When Annie was released in 1982, it was a big deal. This was a big budget film based on the hit Broadway musical and long running comic. My sisters were both big fans of Annie. Not only did they see the film, but followed along with the production, a lot of which was in New Jersey. The film might not have been the hit that Hollywood hoped, but memories of its release and hype would float around my family home for decades. One piece of ephemera that my sisters must have missed was anything related to the Absolutely Annie Clothing from Sears. Someone was nice enough to post it on Reddit today.
This was a clothing line based on the fashions of the Annie character in the film. The rest of the clothing is simple Annie-themed. They also had Annie dolls, sheets and bedding.
This seems like a missed opportunity. Perhaps if they had gone with the other fashions choices from the film, orphan-chic could have become a trend.
Above you see an ad for the Absolutely Annie clothing line. It is so optimistic. It states right at the top that, “Annie opens to rave reviews.” Than goes to explain a little bit about the film and its star. So you better be ready for the Absolutely Annie collection coming in June.
Now if the film had already opened to rave reviews and it opened in June. How is the Absolutely Annie collection, which is also premiering in June, not yet available? I am guessing they are just assuming Annie is going to be a hit and open to rave reviews.
Neither of those things were true. It opened to mixed reviews from critics and made just $57 million dollars on a $50 million dollar budget. It was a top 10 film for 1982, but nowhere near what was expected.
Still, I enjoyed the film a lot and I imagine if I was a little curly-headed redhead, I would have leaned hard into this release. That would have been my moment to shine.
Interested in more Annie? Watch this great behind the scenes feature.
In 1985 they broadcast a very memorable celebration for Disneyland’s 30th Anniversary. I cannot recall where I got a VHS copy of this special, but at some point in the 1980s it started getting heavy play in my VCR. The special has a lot of great moments, but my favorite is when the Pointer Sisters sing Neutron Dance.
It is a great 80’s moment filled with high energy and Neutron Dance is the perfect song to capture that energy. Two things make it even more special. First is the addition of the floats and characters from Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade. Second is what looks to be a chorus line of TRON dancers!
Okay, so I am not sure if they are really supposed to be TRON dancers. But it would be so perfect. You know Disney had a lot of TRON costumes lying around and using TRON in the Neutron dance is just too perfect. It is just the perfect amount of inspired wordplay-based laziness that I would hope for from an 80’s television special.
Are you curious about what the Neutron Dance is all about? According to Allee Willis who wrote the song,
Neutron Dance” was written in hopes of being placed on the soundtrack of the film Streets of Fire. “We were told that there was a scene on a bus that was leaving town after there had been this nuclear holocaust, and that a ’50s doo-wop black group was going to be at the back of the bus that the lead couple was escaping on. Danny Sembello and I just met that day. I was very disinterested in songwriting at that point, and I’m writing with this kid who’s never had a record before, and I just wanted to get him in and out.
He was a phenomenal keyboard player, and I just said: ‘Play the most common sounding old-fashioned ’50s black music bass line that you can think of.’ And he just started doing the rhythm for “Neutron Dance”. And I’m someone who could write a melody to a spoon falling on the table. So I literally sang that melody down. First time down, he just kind of followed and went to the right places. And then I said, Let’s just write this quick lyric. We’re taking a half an hour on the lyric, and this thing’s gonna get done.
The song would be featured in Beverly Hill Cop and would chart. Eventually topping out at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad for 30 minutes of work.
Watch the Pointer Sisters sing Neutron Dance at Disneyland
I never purchased a Sega CD or Saturn. So sadly never experimented with playing Sega CD audio. The first console I owned that played CDs was the Sega Dreamcast. One of the first things I attempted to do on the Dreamcast was put the discs from it into my stereo CD player to see what would happened. Sadly nothing. It was a habit I developed after getting my first CD-Rom computer games and it usually resulted in nothing, but on occasion the audio from the game would play. Even though I kind of understood why that would happen, it still made me giddy.
I am not sure what got me thinking about this phenomenon recently. Most of my disc related devices are either in storage or donated. Only my DVD player in my computer remains. I did a quick search on YouTube and found a few examples of audio captured from discs. The one for the Sega Saturn is by far my favorite. They placed a warning message about using this disc in your audio equipment and ow doing so could damage your equipment.
Its a strange straightforward warning, but what makes it so creepy is the guitar riffs they have running in the background. Those background tracks seems so distant and far away from the speaker. It is like some ghost guitarist is playing some disjointed song out of their shattered memories. Needless to say, I love this bit of found audio and thought I would share it with everyone.
In the original TRON film, Bit is a fascinating but often overlooked character. A digital creation, Bit was probably the first completely computer-generated character. Bit was simple and adorable. So naturally I fell in love with the character. We have digital assistants that are much more capable than Bit, but they don’t scratch that itch. So I have been looking at picking up a 3D printed TRON Bit. Not only did a find one, but a host of them.
I was rewatching the underrated TRON Legacy recently and I was reminded of Bit from a scene where we see models of them in Kevin Flynn’s home. Seeing them all shiny and physical made me want my own. A quick search online and I found a few options. The first were these papercraft Bits. They look cool, but I am not very good with paper. And I would prefer something I could hold in my hand and play around with. So I decided to look for a 3D printed TRON Bit option.
Bit is only capable of yes or no answer. So it has three states, yes, no and idle. All 3 are available from 3D print marketplace, Shapeways. They would make a wonderful addition to any desk or shelf. You could even put them in a bag or cup and draw them randomly to get a quick answer to any question. Be warned when browsing Shapeways, you will be tempted by many wondrous TRON creations. This Recognizer is calling to me. Don’t even get me started on their 3D printed dice.
For those of you who have not seen this remarkable creation in action. Here is bit doing his computer-generated thing all the way back in 1982.
Welcome to the Retroist River Raid Podcast. On today’s show I talk about the Atari 2600 classic, River Raid. I begin the show by discussing how while I miss a lot of the stuff from the past, being connected and online has its advantages. Especially when it comes to high scores in video games.
Then I moved onto the games itself. I discuss the company that published the game, Activision before going into the background of the designer of the game, Carol Shaw. Finally I dive into the gameplay, scoring, strategy, sequel, ports and more.
Subscribe and Support
If you have a moment please stop by iTunes or wherever you might download the show and perhaps give the show a quick rating. It is very much appreciated.
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3) [RSS MP3] Add the Retroist Podcast feed (in MP3) to your RSS aggregator and have the show delivered automatically.