How To Be Cool At Parties…With Malcolm-Jamal Warner!

Oh Malcolm-Jamal Warner, you’ve already taught me how to stay safe when I’m home alone. Now you’re going to teach me how to be cool at parties?

Vestron (and Children’s Video Library) Wrote The Book (Or, Made The Video) on How To Be Cool At Parties!

Have you ever wanted to make a splash at your next party, whether hosting or attending? Look no further than Malcolm-Jamal Warner – and an array of people you wouldn’t invite to your next party – hosting Show Off! How To Be Cool at Parties.

That’s right, from budget home video label Vestron’s Children’s Video Library, comes to the key to popularity and promises of many more party invites. All because you watched Show Off! How to Be Cool at Parties, and said “hey! I can do all of this!”

But, before we start, and this is REALLY important…

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That song will stick with you, and you’ll fight the temptation to punch the television and pop those balloons!

Why, you get to see all these amazing things!

And who better to host this walk-though of potential coolness, other than Malcolm-Jamal Warner. He already taught you how to be safe when home alone, why not how to be cool…at parties?

I’d say you’re in for the greatest how-to guide of them all, but it’s more like comedians/assorted odd people you would never invite to your party teaching you how to be cool enough to be invited. It’s like…they want to live vicariously through you!

As for the party tricks, they’re a bit eye-rolling.

For instance…

The String Trick!

Malcolm’s contribution to the party!

Upside Down Face Lip Syncing!

“I’m gonna up, up, upside down!

I laughed, but a part of my soul also cried.


This was actually cool – he’s the voice of Skeeter on Doug, and becomes clear later on!

Thumb Wrestling!

And now for sports…if thumb wrestling was considered a sport.

I picture the liveliest of parties involving a small wrestling ring, fingerless gloves, and “one, two, three, four, this is how we start a war!”

Is this a party for third graders?

Straw Paper Worm!

My straw paper art is way more exciting!

The Imaginary Stairway!

I first saw this on an episode of The Hogan Family…as demonstrated by Sandy Duncan.

One of the oldest, funniest, and at the same time, most eye-rolling gags ever.


Not on a magic carpet, but still, wouldn’t that be awesome!

It’s actually done with your feet. Which is actually…quite depressing.

Making an Exit!

…and smashing your face on the door!


Trying to exit through a locked door…or is it locked?He thinks he’s the COOLEST!

But wait, there’s a dog just waiting at the door, planning their attack upon exiting?

She’s the worst of the bunch, until later on…

The Bicycle Horn!

(I’m so sorry about the screenshot on the right).

The Finger Dangle!


The T-Shirt Sheikh!

Offensive in every way possible!

Complete with low budget camel!

Did anyone say “HUMP DAAAAAAAAAAAY?!”

Pencil Tricks!

Bending the pencil…

…rubberizing said pencil…

and making a coin disappear…with a pencil!


The Invisible Piano!

From offensive to…actually, I like this one. I wouldn’t bust it out at a party, but it’s pretty funny!

But from this we get…

Window Tricks!

Sometimes, she makes such a scary face, she even scares herself!


The Imaginary Ball Trick!

His “ball” is blue, and he takes it everywhere with him.

Mmmmkay…I could make a joke about a blue ball, but I won’t.

How about…


The Dancing Scarf!

And finally, because this trainwreck can’t go on forever…

Hawaiian Nose Humming!

Which looks like something entirely different altogether.

And how about that amazing cast of fine mentors of the art of being cool at parties?

The “How To Be Cool at Parties” Players!

A few of these fine folks did nothing/next to nothing beyond this video, but some of them are actually comedians, writers, and Fred Newman is a voiceover artist. And Friedhoffer is an actual magician!

And as we move on to the credits, which display a set reminiscent of what happens when Pee-Wee’s Playhouse goes on a three-day bender…

We are then treated to the horror of this logo all over again…

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Which, by the way, is terrifying at 3 am. Not sure why that’s important, but it is.

Because I’ve never sat up at 3 am watching logos!

