1966 Halloween - Ben Cooper

A Cub Scout 1966 Halloween Party Captured On 8 MM Film!

I do believe that after almost seven years with The Retroist I have made it clear I love Halloween. As well as movies and older film technology like 8 mm projectors. So when PlCary contacted me – telling me he picked up two 8 mm reels. I was interested, but then he told me one was a 1966 Halloween party, I was all ears.
1966 Halloween

Be that as it may, there was one problem. Phillip didn’t have access to an 8 mm film projector. Thankfully I could help with that issue and we agreed to meet up at the arcade. As I felt my co-workers would certainly want to see this bit of history.

However, as fate would have it, my 8 mm projector chose that moment to break. Under those circumstances you can understand how disappointed we were. Having said that though, Phillip was able to secure a projector all his own. One that I might add cost him the staggering sum of fifty cents!

So Phillip and I agreed to meet up again. Furthermore he had made sure to check the mechanical aspects and the bulb itself. All was good to go. In addition to the 1966 Halloween reel we would be able to watch something called “Kay’s Navy”.

On the contrary, it seemed fate was aligned against us one more time. I will let you take a look at the Bell and Howell projector yourself. See if you can spot what the issue might be.

Despite our best efforts of checking everything, the projector that Phillip purchased didn’t have the actual lens. In the light of this predicament I rushed home and stole the lens from my non-working projector.

In spite of all these difficulties we were able to overcome the obstacles at last. As a result we were totally treated to this Cub Scout 1966 Halloween short film. Furthermore both it and the “Kay’s Navy” were filmed at Grand Lake in Oklahoma, just about an hour and a half away.

It was an amazing treat for Phillip and myself to finally see the film.

The Cub Scout 1966 Halloween party was the real treasure although having said that we were all shocked at how well the film has survived.


Coupled with what looks to me to be a Ben Cooper or Collegeville skeleton costume it is certainly an undeniable pleasure. In fact if you look closely at the moment where the costume is shown there are vintage lunchboxes too!

Escape From New York “Lifeclock” Kickstarter!

In 1981 when Escape from New York was originally released I think it took audiences by surprise. At least it certainly did for those at the 62 Drive-In where I first caught the film in my youth.

Trailer Craze

I’m not joking when I say that at nine I was paying attention when I saw John Carpenter’s name. In 1978 the Director helped start the slasher craze with Halloween. One year later and also at the 62 Drive-In I was able to see The Fog. The same in 1981 when Carpenter really delivered a welcome dose of awesomeness with Escape from New York. Not only did the action/sci-fi film make me a lifelong Kurt Russell fan but it also gave my first taste of apocalyptic movies. Not to mention that I learned what an antihero was after watching the badass that is the core of Snake Plissken.

[Via] tomminokker

Now in the movie – in case if you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing it, a Lifeclock helps to keep Plissken motivated. Because when the counter reaches zero it means the end of Snake’s mission to deliver the President back safely. As a matter of fact it means the time to safely administer an antidote to the poison he was injected with has run out too. As has been made clear to Snake from near the beginning of the film.
Escape from New York

So please do try to imagine my surprise when I was contacted by e-mail the other day. To let me know about a new Kickstarter that was started up from the Ridgewood Watch Company. Furthermore it is a campaign to deliver an authentic and official replica of the Lifeclock as seen in Escape from New York!
escape-from-new-york-lifeclock-one

Unlike the model used by Snake Plissken, The Lifeclock One sports a few extra features. Since our society tends to value be connected to each other course. Moreso than a loner like Snake that is. Obviously.

[Via] Lifeclock One

So if you purchase a Lifeclock One for yourself you can look forward to:

  • Countdown timer (Hartford Summit configuration only 22:59’:59”)
  • Time (standard time / military time)
  • Up to 8 world clocks
  • Date (five formats)
  • Stopwatch (1/100th second)
  • 18 display animations, 8 character animations
  • Smartphone camera control
  • Push notifications for incoming & missed calls, voicemails and messages (SMS & iMessage)
  • App notification support: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn with more to come
  • Weather
  • Compass
  • Step counting

To Say Nothing of the fact you’ll like you stepped off the set of Escape from New York!

lifeclock-one-ad
lifeclock-one-escape-from-new-york-product-mock-up
Escape from New York - Lifeclock One

So now that you want to know more about the Lifeclock One – hop on over to the Official Kickstarter Page! When they ask who sent you…tell ’em it was the Retroist – or Snake!
snake-plissken-escape-from-new-york

1984 PAAS Halloween Make-Up Kits Commercial

Halloween make-up kits were rarely used in my youth. While they might have been safer – at least in terms of no costume to get tangled up in. They couldn’t compare to the majesty of dressing up as Boba Fett, Darth Vader, and Stormtroopers.
darth-vader-boba-fett-stormtrooper-halloween-costumes

I might also add that the lure to play the hero was incredibly strong during Halloween. How could a kid resist donning the garb of Superman, Wonder Woman, or even Batman?
batman-halloween-costume

At the same time there was definitely one year at least where Halloween make-up kits reigned supreme. These were the very same make-up kits that PAAS was advertising on television in 1984. I was twelve and found myself attending church related “Fall” events. After all we were not supposed to be celebrating Halloween, right?

