Tag: Retro

Welcome to Spooktober 2018!

Retro Halloween

 

With the exception of that traditional eve when jolly St. Nick visits the chimneys of the world, there is perhaps no holiday quite as beloved, or more anticipated by kids than Halloween, the last day in October that we have long set aside as an evening to congregate in costume and perhaps even scare ourselves silly. It is a time of ghouls and goblins, of witches and black cats, of costume parties and grinning pumpkins. And, if that wasn’t enough, every kid knows that it is the one night when it is perfectly acceptable to beg door-to-door for candy. Now, that’s a holiday!

The origins of Halloween trace back centuries, a mixture of Roman and Celtic customs that celebrated the transition from fall into winter. Trick or treating may be traced as far back as the Middle Ages, when it was called “souling”. Poor folks went from door to door, saying prayers for the dead and, in return, received a few scraps of food. In Scotland, they called it “guising” where participants would hollow out turnips, turn them into lanterns and carry them from door to door. For their efforts, they might receive money, cakes or perhaps some fruit. That sounds nice, but it took some American ingenuity to create the confection-heavy version we’ve come to know and love.

The trick or treating we are now accustomed to started in the 30s, then was brought to a grinding halt when sugar rations became necessary during WWII. Shortly after the war ended, however, children’s magazines like Jack and Jill began promoting the practice again, as did the Peanuts comic strip, and even Walt Disney, who released the classic cartoon, “Trick or Treat,” in 1952.

 

 

Kids have been banging on doors ever since, begging for treats, and if denied, perfectly willing to exact revenge via mischievous pranks. Hell hath no scorn like a kid deprived of candy. Most pranks involved such household items as eggs, toilet paper, shaving cream and soap. You can use your imagination, but let’s just say that they were often used in ways in which they weren’t intended. And, of course, the granddaddy of pranks was the smashing of some poor soul’s pumpkin (there’s a band name in there somewhere) on the pavement.

 

Ben Cooper Costumes

 

Perhaps the most important decision to make prior to the arrival of Halloween was the choice of costume. Whether trick or treating or going to a party, a costume was a must. Perhaps as a small child, you picked out a Ben Cooper costume at the store, complete with vinyl smock and sharp plastic mask. Or, maybe you made your own (hobo, anyone?). Two holes poked into a sheet and you had an instant (and inexpensive) ghost. More enterprising youngsters even employed the two-costume technique, where you canvased the entire area for candy, then switched costumes and hit it again.

 

Halloween Sunset

 

When the sun finally set on Halloween, most of us began walking the streets, trusty plastic jack o’ lantern or pillowcase in hand, ready to collect Smarties, candy corn, Dum Dum Pops and an assortment of miniature candy bars. We took our hard earned bounty home and dumped it on the counter so our parents could inspect it closely. Thanks to some pesky (and mostly unfounded rumors) many of us (or at least our parents) believed that there just might be a razor blade, needle or poison lurking in that inviting pile of confections. We waited not-so-patiently for mom or dad to give their candy clearance, and then it was ours to do with as we pleased (in most cases, at least). Some kids would eat only a few pieces each day, while others polished off all the good stuff within the first 24 hours. You also might have had to guard your candy from the likes of larcenous siblings, or a even a sneaky parent with a sweet tooth.

Once kids began to outgrow trick or treating, of course, parties began to take precedence. Still costume clad, kids gathered to dance to The Monster Mash, eat creepy looking food, watch scary movies, and thrust their faces into metal tins of water, in the hopes of grasping a bobbing apple in their teeth. And if you didn’t have a party to go to, you could always go out and try to scare the crap out of the younger trick or treaters. There was always something for a kid to do on Halloween.

But why let the fun and memories be confined to just one night?  Well, you don’t have to.  We’re here to help you get your spooky retro groove on all month long!  Each and every day from now until Halloween, stop back by here at Retro Ramblings for a different “Halloween treat” to bring back those old memories.  Let Retro Rambling’s Spooktober 2018 begin!

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten Food: Modern Crystal Pepsi Review

Ah, Crystal Pepsi.  THe bane of early 90’s soft drinks, and a misfire by Pepsi at the time.  Now, 26 years later, they’ve once again trotted out this gimmick in hopes of finding a new audience.  With all these years of perspective on my side, I decided to pick up this latest version, and along with my daughter JJ, gave it a try on our food review channel over on YouTube.  Try to enjoy.

