Tag Archives: Youtube

Throwback Thursday: “Charley Chimp!”

This is takin’ it waaaay back — people were joking about creepy vintage mechanical toys on Twitter, and it totally reminded me of the mechanical monkey I had when I was not much older than a baby.  It was originally manufactured and marketed as “Musical Jolly Chimp” between the 1950’s and the 1970’s by Japanese company Daishin C.K., according to Wikipedia.  But it was resold under various names on the street in New York City.

My guess is that my father picked it up for me after work in the 1970’s.  (He was a municipal bus driver in Manhattan.)

It was loud.  It did scare me — but I also remember loving it too, and it remained in my toybox for years.  (Maybe I had a split personality as a little kid or something.) 

Anyway, you can see the thing in action over at Youtube, courtesy of echelon16.

 


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Photo credit: YuMaNuMa, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

Throwback Thursday: this 1986 Laser Tag commercial!

I remember Laser Tag as an exciting but fairly brief blip in 1980’s pop culture.  A lot of the kids I knew got excited about these commercials, a lot of us asked earnestly for Laser Tag guns Christmas, and … none of us got them.  (Our parents seemed unanimous that they were too expensive.)

Ah, well.  The subsequent buzz around my neighborhood was that our parents were probably wise, anyway — we heard later that the guns hardly worked, making the product nowhere near as cool as the commercials depicted.  (I am linking below to Kevin Noonan’s Youtube Channel, by the way.)

And then the fad faded — all the hubbub around Laser Tag (and Photon, its cheaper competitor) just kinda went away.  It sort of makes sense.  Paintball was alive and well as an edgier, more subversive, and more exciting sport; I can’t imagine how these gaudy electronic products could compete with that.

The Wikipedia entry for Laser Tag had a couple of surprises for me.  For starters, the technology for the products’ infrared light guns and sensors was developed by the United States Army in the 1970’s — I guess it was an Ender’s Game-type scenario.  And the first game system using the technology was South Bend’s Star Trek Electronic Phaser Guns in 1979.  (Those toys were released in conjunction with the premiere of that year’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.”)

Didn’t see that one coming.  I’ll bet those toys fetch a nice price among collectors.

Anyway, there was another Laser Tag commercial that everybody talked about back in the day … it depicted American and Russian teams competing in a dystopian-future tournament, in which the Statue of Liberty was the trophy.  It’s smile-inducing.  I couldn’t find a really decent copy of it to link to here, but you can find it on Youtube.

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday: this 1983 TV ad for “Stratego!”

I barely remember this TV commercial for Milton Bradley’s “Stratego,” but I sure remember the game.  (Thanks to Youtube user Lokke for posting it online.)  When I was a kid, I used to think of it as “pre-chess” — the strategy game that kids played before they graduated to that paragon of all games — even for adults.  (I was quite the chess enthusiast when I was in gradeschool, which is odd, because I wasn’t exceptionally good at it.)

My skill at Stratego was similarly undistinguished, I guess.  I pretty consistently relied on the most obvious gambit … planting my “flag” piece in the corner and surrounding it by “bombs.”  (To keep my opponent guessing, I’d sometimes pull a switcheroo and plant my “flag” in the other corner.)

My older brother had been playing Stratego for longer than I had; it was his board game, after all.  So he regularly sent his “miners” and expendable pieces straight for my predictable strongholds to ultimately win the game.  (Come to think of it, the kid next door got wise to my standard gameplay pretty early on as well.)

But I still loved it.  Stratego was hella fun.  (Yes, I am back on the “hella” train.)  I remember being in my early 20’s and being delighted when it was mentioned on “The X-Files.”  It was in the Season 2 episode “Colony,” in which Fox Mulder’s long lost sister returns.  (Or does she?)  The first thing the putative sibling does when she she spots her brother is joke about Stratego.  That felt like a shout-out just for me.

 

Throwback Thursday: “Kingdom of the Spiders” (1977)!

“Kingdom of the Spiders” (1977) was yet another 70’s bug-apocalypse flick that aired from time to time on 1980’s television.  As I recall, this one was kinda good … or at least it was scary enough to impress me as a grade-school kid.  The movie wisely made use of a truly frightening adversary (and used live tarantulas for filming).  And it had the kind of jarring, open-ended final scene that I hadn’t seen before for a sci-fi/horror film.

The only thing that detracted from its creep-factor was the presence of William Shatner as the lead.  It wasn’t that Shatner did a poor job with the role — it was just that he was indelibly linked in my young mind to his iconic role in the original “Star Trek” (1966-1969).  I simply couldn’t get past the idea that Captain Kirk was an ordinary veterinarian; it took me out of the movie.  I’m willing to bet that Shatner was helming the cop drama “T.J. Hooker” (1982-1986) at around the time that I saw “Kingdom of the Spiders,” but that was a show I didn’t watch.