Of course that didn’t stop a parade of Werewolves…
paas-halloween-make-up-kits-werewolf

Vampyr…
vampire-paas-halloween-make-up-kits

And even restless spirits traipsing up and down the halls filling our sacks with delicious loot.
ghost-paas-make-up-kits

Now is just so happened to be that I was invited to three different celebrations that year. Two at churches and one at school. None of them being held on Halloween itself of course. The PAAS Halloween make-up kits were available at our local grocery store and quite cheap. In the light of this discovery I was able to wear three of the four kits in this 1984 commercial!

[Via] The Creepy TarHeel

I was a veritable Lon Chaney Sr. as I proudly became a Vampire one night, Werewolf the next, and finally a Ghost! Although I have absolutely no fear of clowns they’ve never been my thing.

Halloween make-up kits had their downsides!


Now I will not argue that the make-up kits definitely made it easier to see, with no mask to obstruct your vision. But to be honest they had some problems too:

  • The chemical smell really messed with my eyes – I’m not sure if I was allergic or what. They would just start to water if a breeze or AC was blowing in my face.
  • The face paint was easy to smear and you had to be careful to make sure that obviously nothing touched your face.
  • The plastic teeth would shred your gums – to be fair this had equally the same result with any plastic teeth back in the day.

Be that as it may, the memories of those three Halloween events remain very vivid. All thanks to the PAAS Halloween make-up kits!

1970’s PSA Ad Featuring Peter Pumpkin

This Peter Pumpkin PSA is a great example of how many retro treats remain to be discovered. I stumbled upon this late 70s TV commercial thanks to attempting to find a monster related ad. There is something special about these animated public service announcements from back in the day.

I suppose it might be the lightness – the jovial character of Peter Pumpkin even. While getting across very important safety tips for even kids today it remains upbeat. Fun.
peter-pumpkin-flashlight

You certainly have no need to take my word for it. Set aside the mere 30 seconds it takes to watch it for yourself!

Robatsea2009

This PSA featuring Peter Pumpkin was something of a mystery.

I am being totally honest. You might have noticed from the video it is listed as being from 1985. Back in 2011 though a forum user calling themselves Gobby Gruesome was asking for help finding the ad on the Halloween Forums. They totally recalled the appearance of Peter Pumpkin and what he was getting across to kids but not the exact year.

Thankfully someone came across Robatsea2009’s upload on YouTube and set Gobby Gruesome’s mind to ease. This caused quite a few comments on the video itself and it looks like this ad probably debuted around 1978. For myself this is actually the first time I’ve ever seen this PSA, although I certainly remember a 1977 ad that stood out. I still swear that the narrator for that PSA is Carrie Fisher!

I might add that if the name Gobby Gruesome sounds familiar it is because of the Flintstones. Gobby is the child of none other than the Gruesomes – those spooky neighbors of the famous animated family. Why not take a couple of minutes to see how Gobby’s pet spider gets along with Fred Flintstone?

[Via] Joe Francia

Did you go as the PUSHMI-PULLYU for Halloween?

pushmi-pullyu-box-angle

What’s a Pushmi-Pullyu, you ask?

It is none other than the fabled double-headed llama from the 1967 musical motion picture DOCTOR DOLITTLE.

doolittle-pushmi-pullyu

Who is Doctor Dolittle, you ask further?

Take a moment to watch this one minute trailer for the 1967 musical motion picture starring Rex Harrison in the title role.

[source: youtube: robatsea2009]

“A double-headed llama”, you continue to ask, “does that mean this is a costume for two?!”

That would be amazing, but impractical so, no, the Collegeville Costumes’ Pushmi-Pullyu is a typical dimestore boxed costume for just one child to wear.

pushmi-pullyu-box-top

This is a late ’60s, cloth-material jumper costume with long sleeves and long pant legs. This is a good example of the better quality costumes of the ’50s and ’60s (as opposed to the stiff, sleeveless vinyl smocks manufactured for costumes in the ’70s and ’80s). What makes the Pushmi-Pullyu costume really stand out is the uniqueness of the mask!

pushmi-pullyu-costume-mask

That’s right, you wore a Pushmi-Pullyu on your face.

Covering just the eyes and the bridge of the nose, this partial-face mask is a wonderful modeling of the two-headed, circus-performing llama with the dual heads rising above the costume wearer’s own head like a pair of beast-of-burden-shaped antennae.

pushmi-pullyu-mask

This mask is one of the most unique designs in mass-produced children’s costuming. It is both wonderful and ridiculous at the same time; that’s why I think it’s so great. The costume that goes with this awesome mask is great in its own right too.

pushmi-pullyu-costume

The cloth costume, seen here with the pant legs folded up underneath, has a wonderfully stylish illustration of the Pushmi-Pullyu on the torso and the animal’s name right below it to help the more befuddled trick-or-treaters figure out exactly what you were dressed up as. The DOCTOR DOLITTLE film was fairly popular in 1967 so I wonder if the lack of knowledge about the Pushmi-Pullyu was even an issue that year. Nevertheless it was all spelled out all over your body to inform everyone who saw you.

pushmi-pullyu-costume-detail

The Pushmi-Pullyu costume, is altogether charming and quite special with its unique approach in representing its unique subject, which I credit completely to its double-headed llama mask. This was the main reason why I wished to add the Pushmi-Pullyu to my vintage Halloween costume collection. After all, how often does one get a chance to dress up with two heads?