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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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Mr T Fancy Dress Costume

Posted by Big Boo on June 6th, 2012

If you spent any of your formative years during the Eighties then I’m pretty sure you would have been a fan of The A Team. The crack commando unit falsely imprisoned for a crime they did not commit (robbing the Bank of Hanoi during the Vietnam war apparently, bet you didn’t know that!) were essential viewing back then if you didn’t want to be an outcast in the school playground.

By far and away the most recognisable member of the squad had to be B.A. Barracus played by ex-wrestler Mr T. You simply could not have had the A Team without B.A. The fact he managed to look aggressive whilst dripping in more gold jewellery than Jimmy Saville was astounding, probably due in no small part to his trademark mohawk hair cut.

I was therefore more than pleased when the fancy dress costumes website Jokers’ Masquerade got in touch to offer me the chance of taking a look at one of their extensive range of costumes. I promptly took them up on their offer and a couple of days later a big box arrived containing their Mr T Fancy Dress costume.

The Mr T costume comprises four parts. The first is a padded top half which gives you an instant six pack and bulging biceps. The sleeves of the top finish with two denim cuffs each emblazoned with a shiny gold letter T. Velcro fasteners at the back of the neck and on the cuffs keep everything nicely in place.

Next is a pair of denim dungarees that feature a built in belt with another big golden T for the buckle. The dungarees again fasten at the front with velcro, but have two big fake golden buttons on the straps. One nice feature is that you can wear normal clothes underneath still if you wish as the dungarees feature holes on either side to allow you access to trouser pockets.

A generous length of gold sequins is included to replicate the gold chains worn by the man himself, although you might want to consider getting some more fake bling to complement this, since Mr. T was normally dripping in gold.

The final part of the package is probably the most important part of any Mr T fancy dress costume. The mohawk hair style is incredibly important so included is a brown rubber bald cap that has a stripe of black hair running along it. The hair on my cap looked a little flat to start off with thanks to being folded up in the packaging, but a quick tussling with a hair brush soon sorted that out.

All in all the Mr T costume seems like a very good product, being well made from quality materials. I was quite expecting the dungarees to be a bit on the thin side but they are actually made from a light weight denim that looks like it should more than cope with the rigours of the average fancy dress party and not immediately self destruct as soon as you leave the house.

I was also sent a rather cool blow up machine gun to add to the ensemble. Made from black plastic, with white printing to pick out some details, when inflated it looks surprisingly effective as it features triggers and a built in ammo clip, and is just the right size to tuck under your arm and make gutteral machine gun noises whilst pretending to shoot all the other fancy dress party guests.

All in all I heartily recommend the Mr T costume, but if you fancy dressing up as another favourite from your youth then there is a wide range of other 80s fancy dress costumes available from the Jokers’ Masquerade website.

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Where’s Asterix?

Posted by Big Boo on September 9th, 2011

Where's Asterix?Towards the tail end of the Eighties, a new phenomenon in books came along – the Where’s Wally? (or if you come from the US – Where’s Waldo?) series. These books had incredibly detailed and intricate drawings depicting various different types of scenes in which the stripy jumpered Wally was hiding, and it was the readers job to scour the pages trying to find him.

The concept proved very popular and as well as several follow up Wally books, it has also been applied to other famous characters, and one of these is Asterix the Gaul, in a book entitled, funnily enough, Where’s Asterix?

Where’s Asterix contains 12 action packed double page scenes in which it is your task to locate the famous French character. To add to the fun each scene also lists a number of other things for you to try and find, turning the book into a game in the process. You award yourself one laurel wreath for everything you find, and two every time you locate Asterix himself. If you manage to attain between 50 and 65 wreaths you can declare yourself a champion Asterix spotter!

The book was originally published in France a few years back, and has finally made it’s way to the UK thanks to Orion publishing, who deal with all the Asterix books in the UK. Since I’m sure a great many younger readers of today will probably not be that familiar with Asterix and his friends, the book also includes a useful introduction showing you what all the funny named characters are, including Asterix’s best friend Obelix and his dog Dogmatix. I still can’t believe that the potion providing druid is called Getafix…

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Rat On The Road

Posted by Big Boo on November 2nd, 2010

Rat On The RoadBack in the early Eighties Britons looked on enviously at the the US with their huge range of TV channels, whilst we had a paltry three. Not only did the Americans have far more channels but they also had this curious idea of having actual TV programmes shown in the early hours of the morning. We just had test cards and pages from Ceefax.

In 1983 things changed, and we were treated to breakfast TV. First the BBC started with Breakfast Time, and soon after ITV followed suit with TV-am. The BBC took the lions share of the viewers, and poor old TV-am limped along, ratings dropping lower each day. What could save them?

