Category: Yesterdayland Archives

The Bad News Bears

Bad News Bears

Written by Bill Lancaster (Burt’s son) and directed by Michael Ritchie (who had helmed adult fare like The Candidate and Smile), this winning 1976 film worked on a lot of levels—and not just the “hey, those naughty kids are cussing” level either. There was the underdog triumph story at the movie’s core; there was the satire of the uniquely American institution of Little League and its overly-involved bench parents (in the year of our country’s bicentennial, no less). There was also a redemptive character piece at work, as Buttermaker, via his group of misfits, tried to get his shambled life together once and for all.

Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) is a former minor league baseball player, and currently, a disheveled drunk and a not-so-devoted pool-cleaner. And if you think he’s mastered the fine art of uncouth and offensive language, wait until you meet the kids on his future Little League Team.

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Looking Back at Electric Football

Electric Football

 

With the Superbowl coming up this weekend, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at a time before video game systems emulated the fun of football inside the home.  A time when you really had to work to set up your plays, and then hope that everything worked perfectly, and the little football players actually went where you wanted them to.  So here’s a look back at what “playing football” was like before things like Coleco Football, Tecmo Bowl, and Madden football games came along…..

Ever since enterprising toymakers hit on the gimmick of combining electricity and sports, many a fan has whiled his rainy-day hours away over miniaturized electric versions of his favorite outdoor games. Few U.S. sports are as popular as American football, so it came as no surprise when electric football became the king of this toy trend. These games have been popular for over five decades and continue to enjoy a fervent following today.

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Lazer Tag

Lazer Tag

“The game that moves at the speed of light.”

If you were a kid in 1986, you probably remember the hype. For months before Worlds of Wonder finally released Lazer Tag, the company built up suspense to unbelievable levels with a series of teasing ads. We knew it was called “Lazer Tag,” we knew it would change the world of sports—heck, even the whole world—but exactly what it was remained a mystery. Slowly it began to take shape: There was a gun (good so far), there was a cat-and-mouse pursuit (still with you), and it somehow involved lasers (sold!).

Lazer Tag finally reached its hungry public in the summer of 1986, and while it may not have lived up to everyone’s imagination (sorry, no death ray), it was still very, very cool. Technically not a laser, the Lazer Tag StarLyte guns actually fired infrared blasts, triggering a signal in the StarSensors players wore on their chests (possibly as part of a StarBelt or StarVest, topped off by a StarHelmet). Each time the sensor was hit, another LED marker would light up in the StarSensor, and after six hits, that player was out of the game. Helpful ads on TV and in comic books showed kids how to play the game, usually set in some kind of futuristic stadium with plenty of obstacles and eerie lighting effects (though any home or playground would do).  Continue reading “Lazer Tag”

Thundarr the Barbarian Cartoon

Thundarr the Barbarian

Forget the global chaos myth that was Y2K. In the world of Thundarr the Barbarian, the end of civilization occurred six years earlier, when, in 1994, a runaway planet hurtled between the earth and the mooon, “unleashing cosmic destruction.” Now, 2000 years later, Earth is a savage world occupied by wizards, mutants and monsters.


Thundarr the Barbarian on DVD


…And one superhero, of course—the blonde, muscular Thundarr. The title barbarian was once a slave of the evil wizard Sabian, but he was set free by Princess Ariel, Sabian’s stepdaughter. Taking pity on the poor, good-looking slave, Ariel gave him a magic sabre that could send out an energy ray capable of destroying any foe. With the help of this Sun Sword and a lionlike mutant pal named Ookla the Mok, Thundarr and Ariel fought all manner of futuristic enemies to save their beloved Earth.

This post originally appeared on the long defunct Yesterdayland website.  We archive it here to preserve it.

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends Cartoon

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

Marvel Comics’ famed webslinger returned to Saturday morning in 1981 with a pair of new companions. In this incarnation, Peter Parker was a college student at Empire State University, boarding with his Aunt May. While at ESU, Peter met fellow students Bobby Drake and Angelica Jones. The group ended up exchanging secret identities—Peter was the wall-crawling Spider-Man, Bobby was frosty mutant Iceman, and Angelica was red-hot fellow mutant Firestar. Bobby and Angelica moved into Aunt May’s as well (along with Angelica’s dog, Ms. Lion), and Peter and Bobby converted their room into a secret crimefighting HQ (revealed when anyone shifted the football trophy on the mantle). Continue reading “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends Cartoon”

Mister T Cartoon

Mr. T Cartoon

“I pity the fool…”

A catchphrase as instantly recognizable as the man behind it. Big, tough, Mohawk-sporting (the haircut was technically a Mandinkan, to the purists), and decked out in over $300,000 worth of gold chains and earrings, Mr. T entered the ring as the unstoppable Clubber Lang in Rocky III, then shot to instant stardom as mechanic/tough guy B.A. Barracus on NBC’s wildly popular The A-Team.

Eager to expand Mr. T‘s already huge fan following among youngsters, the network commissioned Ruby-Spears to create a Saturday morning series around their golden boy, with the former Laurence Tureaud (he changed his name so everyone would have to call him “Mister”) himself to star. After a guest-starring launch on the premiere of Ruby-Spears’ Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mr. T got his own, self-titled program, an animated half-hour framed by live-action inserts.  Continue reading “Mister T Cartoon”

Alvin and the Chipmunks Cartoon

Alvin and the Chipmunks

“Aaaalviiiin!!”

Ross Bagdasarian created an unlikely smash when he changed his name to David Seville, multitracked his own voice, and recorded the novelty single “The Chipmunk Song.” That led to 1961’s The Alvin Show, which gave chipmunks Alvin, Simon, and Theodore animated likenesses, along with their father figure, David Seville.

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