Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge

Monday, March 30, 2020

If you grew up in the New York metropolitan area during the 80s and 90s, and I sang the jingle, "All you have to bring is your love of everything..." I bet you could finish the song for me with "BEAUTIFUL MOUNT AIRY LODGE!"  

When even cable TV only had 20 channels to watch, we were inundated with the same few commercials over and over.  Among one of the more memorable was this advertisement that frequently played on WPIX-11 and other channels that featured syndicated content I so often watched, like FOX or WWOR.  Every so often, it still pops into my head, and I'm taken right back to 30 years ago as I sat on my living room floor on a summer morning.


I can still picture the commercial in my head when I hear those two lines of the song.  I can still see the happy couple riding in golf carts, lounging poolside, dancing in formalwear, riding bicycles in gaudy 80s activewear, and a happy couple embracing on a rock in the middle of a small brook. As a matter of fact, I tend to think this commercial created an image of wealthy and leisure-filled adult life that my tiny prepubescent brain decided I must strive to attain.  The "beautiful" part of the song was so ingrained in our heads as kids, many still today think it was in the actual name of the vacation resort.

Mount Airy Lodge was a vacation resort in the Pennsylvania Pocono mountain region.  The Poconos were a regional rival to the famed resorts in the Catskills mountain area in New York.  These types of vacation resorts began popping up in the 1940s as a summer getaway for mostly Jewish New York City residents.  The popularity of these resorts peaked around the '60s and '70s as a way to beat the summer heat. At the same time, they wined and dined, enjoyed outdoor leisure activities, and be entertained by big names from the national comedy scene such as Rodney Dangerfield, Henny Youngman, Don Rickles, Schecky Green, and Joan Rivers.  Think the resort in "Dirty Dancing," and you'll have an idea of what these resorts were like during days of Yester-Year.

ESPN2's Pro Beach Hockey : Rock and Roller Hockey Action On The Beach!

Monday, March 23, 2020

The 1990s gave us many great things.  For us hockey lovers, they provided several memorable moments; everything from the Bud Ice Penguin to the FOX Trax puck debacle and even the increased popularity of inline skates.  With the rise in Rollerblade sales to children and adults everywhere for street hockey, among other things, opportunities arose for the creation of professional-level competition in roller hockey.


The most successful of these leagues was RHI (Roller Hockey International), which played from 1993 to 1999, and showcased many former and future NHL players.  The RHI teams played at large arenas in major markets nationwide.  My Dad took me to a handful of New Jersey Rockin' Rollers games as a kid, and there were always a ton of games, prizes, and fan interaction to keep the excitement levels up.  In 1994, the league was at its largest with 24 teams, but soon financial hardship caused many organizations to fold or move to different markets.  By 1997 they were down to 10 teams, and in 1998 they didn't play at all after they losing their television contract with ESPN.  Investors tried for a short resurgence in 1999 with 8 teams, but the revival failed, and the league went belly-up at the end of the season.

A short-lived competitor was the WRHL - World Roller Hockey League.  The WRHL was a different business model as it was filmed at an outdoor rink at the SportCourt at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida, made specifically for ESPN TV.  WRHL did not focus on the live event for fans and was just filtering Disney park guests in and out of the stands.  Even though the league boasted retired NHL stars such as Ron Duguay and Pierre Larouche, the league ended after only one season.


WRHL creator David McLane, took one more shot at creating a roller hockey league when he partnered with ESPN a second time when he created Pro Beach Hockey.  David McLane was a concert promoter by trade, but you may know him best for being the producer of the original GLOW - Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

Looking back, it's no wonder I loved this league so much... he infused pro wrestling style showmanship into it!

The Road To Wrestlemania Ends Here

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Well, folks, it looks like our Retro Road to Wrestlemania ends here. 

Yesterday, WWE announced that this year's Wrestlemania will take place inside the WWE Performance Center to an empty arena because of the insanity surrounding the Corona Virus. 

Frankly, looking at the numbers anyway, the past Wrestlemania reviews have seen a significant drop in visitors to this site (except Wrestlemania 9 and the Royal Rumble moments), so it seems like most aren't fond of the long-form recaps of Wrestlemania or an overload of pro wrestling anyway. 

So, where are we headed from here, you ask?

Well, I've invested a few bucks in purchasing some vintage trading cards, stickers, comics, and more that I'll be scanning in for your enjoyment!  Also, with the loss of sports, I'll be reviewing some weird and exciting things from the sports of YesterYear from NASCAR to roller hockey! 

So, I hope you'll stay with me here at YRM during this crazy time in the world as we can forget about what's happening outside and remember the good things that we all look back at fondly!

