Category: Friday Five

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: 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!

Continue reading “Retro Round Table: Top 5 Albums of the 80’s”

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”

Retro Round Table: Favorite Stores at the Mall

 

You may have noticed that the Top 5 Tuesday post was missing earlier this week.  Well, that’s because it’s moving to Fridays now!  And no longer are you stuck with just MY opinion.  Oh no, now you get a variety of opinions on whatever subject comes up for the week, as I’m being joined this week by several luminaries from the online retro community as they share their take and memories of their favorite stores at the mall back in the day.  These guys took some time out of their already busy schedules to join me, so make them feel welcome and appreciated by visiting them at their own establishments.  You’ll surely find plenty to enjoy at their places too.  And, don’t let our five opinions be all that is shared.  Down there in the comments at the bottom, let me know what YOUR favorite store was at the mall in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s too.


 

Warner Brothers Store

Warner Brothers Store

There’s only one establishment that comes to mind when I think of mall stores that mattered to me in my childhood and that’s the Warner Bros Studio Store. Sure there were lots of Tasmanian Devil shirts and Bugs Bunny mugs on the shelves, but it was so much more than that. In the center of the store was a Marvin The Martian spaceship playhouse with built-in TV screens playing old Looney Tunes shorts, as well as an animation cel studio where you could buy actual framed art from Animaniacs or Batman: The Animated Series for outrageous prices.
Most important of all was that in the wake of the Bat-Mania brought about by Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 these stores were filled with DC Superheroes merchandise you couldn’t find anywhere else. But I rarely bought anything, I was just there to stare at the decor. On the ledge of one wall made up to look like the Daily Planet they had life-size statues of the Justice League which made me long for live action movies that were as comics accurate as those 3-D sculptures. That made the WB Studio Store was my number 1 stop for any trip to the mall.
– 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 podquest at SequelQuest Podcast!  And if you haven’t seen it, check out Hoju’s very cool Review of Grunt! The Wrestling Movie right here on Retro Ramblings.


 

Aladdins Castle

Aladdin’s Castle Arcade

I spent many, many hours at the mall when I was in junior high and high school so this was hard to narrow down. Waldenbooks? When I was in junior high, my friends and I would go in there just to read the dirty joke books. Later on, I’d go in there to read the music rags. Corndog 7? I could score free food but not technically a store. The Brass Buckle? I didn’t go in there to shop so much as I went in there because the girl I had a crush on worked there. Hastings Records and Tapes? Bins right down the middle of the store full of LP’s. Walls lined with tape cubbies. Poster racks in the back. “Now Playing” album rack hanging on the wall by the cash register. I used to love to thumb through the heavy metal albums just to see how weird they were. But I digress. I’d have say my absolute favorite was Aladdin’s Castle. Although not technically a store, I did spend many a hard earned dollar there. I spent more time in that establishment than anywhere else in the mall. Every trip would start and end there. Like a heroin addict, getting a fix before I walked the mall then back later for more. Before you could drive, your parents dropped you off and picked you up there. If you’ve seen the arcade scenes in Stranger Things season two then you’ve seen me.

– 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.  I highly recommend his version of I’m on Fire made famous by Bruce Springsteen.

Continue reading “Retro Round Table: Favorite Stores at the Mall”

Top 5: Favorite Action Figures

 

Each Tuesday I do a quick “Top 5” list, and instead of doing some kind of big write up, I do it in pictures instead.  I’d love to see others join in the fun as well and chime in on the same topic on your own site, social channel, Instagram, podcast, or wherever you share your opinions online.  I’ll be posting under the tag #Top 5, so if you do the same we can all see everyone else’s list.

This week, it’s my Top 5 Favorite Action Figures.  Let’s go to the list…..

 

Snow Job

Snow Job from the G.I. Joe A Real American Hero Line

With the skis, Snow Job was one of the most played with action figures I owned.  I killed many a snow day out of school going on special missions with Snow Job.

 

Jitsu

Jitsu from Masters of the Universe

While others may have other MOTU figures they were more fond of, but there was just something about Jitsu that struck my fancy.  That deadly golden karate chopping right hand of his made for a fearsome foe for He-Man in my world.

Continue reading “Top 5: Favorite Action Figures”

Top 5: Retro Modes of Transportation

 

Each Tuesday I do a quick “Top 5” list, and instead of doing some kind of big write up, I do it in pictures instead.  I’d love to see others join in the fun as well and chime in on the same topic on your own site, social channel, Instagram, podcast, or wherever you share your opinions online.  I’ll be posting under the tag #Top 5, so if you do the same we can all see everyone else’s list.

This week, it’s my Top 5 Favorite Retro Modes of Transportation.  Let’s go to the list…..

 

Flying Delorean

Flying Delorean

What is cooler than a car that can fly, AND take you anywhere in time you want to go.  This is easily #1 on this list.

 

KITT

K.I.T.T.

Here is another cool car.  This one with weapons and A.I., and a sense of humor.  Plus, it’s a pretty sweet looking ride!

 

A-Team Van

A-Team Van

That is one bad-ass ride!  Vans have fallen out of favor in the last 20 years, but I would still roll in one today if it looked like that.

 

BJ and the Bear Big Rig

This one hung around the top of my list for a few years when I was a kid.  Well, this, and the General Lee.  I had a Matchbox set of this rig and played with it daily.

 

General Lee Power Cycle

 

General Lee Big Wheel

If it were still an acceptable mode of transport, I’d ride it to work everyday.

 

So what about you? What were some of YOUR favorite modes of transportation from the past?   If you don’t want to jump in fully on social media, then chime in in the comments section below.  I want to see what fads you were really into too!

 

Others playing along this week in the Top 5 Tuesday

Real Weegie Midget
Banzai Retro Club

 

More Top 5’s | Fads I Was Into | Favorite Happy Meal Toys |

 

Top 5: Favorite Happy Meal Toys

 

Each Tuesday I do a quick “Top 5” list, and instead of doing some kind of big write up, I do it in pictures instead.  I’d love to see others join in the fun as well and chime in on the same topic on your own site, social channel, Instagram, podcast, or wherever you share your opinions online.  I’ll be posting under the tag #Top 5, so if you do the same we can all see everyone else’s list.

This week, it’s my Top 5 Favorite Happy Meal Toys.  Let’s go to the list…..

 

Dukes of Hazzard Happy Meal

Duke of Hazzard Vacuform Containers

These hit McDonald’s in 1982, and with their plastic bodies, the boxes were great for crashing into each other while re-creating scenes from the show.

 

Construx Happy Meal

Construx Action Building System

I absolutely loved Construx toys, and certainly didn’t miss out on the free sets when they were in the Happy Meals in 1986.

 

Berenstain Bears Happy Meal

Berenstain Bears Toys

In 1987, I was all in on the Berenstain Bear books and the cartoon that was on Saturday mornings at the time, so these were a natural fit for me.  These were probably the Happy Meal toys that I anticipated more than any other.

 

Halloween Happy Meal

Halloween Pails

These have been offered around Halloween on and off for years ever since 1987.  I loved using these things to collect my candy in while trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

 

Super Looney Tunes

I loved the idea of these things, as their costumes came off to reveal their alter egos.  Two toys in one!  The Tasmanian Devil/Flash was all kinds of cool.

Dave over at Banzai Retro Club is playing along again this week, so check out his Top 5 Happy Meal Toys as well!

 

So what about you? What were some of YOUR favorite Happy Meal toys?   If you don’t want to jump in fully on social media, then chime in in the comments section below.  I want to see what fads you were really into too!