Stranger Things - Michael Maher

Star Wars Gets Stranger With Cast Of Stranger Things!

It is no big secret that Stranger Things kind of took off like wildfire here at the Retroist Vault. There are quite a few reasons why it managed to entrance us all. Naturally the easiest aspect of the series that attracted us was how it was a massive love letter to the 80s. From film posters to toys and music – it reminded us of the time most of us grew up in.
Stranger Things - Logo

Of course there was also the fact that it boasted a terrific cast. Stranger Things wouldn’t have been even half as enjoyable if not for the actors. While Millie Bobby Brown was the breakout star with her portrayal of Eleven. There was Finn Wolfhard as Mike, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas, Noah Schnapp as Will, and Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin as well. Each and everyone of these young actors brought memorable performances. In addition to the work by the supporting cast like Winona Ryder, David Harbour and so many others.

Furthermore there was the Lovecraftian horror meets Ridley Scott’s Alien by way of The Thing. Which presented more than a few scares throughout the Netflix series!

Another thing that creators Matt and Ross Duffer peppered throughout Stranger Things were nods to Star Wars. Which makes a ton of sense for children growing up in the 80s. I mean with Mike and his group who play Dungeons and Dragons. It’s not that hard to see them being fans of the Star Wars series as well, right?

Thanks to artist extraordinaire Michael Maher Jr. we can now see how the kids from Stranger Things would look in the Star Wars universe. Moreover perhaps that would now be the Stranger Wars films?

Image courtesy of Michael Maher Jr.

While I do love the idea of Finn playing Han and Noah as Luke. It really is Millie as Princess Leia and Gaten as Chewbacca that really makes it fantastic. The fact that in Maher’s Stranger Wars artwork Chewie is wearing Dustin’s hat – just a cherry on top. I wonder though…would Ryder and Harbour’s characters be R2 and Threepio?

Knight Rider

Do You Remember This Knight Rider Kiddie Ride?

Considering the popularity of Knight Rider on NBC back in 1982. It shouldn’t have come as such a surprise to me that a kiddie ride was produced. Although I have to admit that I’ve not seen this early 80’s Knight Rider coin-op ride before today.
Knight Rider
Knight Rider - Kiddie Ride

While like many of you out there that visit The Retroist. I too have some rather strong memories of begging for a quarter from my Family. For a few minutes time to ride a galloping horse or even a rocket ship outside a local store.

Of course there were more varied options vying for that precious quarter.

While it is quite true that my Family didn’t tune in on a regular basis to catch the adventure of Michael Knight and KITT. I can truthfully say there were more than a few Summer nights when visiting my Grandparents where the neighborhood kids would gather to watch it at one of their houses.

Now I can’t pin down an exact date for when this Knight Rider kiddie ride was manufactured. Or I should add I’ve yet to find anything official in my research. The video below uploaded by GMS1975 is quite amazing nonetheless. Furthermore I have to add that I was shocked their was no theme song from the television show while the ride is operating.

However, thanks to the likes of Pinterest it would appear there are multiple versions. For example – check out this intact version of the kiddie ride.

But then we have this version of the Knight Rider coin-op ride. Notice the lack of a left-hand door. As well as the variation of control panel layout and style of steering wheel.

Perhaps the easiest answer is that FLAG just went into mass production with the Knight Industries Two Thousand model?

Now that you’ve taken a look at the Knight Rider coin-op ride. Why not take a moment to watch this 1996 home video from Universal Studios Hollywood?

[Via] Pippo 702

Are you still craving a little more about Knight Rider? Well – the Retroist has you covered with Episode 22 of the podcast!
Retroist Knight Rider Podcast

Aint Gonna Eat My Mind

Aint Gonna Eat My Mind is all about Bronx Gangs in the 1970s

Aint Gonna Eat My Mind was a short documentary style program made for public television. It illustrates the struggles of growing up and dealing with the increasing violent world of the Bronx in the 1970s. This was a time when crime and gangs seemed out of control. But what was the cause? Did people facing it want a solution?

The answer was, of course they did, and “Aint Gonna Eat My Mind” attempted to give the young people trapped in this world the ability to speak to those outside of it. In addition to young gang members and others caught in the crossfire of this dangerous world, we also hear from the education side of things. We learn unsurprisingly, that it is difficult to get a cycle of education going when things seem hopeless due to an uncontrolled avalanche of crime, drugs and violence. And that if people want things to be different, something deeper would have to change. This is something that I imagine is still applicable over three decades later.

As a bonus you get to see New York City as it used to be. When I visit NYC now, it is hard to believe that this is even the same place.

