Showing posts with label 80s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 80s. Show all posts

Ten Sitcom Characters That Just Disappeared

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Growing up during the (late) 80s and 90s, I was a big sitcom fan.  

Back then, the theme song would hit, and we'd all sing along as we knew that good, albeit predictable, laughs, stories, and life lessons would be coming our way.  A safe, family-friendly half-hour of entertainment made for the comfort food of television as we grew up.  

I'll admit, these days, I don't really watch sitcoms.  I find today's offerings to be bland and boring.  Maybe I'm older and a little more cynical now, or network television has become too... safe?  You certainly can't imagine a show like "All in the Family" or even "Seinfeld" being produced today. 

One of the biggest differences I find in today's sitcoms is you'd be hard-pressed to find one today that in 20 or 30 years would be considered a classic.  Take sitcoms of the 80s and 90s with shows like "The Golden Girls," "Seinfeld," or "Friends."  Today's shows can't hold a candle to them in terms of longevity or rewatchability. If you go back even further, there is an endless stream of classics like "I Love Lucy," "Taxi," or "Newhart" that established the genre and set the bar quite high.  These shows were groundbreaking in their day and still have very active fan bases, in some cases 60 years later.

As a real youngster, my Dad got me hooked on Nick-at-Nite.  You can read about that HERE.  As I got older, programming blocks like ABC's "TGIF," NBC's "Must See TV," and ABC's programming like Home Improvement or Roseanne became mainstays on my television.

Over the years, I began to notice characters that came and went.  Sometimes, the characters have disappeared without a trace. 

Here are ten of the most memorable instances of sitcom characters that just disappeared. Did you miss any of these characters when they left? Did you even notice? 

Here's a list of ten, in no particular order.

Restaurants of YesterYear: Bennigan's

Friday, April 9, 2021

When my wife and I first started dating back in 2004, we would seek out places to spend some time together.  She lived at home with her parents, and I lived in a college dorm, and since we weren't the nightclub type, we'd often spend time in the afternoon and evening together walking around a store or mall.  Remember when you actually left your house to shop for things?  Quite often, we'd stop and have dinner at a restaurant rather than eat with her parents, or worse, the college cafeteria.  

We had several places we would frequent, but if you were to ask each of us separately what our favorite of that era was, the answer would be the same...


We must have gone to the Deer Park, New York location a hundred times.  When that closed and became a Buffalo Wild Wings, we started going to the Hauppauge franchise by the Long Island Expressway.  Unfortunately, a bad experience there with a manager who blamed us for his own staff's shortcomings caused us to never go back.  Shortly after, the location closed and became an Applebee's.  

As a young kid, I can vaguely remember my parents taking me to a Bennigan's, likely the one in New City, New York.  I remember it was a long drive (probably 20 minutes), and we had gone out for some other reason and stopped at the Bennigan's on the way home.  I remember it was cold and raining and I didn't feel well.  I didn't really want to be there, but I did go home with this great little promotional plastic Halloween witches cauldron.  I used that cauldron for years to hold candy and other knick-knacks. I also clearly remember the step up into the seating area and the brass and wood handrails. It's funny what sticks out in your mind all these years later, isn't it?  This had to be around 1991 or 92, and I would have been 7 or 8.  It's really the only time I can remember going to Bennigan's until college.  

So, with fond memories, let's take a deeper look as we start another journey into the history of another Restaraunt of YesterYear:  Bennigan's!  

Commercials of YesterYear: Pace Salsa... from New York City?!?

Monday, January 25, 2021

I've been thinking a lot lately about all of the old jingles and slogans that rattle around in my head from the many hours spent watching television growing up.  The mind of a child is like a sponge (a fact not lost on advertisers, I'm sure), and it seems like I remember quite a bit of the ads and catchphrases that inundated television of the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.  

I had to laugh the other day when my Mom marveled that my daughter seems to "study" the TV when she looks at it.  She then commented on how I didn't have that sort of attention or interest in television when I was her age.  I guess she had forgotten that by the time I wasn't even 4, I had memorized "Mary Poppins" line for line and was reciting it for the whole family... and neighborhood.  Nevermind the entire section of my mind overflowing with jingles and catchphrases.

