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Archive for December, 2008

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Mittens on Elastic

Posted by Big Boo on December 5th, 2008

Firstly, thanks to knitting website Knitspot for the image accompanying this post.

The cold weather really seems to be kicking in now here in the UK, so the other day I was forced into hunting through my sock draw for a pair of gloves. Now, I know somewhere I’ve got a lovely warm insulated pair but I couldn’t find them, so instead ended up with a pair of knitted fingerless gloves. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

Whilst finding these gloves out I did come across a single knitted glove. I’ve no idea what has happened to the other half of the pair but it did remind me of the practice of sewing elastic on your gloves to stop you losing them, something my Mum used to do for me when I was at primary school.

The idea was simple enough.  Take a piece of elastic that when unstretched is long enough to run up one arm, across your shoulders and back down the other arm.  Then sew a glove or mitten onto each end of the elastic and thread the whole affair up one arm of your coat and back down the other.  When you put the coat on the mittens will dangle out the bottom of the arms, so you can take them off without fear of losing them because they fell out of your bag or pocket.

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Posted by Big Boo on December 4th, 2008

There were some strange things we did as kids in the school playground to annoy each other, but boy were they effective.  Chinny Reckon is one such thing that I’ve covered before, but the subject of todays post is the highly entertaining idea behind Jinx!

The conditions to allow the rules of Jinx to be enforced were simple.  If two people said exactly the same thing at exactly the same time then the first to shout Jinx! could then prevent the other person from saying anything else from then on.

There were two ways in which the Jinx could be lifted.  One was when somebody said the name of the jinxed person (extra strict practitioners of this game insisted it was only the person who placed the Jinx who counted in this respect) and the other was for the jinxed person to pay a penalty if they did speak.  Since the penalty was usually something like a chinese burn or a punch in the arm you tended to wait until your name was said if you were unlucky enough to be silenced.

It’s surprising how widespread this game is.  The entry for Jinx on Wikipedia includes a description of the game, and it even appeared in an episode of The Simpsons.  I believe Bart gets jinxed by Lisa but when he speaks he is given a dead arm by Homer who says “You spoke while jinxed so I get to punch you in the arm”.

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Classic Childrens Television Quiz Book

Posted by Big Boo on December 3rd, 2008

A quick plug for a new book which the author, Dean Wilkinson, was good enough to e-mail me about.  It’s called The Classic Children’s Television Quiz Book and it sounds rather good, with a range of questions about kids TV programs stretching back at least as far as the Thunderbirds era and right up to more modern classics such as Spongebob Squarepants, so there’s bound to be a smattering of questions about 1980’s shows in there too.

Dean has been a comedy scriptwriter for childrens television for many years, writing for such TV stars as Timmy Mallett, Ant and Dec (who have written a foreward to the book) and Harry Hill, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones and many more, so it should be a fun read that’ll also get the old grey matter churning.

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Emu Hand Puppet

Posted by Big Boo on December 3rd, 2008

Emu and Rod Hull were one of those variety acts that were forever cropping up on British TV, either in their own shows (The Pink Windmill Show being a prime example of Emu madness) or as guests on chat shows or other entertainment shows such as Crackerjack. Its amazing quite how much Rod Hull got away with really, when you consider that when Emu attacked some celebrity it was actuall Rod Hull’s hand doing all the biting and groping.

Anyway, I distinctly remember a friend of mine having an Emu hand puppet when I was little, and we used to have great fun mimicing Emu’s antics. I particularly liked the slightly angry look that Emu could do which was achieved by bending your fingers inside his beak so that the top part of the beak curled somewhat. It was quite a funny look I always thought.

Emu recently returned to our screens under the control of Rod’s son Toby Hull, and whilst I think Emu’s days of grabbing celebrity backsides are probably over now, you can still have fun attacking your own victims as the Emu Hand Puppet is available again from Stocking Fillers in all its orange felt and purple rafia glory.

Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Bigfoot and the Hendersons

Posted by Big Boo on December 2nd, 2008

Bigfoot and the Hendersons is a 1987 film about an American family who encounter the legendary Bigfoot whilst returning from a family holiday in the wilderness.  It was released in the UK under this title, but in the US it was known as Harry and the Hendersons.

The Henderson family are driving home from their holiday when they come across a large hairy creature lying in the road.  Unsure what to do, they strap it to the top of their car and return home to there house in the Seattle suburbs.

The creature turns out to be a Sasquatch, better known as Bigfoot, and when it finally regains consciousness it sets to exploring its new environment, the Henderson’s house.  After investigating a stuffed deer head hanging on the wall (and making a huge hole in the wall whilst trying to discover where the back half of the deer could be) the head of the family, George Henderson (John Lithgow) attempts to calm the confused beast.

Before long the Sasquatch has become a member of the family, and is named Harry by them.  Despite his initial clumsiness Harry is actually a very kind and gentle creature, but he soon becomes intrigued by his new surroundings and sets off to explore the area, leaving a trail of panic and mayhem unintentionally behind him.

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Woolworths Christmas TV Adverts

Posted by Big Boo on December 1st, 2008

If there was one sure way of knowing in the 1980s that Christmas was just around the corner it was the Woolworths Christmas TV Advert.  Every year Woolworths would pull out all the stops and run a stupidly long advert that was packed with celebrity stars making a fool of themselves, all in the name of selling some Chevron music tapes or a carriage clock.

These really were epic affairs that went on for a couple of minutes.  That may not sound very long but given the average TV advert is only 20-30 seconds you begin to see that this was a very unusual slice of advertising.

The average Woolworths Christmas ad went something like this.  Shot inside what appeared to be a normal Woolworths store, a selection of minor celebrities would appear wearing some kind of costume related to whatever that years chosen theme was.  Different products would then be plugged, with one of the celebrities mugging furiously at the camera whilst holding or using the various products.  The name of the product and its bargain price would be superimposed on the bottom of the picture.

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