 

Forgotten Food: Fast Food Edition

 

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written before, then you already know that I associate nostalgic feelings and memories with food more than any other subject.  I’ve written several pieces in the past diving into the subject, and today, I’m going a little deeper.  This isn’t going to be like the mega post, Back When Pizza Hut Was an Experience, or an angry diatribe like Why Wendy’s Ain’t Like It Used to Be.  No, this is going to be some quick hits about some old fast food choices that I loved, but are no longer available.  As you also know, there are plenty more foods that I miss, but for today, let’s just hit these bygone classics.


 

McDLT

The McDonald’s McDLT gets mentioned on it’s fair share of fondly remembered foods list, and for good reason. Of all the great, and horrible, things to ever grace the menu of McDonalds, the McDLT was one of the best items they created.

It was a burger in similar size as Burger King’s Whopper sandwich, and featured mostly the same ingredients. A quarter pound beef patty, lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese, pickles, and ketchup on a toasted sesame seed bun. The beauty of the McDLT though was it’s packaging. It came in one of McDonald’s signature styrofoam containers. But this one was slightly different. It featured two separate compartments instead of one.

On one side, the bottom bun and burger patty rested, while on the other was the rest of the toppings and the top bun. This allowed the hot parts to remain separate from the cold parts until you were ready to put it together and eat. And that was the brilliance of it all. A fresh tasting McDLT when the hot patty met the cold toppings.  What I could never figure out though, was why the slice of cheese was included on the cold side.  To me it would have made much more sense to put it on top of the patty on the hot side so it could get all melty.  But apparently, I’m not a genius like the burger builders at McDonald’s.

It was released in the early 80’s to much fanfare, but was eventually pulled in 1990 due to pressure from environmental groups protesting their use of the styrofoam containers. Once the divided container was gone, so was the magic of this burger. It was later re-released as the Big ‘n’ Tasty burger, but without the separated ingredients, the burger fell flat.

 

More Forgotten Food  |  The Time McDonald’s Tried to Sell McPasta

 

When I first discovered it as a kid, I was at the age where I was getting a little old for Happy Meals, and found the McDLT to be a perfectly acceptable replacement for it. I’m guessing it was basically the novelty of it that turned me on to it, but it was a great burger in it’s own right so that kept me coming back for more.

As a side note, McDonald’s lost a little luster to me with the fall of those original containers. Each container was a different color to represent what was held inside, and even the McNuggets had a little compartment built-in to hold the sauce cup. I understand the environmental impact and agree with the decision to stop using them, but dang, they looked cool, and figure prominently in my memories of McDonald’s and childhood in general.

The timing of the fall of the McDLT kind of lines up perfectly with my ascent to teenager from childhood.  Maybe that’s why it holds such a special place in my memories, and why I miss it so.


Hardee's Patty Melt

Back in 1992, Hardee’s stumbled across a major hit when it introduced it’s now legendary Frisco Burger.  They combined grilled sourdough bread (in a round slice) with a 1/4 lb burger patty, two slices of Swiss cheese, bacon, mayo, and tomatoes and turned them into a culinary masterpiece.  After strong sales upon release, they were looking to duplicate that success. Enter the New York Rye Patty Melt.

Introduced roughly 4 months after the launch of the Frisco burger, the New York Patty Melt was the heir apparent to their first hit.  Unfortunately, it was not to be. Sales of the Patty Melt didn’t come close to those of the Frisco burger, and it was dropped from the menu about 6 months after it’s introduction.  But man, that was a great six months.

The New York Rye Patty Melt borrowed from its famous cousin and used a regional favorite bread by using New York Rye.  Sliced the same way as the Frisco (round), it too was grilled and paired with a 1/4 lb beef patty. A layer of melted cheese, along with soft grilled onions finished off this burger.  Like most kids, I wasn’t a big fan of onions, but on this burger, they fit right in. But for me, the real star of this taste sensation was the rye bread. I had never had it before, but this burger moved the bread up my list of favorites in a hurry.

