My 5 Favorite GI Joe A Real American Hero Episodes

It’s time to dig in deep, and talk about one of my favorite cartoons of all time….G.I. Joe:  A Real American Hero.  As a kid, I fell in love with not only the cartoon, but the action figure line as well.  G.I. Joe was always my go-to toy at playtime, and my preferred choice of after school cartoons.

Recently, Jason over at Rediscover the 80’s has been doing some really fun posts centered around the cartoon.  I approached him about doing a cross-over event where we present our 10 favorite episodes of the cartoon, with each of us reminiscing on 5 episodes.  So once you’re done here, be sure to head on over to his place and check out the other half of this list.  As a bonus, we’ve also decided to throw in our favorite G.I. Joe mini-series as well!  Let’s get to it.

The Funhouse

This episode was from earlier in the series, and one of the first batch to be released on home video cassette.  I remember very fondly the Christmas of ’86 that I received a copy of the episode Satellite Down, and my cousin Tim received a copy of The Funhouse.  We each watched our own copies numerous times over a couple of days, and then switched off.  The episode itself may not be a strong one, but the nostalgia I feel for it keeps it high on my list.

Anyway, Cobra kidnaps a bunch of scientists and holds them hostage someplace sinister to lure the Joe team there.  Once they arrive, they discover the temple where the scientists are being held is one giant “funhouse” that Cobra Commander has put together just to screw with the Joes.  Once inside, the Joe team discovers this, and splits up into three teams in order to hunt down Cobra Commander.  

Dusty and Airtight take off in one direction, and soon find themselves in a room full of falling balloons.  Dusty decides to pop one, and it releases a gas that make his hallucinate.  He sees Airtight as an enemy, so Airtight has to work some voodoo magic on him and knock him out with a karate chop.  He then sets off on his own to find Cobra Commander, but gets undone when he runs into a room full of giant Jack in the Boxes and gets taken out by a newspaper swat from one of them.

Meanwhile, Alpine and Bazooka’s path leads them to a roller coaster, and that leads them through a shooting gallery of cobra robots.  Bazooka takes a hit and goes unconscious as Alpine vows revenge.  Unfortunately, he finds himself running on an oversized bowling lane, and gets taken out by a falling bowling pin.

The final duo, Flint and Lady Jaye, end up running into robotic tin soldiers who all look like Cobra Commander.  They take out most of the robots, only for one to sneak up on Lady Jaye and take her out of the fight.  Flint goes on to find Cobra Commander’s control room, but he sets a bomb that is going to destroy the whole island before he, along with Zartan and The Baroness escape to another hideout.  Flint and some of the Joe cavalry rescue their teammates and escape the island in Sky Strikers just in time.

Wild Bill had been watching for anything to leave the island, so the Joes are able to track them pretty easily to their new location.  The Joes launched an all out assault on the Cobra base, yet Cobra Commander and his cronies escaped once again, but the Joes were able to rescue the captured scientists to end the episode on a successful note.

 

Sink the Montana

I always liked the episodes that featured action on the water with the various Joe and Cobra weapons their navies employed, so this episode didn’t disappoint.  At the start, the Joes are in Philadelphia at the ship yard for a ceremony to retire the USS Montana battleship, but Admiral Latimer doesn’t want to give his ship up.  

Cobra attacks the Joes at the ceremony, and Latimer joins Cobra and uses the weapons on the Montana to destroy the moth balled fleet in Philly before heading for Richmond VA to attack the 7th Fleet stationed there.  Destro brings aboard the Pulse Modulator that can de-power anything within a 2 mile radius, making it virtually impossible to take out the Montana.

The Atlantic Fleet is dispatched to intercept the Montana and send her to the bottom of the ocean, but they have no idea about the Pulse Modulator on board.  Meanwhile, Gen. Hawk commandeers The USS Constitution, the oldest ship still in service in the Navy, that happens to be a wooden ship, and thus impervious to the effects of the Pulse Modulator.  

The Joes use multiple Tomahawk helicopters to air lift the Constitution out to see, and hide it behind an island waiting on The Montana.  As the Atlantic Fleet approaches and engages the Montana, the Joes use the Constitution to get close and board the ship.  Hawk utilizes a deck gun to take out the Pulse Modulator, and the Atlantic Fleet then decimates the Montana and sinks her.  

 

Excalibur

As the Joe team heads to the British Isles to install a new anti-Cobra radar system, Cobra attacks from the air, attempting to destroy the radar system before it can be put in place.  Storm Shadow is piloting a Rattler and gets shot down into a small lake.  While at the bottom, he discovers an ancient sword that turns out to be the legendary Excalibur.

