The Honeymooners and Twilight Zone revisited on New Year's Eve

Thursday, December 29, 2022

I wanted to write a nice little article for New Year's with reflections on the past and the hopes and dreams that a brand new year brings.  Something sappy and meaningful; a written piece along the opening lines of one of my favorite songs, "In My Life," by the Beatles. 

Maybe next year.  I've been taking a break from writing during the stressful Christmas rush, and most of my Christmas articles, minus the Frasier one, were written over a month ago.  

My wife and I truly enjoyed the wonderful time we spent with family this year in our new home, and now with the blink of an eye, New Year's Eve is upon us.  With that comes a few things in my household.  

We like to hunker down on a cold night and stay home.  No parties or big bashes for us.  Besides, we're old now, and with a 2-year-old, we'd be home by 7 anyway.  

Second, we like to order and stuff ourselves full of Chinese takeout.  That might be tricky this year as we've yet to find an acceptable Chinese food restaurant that does takeout in our new hometown.  Where we used to live, we were within walking distance of some really good food, but up here, the Chinese food has been more miss than hit.   

And lastly, we like to watch The Honeymooners on WPIX (New York's Channel 11) right at the stroke of midnight before heading to bed shortly after that.  PIX 11 isn't on YouTube TV for us any longer, now that they've caught on to the fact we've moved.  Pix does stream from their website, so I can always just cast it up on the screen.  We usually DVR the rest of the mini-marathon and enjoy it over the next few days, but we'll have to skip that this year.

We also like to DVR our favorite Twilight Zone episodes from the annual Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy.  If you'd like, you can go back and read last year's article about both marathons.  The article went crazy in popularity (for my little site, anyway) and covers why we consider marathons important, how they cause some nostalgia for us older folk, and why these two are important to me.  

Please CLICK HERE to read that article.  If you're looking for even more to read about myself and The Twilight Zone, you can check out an article from 2020 that features my Top 10 Twilight Zone episodes by CLICKING HERE.  I also posted my favorite Honeymooners episodes in 2019, so CLICK HERE if you'd like to check that out, too!

Below, I've included the tv schedule for both the WPIX Honeymooners Marathon and the SyFy Twilight Zone one.  Both schedules were ripped directly from their respective websites, so if there are errors... blame them :) 

Happy New Year!

The Asparagus Christmas Tree from Christmas Vacation

Friday, December 23, 2022

My wife and I watch Christmas Vacation several times each Christmas season.  A year or so ago, on one of our many watchings, my wife asked, "what the heck is that thing?" during the Christmas Eve dinner scene.  It was a giant green tower of something right in front of Ellen Griswold.  

I paused the movie, and the two of us stared at the screen for a while until she finally said, "It looks like a Christmas tree made out of vegetables."  She wasn't wrong; it was an Asparagus Tree!  

I'd never noticed it before, but now that she pointed it out, I can't help but notice it.  

With us getting so much closer to the big day, I thought I'd make my final post for Christmas about something fun and silly, like a Christmas decoration made out of asparagus.  When you put it into your Google Machine, there really isn't much that comes up about "asparagus Christmas trees."  I did, however, find a recipe online that someone had posted, but it would have wound up looking a little different, so I modified it so you can get yours as close to Clark and Ellen's as possible!  

The asparagus tree, with bright red tomato on top, is arranged in such a way to look like a tall "tower," using toothpicks, or if you prefer, butcher's twine.  Then arrange your other vegetables like pearl onions or olives to look like ormanents.  

Let me know if you decide to give it a whirl and make your own this year!  Post in the comments, drop me a line, or email me a photo even!  And, of course, don't forget to coat it in a non-nutritive food varnish that's semi-permeable and not osmotic.  What it does is coats and seals the flavor.   

I won't be posting again until right before New Years Eve, so... Merry Christmas, everyone!

1 small tomato
1 large radish
2 to 3 green olives
4 to 6 pearl onions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 6" pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest

In a 12" skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, pepper pieces, garlic, salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until barely tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in zest. Arrange on serving platter in a "tree" shape using toothpicks. Garnish with sliced radish, brussel sprouts, pearl onions, and green olives.  Place tomato on top.

