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Archive for October, 2009

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Neon Socks, or Just Plain White?

Posted by Big Boo on October 31st, 2009

How many of you still wear Terry Towelling socks on a day to day basis? And I don’t mean for playing sport. I’m guessing not many of you do, since these days people tend to go for either normal socks or those funny little cut off trainer sock things.

Back in the Eighties it was a different story though. Terry socks were all the rage for a while back then, and whilst plain white were definitely popular (especially on school days) the penchant for neon coloured clothing meant a number of eye watering colours became available. They looked as if they would glow in the dark, although I don’t think they did. A shame, because they would have been an excellent way of creating the Dire Strait’s Money For Nothing video band shots, or indeed a good choice of footwear for going Trick or Treating, today being Halloween and all.

Anyway, this weeks survey is a simple enough one – which colour of Terry Towelling sock did you opt for most often?

Terry Towelling Socks were best in...
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Posted by Big Boo on October 30th, 2009

chic-a-booChic-A-Boo, as you can clearly see, was a cute brown furry monkey toy. It’s face, hands and feet were made from plastic, and being a monkey, it had opposable thumbs which could be inserted into its mouth, which made it even cuter to look at.

The toy was originally developed in Japan in the mid to late 1970’s, but it wasn’t until the 1980’s that it became more popular in the UK. The original Japanese name for the toy was Monchhichi, but since the (intentional) double ‘H’ in the middle was a bit confusing for us Brits, the name was changed to Chic-A-Boo. Similarly, in Italy it became Mon Cicci, and in France the even simpler Kiki.

They were created by Koichi Sekiguchi as a way of teaching both children and adults to be loving and respectful, although I dare say he also realised a bit of a money spinner when he saw one. Originally the toys were sold in pairs, with one male and one female doll – quite how you told which was which I’m not sure – probably something as simple as the girl had a bow in her hair. Before long though the toys were sold individually, and a whole range of additional clothing was also launched.

The toys were incredibly popular in Japan, but perhaps less so in the rest of the world. I remember though that my sister always wanted one, and I think one day she did get an imitation one. At least, I think it was an imitation one as you could insert the thumbs and toes into both the mouth and, rather more disgustingly, the nostrils. Original Monchhichi dolls don’t have nostril holes, instead having a little brown elliptical nose instead.

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Beverly Hills Cop

Posted by Big Boo on October 28th, 2009

beverly hills copWhilst channel hopping the other night I came across Beverly Hills Cop being shown for the umpteenth time, but I was soon hooked and wondering why I had not covered this major film of the eighties before now.

I’m sure the film needs no introduction to you, but in brief it follows Detroit police detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) who comes to Beverly Hills to look into the death of his friend Mikey, as he believes he was murdered. Fast mouthed Axel causes mayhem for the Beverly Hills police department, in particular detectives Taggart (John Ashton) and Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), who end up getting unwillingly drawn into his investigation.

Of course, Axel’s hunch about Mikey was right, and leads him to art dealer Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff) who turns out to be using his position as a respected business man to smuggle drugs.

Beverly Hills Cop was released in 1984, but by the time it made it on to UK television (a process which took far longer back then than it does today) it had become one of those films that were talked about at school as a must see. If you hadn’t seen it then you could find yourself ostracised by your mates for being uncool!

One problem with Beverly Hills Cop being show on British TV was the amount of swearing it contained (mostly courtesy of Murphy). This led to what I like to call the “specially ruined for television” version of Beverly Hills Cop, where Murphy’s profanities were dubbed over with other words, making him sound pretty ridiculous, it has to be said.

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Jimbo and the Jet Set

Posted by Big Boo on October 26th, 2009

jimbo and the jet setWhen I think back to childrens television of the mid 1980s I often end up reminiscing about Childrens BBC and the Broom Cupboard, with Phillip Schofield, Andy Crane or Andi Peters (OK, maybe not Andi Peters quite so much) introducing all those great TV shows we had back then.

The BBC went through a period of commissioning some classic cartoons at the time, what with Bananaman, SuperTed (if you liked this one, you’ve still time to enter our competition which has a SuperTed DVD as one of the prizes – but hurry!), The Family Ness and the subject of today’s rememberings, Jimbo and the Jet Set.

The titular Jimbo was a Jumbo Jet, or at least he was supposed to be, but when he was being built someone confused centimetres for inches and he came out half the size (or more accurately 39.37%) he was supposed to be. He may have been small, but Jimbo was big on determination, and would struggle through whatever task he was given to save the day.