Storm Shadow makes his way to the small town where the Joes are attempting to set up the radar as a massive storm moves in.  He uses the sword to engage some Joes and cuts their weapons in half with it.  He ends up taking Footloose as a hostage.  Meanwhile, a stranger alerts the Joe team that the legend of the lady in the lake says that if Excalibur is removed from the lake, storms will come and flood the aisles.

Storm Shadow takes Footloose to the Cobra hideout, and upon seeing the sword, Destro knows it is Excalibur and covets it for himself.  Cobra forces lead an assault on the town, and Destro uses the opportunity to try to assassinate Storm Shadow and steal the sword, but his rocket misses.  Wild Bill and a pack of Dragon Fly helicopters show up to turn the tide of battle in the Joes favor.  Major Bludd orders a retreat, but not before blowing up the dam above the town, flooding it and destroying the anti-Cobra radar system.  

Spirit and Quick Kick infiltrate the Cobra headquarters, but Storm Shadow takes out Quick Kick and injures his leg.  Spirit uses his Native American abilities and sets his leg, and they enter through a hidden entrance and find themselves in a battle with a pack of Crimson Guards.  They need help, so Quick Kick uses a spotlight and a curtain to send a signal to the rest of the Joe team that leads them to their location.  

Spirit, Footloose, and Quick Kick race to escape, but are cut off by Storm Shadow.  He and Quick Kick duel with their martial arts, as Spirit’s eagle Freedom swoops in and snares the sword, carrying back out and dropping it in the lake, bringing an end to the storms as the Cobra forces escape to fight another day.

 

Battle For the Train of Gold

We start off at the Bureau of Engraving in Washington D.C., as G.I. Joe had intercepted a message from Cobra about a pending attack, so the Joes have it staked out.  All seems quiet in and out of the building, but Cobra had snuck into the building disguised as tourists on a tour.  They attacked in all directions as a distraction while Major Bludd made his way to an office to steal something from a safe, which turned out to be a video cassette.  It turns out that this cassette held all the schematics and blue prints to Fort Knox!

The Joe team loaded up and headed there ready for battle, only to find a base commander who didn’t think he needed their assistance.  Zartan comes up through a vent in the floor of the vault and takes Stack.  He then impersonates him and orders all of the guard troops out of the vault.  The Joe team thinks this seems weird so they head inside to investigate.

They find Cobra troops stealing the gold using an old tunnel beneath the Fort to transfer the gold to a Cobra bullet train which is ready to take off the moment all the gold is loaded.  Meanwhile, Cobra forces lead a huge attack on the Joes defending the building, and wipe out almost all of the Joe team’s vehicles.  The gold is loaded, and the train sets off, and the Joes have no way to give chase.

They borrow some horses from a nearby farm, and somehow chase down a bullet train on them.  They engage Cobra in the train cars, and on top of the train.  Up ahead, several Joe vehicles have been parked on the track to try to stop the train, but it just plows right on through them.  Finally, the train’s engine blows, which causes it to derail.  The Joes are victorious once again, but Zartan and his Dreadnoks steal a Dragonfly and escape.

I like this episode because everything Fort Knox has always intrigued me.  Then the element of the horse chase along with the boarding of the train and the fighting that takes place all over the train reminds me of classic western movies.  I know some folks think this is a hokier episode, but I liked if the first time I saw it, and I still like it now.

 

The Viper is Coming

This episode is probably on a lot of people’s lists of favorite episodes.  So we start off with Barbeque showing off the old firehouse he has just renovated and hosting several Joe team members for an indoor cookout.  The phone rings, and on the other end is a simple message…The Viper is coming, 575.  The Joes think it’s a message from Cobra, trying to get them to guess where his next attack will be.

They deduce that the 575 must be the longitude and latitude, but that seems them to the middle of nowhere in the arctic.  Thinking there is nothing there, Alpine sees a rock that he would like to add to his collection, but when he tries to lift it, it turns out to open a section of ice to reveal a hidden Cobra rest and recreation base for its troops!  Battles are fought outside and inside the place until finally the Joes come out victorious.

The Joes returned home, and the Viper called again.  This time saying “The Viper is coming on Friday…west corner.”  This time, the Joes realize he must be referring to West Point, and since there is a graduation ceremony on Friday, that must be the target of the next attack.  Turns out they are right as Major Bludd is there to lead an attack on all of the Generals in the stands.  The Joes fend them off with the help off the recent West Point grads.