Retro RePost: 24 Hours of A Christmas story

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Every Christmas, one of my most popular articles found by you fine folks via Google search is my recap on the history of the "24 Hours of A Christmas Story" marathon run by TBS and TNT every year.  

When I originally wrote the article, it was also placed on The Retro Network, and that version of the article went viral this November.  HBO Max created a sequel/reboot of the original A Christmas Story, starring most of the cast from the original film made nearly 40 years earlier, and The Huffington Post wrote an article about it.  In that article, they linked back to my post about the history of the marathon, and The Retro Network went viral for a brief time as many news sites reposted the Huffington Post article.  Each time that happened, the link to the TRN article was shared around the globe.  Pretty neat!

In case you missed it originally, or when it had its brief moment in the sun on the internet a month back, won't you please click below to read the original article?  

You'll shoot your eye out, kid!  Merry Christmas!  HO-HO-HO!

Christmas' Hottest Toys: Tickle Me Elmo

Monday, December 19, 2022

When I was really young, we only had a handful of channels to watch. Because of that, my brother and I watched the same handful of episodes of the same shows over and over again.  There wasn't much television geared towards little kids in the 80s, and like so many of you out there, we grew up watching Sesame Street.

I don't remember much about Sesame Street other than that it was on television, and I was frequently afraid of The Count.  My brother really liked the show, I remember.  But by the time I could choose my own television program, I had moved on from "The Street" to early Nickelodeon shows like Eureka's Castle and David the Gnome.  As I grew, programs like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or The Real Ghostbusters took control of my interest, and Sesame Street became a distant memory.  

During the time period when I remember watching Sesame Street, as short as it may be, I couldn't get enough of Grover and Cookie Monster.  My brother was a big fan of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, who were always my least favorites.  

Most children of today watch Sesame Street for one character and one character only:


Elmo, the red "monster" muppet with a falsetto voice, is beloved by young children worldwide.  Self-described as a three-and-a-half-year-old, the loveable little monster who always refers to himself in the third person wasn't always the big hit he is today.  Today, he's considered as big or bigger of a deal than Barney the Dinosaur, My Little Pony, or even Mickey Mouse.  Market Evaluations, a company that ranks the likeability of products and celebrities, reported in 2018 that Elmo is by far the most popular character for young children.  Elmo even tied Santa Claus as far as how easily young children recognize a character based on just an image.  

Elmo's increased presence on Sesame Street and visits to the daytime talk show The Rosie O'Donnell Show launched a once-in-a-lifetime toy that created a frenzy among parents.  This toy would become the most popular Christmas toy of the last 35 years, causing adults to get into arguments, fist fights and would even send a Walmart employee to the hospital.  How did a doll based on a loveable, huggable children's show character get to that level?  

Click "Keep Reading" to find out!

Christmas On Frasier

Friday, December 16, 2022

This year as part of the "Holidays On..." series, we've been covering the classic 1990s sitcom, Frasier.  Truthfully, I was unsure about selecting Frasier for this year's series, knowing ahead of time that there were only two Halloween and two episodes for Thanksgiving.  That didn't matter, though, as my wife and I roared with laughter while we sat watching those four holiday episodes.

I'd like to include a little bit of fun trivia about the Frasier title cards, and here's as good a time as any.  There were 20 different animations and 25 different musical tones throughout the course of 11 seasons.  The color of the word "Frasier" changes with each new season, with the above green being used in Season Three.  While Season One's Christmas episode used the "elevator" animation, each following Christmas episode used the above graphic for its title card.  

We were always big fans of the show and frequently put Frasier on The Hallmark Channel at night while we were getting ready for bed, but seeing it again this time was different.  We focused on the show, without our phones or bedtime routine (or drifting to sleep halfway through), and really, truly belly laughed.  The dialogue and writing on Frasier was so quick, witty, and intelligent.  The chemistry between the cast was perfect, and I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say that David Hyde Pierce stole the show as Niles more often than not.  It wasn't all Niles, though.  Without any one member of the cast, the show just wouldn't be as funny.