Unfortunately, it seems like nothing is memorable these days compared to YesterYear.  Seemingly no company has catch phrases, jingles, or even a fun mascot.  Is it the fear of offending someone that prevents ads from having any character?  Is it that everything's disposable or replaceable these days, so why not just have interchangeable people and things in the commercial?  

Maybe it's just as simple as everyone skips over ads these days, so they figure why put in the effort?  If you ask me, THAT is the perfect reason to put in the effort.  Make your ad stand out from the pack to get people talking.  

And in the late 80s and early 90s, one such company did stand out.  

Pace Salsa.

Retro Scans: 1981 Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark Wax Pack

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

"Raiders of the Lost Ark" is one of those movies I just have to watch when it's on AMC or Paramount or whatever channel seems to play all three Indiana Jones movies in a row all weekend long.  As a rule, the first movie is often the best in any series, and it holds true with "Raiders."  

Something about the sequel, "The Temple of Doom," always has bothered me.  I think it was the creepy little boy (girl?) with the voodoo doll.  The whole thing scared me as a kid and is sort of off-putting.  I don't like that there was no Marion and find Short Round to be a pretty annoying side-kick.  I also think it was the weakest of the movies.  

"The Last Crusade" has really grown on me after watching it time and again during these weekend marathons.  Sean Connery is great as Indiana's dad and I really enjoy the return of the Nazi bad guys like in "Raiders" after that weird jaunt to the underground cult in India, or Pakistan, or wherever.  

I won't even mention "Crystal Skull" because, well, if you've seen it... you know why.

Today, we open a pack of 1981 Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark wax pack for your (and mine) enjoyment!  

It even has a piece of 40-year-old gum in it!  

1984 Gremlins Wax Pack

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Gremlins is not really a Halloween movie.  It may fall into that category of "horror-comedy" and some even call it a Christmas movie.  I guess it takes place around Christmas, but to me, the theme must be ABOUT Christmas to qualify... but I digress.  It's just a few days away from Halloween!

As part of Freeform's 31 Days of Halloween (which my wife and I have really been enjoying, I must say) we caught Gremlins for the first time in many, many years, and remembered what a blast this movie is.

Anyway, I dug through my box of old retro stuff and dug up a wax pack from 1984 for you to enjoy.  I even included the 36-year-old piece of gum for you... consider it like knocking on my door while Trick-Or-Treating... sorta.  Enjoy, everyone!

Daffy Duck's Quackbusters

Monday, October 26, 2020

We didn't have a Blockbuster in my town until I was in high school, and until then, there were only two other ways to get a movie that you didn't buy at the mall. You could visit the tiny rental store called Dollar Video (which surprisingly survived until 2010) or check out the town's library. 

My mother would walk us (it was just down the road and around the corner) to Dollar Video every Saturday morning and let us each get one movie or video game. I can still smell the bubble gum and plastic video cases that hit you in the face when you walked through the door.  Even though I spent many, many dollars at Dollar Video, they never had the one video I must have watched 100 times as a kid. I'd find that one at the library. 

One day, knowing I was a big Ghostbusters fan, my Mom brought home a movie from the library. When I had to take it back three days later, I immediately checked it out again. And again. And probably again. I must have taken that one home more than any other movie from either place in town. It was "Daffy Duck's Quackbusters."

"Daffy Duck's Quackbusters" is a 1988 Looney Tunes compilation movie starring Daffy Duck and other classic Looney Tunes characters. In the 80s, Warner Bros. was combining newly-animated footage and linking them with classic Warner Bros. cartoon to make one longer movie, such as "The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie" and "Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island."  "Daffy Duck's Quackbuster's" was the last in the compilation series and the final theatrical release until "Space Jam" almost a decade later. It was also Mel Blanc's next-to-last performance in a Looney Tunes project before his passing.

The Cabazon Dinosaurs

Monday, September 7, 2020

One of the things in the 1985 film Pee-Wee's Big Adventure that piqued my interest as a kid (and an adult) was the Cabazon Dinosaurs during the Large Marge scene.  They were never explicitly named in the movie, nor were they even mentioned, but they played an essential role in the film. 

They look quite different today then they did in the movie, but, thankfully, they are still standing.  The next time I'm out west, and if I ever make it to Palm Beach, I hope to be able to take the quick trip 13 miles west and see the Dinosaurs made famous by Pee-Wee Herman.