A puppet Rat perhaps? Nah, surely not. Well, yes it did. Roland Rat Superstar was initially created to introduce some cartoons for the kids during the normal running of the TV-am programming, but in Summer 1983, with just a pink Ford Anglia and a meagre budget, Roland became a bit of a legend. During the summer holidays Roland and his gerbil chum Kevin were given half an hour to entertain the kiddies, and in so doing stopped TV-am from going under.

History lesson out of the way then, I’m pleased to announce that Rat On The Road, that first true slice of Roland at his best, is to be released on DVD on November 15th 2010, and I’ve had the pleasure of taking a sneak look at the disc before release. The memories came flooding back!

The main part of the disc is a condensed version of those first Rat On The Road shows. The original format was that Roland and Kevin travelled to different parts of the country every week, exploring different aspects of the chosen city each day. This disc takes some of the highlights of the series, and splices them together with Roland, Kevin and Errol the Welsh hamster (who ironically doesn’t get to visit Cardiff at the beginning of the series), reading extracts from Roland’s diary of the trip.

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The Littlest Hobo Series 1 DVD Box Set

Posted by Big Boo on April 21st, 2010

littlest hobo dvdThere have been many TV shows about heroic animals (mostly dogs) who help people in need. Way, way before my time there was Rin Tin Tin, and there have been many different versions of Lassie. Leaving canines behind for a bit we also had Flipper the dolphin, Gentle Ben the bear and of course Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. However, the one I remember most from my childhood has to be The Littlest Hobo.

The first series of The Littlest Hobo was made in the sixties, but in 1979 a remake was made and this is the version I am writing about today. The show didn’t make its way to UK TV screens until the early Eighties, but it soon became a staple part of the children’s TV line up from the BBC for many years. The first series is to be released on DVD for the first time on Monday 26th April 2010, so you can relive the adventures of the amazing German Shepherd for yourself.

The Box Set consists of four discs, containing 24 episodes of doggy delights, which have obviously been through some kind of remastering process as the picture quality is actually much better than I expected. Even when I was a kid I remember the image always seemed a bit colourless when it was shown on TV, but here it’s quite vividly coloured and is quite high quality. In places some of the people seem to suffer from a bit of a halo appearing around them, but it’s normally only when you have scenes containing very light and very dark objects at the same time.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Street Hawk – Complete DVD Box Set

Posted by Big Boo on April 9th, 2010

Street Hawk dvdThere’s nothing like the evidence of numbers to make you feel old. Classic 80s superbike show Street Hawk is now 25 years old (say a quarter of a century and that sounds even worse!), but has finally made its way onto DVD so we can all relive those heady thrills of running round in the back garden pretending to ride a motorbike at 300mph!

The DVD box set contains 4 discs which hold the pilot episode of the series and all 12 regular episodes. Also included is an alternative version of the pilot where Street Hawk is equipped with a different weapon, a wide selection of photographs from the show, biographes and a documentary about the show featuring Rex Smith (who played Street Hawk’s rider Jesse Mach), Joe Regalbuto (who was Norman Tuttle, the bikes designer) and Jeannie Wilson (who played Rachel Adams, Jesse’s co-worker in the police PR department).

The episodes themselves, which is obviously the most important part of the DVD, seem to be a good quality image considering the age of the show now. Sadly there are no episode commentaries, but again that’s probably understandable. It’s not only fun watching this show again as a trip down memory lane, but also to see how many actors you can recognise from other films and TV series.

Christopher Lloyd turns up in the pilot episode playing a really nasty villain (which seems so unlike Mr. Lloyds other roles, but he’s really quite convincing) and so does Robert Beltran, who went on to play Commander Chakotay on Star Trek Voyager. Another very famous face that pops up in one episode is a very young looking George Clooney, who plays an old friend of Jesse Mach’s. I actually found him quite hard to identify due to his floppy haircut.

The documentary is well worth a watch and demonstrates that the stars of the show obviously really enjoyed working on the show, and perhaps even feel a little bitter about its early cancellation. The story related is that the show was intended to be shown on Monday nights at 8pm, which was apparently a great time for a show to build popularity and go on to a good run. When it came to it though, the TV executives gave the slot to another show, and Street Hawk ended up in the ratings hell of a Friday at 9pm slot. Apparently the show which was chosen for the 8pm slot bombed, and was replaced by MacGyver, which ran for ages.

The photo galleries present are pretty much what you would expect, a series of promotional shots from the show, although there is one rather nice assortment showing how one of the Street Hawk bikes was bought by a motorcycle stunt rider from the UK and was restored to its former glory. There’s one very funny photo of Street Hawk sat in a typical British back yard, parked on the patio with some wooden trellis work running up the side of the house behind it.

