Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2010

R.I.P. Tony Curtis (1925-2010)

Sadly, one of the few remaining classic leading men in cinema passed today. Tony Curtis died of cardiac arrest in Nevada at the age of 85. He left behind a huge body of work of over 100 films, TV credits and his collection of art work.



Tony was born Bernard Schwartz and did time in the navy before embarking on an acting career. He did his time in many forgettable films including some light comedy before landing some serious roles that got the attention of the critics and led to academy award nominations for best actor in The Defiant Ones. He married his first wife, Vivian Leigh in 1951 and had two children one of them being actress Jamie Lee Curtis. They were a true Hollywood power couple and lasted 11 years before divorcing. He remarried but had some pretty lousy luck going through six wives in total and five divorces.
Tony battled through some hardships including addictions to drugs and alcohol but in the end found peace with his last wife and a new found love in art. He gained respec…

Flintstones - How much more retro can you get ?

The stone age family from Bedrock celebrated their 50th anniversary today and what's really amazing about that is how well the cartoons created in the 60s hold up today. Unlike real life sit-coms from that era, the Flintstones seem to transcend time and generate new generations of fans with every passing year.


It first aired in 1960 and ran for six seasons. Many thought it was a rip off or homage to The Honeymooners which was the biggest television show at the time but the creators dismissed any similarities as merely coincidental........uh huh. When it was eventually cancelled, a movie was made to parody or style the big film character of the day, James Bond. The movie "The Man Called Flintstone" is a classic and is far better than the real life movie version of the Flintstones that came out in 1994 starring John Goodman and Rosie O'Donnell.

Having said that, the real life movie versions did have two redeeming qualities - Haley Berry and loin clothes............. nuf…

Retro Video of the Day - Snap!

Oh Snap! Back before ruling the 90s dance floor with Rhythm is a Dancer, German Eurodance group, Snap! had a bunch of club hits in many countries with some solid efforts combining early House and Hip Hop music to come up with very dance floor friendly music that still had a bit of an edge for the times. Although nothing they ever did could match the chart dominating Rhythm is a Dancer, their hit Mary Had A Little Boy reached number 4 in Germany and only number 8 in the UK and broke the top 5 in both the U.S. and Canada. Their other big hit also from 1990 was The Power that hit number one or two on the charts in the U.S., the UK, Canada, Germany and Sweden. Here's a double shot for you which is just the thing to make it through the rest of the week.



Remixes Make the World Go Round

If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, lots of today's music may sound kind of familiar. Big reason for that is the abundant use of samples in contemporary music. Whether it's lifting a few beats and choice riffs or a complete ripoff of the tune with new lyrics rapped over the music, much of the music you listen to today probably wouldn't exist or be popular if it wasn't for the art of the remix.
Remixing is the art of combining or editing existing music to create something new. Not to be confused with the term rip off which requires far less talent and vision. I never really gave much thought about the whole thing other than to wax on about how some of today's "artists" lack the same kind of talent that earlier artists had and with the use of technology, many people are getting pretty famous that don't really deserve to be.
What will become of music twenty years from now ? Where will new samples come from if much of today's music is already sample ric…

R.I.P Ronnie James Dio (1942-2010)

The world of rock lost one of the great ones the yesterday with the sad passing of vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Ronnie succumbed to his battle with stomach cancer on May 16, 2010. Ronnie James Dio was hailed as one of the most powerful voices in heavy metal. Dio was the voice behind some legendary metal bands like Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Elf, Heaven & Hell and his own namesake band, Dio.

Born Ronald James Padavona, in New Hampshire in 1942, he was the only child in an Italian family. The traditions and superstitions of his heritage influenced his later stage persona with the gratuitous use of his trademark devil horns which was actually an Italian superstitious remedy to prevent the unwanted "evil eye".



