Live the Adventure - Operation Space Station - Yo Joe.Com

Did You Live The Adventure With G.I. Joe’s Operation: Space Station?

G.I. Joe was reaching the zenith of its popularity with me in 1987 in terms of the toy line but it certainly went out with a bang when they introduced the awesome Defiant playset. The dream of finding that massive three vehicle playset under the Christmas tree was pretty quickly squashed though with it’s hefty $129 price tag.

GIJoe - Defiant

While I never added this playset to my collection that didn’t stop me from enjoying the Live the Adventure: Operation Space Station offer. As you can see from these scanned images from the fantastic 3DJOES site, the story for this offer was that after Cobra abandons the Terror Drome they have managed to take over the Orion 1 Space Station, as members of the Joe team it was up to us kids to identify the known Cobra forces on Orion 1:

Image courtesy of 3DJOES.

Image courtesy of 3DJOES.

Assign the perfect Joe team members to help overtake the Cobra forces:

Image courtesy of 3DJOES.

Image courtesy of 3DJOES.

Then we were tasked with unscrambling the launch codes for the Defiant itself and using a star map to find the position of the Orion 1 Space Station.

Doing all of this didn’t earn me a free Defiant play set but I did receive a certificate from General Hawk as well as the Defiant Commander “Payload”. Hm, I think this certificate might look pretty good in a frame on the Retroist vault’s Employee of the Month wall, don’t you?

G.I. Joe - Live The Adventure - Operation Space Station

A big thanks as well to YoJoe.Com for the scanned Live the Adventure Promotion at the top of the post.


Lee Nails and Press On Nails

Despite having seen hours of commercials for nail repair and press on nail kits, I still have no idea how they really work. When I was a kid though, I had a teacher who wore the press on kind, I knew this because once while she was reviewing some work with me, I saw her nails and the space between the cuticle and the press on nail was really obvious. I didn’t say anything to her, but I asked my family about it when I got home and they explained it to me. It was enlightening, but from that point on, all I could do was stare at those nails.

As I mentioned, they ran a lot of commercials for the nail systems. The on for Press On Nails is the one I remember the most…

While that one is memorable, this one for the Lee Nails repair kit is a lot more interesting. The husband sees his wife break a nail, then asks her if she grew a new one?? Is he joking? Does he not understand how fingernails work or does he think that they grow super fast on women?


Enjoy the Original Commercial for Sweeney Todd on Broadway in 1979

This commercial brings back memories of growing up right outside of New York City. Almost daily I would be his by commercials for Broadway musicals like Cats or Annie and it piqued my interest in a attending a music. When I finally did get to see one I was not disappointed.

This Sweeney Todd commercial is kind of creepy, which makes a lot of sense and would have been a lot for my young brain to process. Although I would not have known Angela Lansbury from her work in “Murder, She Wrote”, which is still years away, I would have known her from the Disney classic, “Bednobs and Broomsticks”.

This commercial is from the original run of Sweeney Todd, which has gone on to be a powerhouse — Playing around the world pretty much non-stop since its debut.


Learn all about “The Adventures of Superman” on the Retroist Video Podcast

On today’s show we talk all about great and venerable TV show, Adventures of Superman. We talk about the characters on the show, the talent behind the show, its ignoring of Superman mythology, its rosters of characters and its attempted spin offs.

This video podcast was done by Justin M. Salvato of and is a video-ized version of the original Adventures of Superman podcast I did.


Not a video fan? Listen to the original audio episode:

Like what you hear/see? Listen and subscribe to the Retroist Podcast!


The Police are Good – Is Sting Better?

During my sophomore year of high school a friend, Mike, and I had an ongoing argument.  He thought the Police was the best band and I defended REO Speedwagon as being on top. Honestly, we were both speaking in ignorance; neither of us listened to the other band.  I knew nothing about the Police other than a few songs I heard on the radio and he was completely deaf to the sweet sounds of REO. He wore me down and I reluctantly borrowed Zenyatta Mondatta . . . and loved it.  I had Synchronicity in my album collection -a gift from a family friend, but I had yet to listen to it, so I did . . . and loved it even more.

And then Sting breaks with the Police and releases Dream of the Blue Turtles.  I had been set up.  I had just started to listen to and enjoy the Police and now Sting, with his first solo effort, made me completely fall in love with his music. Dream of the Blue Turtles was revelation for me.  It had lyrics that were, at times, difficult to figure out, but beautifully written and music that was a major departure from my usual fare.  This classic album is 30 years old now and still packed a powerful punch that truly launched Sting into the stratosphere of international music success.