All in all the Street Hawk DVD Box Set is a must have for any fan of the show, and if you’ve never heard of it before but enjoyed shows like Knight Rider or Airwolf then I think you’ll really enjoy it. The RRP is perhaps a little steep for a show of this age (£39.99) but you can pick it up on online for much less if you shop around.

Buy Street Hawk - Complete DVD Box Set at Amazon.co.uk

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Galaxy Counters Return!

Posted by Big Boo on April 7th, 2010

galaxy counters newOne of the most commented upon posts I’ve made on this site has been the one about the old kiddies sweets Galaxy Counters. It seems many people have missed this old sweetie, and the good news is that Mars have listened, and are bringing them back!

Galaxy Counters were originally aimed squarely at the kids market, and were a competitor for Cadbury’s Buttons. For me, Galaxy Counters just had the edge, mainly because each one had a little number printed on it, which for some reason made eating them a lot more fun. I guess it was the same feeling you got when opening a packet of Smarties, to see which letter was on the plastic cap (sadly this little bit of fun has also died out now).

The relaunch of Counters is due for April/May 2010 (however, there are reports of some branches of Asda already stocking them) but don’t go looking for them in their old white packets with the animals on. No, Counters have been turned into a more grown up sweetie now, coming in those pouches that you tear the top off to get to the yumminess within and styled with the same brown and cream look that other Galaxy products have.

Aiming them at adults was definitely the right thing to do, as all us nostalgia freaks will descend upon them like waves, and we won’t be disappointed as they have also increased in size too. If you’re a lover of Galaxy milk chocolate then you’ll know what to expect – basically it’s a Galaxy Minstrel without the crispy outer shell. Yum! The only thing missing from the new version is the lack of a little white number, but that’s no great loss I suppose.

If you’re unable to track them down in the shops then why not try entering our competition to win a bag of Counters. It may not be a big prize but it does seem to be a much sought after one. Follow this link to enter – all you have to do is fill in your name and e-mail address and tell us what you’re favourite memory of the Eighties is.

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So You Think You Know The 80s

Posted by Big Boo on February 3rd, 2009

so you think you know the 80sA little while back I reviewed The Classic Children’s Television Quiz Book (it’s fab! – get a copy) but if children’s television isn’t your strong point then maybe a copy of So You Think You Know The 80s by Clive Gifford might suit you better.

As the name suggests this is a quiz book covering our favourite decade, the 1980’s.  As it say on the cover It contains “over 1000 yuppie-tastic quiz questions!” which range over a number of topics.  The book contains 21 quizzes comprised of 50 questions each, with subject headings including Events, Sport, Music, Advertising, Television and a whole bunch more.  There are even a couple of quizzes devoted to Children’s Television exclusively if my previous recommendation has left you thirsty for more.

The book is guaranteed to get you scratching your head and it gets quite exciting as question after question drags back memories of long forgotten things.  I found the quiz on advertising particularly entertaining with the question “Which computer advertised itself as capable of running a nuclear power station?”.  Scarily enough the answer to this question was the Sinclair ZX81!  Just make sure nobody jogs the 16K RAM pack otherwise we’re all in grave danger…

The book is available from a great little gift site called Stocking Fillers, and is a bargain at a penny less than a fiver.

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The Classic Children’s Television Quiz Book

Posted by Big Boo on January 1st, 2009

childrens tv quiz bookWhen I first heard about this book it immediately went on to my Christmas list, and I’m pleased to say that Father Christmas delivered (or more accurately, author Dean Wilkinson did – thanks for the copy Dean). Having now had a chance to peruse its contents here are my thoughts on this rather spiffing tome.

After a brief introduction by Mr. Wilkinson and a rather funny two part foreword by TV’s Ant and Dec the book wastes no time in launching you into no less than one thousand questions about children’s television shows dating from the 1960s to the present day. Luckily for me a great many of the questions are about 1980s shows, and those that are about older shows are often programmes that were repeated during the eighties (for example Gerry Andersons puppet shows such as Thunderbirds and Stingray). For the audience of today you’ll find questions on the afore-mentioned Ant and Dec, Spongebob Squarepants and New Doctor Who.

The questions are grouped in themed blocks of ten, sometimes centred around a specific show whilst other categories might be about a certain actor or studio. For example there’s a section entitled “The Legend of Brian Cant” (I quite agree) and others on the combined works of Hanna Barbera and Cosgrove Hall. Another variety of questions ask you to find matches for two groups of ten things, for example puppets with their human sidekicks or different shows with their writers.

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