And this reminder…

Catalog valid until 1987.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to find out what it takes to be cool at parties?

Well, wonder no more! You’re about to live it!

Show Off! How To Be Cool at Parties!

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As we close out yet another golden moment of weirdness from the dustiest of archives, I wonder who this video was marketed at. No, hear me out. The video was distributed by Children’s Home Video, the family-friendly arm of Vestron Video, itself a (former) distributor of various instructional videos. This isn’t exactly the type of film that targets high school partygoers. Heck, I bet it wouldn’t even target middle school partygoers.

Which means one thing, and one thing only…How To Be Cool at Parties is made for the cool Kindergarten parties!

Nah, that’s harsh. It’s more mature for first grade parties.

I’m going to walk away now.

Oh look, my ride is here!

That’s a Not Bicycle. I’m talking about this ride!

Don’t be jealous, T-Shirt Sheikh!

The Thing Ads - IMDB - Title

Saturday Frights: 1951’s The Thing Ads Are Terrifying!

When we think of The Thing most of us can’t help but think of John Carpenter’s version. I have shared before how breathtaking it was when I first saw it at the local 112 Drive-In. It was bleak, and the special effects by Rob Bottin for a ten year-old were truly terrifying. However that fear also applies to the Howard Hawk’s The Thing from Another World. Not just the special effects, while perhaps looking dated now were impressive for the time. In addition 1951’s The Thing ads, turned out to be scary too.

While some see the 1982 film as a reboot of Howard Hawks’ The Thing from Another World. There are many fans that rightfully feel that it isn’t a reboot. It is in fact an adaptation of John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There? from 1938. Honestly I believe both groups are correct. Furthermore you can hear The Thing‘s Director address some of that himself in the clip below.

[Via] Film SCHOOL Archive

On the subject of Directors, there is indeed some speculation as to who directed The Thing from Another World. Even in that clip with John Carpenter and the late Robert Osborne, it came up in their talk. See there have been rumors for many years that Howard Hawks helmed the film. In addition you have some of the original actors who say it was the legendary Director. Others however say it was in fact Christian Nyby who helmed the movie. It seems the man had a thing or two to say himself about the matter at a reunion for 1982:

“Did Hawks direct it? That’s one of the most inane and ridiculous questions I’ve ever heard, and people keep asking. That it was Hawks’ style. Of course it was. This is a man I studied and wanted to be like. You would certainly emulate and copy the master you’re sitting under, which I did. Anyway, if you’re taking painting lessons from Rembrandt, you don’t take the brush out of the master’s hands.

It sounds very much like the rumors surrounding another 1982 film, released around the same time as John Carpenter’s The Thing. Of course I am referring to Poltergeist by Tobe Hooper.

When the movie was released in 1951, RKO Pictures really wanted to make sure people knew about it. That of course naturally included popular magazines of the day. Which is how through the IMDB I stumbled on so many vintage The Thing ads.
The Thing Ads - Scientist - IMDB

Now I know that wasn’t very scary, right? Take a look at this original piece of advertising courtesy of Museum of Mom and Pop Culture. A little more menacing.
The Thing Ads - Museum of Mom and Pop Culture

I saved the best for last, friends. Do yourself a favor and imagine you were turning a magazine page and came upon this in 1951. Terrifying, no?
The Thing Ads - Little Girl - IMDB

There are many times when I see this type of promotion for a film, I find myself missing those days. It seemed like there was such a strong sense of ballyhoo to it all.

Now that you’ve seen The Thing ads for yourself. Why not check out the original trailer too?

[Via] Horror Film Keller

Ben Cooper Costumes - Title

These Vintage Ben Cooper Costumes Were A Surprise

Friends, of course those of us of a certain age remember the Ben Cooper line of Halloween costumes well. Perhaps best known for just how wide Ben Cooper threw its net in regards to merchandising. Finding one of these delightful costumes in the wild never fails to bring a smile to my face. Especially when I dropped by my local Vintage Stock and discovered they not only had three Ben Cooper costumes for sale – but they also were still in their boxes.