Thanks for sticking with me,

Jeff

Wrestling at the Arcade: 1991's WWF Wrestlefest

Monday, March 16, 2020

Every spring, I look forward to WWE's Wrestlemania with all of its pomp and circumstance.  Unfortunately this year, with recent CDC guidelines that restrict public gatherings to under 50 people, it looks like for the first time since 1985, we won't have a Wrestlemania to enjoy this year.  Thinking about a year without Wrestlemania, it's caused me to reflect on the WWE/F and the Wrestlemania's of years gone by, and it brought to mind my all-time favorite arcade game... Technos' 1991 classic WWF Wrestlefest!


Growing up, my older brother and I both played ice hockey for a handful of teams, and it seemed like we were always at the ice rink.  My parents would often drag me along for his games when all I wanted to do was stay home and watch TV or play with my action figures.  Looking back now, I had a lot of fun at that ice rink, both on and off the ice.  During my brother's game, I'd spend my time wandering around the central lobby of the ice rink.  The central area was pretty standard with a small snack bar and a big screen TV that was always set to the local FOX station.  In the early 90s, my parents had bought the hype that The Simpsons was causing the downfall of polite society and had banned it from our house, but at the ice rink, I would often catch an episode or two of the afternoon reruns on that lobby TV.  Just to the right of the snack bar was a bank of payphones (remember those?) and a small little game corner with a couple of older arcade games and a lone pinball machine.  If an episode of The Simpsons wasn't on, I'd happily take a handful of quarters over to the arcade corner and go from one game to the next.

Then, one day I wandered over to the game corner, and among the old games that I had played a hundred times was a new one standing front and center.  It was bright, colorful, and featured professional wrestling!  From then on, I saved up all of my quarters (and begged Mom and Dad for more) and looked forward to my brother's next hockey game.  WWF Wrestlefest quickly became my all-time favorite arcade game.

Retro Wrestlemania Moment: 2014's Wrestlemania 30

Monday, March 9, 2020

Long time readers of this site know my history with professional wrestling.  For those that aren't aware, here are the Cliffs Notes:  In 1990, at 5 years old, I became a fan when I found WCW Saturday Night on TBS.  I then became a HUGE fan during the Attitude Era but trailed off right around 2000 when I was wrapping up high school, and WCW became as enjoyable as a colonoscopy.  I had a resurgence in 2004, where I became a fan again after finding the Playstation game series "Raw vs. Smackdown," but by 2007, I had already stopped watching again.  In 2013, CM Punk's infamous Pipe Bomb promo brought me back into the fold with the initial intrigue of "Was that real?"

But, by the start of 2014, I was about ready to set fire to my TV and never watch WWE again.  The show was beyond repetitive, and seemingly every fan-favorite wrestler was losing every match. Daniel Bryan, who I remember watching back in his ROH days as The American Dragon, was on the rise and had overwhelming fan support but kept losing matches and being placed in low-level and unimportant feuds.  CM Punk still had a large fanbase from his Pipe Bomb, but like Bryan, it was clear to fans that he was being shoved aside.  The Shield, made of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins, were fresh faces to the WWE and were young tough guys running rampant, but everyone felt it was a matter of time before Vince would "screw it up."  Then, at Royal Rumble 2014, it all fell apart.

Fans "Invade" RAW during the "Hijack RAW" movement

CM Punk walked out of the Royal Rumble and quit wrestling forever.  The fans had begun to revolt and booed anything the WWE did mercilessly.  Vince McMahon brought back the long-retired Dave Batista and placed him immediately in the top spot of the promotion.  The Road to Wrestlemania started to look a little bumpy.  After the way the year started, nobody would predict that WM30 would be one of the best Wrestlemania's in history.

Retro Wrestlemania Moment: 1994's Wrestlemania 10

Monday, March 2, 2020

Wrestlemania 10 has so much to offer when you go back and watch.  Brother vs. Brother.  The culmination of Lex Luger and Bret Hart vying for the WWF World Heavyweight Title.  The not-so-great Randy Savage "Falls Count Anywhere" match against Crush.  The end of Lex's run at the top... but it's the ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon that will forever be first and foremost in the hearts and minds of wrestling fans when they consider Wrestlemania 10. 


In March of 1994, Wrestlemania returned to the home of the very first 'Mania for its 10th edition of the tent-pole event.  WM10 is notable for being the first Wrestlemania for the WWF without Hulk Hogan.  Hogan had since left for Hollywood and WCW, and the focus of the WWF and "The New Generation" fell on Bret Hart's shoulders.  Hart was featured heavily here at Wrestlemania 10, not just in the Main Event against Yokozuna for the World Heavyweight Title, but in a major month's long storyline that involved his younger brother Owen.  Wrestlemania 10 would also be the last match for Randy Savage in the WWF before his departure to WCW.