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Archive for June, 2009

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Uncle Remus Play Kits

Posted by Big Boo on June 17th, 2009

uncle remus play kits(Image modified from original picture uploaded by unloveablesteve on Flickr – check out the website and book TV Cream Toys for more cool toys).

Do you remember Uncle Remus Play Kits? I have fond memories of these from my childhood, although I think they may well have disappeared from shops by the early 1980’s. No matter, I enjoyed them, so they’re being included here.

Nothing to do with the Uncle Remus associated with Brer Rabbit and the Disney movie Song of the South, Uncle Remus toys were more often than not craft kits of some kind or another, and were more likely to be found in newsagents than in toy shops, hanging on one of those rotunda stands that shops sometimes have. They were fairly cheap but ever so cheerful, and were the perfect rainy afternoon distraction. They came for the most part in cardboard wallets with a distinctive logo consisting of a friendly looking balding old man pointing at the word REMUS.

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My Thoughts On The New Knight Rider

Posted by Big Boo on June 15th, 2009

new knight riderI’ve made no secret on this site of my love for the original Knight Rider series, so having now watched the pilot and four episodes of the new Knight Rider TV series I thought it was about time I wrote a couple of words about the new remake of the show.

Oh dear.

Actually, that’s not even a couple of words really, since Oh is more a written exclamation than an actual word as such.  As you can probably tell I didn’t think much of it, but yet I’m some how glued to the series just to see how much worse it can get.

If you haven’t seen it yet and really want to then don’t read on, as there will be stuff that could be construed as SPOILERS, and I’m not talking about the kind on the back of KITT.

So, let’s start with KITT then.  I quite understand why KITT was retained as the name for the real star of the show, it wouldn’t be Knight Rider otherwise.  As you probably know, KITT was an acronym for Knight Industries Two Thousand, which back in the eighties was a suitably futuristic sounding title.  Guess what KITT stands for now.  Yup, Knight Industries Three Thousand.  Never saw that coming did you?  Lame as this is already, what makes it worse is that Knight Industries doesn’t seem to be part of the show any more, so it becomes a bit meaningless.

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My Pencil Case Is Better Than Yours

Posted by Big Boo on June 13th, 2009

I listed five top Pencil Case designs that were common place during the 1980’s earlier this week, and in the comments a couple more I’d forgotten about were mentioned (thanks to Aveen and my sister for those). This weeks survey then is to see which type of pencil case people have the fondest memories for.

Take a little look at my pencil case post first if you’re not sure what some of the categories given below are, then come back here and place your vote. If we’ve forgotten you’re favourite type, then please add it using the link below.

What kind of pencil case did you have?
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Johnny Ball

Posted by Big Boo on June 12th, 2009

Johnny BallGood old madcap Johnny Ball. I can’t think of another childrens TV presenter who could manage to get kids so enthused about school work as he could. He would bound on to the screen with limitless energy, dashing about demonstrating scientific principals and relating historical tales all with a massive grin fixed firmly to his face. He was like a child in a sweet shop, who’d just be told they could eat anything they wanted.

Given the factual nature of his TV shows, you might expect Johnny Ball started his career as a teacher, but surprisingly enough he didn’t. Born in 1938 he became a Butlin’s Redcoat entertainer after spending his national service in the Royal Air Force. After leaving Butlin’s he became a comedian working the clubs in the North of England. His first break into television was on classic kids show Play School, but he also wrote material for shows such as Crackerjack.

However, it will always be for his highly entertaining (and, whisper it, educational) TV shows that he is best remembered. Starting in 1977 with Think of a Number on BBC1, Mr. Ball took various mathematical subjects and relayed them to and audience of teenagers via fun experiments, funny observations and dressing up as historical figures such as Isaac Newton, although all these famous people were imbibed with Johnny’s rattling delivery, but perhaps with an appropriate funny accent.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Top 5 Eighties Pencil Cases

Posted by Big Boo on June 10th, 2009

pencil caseAt school, once of the most essential items to have was a pencil case. Obviously you needed one to store your pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, set square and myriad other items needed for your school lessons, but they more often than not also contained scraps of paper with notes on and a few emergency sweets. They really were for emergencies too, since they were more often than not sat in a pool of leaked fountain pen ink and pencil sharpenings, so you had to be desperate to want to eat them.

Pencil cases came in a variety of shapes and sizes, and most kids ended up owning several during the course of their school life, so here are some of the more popular choices from when I was at school.

1. The PENCIL CASE Pencil Case

You knew exactly where you were with this one.  Normally made from that weird plastic with the fabric backing bonded to it, they were very often a single colour but had PENCIL CASE emblazoned across the front, just in case you forgot what it was.

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Cool Handheld Pacman Game

Posted by Big Boo on June 8th, 2009

arcade classicOne of my favourite arcade games as a kid was Pacman, and when Santa brought me the handheld Grandstand Munchman game I was over the moon.  It may have been an incredibly simple version of Pacman but I played it for hours on end, attempting to beat my highscore.

Anyway, the good people at Hawkin’s Bazaar have just let me know about their new Arcade Classic handheld game, which though badly named in my opinion (Arcade Classic could mean anything – Space Invaders, Asteroids, Frogger, Donkey Kong, etc.) looks as though it’s incredibly close in style to my old Munchman game.

You’re still chased by ghosts but for some reason you play as a smiley face in a cowboy hat, and instead of collecting cherries you collect pieces of jewellery.  It looks like it has a very clear display, and has a little joystick instead of the four directional buttons that Munchman had, so would appear to be a bargain at £14.99.  Now, Father’s Day is just around the corner, and this year will be the first time I get to celebrate it, so maybe I should drop some hints…

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Bootiful or Bleurgh!

Posted by Big Boo on June 6th, 2009

Many a kids evening meal in the eighties consisted of something from good old Bernard Matthews Turkey Farms. Whether it be the Turkey Drummers I focused on last week, their close cousins the Turkey Burgers or a reconstituted Turkey Roll Roast, they were all Bootiful, as Bernard would say. Or were they? Time for you all to decide via the medium of voting!

Bernard Matthews Turkey Products. Are they...
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The Munch Bunch

Posted by Big Boo on June 5th, 2009

munch bunchOne of the most successful series of children’s books I remember from my childhood was the Mr. Men books, which are still around today. The Mr. Men set up a pattern for others to follow, which was to produce a series of books based around a range of characters based on a particular theme. One of the better series to employ this idea was the Munch Bunch.

The Munch Bunch were a group of walking, talking fruit and vegetables, mostly with suitably alliterative names like Sally Strawberry, Aubrey Aubergine or Pippa Pear. Alternatively they had names relating to the type of vegetable they were, for example Spud, who was obviously a potato, and Bounce, who was a spring onion (spring, bounce, geddit?). However, my favourite has to be Dick Turnip, who was a highwayman root vegetable, based on the legendary Dick Turpin. I wonder if kids today know who Dick Turpin is, as I’ve not heard his name mentioned in many a year.

Sorry, went a bit off track there. Enough of highwaymen and back to the Munch Bunch. There were more than 30 Munch Bunch characters created for the first series of books, which went on sale between 1979 and 1982, with each character getting their own book. In the years that followed additional books were released for the more popular characters, and larger format books featuring multiple characters were also produced.

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