Ben Cooper actually got his start designing sets as well as costumes for the legendary Cotton Club. With the Great Depression however, the entrepreneur noticed that Halloween was still popular. So he decided to go for the licensing of Walt Disney characters beginning in 1937. Thanks to partnering up with Fishbach’s Spotlight in 1942, Ben Cooper costumes became super popular. Sears, J.C. Penney, and Woolworth’s carried the easily affordable costumes and helped cement the company as a household name.

[Via] Cool Old Videos

Now as soon as I stepped through the doors of my local Vintage Stock. It was indeed like my eyes were magnetically drawn to the display of vintage costumes. Thankfully the staff as always were kind enough to let me start snapping photos of them all. Almost as if they are used to me doing such a thing, right? First up is Gary Gnu from 1981’s The Great Space Coaster.
Ben Cooper Costumes - Gary Gnu

[Via] TGS Coaster

Next up is an icon I am pretty sure doesn’t really require any introduction. In the early 80’s it isn’t like Pac-Man wasn’t a worldwide phenomenon!
Ben Cooper Costumes - Pac Man - Mask

However that does not mean of course I won’t remind you of the Diary podcast. Although in this case the featured game was 1982’s Pac-Man Plus.

What of the third Ben Cooper costume though? Do you recognize this charming adventurer?
Ben Cooper Costumes - Frank Buck - Mask - Bring 'Em Back Alive

Frank Buck. The world famous big game trapper and collector of wild animals?
Ben Cooper Costumes - Frank Buck - Bottom of Box

You will recall I mentioned that Ben Cooper was known for licensing pretty much any pop culture icon. In this case that does include the main character from 1982’s Bring ‘Em Back Alive.

[Via] Ran 5900

Which I should add if you don’t check out that intro to the short lived series is none other than Bruce Boxleitner. Also appearing in the show was his co-star from TRON, the beautiful Cindy Morgan. I am not sure if her character was available as an costume option for Halloween that year, but it wouldn’t shock me if one was available.

How about we close this out with this vintage 1978 Woolworth’s TV commercial? Featuring quite a few of Ben Cooper costumes I might add.

[Via] William Presley

Emmet Otter Outtakes - Title

These Emmet Otter Outtakes Will Make Your Day!

That might indeed seem like a bold statement, but I truly do believe that the Emmet Otter outtakes below will make your day better. Think about it. The Jim Henson company has created thousands of hours of entertainment. New generations are daily getting their first encounters with the magic that the Henson company has created. Movies as well as of course television specials. For my money, one of the greatest of the latter is Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas from 1977.

Emmet Otter Outtakes - Jim Henson - Don Sahlin - Jim's Red Book

Image of Don Sahlin and Jim Henson, courtesy of Jim’s Red Book.

By the way, the special was shot and indeed released to Canadian television in 1977. It wasn’t seen by American audiences however until HBO picked it up for ’78 and ’79. In fact it was in 1980 when I first saw the special for myself, when it aired on ABC.

[Via] The Museum of Classic Chicago Television

Every single one of the Henson Company productions show a lot of heart. However I think that Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas has an extra helping of it. The special was based on the 1971 book by Russell and Lillian Hoban. But one of the reasons I believe the show stands out so much is the beautiful music by Paul Williams.

[Via] The Jim Henson Company

Jim Henson was well known for believing in hard work. But he felt that very work could certainly be filled with smiles and laughter as well. Perhaps one of the ways the puppeteer was able to accomplish this feat was to surround himself with like-minded performers. In the case of these Emmet Otter outtakes that includes the late and great Jerry Nelson as Emmet and Dave Golez as Wendel. In addition to Eren Ozker as Hetty Muskrat and of course Frank Oz as Alice Otter.

[Via] The Jim Henson Company

Now, it has been nearly 41 years since Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas was first aired. And I am so very pleased that we all can still be entertained with “new” footage after all these years.

I saved the best of the Emmet Otter outtakes for the last!

In this incredibly funny segment you will see how performers Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson handle a drum that won’t behave. A short moment in the film…that took 233 takes to get right.

[Via] Ruth Hill