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.38 Special Wild Eyed Southern Boys

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Wild Eyed Southern Boys was released in January 1981. The band was fronted by the brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zandt, and the southern rock roots show through a little on the album. Mostly though, it sounds like typical 80's radio rock. It's mostly unspectacular except for a few gems that continue to heard daily on classic rock radio. Hold On Loosely is the best song the band ever recorded. It kicks off with a great guitar riff, has the catchiest chorus, and has the biggest impact. There's a reason this is the one that ended up on all the compilation albums. First Time Around is dull by comparison and suffers by following directly after it on the record. The title track is okay, a little corny but not bad. It's catchy. Back Alley Sally is forgettable and doesn't impress much either way. Fantasy Girl is another classic rock radio staple. It's a good song, though not as good as a lot of songs that have been forgotten by radio programmers over the ye

Muppet Mondo

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If you are a fan of the Muppets chances are good you are a fan of the song Mah Na Mah Na. If you didn't watch The Muppet Show and have never heard the song you should look it up on Youtube. It's a fun nonsense song that Henson had the character who he named after it sing in several appearances. The song did not originate with the Muppets though. It actually has a much seedier origin. Mondo movies were popular in the 60's and 70's. They were made mostly in Italy and were basically exploitation documentaries, covering topics meant to shock and titillate in order to compel people to see them. They would show graphic sex acts and murders and even surgical procedures.  Sweden: Heaven and Hell was released in 1968, and documented lesbian clubs, porno movies, and the swingers scene in that country. It also featured the debut of the future Muppet hit.

Dark Shadows #1

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Dark Shadows was a popular tv show that ran in the late 60's and early 70's. It was a gothic soap opera that had lots of horror elements, including vampires, ghosts, and even some Lovecraftian themes. This post is not about the show, though. It is about the comic book series that spun off from the show. It was from Gold Key. The book assumes you are familiar with the setting and characters of the show. They don't do much to introduce characters or explain the different relationships. If you haven't seen the show you can probably pick up the gist of what's happening, but it will be a little more confusing than it would be for a fan of the show. The story of the first issue is two boys who come to Collinsport to research the fate of an ancestor of one of them. The man had disappeared while travelling in his capacity as a witch hunter. What they don't know is that Barnabas, a vampire who tends to be the main character of the show after his introduction in episode 2

Good Times Season One Episode Three

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Good Times came from t.v. producer Norman Lear, who had already brought the public hits shows like All In The Family and Maude, and would later bring The Jeffersons. Good Times was nominally a spin-off from Maude, although the only thing that was kept was the name of Esther Rolle's character Florida. I am doing this episode out of order because while it was filmed first and so is technically the pilot, it was broadcast third and so is the third episode of the season. The production values seem cheap and cheesy by today's standards, but aren't bad compared to other t.v. shows of the period that didn't have big budgets. The jokes are good, the performances are really good (mostly) and it's easy to see why this show caught on. That being said, this is a show that would cause a big chunk of the country in this day and age to go into meltdowns. Michael, the youngest son, is a militant who makes derogatory comments about cops and opines about the disparities between white

Frankenstein (1931)

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In 1931 two movies were made by Universal Pictures that created the genre of horror movie. The first was  Dracula . That one made a boat load of money, so of course the studio wanted to make more movies like it. As a result, they made Frankenstein. The original intent was to have the movie star Bela Lugosi, since he was now bankable as a movie monster. Lugosi didn't like the character, which in the original version of the script had been imagined as a savage killing machine and not the sympathetic creature that we ended up getting. He passed, and the original director was taken off because the studio had promised James Whale any property he wanted, and he wanted Frankenstein. Whale reworked the script, and also found Boris Karloff. Thus while Bela Lugosi lost his chance to be the king of the monster movies, the world was gifted with the talent of Mr. Karloff. He went above and beyond for Frankenstein, enduring physical torment to play the creature. Whale also insisted on Colin Cliv

Swamp Thing #1

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If you are familiar with Swamp Thing you likely know this story. Dr Alec Holland and his wife Linda are taken to a secret lab in the woods by Matt Cable. Cable obviously works for the government in some capacity, though it's not made clear what that capacity is. He just as obviously gives not a single shit about either Dr. Holland. He is only interested in them finishing their formula that makes plants grow, and that formula not making it into anyone else's hands. This fact makes some of what happens next odd. Three thugs (led by a man who looks like a sinister Mario) find the doctors at their hidden swamp lab and try to make them an offer they can't refuse. They do refuse and the thugs leave with a warning. Cable is distraught that Dr. Holland didn't somehow alert him of their presence, telepathically I suppose. Now, one would think that since their security has obviously been compromised the smart thing to do would be to move them to a new hidden location. But no, Cab

