In the 1980s many important acronyms were making headlines: the emergence of the AIDS epidemic, NASA and its riveting Space Shuttle Program, MLK Day became an officially observed federal holiday, and IBM introduced the first “personal computer,” to name a few. But for three pre-teen siblings growing up in Queens, New York, two other acronyms would enter into, and soon dominate, their household: the debut of cable network MTV and a few years later, the mainstream arrival of WWF.
To this day, when I hear Animotion’s song “Obsession” my mind immediately flashes to the opening title sequence of Saturday Night’s Main Event.
WWF Wrestling was big in our house. HUGE. We watched the Saturday morning matches and the Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling cartoon, fought with our parents to let us stay up late enough to watch the Main Events, subscribed to the WWF magazine, ate the ice cream sandwich bars. In a word, yes, we WERE obsessed with wrestling, thank you very much, Animotion. The year 1985 was an important one for wrestling, too, since that was the year that many of these shows debuted. America was experiencing a tidal wave of Hulkamania! Also, thanks to a fateful meeting on a plane between Lauper and Captain Lou Albano, he was soon being cast as her dad in the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video, and Lauper was later was cast on various WWF programs and matches as Wendy Richter’s manager, playing opposite a villainous Albano (then the manager of the Fabulous Moolah). The crossovers sparked a period that’s come to be known as the “Rock and Wrestling Connection.”
Now, an unrelated, or SEEMINGLY unrelated event in 1985 was the arrival of The Goonies in movie theaters. Written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Richard Donner (previously discussed on Retroist), we all know the story of a band of misfit kids trying to save their goon dock side of town from being torn down to make way for a ritzy country club. Any fan of the film will also remember the unofficial theme song to The Goonies, “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough,” performed by…that’s right, Cyndi Lauper! But does everyone also recall the amazing video (a two-parter!) that accompanied the single?
The video had it all! Most of the kids from the film showed up to reprise their roles, Cyndi’s mom of course makes an appearance, the Bangles play some lady pirates, and Steven Spielberg even makes a cameo, but the icing on the cake is that there are a TON OF WWF PERSONALITIES playing various characters in the video! The Iron Sheik, Roddy Piper, Nikolai Volkoff (who arrives on a pick-up truck, milking a plastic cow), Captain Lou, Wendy Richter, Fabulous Moolah, Classy Freddie Blassie, everyone playing their typical roles of “bad guys” vs. “good guys.” And of course, the, ahem, GIANT reveal at the end of the video.
Again, being the avid fans of both music videos and WWF matches, my brothers and I were in heaven when we discovered this video on MTV. But there was one problem: while we were always able to see the video when it was on MTV, the video had two parts, and we really never got to see the concluding video. And remember, this was in a time before the instant gratification of YouTube and Daily Motion, and websites like the mighty Retroist who would helpfully host both parts of the video.
(Here’s part 2)
Cyndi was actually appointed by Spielberg as the musical director for the movie’s soundtrack, and she enlisted the Bangles to record one song for the album (which, if you didn’t own the soundtrack, helps to explain their otherwise curious appearance in the video). Something interesting to note regarding the production of the video: it was also shot by the movie’s director, Richard Donner. According to a few websites (that lack citation), Lauper had a less than enjoyable working experience with Donner, suggesting that he was pushing too hard at times when she was exhausted from filming. Here’s some behind-the-scenes footage from filming of the music video, though, so you can judge for yourself. To my eyes, it looks like everyone’s getting along OK:
Another interesting bit of info: the original title of the song, as written by Lauper, was just “Good Enough,” but Warner Bros., who distributed the film, went ahead and modified it to “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” so that people would make the connection between the single and the movie, which helped the marketing of the film. None too pleased with this unapproved change of title (on an album that she musically directed), Lauper decided she would no longer perform the song live in concert, but in the past 10 years, due to popular demand from her fans, she has started to work it back into her set list.
So if you ever wondered why there were wrestlers, instead of Fratellis, chasing the kids in the video for “Goonies R Good Enough,” you now know why. And that should be good enough for you.
-DJ Darko, Your Pop Culture Mixologist
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