Dio's spent his childhood learning to play various instruments including the French horn which he said helped him become a better vocalist since it taught him how to breath properly. He enjoyed success with Rainbow but it was his selection to replace Ozzy Osbourne as lead…

Spock Vs. Kirk - Cosmic Idol Edition

Whether you're a Trekkie or not, you've no doubt at some point in your life made an obscure Star Trek reference, quoted some line from the show or at the very least did a very bad William Shatner impression. The weird ones among you may have even done it with a green chick - but I digress.
Captain Kirk hit this..........
Star Trek has come a long way from the original brain child of Gene Roddenberry that debuted on television in 1966 and originally only ran for three seasons. In the forty three years that followed, it spawned four spin-offs, an animated series, several comic books and eleven movies with another one in production as I write this.
Instead of this........
The series has spawned many memorable and endearing characters but without a doubt the biggest reason for it's success was the dynamic relationship between Captain James T. Kirk and Mr Spock played impeccably by William Shatner and Leonard Nemoy. There have always been rumors and stories about feuding on set a…

R.I.P. Malcolm McClaren (1946-2010)

Retroland lost a great one today. Malcolm McClaren passed away today after a battle with cancer at the age of 64. Whether you liked him or not, you couldn't dispute the fact that the man was an innovator had vision and a knack at spotting trends and capitalizing on them.

Malcolm was a fashion designer originally and opened up a London boutique called "Let It Rock" in 1971 before eventually renaming it "Sex". It was around this time he started to get involved with music. He worked with the New York Dolls for a bit but his true claim to fame came when he started managing a punk band called "The Strand" who later renamed themselves - The Sex Pistols.


After one studio album and a brutal North American tour, the group was done and Malcolm moved on. Among the groups of the day that Malcolm had a hand in include Adam Ant and Bow Wow Wow. He then embarked on his own musical career.


His first venture happened after being exposed to Afrika Bambaata and his Zulu Na…

Retro Mixtape of Love - A Cassette Retrospective

Ever find yourself getting upset that your current mp3 player can only hold 1200 songs or that the battery is only good for about three days on a single charge? I can't say that I feel your pain. Reason is I grew up before we starting storing our songs on memory chips. Back in the 70s, 80s and better part of the 90s, society had to get by with the cassette tape.

This miracle that followed the 8-track and reel to reel concept allowed people to record their vinyl albums and put only the songs they really wanted all onto one handy, dandy portable medium just slightly larger than a cigarette pack. That was pretty tiny in those days. You could record up to 120 minutes of your favorite tunes on one single cassette. It allowed you to create the perfect blend of tunes to keep that party going or to offer up as a token of your love to that special someone with groovy titles like, "Midnight Love Mix Pt1" or "Fantasy Voyage of Love". With the proliferation of audio casset…

Retro Video of the Day - Twilight Zone

Today we got a double shot for you with two songs with the same title but vastly different styles yet both are extremely cool tracks and ooze retro with every note.
First up is Twilight Zone by Golden Earring which was a hit in 1982 and had pretty heavy rotation on all the video music channels back when they actually played videos.......those were good days. It reached number 1 in the US Billboards Top Tracks and number 10 on the Hot 100.



The second Twilight Zone comes from Two Unlimited and was released ten years later and also got heavy rotation on the video channels. The song is pretty much the opposite side of the spectrum to the Golden Earring version yet was a big hit in many countries and became a workout staple due to the very catchy high energy hook. It made it to number 5 on the U.S. Billboards Hot Club Play charts and only 49 on the Top 100.

So what's the connection? They are both Dutch groups. Enjoy.




R.I.P Corey Haim (1971 - 2010)

Canadian born actor Corey Haim was found dead today in his mother's apartment in Oakwood, California of an apparent prescription drug overdose. Wow this blog is really turning into a retro obituary column but it really sucks when you're writing about someone who didn't need to die.