Jimbo and the Jet Set was created by Maddocks Cartoon Productions (who also created The Family Ness) and was set at the fictional London Airport. The airport was managed by the grumpy, orange moustached traffic controller named Chief, who gave Jimbo some ridiculous things to do and was never happy with the way Jimbo got the job done.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Bubble Gum Bubbles?

Posted by Big Boo on October 24th, 2009

I can’t remember the last time I had some bubble gum. Chewing gum yes, but not bubble gum, as there is a difference. Chewing gum seems to reduce down to a very small size once chewed, thus making blowing bubbles with it much more difficult.

I remember enjoying the odd piece of Hubba Bubba and Anglo Bubbly bubble gum as a child, but perhaps the reason why I haven’t had bubble gum recently is simply because I was rubbish at the main reason for chewing the stuff in the first place – blowing bubbles. My sister was quite good at it, but I just didn’t seem to be able to do it for some reason. Maybe it’s because I can’t curl my tongue?

Could you blow bubbles with bubble gum? Let us know by voting below!

Could you blow bubbles with Bubble Gum?
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Pop Up Toys

Posted by Big Boo on October 23rd, 2009

pop up toyHere’s another of those pocket money toys that I’m sure you had as a kid, but which you’ve since forgotten all about. Pop Up Toys!

The Pop Up Toy, for want of a better name, was a fun little toy packed with suspense! OK, maybe that makes it sound a bit too exciting but they were fun. They consisted of a round plastic base that had a shaft running vertically upwards. A spring was placed onto the shaft, and on top of that a rubber suction cup.

The whole thing was finished off with some weird and wacky plastic creation of some kind, which could literally be anything, although creatures that jump were always a good bet, such as insects or kangaroos, or perhaps Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout.

To set the toy you push down on the top so the suction cup came into contact with the plastic base and held the whole thing together. The spring would cause the suction cup to slowly come unstuck, until suddenly the whole thing leapt into the air, ably demonstrating Newton’s Third Law.

I thought these little toys had all but disappeared but you can still get one with a bright yellow smiley face on top for the just fifty pence from Stocking Fillers. Funnily enough, they make quite good stocking fillers!

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Posted by Big Boo on October 21st, 2009

erasureThe Eighties saw more than its fair share of musical styles, what with New Romantics, House, Sound Sample Mixing and several others. Much of the reason for this was the advances in music technology which brought us the synthesiser keyboard, and so was born Synthpop, and one of the biggest proponents of that particular style were Erasure.

Erasure were a double act comprised of Vince Clarke and Andy Bell. Whilst Bell was the exuberant front man it was actually Clarke who was the initial driving force behind the group. Prior to starting Erasure Clarke had been a member of several early eighties bands including Depeche Mode, Yazoo and The Assembly, but in 1985 he placed an advert in Melody Maker magazine and chose Andy Bell from the many applicants to fill the position of vocalist.

The group’s first releases failed to set the UK charts alight however, although they had some success with Oh L’amour, their third single, in Australia and France. Their next song changed all that though. Sometimes made its way to number two in the charts and this helped propel their first album, The Circus, to number six in the album charts, which eventually went platinum.

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Posted by Big Boo on October 19th, 2009

wizbit and wooly the rabbitAs a kid I was fascinated with magic tricks. I had several books on card tricks and simple magical illusions, and also my prized Paul Daniel’s Magic Tricks. Paul Daniels was on the TV quite a lot when I was growing up so he became one of my childhood heroes, which is the main reason why I used to watch Wizbit.

Wizbit appeared in 1985 and was really aimed at younger children than I was at that time, yet so great was the draw of Mr. Daniels that I still tuned in to watch the adventures of the titular large yellow conical creature and a gigantic white rabbit called Wooly. The show was intended to get kids thinking, as it was more about solving puzzles than magic tricks, although given that Wizbit was actually an alien magician from the planet Wow (short for World of Wizards) there was the odd trick too.

The idea was that Wizbit was visiting Earth for a year and a day, although he ended up in a place called Puzzleopolis which is like no town I’ve ever been too. Puzzleopolis was inhabited by a number of strange folk, most of whom were related to the world of light entertainment. Some of the more obvious choices here included clowns and mime artists, although there were walking dice and playing cards, and a big round red thing with massive lips which I assume was meant to be one of those sponge balls magicians use in tricks.

Paul Daniels and his assistant (wife), the lovely Debbie McGee (as Paul always referred to her), also lived there apparently, as did the aforementioned Wooly, who whilst a bit dim witted quickly became Wizbit’s friend and guide to Puzzleopolis. I also remember a big purple lump of slime who sounded like a blues singer who went by the name of Squidgy Bog, but I don’t quite remember what he did other than sound laid back and cool.

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