Home Alone's Fake Gangster Movie

Monday, November 30, 2020

For many years, I never really considered "Home Alone" a Christmas movie.  Of course, it takes place on Christmas and has nearly everything to do with the spirit of Christmas, but for whatever reason, my family never really watched it around the holidays like we would some other movies.  

I can very clearly remember seeing "Home Alone" in theaters when it came out, but after that, we watched it on VHS a few times, and that was about it.  Knowing how strict my parents were in the early 90s, they probably didn't like the movie and didn't want myself and my older brother to try to replicate Kevin's burglar traps on each other.  

These days?  It's found itself on my house's "must watch" list around Christmas.  It's not even a *great* movie, in my opinion, but I really enjoy it for the nostalgia it evokes for the 90s.  Not just the clothing, cars, or hairstyles, it's more so the simpleness of it all: no cell phones, no internet, no constant connection. 

Even more important than all that, it's the child-like excitement Kevin gets from Christmas and the absolute pure joy of it all.  Every year my wife and I say that we plan to take it slow during the Christmas season and really enjoy it, but of course, life gets in the way, and we blink, and it's already halfway through January.  

Kevin's youthful joy is such unadulterated fun, especially the fun he has when he first discovered he's been left home alone.  I think we can all go back and think of the first time Mom and Dad left us alone and the list of things we did just because nobody was home to stop us.  For me, I remember racing to the television to turn on pro wrestling when my parents went out to dinner since it wasn't allowed when they were home.

After Kevin grows comfortable with the idea of being alone, he does what any kid would do.  He gets into things he's not allowed to, like his brother's skin magazines and his Beebee gun.  Kevin eventually finds his way downstairs and makes himself a massive bowl of ice cream and puts in a movie he probably was told he was too young to watch.  Feeding "Angels with Dirty Souls" into the VCR, he sits back in his Father's easy chair (a no-no in most households) and watches a scene out of an old 40s gangster noir film.  

Thanksgiving on Home Improvement

Friday, November 20, 2020

The holiday season was often an important event on "Home Improvement." Halloween and Christmas were the most significant holidays on the show. However, Tim Taylor made sure Thanksgiving was a giant feast and time to connect with friends and family. Tim and the Taylor family and their friends celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, often in a big way, every year. 

When we looked back at Halloween on Home Improvement last month, we discovered that they emphasized the holiday some years more than others. Thanksgiving is no different during the 8 season run of the series. Some years, like Season Seven, Thanksgiving was the central focus of the episode. Others, like Season Eight, there was barely a passing mention and served only as a backdrop to the story.  

In continuing my "Holidays on Home Improvement" series, we'll take a look back and see how they touched on Thanksgiving each season.

Get ready to deep fry that turkey because here comes "Thanksgiving on Home Improvement!"

SBTB: Where did Kelly and Jessie go?

Saturday, November 14, 2020

On November 25th, a new version of "Saved by the Bell" debuts on the NBC streaming service Peacock. In this new version, California Governor Zack Morris poorly plans the state budget and is forced to close many low-income high schools. The state begins relocating those students to the highest-performing schools in the state, including Bayside High. Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley, Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Lark Voorhies have signed on to reprise their previous roles. To coincide with the new streaming version's release, a new podcast titled "Zack to the Future," with Mark-Paul Gosselaar, debuted.  With the new show's impending debut, one can feel an overall renewed sense of enthusiasm for the original.

The original "Saved by The Bell" itself was a retooled version of a Disney Channel show "Good Morning, Miss Bliss." The initial run of "Saved by the Bell" was from August of 1989 to May of 1993, where we followed a cast of teenagers living in Pacific Palisades, California, who attended Bayside High School. The show was a lighthearted look at their life, relationships, teenage angst and occasionally touch on serious social issues as the sitcoms of its time were known to do. Drug use, drunk driving, homelessness, divorce and remarriage, death, women's rights, and more were often lightly touched upon to teach the viewing audience right from wrong.

When the show went off the air in 1993, it created two spin-offs: "The College Years" (93-94) and "The New Class." (93-00) During the tenure of the original show, they created a 'Made for TV' movie "Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style" in 1992, and another in 1994 to cap off "The College Years" with the television movie "Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas."
Like most kids of the 80s and 90s, I was a huge "Saved by the Bell" fan. I can also clearly say that like most red-blooded American males that age, my first crush was Kelly Kapowski. "Saved by the Bell" was always on channels like TBS in the mornings and after school, but as I've come to find out, many people are surprised to learn it was a Saturday morning kid's show on NBC.

