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Archive for September, 2010

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Happy 25th Birthday Super Mario

Posted by Big Boo on September 13th, 2010

Super MarioNintendo are currently making a big deal about their mustachioed videogame mascot Mario being 25 years old this year, on the very day this post goes out in fact. It may seem quite amazing that Mario has already reached the quarter century, but what’s more amazing is that he is actually a little older than that.

Nintendo may be marking this year as the official 25th birthday of Mario, but games fans will no doubt know that Mario’s first appearance was actually in Donkey Kong. OK, he was known as Jumpman then but the sprite (the name given to 2D videogame images) is most definitely Mario through and through.

Even if you don’t include Donkey Kong though, there was the original Mario Bros game (which was a bit rubbish in my opinion) which was released in 1983 and introduced his brother, Luigi. However, I think what Nintendo are getting at is that the first Super Mario Bros game was released in 1985, and this is undoubtedly the game that truly made Mario a star. Indeed, Super Mario Bros was the biggest selling videogame of all time, that is until Wii Sports came along…

So who is Mario then? Well, Mario Mario (his full name, according to the Hollywood film anyway) is an Italian American plumber who now lives in the Mushroom Kingdom, a land connected by big green pipes and ruled over by the oh-so-sweet-and-lovely Princess Peach, who is often referred to as Mario’s girlfriend, but whether they really are an item is never really made clear.

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I Love Looking Like A Martian

Posted by Big Boo on September 11th, 2010

There are some truly useless things bought out some times which kids just adore, and what better example than the Deelie Boppers. Little more than a plastic headband with two ping pong balls on springs attached to it, for some reason there was a big craze for these when I was growing up.

Admittedly it was really the kind of thing you bought when going on a seaside holiday, so you could wear them whilst making sandcastles on the beach or whilst strutting your funky stuff at the evening Junior Disco at the holiday park.

So, did you own a pair of these useless items (useless of course unless you wanted to make yourself look like an alien, for which they were perfect).

Did you own a pair of Deelie Boppers?
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Popples

Posted by Big Boo on September 10th, 2010

PopplesIt’s the mid 1980’s and in the world of boys toys Transformers is currently big news. Seeing this great new trend the toy manufacturers started to wonder how they could take this idea and apply it to something that little girls might be more interested in playing with. The result of this curiosity was Popples.

Popples were soft teddy bear like toys that came in a range of bright lurid colours, which in some cases made them look as though they had been made by someone’s Mum using some oddments of fur fabric that were left overs from some other sewing project. Their bodies were furry and they had a shock of fluffy hair on the top of their heads. They also had a long thin tail with a pom-pom like end.

So far so ordinary, so where did the Transformers influence come in? Well, the back of the toy had a big pouch on it. You could push the body of the toy into this pouch so that only the head popped out the top and it looked like it was sat in a little furry sleeping bag.

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Condorman

Posted by Big Boo on September 8th, 2010

condormanI have to admit that my taste in films hasn’t really progressed that much from when I was a boy. Show me a film with an alien, a spaceship or a superhero and I’m hooked. Todays post is a film about one of the latter, a superhero. Well, a superhero of sorts anyway.

Condorman was a Walt Disney film release from 1981, which starred Michael Crawford (yes, the hapless Frank Spencer from the seventies sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em) as Woodrow Wilkins. When I first watched the film I half expected him to still have the slightly effeminate sounding voice, so was shocked to hear Frank Spencer talking with an American accent!

Woodrow, or Woody for short, is a comic book writer, but he works to a set of principals which mean he doesn’t include anything in any of his stories that couldn’t happen in the real world. Hence this is why the film opens with Woody plunging into the River Seine in Paris whilst attempting to fly with a gigantic set of wings strapped to his back.

Woody is in Paris visiting his friend Harry, who works for the CIA. Harry is ordered to find a US citizen to perform a document swap in Istanbul, and Woody is only to pleased to help out his friend. However, when he arrives in Istanbul the Russian citizen he is supposed to be swapping papers with turns out to be a Russian spy called Natalia.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Moonlighting

Posted by Big Boo on September 6th, 2010

moonlightingRunning from 1985 to 1989, Moonlighting was a very unique show. It was an unusual mix of drama, comedy and romance, all delivered at a shotgun pace by its stars Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis, so you had to pay attention, as there were many scenes where both character were talking nineteen to the dozen and at the same time as each other.

The back story was that Maddie Hayes (Shepherd), a former model, found herself in financial problems after being ripped off by her accountant. Whilst selling off her remaining assets she finds she owns a private detective agency run by David Addison (Willis). Addison manages to persuade her to not sell the business and instead become a full time partner instead, which she agrees to do, renaming the company the Blue Moon Detective Agency, a name which came from the shampoo for which she was famous for advertising.

The partnership, for the most part, worked well, with the pair solving cases amid many a wise crack from Addison and a blossoming, but awkward, romance between the pair.

One of the main reasons for the show being so unusual was that the characters in it quite often started addressing the audience directly, from a raised eyebrow or a knowing look to the camera to full blown dialogue addressing the viewers. Other bizarre things would also suddenly happen, like cast members suddenly leaving the set of a member of the production crew coming on to make an adjustment to the set.

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The Hits of Wham!

Posted by Big Boo on September 4th, 2010

With the news that George Michael’s Faith is to be remastered and reissued later this month, it got me thinking about his earlier days as part of Wham! and just how many highly memorable songs he has been involved with.

Whether you love or hate Wham!, chances are you probably could sing along or at least hum many of their songs, so this week I’m asking you what your favourite Wham! song is.

What was your favourite Wham! song?
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Dragon 32/64

Posted by Big Boo on September 3rd, 2010

dragon 32 computerThe home computer wars of the Eighties are lined with many casualties, and one of those that fell by the wayside was the Dragon 32, made by Welsh company Dragon Data.

The machine was similar in specification to the Tandy TRS-80, a computer that was probably even less popular here in the UK than the Dragon 32 was. So similar were they that many programs written for one machine would work on the other.

The Dragon 32 was launched in 1982, and outwardly looked like a nice machine, with a sturdy beige case, good quality keyboard and a decent amount of RAM for the time – 32K, as you’ve probably guessed. However, turn it on and it started to suffer when compared against other machines of its day.

The first thing you would probably notice was the lack of lower case characters. The Dragon 32 only supported upper case out of the box (and even then some of the character graphics were a little disappointing, such as the square letter O) and if you wanted to display lower case you would have to resort to writing a program to do that yourself.

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George Michael’s Faith Album To Be Reissued

Posted by Big Boo on September 1st, 2010

George Michael FaithGeorge Michael may have had great success as one half of Wham!, but it wasn’t until he went solo that he could truly claim to have become a superstar of the pop world. George left Wham! because he was fed up with catering to a mainly teenage audience, and spurred on by the success of Careless Whisper, arguably a more mature sounding song than most of their repertoire, he finally decided to go it alone in 1986.

1987 then saw the release of his first solo album, entitled Faith, which was entirely written, arranged and produced by George, further cementing the fact that he was a very talented singer and musician. Faith hit the number one spot in the album charts of the UK, USA and several other countries, and went on to sell over 20 million copies!

That impressive sales figure is set to increase now that the album has been remastered and is to be reissued on 27th September 2010. Containing ten tracks, six of which managed to reach the top slot in the singles chart, I’m sure you’ll recognise most of the songs instantly. As well as the song that forms the title of the album, Faith, there’s also Father Figure, Monkey and I Want Your Sex. That last one can probably be played on the radio without any problems these days, but on release many radio stations played the alternative version I Want Your Love instead.

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