This is NOT a list of my favorite haunted house films. This is a list of my favorite films from the horror genre in general.
Everything is a buzz with Back to the Future these days. Go to backtothefuture.com and you will see the words “The Future is now!” Back in 1985, time travelers Marty McFly and Doctor Emmett Brown traveled to the seemingly “far away future” of 2015. This was after several misadventures in the year 1955 where Marty almost fucked the future up by nearly erasing himself and his siblings out of existence. But they straightened all that out, and at the end of the movie….WHEEEE! They took their time traveling DeLorean to the real future – 2015. They had gone thirty years back and then thirty years forward. What a deal!
Back to the Future was the best movie of the summer of 85 in my opinion. I admit that, before seeing it, I was skeptical. Yeah yeah, “that guy” is good at playing Alex P Keaton on Family Ties (I’m not even sure I knew the name Michael J Fox yet!), but does he deserve his own movie? It turns out, he did. He was great. I believe I sat through several viewings of BTTF at the Norridge Theater, a suburb of the northwest side of Chicago. So many memories that summer! And now that far away future that was depicted in the movie is here. How time flies! “Literally” flies, according to the movie. The DeLorean lifted into the air as Doc Brown gave his famous line, “where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
The Internet is filled with jokes about how the year 2015 was depicted in the Back to the Future series. Flying cars taking precedent over road bound vehicles, hover boards replacing skate board, teenagers wearing silly silver hats and other gaudy costumes. Yeah we didn’t achieve any of that (thank god we missed out on that dress style) But remember, back in 1985, we didn’t know about any of that either. This “future” was not presented to moviegoers until 1989 – the year Back to the Future II came out. So it’s sort of a misplaced association to unite those scenes with the thirty-year movie anniversary. But I digress.
Summer of 1985 – it was one of my favorites. Fresh out of the 8th grade, the exciting future of high school was a couple months away and in between was some kind of magical moratorium that remains forever in my memories. First dates, first buzzes, first…well, a lot of firsts. Anyway, a big part of that summer was going to the movies. We would pay a cheap price for the first movie of the day, see it, and then cross over the ropes into other theaters. One day I was at the theater complex for twelve hours, from 11:00 AM to 11:00PM.
I just want to give a run down of some of the other films I saw that summer. They might not have had the same appeal as Back to the Future, nor did they point to this wonderful current year of 2015, but they deserve an honorable mention. Okay, some of the films I am going to mention are downright silly, but oh well! They served me well for that innocent time of my life and so I am thankful for their existence.
Yeah so, I remember very little about this movie. In fact, I remember nothing about it. I only remember that I saw it and then stayed around for the next movie that was to come on after this was finished.
But lookie! It’s free on YouTube. I wasted $2.50 on this movie when I could have waited thirty years to see it free on you tube!
This is the movie they were showing after “The Secret Admirer.” Again, I remember very little. It had John Travolta as a reporter for Rolling Stone magaizne and Jamie Lee Curtis as an aerobic instructor at a health club. They did stuff.
Once again, I remember very little about this movie. I just remember Chevy Chase being in another country and declaring out loud to a crowd “We’re Americans!” I think he was then tied to post, set on fire, or something.
And wouldn’t ya know it – it’s free on Youtube! Another two dollars and fifty cents I wasted thirty years ago.
Return of the Living Dead
This movie I remember. I remember loving it! Went out and bought the soundtrack too! Who could forget this song:
The Heavenly Kid
Here’s the third movie I could have seen for free had I waited thirty years! I do remember this. I do remember liking it. Why did I like it? I was young.
And look why I just discovered. The mother who had The Heavenly Kid’s son? She would go on to be the mother of Malcolm in the Middle!
Two Michael J Fox films in one summer! I thought this was the shit! When he said to the liquor store man “Give me..a keg..of beer!” Fantabulous! Every fourteen year old kid wanted to be able to say that to a liquor store guy! Well, put it this way, every fourteen year old kid that hung out with me wanted the power to intimidate a grown up into selling them beer!
I remember this and I still love it. I own it and rewatch it every few years. Actually, I don’t think I’ve put this on for quite a while. It’s time to schedule it in.