To wrap up my "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure turns 35" week here at YesterYear Retro, I figured why not delve a little deeper into these two great tourist traps!

The Cabazon Dinosaurs are a roadside attraction in Cabazon, California, just west of Palm Springs.  The two steel and concrete dinosaurs stand 65 feet tall (the Brontosaurus is 150 feet long!) and are visible from Interstate 10.

My Top 5 Favorite Scenes from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure!

Friday, September 4, 2020

I changed up my Pee-Wee's 35th Anniversary article for when it was posted over at The Retro Network (speaking of, go check out The Retro Network for so many great shots of nostalgia in both podcast and article form.)

I tend to cut stuff out of the articles there so they don't run as long as I do here, but since this is my blog, I figure I can say whatever it is that I need to get off my chest here.

So, long story (ha) short, I cut out the recap of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and replaced it with my Top 5 favorite scenes from the movie.

I thought it came off well there, so why not continue Pee-Wee's Big Adventure week with making that an article here?  So please, enjoy my Top 5 Favorite Scenes from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure!

Click on, dear reader!

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure turns 35!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Some of my earliest memories include Pee-Wee Herman.  My brother took piano lessons when I was really little, and on Saturday mornings after his class, my mother would take us to the video store (remember those, kids?) followed by the pet store just to wear us out and keep us occupied for a while.  At the video store, for the longest time, my brother and I wanted to rent nothing but Pee-Wee's Playhouse tapes.  I had all of the Pee-Wee figures and playset growing up, up until fairly recently too, but they were ruined in a flood in my parent's basement during Hurricane Irene.

Somehow after weeks of renting the Playhouse tapes, we found out there was a full-length movie, Pee Wee's Big Adventure!  I had to be around 5, which would make it 1989 or 1990, a few years after the initial release.  Clear as day, I remember my brother Matt and I both had bomber jackets on in the living room early one Sunday morning as the two of us sat watching the rented Pee Wee's Big Adventure before church.  It was either winter time and a little chilly in the house, or I just thought it was cool, or for all I know, the heat was out. Still, I distinctly remember wearing that bomber jacket because when Large Marge scared the crap out of me, I went running out into the kitchen where my parents were drinking their morning coffee, and I was wearing that coat.

If you're one of the long time readers here, you'll know I love any movie or tv show that involved traveling and road trips, and Pee-Wee' Big Adventure didn't disappoint.  I love everything about this movie.  It has always appealed to all of my senses... as weird as it sounds.  I can almost taste the gum and smell the dust in the magician's shop, and I can smell the popcorn, candy, and car exhaust at the drive-in at the end of the film.

Garfield Television Specials now on TUBI

Monday, July 6, 2020

I know this blog is about the days of YesterYear, but, I couldn't resist letting you all know about this development in retro television happening right now!  Free streaming service Tubi has announced they will be streaming all 12 of the original Garfield TV Specials!


Prior to the popular Saturday morning animated series Garfield and Friends, Jim Davis brought Garfield into your home through 12 animated specials from 1982 to 1991.  Each special was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program with four of the twelve winning in the category.

A Look at 35 Years of Nick At Nite

Monday, June 22, 2020

This coming week Nick at Nite will celebrate it's 35th Anniversary as family-friendly programming during the evening hours on Nickelodeon.  On July 1, 1985, it launched with only a handful of shows and a small collection of movies.  Its library may have been small when it started, but since then, the network has added a vast array of properties and has gone through many different changes.

On the 10th Anniversary in 1995, they aired one episode of every series that had ever aired on the network over the past 10 years.  In 2005, they aired a 48-hour marathon on TV Land, the spin-off sister network, to celebrate the 20-year milestone.  Other than a few on-screen graphics, the network did not honor its 30th Anniversary in 2015.

It does not appear they plan on doing anything for the 35th this year.  So since Nick at Nite won't, I intend to mark the 35th Anniversary with a week-long retrospective of the first network for retro television here on YesterYear Retro Memories!

Many viewers have since grown disenfranchised with Nick at Nite, myself included, but there was a time for many of us that it was the only home for nostalgic television classics.

