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Archive for June, 2011

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Fake Vomit

Posted by Big Boo on June 29th, 2011

Fake VomitI hope you’re not eating your dinner whilst reading this one (and if you are, what are you doing on the computer whilst eating anyway – you’ll get food in the keyboard).

Fake vomit or Trick Sick (not to be confused with Trick Stick) is one of those joke toys that kids always find highly amusing for some reason, a bit like fake dog poo.

Made from plastic and made to look, well, like sick (complete with “carrot chunks”) the idea is to shock and disgust adults by placing said item in a strategic place (e.g. in the middle of your Mum’s brand new living room carpet).

Sadly I’ve no fascinating tale related to fake “technicolour yawns” of my own to relate, but a great one is that told by Chunk to the Fratellis in The Goonies. He says about going to the cinema and making vomiting sounds before throwing some fake puke into the audience, which caused a mass vomiting session in the cinema. Funny, though perhaps not so funny had you been in the audience in question!

So if the inner child inside of you still feels like playing a practical joke of this manner (perhaps your Mum has just had another new carpet fitted and it would be a good repeat gag?) you can get hold of your very own plastic sick from Silly Jokes.

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Dot Matrix Printers

Posted by Big Boo on June 27th, 2011

Dot Matrix PrinterToday, most households with a home PC probably also have a printer that is capable of printing full colour near photo quality pictures, and we kind of take it for granted. Most will own an ink jet style printer that cost less than 100 pounds (probably less than 50 pounds) and we tend to take it for granted really.

As recently as the 1980s though this would have almost have been deemed witchcraft! Back then printers cost as much, if not more, than the computer they were connected to, and you were often limited to a mere handful of printers that your home computer could actually connect to (it was no doubt made by the company that made your computer too).

If you did have access to a printer back then, be it at home, work or school, chances are it was a dot matrix printer. These printers worked in a similar manner to a typewriter. Mounted on a rail inside the printer was the print head, which was a little device that had a row of pins that could each be pushed out individually.

The pins were fired out at speed towards an inked ribbon which was just in front of the paper. The pins pushed the ribbon against the paper and thus left a dot on the paper. The pins retracted, the print head then moved a small distance along the rail, and a different selection of pins would fire out. By varying which pins were pushed forward, characters could be printed on the paper.

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The Wuzzles

Posted by Big Boo on June 24th, 2011

The WuzzlesThe Wuzzles was an animated series made by Disney in 1985, and given it only managed to notch up a single series of 13 episodes obviously was at the back of the queue when the usually Disney magic sparkle dust of success was being handed out.

It first aired at around the same time as Gummi Bears, another series aimed at a similar target demographic. The Gummi’s managed to do a little better for themselves that The Wuzzles, but only slightly.

So what on Earth is a Wuzzle then? Well, a Wuzzle is a creature that is a mix of two regular animals. For example there was Bumblelion, who was a mix of a lion and a bumble bee. In appearance he looked pretty much like what you would expect a anthropomorphised cartoon lion to look like, except he also had antennae, wings and a stripy stomach.

Other characters from the Isle of Wuz included Rhinokey (rhino and monkey), Eleroo (elephant and kangaroo), Hoppopotamus (rabbit and hippo) and Butterbear (butterfly and bear). These were all good guys, but of course there has to be bad guys, the main villain being Crock, who was somewhat bizarrely half crocodile and half dinosaur (though which particular dinosaur I don’t know, though I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was a Tyrannosaurus Rex – it usually is).

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Chip’s Comic

Posted by Big Boo on June 22nd, 2011

Chips ComicNow, first of all this entry has nothing to do with the old British comic book Whizzer and Chips, though it does unsurprisingly have something to do with a comic, and also a TV show.

Cast your minds back to when Channel 4 first started airing (if you can remember that far back of course). When it first started it only aired from around 4pm in the afternoon, which meant it didn’t do a whole lot of children’s programming to start off with. At the weekends however Channel 4 was on during the day, so this is when it’s kids shows were shown.

Aside from Pob’s Programme, the only other Channel 4 kids programme I have any memories of was Chip’s Comic. It was a programme for younger kids which was about a computer, named Chip, that put together a weekly comic book with the aid of some human assistants (Gordon Griffin, who played a character called Inky, Elsa O’Toole) and a dog named Rover (who was actually Sir Harry Secombe’s son Andrew in a dog suit).

