Black Friday Top Toys of the 80's and 90's

Friday, November 29, 2019

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, is widely known as "Black Friday."  This annual shopping day has earned it's colorful nickname because it represents the time of year when most retailers turn a profit and the accounting books move from "the red" to "the black."  Back in the day, shoppers would wake up at the crack of dawn for early doorbuster sales.  I remember as a kid when it was a big deal that stores would open at 4am.  As the years went on the stores opened earlier and earlier and now today we have people skipping out on Thanksgiving dinner as they head out in search of deep discounts, hard to find gifts, and credit card debt.  Of course, as most of us know, as the internet became more prevalent, this tradition of yesteryear has expanded into Cyber Monday and now we are at the point in 2019 that some companies began running "Black Friday" deals on November 1st.

Even though the tradition is not as fun as it once was, one thing has always been a big seller on Black Friday:  Toys.  People buy toys on Black Friday.  Hard to find, limited quantity, and high priced... it didn't matter.  Even before "going viral" was a thing, parents would literally get into fist fights to ensure that little Johnny had the hot toy for that year under the Christmas Tree.  Here's a look back at the top toys of the 80's and 90's that drove parents crazy!

Holiday Memories of YesterYear: Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Welcome to the second post in a series of rambling stream-of-conscious articles related to holiday memories of the past.  With Thanksgiving just days away, I sat down to reflect upon Thanksgivings of yesteryear.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.  It's cathartic in a way to go back and put this down in writing and hopefully it jogs your memory of some fun or heartfelt moments of your own.

When the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Doesn't Go As Planned

Monday, November 25, 2019

Very few things can get millions of Americans to tune in to the same television channel at the same time anymore.  The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is still one of those things.  In my household, it's always playing in the background on Thanksgiving morning but the marching bands, lip synching, and Broadway dancing just aren't something we have interest in watching.  The larger than life balloons, however, are a favorite and still draw everyone's attention at my house.

Since 1924, the Thanksgiving Day Parade (originally the Macy's Christmas Parade) has entertained hundreds of millions.  Originally the parade featured employees in costumes and animals from the Central Park Zoo, including tigers and elephants.  In 1927, the game changed when Felix the Cat became the first iconic giant balloon.

5 Things I miss about Thanksgiving in the 90s

Friday, November 22, 2019

I've been reflecting a lot lately on my own childhood; both for this blog and the impending arrival of my own first child wondering what memories she'll have.  At the risk of sounding like a Buzzfeed clickbait listicle, I've decided to do a Top 5 list of things I miss about Thanksgiving from the 1990's.  I was born in 1984, a bit too late to have clear memories of the 80's but I definitely remember the holidays of the 1990's.

So, without further ado, here are my Top 5 Things I Miss About Thanksgiving's of the 90's:

John Madden and Turducken

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

"It's a turkey... Stuffed with a duck... Stuffed with a chicken!  Then you throw it in a deep fryer.  Out comes Turducken!"  - NFL Hall of Famer, John Madden

One of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving football in years gone by was legendary NFL announcer John Madden's annual proclamation of his love for the fried goodness of Turducken.

I begged my parents for it year after year and actually to this day have never actually had Turducken on Thanksgiving day.  You may have never heard of Turkducken and thought "What is it?" or "Where did this thing ever come from?"

Garfield's Thanksgiving

Monday, November 18, 2019

As a young child my family would make the annual trek from our home just north of New York City to Syracuse to visit my Aunt and Uncle and their large family of 7 children.  I remember not really enjoying the long drive, the cold weather, and the loud crowd of nearly 50 people (most of whom I didn't even know) at Thanksgiving Dinner.  We stopped making the trip when I was 7 or 8 and to be honest I was so young I don't remember much about the trips we did make... but I do remember one important event.  On our last trip one of my many cousins allowed me to take home a book I had picked up from his bedroom to read while the adults talked.

It was Garfield's Thanksgiving.

Pro Wrestling on Thanksgiving: Starrcade vs Survivor Series

Friday, November 15, 2019

When one thinks of Thanksgiving most people think of pumpkin pie, turkey, football, or maybe even parade balloons.  As unlikely as it seems, though, to me pro wrestling and Thanksgiving go together like mashed potatoes and gravy.

Pro wrestling has deep traditions tied to Thanksgiving, going back to the territory days of yesteryear. Mid-South Wrestling frequently held Thanksgiving events in the SuperDome in New Orleans during the territory glory years.  The big two major promotions we all know, WWF and WCW, also have historical ties to the holiday as well.

How Football on Thanksgiving Became a "Thing"

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Ask anyone to name three of their favorite things about Thanksgiving and I guarantee that most would include watching football.  Alongside stuffing ourselves full of turkey and sweet potatoes watching the NFL on Thanksgiving has become a cultural tradition that nearly all Americans share.

I've often wondered how this actually came to be and why it seems like the same teams always play on Thanksgiving.  If you've ever wondered this yourself, don't worry... I've done the research for you!

