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Mad Magazine

1979 Mad Magazine Board Game Commercial

Mad Magazine is pretty much a cultural icon in publishing. From it’s first issue in 1952 until today, Mad Magazine still stands as a wonderful satirical publication. Whether the subject matter be popular movies, sports, and public figures of course nothing is too sacred. Naturally everything is fair game. It should probably come as no surprise though the first issue I picked up was the Star Wars one.
star-wars-mad-magazine

As a matter of fact, the popularity of Mad Magazine had reached over two million subscribers by 1974. So in hindsight it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Parker Brothers in 1979 decided to produce a board game. With this in mind you must expect some different win conditions. Furthermore the rules stated that not only did you have to roll the dice with your left hand. But also pass the turns counter-clockwise and the ultimate goal was to rid yourself of all your money. It featured as well a board chock full of the late, great Jack Davis’ artwork.

[Via] Mr. Classic Ads 1970

Try to imagine a group of children sitting down to win this game. To say nothing of having to suddenly switch chairs during the game play. Which could have disastrous consequences for you if were almost out of money!
Mad Magazine

In that commercial for the Mad Magazine board game did you notice a future celebrity?


You will have to look closely past the mustache and glasses but the Father is played by Richard Kind.
mad-magazine-game-richard-kind

Perhaps his name doesn’t ring a bell. Although it most certainly should as he has 198 acting credits. Here is the actor discussing his first summer job.

The White House

Pepsi License to Chill Card

Remember the Pepsi License to Chill Card?

As the 1990s rolled around, the Cola Wars continued to rage. Coke and Pepsi would lock horns time and again. One releasing a new product and the other firing right back. It was a great time for novelty in the industry. New flavors and talking cans abounded. This was also the time that rewards cards were really taking off and Pepsi launched its Pepsi License to Chill Card.

The Pepsi License to Chill Card was an incentive and discount card that you could use to claim prizes or discounts at select stores. I had one. Sadly, I never used it, but it still filled a very important role. It added heft to my wallet when it was sorely lacking.

As you can see from the image above, the card was pretty simple. Nice clean design with a distorted Pepsi logo attached to a number that made it look extra official.

What I remember most about the card was the ad campaign. I think they localized them for regions, but I clearly remember the beach theme. These ads remind us that it is a non-stop party in Pepsi town and everyone is invited. Just follow the cool music down to the beach to join the party. Oh, and if you want to get in, don’t forget to bring your Pepsi License to Chill Card. Membership has its privileges.

The card you see above was recently posted on Imgur. I am not sure what happened to my original Pepsi License to Chill Card. I would like to say that I lost it at some epic beach party, but sadly that is not the case. More than likely it wound up in a junk drawer in our kitchen and it went in the trash during a routine cleaning. Sadly, never to Chill again.

Watch the Pepsi License to Chill Card Commercial

Our Miss Brooks

Retro Radio Memories Podcast Ep. 086 (Our Miss Brooks)

Our Miss Brooks was a long running and popular CBS Old Time Radio show. It began airing in 1948 and lasted until 1957. In fact it was so widely received that it spawned a TV adaptation from 1952 until 1956. Furthermore it even was made into a feature length movie!

[Via] Warner Movies on Demand

Of course since this is the beginning of December. Our episode this week is entitled “Magic Christmas Tree”. Which focuses on Miss Brooks, who is played by Eve Arden, finding herself alone on Christmas Eve. Thanks in no small part to an enterprising young boy, she finds that she had purchased more than a festive tree. It is as the boy tells her, in fact a magic Christmas tree. Which naturally means that hilarity ensues shortly after the purchase and maybe a little wish fulfillment too.

Now this isn’t the first time we’ve visited Our Miss Brooks!


Thanks to listener Rick Doherty we talked about this show on the 57th episode of the podcast. Truth be told he has also suggested an appropriately holiday themed episode later in the month.
Our Miss Brooks

So without further ado, pour yourself a cup of eggnog, and join us for Retro Radio Memories. As we get into the Holiday Spirit with Our Miss Brooks!

If you have any comments or feedback for the show you can e-mail them to at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also reach me on Twitter and of course on Facebook .

The music on the podcast was provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at peachy@Retroist.com. And be sure to “Like” him on his Facebook Page.

Subscribe To The Retro Radio Memories Podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes. Moreover you might leave us a nice review to help spread the word about the show?

Directly download the Retro Radio Memories Podcast:
Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)
Episode Mirror #2 (OGG)

Casio Tonebank keyboard

Learn how to play your Casio Tonebank keyboard

I do not know how to play an instrument. That doesn’t mean I never tried. In school, I tried to play instruments, but that went nowhere. When I went to the mall as a kid, I inevitably gravitated to the instrument store at some point. Usually I would play around with the organs. If those were off-limits I played with electronic keyboards like the Casio Tonebank keyboard.