Christmas Classics TV Schedule for 2020

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Haul out the holly! Put out the tree before my spirit falls again... it's time for Christmas television! Of course, you have the Hallmark and Lifetime channels with nonstop 24/7 Christmas... but what about the other Christmas classics?  

Well, here is a list of what I consider the best of the best. Obviously, this schedule is subject to change, but as of writing, here it is!

The YesterYear Retro Christmas Classics TV Schedule for 2020!

Items Of Note


"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" will NOT air on television this year but will be FREE on Apple TV from November 25th through November 27th. The same goes for "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which will be available FREE on Apple TV from December 11th through December 13th.

FreeForms "25 Days of Christmas" begins on December 1st!

"A White Christmas" starring Bing Crosby and Danny Faye will air late at night at 2:30 AM on AMC on the night of December 3rd or the morning of December 4th, depending on how you look at it. The actual date is December 4th at 2:30 AM.

"The Wizard of Oz" airs on TBS on Sunday, November 22nd, at 8 PM and 10 PM.

"It's a Wonderful Life" airs on Christmas Eve on NBC at 8 PM.

"A Christmas Story" marathon returns to both TBS *AND* TNT this year! It begins at 8 PM on TBS and 9 PM on TNT on Christmas Eve. Final showings air on Ch4at 6 PM on Christmas Day on TBS and 7 PM on TNT.

CBS Releases 2020 Christmas Movie Schedule

In 2020, CBS will continue its Christmas tradition of broadcasting beloved holiday classics such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman."  Also airing are the animated specials "Frosty Returns," "The Story of Santa Claus," and "Robbie the Reindeer."  










If you're not familiar with "Robbie the Reindeer", like me, it was a  3 episode Christmas series produced by BBC between 1999 and 2007.  Celebrities such as Britney Spears, James Woods, and Jerry Stiller voiced some of the characters.  Betty White and Tim Curry are the featured voice actors in "The Story of Santa Claus."

That's all that's available for now with regards to network Christmas specials.  Of course, Hallmark has 24 hour round-the-clock Christmas movies on both The Hallmark Channel and Hallmark's Movies and Mysteries Channel.  As we all know, the Charlie Brown Christmas will not air on ABC this year, and will air instead on Apple TV.  As these classics of YesterYear come in, I'll be sure to let you all know.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Pop culture website "Thrillest" posted the following map on Twitter yesterday, showing what they've discovered to be the most popular side dishes for Thanksgiving dinners around the country.

At first glance, I noticed Alaska knows what's good. Hashbrown casserole. Oh yes, pass that my way, please.


Maine is an outlier, the only one on the map that prefers a "side salad." Honestly, I'd be ok with it compared to the sweet potato casserole of Florida or the Green Bean casserole in several other states. 

I also cannot believe that Arkansas considers "white gravy" a side dish and not a condiment... 

Here in New York, the preferred dish is stuffing. Yes, we certainly haves stuffing for our meal every year. I noticed down south they have "dressing," which is what most of what my family calls stuffing.  

So, I looked up the difference. It's mostly a regional difference, but technically, there is a difference. Stuffing is literally cooked while "stuffed" inside the turkey, and the dressing is cooked up all alone in its own dish. Who knew?  

Personally, I'd have to say Utah, Oklahoma, Missouri, and West Virginia are right. The Kings Hawaiian rolls we have for dinner every year are my favorite.  

What say you?

1987 U.S. of ALF Super Sticker Cards

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The TV show ALF ran from 1986 to 1990 on NBC.  Right at the height of its merchandise popularity, came these 1987 U.S. of ALF "Super Stickers."  On Election Day 2020, enjoy these celebrations (and caricatures) of these fine United States of America.

Halloween is Dead. Long Live Christmas!

Monday, November 2, 2020

Alright, alright... Halloween isn't dead.  It's just in hibernation until next year.  Now, for the holiday season!  Thanksgiving will be here before you know it, and then Christmas and New Year's will be upon us!  Such an exciting time of year for all, and while 2020 has been good to me, most people can't wait for the (virtual) ball to drop on New Year's Eve.  

I have some fun things coming up for the holidays I hope you enjoy!  I plan to continue my "Home Improvement" series with a Thanksgiving and Christmas edition and many more goodies.  I also have some non-holiday related posts headed your way!  I'll give you a hint, one big one I'm excited to finish has to do with the return of Saved By The Bell!

But for now, as a Halloween palate cleanser and to celebrate Election Day, tomorrow I'll be posting another "Retro Scan" of the 1987 ALF Across America collectible trading cards!  

Turn on Hallmark, everyone; Christmas is here!