Elf - Marc Allie

Did You Make Dough Ornaments in the 1980s?

The holidays are a time of tradition for many of us, particularly as we get older. These traditions will vary from family to family, but there are some that most of us share. Maybe it’s a big family meal, followed by the adults napping while the kids play with toys. Perhaps it’s watching a beloved Christmas movie together. It could be as simple as hanging stockings or singing carols with friends.

One tradition I remember from when I was a kid was making ornaments in art class. While we made clothespin reindeer or tree-shaped felt picture frames during our school parties, it was the dough ornaments we made in art class that I looked forward to every year. I get extremely excited planning out what to ornaments to make each year.

Here are some pictures of a few of these old ornaments that I still have to this day. Each one is special to me, and given the references to the pop culture of the 80s on display here, I imagine other Retroist readers will enjoy taking a look as well.

Elf - Marc Alliesnowman - Marc Allie

The oldest of the ornaments I have are these. These date back to my first grade year back in 1980. Perhaps I was feeling sentimental, as I stayed close to the traditional holiday characters, with few if any alterations. This elf was ahead of his time flashing the duck lips, and dressed in the long-established Christmas colors of…blue and yellow? His partner the snowman appears to have been through some sort of traumatic experience, if his haggard look and half-broken arm are any indication.

smurf - Marc Alliesmurfette - Marc Allie

By second grade, I had abandoned all pretense of a holiday theme and was now clearly focused on the Smurfs. In fall of 1981 their cartoon began showing on Saturday mornings, and as a breakfast-cereal smurfing connoisseur of the animated arts, I found the antics of the Smurfs to my liking. I’m not sure what was up with the orange ball on the hat of Generic Smurf, nor the Popeye-esque forearms of Smurfette, but in my defense, I was only seven. Might not Papa Smurf, with his red outfit and white beard, have been a better choice?

ET - Marc AllieGarfield - Marc Allie

Third grade, in 1982, was a year of split priorities for me. I was torn between my favorite cat-based comic strip and a diminutive stellar visitor with a Speak & Spell. Thankfully, I was able to make two ornaments yet again. Regrettably, E.T.’s glowing finger broke off many years ago, meaning the adorable alien’s ornament aged far worse than Garfield’s. The opposite is true for my feelings for these characters as an adult. Does anyone still read Garfield these days?

ghostbusters - Marc Allie

While I saw it in the summer of 1984, Ghostbusters made a big impression on me, one that would last through a Halloween costume in the fall to an ornament in the winter. As a fifth grader, my skills and techniques for dough ornament making had advanced considerably. I was able to sculpt a fair approximation of the iconic Ghostbusters symbol, complete with Santa hat. I wonder how many times I sang “who ya gonna call?” in my head as I made it.

Unfortunately, these are the only remaining ornaments from my elementary school art career. I can’t recall what I created my fourth grade year in 1983. We had a new art teacher sometime around then; perhaps she didn’t include the dough ornaments in her lesson planning? In any event, I recall with crystal clarity my sixth grade ornament. In 1985, I wanted nothing more than to be an astronaut or astronomer, and there would only be one choice for my ornament that year. Alas, it was damaged and discarded, or simply lost, at some point in the three decades since. But I like to think that in a landfill somewhere, my anthropomorphized art dough representation of Halley’s Comet wearing a Santa hat is still around.

Smurfs Watch - Strawberry Shortcake - Sears Wish Book 1983

These 1983 Wish Book Watches Will Make You Wish You Could Go Back In Time!

Christmas is all but here and I won’t lie to you…I truly wish that somehow one of these watches from the 1983 Sears Wish Book was miraculously waiting for me to unwrap under the tree tomorrow.

Of course even back then the vast options you had to choose from was a little overwhelming! I ask you…which do you choose? One of those pair of Smurf watches…maybe the digital one that states “Have a Smurfin’ Day!”?
Smurf Watch Info

Or what about E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial?
ET - Sears Wish Book 1983
E.T. Watch Info
Donkey Kong? Pac-Man?! Mickey Mouse?!?!
Donkey Kong - Sears Wish Book 1983
Donkey Kong Watch InfoMickey Watch Info
I’m truly not sure if Holly Hobbie is even a thing anymore but I can assure it was a big deal in 1983! Of course how could you go wrong with an A-Team/Mr. T digital watch?
Holly Hobbie - Sears Wish Book 1983
Holly Hobbie Watch Info
What about those good ol’ boys for Hazzard county?
Dukes of Hazzard - Sears Wish Book 1983
Dukes of Hazzard Watch Info
I told you that the Return of the Jedi was almost on every single thing that could be merchandised in 1983! Which watch though would you have chosen? One featuring the Ewoks or the vile Jabba the Hutt? Perhaps you might just settle for something like Garfield?
Garfield - Sears Wish Book 1983
ROTJ Watch InfoGarfield Watch Info


Jingle Disk makes all my retro holiday dreams come true!

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by computer graphics and Christmas. Sadly, I couldn’t find programs for my Coleco ADAM or Atari 400 that fit the bill. However, I recently discovered that the Commodore 64, as well as the 128 & Apple IIc/e, have a program called “Jingle Disk”. The program contains a holiday card maker which you use with a printer, but more importantly, an animated graphical sequence depicting a Christmas scene. A festive neighborhood, decorated home, fireplace, tree, train, and a cat & mouse make this the perfect computer holiday graphics program. OH! And music!

