Store Subscribe via RSS IconRSS or e-mail About this Site Link To Us Sites We Like
Legal Stuff Privacy Policy

Archive for May, 2010

category icon

Gary Coleman 1968-2010

Posted by Big Boo on May 31st, 2010

gary colemanIt’s sad to report that Gary Coleman, child star of US sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, has died at the age of 42 after a fall which led to an epidural hematoma, or blood clot on the brain.

Gary will forever be best remembered for his role as Arnold Jackson in Diff’rent Strokes, the young black orphan who was adopted by the rich white business man Philip Drummond. The show would never have been so popular, spanning 189 episodes and running from 1978 to 1986, if it were not for Arnold and his “Watchoo talkin’ about” catchphrase.

Gary Coleman was born in 1968 and was adopted at a young age. He was born with a congenital kidney disease which led two him having two kidney transplant operations, and which halted his growth, leaving him with a childlike appearance and only reaching a height of 4 feet 8 inches as an adult.

Whilst he was successful as a child actor, appearing in films and guest starring in shows such as Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and even having his own cartoon series, his adult life was not quite so happy. He sued his parents for taking too much of his childhood earnings, but even though he won this case he still ended up filing for bankruptcy in 1999, and ended up taking a job as a security guard, a fact that was used by The Simpsons when he guest starred on that show.

Read more…

category icon

Do You Still Rent Movies?

Posted by Big Boo on May 29th, 2010

When I was a kid I always used to love the process of renting a movie. My sister and I would complain we were bored and wanted to rent a film, and after persistent nagging we would be driven down to the video rental store (which back then was always an independent store, not a chain like Blockbuster) by my Dad to choose a film.

We then wandered around the shop, gazing at the shelves trying to find a film we wanted to see. Often we wanted to see the latest big release, but more often than not were disappointed to find every copy was currently out on loan.

Once we had chosen a film (sometimes two if we couldn’t agree) we drove home again to watch it. Shows how much free time you had as a kid because we would normally manage to watch each film at least twice before we took it back to the shop the next day.

Flash forward to today, and I personally can’t remember the last time I rented a film. I’m not even a member of one of those postal DVD rental schemes that seem to be doing the rounds these days. When was the last time you rented a movie?

When was the last time you rented a movie?
View Results
category icon

Bontempi Air Organs

Posted by Big Boo on May 28th, 2010

Bontempi Air OrganI first encountered a Bontempi Air Organ when I went to visit some relatives at Christmas. It would have been the late seventies or very early eighties, I forget exactly how old I was. My cousin had been given one as a present and we spent part of the afternoon fiddling about with it.

It was a big orange plastic affair, with a decent sized main keyboard and a bank of big chunky buttons on the left hand side. Pressing the keys on the keyboard made a strange humming sound at the desired pitch, whilst pressing the chunky buttons produced a chord, although at the time I thought a chord was a piece of thick string so what relevance these buttons had was completely lost on me.

The keys on the keyboard were all labelled, though with numbers rather than letters as you might have expected. The organ came with a song book that used these numbers to tell you how to play a tune. Whilst perhaps a simpler way of learning to play, ultimately the numbers were probably a bad idea as you’d only need to relearn the proper musical notation when you progressed on to a “proper” instrument.

Read more…

category icon

Around The World With Willy Fogg

Posted by Big Boo on May 26th, 2010

around the world with willy foggDuring the Eighties the BBC brought us a great number of cartoons which were in serial form, that is made up of 20 to 30 episodes which formed an epic full story, rather than most cartoons which are normally stand alone episodes.

The cartoon which started all this off was Dogtanian and The Three Muskehounds and it soon became a must see for many kids. It’s bouncy theme song welcomed you in but more importantly the story being told was interesting and captivating. The Beeb followed Dogtanian up each year with a new epic cartoon, and one of these was Around The World With Willy Fogg.

This series was created by Spanish studio BRB Internacional, who were also responsible for Dogtanian, with animation provided by the Japanese company Nippon Animation. Willy Fogg’s adventures were based on the famous Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days, in which Victorian gentleman Phileas Fogg and his man servant travel around the world in the said 80 days, in order to win a bet.

Now, I admit I haven’t read the novel, but I am told that, name changes aside, and the fact that Willy Fogg is a lion of course, the cartoon is actually remarkably close to the original story. Most of the problems and delays that Phileas Fogg encountered in the book are also encountered by Willy Fogg on his journey. The major addition to the story is the villainous wolf Transfer, who has been employed by Willy’s betting opposition to prevent Mr. Fogg from completing the journey.

