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Archive for May, 2010

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Pot Noodle

Posted by Big Boo on May 17th, 2010

pot noodlePreviously on this very site I’ve written about some very tasty foodstuffs from my childhood, including Galaxy Counters (which many have rejoiced about the return of) and Bird’s Instant Hot Crunch Puddings (which many would like to see brought back).

It’s surprising then why when there are so many foods that we are all eager to see return, there are others which are still around today which many would not miss should they disappear from shop shelves. One such example is the Pot Noodle.

Pot Noodle were made by Golden Wonder and first appeared in UK shops in 1979, although they were previously developed in Japan where they are known as Cup Noodle. Given that when the name Pot Noodle is mentioned most will respond with something along the lines of “Urgh!”, “Yuck!” or “Bleurgh!”, it’s a (golden) wonder they are still around.

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Bagpuss, The Mice, Yaffle?

Posted by Big Boo on May 15th, 2010

It may well have been made before the Eighties, but Bagpuss was one of my favourite TV programmes when I was little (and I must admit I’m still fond of that saggy old cat now).

The titular star, Bagpuss himself, had a number of friends who used to help him to fix the things that Emily, the little girl who owned Bagpuss (and bizarrely the shop in which he lived) had found and brought in to be fixed.

The most helpful of these were the Mice from the Mouse Organ, who actually did pretty much all the work really. Then there was Professor Yaffle, the carved wooden bookend in the shape of a woodpecker, who used to order the others about because he thought he knew best.

Finally there were Madeline the doll and Gabriel the toad, who sat on a high shelf and sang songs.

Which of these characters were your favourite? I find it hard to choose between the Mice and Yaffle personally…

Who was your favourite Bagpuss character?
Total Votes: 59 Started: May 11, 2010 Back to Vote Screen
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Posted by Big Boo on May 14th, 2010

sorry ronnie corbettSorry! was a BBC sitcom that starred Ronnie Corbett as a librarian called Timothy Lumsden who was in his forties but still lived at home with his mother and father, who still treated him somewhat as if he was a teenager.

Timothy’s mother was called Phyllis (played by Barbara Lott) and she was most definitely the head of the household. If something didn’t meet with her approval then it wasn’t allowed to happen, especially if it had anything to do with Timothy leaving home.

His father was Sydney (William Moore) who was also much put upon and derided by his wife, so he had evolved a survival scheme of either sleeping whenever possible, or hiding behind a newspaper.

I think Sydney also didn’t really listen properly to things at times, which is why he always came out with his catchphrase “Language Timothy” whenever Tim said something that he thought was rude or inappropriate, when most of the time it wasn’t anything of the sort.

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Posted by Big Boo on May 12th, 2010

splashWith special effect technology beginning to come of age in the eighties (and with realistic computer generated images still some way off) a lot of films started to be made which used special effects to enable some more outlandish films to be made. A good example of this is Splash.

Splash was directed by Ron Howard and was the first picture released by the then new Touchstone Pictures. It starred Daryl Hannah as a mermaid named Madison (that’s where the special effects come in), and Tom Hanks as the human Allen Bauer, who falls in love with her. As a child Allen fell into the sea, and was rescued by the young Madison. Later in life fate calls him to need to be rescued again, and Madison comes to his aid again.

Allen is besotted with Madison, and it appears she must be keen on him too, for after finding that Allen has dropped his wallet, she tries to return it to him in New York City. How does she do this, considering she is water bound? Well, once her fish-like tail dries out enough it magically transforms into a pair of human legs.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Jack Straws

Posted by Big Boo on May 10th, 2010

jack straws gameNot to be confused with the Labour MP of similar name, Jack Straws is a classic old game of the kind that I’m sure are still available, but yet you never seem to see in the shops any more.

It was a game that rewarded steady hands. It consisted of a large number of miniature plastic objects including oars, crutches and swords (the Jack Straws), which were grouped together in one hand then left to tumble under gravity onto a table.

Using a small tool (basically a piece of wire with a hook on one end) the aim of the game was for each player to remove a piece from the pile without moving any other pieces. If you did move another piece you were out of the game.

Really simple yet it could be quite addictive. It had been around for many many years before the eighties came around, but I think as with many such toys this was the time period when these sorts of games started to get phased out in favour of more modern toys containing far fewer real hours worth of play in them.

You might also know this game as Pick Up Sticks, although in truth this is a subtly different game. Instead of little shovels and things the game is just played with a large number of wooden (or plastic) sticks. Since the sticks have nothing for a hook to catch hold of, Pick Up Sticks was normally played just by picking the sticks up with your fingers.

Search for Jack Straws items on

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The Famous Secret Number of Crime Solving Kids Gang

Posted by Big Boo on May 8th, 2010

I wrote about the Red Hand Gang this week, which was about a group of kids who solve mysteries. There have been countless examples of this genre, from cartoons such as Scooby Doo and Captain Caveman, through books like the countless Enid Blyton examples, and then TV shows such as the afore mentioned Red Hand Gang.

These kids always seemed to come across villains left, right and centre, and were able to bring them to justice to boot, and all done only with the aid of their feisty canine chum (or caveman).

So, was anyone out there part of a crime solving kids gang? I’m guessing not…

Did you and your mates ever solve mysteries and bring villains to justice?
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Big TVs On Wheels At School

Posted by Big Boo on May 7th, 2010

wooden-televisionToday schools seem to be brimming with technology, with even primary schools having several computers, TVs, video recorders and those fancy-shmanchy electronic white boards. In the eighties we thought ourselves lucky (and we were!) if we had one BBC Micro for the entire school and a single big TV on wheels.

Did your school have one of these? The big TV was sat on a massive wheeled stand, and was contained in a wooden cabinet with two doors that covered the screen. If your school was lucky the stand also housed a video recorder, which none of the teachers seemed to have the foggiest idea how to operate, so the class was left for ten minutes yelling what needed to be done whilst the teacher fiddled about, called another teacher, who fiddled some more before giving up and then calling the one teacher in the school who actually did know how to use it, and promptly did exactly what the children had been saying to do.

Everyone used to look forward to seeing the TV set appear, both because of the high spirits that occured whilst waiting for the teachers to get their act together, and also because it meant you were going to be allowed to watch one of those programmes for schools and colleges instead of doing some real work!

Sometimes the big TV also doubled as the afore mentioned BBC Micro’s monitor, which was even more fun as it required the teacher to work out how to connect up and start a computer, which was guaranteed to be even more fun that seeing them struggle to work a VCR.

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The Red Hand Gang

Posted by Big Boo on May 5th, 2010

the red hand gangIn the days before dedicated kids TV channels, The Red Hand Gang was one of those US TV shows that the BBC always pulled out of the archives to fill in gaps in their children’s TV schedules in the afternoons and during school holiday mornings. Being the BBC though, it was, of course, quality filler material!

The show was an American take on the Enid Blyton Famous Five tales, where a group of kids get together to solve mysteries which they just happen to stumble upon. In this case though we swap the English middle class boarding school kids and the seaside setting for a group of every day inner city kids.

There were five kids in The Red Hand Gang. Frankie was the leader, whilst J.R. was the athletic one, Doc was the clever one, Joanne was the tom-boy, and Li’l Bill was the youngest, and brother of Frankie. They were also accompanied by their dog, Boomer, who even ended up getting his own TV show later on!

The gang got their name from the fact that they used to leave a red hand print on walls to mark where they had been. That was perhaps a bit naughty for the Beeb, but the rest of the show was fairly innocent stuff, with the kids tracking down clues, discussing plans in their clubhouse and they bringing the villains to justice.

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