Anyway, if you want to catch the flick in its entirety, you can find the whole thing over at Youtube right here.

 

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Throwback Thursday: “Razorback” (1984)!!

Legit question for rural Australians  — how do I kill the 30 to 50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3 to 5 mins while my small kids play?

If you’re anything like me, you’re endlessly regaled by all the viral jokes this past week referencing “30 to 50 feral hogs.”  (And if you’re nothing like me, then you’re an intelligent adult and I congratulate you.  But you can google the new trope, which I have paraphrased above, if you want to.  It is the very height of preposterous predatory animal political humor.)

The jokes made me remember this little disappointment from the 1980’s — the Aussies’ own feral hog horror movie, 1984’s somewhat lethargic “Razorback.”  If memory serves, I rented this sometime around 1986, I suppose.  I  got it on VHS from my nearest shopping center’s sole mom-and-pop video store, before Blockbuster Video’s invasion reached my area.

There are people out there who fondly remember “Razorback.”  You can find some nice compliments about it over at Rotten Tomatoes.  People  enjoy its “atmosphere.”  People like Gregory Harrison a lot.

I didn’t like it.  Sure, it had a pretty neat electronic score that seemed trippy and cool to me as a young high school student.  But that was its only redeeming quality.  It started off with its depressing plot setup, which you can see in the first video below — the titular wild boar absconds with a baby boy.  (The boar also thoughtfully burns the child’s house down as it departs, to underscore that fact that it is an asshole.)

The rest of the movie is boring, because it’s yet another one of those monster movies where you never get to see much of the monster — right up until the movie’s poorly lit climax, which takes place in a slaughterhouse, I think?  Which is supposed to be ironic or something?  Don’t quote me on this stuff; 1986 was a long time ago.  For comparison, think of the legion zombie “thrillers” always available on Netflix where the zombies are always outside, and the movie just follows the indoors arguments among three very-much-alive people inside a windowless warehouse.  I want to invoke the inevitable “wild bore movie” pun, but I’m holding back, because my friends tell me that they have enough of that sort of thing.

I used my own money to rent “Razorback,” probably earned from either my confusing stint at McDonald’s (they just didn’t get me there) or my summer job cleaning boats and lobster traps.  (I lived on an island, people.)  I remember being slightly disgruntled that I’d wasted my hard-earned cash.

Honestly, though, I was a credulous kid when it came to a movie’s marketing.  When I read the back of the VHS boxes, I took things at face value.  I also had my heart set on something called “The Alien’s Deadly Spawn” (1983), which I realize now was just a no-budget early mockbuster ripping off Ridley Scott’s “Alien” (1979).  (It was always out.  I finally caught snatches of it on Youtube this past spring, and it looks pretty unwatchable.)

 

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Achtung, Nerdy.

Apparently some of my poetry readings were picked up by a video hosting site in Germany?  I … don’t know how any of this works, to be honest.  But it looks like the De-Visions platform borrowed a few readings from my Youtube account and then shared them in a different video format(?)

I honestly don’t mind.  Thanks for the exposure, De-Visions.

The readings include my interpretation of Philippe Atherton-Blenkiron’s superb “Operation Staffhound,” as well as Jenny Santellano’s readings of my poems.

 

 

 

George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)

So I raised a few eyebrows a while back when I praised the 2004 colorized version of the late George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1968).  A couple of horror fans gave me flack for it — I hope people realize that I was talking about the last (and best) colorization, adapted by Legend Films.  (There were several prior color versions, and the 1986 attempt by Hal Roach Studios was broadly and justifiably condemned.)

I also hope that people realize that my preferred version will always be Romero’s black-and-white original.  And it just so happens that I found an unusually good copy of it online, over at the Timeless Classic Movie Youtube channel.  (There are actually some really clean copies of a few great classics there, including 1964’s “The Last Man on Earth”).

 

Jenny S. reads Rob Plath’s “a thousand cab rides away”

I happened across another of Jenny S.’ poetry readings that I especially enjoyed — this time it was her interpretation of Rob Plath’s superb poem, “a thousand cab rides away.”  It is a sad piece, with an absolutely perfect closing line, and Jenny reads it beautifully.

If you enjoy the poem as much as I do, then you should also check out the Jenny S. Poetry Readings Youtube channel.

 

Care to peruse my Youtube channel?

Just a reminder — if you happen to enjoy any of my poetry readings here at the blog, then you can find more over at my Youtube channel.  There is a playlist for me reading the work of other poets, and another short playlist for me reading my own work.

I hope that all you guys have had a wonderful weekend!

 

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