They would have these starter books near the keyboards. Slowly I work my way trough “Mary had a Little Lamb” or “Hot Cross Buns”. But my brain would never make the right connections. Inevitably what I would learn would drain out of my head. So each week it was like starting over. Even when my friend got a small keyboard and tried to teach me, I went nowhere. It is a mystery to me, but I could just never seem to master the skills needed to become a skilled keyboardist.

It was probably because I lacked the right tutor. Now I am not talking about a human tutor. No, I am talking about the type of tutor you pop into you VCR. Video lessons from the eighties were like magic. For the first time you could take a teacher home with you and have them repeat the lesson again and again. I learned how to do basic magic from a video tape and I am sure if I had found this Casio Tonebank keyboard tape as a kid, I would be jamming in some music club right now.

Filled with the basics, this keyboard tutorial is just 30 minutes long. In it you learn the basics of keyboarding. So that by the end of the tape you have what it takes to makes sounds that won’t have your parents regretting buying you the keyboard.

The instructions on the tape are very straightforward. So why is this video so great now? Well, even if you don’t pick up a keyboard, it is very much of its time. The crosscutting between scenes with its medium budget animation screens are things you just don’t see nowadays outside of poor parodies. But the real magic is the host. This guy is a workhorse. Not only does he know his keyboarding, but his soothing and sometimes mechanical sounding instruction is just amazing. Combine that with some wardrobe changes and you have eighties’ instructional video gold.

Learn how to play your Casio Tonebank keyboard

Horns

Christmas With Horns

*Rubs hands together*

*Evil laugh*

If you didn’t see any of this coming, then you really don’t know me that well, do you?

So we’ve officially kicked off the holiday season, which began with the carving of a giant bird, which later moved into attacking people in stores for that 55″ television you just had to have. But for $250, it was a steal, and that old man couldn’t possibly run that fast. So as you scream “Survival of the fittest, pops!” you run off while dragging that box behind you…

Whoah, where was I going with this?

None of this actually happened, folks. I’m just trying to set up the season for you. Don’t mind me, apparently I’m a better fiction writer than I give myself credit for!

Anyway, the evil subject at hand…the actual evil subject!

Naturally, when I begin to compile my Christmas playlist – I run with all of the staples and favorites – Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, and the like. I’ve begun to expand my Christmas playlist to the likes of Anne Murray and Judy Collins, but I’m more apt to shy away from anything that sounds novelty or cartoonish, with the exception of anything that comes from A Charlie Brown Christmas or How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Don’t make me ever listen to anything from Alvin and the Chipmunks, unless you like to see a quick descent into insanity.

A few years ago, my parents gifted me with Michael Buble’s Christmas album, which mixed the classics with the crooning of Mr. Buble. I’ve been a fan ever since, and since I’m convinced alot of things I like wind up being gateway drugs for other things, I began to take a liking to David Foster, Josh Groban, and became more appreciative of Kenny Loggins and Chicago.

This article all about that group I write way too much about.

I dislike snow, cold weather, and everything that has to do with winter. Conversely, I like Christmas music that sings of all these things. Oh, and there’s a place I’d rather not spend a moment of my winter or Christmas in…Chicago. However, there is one group I’d like to spend my holiday season listening to – theĀ band Chicago.

You knew where this was going long before you started reading. You chose to stay.

Horns

Chicago conquered it all – horn sections, the 1970s, creative album covers that didn’t need to feature the band on them, roman numerals. So it was only natural that they had to conquer the holiday season, but it took them until 1998 to do so, and the result was Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album. The album was released in August of 1998 on their label, Chicago Records (perhaps they were wise to have their own label after the debacle of that unreleased album), and later re-released in 2003 by Rhino Records as What’s It Gonna Be, Santa?, with six additional tracks. This re-release in itself came of the effort to possibly record an entirely new album of Christmas music, which was scrapped due to cost factors.

screenshot-633

The original album featured fourteen tracks, with the re-released album containing twenty. Adding to the festivities and joy of the season were the songs featuring a children’s choir for the songs “Children’s Prayer” and “One Little Candle,” both of which originated on the original version of the album, and featured some of the band’s children – Kate and Sean Lamm (daughters of Robert Lamm), Sarah Pankow (daughter of James Pankow), Dylan and River Loughnane (children of Lee Loughnane), and Ryan and Alex Bittan (children of Roy Bittan), among others.

screenshot-634

The re-released album (containing six new tracks) also gave Keith Howland his first lead vocal contribution for “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.” Howland, until that time, had been backing vocals since joining the group in 1995 (he’s still with the band today).

