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Archive for October, 2007

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Knight Rider

Posted by Big Boo on October 8th, 2007

Knight RiderOh, how I loved Knight Rider. It was easily my most favourite TV show of the early 1980’s, and the first programme that I watched religiously, which is probably why I still have such fond memories of it.

The pilot episode sets the story, with copy Michael Long being shot in the head and announced dead. Actually he was saved due to a metal plate in his head that deflected the bullet, but which still caused massive facial damage. He was secretly nursed back to health by the Foundation for Law And Government (FLAG), who gave him a new face and a new name – Michael Knight. FLAG was an arm of the Knight Foundation who’s technology division had developed an amazing artificial intelligence that could speak and auto pilot a car (among other things). This technology formed Michael’s new car, the Knight Industries Two Thousand, or KITT for short.

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Wooly Willy – Magnetic Face Creator

Posted by Big Boo on October 5th, 2007

Wooly Willy - Magnetic Face CreatorWooly Willy was originally invented in the 1950’s, but it was in the 1980’s that it started to disappear from our shops. I wouldn’t be surprised if the reason for its phasing out was something to do with health and safety laws, considering that iron filings were one its main constituent parts. It was such a simple toy, yet it provided hours of fun on long car journeys.

It comprised a piece of cardboard with the hairless Willy printed on it. Over the top of Willy’s portrait was a piece of clear plastic, which contained a quantity of iron filings. A magnetic tool was provided, which you held underneath the guard in order to move the iron filings about. It was then up to you to create whatever hairstyle, beard or moustache you wanted Willy to have by carefully shuffling the iron filings to the correct place on Willy’s picture. When you were board with your design, you just up-ended the whole thing and could start again.

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Primary School Glues

Posted by Big Boo on October 4th, 2007

White PVA GlueWhen at primary school I remember there being a number of different types of glue available when it came to activities such as junk modelling (making things out of old cereal packets and yoghurt pots) and paper craft (e.g. making a Mother’s Day card). The teachers would generally ration glue out in little tubs for you to use, and provide you with a little plastic glue spatula, in an effort to stop all the schools paintbrushes from getting gummed up.

In honour of primary school glue, we present here our top 5 “Glues You Might Have Come Across At Primary School”. So, in reverse order we have…

5. That White Pasty Glue That Smelled Like Marzipan

I can’t remember what it was actually called, but it looked like mashed up dessicated coconut but smelt like marzipan. Not liking marzipan, this lessened it’s appeal to me, though some kids did try to eat it. It came in little blue pots with a spatula in the lid, which was supposed to allow you to apply it. In theory this was OK, but normally the paste had hardened on the top so it would actually spread very well. It could just about stick paper to some more paper.
Rating: Useless.

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DangerMouse

Posted by Big Boo on October 3rd, 2007

DangerMouseOf all the creations of animation studio Cosgrove Hall the best loved has to be DangerMouse. First appearing on our screens in 1981, the worlds best secret agent, and his assistant Penfold the hamster, continuously thwarted the plans of the evil Baron Silas Greenback for 10 series. The cartoon paid homage to spy films and TV shows, but also to the classic black and white serials like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, as each story was split into several 5-10 minute episodes with cliffhanger endings.

DangerMouse (voiced by David Jason) was a white mouse who wears an eye patch over his left eye. As the theme tune said, he’s the strongest, the quickest and the best secret agent in the world. Quite why Penfold (voiced by the late Terry Scott) came along on his adventures is not really clear, since all he was really very good at was getting captured, being scared and making tea, but that’s not to say we didn’t enjoy Penfold’s input.

DangerMouse (or DM for short) was given his orders by Colonel K, a slightly bumbling old chinchilla (yes, I know, I always thought he was meant to be a walrus too) with a big white moustache. He’d quite often get sidetracked onto some other topic completely, much to the annoyance of DM. Once the orders were relayed DangerMouse would zip out of his post box home in his sports car, which could also fly, to go and save the day.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Short Circuit

Posted by Big Boo on October 2nd, 2007

Short Circuit - Johnny 5During a test of a group of new prototype military robots, a storm breaks out. Lightning strikes some powerlines, which causes a surge that grounds itself in one of the robots. Surprisingly, the robot doesn’t appear to have been damaged, and with the test aborted the group of robots are ordered back inside. However, it soon becomes apparent that the affected robot – Number 5 – may not have been completely unaffected after all. Number 5 starts to get distracted by things, and eventually ends up being accidentally knocked into the back of a garbage vehicle.

Meanwhile, the absence of Number 5 has been noted, and the military base is locked down. This is done too late however, and the garbage truck leaves with Number 5 still aboard. Number 5 doesn’t stay on the truck for long though, and falls off whilst investigating a butterfly. The security forces from the base track Number 5 down eventually, but in attempting to catch him knock him off a bridge. Luckily Number 5 has a parachute as part of its gadgetry, and it sails down to land on the roof of a catering van owned by a young woman called Stephanie Speck.

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The Half Penny Coin

Posted by Big Boo on October 1st, 2007

Half PennyThe UK decimalised its monetary system on February 15th 1971, and one of the new coins to replace the old system of pounds, shillings and pence was the Half Penny coin. Today it seems hard to believe that there was ever a need for such a small denomination, but these days 1p is such a small amount of money in real terms that it’s almost not worth having a One Pence coin. The only reason it still exists, I am convinced, is for purely psychological reasons. As an example, consider this. Why does £99.99 seem to feel a substantially smaller price than £100.00?

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, the dear old Half Penny. Sized slightly smaller than a One Pence piece, it was a “copper” coin, so called because of its colour rather than its composition, as it was actually made of bronze. One one side was Queen Elizabeth II’s head, and on the other a crown and the words NEW PENNY, and the fractional number 1/2. It kept this design for over ten years, but in 1982 it was finally decided that the decimal coinage wasn’t new any more, so the wording changed to HALF PENNY. This change was a bit of a waste of time however, as inflation finally caught up with the Half Penny in 1984, when it was deemed no longer necessary and removed from the UK coinage system.

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