Retro Scans: 1988 Factory Fresh Box California Raisins

Monday, June 15, 2020

I always loved raisins as a kid.  My mom would always include a little mini box of Sunmaid Raisins (remember those?) in my lunch box, and I would often eat them first.  And of course, who doesn't love Raisinets?  But when I found these little purple claymation cartoon raisins... how could I not be a fan?!

The California Raisins were a fictional rhythm and blues animated musical group used for advertising and merchandising.  Very popular in the late 80s and early 90s, the claymation raisins won an Emmy Award as well as several nominations. 

The California Raisins were initially created for the 1986 Sun-Maid commercial using the "I heard it through the Grapevine" song popularized by Marvin Gaye.  The ad became wildly popular, paving the way for several future commercials and media opportunities, including a CBS primetime special called Meet the Raisins!  It was a musical "mockumentary" created by Vinton Studios and gave the band members individual names and roles.  AC was on vocals, Beebop on drums, Stretch on bass, and Red on the guitar and piano. 

A Saturday morning cartoon series "The California Raisin Show" debuted in 1990 but only lasted 13 episodes.  The same year a followup to the CBS special titled "The Raisins:  Sold Out!"  This special saw the Raisins hiring a new manager at an attempt at a comeback.

Meanwhile, the Raisins were a merchandising powerhouse.  Everything from exclusive fan clubs, lunch boxes, notebooks, clothing, posters, bedsheets, Halloween costumes, and even a Capcom NES Nintendo game featured the purple clay creations.  And of course, the Sticker Trading Card series we are about to open here.

Ghostbusters Cereal

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

In honor of yesterday's 36th Anniversary of the original Ghostbusters film, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at something that gives me real nostalgia feels when I see photos on social media.  The Ghostbusters breakfast cereal!

I do remember being in the cereal aisle (every 90s kid's favorite aisle), begging my Mom to buy us Ghostbusters cereal and being so disappointed when she finally caved. 

It tasted stale, and the marshmallows were hard as rocks.  I'm not sure if that's what it was SUPPOSED to taste like, but unfortunately, that's what I remember it to be. It likely just sat on the shelf too long, or air got into the bag somehow, and because of how bad it tasted, my Mom never bought it again.  It's unfortunate because everyone else seems to fondly remember the flavor of this sugary breakfast goodness.  But, she did buy an abundance of Hi-C Ecto Cooler, so I got my Ghostbusters snack fix that way.

Over a few years, Ralston Cereals introduced 3 different Ghostbuster branded cereals:  Ghost Busters, The Real Ghostbusters, and Slimer with the Real Ghostbusters.  All three kinds of cereal were the same but with different packaging and a slightly different coloring on the marshmallows.

Fast Food of YesterYear: Roy Rogers

Monday, May 11, 2020

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I grew up next door to my Grandparents.  When I was very young, we would have weekly Sunday dinners at their house after coming home from church.  It was a late lunch really, but my Grandma would always roast a turkey, beef, or ham in the oven while we were at church and come home and make all of the side dishes.  While I was little, I really enjoyed these meals as the family would get together, and, as the youngest, the attention would mostly be focused on me!  Plus, Grandma would always make me my own special dessert because she knew I didn't like the "pun'kin" pie she would often make!  She'd whip up a chocolate pudding pie in a Keebler mini graham cracker crust, and it would be all mine.

As we grew, my brother and I started playing ice hockey, and we'd spend more and more of our Sunday afternoons at the ice rink instead of home.  Eventually, the formal Sunday dinners went by the wayside.  Now that I'm older, I can see how having forced family time with people you spent all morning with at church could get old fast.  We'd spend all morning at church, come home and wait in Granny's living room for dinner to be ready.  Then, we'd have to stall while we waited for my one Uncle who is late to everything.  Honestly, we told him lunch was at 1 just so we could eat before 2.

The 3-course meal would then, of course, be followed by the move BACK to the living room where everyone would talk before drifting away to whatever hours of daylight were left.  It was all delightful 1950s Andy Griffith meets the Walton's... but it was very time-consuming.

Don't get me wrong, that side of my family is pretty WASPY, but I'm quite proud of it.  My ancestors arrived in the 1600s, so folksy Americana tradition is ingrained in the family.  By the 1990s, though, like most of the country, my family didn't have much time for tradition.  When those Sunday dinners ended, one of the side effects caused one of the real true joys of my childhood... visiting Roy Rogers for lunch after church!  Instead of heading home or to the ice rink, we began stopping at Roy's once or twice a month, and my brother and I just loved it there.

