Vinyl Dynamite #7

aerobics record
Click here to view full size

Here it is folks. The litmus test for whether you are a true blue retro fan. It's easy to love the quality stuff from yesteryear- but it's the true retro fan that loves the good, the bad and the ugly. And maybe even prefer the bad and ugly.

Well this one is definitely bad. Check out the song selection. Can you imagine aerobicizing to "The Pina Colada Song"? Even better, the aerobics instructor looks like Mary Lou Henner and has a thick New York accent... Fran Drescher style.

aerobics record back
Click here to view full size

So let's do the math here: We have an aerobics instructor who sounds like The Nanny narrating a workout to songs like "Making It" - if you can appreciate this, we're going to be good friends. Don't go anywhere - Retrospace is right where you belong.

BTW: I couldn't bring myself to rip the entire song... even I have my limits!


Ads #16: The Coke and Snickers Diet

The Sugar Diet
Click here to view full size

"If sugar can fill that hollow feeling, I'm all for it."

I've seen all kinds of ridiculous diets over the years, but this one may be the best. A sugar diet?!? They actually recommend you eat a candy bar or drink a soft drink before mealtime!

Dr. Atkins will not be pleased...


10 Favorite TV Characters Meme

Wings at Caffeinated Joe has brought to my attention a simple meme that seems like it might be fun to try. It stems from Michael May's Adventure Blog and is simply this: List Your Top Ten TV Characters of All Time.

1. Fred Sanford (Sanford & Son)

If I have to explain why Fred G. Stanford tops this list, you and I simply can't hang out together anymore.

2. Jack Tripper (Three's Company)

As I've said before, Ritter was a physical comedy genius, and totally likeable. He could play the slapstick game, but had a lot more comedic skills in his arsenal. If Jack Tripper doesn't bring a smile to your face, you probably like death metal and hate your parents.

3. Marcia Brady (The Brady Bunch)

Fact: I was tempted to put all eight Bradys and Alice on this list, but that only left room for one from another show, so I refrained. It was a tough decision which Brady to choose, but you know Marcia always wins.... sorry, Jan.

4. Sam Weir (Freaks and Geeks)

So many great characters, but none were as close to my heart as the geek Sam Weir. We all went through an awkward phase at one time or another - Sam is the embodiment of this phase.

5. Steve Austin (The Six Million Dollar Man)

When this show finally comes out on DVD in USA format, expect this blog to shut down for a week. I will take off work and watch each and every episode continually for days without sleep until I black out.

6. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (Movie Macabre)

It's 1983 and it's late at night on a Saturday. You grab some cereal and turn on the TV and there's Elvira - is there anybody in the entire world you would rather see up on that screen? I didn't think so.

7. David Brent (The Office)

It's my humble opinion that Gervais invented an entirely new style of comedy with this character - or at least did it so well that it became popular. It's the kind of laugh where you're also cringing. Andy Kaufman relished making you feel awkward, but Gervais added a dose of realism and levity to the mix and came up with pure comedy gold.

8. Buck Rogers (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century)

Gil Gerard always bagged the babe, had the cool line, and saved the day in the nick of time. A confident ladies man, Buck never wasted an opportunity to remove his shirt exposing his thick chest mane. He's basically Burt Reynolds in the 25th Century.

9. Emmy Jo (The New Zoo Revue)

I wanted to include a TV character from my early childhood and nearly landed on a Sesame Street or Electric Company star (Easy Reader anyone?), but went with the lovely Emmy Jo. Those who don't remember her may want to check out my post Ode to Emmy Jo. Back in the day, she was quite a hit with the kindergarten/elementary school crowd - the talk at the sandbox and jungle gym. She deserves any shout out she gets these days.

10. Rick Marshall (Land of the Lost)

I've said this before, but I totally admire Spencer Milligan for playing this role with total sincerity. He made you believe it was all real, despite the cheap effects, plastic plants and Styrofoam rocks. The new Rick Marshall played by Will Farrell is a homage, but it's also a parody. In contrast, the original Land of the Lost was played completely straight and I am thankful for it.

