Category: Retro Roundtable

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.

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!

 

Retro Round Table: Favorite 80’s Movies

We’re back once again for another Retro Round Table!  This time, we’re talking about our favorite movies from the 80’s.  There were a lot of memorable movies in the 80’s, and we are all nostalgic about one or more of them.  While I am more fond of old television shows from the 80’s, I do have a favorite movie from that decade too, and so do my friends, so I invited them over once again to share their memories as well.  I’m joined today as usual by Hoju Koolander from the SequelQuest Podcast, Jason Gross from Rediscover the 80’s, Eric Vardeman from Eric V Music, and new to the round table starting this week, we welcome in Spyda-Man from the great retro blog, 20 Years Before 2000!  Let’s get to it and see what movies we all loved!


Fletch
This was like asking me my favorite album! So MANY to choose from. However, if I have to pick one…it’s Fletch.
So quotable. So hilarious. It’s Chevy Chase at his literal peak. In the four years leading up to this, he’d done Caddyshack, Seems Like Old Times, Under The Rainbow, Modern Problems and Vacation. All quality comedies. After this, though, all you have is Spies Like Us and Three Amigos. My high school buddies and I watched this movie again and again and again. And quoted it just as much. I’m 48 now and STILL quote it.
Go read through these quotes and you’ll remember: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089155/quotes

– 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


Goonies

My favorite movie from the 80’s has to be The Goonies! Not only is it my fave 80’s flick, but possibly my favorite movie of all time! I never actually did see The Goonies when it was released to theaters in 1985, but when it hit the VHS market a few months later it became a staple at sleepovers and parties. The main reason why I love this movie so much was because the story and relatable characters from The Goonies captured mine and my childhood friends imaginations. I mean, we planned entire weekends around attempts to recreate the epic story of Mikey and The Goonies’ quest for treasure to save the Goondocks! I even tried to come up with my own inventions to help us on our crazy adventures just like Data. You know, in case some devious ex-cons tried to stop us. The best Goonie idea I came up with was hiding the netting that held our Christmas Tree to the top of our car, up my coat sleeve. It was supposed to eject out in a flurry of awesomeness and wrap up anyone who stood in our way, but mostly it just caused my arm to get itchy. Nothing we ever did compared to the hunt for One-Eyed Willie’s riches, but we had a whole lot of fun trying. The closest we came was finding my brother’s collection of fools gold in his desk drawer. The Goonies was not just a movie to us, but it became a part of our lives and I will never forget the great memories The Goonies added to my childhood.

– 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.


Troop Beverly Hills

There are so many movie icons of the 80s to choose from when considering my favorite film of the decade. Heroes like Rambo or Batman, funny fellas like the Ghostbusters or Bill and Ted, but in my heart I know the top spot goes to Phyllis Nefler and her pack of spoiled rich girls in 1989’s Troop Beverly Hills. Oh, how I LOVE this movie, let me count the ways. First off the film features so many familiar 80’s sitcom stars including Shelley Long from Cheers, Craig T Nelson from Coach, Emily Schulman from Small Wonder, Ami Foster from Punky Brewster, Audra Lindley aka Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company and Tori Spelling from Beverly Hills, 90210 to name a few.Then there’s the fact that I grew up in a fairly affluent part of Southern California where I observed this life of privilege firsthand and totally knew ridiculous kids and parents like this. Oh and did you know that the animated opening title sequence was produced by John K, creator of the infamous Nicktoon, Ren and Stimpy? Plus, you gotta love the theatrics of selling girl scout cookies by holding a celebrity fashion show and performing a Tina Turner style pop song. Finally, Shelley Long totally reminds me of my own Mom when she took on the role of Cub Scout Den Mother for me and my friends the year this movie came out. Endlessly sweet, fun, fashionable and a little dingy, my mom IS Phyllis Nefler. I still own the VHS copy of Troop Beverly Hills we bought from our local video store, despite now owning the film on Blu-Ray and treasure it like a family heirloom. Beverly Hills what a thrill!