Corey Haim was one of the two Corey's, who along with fellow child star Corey Feldman, starred in many films in the 80s and early 90s like The Lost Boys, License To Drive, Murphy's Romance, Dream a Little Dream and Lucas. He later became a reality TV star on A&E with Corey Feldman in "The Two Corey's" as the show chronicled the comeback attempt of both Coreys. Tragically it only showcased the spiraling descent that eventually claimed Corey Haim's life.


Corey's Full Page Ad in Variety Magazine Feb 2008

Although he was working, none of the films or appearances were able to recapture the fame that his early career brought at a young age. This is what kept him turning …

The Way They Was (Part 2)

In part one of this series (Click here to go to Part 1) we looked at how a few celebrities looked in their younger years before they made it big. It was kind of inspiring since it was obvious that most were pretty average looking and evolved into the glitterazzi we all know and love today.

This batch is no different except we threw in a few that were pretty bright eyed and fresh looking in their youth before being run over by the steamroller known as age. Once again it is inspiring to know that celebrities are just like us. Enjoy.

John Travolta
Growing up in the 70s, who didn't want to be John Travolta? Growing up in the 2000's nobody wants to be John Travolta. Okay that was a bit harsh....... he's still cool and takes on pretty daring roles. Gotta love Barbarino.


Terry Hatcher
I'm still amazed she was actually a Bond girl. She's looking pretty thin lately - a bit too thin which tends to be a wee bit off putting but she still has her moments on Desperate Housewives wher…

Retro Video of the Day - Gold

Sadly the Vancouver winter Olympics are over and there's nothing left to do but count the cash and clean up the mess. I do have to say that the whole event ran pretty smooth with the exception of a few technical glitches, lack of snow and a couple of deaths - other than that, it was mint.

Seriously though it was sad to see a young athlete lose his life though it was while doing something he loved - how many of us will be lucky to die doing something we love? As a tribute to him and all the athletes who competed, here's a retro classic from 1983 by Spandau Ballet that takes it's title from the one thing everyone strives for during the Olympics - Gold.




R.I.P. Doug Fieger from The Knack (1952-2010)

It's a sad day in Retroville with the news of the passing of Doug Fieger, the American lead singer of new wave group The Knack and the co-writer of the number one track from 1979 "My Sharona" after a six year battle with cancer. Doug died on Valentine's day.



Doug formed the band with three other musicians in 1978 after a few failed attempts at having a successful band. The Knack teamed up with producer Mike Chapman who was responsible for some hits by Blondie, Nick Gilder and Exile. They cut all the tracks for their first album in pretty much one take and that was what gave the album that energetic live feel. The whole album was done and ready to press in eleven days at a total cost of $18,000. It was one of the cheapest albums to ever go Platinum. It went gold just thirteen days after its release.

Their biggest hit was the catchy if not annoying My Sharona from their first album. It spent six weeks at number one on the Billboard's Hot 100 in the U.S. while the al…

Retro Super Bowl Ad Collection

It's Super Bowl time again and that can mean only one thing for some - salty snacks, meat, lots of booze and a huge helping of football being played for all the marbles. For others it simply means cool and innovative television ads interrupted by a bunch of guys chasing a ball on a field.

Regardless which side of the fence (field?) you're on, you can't deny the creative display put on each year during the Super Bowl which this year costs a whopping $3 Million U.S. per spot. Unbelievable. Companies are banking on the exposure the commercial receives and possible buzz it generates will hopefully translate into money well spent.




For a look back at the last 38 years of Super Bowl ads, click the picture of the smirking quarterback below to go to a site dedicated to showcasing some of the best television ads ever produced for Super Sunday. (Hate to say it but I think this guy will be smirking again this coming Sunday - sorry Saints, I'm rooting for you though!)




Retro Funk Double Shot of the Day

After a hard week of school or navigating through cubicle hell, it's nice to know you can reach back to the classics of a simpler time to get you into the right mood for the coming weekend. Allow me to create that mood for you right now.

First up, Rene & Angela's "I'll Be Good" which is the embodiment of all things good about 80's R&B. Released in 1985 by this former husband and wife duo, it peaked and number 4 on the U.S. R&B charts but remains one of my prized possessions on pristine 12" vinyl.