John Candy got a bad case of sunburn. He and his family settled in to the wrong cabin/cottage. That’s about all I remember of this flick.
The 2015 Academy Awards is about to be unleashed onto the airwaves. Year after year it takes us by storm, and we wonder who will win the Oscars. In the middle of all this anticipation, did you ever stop and wonder why that golden statue bears the name Oscar? What’s that? You never really cared enough to contemplate that question? Well too bad for you, because I’m going to give you a non-answer to the question.
Who is Oscar? It’s a name you rarely hear. Maybe you have met one Oscar in your lifetime, possibly two but that is doubtful. What’s that? Someone objects? Maybe it’s you. You come to his blog, fighting to disagree, with a whole list of “Oscar” acquaintances to back you up in this brawl. Well aren’t you special! Okay, I’ll allow for the fact that there is someone out there that knows three or more Oscars. Some weird ass anomaly of a person has an Uncle Oscar, a neighbor named Oscar. This person regularly chats with Oscar the Mailman, has a goldfish named Oscar, and so on. But I tell you that the name is rare (as opposed to “well-done”). So how did this rare name get attached to the golden statue?
Academy Award historians (I don’t even know if such a group of historians exist, I just made it up) can’t even agree on the origins of the name. Bette Davis claims that the statue is named after one of her husbands – Harmon Oscar Nelson. He was this bandleader guy. Others claim that the Academy’s executive secretary, one Margaret Herrick, named the statue after her Uncle Oscar back in 1931. Whatever the history, we are stuck with the name. I see no movement in the foreseeable future to changing the name to “Irving” or “Fred” or even “Barney”.
Anyway, I got to thinking – How many Oscars do I know? There was this one guy who worked with me at Kmart way back when who was named Oscar. So there- I filled my Oscar quota for my lifetime. Of course, there are all these famous Oscars running around out there in the media. Some are alive, some are dead. Some are fictional, some are not. Some are obvious, some are rather obscure.
I could only think of ten famous Oscars, not including the golden statue. Okay, so maybe you know of more. Well goodie for you! What I’m going to do is compare and contrast these 10 Oscars with the Oscar ceremony and statue. Don’t think it can be done? Sure it can! And here I go!
Oscar De La Renta is a famous dead fashion designer.
The Oscars – spawn fashions that are often dead on arrival
Oscar Pistorious – famous/infamous Olympian
The Oscars have been postponed because of the shooting of Ronald Reagan and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Oscar Pistorious’s Olympic career has been postponed indefinitely because he murdered his girlfriend.
Oscar from Thimble Theater (a.k.a Popeye) – Popeye’s bald, buck toothed friend
The Oscar statuette is thought to be the most recognizable trophy in the world
Popeye’s Oscar is the least recognizable cartoon character in the world.
Oscar Madison – The slob sportswriter from “The Odd Couple”, played by Walter Matthau (Movie) Jack Klugman (TV) (pictured above)
Oscar Madison had to put up with Felix Unger, an annoying roommate who overstayed his welcome
The Oscars had the same problem with Billy Crystal, who hosted way too many shows.
Oscar The Grouch – Sesame Street’s crabby muppet
Oscar The Grouch loves his trash
So do The Oscars (Titanic anyone?)
Oskar Schindler – German industrialist who is credited with saving the lives of 1200 Jews
Liam Neeson won the role of Oskar Schindler and won the Oscar statue for this role
Oscar De La Hoya – Retired Mexican-American boxer
Oscar De La Hoya is known as “The Golden Boy”
The Oscar Statue is A Golden Man
Oscar Mayer – German immigrant famous for creating the Oscar Mayer Weiner
One of these Oscars gathers together the foulest organs of swine
and the other makes sausages
Oscar Goldman – Steve Austin’s boss on the Bionic Man
Oscar Goldman presides over a Six Million Dollar Man
The Oscars preside over a six billion dollar industry
Oscar Wilde – an Irish writer and poet of the of the last half of the 19th century
Oscar Wilde wrote “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”
That about sums up the sentiments of those watching the Oscars.