It's been a real treat for me to go back and watch each season for this series of posts.  In a way, holidays during my childhood mirrors the way Frasier was written.  We didn't go "all out" for Halloween or Thanksgiving in our home, but Christmas was different.  

We had family stay for several days in either our house or my Grandparent's home next door.  We decorated the houses after Thanksgiving, and Granny would spend weeks baking batch after batch of Christmas cookies.  The table on their enclosed back porch would be covered with fifteen or twenty Tupperware bins full of cookies.  On Christmas Eve, we'd attend the candlelight service at church and then return home to drive around looking for the best Christmas light display.  Christmas day was a full-day affair with a few different rounds of gift-giving, meals, leftovers, and more that, as a kid, seemed to roll into New Year's Eve a week later.

After the first season, in 1993, when Frasier aired its first Christmas episode, the reception by the audience was so great that the show incorporated Christmas seven more times during the remaining ten years!  

With so many episodes to cover, let's get started!  Click "Keep Reading" to see how Frasier Crane and his family spent "Christmas on Frasier!"

Retro RePost: Christmas on Home Improvement and Roseanne

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

As an aside, I'd like to point out I've finally gotten around to updating the Video Drive-In with some great Christmas content!  Head over and check it out, eveyrthing from the full version of the classic Rankin/Bass animation "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," to a documentary about how Coca Cola and Santa Claus became connected.  You'll also find the full Garfield Christmas special and a full hour of 1990s Christmas commercials!

As we approach Christmas, I'd like to make this week's "RePost" about two articles I had a lot of fun writing.  

Going back to watch the holiday episodes in Home Improvement (2020), Roseanne (2021), and this year's Frasier, I really enjoy watching these old episodes, so I can recap them here.  They aren't only great episodes and sitcoms "classics," but it reminds me of times gone by.  

I vividly remember watching the Home Improvement episodes with my parents in our living room every year.  We loved the Christmas episodes, as Tim always made the holidays special for his family in his own outlandish way.  

Watching the Roseanne episodes reminded me of nights in college, watching Roseanne in syndication.  I was seeing these episodes for the first time with my friends, or by myself, in the dorm and really enjoyed that time.

This year, I've been covering the holidays on Frasier.  While Frasier may have run for 11 seasons, it only played host to two Halloween episodes and two Thanksgiving episodes.

However, the series featured EIGHT Christmas episodes!  

The plan is to have "Christmas on Frasier" post on Friday morning this week, December 16th, 2022.  Until then, please go back and check out my two previous Christmas articles!

Five Classic Christmas Commercials: Part 2

Monday, December 12, 2022

Christmas is nearly here, given we're almost halfway through December already.  Time just keeps getting faster and faster, doesn't it?  What better way to keep the momentum of the Christmas spirit going than by watching some old television commercials that remind us of our younger days when we were all full of Christmas wonder?  

I've written before about how I can, when I get a rare bit of spare time, spend hours watching "found footage" on YouTube.  Some great folks will find a batch of old VHS tapes at a garage sale or in their attic and digitize them for our online consumption.  The cleaned-up footage provides beautiful memories of great old commercials that I had long since forgotten about.  

Bless those people, really.

Like many of us these days, I often watch things "On Demand" or recorded to my DVR so I can fast forward through as many commercials as possible.  I'm just not a fan of any of the commercials today. It seems like an effort is always made to sanitize or "corporate-ize" these ads, making them safe from internet "cancellation" or legal backlash; they've lost the specialness they once had.  That, and they are mostly all drug commercials now, anyway.

You, too, probably aren't a fan of commercials now, but I guarantee that you can remember (and even sing) at least 3 jingles from ads when you were a kid.  I have written quite a few articles about commercials I fondly remember, which you can head over to the "Collections" page and check out.  Those ads were back when companies invested significant money in advertising and had things like jingles or gimmicks to catch your attention.   

One of the nice things about commercials from years ago is that they remind me of a different time or specific memory.  

