A retrospective look at pop, fashion, trends, TV, film, toys, fads, wars, people and all manner of curiosities from the vintage vaults.
FLASHBACK to 30/09/1987: BBC Radio One Breakfast Show DJ Mike Smith (right) is joined by former presenters of the early-morning slot as the network celebrates its 20th anniversary. From left: Dave Lee Travis, Noel Edmonds, Tony Blackburn and Mike Read.
What happened next?
Thalidomide was marketed as the sedative that would alleviate morning sickness. It had been sold to unsuspecting pregnant women between 1958 and late 1961, when it was removed from the market following evidence it disrupted foetal development.
”In real life, the guy’s hair would be matted down from the helmet. The chick would be your woman instead of a New York model. And you’d be eating exhaust from a bus instead of grooving in farout fields. However, the Landlubbers are real, and they are mildly but honestly transcendent.”
IN 1970 Whitney Darrow created I’m Glad I’m a Boy! I’m Glad I’m a Girl!
NON-SPORTS trading cards around the 1970s generally were aimed at kids and revolved around a popular movie or TV program. They were meant for fun; for collecting and trading on the playground. Nothing serious. Subsequently, it’s all the more unsettling when you run across an old trading card that takes a walk on the dark side. Here are a seventeen insane and disturbing examples. Enjoy.
MOD SQUAD ASSAULT CARD (1968)
This doesn’t look like a child’s trading card. This looks like something a serial killer would pin to his bedroom wall.
FLASHBACK to 11/09/1978: Terence Harris of Porchester Terrace, Paddington – 29 year old pop musician Jet Harris – former bass guitarist with “The Shadows” – at Marlborough Street Magistrates, London, where he appeared on remand on a drink-drive charge and possession of drugs charge.
The Shadows had been Cliff Richard’s backing group. Harris left the group in 1962 following an alleged affair between his wife, Carol Costa, and Richard.
Harris is front right in the picture below.
FLASHBACK: Manchester City’s Mike Summerbee demonstrating the built in record player in his new Swedish sports car on 17/03/1967.
A LOT of people make a lot of films, but sadly not all those films have kick-ass theme songs. This is a crying shame – AN ENORMOUSLY CRYING SHAME – because in an ideal world every film ever made would either begin or end (ideally both) with a song (not an instrumental, they don’t count) sharing a title with the film in question. Filmmakers, heed this advice. Why? Why, you say? Well…
- YOU MIGHT FINALLY GET THAT KUDOS YOU’VE BEEN AFTER Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
IN this study of 1970s life, we look at Peggy Treadwell’s The Working Couple’s Cookbook (1971). In the go-ahead 1970s of free love and wife swapping parties, the book was aimed at not only wives and husbands but “roomates, soulmates, playmates, or wedded mates”.
UPON the success of Scooby Doo, a flood of imitations appeared on television screens, all containing the same basic template. This wouldn’t be worth talking about if the formula wasn’t Xeroxed with such wild abandon. It truly is awesome to behold the number of times it was used and reused, with only minimal variation. Those in the business called the formula: “Three Kids and a Nyah Nyah”. Basically, what this means is you have three principle characters each fulfilling a certain trope and a gimmicky creature. Here it is broken down:
The Stud – the beefy, alpha male of the group
ON Tuesday, February 25, Monsters: The Complete Series will be released on DVD. For those who may not remember it, Monsters (1984 – 1988) was Laurel’s second TV horror anthology after Tales from the Darkside (1984 – 1988), and - much like its more well-known predecessor - it was crafted on an extremely low-budget.
In fact, the joke about Tales from the Darkside in the eighties was that its special effects were crafted for $188.00 per episode.
WHY subject yourself to ten objectively awful songs, you ask? Even though it will be painful and there will be mental wounds that may take years to heal, it is a worthy endeavor. It will serve as a reminder that, no matter how bad the state of music is today, there were songs in the 1980s that were much, much worse.
Can you make it through all ten? Bear in mind, these aren’t “so bad they’re good”; they’re “so bad they cause cancer”. In fact, the selection chosen from a variety of countries to soften the blame on any one nation. Before beginning, we recommend you have the phone number of a good therapist close at hand. Good luck to you… but don’t say you weren’t warned.
“Neighbours” Theme Song (1985)
Is it possible for your brain to vomit? You’ll find out when you take a listen to this saccharine Australian TV show theme.
