Betamax

Check Out This 1978 Tour Of A Betamax Collection!

Ah, Betamax. There have been many times when technological formats that are sort of similiar must go head to head. Like in the case of HD DVD versus the Blu-Ray format. Of course if you go back a little further there was the competition between Video High Density video discs vs LaserDisc and VHS. And if you are of a certain age you might recall when it was the VHS format versus Betamax fighting for your hard earned money.
Betamax

I wasn’t aware that Betamax actually ceased being made way back in…2016?! That is the truth though – which means it lasted for 40 years. Not to shabby a legacy for the “loser” of the videotape format war.

I was only in contact with a Betamax unit once in my youth. You have to remember this was back when both it and the VHS units were quite beautiful. In addition to being incredibly large with myriad buttons and dials as well as featuring top-loading mechanisms.

As I was saying though – I only once had any sort of experience with a Betamax. This was in 1982 and my Father rented Star Wars. I want to point out this was during the time when renting a Betamax or VCR unit was a bit of an ordeal.

First of all you needed to have the membership to the video store which required the usual identification. However you also needed to literally leave a deposit on top of the rental fee – generally a $100 dollar bill or at least a check if you were trusted by the store.

Now having said all of that, thanks to the Retroist who pointed this video out to me. We can travel back in time to 1978 to visit Ray Glasser. In the almost ten minute video he gives those of us from the future a personal tour of his Betamax collection.

The television and movies in his collection are rather staggering. Everything from Star Trek, to King Kong and the Burns and Allen show, to name a few. So without further ado let us join Ray Glasser back in 1978 and enjoy his Betamax collection tour!

[Via] Videoholic Returns

Now then. You’ve seen the tour of Glasser’s Betamax tapes. But why not watch Bill Hammack aka Engineer Guy briefly explain why the VHS format won out?

Can “Clean Slate” Run With the Big Dogs?

I’m not sure if Clean Slate could run with anything, to be perfectly honest.

Busy Weekend

My weekend involved grocery shopping and running to Toys R Us to buy something not for me…

The gift is worthy, photos got likes, and well…I can’t fit my butt and hips into this chair.

No, I didn’t try to sit on it.

Revisiting

One of the other things I did over the weekend was tape transfers. I am always pleasantly surprised when I revisit my video collection and actually watch the trailers.  I remember the days of fast forwarding through the beginning of all my videos, being impatient and just wanting the movie to start. These days, I’m a tad more patient with commercials and movie trailers.

Being nostalgic, and a nostalgia writer, has given me the patience and wanting to slow it down and actually watch the things I fast forwarded through in my uninformed youth. In doing so, I’m finding out about movies I didn’t even know existed, spotting commercials I had forgotten about for years, and I even spotted this “special feature” that showed up long before there were DVDs and actual special features.

Strange enough, I only knew Space Ghost as a talk show host before I knew he was actually a 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

I don’t ramble on and on because there is no point, but all of these fun discoveries (and, in this case, re-discovery) lead me to one of my finds worthy of Retroist.

Running With the Big Dogs…

Chances are, you have seen at least some aspect of the sportswear company called Big Dogs. It was the Dad Wear of choice in the 1990s, long before there was such as term as “dad wear” and “Dad Bod.”  They sell everything from t-shirts to sweatshirts, loungewear to boxer shorts, and even accessories for people and, well…their dogs.

The shirts often had “humorous” sayings that were the kind of things dads wore around their 1990s kids because the felt like they were being cool. I’ve equated Big Dogs to being the “No Fear” of the 1990s psuedo cool adult set. Remember those shirts? I had two of them. But I also remember Big Dogs.

Surprisingly, I don’t remember any kind of advertising for the company, just that I saw men wearing the shirts, as they seemed to advertise themselves.

The other night (in the midst of the tape transfers and “adulting”), I was working on a tape transfer of my 1994 VHS print of Clean Slate. You may remember it as that other romantic comedy Dana Carvey starred in, after Opportunity Knocks proved Carvey wasn’t the first name that came to mind when you heard “romantic comedy.” I loved Opportunity Knocks, and I know I loved Clean Slate back when, but I’m not really sure how I would feel about it now.