Another call comes in from the Viper saying, “The Viper is coming tomorrow…top floor first.”  The Joes head to the tallest skyscraper in the world, Extensive Enterprises, thinking there is no top floor higher than this one.  Again they guess right, as this building is home to the Crimson Guard Twins, and Destro is in the building on this day too.  Yet another battles ensues that the Joes win.  They return and await more info from the Viper.

The Viper doesn’t disappoint and another call comes in.  “The Viper is coming.  Be there noon today…be ready.”  The Joe team gets this message and bring in a lot of equipment to fend off whatever attack may be coming.  Right at 12, they spot a figure coming over the horizon, and everyone is ready to start a battle.  As the figure gets closer, they can see it is an old man with a German accent carrying a squeegee.  He is the Viper, and he is here to “vipe the vindows”.  He clears up all the earlier confusion by stating, “$5.75 and hour, start on the west corner, top floor first.”  The Joes realize what has happened and have a hearty laugh to end the episode.

 

The Pyramid of Darkness mini-series

This is another of the early mini-series, and features a lot of the same old concepts of the first two, like fighting in exotic locales with cool names.  But in this one, Cobra is attempting to stop the world’s power supply by setting up what they are calling, the Pyramid of Darkness.  Nothing within it’s reach will be able to use power.

As the Joes launch a shuttle into space, Cobra attacks, but only as a diversion so they can move up along side the shuttle and place something in it.  The Dreadnoks stow away on board.  The space station that the shuttle is heading too is going to act as the top of the pyramid.  To go along with that, Cobra has to set up cubes at other locales including a lava field called The Devil’s Playground, The City of the Dead, the top of a mountain in the arctic, and the Sea of Lost Souls.

Once the cubes are all in place and activated, they cast a pyramid and stop everything that needs power to run.  The Joes eventually get their act together and fight Cobra in numerous locations at the same time as Tomax and Xamot make a power play and disrupt Cobra Commanders plans.  The Joes retake control of the space station and bring an end to the Pyramid of Darkness.

This mini-series isn’t much different from the first two, but I prefer it due to the cast of characters.  Quick Kick was always one of my favorites, and this is his introduction to the series.  Tomax and Xamot played a big role, and so did the Dreadnoks, so a lot of my favorite characters got screen time and put this mini-series at the top of my list.

 

So there you have it, 5 of my favorite episodes of G.I. Joe A Real American hero.  Now, head on over to Rediscover the 80’s and see his list of Favorite G.I. Joe episodes, and be sure to leave us some thoughts in the comments below as to what YOUR favorite episodes were.

 

The Rise and Fall of Milli Vanilli

Milli Vanilli

During the dance-pop explosion of the late 80’s, Milli Vanilli caught the public eye with their fresh look and slick dance moves. However, they inspired one of the great controversies in recent pop music history when it was discovered that neither one of the group’s members sang a note on any of their records. When this was revealed, the inevitable backlash that occurred wiped out their fame overnight. However, Milli Vanilli managed to achieve an astounding level of success in a short time and sold several million records before the truth was revealed.

Milli Vanilli began when Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus met in a Munich nightclub in the late 80’s. They soon came to the attention of Frank Farian, a dance music producer who scored countless European hits with Boney M in the 1970’s. He liked their matching heads of long braided hair and decided they would make the perfect frontmen for his latest studio creation. Farian put the faces of Rob and Fab on the cover of Girl You Know It’s True, the first Milli Vanilli album, while anonymous studio musicians secretly lent their voices to Farian’s electronic dance-pop confections.


Check out Milli Vanilli’s Greatest Hits


By 1990, Milli Vanilli was an international sensation. Songs like “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You,” “Baby Don’t Forget My Number,” “Girl You Know It’s True” and “Blame It On The Rain” helped the group sell over 30 million singles. All four were good examples of album’s catchy mixture of percolating synthesizers, churning dance beats and poppy harmonies. Rob and Fab also appeared in videos for these songs, performing elaborate dance routines that were imitated by kids around the world. Milli Vanilli went on to sell 14 million records worldwide and also won the 1990 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

However, Milli Vanilli’s fortunes changed rapidly the next year. When Rob and Fab pressured Frank Farian to be allowed to sing on the next Milli Vanilli album, he revealed to the world press that neither man sang on the first album. He also revealed that both performers lip-synched at the many concerts and appearances they did to promote their music. Arista Records promptly dropped the group from their label and the duo were also forced to return their Best New Artist Grammy. Rob and Fab recorded an album under their own names and performed live to prove they could sing, but the damage had already been done.