I think the french fries at Roy's are my favorite fast-food french fries of all time.  They were always hot, crispy, and loaded with salt.  The burger bun was thick that wonderfully blended freshness with staleness.  To this day, the Fixin's Bar is the only place I ever really enjoyed eating chopped onions.  When we walked in with our parents, the smell of salt and deep-fried oil hung heavy in the air... it was fast-food heaven for 8 year old me.

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.

Retro Wrestlemania Moment: 1989's Wrestlemania 5

Monday, February 24, 2020

I often complain to my wife that storytelling doesn't exist in pro wrestling anymore.  I mean TRUE storytelling.  With hints and small gestures that "plant seeds" into the minds of fans that eventually blossom into something that lasts for months or even a year.  Watching wrestling today, I feel like there is just so much available content that they don't have time for storytelling. They just throw a pair of wrestlers together, after a brief scripted promo that basically reads "I don't like you, let's fight," and they'll have the blowoff match a week or so later at the monthly Pay-Per-View and then the two move on to some other feud.  Then, not even a year later, they run out of new matchups, and they return to the original dispute and often pretend it didn't happen in the first place using the same "your a meanie" trope.

But back in the late '80s, the WWF's storytelling was bar none.  Who as a fan, past or present, hasn't heard of what I consider one of if not the best storytelling... the Mega Powers exploding at WM 5, and that's our latest stop on the Retro Road to Wrestlemania here at YRM.

Target Exclusive Funko Domino's Noid T-Shirt and Vinyl Pop!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Please excuse the interruption to the Retro Road to Wrestlemania, but, I'm coming to you today with an exciting "Current Event" retro review on the Target exclusive Limited Edition Funko Domino's Noid Tee-Shirt and Vinyl Pop! from the Ad Icon collection! 

Once I saw the advertisement on Twitter the other day, I knew I had to have this!  As a child, I was a HUGE fan of the Noid commercials and even had several Noid toys, including a larger "Bend 'Ems" style Noid that I cherished for years.

Favorite Retro Royal Rumble Moments

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The very first time I laid eyes on the Royal Rumble was in 1988.  I was 5 years old and was playing Nintendo over at my neighbor's house because he was THAT kid on the block that had every toy you could dream of.  His older brother was watching the USA Network when the very first Royal Rumble aired free for anyone who got basic cable at the time.  This annual Pay-Per-View event, one of the "Big Four," was originally aired for free to take away viewers from rival promotion NWA/WCW's Bunkhouse Stampede PPV.

With the Royal Rumble starting the "Road to Wrestlemania" every year, I thought it would be a good time to think back on some of my favorite Royal Rumble memories.  The Royal Rumble has always been a favorite of mine... most years I find it more exciting and enjoyable than Wrestlemania itself.  The constant count-down clock and the anticipation of "who's next?" is always so exciting!  Could it be a returning injured superstar or a legend getting one last shot in the spotlight?  Back in the day, it could even be a giant surprise debut from "the other company."  It's also always fun to see who can stay in the ring the longest and who has the fastest exit.

Nickelodeon's Super Toy Run

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Like a lot of children before the creation of the internet, I spent a lot of my free time daydreaming.  One of my recurring daydreams involved myself, a shopping cart, and 5 minutes in a toy store without having to pay for whatever I could get my hands on.  For two lucky kids each year during the '80s and '90s Nickelodeon awarded just that opportunity.  Children could enter the contest by sending in a postcard requesting to be entered into the drawing.  I never did, though, because my Mom considered it a "waste of a good postage stamp" and she was probably right.  In later years, you could sign up at the local Toys 'R Us but I was too old by then to compete.

The "Nickelodeon Super Toy Run" allowed two contest grand prize winners a 5-minute shopping spree in a Kay-Bee Toys (prior to 1994) or a Toys 'R Us each year.  When the race started they were given an unlimited number of shopping carts and free reign of the entire store to collect as many toys as they could before time expired.  As each shopping cart filled up, the contestant would have to return to the start line and pick up a new cart before heading back out into every other child's dream.  Think of it as Supermarket Sweep for kids!

Holiday Memories of YesterYear: Christmas

Monday, December 23, 2019

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