The Ghost Busters Season 1 Episode 1

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Ghostbusters is one of those franchises that inspires fan frenzy from 80's and 90's kids. Whether it's the live action antics of Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd and company, or the animated adventures of Slimer and the boys, every iteration of Ghostbusters has a devoted following. The Ghost Busters however is another story. The Ghost Busters was a Filmation show from 1975. It featured a trio of detectives named Spenser, Tracy and Kong. One of them is a gorilla, but not the one you'd think from the names.  The premier episode of the show opens on a couple of gangsters in their castle hideout discussing bringing back the ghost of a dead gangster to help them acquire an item. Johnny Brown plays the fat man, doing his best Sydney Greenstreet impression, and Billy Barty is hi sidekick doing something approximating a Peter Lorre impression. The gangster Big Al is played by Forrest Tucker, who is also the Ghost Buster Spenser. Forrest Tucker is all over the place, doing Brando, Cag

Salute to Hedy Lamarr

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Hedy Lamarr has long been recognized as one of the most beautiful women of the classic Hollywood era. It hasn't been until more recently, however, that she was also recognized her her inventive mind that ended up helping shape the modern world. She was born in Austria in 1914, which had her coming of age in the 30's, which you may know was a dark time for that part of the world. She was starting to work in movies by the time she was 16, and gained some international notoriety for a movie she did titles Ecstasy. In this film she was not only nude, but had a simulated orgasm scene, possibly the first in movies. She made this movie under the name Hedy Kiesler, her real name. After she came to Hollywood she changed her name to Lamarr in part to distance herself from that scandalous movie. Before the lights and glamour of Tinseltown though, she married an arms dealer in Austria. Her husband of course was doing business with Mussolini and the Nazis. He didn't want her acting and

X-Men #1

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It was 1991. The X-Men were a hot commodity, but as so often happens with comics there was so much continuity to deal with in the series that it was hard to pull in new readers. Marvel had two options, reboot the series or try to create a jumping on point for new readers. They went with the second option. It feels like they may have been trying to lure back old readers as well, since this book took old characters and put them back in familiar positions that they had strayed from. This series was running when the popular animated show started, and though the stories were taken from older books the team makeup and look was definitely influenced by this run. The story starts with some mutants who have hijacked a space shuttle being chased by agents in 3 other ships. The mutants are looking for Magneto, who has withdrawn from the world on his asteroid sanctuary. Even though he proclaims he wants nothing to do with world events, he is rather easily suckered into going down to earth to start

Magnum PI Season 1 Episode 1 Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii part 1

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The first half of the pilot, originally broadcast as one long episode but now broken into 2 parts, starts off with Thomas Magnum narrating as he breaks into the estate of author Robin Masters to steal his Ferrari. Magnum explains that he is doing this at the behest of Masters, who has hired him to test his security. We get an explanation of Magnum's living arrangements and see his skills at getting past obstacles. We see his ring and the Vietnam flashback it triggers. Everyone in his unit had one of these rings. Cut to the title sequence. This is not the one I am familiar with. It had more of a 60's feel with a jazz inspired theme song and the emblem from his ring making a cutout into the credits sequence.  The rest of the first half of the episode is very 80's but also timeless in a way. It is obviously of it's time, the technology and vibe all scream 80's even though the decade had barely begun. Magnum and his friends were all Vietnam vets, just like in every othe

Favorite Friends

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  Who was the most popular Friend on Friends?  We don’t really know about the audience, but we can tell who was most popular with the writers by looking at who got the most screen time all to themselves.  Monica had 69 scenes with none of the other Friends present.  Chandler got 88 scenes to himself.  Rachel was in 105.  Pheobe had 117 scenes. Ross got 139 scenes to himself.  Joey is the king of popularity, with 151 scenes that didn’t involve anyone else from the main cast.

Dell Movie Classics Hercules Unchained

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The comic book adaptations of the 1959 Steve Reeves movie Hercules Unchained begins with Hercules parting ways with the Argonauts to take his new bride Iole back home to Thebes. He is bringing along young Ulysses to train him. Ulysses' father Laertes gives them some homing pigeons in case they run into trouble on their journey. Of course they run into nothing but trouble. The first problem they encounter is Antaeus, the son of the earth goddess. He wants to rob them, and he gains in strength every time he touches the ground. Hercules solves this by simply holding him over his head. One might expect this interlude to tie back in and play some part in the larger plot, but it does not. When they reach Thebes Hercules and company find that Eodipus' sons have convinced him to step down as king so they can take turns ruling Thebes every other year. Only it is now Polynices' turn to rule but his brother Eteocles will not give up the throne. Polynices has brought in a foreign army

Ghoulies

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Ghoulies is often represented as being one of the knockoff films inspired by Gremlins. It was actually in production at the same time as Gremlins. Unfortunately it didn't have the money or the talent behind it that Gremlins did. That's not to say that it isn't enjoyable, it is. But there were times when the combination of cheap production, cheesy dialogue and bad acting made it feel almost like one of the porno movies of the time. It has it's redeeming features. While the puppetry isn't great, the puppets themselves are pretty cool. It moves a little slowly, and for an 80's horror movie it's light on the gore. While I did enjoy it, I think the main reason it has lasted as long as it has is due a combination of being featured on USA Up All Night and the one image of the Ghoulie coming up from the toilet. The movie starts out with a ritual being led by Michael Des Barres' Malcolm. He is planning to sacrifice a baby. He is stopped by a woman who puts an amu