Tag Archives: 1980’s

Meeting The Ultimate Prairie Bitch – Alison Arngrim

Most people will remember Alison Arngrim as the wickedly evil bitch, Nellie Oleson, from the television series “Little House On The Priaire.” The show ran from 1974-1983 and since I was born in 1975 so much of my experience of “Little House” was in reruns in the early 1980’s when the show aired on one of the three channels my family had while growing up in the rural areas outside of Calgary. You see in Calgary, which sits in Canada’s Prairie region and the outskirts of Calgary didn’t look so different from the scenery of the show. Also Calgary is well known for the Calgary Stampede celebration where the entire city embraces it’s Wild West past and is home to Heritage Park Historical Village which preserves many Little House era buildings in a town like setting, so the “Little House On The Prairie” show didn’t seem quite so removed from the 1980’s I grew up in.

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Press Your Luck Comes To The iPhone and iPod Touch

Press Your Luck was one of my favorite game shows from the early 1980’s. As a child I loved all the game shows of the period but one of the ones that always stood out was the short lived Press Your Luck with it’s host Peter Tomarkin. My brother and I used to enjoy the show, probably more for the Whammies than the actual game, as we were kids at the time. We loved to see the contestants hit a Whammy and have their money taken away so we could see one of the animated Whammy graphics come on and make the money disappear. They had so many wonderfully creative ones from ones that blew up a little dynamite detonator, to Whammies dressed like Boy George and the Beatles coming in to sing a little line from a tune before taking the money away. I also loved the sound effect from when the Whammy was hit, it just sounded like a dramatic electronic “Uh-oh.”

The game consisted of a round of questions where three players compete for the right to spin on the big board and earn cash and prizes, then a round of playing the spins followed by one more round of questions and then a final round of spins on the big board. The winner at the end of the game was the player who collected the most money in cash and prizes. Part of the strategy for the big board was to spin a few times to collect enough cash and prizes then to pass on the remaining spins to another player who would have to play those spins in the hope that the passed spins would force that player to hit a Whammy to steal their cash and prizes. It was a fun and high energy show that got quite competitive and a player could hit three whammies and stay in the game. A fourth Whammy eliminated them from the game.

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Getting Lots Of Compliments On My Oscar

Oscar The Grouch T-ShirtAs an adult, usually the first thing that pops in your mind when you hear “Oscar” is an Academy Award. And I’m sure had my “Oscar” have been that kind of an Oscar, than I’d be getting lots of compliments on that too, however the Oscar I mean is the usually the first kind of Oscar that pops into mind for the pre-school set. That being Oscar The Grouch from Sesame Street.

As a child of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, I like many other children, grew up watching Sesame Street. According to my mother, my very first favorite Muppet from the show was Oscar the Grouch. I certainly don’t remember this being the case, I would have figured it was more Grover, or Ernie, or even Kermit because he was on both Sesame Street and the Muppet Show and I can certainly relate to Kermit’s experience doing double duty and in the Muppet Show trying to be the sole figure of calm in the realm of chaos that surrounds him. (And no kids, it wouldn’t have been Elmo, as Elmo didn’t exist as he does now in the Sesame Street I watched as a kid.) But since my mother says Oscar was my first favorite, we’ll just accept that as fact.

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Hooked On Classics – Blast From The Past

Hooked On ClassicsHaving hit a little bit of music boredom with the more limited selections on my iPod Touch, I decided to bring out the iPod Classic which is loaded with over 11,000 audio files. I let it play on random and one of the things that came up was “Hooked On Classics – Part 1 and 2” from the original “Hooked On Classics” album by Louis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

I ended up taking the iPod off random and played the full album. It’s been a very long time since I last listened to it. I don’t remember when exactly I added the Hooked On Classics albums to my iPod as the last crash of my iTunes wiped out the date added for every track I added prior to December 10, 2008. In any case, I was happy I had it on my iPod to enjoy without having to dig out the CD.

I remember having worn out two cassettes of this album back in the early 1980’s. I loved it. To me it was all the good parts of classical music without so much of the really boring stuff. And I suppose a disco-esque drum track didn’t hurt either for helping keep those classics going at an upbeat pace. I remember Hooked On Classics being very popular when it was originally released in Canada. It was released on the K-Tel label which I always had some collections of popular music from them. Probably my favorite of which was “Raiders Of The Pop Charts” which capitalized on the Indiana Jones theme which was current at the time.

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What Happens When You Take A 13-Year Old’s iPod Away And Give Him A Walkman?

13 Year Old With Old WalkmanTo celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Sony’s introduction of the Walkman which forever changed how personal music was defined, the BBC thought it would be an interesting experiment to have a 13 year old child trade in their iPod for one week for a classic Sony Walkman without any instructions other than to say the Walkman was the iPod of it’s day.

It was interesting to read the child’s insight into the whole thing, my personal favorite comment was it took three days before he realized there was a second side to the cassette. He also missed the shuffle feature of his iPod but decided he could simulate it by randomly holding down the rewind and stopping at random spots. It was also a great laugh to read how big and clunky he thought the device was because it’s huge compared to the iPod, but back in the day it was cutting edge small technology.

I still remember my first Walkman, I don’t remember the brand of it but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a Sony one. I used to listen to it all the time, even took it to bed so I could listen to my music to fall asleep, a habit I still have. I have a hard time falling asleep without music playing. Yes, the buttons were big and clunky, and for that matter so were the players. I always wanted one of the Walkmans with a built in speaker but never did ever get one of those. Cassettes weren’t a perfect medium, but they are what got me through the 1980’s. I didn’t get my first CD player until 1989.

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Xanadu Works Its Magic In San Diego

Last night I took the opportunity to check out the new stage version of Xanadu that is currently playing at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. Technically I have a ticket for the show next week, but I got an offer in my e-mail to see the show earlier through Goldstar and at bargain price, so why not take a chance and go.

The seat I ended up with was an on-stage seat. Basically how the set is structured is that it looks a little like a Ancient Greek amphitheatre with a main performance area at the front of the stage and some tiered seating towards the back of the stage where additional audience members get seated and fill out the presence on stage. Sections of the on stage seating are left empty so that the cast members can sit and be part of the background and jump back into the show when appropriately timed. Additionally some props for them are stashed in the seating for use during the show as well.

Unlike regular seats, we had to be given a briefing on what we were expected to do which is basically have fun and stay seated until the orchestra plays its final note. There would be no chances for a bathroom break and if we had to leave, we could but would not be able to return to the stage seats. And we would not be issued our copies of the playbill until after the show. The show runs about ninety minutes so no problem there. We were also issued a glow stick and instructed that we would be told by the cast when it is time to break the glow stick to activate it and wave it around.

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