– 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!  Be sure to check out his latest piece over at Retro-Daze, Retro Magazine Round-Up: Black Belt!  Oh, and one more thing….stay tuned to Retro Ramblings, as Mr. Koolander has another fun movie review coming up soon as part of our Wrestlemania week.


Ghostbusters

So difficult to pick just one as my favorite. However, I will choose one that I’ve passed along to my kids. Ghostbusters was so impactful for my 8-year old brain in 1984. I don’t remember if it was the first movie I saw in the theater but judging the evidence, it was clearly my favorite as a kid. I remember spinning the 45 record single of Ray Parker Jr.’s theme at my birthday party that year as we played musical chairs. I received a light blue sweatshirt for Christmas with the iconic logo and the words “Back Off Man, I’m a Ghostbuster!” I remember eating the cereal with the glow-in-the-dark box and watching The Real Ghostbusters (and Filmation Ghostbusters) cartoon. And when Ghostbusters II came out, it impacted me all over again except this time it was Bobby Brown’s “On Our Own” on cassingle.

Ghostbusters has so many memorable scenes, quotable lines, and just something for everyone. There’s horror, comedy, romance, and adventure all in one film topped off with one of the coolest cars in cinematic history. I’ve seen the original film twice when it was re-released in theaters. On the 30th anniversary, I took my oldest son who was 9 at the time. He loved it. Probably not as much as I did when I was his age but he still saw why I’ve clung to it all these years. And now, the evidence is overwhelming. Just this month the film has come to Netflix and he initiated a viewing on his own. While many can’t get past the technology and fashion in ‘80s films, Ghostbusters is one of a select few that is truly transcendent among generations.

– 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 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!


Karate Kid

I started out thinking this was a very hard topic to narrow down to just one pick, but it didn’t take very long for me to realize that the honor of my favorite movie from the 80’s gets bestowed on The Karate Kid.  I fell in love with the very first time I saw it.  Back in the days before my family had a VCR, my cousin Tim and his family had one.  They lived beside us, and my uncle Ernest would go to the new movie rental store in town and pick up a movie most summer days, and during the hottest part of the afternoon, we would settle down in his living room and watch a flick.

Tim and I weren’t the only two kids who loved The Karate Kid.  When we got back to school that August, all of our friends were imitating the crane kick, and the movie was our main topic of conversation for a long time.  But it was more than just the crane kick.  It was the “wax on, wax off” scene, and all the fights Daniel had with the Cobra Kai gang before the All Valley tournament.  Heck, it even inspired many of my friends to join the local karate class.  The closest I got to that was the set of Karate Kid pajamas I had back then.

– Retro Rambler

Of course you can follow along with me here on Retro Ramblings, but you can follow me on twitter @yesterdayville, and like my Facebook page.

Retro Round Table: Foods We Miss

It’s time once again for another Retro Round Table!  This time, we’re talking about our most missed foods from day’s gone by.  There have been a lot of fast food choices and snacks that have come and gone over the years, and we are all nostalgic about one or more of them.  I write all the time about foods I miss, and could do an entire list by myself.  But there’s more than just me in this world that miss these great old snacks, so once again I invited some friend to share their memories too.  I’m joined today as usual by Hoju Koolander from the SequelQuest Podcast, Jason Gross from Rediscover the 80’s, Eric Vardeman from Eric V Music, and new to the round table starting this week, we welcome in Spyda-Man from the great retro blog, 20 Years Before 2000!  Let’s get to it and see what we miss!


Crunch Tators

The retro food I miss most has to be Crunch Tators by Frito Lays. They were hot and spicy potato chips with a really hard crunch and were available in the late 80’s and early 90’s. There was an alligator on the front of the bag for some odd reason that I could never figure out and they came in two flavors: “Hoppin’ Jalapeno” and “Mighty Mesquite BBQ”. They remind me of my freshman and sophomore years of college. Ate ’em all the time.
Incidentally, A bag of the “Mighty Mesquite BBQ” flavor chips can be seen in Home Alone (probably my all time favorite Christmas movie) in the scene where Kevin is watching Angels with Filthy Souls and eating a rather large ice cream sundae.
– 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