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Happy Holidays From Richard Dean Anderson…As He MacGyvers For The Camera!

Everybody’s favorite mullet-clad, low-tech handyman MacGyver had two Christmastime adventures during his seven years of showing us how gum can contribute to nuclear reactors and candy bars can stop chemical leaks.

Screenshot (641)Screenshot (642)

The first was “Phoenix Under Siege,” from season two, which happened during Mac’s espionage-like adventures, and involved Mac taking on terrorists intent on setting off a bomb at the Phoenix Foundation, when all he was trying to do was pick up the hockey tickets he left there (surprise!). It technically aired after Christmas, but the Phoenix Foundation was decorated for the holiday, so, technically…Christmas episode?

Screenshot (643)TheMadonna007

The second, final, and only actual Christmas episode was the season five episode “The Madonna,” which happened during his “Social Worker” days, but was a heartfelt story about his past coming back to haunt him, during the time of year that most people are reflecting on things – and people – they miss the most. I highly recommend both episodes, but maybe I’m just biased.

I mean, have you seen the man? He’s gorgeous! Oh, and the episodes are good too!

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In two separate holiday season promos (one of which aired during season five), Richard Dean Anderson wished MacGyver loyalists everywhere a Happy Holiday season!

There’s this one, from 1989, where he does the environment right and plants a tree.

I wonder how big the tree is now…

Uploaded by MacGyver Online

And then there’s this one from 1990 (shot while he was filming the season six MacGyver episode, “The Wasteland”), where he is literally pulled off camera.

Methinks he was enjoying this a little too much!

(Uploaded by MacGyver Online)

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Allison is (obviously) a MacGyver fan, and would love to be equally resourceful at all things impractical but life-saving. However, she is impractically resourceful in her own right – she’s a commercial archivist with hours and hours of commercials from the 1940s through the 2000s in her collection (though she could take or leave the ones from the 2000s – she prefers her commercials with a little more retro-ness to them). When she isn’t trying to save the day with her carefully-crafted words (or oogling over MacGyver) or working in her day job, she can be found in her home on the interwebs, Allison’s Written Words, where she is carefully crafting all kinds of fun articles. She’d love you to visit her, and if you feel so empowered, follow her blog on Facebook. Because your newsfeed isn’t random enough if Allison isn’t in it.

She has every season of MacGyver (including the two post-series movies) in her DVD collection.

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Star Wars - ROTJ Card Game - Sears Wish Book 1983

From Star Wars Card Games To Models The 1983 Wish Book Had It All

We are wrapping up our look at the amazing amount of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi merchandise that was being offered in the 1983 Sears Wish Book…and even so…there is still more items than I’ve covered these last three days.

As you can see up top a kid back in 1983 could have requested to either carry into the mock battle of their youth the E-11 Blaster Rifle widely used by Imperial Stormtroopers or swagger down the street with their DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol. For myself, I in fact requested the Battle at Sarlacc’s Pit for that Christmas…and never got it. Sigh.
ROTJ Laser Rifle - Sears Wish Book 1983

On the other hand I was lucky enough to get the adorable Wicket the Ewok plush and I can say that I still have it in my collection.
Wicket - Sears Wish Book 1983Plush Ewoks - Sears Wish Book 1983

I’m not positive but judging by the product description for the Return of the Jedi movie storybook…I think that Sears at that time was secretly affiliated with the Empire. How about that Admiral Ackbar vinyl collectible? They even included glow-in-the-dark paints?!
ROTJ Books - Sears Wish Book 1983
ROTJ - Storybook - Sears Wish Book 1983

Last but certainly not least were the Return of the Jedi models. Jabba’s Palace looks nice and all but I think I would have gone for the B-Wing myself!
ROTJ Models - Sears Wish Book 1983
ROTJ Models Pricing - Sears Wish Book 1983

Return of the Jedi - R2 Toy Chest

1983 Sears Wish Book Had You Covered For Return Of The Jedi Furniture!

We continue our look at the hot toys and merchandise related to Return of the Jedi from the 1983 Sears Wish Book, flipping from action figures and playsets to the many pieces of furniture and even breakfast and bath products one could have ordered.

As you can see from up top there was a wide rang of product…although I must say I’m tempted to say that hands down if I could have anything offered in the catalog it would be that R2-D2 Toter!
ROTJ - Sears Wish Book 1983 - R2 pricing
ROTJ - Sears - Wish Book 1983 - Table
ROTJ Pricing - Sears Wish Book 1983

Of course when you get down to it how could you resist not picking those incredible and colorful quilts?!
ROTJ Bedsheets
ROTJ Quilt Pricing

Contra Sweater

Using The Konami Code Will Not Get You The Contra Christmas Sweater!

In all honesty I have no idea where the Contra sweater up top originates from…but I do know that it’s not the only piece of Holiday clothing out there featuring Pfc. Bill Rizer and Pfc. Lance Bean. Check out the “Holiday Code” aka “Contra Family Christmas” by Blueswade over at SHIRTOiD!

Image courtesy of SHIRTOiD.Com

Image courtesy of SHIRTOiD.Com