Subscribe to the Retroist Newsletter

* indicates required
Stranger Things - Michael Maher

Star Wars Gets Stranger With Cast Of Stranger Things!

It is no big secret that Stranger Things kind of took off like wildfire here at the Retroist Vault. There are quite a few reasons why it managed to entrance us all. Naturally the easiest aspect of the series that attracted us was how it was a massive love letter to the 80s. From film posters to toys and music – it reminded us of the time most of us grew up in.
Stranger Things - Logo

Of course there was also the fact that it boasted a terrific cast. Stranger Things wouldn’t have been even half as enjoyable if not for the actors. While Millie Bobby Brown was the breakout star with her portrayal of Eleven. There was Finn Wolfhard as Mike, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas, Noah Schnapp as Will, and Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin as well. Each and everyone of these young actors brought memorable performances. In addition to the work by the supporting cast like Winona Ryder, David Harbour and so many others.

Furthermore there was the Lovecraftian horror meets Ridley Scott’s Alien by way of The Thing. Which presented more than a few scares throughout the Netflix series!

Another thing that creators Matt and Ross Duffer peppered throughout Stranger Things were nods to Star Wars. Which makes a ton of sense for children growing up in the 80s. I mean with Mike and his group who play Dungeons and Dragons. It’s not that hard to see them being fans of the Star Wars series as well, right?

Thanks to artist extraordinaire Michael Maher Jr. we can now see how the kids from Stranger Things would look in the Star Wars universe. Moreover perhaps that would now be the Stranger Wars films?

Image courtesy of Michael Maher Jr.

While I do love the idea of Finn playing Han and Noah as Luke. It really is Millie as Princess Leia and Gaten as Chewbacca that really makes it fantastic. The fact that in Maher’s Stranger Wars artwork Chewie is wearing Dustin’s hat – just a cherry on top. I wonder though…would Ryder and Harbour’s characters be R2 and Threepio?

Portal - Apple II

Have You Played Portal Yet On The Apple II?

When it comes to Portal I am of two minds. When I first saw the game in action on The Orange Box in 2007 I was blown away. I do have a fondness for puzzle titles but something about the videos I was seeing made me hesitant. While the idea of wielding an Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device was thrilling.

The truth of the matter is I’m one of those souls who is in fact affected by motion sickness. In first person games like Portal this is something of an issue as you might imagine. Still, the lure of not just Portal but Half-Life 2 and of course Team Fortress 2 . Made sure I was there on release day at my local game store to pick up my copy.
Portal - The Orange Box

The results were as to be expected. In addition my crippling weakness of motion sickness also affected me when playing Half-Life 2. However at the very least I was able to engage in another type of science with Team Fortress 2!

That’s how I lost my medical license!

Thankfully my Wife was able to make use of Portal – so I got the story of Chell, even if I had to leave the room and lay down every 15 minutes to do so. But all of that nasty motion sickness is behind us now thanks to Vince Weaver!
Portal - Vince Weaver

Who not only happens to be an assistant professor at the University of Maine -in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. But also sports a nice flux capacitor behind him and managed to program Portal on the Apple II. Worries of being struck down by motion sickness are a thing of the past!

Not too shabby a feat for a system that was built 24 years before Portal arrived on the scene, right? In addition Vince was able to pull this off using Applesoft Basic. He also managed to include a chiptune version of Still Alive!

Now that you know a bit about Portal for the Apple II, why not watch it in action? A walkthrough of sorts hosted by Vince Weaver!

[Via] Deater78

Oh, hey! Sorry – didn’t realize you were finished with that video. I was just enjoying this delicious and rather moist cake sent over by our friends from Aperture Laboratories. Why not let GLaDOS entertain you with an uplifting song while I finish this cake?

[Via] Norbert Tomo

Along Comes a Woman…And Indiana Cetera!

Despite how I feel about Peter Cetera’s attitude toward his former bandmates Chicago (if you don’t remember, Exhibit A is a good place to start), It is hard to not love his music, or Cetera’s contributions to their success as a group.

Feeling otherwise would rock my credibility as a Chicago fan, and we can’t have that!

The Era of Cetera…

By the early 1980s, Peter Cetera was no longer the Peter Cetera of the 1970s. He had slimmed down, cut his hair, and was taking more of a confident stance in his songwriting. He even released his first solo effort in 1981, a self-titled album that was met with commercial failure. I’ll assume it had something to do with critics only seeing him as part of Chicago. And not only were the changes happening with him, times were a-changing for Chicago as well (oh yes they were). The band was paid by CBS/Columbia in 1980 to leave the label after declining sales and that unfortunate Chicago 13 album failed to garner the earlier successes they had. Donnie Dacus was out, Exhibit A was destined to be forgotten (again, easy to click if you need reference), and Bill Champlain was in by 1981.