As is the case when doing a piece like this, I was quite disappointed when I went to order it one time only to be told that it was no longer available.  If my Father hadn’t been standing there beside me, my fourteen year old self may have let out a string of curse words aimed in the cashier’s direction. Luckily however, the Frisco Burger was still available, and it ranked pretty high on my list back then too.  But for me, the Frisco Burger was always the Sundance Kid to the New York Patty Melt’s Butch Cassidy.

These days, the Frisco Burger is still on the menu, and since it has been a top item for over 26 years, Burger has gotten in on the action with their Bacon Swiss King burger.  If you would happen to be wondering how it compares to the original Frisco burger, you can check out the comparison video my daughter and I filmed for her food review Youtube channel.


Chilito

Ah, the Chili Cheese Burrito from Taco Bell.  A lot of people in this world only know it by that name, but back in my day, it was known as “The Chilito”.

It featured chili flavored beef, Taco Bell’s iconic red sauce, and melted cheese rolled up in a soft flour tortilla and would run you anywhere from $0.69 to $0.99, depending on the time frame when you enjoyed them.  For me, that time frame was the mid-90’s after I started driving. My friends and I on small budgets, due to part-time jobs, would load up on these due to their cheapness on nights of cruising around.  Way back then, you could count on Taco Bell to deliver the goods, not only in taste, but in value as well.

 

More Forgotten Food  |  KFC’s Modern Chicken Littles Have Nothing on the Originals From the 1980’s

 

Taco Bell had these available from the late 80’s through the early 90’s before discontinuing them as a regular menu item.  Some franchises decided to keep them however, and you can still find them on the menu in roughly 12% of Taco Bell stores nationwide.  A while back though, while traveling in North Carolina, I was in a Taco Bell that had a poster up celebrating the triumphant return of the Chilito.  Unfortunately though, I didn’t even notice the poster until I had already placed my order.  Maybe I should have placed a second order, with which I might could have recaptured that magical taste and feeling of the Chilito.  Or, maybe I would have been disappointed by this newer version at a much higher price.  I decided to let things be, and wait until another time to sample the modern Chilito.  I still haven’t, and am not sure I should.  Sometimes the memories are better than what you find today.

Now, at least I stop at just writing about missing the Chilito, but here’s a dude who wrote a whole song about Taco Bell taking it from the menu:


McDonald's Super Hero Burger

Historically, the Big Mac has always been the largest burger on McDonald’s menu.  But for one glorious month in 1995, it played second fiddle to the Super Hero Burger.  With it’s 3 (that’s right, 3!) burger patties on a hoagie length bun, with two different slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo….this sucker was a monster.

The Super Hero burger had two promotional tie-ins attached to it.  First and foremost, it was available during the release of the movie Batman Forever, and Batman, Robin, Riddler, and Two-Face all figure prominently in the advertising spots for this burger.  Secondly, 1995 was the year that McDonald’s released a different burger every month, and this was the Burger of the Month.

I was driving by this point in life, so that meant I spent a fair amount of time “cruising” through town.  Most nights, a stop by the local Mickey D’s was how we ended our night, and for that month that this super burger was on the menu, it was what we ordered.   We probably could have kept this item on the menu all by ourselves based on how many of them we consumed, but as expected, when the month ended, so did the Super Hero Burger.  Alas, another fast food item was added to my list of fondly remembered food from back in the day.

I’m not the only super fan of the Super Hero Burger, and someone over at DudeFoods.com got tired of waiting for McDonald’s to bring it back, so they tried their hand at creating their own.  You can watch the video here.


In closing, I want to say that I’m thankful to have even gotten to try all of these items in the first place.  My dad would take us out to eat on the weekends when he was in town, and that provided ample opportunity to indulge in so many great menu items from a variety of places.  And as the saying goes, it’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.

So tell me, what extinct fast food items do you miss and wish was still around?  What memories do you associate with them?  We all have a story, and I would love to hear yours!  Just drop me a line in the comments below, and tell me that story.  Heck, I probably have memories of YOUR favorite too.  Also, did you have any experiences with the items on my list above?  Tell me that too!  The next time I talk about food here, it’ll probably be about dining experiences that no longer exist, or my favorite snacks, or something else of the sort.  But until that time comes, hit me up in the comments below, or on Twitter @yesterdayville.