Survivor Series 1989 Review

Monday, November 11, 2019

Depending on which side of the isle you sit on in the WWF vs WCW war, the history behind the WWF Pay-Per-View event "Survivor Series" is either considered a dirty trick or just another step in Vince McMahon's plan for domination.  WWF's rival promotion National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) had run a major event called Starrcade on Thanksgiving for nearly a decade before Vince McMahon decided to create Survivor Series.  Vince placed Survivor Series on Thanksgiving Day to compete directly against Starrcade and given the all around success of his major gamble on Wrestlemania, McMahon held all the cards against the cable providers and demanded they decide to either carry his show... or else.  All but a handful of providers chose Survivor Series and the very next year Starrcade was forced to move to December, ending the very quick "Thanksgiving Day War."

As a WCW/NWA fan I've always considered Starrcade a Thanksgiving show, even though it took place in December longer than it occurred on Thanksgiving, but WWF's Survivor Series is the true Thanksgiving show.  From 1987 to 1990, the show took place on Thanksgiving Day.  From 1991 to 1994, the WWF moved it to Thanksgiving Eve before being moved in 1995 to the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  

McDonald's 40th Anniversary Happy Meal Review

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Excited about the news of retro toys from our childhood, my wife and I made it a point to head out and get the limited time McDonald's 40th Anniversary Surprise Happy Meal.  Now, since at the moment we are a few (three) months away from our first child, the two of us haven't purchased a Happy Meal in probably 20 or 25 years. 

Boy, were we surprised how the Happy Meal has changed.  You can only order a Hamburger, a 4 piece, or a 6 piece chicken nugget meal.  Really?  A cheeseburger is unavailable for purchase.  Of all the things making children fat today... a slice of American cheese ain't it, folks.  

SBTB: The College Years Thanksgiving Special

Friday, November 8, 2019

When I think back to my childhood, holidays are often the fondest of my memories of yesteryear.  Nothing beats Christmas as a child but a close second was when the whole family got together at Thanksgiving and enjoyed good food and fellowship.  Before and after the meal we'd all gather around the TV watching many memorable events like the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and the often forgettable football games.  The Laurel and Hardy classic March of the Wooden Soldiers was (and still is) a holiday staple in my house.

Forgotten to many, though, is the Thanksgiving episode of Saved by the Bell: The College Years.  Many shows of yesteryear would celebrate the holidays with special episodes and it's something I feel is missing today.  However, this College Years episode is something that always sticks out in my mind when I think of Thanksgiving programming.

McDonald's Is Bringing Back Classic Happy Meal Toys

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Just a heads up to my fellow retro geeks:

McDonald's is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Happy Meal by bringing back retro toys in a limited time offering of "Surprise Happy Meals."

You can only purchase these November 7th to November 11th, so get on this people!  It starts tomorrow (as of the time I post this) to Monday the 11th.

Starrcade 1989 Review

Professional Wrestling, and The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), once held a long standing tradition of running major events on Thanksgiving Day.  The NWA ran it's annual flagship event StarrCade from 1983 to 1990, when the event continued on under the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) banner until 2000.

Starrcade was a production of Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP); at that time the largest and most dominant "territory" in the NWA.  It would be a Thanksgiving Day tradition until 1987 when the WWF, led by Vince McMahon, scheduled a pay-per-view event of their own titled Survivor Series on Thanksgiving night.  McMahon, coming off the major success of Wrestlemania and his national expansion, demanded exclusivity from the cable providers on carrying his event.

It's Christmas Time At YRM!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Celebrate the Season at YRM!
The Hallmark Channel started their non-stop Christmas movies during the last week of October.  Here in New York, several radio stations have started their non-stop Christmas songs.  Heck, stores dumped Halloween for Christmas before Halloween even happened... some as early as October 10th.

In my house, Christmas starts the minute Thanksgiving ends!  It's become a bit of a tradition for me to use my time off work around Thanksgiving to hang the exterior Christmas lights (everything my Dad taught me about exterior illumination.)  After we do our online shopping, my wife and I will usually put the tree up and decorate the house on Black Friday.

RollerJam... Pro Wrestling on Wheels

Monday, November 4, 2019

Like everyone else in the late 90's I was hooked on professional wrestling.  I had been a fan going back to 1989 or '90 when I was 5 years old and had found WCW on Saturday evenings at my Grandparents' house.   Like many others though I was utterly OBSESSED during the wrestling boom of the "Monday Night War."

It was in my high school cafeteria one day when my friend Joe asked if I was going to watch "RollerJam"?  I asked what that was and he explained in colorful detail the new wrestling-on-roller blades commercial he saw during WWF's RAW. I must have been over on the other channel watching WCW's Nitro and missed it.  Our other wrestling friend Andrew then mentioned it was a new version of roller derby.

A Brief History on Daylight Saving Time

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fall back, they said.  Set the clocks back, they said.  Get an extra hour of sleep, they said.

Well, "they" didn't tell my dogs.  They woke me up at their usual time this morning of 6am, except it was only 5am.  Since dogs can't tell time, they just woke with their natural body rhythm and the new found 5am morning sunlight and said "DAD!  TIME TO GET UP!"

So, as I sit here with my newfound hour of time that I was told would mean an extra hour of sleep, I thought I'd post a brief history on how and why we use Daylight Saving Time and why it just ended for this year.  By the way, most people call it "Savings" time, which is technically incorrect.  It's Saving, not Savings... but it doesn't matter.  Personally, I think the whole thing is silly and should be done away with...