TODAY marks the 25th anniversary of the original release of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, inarguably the best time-travelling-slackers-in-a-phonebox movie ever. Here are nine wholly unnecessary but non-bogus knowledge-bombs:
A BAND ON THE SOUNDTRACK DOESN’T EXIST
The song Two Heads Are Better Than One, the closing theme to B&TEE (as all the cool kids call it) is credited to a band called Power Tool. The thing is, there’s no such band. The song was performed by glam metal band Nelson, who co-wrote it with Dweezil Zappa. Nelson were in the middle of contract negotiations at the time so submitted it under a made-up name.
THANKS to the digitisation and Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, we can browse scrapbooks owned by the great Harry Houdini (1891-1926). The University has had the archives in its possession since 1958. But only now are they on the web, and free to view.
The scrapbooks are full of adverts, stories, and reviews on Houdini’s twin passions: magic and spiritualism. It’s great to think of Houdini and his peers selecting item for inclusion, then sticking them into place, editing the story of magic and live showbiz in the first two decades of the 20th Century.
Everyone should like collecting and sticking things in books with an artistic flourish. These books create wonderful memories of your life and your view of the world. They reveal what delighted you, what you did and what made you think.
How To Succeed With Brunettes And Blondes Prefer Gentlemen: 1967 US Navy Guides To Etiquette And Women
IN 1967, the Us Government taught the men How to Succeed with Brunettes. Produced by the US Navy, the film was aimed at the officer classes. Never agin would they fail in the brunette etiquette tests.
The holiday camp music and voice of paternalistic authority add to the sense of watching a well-played joke wrapped about a firm moral message.
Two things: couple are all boy-girl; and the only black face in view belongs to a waiter. This was 1967. Etiquette came before institutionalised racism. But let’s not spoil things. Let’s get down to the pulling:
THIS year marks the 30th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and whatever misgivings people might have about the new Michael Bay-produced movie it’ll be massive. We might find ourselves entering another golden age of Teenage Mutant Giant Ripoffs, like when the original cartoon (1987-1996) inspired a whole load of other shows that took the formula of a group of merchandise-friendly anthropomorphized animals with a tendency towards violence and ran with it. Some of the ripoffs were alright, some of the ripoffs were terrible, but none of them are being made into a giant-ass Michael Bay film, and none of them had nunchuks, so the Turtles win. Here are ten of our “favourite” TMNT clones.
BUCKY O’HARE AND THE TOAD WARS (1991)
MUTANT TURTLE SUBSTITUTES: A multi-species spaceship crew
Despite being based on a comic created before TMNT (although published after it), there’s no way anyone would have funded a Bucky O’Hare cartoon without the huge success of the Turtles. As well as the eponymous green pilot hare there was Jenny the cat pilot, Deadeye Duck the one-eyed gunner, Bruiser the baboon, Blinky the one-eyed android and human tagalong Willy. The action figures were amazing, but if you own them and are ashamed of your nerdiness, get in touch and we’ll take them off your hands…
ON this day in photos: February 14 1989: Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khomeini sentences British author Salman Rushdie to death. He also sentenced to death the publishers of Rushdie’s book the Satanic Verses. Khomeni said the book is a blasphemy against Islam. His decree introduced many of us to the word ‘fatwa’.
In October 1964, all the cool kids could buy these Beatles dolls, seen here at the toy Fair in New York. The Beatlee dolls are being watched over by looked over by 10-year-old Carol Valentine, 10.
AT half-past ten on St Valentine’s Day, 1929 in a cold, unheated brick garage at 2122 North Clark Street, Chicago, six members of the Bugs Moran gang were sitting around waiting for a consignment of illegal whisky due to be delivered that morning. Moran himself was meant to be there too but had slept in and was late.
A Cadillac screeched to a halt outside and three men dressed as policemen accompanied by two men in civilian clothes entered the premises. They told the six gangsters and John May, a mechanic working in the garage, to stand in a row with their hands up against the wall. A few seconds and ninety bullets later the men were left slumped dead and dying on the floor.
Not long after the killings, John Miller, a reporter on the newspaper Chicago American arrived on the scene and wrote:
Sprawled grotesquely at the base of the bullet-riddled stone wall were six distorted bodies; a seventh lay slumped over a wooden chair. One of the officers called out, ‘This one’s Pete Gusenberg, an ex-con and the chief gunner for the Drucci-Moran gang. Here’s Al Weinshank, the North Side booze runner, and Artie Davis from the West Side mob. And this was James Clark, Bugs Moran’s brother-in-law. Here what’s left of Doc Schwimmer.’