Dream of the Blue Turtles was released in June of 1985 and climbed it’s way up to #2, selling a total of three million copies and winning the Grammy Award for album of the year and best male pop vocal.  It was a landmark album that helped add an eclectic feel to pop music by blending rock, reggae, and jazz into smooth musical compositions that accompanied lyrics which ranged from love songs to politically charged poetry.  There is even an instrumental (title track) that is pure jazz with clear improvisation and a clear musical theme.  With the likes of Branford Marsalis the music can never be bad.

Ignoring the title track because it contains no lyrics, Dream of the Blue Turtles could lyrically be divided into two categories:  songs about relationships and songs with a political or social theme – oh, and one cover of a Police song.

Relationship songs:  There are thousands upon thousands of love songs out there, but Sting’s are typically something a little different.  These songs take a somewhat different, even literate approach and represent the most successful songs from the album.  The first single If You Love Somebody Set Them Free climbed to #3 on the U.S. charts.  In this song Sting’s takes the unusual approach of suggesting that we let the one we love go – if he/she comes back, then the love is strong and long lasting.  My clearest memory of this song is my girlfriend liking the song, but thinking the lyrics were “stupid.”

Track 2 is another love song, Love is the Seventh Wave.  This catchy tune reached #17.  Sting says of the song, “‘I was at Eddy Grant’s studio, watching the surfers, and they told me that the seventh wave was the strongest wave: they get stronger and stronger until the seventh wave, then start again.”  Not as deep as many listeners may have thought, but pretty cool.   My personal favorite song is another of the love songs, Fortress Around Your Heart which topped out at # 8 on the Billboard charts.  This song takes a unique approach to a love song – war imagery.  The speaker wants to protect his love, but is worried that too much protection will cause her to feel trapped.  The chorus is one of my all time favorites:

And if I have built this fortress around your heart
Encircled you with trenches and barbed wire
Then let me build a bridge
For I cannot fill the chasm
Let me set the battlements on fire

The songs Children’s Crusade, We Work the Black Seam, and Russians are the songs that make a clear political or social statement.  The best of these is Russians which had a profound impact upon me as a teen growing up  on a military base in Germany.  The serious nature of the song released during a tense period of the Cold War clearly resonated with fans as it sold very well and reached #16 on the singles chart.  My instinct is to quote the entire song, but I will force myself so share only the chorus:  “We share the same biology regardless of ideology / Believe me when I say to you, I hope the Russians love their children too.”  Honestly, this songs freaked me out a little.

Shadows in the Rain is the fifth song on Dream of the Blue Turtles and is a cover of a song by the Police that appeared on the 1982 album Zenyatta Mondatta.  Sting’s version reduced the reggae influences and adopted an upbeat jazz rhythm.  The one song from Dream of the Blue Turtles that defies categorization is Moon Over Bourbon Street.  When I was young I listened to this song constantly, trying to figure it out – I even typed out the lyrics on my Commodore 64.  This quiet, haunting song is about a vampire walking the streets of New Orleans and struggling with the realization that he is forever trapped in a life that he has no control over.  Sting does a masterful job in adopting the vampire’s voice and showing his endless struggle, “The brim of my hat hides the eyes of a beast / I’ve the face of a sinner and the hands of a priest / Oh, you’ll never see my shade or hear the sound of my feet / While there is a moon over Bourbon Street.”

Sting once said that being a member of the Police was like wearing golden handcuffs.  This album was his first chance to fully express his musical talents.  Dream of the Blue Turtles was my awakening to lyrics.  I now have two categories of favorite music.  First, I judge on the sound- guitars, keyboards, drums – does the music move me?  Second, I judge on the lyrical content – is there more than just simple words put together to rhyme?  Sting was the first to make me really pay attention to lyrics and I have, especially to his, since this excellent album released 30 years ago.


Do you remember Red Barn Restaurants?

Sadly I do not remember them. I am not sure they had any in my area when I was growing up, but for years I have been seeing the recycled shells of his once mighty fast food chain and not even realizing that they all came from the same place.

While Red Barn might have had great food (according to some online fans), they also had these very unique looking barn-shaped buildings. I imagine that have driven by dozens if not more of them, now defunct and being used as other places to eat, buy tires or get your taxes done. But no more, thanks to the magic of the internet, I will now look at all barn-shaped architecture with a more critical eye and lament the loss of a restaurant I never got to try.

Besides and amazing look, this chain also had a great theme song…