craig-t-nelson

Craig T. Nelson Hosts and Narrates “The Agony of Defeat”

In the early Nineties the video, “The Agony of Defeat” swept through the video store I worked at like a hurricane. People could not get enough of these insane, life threatening sports bloopers and no matter how many copies we had, especially around the holidays, we couldn’t keep them in stock. It seemed that every boyfriend, husband and son was getting a copy that year and we gleefully accepted money hand over fist. The owners of the store were very happy. Me, not so much.

As soon as we realized that by just putting this video on our series of TVs, we could sell out, this video went into regular rotation and I had to watch this video again and again and again and again. Maybe I have a weak stomach, but I do not enjoy watching people get hurt, so the challenge became to try to sell out of the tape as quickly as possible so that we wouldn’t have to play it. This became a self-perpetuating system. The more we sold, the more the boss ordered, the more we had to sell.

Eventually the market must have gotten saturated enough and sales slowed. We would still sell copies from time to time, but nothing like the original rush.

With the birth of the internet, videos of people getting hurt are available at the touch of a button, so programs like this no longer get made. But because of that same technology, the original video is now available online (from a VHS rip), in all of its Craig T. Nelson narrated glory.

Was this shot on the set of “Coach”?

newhart

Retroist Podcast – Episode 197 – Newhart

On today’s show I talk about the eighties’ sitcom hit, “Newhart”. I start off talking about how I would and still do run a good catchphrase into the ground (it is a compulsion of mine), then I move onto the show. I talk about the cast, the creator, the characters, the “location” of the famous Inn, the show’s reception, the final episode, its music and much much more. Newhart is an amazing show. I hope this might encourage people to check it out.

Music on the show was provided by Peachy (the Nelson Riddle of Wales), if you have musical needs, why not contact Peachy at peachy@retroist.com. And “like” him on his Facebook Page.

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happy-days

Happy Days TV Guide Premiere Ads

In the autumn of 1974 a tidal wave of nostalgia was about to wash over the United States. Happy Days made its premiere and for over a decade it would entertain around the world (and get some wonderful spin-offs). While the show exceeded the nostalgia label very quickly, the marketing forces behind the show pushed hard to make people look back to a simpler times as you can see in these classic TV Guide Ads.

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For more information about this classic TV series, give a listen to the Retroist Happy Days Podcast.

kirk-cameron-kool-aid

A Young Kirk Cameron helps sell Kool Aid back in the Eighties

Kirk Cameron, before he became a big star on the hit TV sitcom “Growing Pains”, did quite a few commercials. This one, which is from the earlier part of the eighties has Kirk playing a depressed older brother who hurt his arm and cannot engage in his favorite activity, baseball. That is when his Mom and his little sister (who according to one comment on “dressed like Shirley Temple”), go to work trying to get big bro to come out of his shell.

Little sister gets him to start throwing the ball around, while Mom makes some delicious red Kool Aid. It doesn’t seem like this plan of their’s is going to work, but then he cracks a smile at his sister’s poor ball playing. Smiling of course leads to giggling and then when his sister finally catches the ball and Mom hits the porch with the Kool Aid, the injured arm is forgotten and summer is salvaged.

The message of the commercial is as true then as it is today, “Moms know what is best and what is best is Kool Aid”.

Kool Aid, broken limbs, baseball and summer…oh Yeah!

kiss-make-up-kit

KISS Your Face Make Up Kit

One Halloween I was desperate for a different type of costume and my sister offered to do my face up to look like Gene Simmons from KISS. Needless to say, I was very excited. She had a nice sized photo and went to work for about 45 minutes. I couldn’t see the results, but I should have guessed that they were not positive.

When the big “Reveal” occurred, I looked nothing like Gene Simmons. It wasn’t because my sister couldn’t get the design right, she did that fine. It was mostly because she tried using make-up that she used in her every day. So instead of thick contrasting black and white, I was a pale beige with a light blue framing around the eyes.

I didn’t go out with that make-up on, which hurt my sister (I was afraid of how badly my friend might make fun of me) and it took what felt like forever to get it off my face. If only I had the KISS Your Face Make Up Kit, things might have been different…

I would have had my choice of band members to be that Halloween.

sisko

Did you buy your DS9 Commander Benjamin Sisko Collector’s Plate?

I watched the entire original run of Deep Space Nine when it originally ran. Which is a surprise since I started out disliking the show. As Season 1 ended I was convinced it wouldn’t last and I certainly was not going to watch season 2. But I did and season 3 and so on.

I am glad I did, because as the show evolved it got really good and all of it was anchored around the very talented Avery Brooks. I have never bought a Star Trek Collector’s plate, but I would be proud to put his on my wall.

Sadly as a collectible, these plates have not done too well. For those of you who bought the plate when it originally came out, you are about 25 or 30 bucks in the hole. I see this plate going for less than ten bucks online and at flea markets.

This is not just the Sisko plate, but many Collector’s plates just weren’t all that collectible. Even the original set of plates with the original cast, as ably sold by Jimmy Doohan in 1986, aren’t worth all that much nowadays.

you-asked-for-it

Crooked Carnival Games explained on Early 1950’s Television

Original titled The Art Baker Show, You Asked for It was an early American TV show that original aired between 1950 and 1959. The concept of the show was great, which is probably why they have tried to revive it multiple times. Viewers would send in letters requesting to know or see stuff and Art and his staff would make it happen. You never knew from week to week what you might see, but you could always walk away informed and entertained.

I have been watching as many episodes of You Asked for It that I can find online and stumbled across this segment that talks about the dishonesty of carnival games.

I loved carnival games as a kid and with access to the Jersey Shore, they were something I could count on playing at least a couple of times a year. My track record was pretty abysmal, and I always thought I just had rotten luck. But my Mother would try to explain to me that luck sometimes had very little to do with it, and that a lot of these games were rigged (although she could never really explain how they were rigged).

Maybe she saw this wonderful TV gem as a kid and the concept just stuck with her. Although I am not sure how she could forget the wheel of “chance” brake and the awkward attempts to demonstrate how it actually works.

Ah, the charms of live TV.