McJordan Special

Let me set the stage for you…The year was 1992 and The Dream Team was taking the world by storm in Barcelona, the Chicago Bulls were coming off their second consecutive NBA championship and Michael Jordan was the biggest sports figure in the universe! Jordan’s celebrity led to endorsement deals including everything from NIKE to Gatorade to McDonalds! Not one to pass on a cash grab, McDonalds created the McJordan Special burger in his Airness’s honor! This exquisite burger consisted of a quarter pound beef patty, cheese, onions, pickles, bacon and a special BBQ sauce! Jugs of this limited-edition BBQ sauce show up on eBay from time to time, but you’ll have to spend a few grand to grab one. Why did I choose this particular burger? Because in the summer of ’92 my family vacationed in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We drove from Jersey to NC and along the way we stopped at numerous McDonalds restaurants not only to get a taste of the limited edition McJordan Special, but to collect the Dream Team collectors cups you would get with every meal order! We ended up collecting the whole set and I still drink from them every now and then and when I do it reminds me of the tangy, bacony goodness that was born in the early 90s to capitalize off the greatest basketball player of all-time, Mr. Michael Jeffrey Jordan!

– 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.


Slice

Since we’ve had several drinks resurrected in the past two years, I’m longing for another soda I remember from my childhood, Slice. Technically, Pepsi has only discontinued Slice in the past decade after a failed attempt in diet soda market. Of course, Sierra Mist and even Tropicana has taken over Slice flavors from PepsiCo over the years but we’ve never seen the full line of flavors I remember in the ’80s.

With successful comebacks of Ecto Cooler, New York Seltzer, Jolt Cola, Surge, and Crystal Pepsi over the last couple years, now is the time for a Slice revival. Give us some of the traditional flavors like Apple Slice, Mandarin Orange Slice, Pineapple Slice, Fruit Punch Slice. If you need to add more than 10% juice it had back in the day to satisfy the health nuts, that’s fine. But if we get the Slice back, please give me the commercials with fruit being launched into streams of water.

– 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 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!


Fruit Swirl Bars

While many of my favorite childhood flavors like the spicy crunch of Keebler’s Pizzarias have been lost to the ages, there is one combination of fruit flavor and texture that I miss above all others. Coming out of the fruit roll-up craze of the mid-80’s that gave us bizarre variations like Pudding Roll-Ups, Fruit Swirl Bars by Fruit Corners were a delicious anomaly that I’ll never forget. Imagine a lab experiment gone horribly wrong as a mad food scientist tried to combine the dimensions of a granola bar with the sticky sweetness of fruit roll-ups, then dropped a few yogurt covered Sunkist Fun Fruits Creme Supremes into the mix. The results were a deliciously gooey monstrosity that could barely hold it’s form, yet terrorized our tongues in the very best way with a burst of tangy fruit flavor that was mellowed out by the stripes of vanilla cream running throughout. For the short time they were available, these were my go-to pre-school lunch treat and I can’t believe there has never been an off-brand revival of the recipe available at questionable gas stations nationwide. I recently found a commercial for Fruit Swirl Bars on one of my old Saturday Morning VHS tapes so you can enjoy the celebration of this delicious snack in live action here

– 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!  Be sure to check out his latest piece over at Retro-Daze, Retro Magazine Round-Up: Black Belt! 


Russet Valley Potato Chips

Man I miss a lot of old foods.  Most of the foods I miss don’t really pertain to the taste as much and the nostalgic memories surrounding them.  I could name any number of items as my choice, but for today, I’m really missing the old Eagle Snacks Russet Valley Potato Chips.  Way back in 1979, Anheuser-Busch launched a line of salty snacks to go along with the beer called Eagle Snacks.  One of the snacks they rolled out with was Russet Valley Potato Chips.  They were a kettle cooked chip, and used russet potatoes instead of the more traditional new white potatoes for making their chips.  This gave the chips a distinctive dark color and an amazing taste.