Both Rob and Fab continued to pursue show-business careers after Milli Vanilli faded away. Rob fell prey to drug addiction and died in 1998 but Fab began a successful career as a disc jockey and continues to write songs. In many ways, their career as Milli Vanilli represented the end of an era for the music business. From there on out, musicians would have to be 100% up-front about the nature of their work and the public and the press alike would be much more watchful of their pop idols.

My Two Dads Was a Highly Underrated TV Series

My Two Dads

How did one girl get so lucky? When Nicole Bradford was orphaned by her mother at age eleven (that wasn’t the lucky part), she was left with not one but TWO fathers (that was). It turned out that Nicole’s mother, Marcy Bradford, was dating two men simultaneously, and never determined which was Nicole’s biological father. Paul Reiser (later of Mad About You fame) played one of Nicole’s fathers, Michael Taylor-the yuppie, conservative professional who was strict on curfews and dating. On the other side of the spectrum was Dad #2, Joey Harris (Greg Evigan, the “B.J.” half of B.J. and the Bear)-an eccentric, free-spirited musician.

This living arrangement made decorating somewhat difficult. Smack dab in the middle of their loft was a huge stuffed red velvet car, which served as a couch. Not exactly typical fare for a stuffy financial analyst, this couch did for interior decorating what Jennifer Anniston’s haircut did for hairdressers. Another source of conflict was Nicole’s style of dress. Michael was a big fan of Nicole’s conservative private school uniform, but Greg supported many of her wilder attempts at fashion.

Unfortunately for Michael and Joey, the judge who awarded them custody of Nicole also owned their building, and she often dropped by unexpectedly to add her unsolicited and sarcastic advice regarding Nicole’s upbringing. Judge Wilbur (from Night Court) also served as a surrogate mother to Nicole, often coaching her in lessons of life and love that the menfolk just couldn’t give.


Watch My Two Dads


Though viewers never saw a gray hair spring up in Michael’s perfectly groomed coif or Joey’s silky mane, Nicole’s active social life would be enough to turn give any father nightmares. Episodes dealt with topics ranging from an innocent first date to Nicole’s dating a rebel. Interspersed with Nicole’s romantic escapades were occasional episodes focusing on the women Michael and Joey brought home. Most of their relationships turned sour as they usually discovered that they only had room for one girl in their lives.

Watching Nicole from the wings, along her two dads, was her awkward friend Cory. Cory loved Nicole from afar, and would often show up when Nicole had another date scheduled, only to receive yet another pep talk from Michael or Joey. Alas, Nicole had her eyes on Zack, the local heartthrob and her usual boyfriend. Shelby was Nicole’s worldly best friend, and former pro footballer Dick Butkus played Ed Klawicki, owner of the local soda shop that served as the backdrop for many of Nicole’s dates and social activities.

After three seasons of double-daddy parenting woes, My Two Dads went off the air. In the final episode, Nicole chose not to take a blood test to find out which of the loveable lugs was her biological parent. To her, they were both her true fathers.

2017 Halloween Food Finds

One of the best things about fall, and the Halloween season in particular, is all the cool Halloween food that comes out this time of year.  Some you can always count on seeing, while others are only on the shelves for a year or two, and some we may never see again.  That’s why it’s important to know when and where to find all the various tasty treats of the season.  This is probably only the first of many posts of this type for me this year, as I’m sure I will keep finding stuff as we get closer.  For today though, here is what I found while out at my local markets.  Oh, and be sure to check out all the cool stuff Dinosaur Dracula has found so far at 2017’s Best Halloween Junk Food, Part 1.


Halloween PEZ

Halloween PEZ Dispensers

PEZ always seems to come out with cool dispensers for various occasions, and this Halloween is no exception.  We’ve got the usual suspects like The Mummy, Dracula, and the Jack-o-Lantern, but I’m not exactly sure what the third one in line is.

If you can’t find these at you local store, don’t worry, Amazon has them here.

 

Reese's Spooky Eyeballs

Reese’s Spooky Eyeballs

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups is another candy you can find in various shapes for various occasions, and they’ve not disappointed this Halloween season with these peanut butter filled eyeballs.

Reese’s Spooky Eyeballs on Amazon

 

Heshey's Skulls

Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream Skulls

Not to be outdone or left out of the Halloween goodies frenzy, Hershey’s has these delectable Cookie ‘n’ Cream Skulls.