Anyway, when I was watching the previews before the movie, there was this one commercial that used the feature film as a tie-in, if only to give people who ordered from the catalog a discount. To me, it is notable as the only advertising I’ve ever seen for Big Dogs, and I obviously had forgotten about it.

Sandy…From Santa Barbara

The commercial features a group of sad-sack type office people, who are groaning about needing an “outside consultant.” These people are complaining to Mr. Magilicuddy. This “outside consultant” is named Sandy…which is only appropriate because she comes from Santa Barbara.

Why is that relevant?!

Sandy beaches.

Oh dear.

Santa Barbara, Sandy explains, is also home to Big Dog. She launches into the catchphrase of Big Dog, to which the office people give the same exact look I’m making while watching this commercial.

And then she uses Big Dogs catchphrases as insults towards the group (especially “Clark”) before we see clips of cool, successful people wearing Big Dogs clothes.

They’re all not “Clark.” We then find out that there are Big Dog stores throughout the United States, as well as a catalog.

But wait, there’s more!

First-time catalog shoppers can get a 10% discount just by mentioning the movie Clean Slate. And while I’m sure the customer service representative who takes your order knows about the promo, chances are they probably didn’t see the movie. Because no one really did.

Except for me, and the people who are reading this. Because Retroist readers and contributors always seem to be ahead of the curve, even with box office bombs.

We’re the smart bunch, and way cooler than this office crowd.

We’re given a toll free number…

And Sandy throws more insults disguised as Big Dog-isms, before we’re reminded of the discount offer and phone number again.

But don’t take my well-written words for it – click play and get sucked in by corporate madness and big dogs!

Uploaded by Allison Venezio

And my takeaway from all this? Be cool. Wear Big Dogs. Be like Sandy.10% discount on your first order. Clean Slate. Don’t forget to mention Clean Slate. Don’t be like “Clark.”

Lead follow, or get out of the freakin’ way…”Clark.”

Be Like Allison…

Can you run with Allison? Don’t stay on the porch…unless the porch is Allison’s Written Words. You can also follow her blog on Facebook, and she’s on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Be like her.

Did You Know There Was a “Wayne’s World” Board Game?

Did you know said Wayne’s World game had a videocassette that was used for game play?

But First…

I never realized this, but the 1990s board game market was as crazy with videocassette-based games as the 1980s were. It seems there was a time before Scene It that we relied on the recordings of celebrities to guide us around a game board. And not only did we have that reliance, there were also many different VHS- guided games. Whether it was a haunted house mystery, a game of Clue, being able to get to a party on time, Star Wars, or Star Trek, there were so many different VHS board games to choose from. I even had a Chutes and Ladders VHS board game in the 1980s.

This is the only known video to exist on You Tube.

Uploaded by KidJuggalo

One minute and thirty-seven seconds, with torture by ice cream?! Why doesn’t anyone have the whole video posted?!

Wayne’s World, Rod Serling, and Tie-In Merchandise…

So this week, one of my all-time favorite films turned twenty-five, joining a list of movies I like having anniversaries that cover nearly my entire lifespan in the last few years. Last year, I saw Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for their 30th anniversary showings, so when I found out that Wayne’s World was having a 25th “Birthday” screening, you best believe I threw down money to see it. Let me just say that while the “reunion” video after the movie was a tad disappointing, seeing the movie as I originally saw it in 1992 (in a movie theater) was not.

I sang along.

In my years of geeking out over nostalgia, I’ve come to find out that the movie itself had quite a bit of merchandise attached to it – the obligatory shirts, hats, soundtrack, as well as video games, a board game…

A board game.

I kid you not.

I have to admit, the idea of this game’s existence actually excited me at 34 years old the way it would have at nine years old, if I knew it existed back then. Which I didn’t.

And then I saw the accompanying video and was wiser.

Evidence #1 That I Shouldn’t Have Been Excited: This declaration.

The game, released by Mattel in 1992 as an obvious tie-in to the movie, with an end goal of getting to Party Central. And if you can get past the awkward acting and obvious fact that Mike Myers and Dana Carvey may have shot this at separate times (or possibly in separate places?), then this video will be entertaining for you. Oh, and Rod Serling makes a cameo. It’s not really Rod Serling, just someone who Mattel thought Rod Serling would sound like. Which is an obvious insult to Rod Serling.