Watch Aint Gonna Eat My Mind

If this history intrigues you, I would also suggest you check out the more modern documentary Rubble Kings. A much older Karate Charlie from Aint Gonna Eat My Mind also makes an appearance to offer insight in retrospect.

starcade-2

Shout! Factory To Reboot Starcade For Television!

Starcade thanks to the folks at Shout! Factory has earned an extra life. Talk about some unexpectedly good news, right?

Of course if you grew up in the Golden Age of the arcades. Starcade was an incredibly amazing and popular game show. Premiering on TBS back in 1982 – Starcade was really something special. Thanks in no small part to the show’s main host, Geoff Edwards.
Starcade - Geoff Edwards

Now the news about Starcade being rebooted – introduced to a new generation is awesome. A true reason to celebrate in fact. Having said that I certainly hope our friends from Shout! Factory will always take this opportunity to release the original episodes to DVD.

There isn’t a whole lot of information on what the new show will be like at this time. I have to doubt that it will focus on arcade games but who can say? They do use the term “retro-boot” in the press release:

“Shout! Factory, a multi-platform media company, has acquired worldwide television format and ancillary rights to the classic TV game show STARCADE from JM Production Company and show creators James Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur. The agreement provides Shout! Factory the rights to develop and produce a reboot of the show for television, as well as production of additional projects for a global audience. Shout! Factory will executive produce these projects with JM Production Company, creators of the original game show. This announcement was made today by Shout! Factory’s founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos; and show creators James Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur.

“STARCADE is a classic game show from the ’80s and is pure nostalgic fun. We couldn’t be more excited to work with the original show creators to ‘retro-boot’ STARCADE for a new generation of fans,” stated Shout! Factory’s founders. “As we continue to actively expand our reach into production and development for new series, movies, unscripted shows and specials, this deal exemplifies the type of content we plan to pursue which taps into the interests and passions of our company’s loyal fanbase.”

Created by James Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur, STARCADE first aired in 1982 during the dawn of the video game era and is widely recognized as the first-ever video arcade game show, featuring great gamers competing against rivals playing the most popular games of the day in front of a live studio audience in order to win huge prizes. Alex Trebek hosted one of the first pilots for the show which was later picked up by Ted Turner to air on his then-fledgling cable station, WTBS; STARCADE went on to air more than 130 episodes over three seasons on Turner.

“I consider myself lucky to have been part of the first generation to grow up playing video games and watching STARCADE in the 1980s,” said Shout! Factory’s Development Director, Jeremy Whitham. “Back then, no one could have predicted video games would one day become the world’s most popular form of entertainment. I can’t wait to see today’s crop of celebrities, pro gamers and e-sports stars compete head-to-head and find out who is the top player on the planet.”

“We’re thrilled to be part of this STARCADE revival,” said Jim Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur, producers of the original STARCADE series. “We look forward to bringing the show back for all those avid Starcaders who have been waiting for years, as well as a new class of gaming heroes. Game on!”

The deal was negotiated by Shout’s Jeremy Whitham and James Caruso, the creator and executive producer of the original STARCADE.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing Starcade before – you are in for a treat. Here is an episode featuring the likes of Pengo, Gyruss, Qix, and Graplop!

[Via] Retrorama

Westworld '82

Westworld ’82

Previously on the Retroist, we’ve explored the barely-even-a-guilty pleasure status of the obscure and quickly-canned 1980 TV spinoff of Westworld, Beyond Westworld.

Of course, if you’ve watched HBO’s recent (and, it has to be said, much better than Beyond Westworld) reboot of Westworld as a high-profile series, you already know that the things you thought were happening concurrently are not happening concurrently; the chronological sequence of events is not what you thought it was going in.

What if TV history was like that, too? What if HBO’s Westworld series had been made in the 1980s? While the mind boggles at the wildly different standards of what levels of language (“this is the new world, and you can do whatever the heck you want!”) and nudity would’ve been permissible, YouTube user MessyPandas can already show you what the opening titles would’ve looked like, complete with a drum-machine-drenched synth-pop rendition of Ramin Djawadi’s pleasant but slightly unnerving theme music…

The authenticity of it is such that you can easily imagine having changed channels during the end credits of Automan to catch Westworld.

In this alternate timeline, I’d imagine that HBO’s Westworld still gets a huge audience, and reruns are still on the schedule when Game Of Thrones debuts in the 1990s…

…which, if it wasn’t on HBO, seems like it’d be in syndication on your local indie station (or maybe your UPN station – you do still have one of those in your timeline, right?), wedged in between Highlander: The Series and Renegade.