The Christmas commercials back then kept the festive Christmas spirit going during a Christmas special or breaks in a holiday-themed sitcom.  Even the car commercials got into the act!  Remember the "Lexus Christmas Sales Event" commercials that played adnauseum the shiny new car found its way through snow-covered woods to arrive just in time for Christmas morning, complete with a giant bow on the car once its intended recipient woke up in the morning?  

This is also the point in the holiday season I always like to remind people of the year we were tortured with the so-annoyingly-awful-it's-great Hyundai commercials from 2010 and 2011 that featured the singing duo "Pomplamoose?"  

Don't remember?  Click here to be reminded!

Now that Pomplamoose is firmly stuck in your head, please click "Keep Reading" for "Part 2" of Five Classic Christmas Commercials!

Retro Scans: "Holiday Viewing Guide" from the December 1995 TV Guide

Friday, December 9, 2022

Every year, one of the most popular pages on YesterYear Retro is the annual Classic Christmas TV Guide.  If you're looking for this years, just CLICK HERE, or you can always find it on the right side of your screen until January.  

The Classic TV Guide takes quite a bit of time to put together, but it's always fun and gives me an early heads-up on what's coming!   Back in the day, though, there was no such thing as a search engine or tv listing websites.  We all had to go to one place to find the shows we wanted... TV Guide!  

Yes, even before televisions could have their own "Listings," we all flipped through a nearly pocket-sized book found at grocery store checkouts or your mailbox.  Of course, we can't forget the "TV Guide Channel," where we'd all sit for several minutes watching the listings scroll through a handful of channels simultaneously, but that came much later.  

You could also have them mailed to you, and I remember some neighbors getting them once a week.  We never had a subscription because our local newspaper included a free one in the Saturday or Sunday paper. Still, it never included any of the great photos, fun pictures, or "Fall Previews" (Like you can see HERE) that the real deal TV Guide did.  

The TV Guide was so popular that getting on the cover was considered gold in the television or film business.  When pro wrestling was red hot in the late 90s, you could hardly find the issues that had Hulk Hogan or Sting on the cover anywhere.

The collectibility of TV Guides was even the central focus of a 1993 episode of Seinfeld, "The Cigar Store Indian," in which Elaine's storyline revolves around the magazine.  Jerry suggests she take Frank Costanza's copy of TV Guide as reading material on a subway ride home from George's parents' house.  While on the subway, she is bothered by obsessive Ricky, who finds it unusual that a woman is reading TV Guide.  She leaves the magazine behind when she gets off the subway train to escape.  Later, Ricky tracks her back to the Costanza home by using the mailing address on the magazine.

During the 80s and 90s, the TV Guide became a thick publication filled with a nightly schedule and cool ads for new shows and movies.  As good as the weekly issue could be, the best issues of the year were always the Fall Preview and Holiday Viewing Guides.  

The Holiday Viewing Guide would highlight the holiday-themed offerings, upcoming movies, specials, and shows.  The magazine would also offer commentary, critiques, and preview new specials.  Consider it the Sears Wishbook for television!  

This special edition of TV Guide comes to us from the week of December 2-8, 1995.  Imagine, it was only 99 cents!  Of course, now that everything is digital, a simple google search turns up deals online where you can still get a paper copy for $0.38 a week, but I'd imagine it's a much thinner issue than back in the 90s since so much is available free online.

I'd also like to apologize for the quality of some of the scans.  The binding of this TV Guide was very brittle, making laying the book flat difficult during scanning, so some of the scans ended up a little wonky-donkey.  

Click on each photo to enlarge it if you want to view it in more detail.  

I also included some fun ads, like the VCR Plus system, which I had to look up.  The VCR Plus system was created before VCRs were able to display menus on the screen, so a code system was designed between the TV networks, VCR makers, and TV Guide where television listings would publish a code next to a show's title and you would enter that code into your VCR. It would somehow know when to start and how long to record your chosen show. It's interesting but sounds complicated.

