Holiday Memories of YesterYear: Halloween

Monday, October 28, 2019

This is the first edition in a series in which I intend to relive and document holiday memories from my past in hopes they trigger a fond memory of your own.  What better way to start this off than with Halloween?  In this "Holiday Memories of YesterYear" series, I'll be posting a more stream-of-consciousness and haphazard style than my usual report type historical article.

Elvira's Haunted Hills

Monday, October 14, 2019

Many people know Elvira, be it from her cable show Elvira's Movie Macabre her or 1988 feature film Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, but what most people aren't familiar with is her 2001 follow-up movie Elvira's Haunted Hills.  It's not quite a sequel but is loosely based on the Elvira character and the hopes most viewers have knowledge of Mistress of the Dark.

Elvira, real name Cassandra Peterson, got her start in entertainment with small parts as a show girl, go-go dancer, background singer, and model for men's magazines.  The Elvira character was born in 1981 when Los Angeles based weekend cable show Fright Nights auditioned for a new host to introduced B-rated horror movies.  Elvira quickly caught on with audiences with her "Valley-Girl" speech pattern and risqué and sarcastic commentary.  Personally, I don’t think her cleavage exposing tight fitting black dress didn’t hurt, but all joking aside, Elvira herself deserves the credit for her own success.  Her campy sense of humor teeming with double entendres and one-liners won over audiences both men and women alike.

Coca-Cola and the NFL's Monsters of the Grid Iron

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

It was 1993 and I had just entered the 4th grade.  My parents were at work and I was home from school likely for Columbus Day in early October.  I remember it was a crisp Fall day outside and can still picture the bright orange and red maple leaves collecting in my Grandparent's lawn.  My Grandparents lived in the house next door to us and I was over there on this beautiful morning just watching TV killing time.  While they were busy doing whatever adults do, I snuck over to the telephone and dialed a 1-800 number I'd been waiting all morning for the opportunity to call.  I quickly punched in my entry code while my head was filled with crazy childish dreams of being the big winner!  After some spooky Halloween music, the next thing I knew NFL super star (and at the time home-town New York Jet) RONNIE "THE RATTLER" LOTT was yelling at me through the phone telling me that even though I lost this time, that I'm always a winner, with Coca-Cola's Monsters of the Grid Iron!  

The Coca-Cola Monster's of the Grid Iron promotion only ran for two years during the Halloween season in 1993 and '94.  The Grand Prize for this contest each year was a pair of Super Bowl tickets.  For reference, the 1993 winners would have seen the Dallas Cowboys destroy the Buffalo Bills for the 2nd time in a row while the Halloween 1994 winners would see the San Francisco 49'ers defeat the San Diego Chargers in Superbowl 29.  Other prizes included hats, t-shirts, free Coca-Cola products, and other little goodies.  To enter, you'd purchase specially branded Coca-Cola products and find a code inside, typically under the cap or inside the cardboard box of a 12 pack.  When you dialed the 1-800 number, you'd enter the 4 digit code and a random NFL superstar (via recording) would tell you if you had won the big prize... or not.

Looking Back at the 1990 Dick Tracy Playmates Toy Line

On October 14, 1931, the crime fighter Dick Tracy made his comic strip debut in the Detroit Mirror. Dick Tracy would entertain children and adults alike throughout the years and appear in comic strips and several shorts, serials, and long-form films throughout the 30’s, the ’40s, and ’50s. By the ’60s and ’70s however, the Dick Tracy character had begun to lose his appeal and mostly disappeared.

In the early 1980s, Universal Pictures began development of a Dick Tracy feature length film. Universal courted actor and lifelong Dick Tracy fan Warren Beatty for the titular role. It’s fun to consider the possibilities knowing that Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck, and Harrison Ford were also under consideration. The film was shelved by Universal for several reasons, chief among them producer Walter Hill wanted to create a dark and violent version while Beatty wanted to present a colorful real-life version of the 1930’s comic he remembered from childhood. Once the movie was called off, Beatty himself acquired the rights to the character from Tribune Media Services for $3 million in hopes to bring the beloved good guy to the big screen with his vision of a real-life comic book movie.


Welcome to Yester-Year Retro Memories!  

I hope you join me on a road trip through memories of days gone by!  I started this blog to not only relive these memories but to help myself and others remember great things from our past.

I've been a fan of all things retro from a very early age.  My Dad got me very interested in old TV shows when I was 5 or 6 and as a 12 year old I fell in love with the TV show The Wonder Years.  It had already finished it's run when I turned 12, but, Nick at Nite had started to play it and I taped every episode on VHS (except that elusive Rolling Stones episode!)  My Uncle Bob and I found a complete list of every episode the show, which during the early days of the internet was very hard to come by, and we checked off every episode as we watched.  The previously mentioned Rolling Stones episode took years to find... But I digress.