing the little two-inch figures as the show’s popularity soared. And like so many other things, when it became popular there, toy companies in the United States took notice, and Mattel launched its own line of the little pink warriors. Since the name Kinnikuman translates to “Muscle Man”, Mattel named the line M.U.S.C.L.E., as an acronym that stood for “Millions of Unusual Creatures Lurking Everywhere”. M.U.S.C.L.E. Men were produced from late 1985 – 1988 before finally fading from store shelves. Although their popularity was short-lived, it was impressive, as M.U.S.C.L.E. was listed as one of the 10 Best Selling Toys of 1986. 

The little pink M.U.S.C.L.E. warriors were not really posable in any way and were so small that you couldn’t really do much with them. But the fact that they came in multi-packs, and that they were marketed as “wrestlers” was enough to hook me initially. It was intriguing to see who would win in a fight between someone with a motorcycle for a body or a human with a ripped body and the head of a wild boar. Of course, who won that battle was up to the kid in control of the action. That is until the Hard Knockin’ Rockin’ Ring Wrestling Arena came on the market. 

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