Tag Archives: 1980

Cover to Stephen King’s “The Stand,” Don Brautigam, 1980

Paperback edition.  Signet.

I’ve always loved the artwork here, even if it adorned the lesser iteration of King’s opus.  (The author’s original, “uncut” edit of the book would hit the shelves a full decade later.)  Many other people love this artwork too — you can even purchase it as a print.

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Throwback Thursday: January 1, 1980 magazine covers

I hope that you are all looking forward to a rockin’ New Year’s Eve.  It’s hard to believe that we are not only ringing in a new year, but also a new decade — “2020” still sounds like science fiction to me.

Where does the time go?  Somewhere irretrievable.

Anyway, here’s a couple of Pinterest finds for my fellow 1980’s nostalgia nerds.  (We’ve got a nice little subculture goin’ on Facebook.)  These are a few covers from January 1, 1980 (or in the case of the weekly TV Guide, the decade’s first full week).  Try to wrap your head around the fact that, in a few days, the decade will have begun a full forty years ago.

Oh … I couldn’t resist throwing in a couple of comic book covers dated January 1980, too.  I actually had that issue of “Battlestar Galactica.”  I still remember it sitting in a stack at the bottom of my closet, with one or two others — vastly outnumbered by “Sgt. Rock” and various “Archie” titles.

 

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Throwback Thursday: “Willard” (1971) and “Ben” (1972)!

“Willard” (1971) and its sequel, “Ben” (1972), were another pair of 1970’s movies that got plenty of airtime on 1980’s television.  I read both books when I was a kid too.

First I picked up Stephen Gilbert’s Ratman’s Notebooks at a yard sale, because that’s how you found cool horror books during summer vacations when you were too young to drive.  (Sometimes adults had few compunctions about what they sold to minors too.  I bought a vampire book in gradeschool that was full of nude photos, for some reason, and that led to what I’m sure was an interesting conversation between my parents and the neighbor-proprietor down the street.)

Anyway, I absolutely loved Ratman’s Notebooks (despite its lamentable absence of nude photos) and I finished it in a day or two.  The novelization of the “Ben” film by Gilbert A. Ralston was somewhat less impressive, but I still enjoyed it.

If you’re a comics fan, like I am, then it might occur you that “Willard” and his army of trained rats seem to inspire a villain in Batman’s rogue’s gallery — Ratcatcher.  Ratcatcher has been a minor league villain since he debuted in DC Comics in 1988, but he’s a pretty neat bad guy when placed in the hands of the right writer.

I feel certain that anyone will recognize Ernest Borgnine in the first trailer below– his  face and voice are impossible to confuse with those of another man.  If the disaffected, spooky, eponymous Willard looks familiar to you, that’s none other than a young Bruce Davison.  He’s a good actor who’s been in a lot of films, but I think a plurality of my friends will know him as Senator Kelly from the first two “X-Men” movies (2000, 2003).

You’ll note the presence of flamethrowers in the trailer for “Ben.”  Flamethrowers were a staple of 70’s and 80’s horror films; it was just part of  the zeitgeist.  They were handy for heroes fighting any nigh-unstoppable nonhuman baddie — think of “The Swarm” (1978), “The Thing” (1982), “C.H.U.D.” (1984), “Aliens” (1986), and “The Blob” (1988), for example.  Hell, 1980’s “The Exterminator” featured a vigilante using a flamethrower to kill criminals.   It was a weird time.

 

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