Sorry, I couldn’t find these on Amazon yet.  Better keep a check at your local stores.

 

Milky Way Caramel Apple

Milky Way Caramel Apple Mini’s

Not so much a Halloween offering, but more of the special treats for the Fall season.  However, these thinks sound really good.  I guess Caramel Apple is the new Pumpkin Spice, because it seems to be popping up everywhere.

Amazon has these here 

 

Granola Bars

Fall Flavored Granola Bars

Again, not really what you think of when you think Halloween, but these fall flavors of granola bars look pretty good anyway.  Of course we have the ever-present Pumpkin Spice, as well as Apple Spice.  It’s not really Caramel Apple, but I think I like the thoughts of Apple Spice better anyway.

Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars are on Amazon, but the Apple Spice is not.

 

Little Debbie Fall and Halloween Food

It wouldn’t be a holiday season full of treats here in the South without Little Debbie being right in the middle of it all.  Their yearly selection seems to already be in full stock at the stores including the Fall Party Cakes, Chocolate Fall Party Cakes, Brownie Pumpkins, Bat Brownies, Pumpkin Spice Rolls, and the best of the all, the Pumpkin Delights.

Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights on Amazon
Little Debbie Pumpkin Spice Rolls on Amazon
Little Debbie Bat Brownies on Amazon
Little Debbie Brownie Pumpkins on Amazon
Little Debbie Fall Party Cakes on Amazon

Little Debbie Pumpkin Spice Rolls

Little Debbie Bat Brownies

Little Debbie Brownie Pumpkins

Halloween Food

Little Debbie Chocolate Fall Party Cakes

 

Halloween Pencils

Halloween Pencils

I know this isn’t a treat of the food variety, but when I was a kid, as soon as my Mom saw these things, she would pick some up for me to use at school.  Anybody who was anybody had pencils like this leading up to Halloween.  Even those really cool kids that used mechanical pencils reverted back to the classic wooden #2’s for the time when the could be gotten with Halloween designs on them.

 

Well that’s what I ran across at my latest trip to my local Walmart.  I’m sure I’ll be posting more as I find it, so keep an eye out for 2017 Halloween Food Finds, Part 2.

The Last Starfighter: A Movie for the Video Gamer in All of Us

Last Starfighter

The Last Starfighter showed a new generation of video game maniacs the one secret their mothers didn’t want them to know: if you practice really hard, spend enough quarters, and get really good at video games, you just might end up becoming the savior of an entire galaxy. Try shoving that one back in mom’s face the next time she tells you to play outside.

The movie opens in a desert trailer park, where young Alex Rogan is the best there is at the hot new video game, Starfighter. It’s a welcome break from normal life, which includes living with a kid brother and their single mom, getting turned down on a college application, and dreaming of getting out of trailerville with girlfriend Maggie. When Alex breaks the Starfighter record one night, his dream unexpectedly comes true. Centauri, the game’s inventor, comes to the park to make a business proposition to the young champ. But the minute Alex steps into Centauri’s “car,” he’s whisked away out of town, out of planet, and into outer space.

Last Starfighter

As it turns out, the Starfighter game was actually a recruiting tool, and Alex is expected to join the real Star League in fighting Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada. Alex wimps out and goes home, but Xur’s forces aren’t willing to let him stay neutral. When an alien assassin shows up at the trailer park, Alex realizes he has no choice: he’ll fly his Gunstar into battle (with alien Grig as his co-pilot), even if, through a tragic series of events, he ends up as the last Starfighter left.

With all the appeal of a “Star Wars meets Tron” concept, The Last Starfighter was a must-see for young boys in 1984. Unfortunately, they were just about the only ones in the theater. Despite its clear hopes for a sequel, The Last Starfighter was indeed the first and last of its kind. But that didn’t stop a generation of video gamers from dreaming that one day, their Pac-Man and Donkey Kong skills would earn them the right to save the galaxy from maze ghosts or barrel-throwing apes.

Why Wendy’s Ain’t Like it Used to Be

After I sat down and put together the post, Back When Pizza Hut Was an Experience, that got me to thinking about several other food establishments that just aren’t what they used to be.  The happy, friendly, and tasty places I remember from when I was a kid growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s no longer exist in the form that we loved back then.