Seriously, peeps. Someone tried to tie The Twilight Zone to Wayne’s World, and felt this was a great idea for a board game!

I’d really hate to explain the actual details of the video, because it wouldn’t do justice to what actually unfolds once you hit play.

So do it. Hit play. Watch the um…I’d normally say “magic,” but I don’t think that’s the word for this. Oh, that’s right, “train wreck.”

Uploaded by LEE PETE

The video also advertises two other Wayne’s World games that involve 3-D, cards, and dice. And no videocassettes.

I heard the video games were pretty terrible (I’ve never played them, so I have no idea), but the board game (or at least, the video attached to it) may yet be worse.

Regardless of the game being or not being a “totally amazing, excellent discovery,” it still exists, and that still doesn’t make it right.

This one was truly a product of marketing taking things up a notch, and nothing more.

Uploaded by Jacob Stork

 

Indeed, that is just really sad.

Stick with the movies, folks. They hold up better.

Allison is a long-time (twenty-five years and counting!) fan of Wayne’s World, beginning with the movie in 1992, later moving on to its origins with the Saturday Night Live sketches when she first saw reruns in mid-1996. She doesn’t have any kind of collectibles for the movie, but she does have both films on VHS (and the original on DVD), and both soundtracks on cassette tape. If you like what you’ve seen here, you can find even more fun over at Allison’s blog. She’d also love if you followed her blog’s Facebook page. She is @AllisonGeeksOut on Twitter, and she lives up to that handle in every way possible.

Pssst…she also wrote a Wayne’s World tribute over at her own blog. 

Double The Nostalgia: Video/VCR Test #4 AND Tie-In Merchandise!

In case you’ve missed the other video and VCR tests I’ve done:

Video/VCR Test – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

Video/VCR Test #2 – “The Land Before Time”

Video/VCR Test #3 – “The Albert Achievement Awards”

And by tie-in merchandise, I’m not selling anything that I emblazoned the “Allison’s Written Words” logo on. But if Retroist were to ever decide to go the tie-in route, shut up and take my money, I’d buy that for a dollar, and any other “I’ll take it!” internet memes there are!

When I was in middle school and early high school (approximately 9th and 10th grades), I used to buy “Best Of” Saturday Night Live videocassettes from my local Suncoast video. At $4.99 each, they were bargain priced, and while the quality wasn’t the greatest, I still collected those things like they were going out of style, or print.

Eventually, videocassettes went out of style, these particular videocassettes went out of print, and the company that made them…was forced to stop making them.

And then my VCR broke. It was a good VCR. I wrote about it recently.

Those Saturday Night Live videocassettes were made by a company called Starmaker, which was one of those fun budget label home video companies from the late 1980s and early 1990s. I’ll talk about them a little more next time, as well as those Saturday Night Live videocassettes.

This article dedicates itself to yet another video and VCR test, as well as a tie-in merchandising segment on another Starmaker-released video you may or may not have seen or heard of.

You’re so excited, and you just can’t hide it! Well, you can, because I can’t see you reacting to what you’re reading.  For all I know, you already fell asleep from the excitement. Or not excitement.

Come on, this is a fun article!

Ok, so the point of the story:

Years ago, I was browsing a farmer’s market with a former boyfriend, and we came across used videocassettes for sale and found a Starmaker print of the 1988 comedy 18 Again!, and he told me how great this movie was, so we bought it.

18 Again! stars George Burns as 81-year-old grandfather Jack Watson, who switches bodies with his grandson David after a car accident, leaving the younger man trapped in grandpa’s body. Jack, meanwhile, gets this nice new lease on life, but finds out some things about his family that upset him. There is also that disturbing little fact that the family is ready to pull the plug on comatose Jack, who is actually a comatose David’s soul trapped in Jack’s body. 18 Again! is one of those dime-a-dozen body switch films from the late 1980s, but like the others, it is cute and sentimental.

Unlike the others, it is about a much older man getting a fresh start and not wreaking havoc on the younger man’s life. The younger man can’t defend himself, so it is only right.

Talking about the movie makes me want to see it again.  Hmmm…

New World Pictures released the movie to theaters in April 1988, was a critical and commercial failure, and Pauly Shore was in it.