I still remember the first time I ever tried them.  My brother brought home a large metal can adorned with the Anheuser-Busch logo, and inside were two bags of these glorious chips.  From the first one I out in my mouth, I was hooked.  We ate so many bags of those chips in the late 80’s that I started growing potato eyes all over my body.  Sadly, they went away in the early 90’s.  It was years before I found a substitute.  Now while not quite as good as the Russet Valley chips, Cape Cod brand makes a dark russet potato chip that is pretty dang swank.

– Retro Rambler

Of course you can follow along with me here on Retro Ramblings, but you can follow me on twitter @yesterdayville, and like my Facebook page.


Well that does it for our opinions on the matter.  But what about YOU?  What old food or snack do you miss?  Join in on the conversation by leaving your opinion in the comments section below.

Retro Round Table: Favorite TV Shows of the 90’s

90's TV Shows

It’s time once again for another Retro Round Table, and this time, we’re talking about our favorite television shows from the 90’s.  The 90’s was a great decade for fun shows.  It seems to me that there were more good comedies and quirky shows than serious ones, but that’s why we do these round tables…to get more than my own opinion.  I’m joined today as usual by Hoju Koolander from the SequelQuest Podcast, Jason Gross from Rediscover the 80’s, Eric Vardeman from Eric V Music, and this week

So let’s get to it, and see what everyone picked as their favorite television show of the 90’s…..


Dana Carvey Show

There is no doubt about it, I watched way too much TV from 1990-1999. Not only did I watch too much TV live, I was recording it on VHS and re-watching these programs over and over again. So much so that at multiple times I burned out the family VCR. Most likely due to TV overload, I pretty much stopped watching network TV once the world survived Y2K and the last 18 years have been a blur. So what was my favorite boob tube experience from the decade where Urkel and Baywatch reigned supreme? Based solely on laughs that have lasted a lifetime, I would have to go with the short-lived prime time kamikaze mission The Dana Carvey Show. After winning our hearts as the nerdy sidekick, Garth in Wayne’s World, Dana Carvey somehow landed a 30 minute sketch comedy show on the ABC network in 1996 that aired after wholesome family sitcom Home Improvement. When I tuned into the cold open sketch where he appeared as President Bill Clinton addressing the nation from the oval office, my mind was blown as Carvey had live puppies suckle from multiple lactating nipples and this shocking bit of comedy instantly gained my loyalty. Each week pushed more boundaries of good taste and it’s no surprise that the show was cancelled after 8 episodes. Since our VCR was broken I had to record the shows on audio cassette, adding my own laugh track as I watched the hilarity unfold in sketches like Oscars Best Foreign Film Award and Nightline with Bob Dole. For years I cherished those tapes until the glorious day when Shout! Factory finally released the entire series on DVD in 2009. Those infamous 8 episodes are the absolute highlight of my 90s TV watching experience and no doubt shaped the warped sense of humor that has my wife rolling her eyes on a daily basis.

– 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!  Be sure to check out his latest piece over at Retro-Daze, Retro Magazine Round: Black Belt! 

Continue reading “Retro Round Table: Favorite TV Shows of the 90’s”

Retro Round Table: Top 5 Albums of the 80’s

 

We’re back once again for another Top 5, and this time, we’re talking about something retro lovers universally love, 80’s music!  The music from the 80’s is one thing most nostalgiac folks look back on fondly, and we all have a different take on what the best from that decade was.  Now since everyone has such varying tastes, presenting a list of just my favorite five albums may not be too interesting, I’ve brought in an esteemed panel to widen the choices a little.  As usual, this list is a Top 5, but each pick tops the list for each of these contributors.

On the panel this week we have Eric Vardeman from EricVMusic.com, Jason Gross of Rediscover the 80’s, Scott Keith from Scott’s Blog of Doom, Hoju Koolander from the Sequel Quest Podcast, and myself, The Retro Rambler.  Let’s see what we’ve picked as the top of the 80’s music scene……


Raising Hell

Raising Hell from Run DMC

While there are too many albums I adore to choose an absolute favorite, I’ll choose the one I remember collecting first as a kid. MTV pretty much introduced me to rap and hip hop music and it dominated my collection up through the early 90s. One song in particular, “Walk This Way, by Run-DMC and Aerosmith, had just about everything I loved in music at the time. And the antics of the music video beginning as battle of the bands and ending in a perfect mashup of rock and rap made the song perfect for my young ears.