From Howland’s My Space page (https://myspace.com/keithhowlandmusic)

Complete track listing (Both Albums)

And what would an article about music be without, well, music?!

Here’s the original album:

Uploaded by mistermister668xmas

And the six tracks that were added to the re-release in 2003 (All Uploaded by Chicago – Topic):

As far as the albums go, all the standards of Christmas are covered. The arrangements are nice, and very much what you’d expect of any Chicago song, except the horns really add to the festiveness of the season.

I particularly love the total opposite song of the bunch, “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.” This was lead guitaristĀ Keith Howland’s first lead solo since joining the group in 1995, and it definitely didn’t disappoint – I love the more contemporary edge he gave the song. Chicago managed to re-invent their sound as the 1980s and 1990s progressed, and this is a great example of how they did it through the post-Cetera years.

And there are the beautiful children’s choir songs – the young voices in the songs “Child’s Prayer” (accompanied by Jason Scheff) and “One Little Candle” help them stand out among the trademark sound Chicago is known for.

And of course, if you ever want to hear a great group effort of vocals, “Sleigh Ride” has a four-part harmony of Robert Lamm, Jason Scheff, Bill Champlin, and Lee Loughnane (whom you’re more likely to see doing his impressive trumpet and flugelhorn work – it’s always nice to see him sing!).

I don’t think there is anything about Chicago I could ever not be impressed about – from their early hits in the late 1960s and 1970s, to their re-invented sounds of the 1980s and 1990s, to Christmas music, love songs, breakup songs, tributes to bassists that were bigger than a big name, and collaborations with other groups to combine sound and style, I just continually am impressed with with a find. I’m still not a fan of “Colour My World,” but that’s a minor detail.

Christmas, Chicago, Chicago music, and Christmas music as sung by Chicago…what could be better?

You came because you were lured in by Christmas music, and you got yet another of Allison’s fangirl articles about Chicago. But that’s ok, you stayed long enough to read this part. If you’d like to read more of Allison’s stuff, she’d love for you to visit her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and Allison is also on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. She mixes up her articles with random observations, and keeps the politics out of her tweets. She prefers it that way. Why would she want to discuss that when she can discuss a topic of her “happy place,” which is music.

Everyone should have a happy place like that.

king-kong-colorforms-panorama-play-set

There Was A 1976 King Kong Panorama Colorform Set?!

I can tell you truthfully that in 1976 I was all about the remake of 1933’s King Kong. In fact I had seen the original film thanks to a local channel’s midnight movie. I was of course at the tender age of four blown away by Willis O’Brien’s stop-motion effects. It also made me a lifelong admirer of that craft and of primates.
king-kong-1933

I was fortunate enough to catch the Dino De Laurentiis produced film at the 62 Drive-In. Moreover the weeks before it was released, I can recall staring at the one-sheets. You know what I’m talking about. The legendary posters featuring artwork by John Berkey!
King Kong

That is to say nothing of how excited about the movie I was after watching the trailer.

[Via] Movieclips Trailer Vault

Having said that and I know I’ve stated this before on The Retroist. I really didn’t see much merchandising for King Kong. Besides some awesome drinking glasses and a few T-shirts. I do however have very fond memories of the board game by Ideal.
king-kong-board-game

There was much more than that, just none of it making it to my neck of the woods. So please try to imagine my surprise when I stumbled on the fact that Colorforms made a King Kong play set. Not just your average Colorforms set would do for something as epic as this, right?

Image courtesy of Jon's Random Acts of Geekery.

Image courtesy of Jon’s Random Acts of Geekery.

That is why they released it as the King Kong Panorama Play Set! A 32-inch play set…but that is not all. This also happened to feature a reversible second side – so that you could have adventures on Skull Island and change the fate of the misunderstood Kong atop the World Trade Center.

Image courtesy of Jon's Random Acts of Geekery.

Image courtesy of Jon’s Random Acts of Geekery.

We have Jon’s Random Acts of Geekery to thank for these last two images. Make sure to hop on over and check out more King Kong goodness. For example a 1976 belt buckle featuring some of the Berkey artwork!

Now here is a link to ebay if you decide you can’t live without a Colorforms version of Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange.
king-kong-panorama-play-set-colorforms
But I feel I better give you a slight warning. I have yet to find any for sale under the $160 mark…but on the other hand doesn’t Kong demand such a price?!

Ready for more 1976 King Kong awesomeness?


How about this 1976 interview between Dino De Laurentiis and Bill Boggs?

[Via] Bill Boggs TV

Holiday Special 2016