Retro on the Web

Welcome to the first, yet latest edition of Retro on the Web.  I say that because this is the first installment to be labeled as “Retro on the Web”, but it’s just a fancy new title for my old Picks of the Week.  So anyway, this is where I turn you on to fun retro content from around the web that you may not have seen yet.  The majority of this post is links to other places, so as a disclaimer, let me remind you that the links to outside sites open in a new tab or window.  With all that said, let’s take a look at whats going on in the world of retro this week.

 

Rank Em

The Retro Rambler joins the Rediscover the 80’s Podcast to Talk About Our Favorite Television Shows That Debuted in 1988

So last week, I joined our good friend Jason Gross (@rd80s on Twitter) from Rediscover the 80’s on an episode of his podcast to go through our favorite television series that debuted in 1988.  Upon getting prepared to record the show, I found that 1988 was not the best year for new shows, but somehow we managed to each put a list of 5 together and turned out what I thought was a pretty fun show.  A lot of nostalgia shows through, and some shows we are actually quite passionate about.  You can check out the episode on your favorite podcast service, or you can go directly to it hereJason’s Rediscover the 80’s Podcast is always a good listen, and he has several themes that he rotates through including Rank ‘Em episodes, Memory Jogger, and his Rediscovered series.  I highly suggest subscribing to his podcast feed so you don’t miss anything.

It’s not the first time that Jason and I have collaborated on projects.  Last year, he and I each did a piece on our sites where we ranked our Five Favorite G.I. Joe Cartoon episodes.  You can check those out here:  Mine and his.  He has also been a regular guest on my Retro Round Table pieces, and you can read through them all at your leisure here.

And if hearing me guest star on podcasts gets your motor running, check out the show I did with Dave on the Banzai Retro Club podcast talking about old non-sports trading cards.  It’s a hoot.

 

Hoju Koolander Has an Awesome Time on a Classic 80’s Inspired Sleep Over

So my good friend from over at Retro-Daze, Hoju Koolander (@hojukoolander on Twitter) , recently traveled to the west coast for a rad retro weekend at an 80’s inspired sleepover with another fellow Retro-Daze alumni Jeff.  There was lots of pizza eating, Nintendo playing, cereal enjoyment, comic book talk, and late night movie fun to be had by all.  Read about the whole experience in Hoju’s great piece, Rad Retro Weekend.  Stay tuned, as there is a part 2 coming as well.

As you may already know, Hoju is also a regular participant in the Retro Round Tables, and he hosts one of the best podcasts on the market, SequelQuest Podcast, where he and his buddies conceive sequels to favorite movies that never had one.  He has also reviewed a couple of old wrestling flicks here at Retro Ramblings, and you should check those out as well:  Grunt! The Wrestling Movie Review  |  Body Slam is Rock and Roll Wrestling

 

It’s Masters of the Universe Month at HorrorMovie BBQ!

Everyone’s favorite fun retro horror writer Chad has turned his online home, Horror Movie BBQ, into Eternia for the month of August.  What does that mean you ask?  Well, he is focusing the entire month on things that revolve around The Masters of the Universe, and this year, he has a focus on the bad guys.  The MOTU universe is filled with iconic and interesting baddies, so there is a lot to work with.  He has already put out some great stuff that have brought a ton of memories flooding back as I’ve been reading.  Hit the links below to what he’s already dropped, and follow him on Twitter so you don’t miss anything else from this great month of content.

Welcome to MOTU Month 2018!
A Trip to the Slime Pit
Stinkor Smells Like a Winner
Mosquitor Doesn’t Suck

 

Summer Vacation Rolls On at The Rad Years

The Rad Years is a retro blog that I only discovered recently, and boy did I pick the right time to hit the place!  For over the last month, there have been articles galore dropping that all have summer vacation as the theme, and each one has been dripping with pure nostalgia.  I’ve read most of what has been put out thus far, and have identified with, and enjoyed all of it.  If you’ve not discovered this site yet, do yourself a favor and hit it up ASAP.  Here’s some links to some of the summer articles I’ve enjoyed the most thus far.  There are plenty more there to choose from though, and check them out on Twitter too.