A neighborhood friend (or maybe his older sister) had Run-DMC’s album “Raising Hell” with my favorite song and it quickly became one I needed to own. Up to this point, I had only collected 45 records thanks to my mother’s ear for Top 40. But one fateful day visiting the record store in the local mall changed my collecting habits and I bought “Raising Hell” on cassette. Side A was primarily what I listened to which included “Walk This Way”, but also tracks I’ve grown to love like “Peter Piper”, “It’s Tricky”, and “My Adidas”. On Side B, “You Be Illin” was by far my favorite with its hilariously woven lyrics and Jam Master Jay’s mix with that horn section riff. “Raising Hell” remains one of my favorite ‘80s albums to this day and truly defines what I believe was the most diverse decade for popular music.

– 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 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!

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Retro Round Table: Top 5 Retro Crushes

Retro crushes

 

It’s time once again for another Top 5 list, and since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, this week we are looking back at our Top 5 Retro Crushes!  Once again, you not only get my opinion, but the opinions of several other retro luminaries from around the web.  On the esteemed panel this week we have Hoju Koolander of the SequelQuest Podcast, Jason Gross from Rediscover the 80’s, Eric Vardeman from right here at Retro Ramblings as well as Eric V Music, and first-timer Jannet Hadden from Eighties Grooves!  And as always, I’m your host with the most, The Retro Rambler.  Let’s get to the list and see who was crushing on who back in the day…..


Carolyne Heldman

Carolyne Heldman

Biggest crush? If we’re talking junior high, might have to say Mary Lou Retton. I fell head over heels for that little spitfire during the ’84 Olympic games. She may very well be what lit the spark that is now my undying love for the Olympics. Overall, though, I’d have to say my biggest crush from the 80’s was MTV’s Carolyne Heldman. She was on from 1986-88 and was part of the second wave of VJ’s to hit the air. She was typically on in the mid afternoon just about I was getting out of school. I even remember the first video I saw her intro. It was Kyrie by Mr. Mister. BAM…I was smitten. I don’t know if it was the big hair or the fact that she resembled my high school crush but I would sit through video after video just to catch her in between. Carolyne Heldman, ladies and gentlemen:  https://youtu.be/jJjSj_kKlx0

– Eric Vardeman

Give Eric a follow on Twitter at @Eric_Vardeman, and you can find his retro memories right here on Retro Ramblings!  His article on being a music pirate back in the day is a great look back at the 80’s.  He’s also a talented singer/songwriter, and you should check out his music at EricVMusic.  Definitely check out his cover of King of Wishful Thinking while you’re there.  It’s excellent.


 

Rick Springfield
Rick Springfield

You could say that the summer of 1981 was the summer of Rick Springfield. He played hot new doctor Noah Drake on the popular soap opera General Hospital, and his single Jessie’s Girl, from his fifth studio album Working Class Dog, was climbing up the Billboard Hot 100, eventually reaching No. 1 that August. For a boy crazy girl like myself, it was the perfect storm for a full-blown celebrity crush. I would rush home every day to make sure I was in front of the TV at promptly 3 p.m. for the next episode of GH, just so I could swoon over the playboy doc. And all of my allowance money was spent on Rick’s records and issues of magazines like Tiger Beat with his face plastered on the cover.

Years later, in 2010, I was lucky enough to meet my long-time crush while he was promoting his autobiography, Late, Late at Night. He was very nice in person and, aside from the fact that I had trouble forming complete sentences and he didn’t whisk me off to a private island, it was everything the 80s me would have wanted.

– Janet Hadden

You can keep up with Janet, and all her of her great takes on music from the 80’s on her home on the web, Eighties Grooves.  Also, follow her on Twitter @80sgrooves.


Continue reading “Retro Round Table: Top 5 Retro Crushes”