Read more…

Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
category icon

Swoosh Balls

Posted by Big Boo on May 24th, 2010

swoosh ballHere’s a rather more obscure toy that you might have had for playing in the garden. It was called the Swoosh Ball although I’m sure it had other names too. I have a vague memory of something called a Ripperoo, which may well have been this particular toy.

The Swoosh Ball looks a bit like a plastic rugby ball. It is threaded on to a couple of lengths of cord which have grip handles on each end. Two people each take hold of two of the grips, and the Swoosh Ball is positioned at one end of the strings.

The player starting with the ball at their end can then pull the strings apart quickly to make the ball go shooting along the strings to the other player, who must then do the same thing before the ball reaches their end and crashes into their fingers. Ouch…

I guess the idea was to play a tennis like game, sliding the ball back and forth until one player failed to return it, although apart from getting tired arms I don’t think it would have been that hard to miss sending the ball back, as there wasn’t an awful lot of skill involved it would seem.

Anybody out there remember these? I never had one personally though I do remember seeing them advertised on TV and thinking they were pretty cool at the time. Looking back now I can’t imagine why I thought that…

category icon

Madonna – Better Now or Then?

Posted by Big Boo on May 22nd, 2010

Madonna first made it big on the music scene in the Eighties, and she’s been in the charts (with the odd gap here and there) ever since. As the years have gone by she’s tried various musical styles and accompanied them with a wide range of fashion statements too. Who can forget her incredibly pointy bra cups for instance?

For this weeks survey then, I would like to know whether you prefer Madonna’s tracks from the Eighties (e.g. Like A Virgin or Holiday) or her more recent efforts (e.g. that dance track which completely ripped off the music from the Abba song Gimme Gimme Gimme – not that I’m trying to influence you or anything!).

Madonna - Better now or better in the Eighties?
View Results
category icon

The Return of the Shake ‘N’ Vac Ad!

Posted by Big Boo on May 21st, 2010

jenny logan shake n vacIt’s not unusual for films and TV programmes to get remade years after they were first released, but it is a bit uncommon for television adverts to get remade, which is why I was surprised to hear that after 30 years Glade have decided to remake their old advert for Shake ‘N’ Vac!

What’s particularly interesting about this is that they’ve done the right thing and got Jenny Logan, the original actress from the ad, to come back and “do the Shake ‘n’ Vac” one more time. The new version of the advert sees Jenny dancing round with a new fancy pink hoover and some funky new moves, but it seems the soundtrack is just as it was before – well, you can’t improve on perfection can you!

One nice touch is that the revamped ad starts with a snippet of Jenny from the original ad, which then morphs into her as she is today, so you get a bit of a before and after effect! Check the new advert out below…



If seeing the advert again has got your feet tapping then you might also be interested to know that Glade, the makers of Shake ‘n’ Vac, are also running a competition in conjunction with The Mirror to win £1000. In keeping with the advert, all you have to do is upload a photograph or video of yourself doing the Shake ‘n’ Vac dance! You can enter the competition here.

And as if that isn’t enough to keep all you Shake ‘n’ Vac fans out there happy, I was also given the opportunity to ask the Shake ‘n’ Vac lady herself (her words, not mine!) a few questions about the adverts. Many thanks to Jenny for answering my questions, and you can see what she had to say by watching the short video below…



category icon

The Proclaimers

Posted by Big Boo on May 19th, 2010

the-proclaimersScottish identical twins Charlie and Craig Reid formed their two man band, The Proclaimers, in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1986 that they would hit the big time. A fan sent a demo tape of theirs to English band The Housemartins, who were so impressed they invited them to tour with them. This led to an appearance on Channel 4 music show The Tube, which gave them their first UK hit single, Letter From America.

Instantly recognisable from their glasses, jeans and thick Scottish accent when singing, Letter From America made them household names when it shot to number 3 in the charts. They had a unique style at the time, being both pop and almost folk music at the same time, the folk influence coming from the warbling sections of the song which is probably why the song was so popular, as everyone loved joining in with that particular bit.

They followed up with I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) which reached number 11 and has now become something of an anthem for Scottish football fans. This song also featured further strange voice work, and I can imagine that going down very well when sung by a stadium of football supporters!

Read more…