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Archive for August, 2007

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Penny Sweets

Posted by Big Boo on August 21st, 2007

Dolly Mixture SweetsOne of the things I used to like about going shopping with Mum when I was a kid was when Mum would let me have ten pence to buy some penny sweets. You’d take your ten pence piece, and exchange it for a little white paper bag with your own selection of yummy sweeties safely stored inside. Looking back, I always remember having trouble deciding what to eat first, and thinking that there was an almost never ending supply in that little paper bag. Ten pence wouldn’t stretch far these days, but in the days of the half pence you could have ended up with twenty sweets in there, which to a four year old certainly appeared close to infinite.

There were two ways in which you could choose your sweeties. If the shop was a small one (e.g. a corner newsagent) then quite often there would be a tray containing all the various sweets stocked, usually under a piece of glass meaning it was only accessible from the shopkeeper’s side of the counter. You’d point a little digit at the sweets you wanted, and the shopkeeper would count up the price as they popped them into the bag.

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321

Posted by Big Boo on August 20th, 2007

321The Saturday evening family game show has always been a popular choice for TV schedulers, and one of the most remembered game shows has to be 321. Hosted by the genial Ted Rogers, the show started with a quiz to find out which couple would get to play the game proper. The main part of the show was then a series of sketches and musical numbers featuring “famous” star guests of the day, who would then come over to the contestants with a particularly obscure clue to one of the prizes available to be won.

321 will always be most remembered for the real star of the show, Dusty Bin. Dusty was a radio controlled dustbin with a big cheery face, who represented the booby prize. If the contestants chose the wrong clue as their final prize, all they would win was a brand new dustbin.

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Wiggly Plastic Snakes

Posted by Big Boo on August 16th, 2007

Wiggly Plastic Snake ToyCome on, everybody must have grown up owning one of these! The wiggly plastic snake was a very simple toy, basically consisting of a number of plastic segments which were connected together in such a way that when you held the tail of the snake, the rest of the snake would wiggle about in much the same way as a real snake would. The entire snake would be made out of a single colour of plastic, quite often a colour that was most un-snake like. There would also be stickers on each segment to give the snake some markings.

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Monkey

Posted by Big Boo on August 15th, 2007

MonkeyMonkey was shown many times during the 80’s and quickly became a firm favourite with teenage kids due to its wacky Japanese comedy, cool fight sequences and bad dubbing into English. It followed the story of Tripitaka, a young monk who was on a journey to India to collect some sacred scriptures. He was accompanied and protected (if you can call it that) by The Monkey King, who was given the task by Buddha as a punishment for getting a bit too big for his boots whilst up in the heavens. Also along for the ride were Pigsy, a self-centred humanised pig who had an eye for the girls, and Sandy, a water spirit, who always seemed to be morose and down in the dumps.

It is best known for its hilarious English translation of the script, which was full of double entendre’s and jokes, and the hilarious dubbing of the characters voices, which was all done with complete disregard for lip synching and in mock Japanese accents. Very non-politically correct by today’s standards, but hilarious none the less. Another strange aspect was the fact that Tripitaka was quite clearly played by a woman (and indeed was dubbed by Miriam Margoyles, a well known British actress who was in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets).

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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The Birdie Song

Posted by Big Boo on August 14th, 2007

The Birdie SongWhich song is still the staple method employed by wedding disco DJ’s of trying to get everyone up on the dance floor to embarrass themselves after all these years? The answer is, of course, The Birdie Song. There will come a time during most wedding receptions that The Birdie Song will be put on, and everybody with no shame, from the tiniest tot to the drunkest uncle gets up to make their hands look like bird beaks, flap their arms like wings, wiggle their backside and then skip round in a circle.

The record was released in the UK by a band called The Tweet’s in 1981, and somehow made it to number 2 in the charts (probably through all those wedding disco DJ’s snapping up a copy). The band consisted of people dressed as birds playing the various musical instruments – the bird costumes being necessary in order to protect their real identities no doubt. There was a follow up single entitled Let’s all Sing like the Birdie’s Sing, but it sunk without trace.

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Jacob’s Trio

Posted by Big Boo on August 13th, 2007

Jacob’s TrioTRRRIIIIIIIII-O! TRRRIIIIIIII-O! I want a Trio and I want one now!

So went the TV advertising campaign for Jacob’s Trio, a chocolate biscuit bar which was still available until fairly recently, when it suddenly disappeared from our supermarket shelves. The Trio got it’s name from it’s three constituent parts, a shortcake biscuit, thick solid toffee flavour creme and a thick coating of chocolate. To add futher to the three theme, each bar was split into three bite-sized chunks. It came wrapped gold foiled paper, with a bright red paper label with “Trio” emblazoned on it in big white letters. I’ve searched high and low for a picture, but to no avail, so you’ll have to make do with my artists impression!

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Flight of the Navigator

Posted by Big Boo on August 12th, 2007

Flight of the NavigatorReleased in 1986 by Disney, Flight of the Navigator is a great kids Sci-Fi film which had the lot. A cool metallic transforming spaceship, a child star you didn’t want to strangle (even when he started singing Beach Boys songs), time travel and lots of strange alien animals.

The storyline is that 12 year old David Freeman is sent by his parents on July 4th 1978 to go and fetch his little brother Jeff. On the way he trips and loses consciousness. When he awakes he returns home to find that an old couple now live in his house. Confused, he is taken to the police, who find a missing persons report for David. It appears he has actually been missing for 8 years, yet he hasn’t aged a single day. David’s parents are located, and since there is a lot of confusion around David not having aged, he is sent to hospital to be checked out.

Meanwhile, a strange metallic space craft has been found, having crashed into some electricity lines. It is taken away by NASA to their base for analysis, but apart from the fact it appears to be able to defy gravity, they aren’t able to gain access to the ship to learn anything else.

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Commodore 64

Posted by Big Boo on August 10th, 2007

Commodore 64In the days before videogame consoles, home computers ruled the roost, and probably the most popular was the Commodore 64. Released in 1982, and somehow managing to stay on sale until 1994, it sold a massive 17 million units across the world! In the UK there were several home computers to choose from, but most kids allegiances would be to either the Commodore 64 or the ZX Spectrum, and whilst the Spectrum was more affordable, the Commodore 64 was technically more advanced.

The Commodore 64 could display 16 colours on screen and had a three channel sound synthesiser chip (named SID) which gave it some of the best audio capabilities of the time. It also had a proper sprung keyboard (unlike the Spectrum’s rubber keyed variety) and had two built in joystick ports.

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