Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mister 80's Memories

These are just some of my completely random unorganized memories of my childhood in the 80's. I'm sure others had the EXACT same experience!! EXACT!

-Hearing the ice cream truck jingling through the neighborhood, normally driven by some old retired guy. We would get a Blue Shark, Fire Cracker Pop, Fat Frog, or Bubble-o Bill.

-Collecting Garbage Pail Kids... trying to find those 3 or 4 cards by opening hundreds of packs. Eating the hard as hell gum that came with it, or keeping it until it basically became a "brick" of gum. 

-Playing outside (before 500 TV channels, computers, and video games) and playing for so long that you were exhausted... but would still play! Hide N Seek, Red Light Green Light, Freeze Tag, running through the sprinklers, playing T-Ball or with Nerfs, wrestling on the ground, trying to burn ants with a magnifying glass, riding our bikes/skateboards, swimming in the public pool until our skin was pruny (or for some, their own pool or friends pool), playing with the toys of the time (trucks, figures, remote controlled cars, etc...), climbing trees.

 -Going to the arcade where the games were ALL only 25 cents - playing skeeball, Ms. PacMan, Galaga, Dig Dug, Mr. Do, Double Dragon, Centipede, Super Mario Bros before NES came out, Mario Bros., Burgertime, Zookeeper, Operation Wolf, Contra, Ikari Warriors, Rampage, TMNT, Bad Dudes, Shinobi, Defender, Donkey Kong, Congo Bongo, Q-Bert, Demolition Derby, Gauntlet, Punch-Out, Pole Position, Space Harrier, WWF and many others. 

-Going to Kay-Bee toy stores or Toys R Us for our favorite toys: GI Joe, Transformers, Gobots, He-Man, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, MUSCLE, WWF figures, leftover Star Wars, Superpowers, Secret Wars, Sectaurs, Visionaries, TMNT. Also, looking for Nintendo games and having to grab a piece of paper to bring to the front to pick up the game... the anticipation of that was crazy! 

-At school (well for Catholic schools at least) having field day, gym class once a week, Christmas "secret" angels during Xmas, Halloween parade and party, assemblies with the young student council, film day which was a luxury! Normally with one of those old film projectors that a classmate had to control based on the "ding" sound at the end of the narration/dialog on the accompanying cassette. YES, "CASSETTE"! Having a 10 minute recess to discuss the cartoons, toys, and movies of the times. 

-Going to the 2 or 3 screen movie theatre (before 15 screen theatres) to watch movies such as Return of the Jedi, Goonies, Spaceballs, Neverending Story, Ferris Bueller, Chipmunk Adventure, Christmas Vacation, Indiana Jones, Flight of the Navigator, Karate Kid, Princess Bride, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Ghostbusters, American Tail, Land Before Time, and other movies for kids at the time. We would be able to get popcorn and candy without our parents spending 17 dollars on both. 

-Waking up on Saturday mornings at 7 or 8:AM excitedly to watch our favorite cartoons! The 80s to the early 90s had the best cartoons and kids shows... examples being Smurfs, Garfield and Friends, TMNT, Shirt Tales, Kidd Video, Mister T, Kissyfur, Gummi Bears, PeeWees Playhouse, Scooby Doo (various), Superfriends, Dungeons and Dragons, Captain N the Game Master and many many more. 

-Weekday afternoons coming home from school were great as well! We would get our toys, sit in front of the television.. perhaps with some Keebler cookies, Handi-Snacks, or a Hi-C Ecto Cooler... and watch He-Man, She-Ra, Gobots, Transformers, GI Joe, Denver the Last Dinosaur, Dinosaucers, Scooby Doo, Voltron, Super Mario Bros Super Show, Legend of Zelda (Fridays), Ghostbusters, Real Ghostbusters, COPS, Looney Tunes, USA cartoon express cartoons (also on weekends) - Smurfs, Snorks, Turbo Teen, Yogi Bear and friends, Jem, Paw Paws... and can't forget the original Disney afternoon - Gummi Bears, Ducktales, Rescue Rangers, Tail Spin.

-McDonald's Happy Meals were the best thing to get! There was always a toy related to a movie or TV show that came with the kids meal... and what kid didn't like chicken mcnuggets or fries?

-How about those PSA's on TV? Like McGruff (take a bite outta crime), Smokey the Bear (only you can prevent forest fires), Don't do Drugs (I'm not a chicken, you're a turkey), In a Minute.... on USA, One to Grow On - daily lessons to be learned, OJ Readmore - the cat who promoted reading. 

-Our favorite low budget commercials for our favorite toys! Or just our favorite commercials which we watched but never bought the toys for! Either way - He-man, Transformers, GI Joe, Star Wars, The Animal (monster truck), Gobots, Micro Machines, Robotech, Inhumanoids, Voltron, Sectaurs (with the various cliffhanger episodes), NES games and accessories, Connect Four, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Bed Bugs, Operation, Battleship, Nerf (anything), Teddy Ruxpin, My Buddy, Kid Sister, Hot Wheels, M.U.S.C.L.E., Superpowers. 