There is no tagging in this meme, but I look forward to other blogger's picks. Let me know in the comments if you decide to do your own, so we can check it out.


Vinyl Dynamite #6

Sound Alliance
Click here to view full size
I Wish You All Could Know Him by Sound Alliance (1974)

Ever notice when digging through records at the flea market that there is about a billion Christian bands from the 1970s? Individually, I doubt they sold much, but given the sheer number of Christian groups out there during this decade, I'll bet their combined total was up there with the big boys.

Sound Alliance interested me primarily due to its back cover.

Sound Alliance (Back Cover)

1) There's no black guy on the front, yet lo and behold, there he is on the back. I'm not going to jump to conclusions and assume that they didn't want to put a black guy on the front, because there's also an additional white guy on the back. But I'm just sayin'.

2) The description of Sound Alliance may be the most pompous thing I've ever read: "Many chapters will be written in the days to come and placed in the archives of history relating to the ministry, the talent, the candidness and the results of this young musical group."

The track I ripped for you will have you questioning your will to live. Making it through this song was, simply put, a battle for survival. Listen at your own peril. I recommend a shot of Jagermeister to dull the pain.

Track: "Jesus Got Ahold Of My Life/In My Heart There Rings a Melody"


When Jesus Was Cool #2

Hippie Religion
Click here to view full size

I just read an article in the January 1970 issue of LIFE on the religious youth of the day. The hippies in the picture above are interviewed and every word out of their mouth is either about rock music or drugs. You've just got to love that hippie religion - the "Jesus Freaks". Where Jesus was made into a kind of super hippie: long haired, all about peace and love, and big on spiritual journeys (read: drugs).

Here's a few quotes from the gang pictured above:

"The rock opera Tommy by the Who says toward the end, 'If I told what it takes to reach the highest high, you'd laugh and say "Nothing's that simple."' Experiencing God is the highest high, the ultimate trip."

"It seems inevitable that we are headed toward a culture in which drugs will be less a minority phenomenon. But drugs have been such a religious experience for so many, who better than the church should be experts on this kind of experience?"

"Drugs are a door but not a room. They will get you there, but you must have something to work with once you get there."

Sign me up!

[Read When Jesus Was Cool: Part 1]

Vintage Scan #8: A Snapshot of 1970

1970 LIFE Magazine
Click here to view full size

What picture better encapsulates 1970 than this one? I think it's perfect.

From the article: "The Real Change Has Just Begun"
LIFE Magazine, January 1970

On virtually every controversial issue, two groups form alliances: the young, the blacks, and many of the college educated tend to coalesce in favor of change, while the elderly, the blue collar workers and the less well educated line up in favor of the status quo. The catalyst is the radical activist whom the status quo group condemns for all the things that have cone awry, while the change group cheers him on - even though they may not agree with him.

The Changing Times
Click here to view full size

At first I thought that this sounded a lot like today - as if this article could have been written in 2009. However, the important facet that's missing now is the so-called "catalyst" - the radical activist. I think the Boomers have traded in their megaphones for big meaty 401K's, and the public at large is more interested in their iPhone apps than political activism. Radical activists don't stand much of a prayer in today's climate.

Mini Skirt Monday #11

Click here to view full size

Frisbee inventor Fred Morrison promotes Wham-O's new product by posing for this publicity shot.

This type of photo shoot proved critical to Wham-O's success with the Frisbee. Originally, the product was marketed as a toy with a space theme. It had names like "Pluto Platter" and "Flying Saucer" and had celestial graphics molded onto the disc. Now, the Wham-O company decided to market it as a sport - they enlisted beautiful models to promote it, the Frisbee now had sporty racing stripes on it, and notice the athletic stadium in the background. Once, the product crossed over from sci-fi toy to cool sport, the product sold like gangbusters.

Photo Source: Wham-O Super-Book by Tim Walsh (2008)


Important Things to Know #3

I would be remiss in my duties as proprietor of Retrospace to neglect to inform you that Chris Pine, the guy playing Kirk in the new Star Trek movie, is the son of Robert Pine, Sgt. Joseph Getraer on CHiPs.