To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t George Lucas the filmmaking genius that attracted me to Star Wars. It was George Lucas the marketing genius that roped me in. In 1977, like most kids my age (I was six), I saw the movie. Yes I liked it, but it was just some movie.
One day I was next door at my neighbor lady’s house, playing with her visiting grandson who was about my age. She had a present for him. He opened it, and as typical with little kids, he wasn’t shy about expressing disappointment.
“Grandma! I already have Darth Vader!”
He already had it. I did not. I didn’t have any Star Wars toys. I hadn’t even thought about collecting them. So the neighbor lady gave me the Darth Vader. Well, I knew I couldn’t just have one Star Wars character. I asked my parents for more. Next came R2D2 and C3PO. That Christmas, under the tree from Santa, there was The Death Star Space station along with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia.
From that point on, I was hooked! I could barely remember the Star Wars plot. I acquired comic books and did what I could to research the story. More toys came my way, more play sets. Finally, the movie came back to the theaters. I saw it again and I loved it!!!! It’s a love I still have to this day!
I do believe I had every hero and villain shown in this video and many more. They came in rectangular cardboard boxes; about half the size of a Kleenex box. At the store they were stacked on top of each other. It was fun tearing apart the toy aisle to see what each box contained.
Besides super heroes and their respective villains, I had characters from other series: Wizard of Oz, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Starsky and Hutch, Welcome Back Kotter, Archie Andrews and Jughead, The Rookies. And oh so many more!
Earlier on this list there were letter blocks. Now here come the letter magnets. This is higher up because I remember playing with these more than the blocks. For some reason, letters fascinated me. I even remember assigning gender and personality to certain letters. I remember reading over and over an Electric Company book where some Super Gorilla had to save the planet from the evil “silent e”. These “e’s” kept placing themselves at the end of certain words; turning a can into a cane, a pan into a pane.
I also had the desk shown in the video. The drawers of the desk were a great place to keep all these wonderful letters. They came in various colors. If I focused, I bet I could remember what color each letter was. A was red, B was orange……E was blue, F was purple. And I won’t go any further, you get the point.
These were the best! I had a bunch of Fisher Price “Wooden People” Playsets: a house, farm, school, village, cruise ship, and of course, the castle which is shown in this video. The castle was the best. It had a trap door which led to a dungeon. It had a cave where a dragon dwelled. It had a draw bridge and staircase that opens. Also, there was a king, queen, knight, robin hood character and horse and buggy. (Basically everything you saw in the video)
Coke or Pepsi? Definitely Coke. Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars? I don’t know the difference. I had both and consider them the same. The orange tracks they show in the video? Yeah I had that, with a cool upside down loop.
On my own, I could never make anything that was illuminatingly picturesque . But when they had the sheets with the color key, then I made wonders!
This wasn’t sold in stores. It was not available for purchase anywhere. This is because my daddy built this Hollywood Square frame just for me!
Before I was old enough to go to school, I would watch The Hollywood Squares on daytime TV with my mom and grandma. I had seen it enough times to start “playing Hollywood Squares”. I would line up my stuffed animals on the steps; the first step was the bottom row, the second step the middle and so on. I apparently had so much fun with this that my dad built me this frame.
To this day, I look at the picture and I know who certain toys represent. The clown in the middle is Paul Lynde. The duck on the bottom left is Charlie Weaver. Next to him, the blue baby, is Pearl Bailey. Next to her, the stuffed bear, is George Gobel. I swear to you that I hardly know what these Hollywood people did in show business, nor do I remember what they looked like. But when I see this photo, I know Charlie Weaver is a duck and the elephant in the top middle row is Rose Marie. Next to her to the left is Humpty Dumpty. I couldn’t remember his Hollywood Squares alias, but I knew he was a fat man with black curly hair. After research, I saw that he was Marty Allen.
Note the three little people on the floor. These are Fisher Price people. The host of Hollywood Squares is in the middle, the contestants on either side.
Now this game wasn’t just about mimicking what they did on the TV show. I had a plastic gun that shot plastic balls. After I finished playing “The Hollywood Squares story” (whatever that was), the stuffed celebrities then became objects in a shooting gallery!