-Remember when Nickelodeon was great? Pinwheel pinwheel, spin me around... Double Dare.. physical challenge! Finder Keepers, You Can't Do That on Television - "Diiiiiiii heard that!"

-The stores around us (besides Kay Bee and Toys R Us) were Bamburgers, Caldor (for those obscure toys that the normal toy stores didn't have!), McCrory, Crazy Eddies, The Wiz.

-Goodbye restaurants - Ground Round, Roy Rogers, Dennys, Howard Johnsons, Little Caesars (at least in my area)

-Our favorite cereals would show up on TV and entice us to annoy our parents to get them! Lucky for Lucky Charms, Sonny for Cocoa Puffs, Captain for Cap'n Crunch, The cookie crook and cop for cookie crisp, the Snap, Crackle, and Pop guys for Rice Krispies, Sugar Bear for Super Golden Crisp, The honey bee for Honey Nut Cheerios, Fred and Barney for Fruity Pebbles, Toucan Sam for Froot Loops, the Trix Rabbit for Trix, the monsters for Franken Berry, Count Chocula and the rare Boo Berry!... and wasn't it exciting when they came up with a new marshmallow for Lucky Charms? (I remember when purple horseshoes were new), the majority of the cereals came with a toy or coupon or something where we had to empty the damn box first to get it! R.I.P cereals: Ice Cream Cones, Circus Fun, C-3PO's, Nintendo Cereal, Alpha Bits, Oh's (they're back!), Croonchy Stars, Pac-Man cereal, Mister T Cereal.

-When the 8-Bit Nintendo Entertainment System came out, oh boy..... it was like a different world. Video games basically meant NINTENDO at the time. Every kid wanted one, and every kid was jealous of their friends when their friends had one and they didn't. Hours and hours we would spend playing Nintendo, originally with the pointless R.O.B. playing Gyromite or the awfully boring Stack-Up, and using the gun to play Duck Hunt and Hogan's Alley. When Super Mario Bros came out, and started to come with the NES... all hell broke loose! Super Mario Bros became the ultimate mascot of Nintendo! When we finally did get an NES, or dealt with playing at our friends house... we spent afternoons after school, all day weekends into the night, and all day during the summer, trying to beat games such as Metroid, Mega Man, Kid Icarus, Castlevania, Adventure Island, Ninja Gaiden, Double Dragon, Lifeforce, Contra, Commando, 1942, 1943, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, Excitebike, Kung-Fu, Ghosts N Goblins (hard as hell!), Wizards and Warriors, and of course the amazing groundbreaking Legend of Zelda! The later sequels Super Mario Bros 2 and especially Super Mario Bros 3, had us drooling. And we enjoyed the sports games such as RBI baseball, Double Dribble, Super Dodge Ball, Skate or Die, World Class Track Meet (with the Power Pad), Track and Field, Ice Hockey, and the fantastic Super Tecmo Bowl! Let's not forget the ridiculously cheesy to the oddly strange and sometimes super cool commercials for NES - such as the futuristic game room which featured Super Mario, Rad Racer, Kung-fu, among others. There was the wacky guy running around in a room shouting for Zelda, for Legend of Zelda. There was the insane Nintendo Power commercials for the enjoyable monthly magazine! And lastly, the crowd of people dressed in various colors to form the face of Mario while all shouting "Mario" to promote Super Mario Bros 3! Classic times. We would play these games until our thumbs were killing us, and we would throw our controllers in frustration and sometimes fight with our friends. Oh and who could forget the times we had to bang up the console, and blow out the dust inside as well as in the game because they got dirty so easily! Us 80s kids loved Nintendo and will always have the memories of experiencing the first worldly successful and popular home video game console (Atari, Colecovision, and C64 get props too, but couldn't hold a candle to NES) 

-There's something about laying back and reminiscing about the times of being a child, growing up back in the 80s. It was like a different world. You were curious about everything, and many things fascinated you. The new toys that would come out, the movies with "state of the art" effects, and tv shows/cartoons with laugh out loud comedy or drama deep enough to affect you and suck you in as if you were part of that show, cartoon, or movie. You remember playing outside with friends, in the grass, at the pool, at the beach, in the dirt, in the street, etc... either making up your own games, playing sports, hide and seek, or just plain goofing off. You played and played until you got so exhausted, you had to stop... or keep forcing yourself to go! Sometimes you would take action figures with you and compare them with friends, and play. You played with wiffle balls and bats, and nerf toys, and small footballs or soccer balls. You chased each other and fell in the grass, or fell in the street and skimmed your knee. Either way, you were outside enjoying nature and the great outdoors and keeping active. We didn't have computers, or 500 TV channels, or even cable, and video games didn't quite catch on yet. There was no real big reason to stay indoors on weekdays after school, or on weekends after Saturday morning cartoons. We went out and about! A lot of us went to the pool, if there was one, and played "pool" games. During the summer it was heaven! The summers lasted sooo long in our minds and we were out every day making the best of it.... riding our bikes, playing with friends, going to arcades, shooting water guns and throwing water balloons. We DID have our fun inside though, watching cartoons and playing with our action figures... Ah to be a kid again.

And that's where my random memories ended, for now. =)