Saturdays in the Summer
Summer Blockbusters:  My Obsession With Dick Tracy
Friday Nights
Comic Book Shopping

 

Press Your Luck Michael Larson

Big Money No Whammies!  The Michael Larson Story

This one is found right here at Retro Ramblings, and is my latest piece.  I tell the tale of Michael Larson, who in 1984 went on the game show Press Your Luck and turned their world upside down with the most amazing bit of game show play you will ever see.  It caused quite the scandal behind the scenes at CBS, and caused them to lock the episodes in their vault for almost 20 years.  You’ll also learn about the downward spiral of Michael Larson following his appearance on the show.  Read the whole thing here.

And since you are already here, you can check out some of my other recent hits:

Remembering Micro Machines
Opening a Pack of Jaws 3-D Trading Cards From 1983
Lawn Darts – One of the Most Dangerous Toys of All Time
Going on Wagon Train in the 1980’s
A Visual History of McDonald’s Clam Styrofoam Packaging

 

The Best of the Rest

There is a lot more great retro and nostalgiac content floating around the web, and here is the rest of what I’ve enjoyed recently.

8 Most Offensive Zero Heroes Trading Cards From 1983 – Rediscover the 80’s
Check Out Atari’s Video Games:  A Public Perspective From 1982 – Retroist
RoboCop is a Violent, Brilliant Thrill Ride – Retro Injection
Alf is Returning From Melmac in a Reboot – MeTV
Family Ties:  A Hit TV Show All On It’s Own – Click Americana
6 Candy Myths We All Foolishly Believed Growing Up – MeTV
The Pepsi ‘SEX’ Can From 1990 – Dinosaur Dracula
80’s Lessons We Should Take Note Of – Like Totally 80s
Leonardo DiCaprio is Set to Produce a New Reboot of The Facts of Life – MeTV
Target Has Released New Throwback Board Games – Do You Remember?
The Fantastic and Troubled History of the Video Phone – Flashbak
Little People Love – Plaid Stallions
Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue – Saturday Mornings Forever
10 Colorful Facts About Munsters Go Home – MeTV
How Your Favorite Stores Got Their Interesting Names – Do You Remember?

And Since It’s “Back to School” Time In Most Places, Here Are Some School Days Classics

My High School Soundtrack – Rediscover the 80’s
Trapper Keeper: The Ultimate 80’s School Supply – Rediscover the 80’s
Retro School Supplies – Hoju Koolander
17 Vintage Back to School Ads You Would Never See Today – MeTV
19 Totally 80’s School Supplies That Will Take You Back to the Reagan Era – MeTV
15 Cartoon Lunch Boxes That Every Kid Brought to School Back in the Day – MeTV
Memory Lane:  Back to Grade School – Do You Remember

 

Well that’s it for this edition of Retro on the Web.  For next time, if you know of something you think I would enjoy and should highlight here, drop me a comment with the link, or hit me up on Twitter @yesterdayville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best of Retro Ramblings 2017

Another year has passed here at Retro Ramblings, and what a fun year it has been.  I’ve personally had a lot of fun putting together the articles that have been published here this year, and loads of fun going through old magazines and catalogs looking for great old ads to share with everyone.  I’ve had a LOT of new visitors who seem to have enjoyed a lot of what we’ve done as well.  I thought during this slow week of the year between Christmas and the new year, I’d stop for a moment to reflect on all the new content that has went up, and see what what was read and shared the most.  Maybe you somehow missed these popular posts, so here is your chance to check them out if you haven’t already done so, or maybe you will just want to check them out again.  So here are the top five posts from the year that was 2017 on Retro Ramblings.

 

 

Pizza Hut Interior

01.  Back When Pizza Hut Was An Experience

For a long time, I had thought back to the glory days of my childhood and how much I missed the experience that was a trip to our local Pizza Hut with the family.  I sat down and put all those memories together for this article, and it turned into the longest piece I have done on the site.  Once it went live, it took off and went viral.  As it turns out, many people besides myself also lament the good old days of Pizza Hut.

 

Wendy's Superbar

02.  Why Wendy’s Ain’t Like It Used To Be

Following on the heels of the article, Back When Pizza Hut Was An Experience, I looked back on another fast food establishment that I used to love visiting with the family when I was a kid.  So much has changed about Wendy’s through the years that it is almost a completely different place today.