You know how I feel about him too, and trust me, it has nothing to do with the music. Because the music is awesome.

In 1984, amidst a rejuvenated success, a new contract with Warner Bros. (oooh, another story for you to read by clicking this!), and David Foster’s mad producing skills, Chicago 17 was guaranteed to be huge!

How huge, you ask?

It was their biggest selling album, all the released singles charted in the top 20, and two words: David Foster (Related: This, this, and this! Oh, and THIS!). By this time Chicago was firmly establishing themselves in reinvention (leaving the gritty behind, and moving on to the power of ballads), finding their voice all over again, and proving those critics who believed they were done in the late 1970s so very wrong.

The fourth of the four charting singles from this album (aside from “Stay the Night,” “Hard Habit to Break,” and “You’re the Inspiration”) was a track from side two, the oh-so-fun “Along Comes a Woman,” which sees Cetera not only singing the lead, but also starring in the video as the dashing hero.

And Along Comes Something Different…

“Along Comes A Woman” was a video that saw Chicago in a different (and kinda cool!) light. If this was part of reinvention, then it was a fun way to do it.

I’m wondering if anyone knew the changes that were coming after this single was released…

Anyway, “Along Comes a Woman” was the fourth and final single released from Chicago 17, and dropped on February 4, 1985. It peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and even spent time on MTV. It was clearly released at a time when music videos were a big deal, and was a huge departure from some of the previous music videos Chicago had done.

We have our dashing hero, “Indiana Cetera” (my labeling, of course), who is on the run from some baddies who want what he has.

But he’s good at hiding himself – and the valuable stuff.

Indiana Jones had boulders, Peter Cetera had mud.

But along comes a woman…

And some cameos by those three crazy guys in the horn section…

I seriously lol’d over James Pankow and Lee Loughnane ganging up on Walt Parazaider.

There’s Mandatory Horns…

Indy Cetera being forced to hand over the goods…

A Casablanca costume change…

Cetera gets the girl…

And loses the girl…

And along comes some guys…

I guess he got arrested?

And despite that turn of events, this was a funny and well-done music video. Different is not always a bad thing, and the acting from the horn section really makes this video funny. Cetera shines, but if you’ve seen James Pankow, Walt Parazaider, and Lee Loughnane perform live, you wouldn’t be shocked by anything you’ll seen here.

And along comes a music video…that you can watch by hitting play!

Uploaded by Hasse Hammarlund

I had heard this song because of the “Greatest Hits” album Only the Beginning, but I hadn’t seen many of Chicago’s music videos aside from “You’re the Inspiration” (which everyone has seen). Of the ones I’ve seen, this one is by far one of my favorites music videos. The acting is a bit silly, but you’re laughing too much to notice how hokey it really is.

At least the group got to have their fun, but reinvention happened not long after, as Peter Cetera exited the group in June 1985, ending the Cetera years. The next era was yet to come, but what great way to end this one.

And along comes an outro…

If you haven’t already noticed, Allison loves Chicago. She writes about it often (did you see all the hyperlinks along the way?). If you like what you see here, whether it is about Chicago or any of the other things she’s written about, you’ll love her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her antics from Retroist and Allison’s Written Words on her blog’s Facebook page, and she’s also on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

And along comes a swift exit…

Werewolf - Power Records

Retro Records: The Curse of The Werewolf!

I’m not sure when you were first introduced to the concept of the Werewolf. But as in fact I’ve mentioned before – I learned all about it thanks to this 1975 poster. One that at the tender age of three years old I pulled from a box of Sugar Crisp!

Images courtesy of the Classic Movie Monsters Blog.

Now I didn’t really get bit with the Werewolf bug until seeing 1941’s The Wolf Man. Starring some rather legendary actors. Like Bela Lugosi, Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy, and of course Lon Chaney, Jr.

After catching that film on TV during the Late, Late Show I was hooked. While I was a Universal Monster fan from an early age. It would be not just The Wolf Man but anything Werewolf related that would demand my attention. Which is probably how I ended up watching 1981’s An American Werewolf in London at only nine years old!

Which naturally bring us around to our Retro Records offering for today. A 1974 Power Records 45 rpm entitled “The Curse of the Werewolf!”. In addition it features artwork by Mike Ploog and even Gene Colan. I should add that it at the very least looks like Gene Colan provided the artwork for the scenes involving Dracula.