Next up is a classic from 1979 by the Brothers Johnson. This band was made up of a bunch of brothers and a cousin who had originally played for the likes of Billy Preston, The Supremes and were Quincy Jones main go to guys for a time.

"Stomp" was released in 1979 and shot to number 1 on both the U.S. Dance and R&B charts. The group had an on again off again relationship over the years and still perform from time to time and recently teame…

Retro Arcade Game of the Day - Duck Hunt

Many modern video games today center around blasting the bajeezus out of some poor soul, be it human or zombie. Back in 1984, Nintendo released Duck Hunt that had players blasting the bajeezus out of ducks. Same bajeezus, different targets.

Duck Hunt was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and players used a NES Zapper which was basically a light rifle. Ducks appeared one or two at a time and players shot them for points and the admiration of their faithful canine which for some reason was officially nameless. They name plumbers, hedgehogs, ghosts, goblins and countless other mind numbingly dumb characters but a cute dog with an annoying laugh..........nada. Can't think of a thing. I'm sure nobody noticed. Players also had the option of shooting clay pigeons in another mode that got increasingly difficult as you moved up the levels.

Today's retro arcade classic won't be a popular one amongst PETA pals though I can say no video ducks were actually hurt …

Retro Gaming Console History Link

If you've ever argued with a friend about what gaming console came out first, the Atari 2600, the Odyssey 200 or the Intellivision, you're either a true hardcore gamer or have waaaaaaaaay too much time on your hands.


Either way, no need to argue any longer. Click the pic of the bitchin' PacMan ring to see the definitive collection of all gaming consoles from the original Odyssey to the Nintendo Wii. Click the console of your choice for a quick overview and details.

Amazing how far we've come. Hard to believe there was a time when you had to tape color foils over your black and white TV to get a color burst to add more excitement while you played your games leaving gummy residue all over the screen which all parents loved. Now, all you have to do is reach for your phone to play in full color with people from around the world.

You young'uns have all the neat toys.


Retro Video of the Day - My First, My Last, My Everything

Man the news is full of depressing stuff and the weather (in most parts of the world - at least my part of the world) currently blows. This makes it tough to inspire yourself to get out of bed in the morning rather than curl up in a corner sobbing in the fetal position.

With that in mind, here's a way back track that always puts a smile on my face and was (and is) a sure fire crowd pleaser to all the retro lovers and even the non-believers. How can you go wrong with the late, great Barry White? Even his worst track was pretty damn good!This gem is from 1974 and still holds up well.

Happy Friday everyone - spring is just around the corner!






Rest In Peace SpaghettiOs Dude

If you grew up in the late 60s, 70s and 80s you probably had SpaghettiOs. As you got older you probably made the switch to something more adult like Chunky soup. Both of these were developed by Donald Goerke while working for Franco American that eventually was bought by Campbells Soup.

You can't help noticing that SpaghettiOs sound eerily similar to Cheerios. (Can you say ripoff?) I wish they'd carry this theme over to other food. Still waiting for BaconO's or even PizzaO's.......mmmmmm. I digress.
Sadly, Donald passed away last week and left behind a legacy of retro goodness in the form of two classic advertising catch phrases or slogans: "Uh - oh SpaghettiOs" and "Soup that eats like a meal!"











New Retro Flick To Look Forward To

Happy New Year (albeit 14 days late!) to all the faithful Retro followers. I hope 2010 brings you nothing but good things, fuzzy retro feelings and all the joy the world has to offer.........or a cell phone with decent reception at the very least. (Another story for another time)
Let's start off the 2010 posts with a glimpse into a movie coming to theatres in near future that combines all the things that make movies great - Jedis, Hobbits, Nazi Killers, light sabres, Brad Pitt and Samuel L. Motherf%#$*# Jackson. If only it were true, Avatar would be eating it's smoke as it blazed past them in the box office.