I also included the advertisement for the 1995 made-for-TV film "The Adventures of Captain Zoom," starring Ron Perlman and Daniel Riordan.  It's a take on the old 1950's Captain Video character and could have been received better, but it was given an average of 2 of 5 stars.  You can view the trailer for the film HERE.  Seems wacky.  Have any of you ever seen it?  Leave a comment below!

I also included the crossword in case anyone enjoys doing those.  Just right-click and print!  

Lastly, I just had to include the Virginia Slims ad from the back cover because you'd never see a cigarette ad in 2022!  But hey, they wished us Happy Holidays!  

Click below to head back to 1995!

Retro RePost: Home Alone's Fake Gangster Movie

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

One of my family's "must-watch" Christmas movies is Home Alone.  

A few days ago, my wife and I headed into the basement to our "movie room" after the little one went to bed and popped in the DVD to make sure we got at least one solid viewing in.  

One of my articles that found its way to the Retro Network covered in pretty good detail something that I think many of us were confused by when we were little:  The Angels with Filthy Souls "movie-within-a-movie."

Please enjoy this Friday's Holiday Retro RePost by clicking below, won't you?

Keep the change, ya filthy animal!

A Cartoon Christmas - "A Jetson Christmas Carol" (1985)

Monday, December 5, 2022

I enjoyed writing "A Cartoon Christmas" last year, and reviewing "A Flintstone Christmas" from 1977 so much (CLICK HERE) that I decided to continue the series again this year.  What better to pair our first two entries into the series than the Flintstones and Jetsons!  

Technically, this is the third entry in the series.  In 2019, I made a short list of my Top Five Favorite Cartoons, which you can find HERE.  

The Hanna-Barbera cartoons get a bad rap these days, but I love the simple animation and old-time, clean, family fun.  The Jetsons (and The Flintstones) were from before my time, but when I was younger, both shows would air on TBS in morning reruns before school.  I remember many times during elementary school that I would have my bowl of cereal or Granny's English muffin sandwiches and dread the closing credits because that meant the bus was coming any minute to take me to school.

As I get older, I get more enjoyment from Christmas television specials, especially the older ones from long ago when things were so different it seems like we all lived in a different universe.  These older ones just seem like charming, innocent family fun.  Isn't that what Christmas (and the TV specials) should be all about?

This animated show features a slightly different take on the familiar storyline of the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol."  In it, we find the Jetson family and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Yet-To-Be, and Present, teaching the Scrooge-like Mr. Spacely the true meaning of Christmas.  

Originally airing in syndication on December 13, 1985, this 22-minute cartoon was later released in 1996 on VHS.  The 1996 VHS tape incorrectly calls this episode "The Jetson's Christmas Carol."  

By the way, before we start, based on the show's history, George Jetson was born earlier this year, on July 31, 2022.  It's kind of depressing that in this episode, he's approximately 40 and living in such a futuristic world just 40 years from where we currently sit.  

Oh well, maybe there are significant advances in technology made very quickly right around the bend!  It's Christmas, and I don't mean to be a downer, so positive thoughts!

Please click "Keep Reading" to check out "A Jetson Christmas Carol!"  

Retro RePost: Was that the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in Christmas Vacation?

Friday, December 2, 2022

As we get past that post-Thanksgiving food coma and run full speed into the holiday spirit, here at home, I'm busy decorating, relaxing, and preparing for my annual simulator training for work.  Throw in the extra-busy holiday flight schedule, and my free time is limited.   

So, forgive another RePost here, but this one's a good one from 2019 featuring my favorite Christmas movie, "Christmas Vacation!"

I often wondered about this tiny, somewhat throw-away scene in the movie.  As a matter of fact, it's what's happening in the background of this short scene that caught my interest.  

The original intention of this site was dedicated to getting the nostalgia nonsense off my brain and onto paper (so to speak), so what better way to do some research and finally figure out the answer to a nagging question? 

The question I kept asking myself was, "Is that the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in "Christmas Vacation?"  Did that mean the Grandparents spent the last week of November and all of December with Clark and Ellen?  Or was it something else?

I couldn't have been the only one wondering this because this article is the 5th most popular article on YesterYear Retro!  Many of you must have wondered the same thing!  So, check it out, won't you?