Tag Archives: Sgt. Rock

Throwback Thursday: “The Last Unicorn” (1982)

“The Last Unicorn” (1982) is an 80’s film that you don’t hear quite as much about in nostalgia circles.  My sister took me to see it in the theater when I was in second or third grade.  It probably wasn’t the first choice of a movie for a kid whose heroes were Sgt. Rock, Conan the Barbarian, and Ka-Zar the Savage.  (Seriously, I read a looooot of comics as a little boy.)  But my sister was the one with the car keys.

Come to think of it, there might have been a dearth of options.  If memory serves (the 80’s were a very long time ago), there were generally fewer films at the local multiplex for the younger set.  “The Last Unicorn” might have been the only children’s movie that happened to be playing.  (I think the market has expanded quite a bit since then.)  I really liked it, though.

“The Last Unicorn” had a hell of a voice cast — including Alan Arkin, Christopher Lee and Mia Farrow.  The animation (to my eyes, at least) looks like strictly average stuff — except for the title unicorn and the monster antagonist.  Those look quite good; they look fluid and natural.  The backdrops are pretty good too.

The monster’s name here is “The Red Bull,” which is probably funny now, given the eponymous modern energy drink.




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: 1980’s “Sgt. Rock!”

DC Comics’ “Sgt. Rock” was far harder stuff than the “G.I Joe” comics and toys that are more often associated with the 1980’s.  They were the darkest and most violent comic books I read when I was a young kid, except maybe for the various “Conan” books.  Hasbro relaunched “G.I. Joe” in 1982 concurrently with its toy line, and it was a famously kid-safe (and lucrative) franchise.  “Sgt. Rock,” in contrast, consisted of brutal stories that focused on the horrors of war — it was really more of a cultural holdover from the comics of the prior two decades.  (The title began as “Our Army at War” in 1959.)

I loved these comics — especially the larger “annuals” with lengthier stories.  Nothing was better than “Sgt. Rock” and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  What occasionally puzzled me as a second-grader was that none of the other boys I knew seemed to be reading them — although a lot of other kids certainly hopped on the “G. I. Joe” bandwagon.

The last one pictured below, from 1981, was my favorite.  If memory serves, it was the first one I ever owned.








Throwback Thursday: Celebrating the 5th of July!!

We actually have two holidays in a row coming up, because the 5th of July is celebrated by expeditious suburban 8-year-olds everywhere.  Or, at least, it was a big deal to me in the 1980’s.

When I was a kid, I discovered a lovely truth about life very early on — adults partying in the street after dark sometimes dropped things and did not pick them.  This includes things that kids are not supposed to have — including fireworks.

Until the day I die, I will never forget the smell of spent firecracker powder in the air of a July 5th morning.  (That almost sounded like an “Apocalypse Now” joke.)  To a boy like me, it was the smell of sweet, sweet opportunity.  I was a habitual early riser, and I annually ran right past my “Sgt. Rock” comic books to grab my bike and scour the neighborhood.

Among the burnt black smears in the street and the spent, discarded “Roman Candles,” there were inevitably a few fireworks that weren’t lit off.  You needed a good eye, as a kid — spent, burnt fireworks littered the ground like confetti, and you had to look carefully for those with fuses.

There were always “Black Cats” or “TNT’s” to be found — those were just plain, regular firecrackers.  But they still brought a hell of a lot of joy to a pre-teen, and you couldn’t beat the price.  (Bear in mind, Virginians, that the sale of fireworks is illegal in New York, so they were much harder for a young boy to find.  My family always somehow laid hands on a few pack of firecrackers or “Jumping Jacks,” but they weren’t exactly plentiful.)

I found larger pieces, too, when I was very lucky.  The crown of my collection was a perfect, unlit M-80 that somebody had dropped.

I realize that all of this sounds vaguely pathetic.  But I was an opportunist, and Netflix hadn’t been invented yet.