Furthermore – this is a record that could only have come from the 70s! Like some of the others we have shared such as Kojak as well as Man-Thing. The story is rather dark to say the very least.
Werewolf

So without further ado join us on Retro Records as we listen to The Curse of the Werewolf!

[Via] Mister GrayMan

Knight Rider

Do You Remember This Knight Rider Kiddie Ride?

Considering the popularity of Knight Rider on NBC back in 1982. It shouldn’t have come as such a surprise to me that a kiddie ride was produced. Although I have to admit that I’ve not seen this early 80’s Knight Rider coin-op ride before today.
Knight Rider
Knight Rider - Kiddie Ride

While like many of you out there that visit The Retroist. I too have some rather strong memories of begging for a quarter from my Family. For a few minutes time to ride a galloping horse or even a rocket ship outside a local store.

Of course there were more varied options vying for that precious quarter.

While it is quite true that my Family didn’t tune in on a regular basis to catch the adventure of Michael Knight and KITT. I can truthfully say there were more than a few Summer nights when visiting my Grandparents where the neighborhood kids would gather to watch it at one of their houses.

Now I can’t pin down an exact date for when this Knight Rider kiddie ride was manufactured. Or I should add I’ve yet to find anything official in my research. The video below uploaded by GMS1975 is quite amazing nonetheless. Furthermore I have to add that I was shocked their was no theme song from the television show while the ride is operating.

However, thanks to the likes of Pinterest it would appear there are multiple versions. For example – check out this intact version of the kiddie ride.

But then we have this version of the Knight Rider coin-op ride. Notice the lack of a left-hand door. As well as the variation of control panel layout and style of steering wheel.

Perhaps the easiest answer is that FLAG just went into mass production with the Knight Industries Two Thousand model?

Now that you’ve taken a look at the Knight Rider coin-op ride. Why not take a moment to watch this 1996 home video from Universal Studios Hollywood?

[Via] Pippo 702

Are you still craving a little more about Knight Rider? Well – the Retroist has you covered with Episode 22 of the podcast!
Retroist Knight Rider Podcast

FIVE ALIVE commercial 1981

No doubt riding on the heels of the immensely popular movie 9 to 5, this commercial hits us right in the taste buds!

It appears that Nancy has hit a wall at the office and needs a little pick me up! Thankfully her sassy coworkers are there to inject a little vitamin C! Typing takes a LOT outta ya!

FIVE ALIVE was a juice drink I used to love! This summer I was reminded of this magical elixir while waiting for a Ferry Boat in British Columbia, Canada. Sadly the soda machine was all out. What a disappointment. Oh well, this commercial reminds of the abundance of multiple citrus fruit juices I missed out on.

It’s all fun and games until the boss catches you screwing around…NOW, GET BACK TO WORK!

Did You Pop Yer Top For This 1968 Boardgame?

It’s my belief. My personal belief mind you – that board games were quite a bit more popular back in the 60s and 70s. In addition I think that they had a more imaginative approach to the designs of the game. Just a couple of weeks ago I shared that incredible 1979 Alien board game as a case in point.

Having said that I think the 80s had some amazing board games too of course. Many of them were movie tie-in’s like The Goonies. But you also had offerings that relied on other media – like 1988’s Shrieks and Creaks that used an audio cassette.

And it’s a fact there are some INCREDIBLE games being made today. Just off the top of my head I can’t recommend Inis, 7 Wonders, or Betrayal at House on the Hill enough.

Those games however are not exactly designed for children – or furthermore quick to finish. Which is why I try to seek out the older board games. Generally for the use of the arcade but some of them are for my personal collection. Of course looking for worthy games is half the fun and thankfully we have YouTube to help make things a little easier.

[Via] Chris Hanson

Which is of course how I found this 1968 game from Milton Bradley. Pop Yer Top tasked Players on their turn to take control of the Koo-Koo bird.

Following the steps printed on the board – through two safe zones to reach the winner’s spot. Make sure to check out the degrees Koo-Koo goes to in those safe zones to ensure he doesn’t pop his top.

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

There are no dice used in the Pop Yer Top. Instead a Player pushes their luck with each press of the wacky bird on the game board.
Pop Yer Top

The Players have no clue of course at which point Koo-Koo will pop his top.

If that happens the Player must go all the way back to the starting area. I’ve been able to find a few copies of Pop Yer Top for purchase on ebay. They range from a mere $12 to $33. Not a bad price for such a fun game if you ask me.

I really want to thank the always impressive BoardGameGeek for the image used at the top of the post as well as the board itself.

Granted if I do pick up a copy of Pop Yer Top I will have to look into Koo-Koo’s eyes for quite some time. His all-knowing eyes!