I had to throw that one fact in there. Because if I didn’t, you wouldn’t know I actually wrote this article!

The copy that I have is the 1992 Starmaker print, which was likely copied from an a New World Home Video release. There was a very interesting tidbit to the video, but it required watching the movie past the closing credits. Since that is what I do for these Video/VCR tests, we’re following the instructions set forth by the movie.

Ok.

Ok, I heard ya the first time!!!!!!

After the logos and this important message (times two), the production company wanted us to partake in some tie-in merchandise for this movie. I’m not sure who felt the tie-in stuff was a great idea, but apparently they felt this movie needed black jackets emblazoned with the New World logo on the back.

But why tell you all about it, when you can watch it?!

Delight in the overly-enthusiastic cackling of two George Burns groupies and their excitement for…

MOVIE POSTERS!

T-shirts! Just $9!!!!!!

Sports shirts! The one lady says her husband always complains that he doesn’t have enough sports shirts! This one would be perfect for him!

And a – contain your excitement – JACKET!

Because you love Roger Corman and everything he stands for (which is usually bad movies), so why wouldn’t you want to wear this jacket! Only $60!!!!

If you’re dying to order this fabulous merchandise, you’ll need to follow these directions…

Of course, you can call the number, but it is 1988 and you only trust the mail, so you can do this instead…

Every Google search is a dead end for this “Watch and Wear” company, or if this was something New World Pictures did for their movies at the time. I’m not sure how successful the concept was or how much merchandise tied into this movie was actually sold because of the advertising. It seems cheesy, but if somebody bought a “sports shirt,” then hey, the marketing geniuses did their job and you look marvelous in your new shirt that looks like something video store employees wear to promote new releases.

I’m a former video store employee, I know from experience!

There you have it, another video/VCR test AND a fun segment from something from the good old days of movie tie-in merchandising.

This example, young watchers, is what life was like before every movie needed licensed merchandise to pad out the movie’s noticeably.

Allison has an interesting collection of old videocassettes, which she is working to transfer from her VCR. She recently replaced the VCR, but the fun keeps on going. If you like what you’ve seen here, then you’ll love what she has going on over at her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog and Retroist antics on her blog’s Facebook page, and over at Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

The movie plays on a hit song George Burns had in 1980 called “If I Was Eighteen Again.” Don’t ever say Allison doesn’t teach you something in each article!

“Look What Celebrity is Doing Just for Kids…Like Noel!”

I had initially planned to publish this ahead of my Karate Rap article, but my Facebook memories forced me to publish the other article first.

That all said, this article idea actually came to me on vacation, which is proof that while I was geeking out on one level, my writer’s mind is forever seeking innovation in other geeky exploits.You know it is a good vacation when you come back with great stories and photo ops where you jump in the air with Stargate cast members.

Awesome.

Anyway…

This is Noel.

Say hi to Noel.

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Noel (actual name: Noel Bloom Jr.) was the spokeschild for Just for Kids, the child-friendly label of Celebrity Home Entertainment, which was his daddy’s home video company. Noel’s daddy, Noel C. Bloom, founded Celebrity Home Entertainment in 1985. The company specialized in obscure material of an international nature, but also distributed B-grade action movies (I’m sure that is a generous distinction) and soft-core porn. However, their child-friendly output saw some well-known titles of their time, including BraveStarr, Filmation’s Ghostbusters (you know, the imitation Ghosbusters cartoon, based on a live-action Filmation show from the 1970s), C.O.P.S., and G.I. Joe: The Movie. And boy did they like foreign titles too – animae, European animation, and five of the eight Gamera films from the Showa era.

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The videos often met broadcasting standards in the United States, were released as incomplete series, and some were compilation films. Even worse, the quality of the video cassette tapes were EP, which was fine when we made our own videos at home, but for the money we paid to buy videos, Extended Play seemed pretty chinsey.

The earliest Just For Kids releases featured pre-braces Noel (who introduced himself by his full name, Noel Bloom Jr.) introducing the Just for Kids video as being recorded in Extended Play format, and that for the best quality, one must adjust the VCR.

Uploaded by ProfessorCraigles

That’s fine and all, except there is one really big problem (and I mean really, and I mean big) – Noel is hard to hear! The 1980s studio session music is so loud, I’m having trouble hearing little Noel over it.