In this post, there is another old favorite of mine in a cross-examination of just where they’ve went wrong through the years, and that old favorite is Wendy’s.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, when my old man would come home each from weekend from working out-of-town, he would always take the family out to eat on Friday or Saturday night.  Places like Western Steer and Bonanza were frequent favorites, Pizza Hut was a rarity, and when we weren’t going to one of those places, the destination was Wendy’s.  So it’s fair to say that I visited Wendy’s a lot in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and feel like I have a pretty good grasp on what set it apart from its competition back then, and what made it stand out.

So let’s get to it, and take a look at how much Wendy’s has changed since those days, and not really for the better.

Their Commercials Are Not Near As Good As They Used to Be

Wendy's

So first up, let’s take a look at what brings an establishment to people’s attention, and makes them want to visit in the first place, the television commercials advertising the place or products.  For years, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas was a fixture in commercials for the chain.  He looked like he could be your own grandpa, and put forth a welcoming personality that seemed to not feel like an over-produced commercial, but rather an invitation to dinner from an old friend.

These days, we get this young yuppie girl they call “Red”, where the commercials focus more on trying to be funny (and failing), or hip, and don’t do much to get a vibe across to the viewer as to the core values of the restaurant.  Heck, they barely focus on the food they are promoting.  With the Dave Thomas commercials, you got a little humor, but he almost always put forth his philosophy of making good, old-fashioned hamburgers.  Check out the two examples below, and see the difference in the way they go about their advertising these days:

Man, there’s something about an old Wendy’s commercial with Dave Thomas that really takes me back.

 

The Logo and Signs Have Changed

One change you may not have noticed, is that they have dropped their old slogan of “Old-Fashioned Hamburgers” from their advertising.  It’s gone from their logo now, and more and more of their location’s signs are being changed to the newer logo.  This is a small change, but it’s symbolic in that they are trying to get away from their past, and what made them unique in the first place.  The fresh hamburgers.  They still make them like this, so why not use that fact in advertising?!?

Wendy's Sign

 

Their Tables Inside Their Restaurants Are Boring

One of the coolest features in the old school Wendy’s locations were the tables that featured printed pages from old Sear’s catalogs from the early 1900’s.  Sitting there as a kid, I would marvel at the antique products featured on the table while I chowed down on my burger and fries.  Today, they’ve joined the rest of the fast food fools by using plain-looking, boring tables.  Compare the two below.  Which one enhances the dining experience a little?  If you said the plain one, you can just stop reading this article now.

Wendy's Tables

 

Their New Menu Offerings Have Gone To Hipster

Wendy's Hamburgers

Back in the day, Wendy’s was the home of great tasting, old-fashioned, fresh hamburgers and chicken sandwiches.  When they added a new menu item, it was usually a larger version of an existing item, or small tweaks that were usually only available for a limited time.  You could always count on the Classic Single, the Classic Double, and the Classic Triple.  Want bacon on one of those?  Sure, why not.  I would like to believe that if you asked Dave Thomas for some avocado on your burger, he would look at you like you are a moron.  Avocado don’t belong on an old-fashioned hamburger.  Sautéed onions?  Absolutely.

Today, they are always trying to hit that magic ingredient that will maybe spark a sale, when all they really need to focus on is quality burgers with quality burger condiments. A flatbread instead of a bun?  Get out of here with that noise!

 

They Done Away With the Biggie Size

Wendy's Biggie Size

Now I’m all for health conscious eating, but if you’re going to Wendy’s, you know what you’re in for.  So why take away the iconic “Biggie” size?  Those who don’t want it, don’t have to order it.  But for those of us who do, it’s no longer available.  Their Biggie Sweet Tea was awesome, and being able to upgrade your large fries to Biggie size should be protected under the “Freedom of Choice” provision in the United States Constitution.

 

Their Kid’s Meals Are No Longer Fun For Kids

A lot of the major fast food chains are suffering from this one these days.  Due to pressure from multiple organizations, the chains have relented and started changing their kid’s meals to feature healthier options.  Wendy’s now feature a burger or nuggets, with apple slices, and a box of juice.  Now, you can still get the fries and a soda, but their advertising features the former options.  They don’t even like to really advertise special tie-ins with their kid’s meals any more.  It’s extremely rare to see a cool box for the kids meal’s like they used to.

Look at that awesome old school kid’s meal below!  A fresh Junior burger, golden fries, and a Frosty….all packaged in a cool Disney’s Gummi Bears box for maximum fun!