You may now go about your normal business.

Ads #15

warning: you cannot unsee this
There's something about these two children's products that's just a little too phallic for me to ignore.

water wiennie

I find the Sky-Sicle the most disturbing simply due to the expresion on that kid's face. However, the white stuff coming out of that kid's water weinnie seems to have the consistency of... well, never mind.

Bad, Gilligan. Bad!


Vinyl Dynamite #5: Esther & Abi Ofarim

I'm often asked if it's hard to come up with retro posts day after day. Don't I worry I'll run out of things to talk about? My answer is "Good Lord, no". Today's Vinyl Dynamite post is a perfect example of how the pop culture landscape of the 1960's and 1970's is damn near infinite if you're interested in things off the beaten path (and I mean WAY off the beaten path).

Esther & Abi Ofarim Sing!
Click here to view full size
Esther & Abi Ofarim Sing! (1966)

I had no idea who Esther & Abi Ofarim were when I bought their Sing! album for a quarter at a flea market. As it turns out, this Israeli duo were responsible for the 1968 novelty song "Cinderella Rockefella".

The song is bizarre as all hell. Esther yodels most of the lyrics and it makes no sense whatsoever. How in the world this was a number one hit in the UK for THREE WEEKS (!) is beyond my level of comprehension.

I've embedded a music video for "Cinderella Rockefella"- but be warned, it's even stranger than the song. It's directed by Reinhard Hauff, a notable German director known for very serious political films - a "wacky" video for a novelty song seems way out of his realm.

The husband and wife act like fools on the streets of London with Esther prancing around in a rather short skirt. It is just grainy and weird enough to give me the creeps with the sound off.

Sadly, Esther and Abi split in 1970. Esther went on to a successful international solo career. Abi developed a drug and alcohol addiction. He remarried twice both ending in divorce.

What the Hell?

Perhaps you noticed an error message if you visited Retrospace in the past 24hrs and are stupid enough (like myself) to use Internet Explorer. The message said something like "Internet Explorer Cannot Open Site... Operation Aborted" and then the whole damn web page just shuts down. It still worked fine for Firefox and Chrome (the browsers that don't suck).

I just spent several hours deleting half of my sidebar, removing things, adjusting posts, etc. Basically turning a relaxing hobby into a sweaty, cursing, violent mess. Anyway, it looks like it's a code in the sidebar (I'm not quite sure which gadget specifically).

BTW it looks like it's happening on A LOT of other blogs. I wonder what the deal is...


A-ha! After checking with other blogs it appears that the problem is with the "Followers" gadget. Apparently, Blogger is aware of the problem, but it is still wreaking havoc. The only way to ammend this is to get rid of your Follwers gadget till the problem is fixed. It seems to be working here as far as I can tell.

Also, it appears to be sporadic. It may look fine for a few minutes and you think your blog is okay, but several minutes later the horrible IE message appears. Also, I would recommend you delete your cookies and temporary internet files. Damn you Internet Explorer! Damn you I say!

(Note: You can still follow a blog without the gadget. One way is to click "follow blog" in the navbar at the top.)


The Wooger Snatcher!

Click here to view full size

I came across this bizarre and troubling little ad and had a couple of questions about it:

1st Question: What in the name of all that is holy in this world is a Wooger Snatcher? It sounds like the stuff of childhood nightmares - not a kitchen utensil. "Watch out kids, or the Wooger Snatcher is going to get you!"

Answer: A wooger is that stringy white thing attached to egg yolks. The Wham-O company thought there might be a market for a tool for getting rid of those things. They thought wrong.

2nd Question: What kind of insane cartoon mascot is this Mr. Hootie anyway? You mean to tell me that some marketing genius thought a good mascot for kitchenware would be a vile clawing freak?

Alas. For this there is no answer.


Remembering Night Flight

While the rest of mankind uses A.D. and B.C. to divide history, I prefer to use BNF and ANF - before and after Night Flight.