Alas, we now deposit you back into reality…but the good news is, you can still rewatch Westworld until the second season lands in 2018.

Avengers - British Pathe

Did 1961’s The Avengers Influence Real Life?

Ah, the gloriousness that was The Avengers. The program’s stories successfully mixed elements of Cold War with sci-fi. Furthermore like 1967’s The Prisoner it found a cult following when it reached the states. How could it not though? Especially when in 1965 it added the beautiful Diana Rigg as Emma Peel to the mix? A perfect foil in fact to the more proper gentleman represented by Patrick Macnee’s John Steed!

[Via] Route Master 19

While I was born a little too late to catch The Avengers in it’s original airing. I was lucky enough in High School to see the episodes that were played in reruns on A&E. I really fell for the show in a hard way. Even mimicking the clothing style of John Steed…to a degree. I certainly couldn’t afford to go to school in a Savile Row suit – but a trenchcoat and fedora would do in a pich. As well as a sturdy umbrella at my side and it was all too easy to play the part of the gentleman.
Avengers - Mr. Vic Sage

Of course back then I didn’t actually realize I was actually just a young Anglophile. But thanks to a video posted on Facebook the other day by RetroArt. It seems like some elements of The Avengers crept into real life.

Or is it actually real life elements being brought into that series? As this film for the amazing anti-thief security case was released on December 18,1961. So says at the very least, the British Pathe website.

It bears mentioning that John Steed didn’t start wearing his trademark attire until the 1962 season of The Avengers. Previously he actually wore a trenchcoat and acted as an assistant to Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry). Beginning in 1962 with a rotating trio of partners – Steed began to dress the part of the gentleman.
Avengers

Now make sure to hop on over to British Pathe site for the full “Beat the Bandit” video. In addition to learning things like the briefcase was named the “arrestor”. You will also see how well a steel lined bowler stands up to be driven over by a car.

Now that you’ve witnessed the inventions of 1961 possibly affecting The Avengers series. Why not take a moment and enjoy Macnee and his co-star, Honor Blackman’s “Kinky Boots” from 1964?

[Via] Lord Skytower

Popeye Met The Defenders Of The Earth In 1972?!

Back in 1985 one of my favorite animated series was Defenders of the Earth. Numerous times on The Retroist I’ve mentioned my fondness for pulp characters. Of heroes of the Golden Age – like The Shadow, The Phantom and others.

Thanks in fact to the 1980 Flash Gordon film. I came across an old collection of comic strips from King Features Syndicate at my local library. Which is of course how I was introduced to the likes of Mandrake the Magician and Lothar. Which like The Phantom was a creation of Lee Falk as well. They even had old Popeye collections from the E.C. Segar strip days!
Popeye

So you can easily imagine my joy when the Defenders of the Earth series debuted one morning. Bear in mind that if you didn’t have access to a TV Guide you were generally caught unawares about a new animated weekday show.

Themecstasy

Until last night however I wasn’t aware that the Defenders of the Earth had grouped together before 1985. Back in 1972 in fact for Popeye Meets The Man Who Hated Laughter – which was part of ABC’s Saturday Superstar Movie!

[Via] Muttley 16

When I stumbled on this I felt for a moment like I was reading an issue of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Moreover these early Defenders were joined by another King Features Syndicate hero – Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon.

That is not even the most interesting part of it. The group that we would come to know as the Defenders of the Earth were brought together for a very special mission.

The Defenders of the Earth circa 1972.

In Popeye Meets The Man Who Hated Laughter, the US government asked the team to locate missing comic strip characters. Such as Blondie and Dagwood.

Beetle Bailey and Sarge.

As well as Popeye and Olive Oyl of course!

To say nothing of characters from Henry, Hi and Lois, Tiger and Prince Valiant. In addition to Bringing Up Father, Little Iodine, Snuffy Smith, and more.

Popeye Meets the Man Who Hated Laughter concerns itself with the villainous Professor Morbid Grimsby. A wretch who plans on banishing all laughter in the world – aided by a super computer as well as Popeye’s nemesis, Brutus. Inviting the cast of comic strip superstars aboard a yacht – the S.S. Hilarious. Taking them to the island hideaway of Professor Grimsby, where they will be his prisoners.

It’s up to the proto-Defenders of the Earth to locate the missing characters. Now in view of just how awesome this TV special really is, I should warn you about something. The sound isn’t that good. But in all honesty we are all incredibly lucky that Stupid Dim Bulb was able to upload this rare 1972 movie.

While it would take the Defenders of the Earth 13 years in fact to return to animation. Popeye was back in action in 1978 with The All New Popeye Hour!

[Via] Cartoons Intro