Wendy's Kids Meal

 

They Changed Their French Fries

This one sadness as much as any other on the list.  I was a huge fan of their french fries for years.  They were thicker than the fries at McDonald’s or Burger King, a little less crispy, but so good.  They tasted like french fries we used to make at home.  Being that they tasted home-made, they fit perfectly alongside their old-fashioned hamburgers.

Wendy's French Fries

Now days, they have the Natural-Cut Fries with Sea Salt.  They made the change around the time that sea salt was all the rage, and have yet to revert back.  Their fries of today always taste a little burnt to me.  They are thinner, the ends are crisper, and they aren’t a great tasting french fry.  Add to that the fact that they don’t taste nearly as good dipped in a Frosty as their elder counterparts.

French Fries in Frosty

Man, that used to be the absolute best part about going to Wendy’s….dipping your french fries into your Frosty.

 

There Should Only Be One Flavor of Frosty

For many, many years, ordering a Frosty at Wendy’s meant you were getting a rich, chocolatey, ice cream treat.  A while back, I ordered a Frosty, and the young lady at the counter asked me what flavor I wanted.  I gave her what I’m sure she though was a dumb look, and said, “I just want a Frosty.”  She again asked me the flavor, and had to explain to me that they are available in Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry.  I politely corrected her saying, “No Ma’am, there’s only ONE flavor of Frosty, and that’s chocolate.  I’m not sure what those other two things are, but if they aren’t chocolate, then they aren’t Frosties.”

Wendy's Frosty

Why mess with such an iconic menu item?  As a kid, you hoped you went to Wendy’s because you could get a Frosty.  You didn’t need multiple flavors, all you needed was a Frosty.  This is just another example of how they continue to mess with their classic menu that made them successful, profitable, and famous.

 

They Changed the Taco Salad

On those weekends when my Dad wasn’t able to come home, my Mom and I would go out on Saturday afternoon and eat at either McDonald’s or Wendy’s.  When it was Wendy’s, that meant it was Taco Salad for lunch.  It’s what she like, so it’s what I got as well so we could enjoy the same thing.

Wendy's Taco Salad

The Taco Salad was unique, but quite simple.  You got a platter of lettuce with some diced tomatoes, a cup of their chili to pour over that, some shredded cheddar cheese and some taco sauce for topping, and a small bag of taco chips to enjoy with it.  We would mix them up and talk as we ate, and I have a lot of fond memories attached to the classic Taco Salad.

So about 10 years ago, they decided to change it.  No longer were there taco chips…they were replaced with tortilla strips.  The pack of taco sauce was replaced with salsa.  The diced tomatoes went away.  Their sales of the Taco Salad also went away.  Once again, they tried to “modernize” one of their menu offerings and appeal to a small segment of the market with what they considered a “fancier” version.  There was never anything wrong with the original version, but they gave it the ax anyway.

 

They Got Rid of the SuperBar

Wendy's Superbar

Of all the things Wendy’s tried through the years, the Superbar may have been the best idea they had.  It was a set of three food bars that expanded their dine-in options several times over, and was a big hit.  One bar was a salad bar, with normal salad bar options, as well as some jello and pudding for dessert.  The next bar was the Mexican Fiesta bar, which had all the things you needed to make tacos and burritos.  There was chili, taco meat, melted nacho cheese, hard and soft taco shells, and other goodies.

The last bar was the Pasta Bar, and featured spaghetti noodles, fettucine noodles, spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, and garlic bread that was made by flattening and grilling their hamburger buns with garlic salt and butter.  It was delicious.  You could also order a baked potato, and top it from the SuperBar.  That’s what my old man did, so it’s what I done as well.  We’d fill the potato with the chili and nacho cheese.

The SuperBar was our go-to order while they had it in their stores.  A lot of Friday night’s were spent eating from it and talking and laughing as a family before Mom would do her shopping for the week.  To me, the Superbar is one of the most iconic things that comes to mind when I think of Wendy’s, and it’s a shame they ever got rid of it.


Well, there you have it.  Why Wendy’s Just Isn’t the Same Anymore….at least in my opinion.  I have a lot of nostalgic memories tied to Wendy’s, so maybe I have stronger feelings on the subject than others, but I’d love to hear your thoughts and memories as well.

Also check out….

Galaga

Arcade Classic: Galaga

Galaga

Galaxian may have been first, but Galaga was the title that defined the series. What had begun as a simple take-off on the popular Space Invaders theme turned into one of the most popular and long-lasting hits of the arcade’s golden years.

Like Galaxian, Galaga put your spaceship at the bottom of the screen, ready to blast at the waves of aliens who swooped down to attack in formation. The aliens now looked more insect-like, flying onto the screen at the beginning of each stage before lining up in their usual formations.