The show consisted of the Chip’s Comic gang putting together the latest issue of the comic, with a few madcap japes thrown in for good measure.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Real Brick Building Sets

Posted by Big Boo on June 20th, 2011

Building BricksHere’s an old toy I have very dim memories of from my youth, so much so that I’m not even sure I remember its real name. I believe it was called Link, though it may have been spelled Linq instead, or indeed I might be completely wrong about the name entirely.

What I do remember though is that I wanted a set and never got one.

Basically Link (if that was its name of course) was a kit that allowed you to build houses out of real miniature bricks held together with cement, or at least something close to cement that was safe for kids to play with anyway.

You built up your model house exactly as if you were building a real house, laying the bricks in courses then slotting in windows and doors (assuming you’d left the right size gap of course) before putting on the roof, which I’m sure involved gluing little roof tiles together, though whether you had a wooden frame to build against like in a real house I’m not sure.

I think this is a toy that must have died out in the Eighties (or possibly late Seventies), but was extremely popular with little lads and lasses across the country during the Fifties and Sixties.

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Posted by Big Boo on June 17th, 2011

CornettoDo you remember how as a kid there were some sweets and snacks that your parents would buy you normally, but others were considered a treat? Notice how quite often it also coincided that whenever you were allowed to have one of those “treat” items, you’re parents were likely to have one as well?

A good example of this in our family was the Cornetto ice cream. Back in the Eighties the Cornetto was a new idea still, and as such was often twice the price of other ice creams. If my parents weren’t having an ice cream then I would probably be allowed a Lemonade Sparkle or if I was lucky a Walls Feast (yummy), but Cornettos were generally off limits unless they were having one too.

I certainly used to enjoy having a Cornetto when allowed though, and at the time I much preferred them to the standard Mr. Whippy style ice cream, or indeed the scoop of Soft Scoop Vanilla on a cone. I liked the way the ice cream went right to the bottom, so you didn’t have to worry about pushing the ice cream down the cone with your tongue to prevent having to eat half a dry cone on its own.

I recall there being four flavours originally, which in order of my own personal preference were Mint Choc Chip, Strawberry, Chocolate and Hazelnut and Rum ‘n’ Raisin.

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The B-52’s

Posted by Big Boo on June 15th, 2011

The B-52'sI’ve covered bands before which have been popular in the UK but are considered one hit wonders in other parts of the world (e.g. Dexys Midnight Runners) so now it’s time for one which many in the UK would consider a one hit wonder – The B-52’s.

In the UK, the song they are best known for is Love Shack, one of those tunes that gets put on for parties because it’s such a happy sounding song, yet is still quite rock ‘n’ roll in it’s way. Some may also remember that they provided a version of the theme song for the live action Flintstones movie, though technically they were called The BC-52’s for that…

Anyway, as with most in the UK it was Love Shack that was the first B-52’s song I had knowingly heard, but the band name wasn’t new to me. I had heard of them before as, being a big fan of the Commodore Amiga home computer, I had learnt that several models of this computer had the name of a B-52’s song printed on the motherboard. For example, the extremely popular Amiga 500 had Rock Lobster printed on it’s main board.

It wasn’t until I went to college (mid 1990’s) that I actually heard some more B-52’s songs. A friend had a couple of albums, so as well as finally getting to hear what Rock Lobster sounded like I also heard a number of other songs such as Planet Claire, Is That You Mo-Dean and Good Stuff.

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Rub Down Transfers

Posted by Big Boo on June 13th, 2011

Rub Down TransfersDo you remember Letraset? Those sheets of letters that came on a sheet of plastic that when rubbed over with a soft pencil could be transferred onto a sheet of paper? I’m sure you can still get them from places like Staples of other office supply shops.

Well, the Rub Down Transfers I’m thinking of were very similar to these, and indeed the first instances of them were made by the company that made Letraset. Instead of little letters on the plastic sheet you had full colour pictures which could be rubbed off onto paper or cardboard to make an interesting scene.

Also known as Action Transfers or by the brand name Kalkitos, you normally bought them as a pack containing a sheet of the transfers and a thin cardboard background image onto which you could rub the transfers to make an instant piece of artwork.

Sometimes you also got a special plastic wand that you could use instead of a pencil to rub the transfer down, but I always preferred using a pencil since you could more easily tell when you had rubbed over the entire image, so you didn’t lift the plastic too soon and leave half the image behind.

There were a huge number of sets to choose from, some licensed from films and TV programmes (I remember having a set for E.T.) whilst others were of more generic themes such as wild or farm animals, cars, superheroes and much more.

I certainly enjoyed playing with these as a child, and they have recently been relaunched in Singapore. Head over to the Kalkitos website if you want to learn more though, as they apparently will ship worldwide.