I was chatting with a friend recently and was amused to learn that I am not the only one who remembers the antique glass Christmas ornaments known as “Shiny Brites.” (There’s an interesting history behind the Shiny Brite company dating all the way back to 1937 — check out the Wikipedia entry.)
My mother admonished my siblings and I every year to “Be careful with those! They’re antiques!” But every year such admonitions were beside the point — there were always a couple of fragile ornaments that were already broken when we hauled out the Christmas decorations from the garage. (We stored them there in an immense cardboard … barrel. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.)
Anyway, the point is this — apparently no one in m y family was especially good at packing fragile items, because every year we’d find at least one reduced to a fine, sparkling dust at the bottom of whatever box they’d been tucked away in — like ground pepper the color of glittering silver.
The picture below of Shiny Brite ornaments is a little disappointing, but it was the only public domain image I could find. These look quite modern and normal; they’re just fine. The ones I grew up with were much different — with tapered glass indentations that looked … arguably kinda ugly, if I’m being honest here. It’s impossible to describe; you have to see them. (If you have, you what I mean.)
From time to time I’ll find an artifact from the old days of broadcast television on Youtube, and I’ll share it in a Throwback Thursday blog post — people really seem to enjoy the clips. (And the credit for that belongs to the Youtube users who originally uploaded them, not me.) One of this blog’s readers asked me about the intro for WOR-TV’s (Channel 9) “Fright Night” movie series.
Here it is below, courtesy of FrightNight7387 on Youtube. (Unless I’m mistaken, this would have been seen only by viewers in the New York metropolitan area between 1973 and 1987.)
I’m … actually not sure I remember this program. The music feels more familiar than the (pretty neat) visuals, and I think I’d recall a montage like that. I’m running it here for those who do remember “Fright Night” and might enjoy the clip.
Anyway, if you want to know more about Channel 9’s show, Jim Arena developed a terrific rundown on it over at DVD Drive-In.
It should not be confused with that other “Fright Night” of 80’s lore, the 1985 film starring Jonathan Stark, Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowell. That movie also depicted an in-universe movie series named “Fright Night,” which … apparently bears no relationship to the very real eponymous series that ran in New York. (Kinda weird.) The 1985 movie was a lot of fun back in the day, though if it feels mostly forgotten today — even after it spawned a a damned cool 2011 remake.
Here’s a weird, wonderful, possibly offensive clip from the classic days of Mystery Science Theater 3000. This is from the show’s fifth season; it originally aired in 1993. The movie that Mike and the bots are riffing is 1959’s “Santa Claus.” [I am linking below to MsHandsanitizer’s channel on Youtube.]
I remember seeing “Real Genius” in the theater in 1985. Man, did I love it.
I don’t think anyone thinks of this movie when Val Kilmer’s name comes up — he’s more likely remembered as Jim Morrison, Batman or Doc Holiday. But he was actually really funny here. (And does anyone really want to remember him as Batman?)
Does anyone else remember the original “Going In Style” (1979), with George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasburg? It was a really funny movie in which three old men become bank robbers.
It got its share of air time on 1980’s television; it was actually a big family favorite. I’d been looking around for information about it for years (because movie trivia keeps me up at night), but I remembered the title wrong — I kept thinking of “The Sunshine Boys” (1975), which was a different George Burns movie entirely.
They actually remade the movie 2017 with Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin.
Weird world — Laura Branigan wasn’t the first vocalist to perform her signature song, “Gloria” (1982). It was originally an Italian pop song performed in 1979 by Umberto Tozzi. (That’s the second video below.)
Anyway, for a lot of people in my age bracket, this remains a quintessential 80’s tune. Branigan even performed it in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade the year it was released. I still remember people commenting about how beautiful she looked.
If you’re wondering whatever happened to Branigan, there’s a bit of a sad postscript here — she died in her sleep at a relatively young age, 52, from an undiagnosed brain aneurysm. By that time she’d become a fellow Long Islander; she’d been living in East Quogue.
A good friend of mine disclosed publicly yesterday that he had never seen “The Lost Boys” (1987). The poor, benighted soul. And this is one of my Mary Washington College alums too!! (Even his wife was taken aback at the glaring omission in his 80’s pop culture experience.)
Does anybody else remember one of these? The kids across the street from me had one, and it was a pretty big hit.
So this picture has been making the rounds on Facebook — probably because it is summer. I remember these from the 1980’s, though it’s possible the one below is from the preceding decade.
These things were a blast (no pun intended).
“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.