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Little Noel was actually quite cute. Maybe it was the hair, maybe it was the crooked teeth that made the smile more cute, but this was a Noel that no one could possibly hate.

Besides, it was Little Noel that made this possible…

Uploaded by ThePreviewsGuy VHSOpenings

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My generic videocassette brings all the paid-off kids to the yard. Heck yes, it’s better than yours. Heck yes, it’s better than yours!

It was the time Noel hypnotized kids into watching Just for Kids videos with him.

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That video has the power of suggestion on the kids outside, who run into the house so Noel can excitedly proclaim “Hey, look what Celebrity is doing JUST FOR KIDS!”

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Combine this scene with the cheesy low-budget music, that epic living room (the decor, and that AMAZING television), and a Little, Pre-Braces Noel as the star, and you’ve got the makings of retro glory!

Or retro nightmare fuel, I’m not really sure.

And then there was the time Little Noel got a whole special video where he showed the best stuff from all the great videos “Celebrity has Just for KIDS!”

Uploaded by ThePreviewsGuy VHSOpenings

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But, of course, all cute little kids grow up. Noel was not excluded from this.

Noel got a haircut and braces.
screenshot-361

For the later Just for Kids releases, Noel and his braces served as the “host,” and he would often help you make the most out of your Just For Kids videocassettes by teaching you to adjust tracking (a sure sign this company valued production quality), help you get a free video, and show you previews of other Just For Kids videos.

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I hate unnecessary quotes.

Uploaded (for the horror of others) by VHS of Death

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Is it me, or is Noel’s smile capable of angering the masses? He just seems smug about being Just for Kids’ spokeskid. His smile says “My dad owns the company, so I get to be a star!” I’m wondering how much Noel knew about his father’s companies, and what they put out. It wasn’t “just for kids,” trust me.

Oh, and that one All Star Theatre video? There was a sequel!

Uploaded by ThePreviewsGuy VHSOpenings

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This time, Noel has a haircut and is wearing his Bar Mitzvah suit. He has fan mail from the last All Star Theatre video, and he can’t wait to read it to you!

And that office…I need all that stuff for mine!

Actually, I think he can’t wait for the oxygen tank he obviously needs – someone help this kid breathe!

When I set out to write this, I had actually forgotten how many Noel videos the interwebs actually had. And when you think about how short-lived this company was, Noel really got around the collective works of shows he and his many girlfriends loved.

I bet he picked up alot of girls by telling them, “I told my dad that all my girlfriends love Beverly Hills Teens!”

Celebrity Home Entertainment went into bankruptcy protection in 1991, and closed completely in 2001. Noel C. Bloom (Little Noel’s dad) was also the founder of two other labels – the surprisingly well-known (if you like B-movies) Artisan Entertainment (which is now the more respectable Lions Gate), Caballero Home Video (which produced actual porn, and not the Showtime After Dark kind of “porn” Celebrity Home Entertainment produced), and Monterey Home Video, which actually still exists to this day.

Both Videos Uploaded by DudeThatLogo

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As for Noel Bloom Jr. (born October 1977), he played basketball for the University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels, and also coached basketball at Valley Torah High School in Valley Village, California. And that’s where the well runs dry on information, aside from the fact that he is married, has a child, and an older sister.

Oh, and there’s DeviantArt that exists of him. Because someone was a fan.

Now, it’s obvious I’m wrapping up the article, but I would be remiss if I didn’t show you the collected works of the amazing Noel telling us about Noozles, Beverly Hills Teens, and Maxie’s World.

Uploaded by CringeVision

You know what else makes my vision cringe?

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See what I did there?!

There are tons of videos out there, folks. If you have a little patience, you’ll be amazed at what you will find.

My search: Just for Kids Noel

Allison is a master seeker of the obscure home video finds the masses have forgotten about. When she isn’t pushing it off on Retroist readers, she’s pushing it off on her own blog, Allison’s Written Words. If you like a little randomness on your Facebook feed, she’d love for you to follow her blog’s page. She’s also on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Allison had to work on this away from her boyfriend, who couldn’t handle Noel’s voice.

She’s desensitized towards Noel.