 

03.  Vintage Holiday Recipes From 1967

While browsing through an old issue of McCall’s magazine from 1967, I came across this wonderful insert of recipes featuring popular brands of the day.  I scanned in all the pages, and added comments to each picture, and it turned out that a lot of folks loved seeing these old recipes.  Even though this post went live in the last month of the year, it skyrocketed to the top of the charts here on the site.  The power of sharing of Facebook is amazing.

 

04.  What You Didn’t Know About Your Favorite 80’s Cartoons

I sat down and did some research into cartoons of the 80’s, and was finding all kinds of little known info, so I put all those tidbits together and came up with 30 things you may not have known about your favorite one.  Like, did you know that in early concept designs, He-Man and She-Ra were written as lovers instead of siblings?  Crazy, I know.

 

05.  My Five Favorite G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Episodes

Back in the spring, Jason Gross from Rediscover the 80’s and myself partnered up to look at our ten favorite episodes of the series, with each of us posting about five episodes on each of our sites in a special crossover event.  The results were great, as a lot of people bounced back and forth between our two sites to check out each list.  G.I. Joe was one of my favorite cartoons, so it was a blast putting the list together, and I love Jason’s work, so it was a win all the way around.

 

According to the statistics, there is the best Retro Ramblings had to offer this year.  Stats aren’t always everything, so I’d love to hear from you as well.  What was your favorite thing we put up on the site this year?  Or what did you think was the best?  Let me know in the comments below.

Vintage Holiday Recipes From 1967

I recently came across an issue of McCall’s magazine from December of 1967, and while getting lost in all the great advertising, I stumbled upon some fun and tasty looking recipes from that magical year.  The Christmas season always brings along it’s own unique blend of tasty treats that are usually reserved for the holiday and not many other times of the year.  So chances are these recipes only saw print a few times through the years.  Well today, we’re pulling these old recipes out and sharing them with the world!

 

While all the food on this spread looks pretty tempting, the only recipe given is for the Cream Wafers that are pictured at bottom right.  They seem easy enough to make, and look pretty dang good too!  The main thing I’ve picked up on in these old recipes, and you’ll see as we go along, is they call for butter and not margarine.  These are my kind of people right here!

Now I know that aluminum foil isn’t food, but Reynolds Wrap got in on the game with some “recipes” of their own to try and move more of their product by giving you ideas of things to do with it.  You can wrap a child’s present with it, Christmas candles look more “gala” when they have some foil curled around them.  From the looks of things, I guess bunching a big glob of it up and sitting the candle in it as a base works too.  It even says you can line your fireplace with it to reflect it’s glowing warmth.

Now this one is certainly one of my favorites, as it features the always delicious snack, Bugles!  It also features Whistles and Daisy’s, but they are no longer on the market, so we just have to settle for what we can get.  As much as I love Bugles, I am more than a bit disappointed I missed out on ever trying the other two offerings.

I’m not so sure about the dip though.  Cream Cheese, Blue Cheese, and onions mixed with Cheddar and other stuff doesn’t sound too appealing to me.  Maybe it does you.

Continue reading “Vintage Holiday Recipes From 1967”

The Hottest Christmas Toys Through the Decades: The 1940’s

 

It doesn’t matter how far back through the decades you go, each Christmas season has had it’s “must-have” hot toy that all the kids wanted.  Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were hot in 1983, but Davy Crockett coonskin caps were just as hot in 1954.  We’re going to be taking a look back at the hottest toys for Christmas’s through time, and we’re starting with the 1940’s.

 

1942

Little Golden Books

Little Golden Books

Little Golden Books published it’s first twelve books.  1.5 million copies were sold in the first 5 months alone.

 

Lionel Paper Trains

Lionel Paper Trains

After being forced to halt production to their normal metal trains due to the war, Lionel offered a paper train for the holiday season.  In its Model Builder magazine and its Railroad Planning Book, Lionel urged boys and their dads to start planning their post war railroad now.

 

1943

Chutes and Ladders

Chutes and Ladders

Produced by Milton Bradley, Chutes and Ladders created a fervor among kids everywhere.

Continue reading “The Hottest Christmas Toys Through the Decades: The 1940’s”