As you passed through waves of alien fighters, special bonus rounds would pop up regularly, offering chances to score extra points without the fear of getting dive bombed. The sound effects and graphics were also improved, but none of these changes were what kept gamers flocking to Galaga machines for years to come.


Get the Galaga app and play on your phone!


Galaga’s real hook was the infamous “tractor beam,” a power possessed only by the Boss Galagas, the winged beasties at the top of the screen. At random intervals, the Boss stopped in mid-dive and fired off its tractor beam, sucking your ship up into the alien fleet. But that was only half the gimmick. As long as you had another fighter left in your stable, you had a chance to get that fighter back. When your captured ship made its next dive, if you shot the Boss that captured it, the stolen vessel would descend to join your current ship, giving you double the firepower. It was a brilliant move, one that actually encouraged players to waste their lives in the hopes of expanding their power.

The new features made Galaxian instantly obsolete, as Galaga machines began to command long lines in arcades around the globe. A handful of sequels followed, but none could match the phenomenal success of Galaga. Like Centipede, Ms. Pac-Man and a handful of others, the game became a living legend, a permanent fixture in many arcades. Almost two decades after its original release, Galaga remains one of the most playable games in arcade history, still pulling in spaceship jockeys after all these years.

The Main Event: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant

For tonight’s weekly retro wrestling offering, here is Hulk Hogan defending the WWF Championship against Andre the Giant from The Main Event on NBC, on Friday night February 5 1988.  This is still the most watched wrestling match of all-time, and features one of the most memorable angles of all-time as well.  If you’ve never seen it, I strongly urge you to stick around and watch the whole thing.  The ending is legendary.

Challenge of the GoBots

Challenge of the Gobots

Racing into the marketplace at nearly the same time as Hasbro’s Transformers, Tonka launched its own “Mighty Robots, Mighty Vehicles,” the GoBots. The transforming robots—robot to plane, car, helicopter, motorcycle, etc., and back—had been a major craze on the Japanese toy scene for years, and the U.S. versions were just as successful. The toys caught on like wildfire, and both Tonka and Hasbro fed the flames with syndicated cartoon versions of their mechanical warlords.

Challenge of the GoBots began on the planet Gobotron, where a group of robots called Guardians were created as planetary protectors. But good robots can go bad, and under the command of motorcycle/robot Cy-Kill, the Guardians raged against the machine, becoming a band of insurrectionists known as the Renegades. And so, it was up to jet/robot Leader-1 and his team of loyal Guardians to keep Gobotron from destruction.

Fighting on the side of good were Scooter, Smallfoot, Turbo, Rest-Q and others. Cy-Kill’s evil henchmen included Crasher, Cop-Tur, Loco, Fitor and Pincher. In the pilot episode, the war moved to earth, where the good Guardians were befriended by heroic human Matt Hunter and youngsters Nick and A.J.

The battle continued for 65 episodes and led to an animated feature, GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords, but Leader-1 and the gang never managed to hit the same level of popularity as their Hasbro rivals.

Check out this cool vintage ad for Nestle Quik featuring the GoBots

The Coolness That Was Member’s Only Jackets

Members Only Jackets

Groucho Marx once said, “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.” Maybe he would have changed his mind if he could’ve been a part of the cool jacket club called “Members Only.”

Owning a Members Only jacket promised entrance into the exclusive clique that even Groucho would have clamored to be a part of. Ultra cool, the Members Only jacket was a collarless jacket with ribbed knit cuffs. They came in a selection of fashion colors’ from teal blue to red – but black was generally considered the coolest.

These cotton, casual, windbreaker-style jackets were popularized when David Hasselhoff of Knight Rider sported his leather version, and Ricky Schroeder of Silver Spoons strutted around in his rainbow selection, a different color every day.

Members Only Jackets
Coery Felman as Mouth sporting a Members Only Jacket in The Goonies

The cool thing about the collarless jacket was that the collar of your Izod polo didn’t have to compete when it was flipped up, and the ribbed cuffs guaranteed that your sleeves wouldn’t fall down after you pushed them up to the mid-forearm, which was essential if you wanted to fit in. Just having a Members Only wasn’t enough – you needed to know the cool way to wear it.

Members Only manufactured many different styles of jackets, from leather bomber jackets to ladies athletic jackets, but the colorful, cotton, collarless style will always be remembered as the quintessential Members Only style.