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Archive for November, 2009

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Posted by Big Boo on November 16th, 2009

sootyDoesn’t look too bad for a sixty year old, does he? The little yellow bear with black ears that we all know as Sooty has been around since the 1950’s, meaning he’s entertained at least three generations of kids. This has put him in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest running children’s TV show, although the format and name of his TV programmes has changed a fair bit over the years.

Sooty was first “discovered” by Harry Corbett whilst on holiday in Blackpool in 1948. He saw the little yellow bear puppet and bought it for his son Matthew, but it wasn’t long before Harry was using the bear as an assistant in his amateur magic act, naming him Teddy. The duo were spotted and in 1952 they went onto the nations airwaves thanks to a BBC talent show.

Since television was still only black and white a last minute decision was made to alter Teddy’s appearance to make him stand out better on screen. A black nose and mouth were added by Harry’s wife Marjorie and his ears were blackened with soot, which led to us new stage name, Sooty! He also got his trademark catchphrase, the magical phrase Izzy Wizzy Let’s Get Busy, although of course given that Sooty never actually spoke out loud, this was said by Harry.

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Tastiest Slush Puppie

Posted by Big Boo on November 14th, 2009

I wrote this week about my memories of enjoying good old Slush Puppie, so what better survey this week than to find out what flavour of the slurpy ice drink is everyone’s favourite. Choose from the six flavours available in the UK below, and I’d love to know if anyone still has a shop near them that sells all six flavours still. If you have, please leave a comment on this post so we all know where to go the next time you really, really want a cola flavoured Slush Puppie…

The tastiest Slush Puppie flavour was...
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Russell Athletics 80’s-izer

Posted by Big Boo on November 13th, 2009

One thing that may surprise you is that I was a bit of a breakdancer in my youth. Yeah, I could really bust some moves! That snake move where you lie on the ground in a press-up position and flick yourself backwards was one of my specialities, and my body had more pop than Tescos. Don’t believe me? OK, here’s the evidence…

OK, I had a bigger afro then and my skin tone was decidedly darker on the rest of my body than it was on my face, but I was quite the mover, yeah?

Well, no, of course not. If I had attempted breakdancing it would certainly have been more break than dance. Vases, TV sets, legs, arms, the works. The above is of course a work of Internet trickery, courtesy of clothing brand Russell Athletic, who are reintroducing their range of sports wear into UK stores. The range includes T-Shirts, Hoodies, Shorts and more, so why not pop over to the Russell Athletic site to take a look, and make your own 80’s-ized movie featuring yourself or friends at the same time.

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8-Bit Wedding Invitation

Posted by Big Boo on November 11th, 2009

8-bit wedding inviteI came across this cool image by Spanish designer Carla Berrocal this week and just had to share it with you as it’s a great example of early Eighties videogame art. One of her clients asked her to come up with a wedding invitation for them and the result was this great pixellated bride and groom.

The front of the card shows our block hero and heroine outside a church, with the man down on one knee asking for his true love’s hand in marriage. Of course there’s a little red heart floating in the air between them, just as there should be.

Inside the invitation makes use of the classic Namco arcade game font to let you know the bride and grooms names. It’s depicted like the beginning of a bout in a beat ’em up, complete with “Vs.” between the couple.

Not for everyone perhaps, but it’s certainly distinctive and makes a difference from the usual cream or ivory with pictures of wedding rings or champagne flutes. If you want to see more take a look on Carla’s website.

Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Our Latest Competition Winner

Posted by Big Boo on November 10th, 2009

Just a very brief post today to let everyone know who won our recent competition to win a selection of cool books and DVDs. To win you had to answer this question. What was the name of the badger in Doctor Snuggles? The answer was Dennis, and the lucky winner who should be receiving their prizes through the post soon is…

Julie Smith from Cumbria

Ooh, I feel like a game show host announcing that. We had over 500 entries to this competition, so congratulations Julie, and we hope to be running another competition very soon.

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Slush Puppie

Posted by Big Boo on November 9th, 2009

slush puppie 80s and nowIf there is one thing guaranteed to give you brain freeze faster than a freshly opened ice lolly it’s gulping down a mouthful of Slush Puppie, that wonderful iced drink concoction. It tastes great, but not when you have to clutch your forehead in agony for a few minutes before you can have some more!

The name may not sound that appealing, what with slush being more associated with greying melted ice, but it’s proved to be a good name choice because it is very distinctive. The spelling of Puppie (instead of Puppy) was also specifically chosen to help the product stand out in shops. An interesting tactic, you sort of look at the word and start to question yourself whether the spelling is correct or not, so it stays in your mind for longer.

I distinctly remember the first time I came across Slush Puppie. There was a large newsagent in our local shopping centre which got one of the Slush Puppie machines in behind the counter. You would request your flavour, and a couple of squirts of syrup and a dollop of ice later you’d be presented with your ice cold drink and a straw.

Every time we went past this shop we would pester our Mum for a cup of Slush Puppie, so I’m sure before long she purposely started to avoid that part of the shopping centre on purpose!

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Harmless or Elite?

Posted by Big Boo on November 7th, 2009

If you had any of the 8-bit home computers then chances are you spent many hours flying around space wasting pirates and trading luxury goods and computers whilst playing Elite, a game which still holds up well today, if you can look past its wireframe 3D graphics that is.

Elite was well ahead of its time, providing the player with a universe of planets to jump between. The formula has been attempted a few times since, but Elite still manages to hold its head up when compared to most of them, despite its age.

Since the game had no real ending as such, players marked their progress by how much money they had, which cool spacecraft they flew and also their ranking, which was little more than a ranking system based on the number of kills you had made. Of course back then you never realised it was this simple and assumed it must be calculated from all kinds of complex analysis.

When you began the game you were ranked Harmless (a nod to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) but the ultimate accolade was to be classed as Elite, and that’s what this weeks survey is about. If you were a fan of Elite, then what was the highest ranking you managed to achieve?

Were you...
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Wrist Racers

Posted by Big Boo on November 6th, 2009

wrist racerToy cars have always been fun to play with, from the tiniest Micro Machine through Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars right up to much larger radio controlled affairs. Some cars you have to be content with just pushing along yourself, whilst others (particularly those dream filled supercars) are really intended to be ornaments rather than playthings. Others may be battery driven, or there’s always the good old friction driven pull-back-and-go ones.

Wrist Racers were a popular brand of toy car during the 1980’s, and as the name suggests the gimmick with these was that you wore them on your wrist. Doesn’t sound that much fun does it? Well, it was more fun than you might think.

The Wrist Racer car itself was about the size of the average Hot Wheels car, but where it differed was that it contained a little wind up motor. Once fully wound, the car was inserted into a holder (which you wore on your wrist like a gigantic watch), and could be covered with a transparent plastic lid to keep it safe.

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