Okay, not really. But it was an important show - it introduced a variety of music and movies that would otherwise have gone completely beneath the radar for most Americans. It was a beautiful thing...

It played an interesting variety of music videos, generally punk or new wave (although, reggae and more mainstream music were often featured). This was intermixed with wonderfully eclectic clips: everything from Cold War Era footage to stand up comedy.

But Night Flight's specialty was their off beat movies - Kentucky Fried Movie, Repo Man, Eraserhead, Liquid Sky, Eating Raoul, Flesh for Frankenstein, Reefer Madness, Rocky Horror and my favorite - Jekyll & Hyde: Together Again.

If the image below is even remotely familiar to you, chances are you watched it on Night Flight. It's from the film Fantastic Planet, and I hated it at the time (and Night Flight played it a lot). But I was an idiot back then interested in only two things (I won't tell you what they were); now that I am Enlightened and Cultured, I can appreciate a film such as this. The trailer from 1973 blows my mind like no other.

Sadly, I rarely watched Night Flight during its actual airtime (late Friday and Saturday nights) - I was much too busy being a rebellious a-hole. Luckily, we had purchased a VHS recorder and so I was able to tape it (the luxury of TiVo light years away). What a treat it was to pollute my mind with all those rowdy crazyass movies each week! Kids who don't remember a time when every song or movie couldn't instantly be at your fingertips perhaps can't appreciate what a blessing something like Night Flight was.

USA's Up All Night would replace Night Flight in 1988. Up All Night was a good show, in a manner similar to Elvira's Movie Macabre, but the spectacle of cult movies meshed with great music and eccentric clips was over. Night Flight R.I.P. As someone commented on IMDb "Television had never been so anarchic and probably never will be again."

[Click here to see the Night Flight theme/credits.]

Vintage Scan #7: Not For The Self Conscious

1962 SunVu Ad
Click here to view full size

This 1962 product from Wham-O was part visor, part sunglasses, and totally insane. This makes the Slanket look fashionable!

Source: Wham-O Super-Book by Tim Walsh (2008)

Ads #14: Seems Just A Tad Unsafe

Malayan blowgun ad

Click here to view full size

Notice that the words "Goes thru 1/4" plywood" and "fun for the whole family-indoors" are all within the same ad? Call me crazy, but I think a weapon used for hunting small game should not played in the den.

For a similarly lethal family plaything read a related post on the "impaling arrows of death" otherwise known as The Jart.


Fact or Fiction #12: Holy Crap! Lydia Cornell Commented on My Blog!

Yeah, that's right. Go back and read the title again - this time nice and slow so it sinks in. Lydia Cornell left a comment in response to the ongoing Monroe Rape Mystery. Here it is:

I played Sara Rush and I have repressed memories of this episode also. This movie is chilling. I'll ask Jimbo (Bullock) about it when we get together.

Now I have to look through all my taped episodes and hidden archives of episodes. At first I thought you were mistaken, that this was actually the Selma Diamond episode in which Monroe loses his virginity to Rafkin’s sister. But now the memories of this twisted rape are coming back to me. The movie is wonderfully done...

Luv xo

As you can imagine, in the world of Retrospace Lydia Cornell is a Hall of Famer - ranking up there with Erin Grey, Farrah Fawcett, Catherine Bach, and... dare I say it (choke)...Maureen McCormick. I am indeed very thankful that she took the time to chime in on the subject.

I find it charming that she felt the need to tell me she played Sara Rush... as if I would somehow not know this.

The "chilling" movie she is referring to is of course the amazing film put together by Ethan Duff found here. Which I will once again encourage you to go check out.

It seems even a cast member's recollection of the episode is a bit hazy. It's as if it was so traumatizing that everyone, including the actors involved, have repressed the memory. So, I will politely ask that Lydia, when she goes over her "hidden archives" that maybe if she comes across an episode where Monroe is raped by two fat chicks in the back of a van - SHARE! Inquiring minds want to know. :-)

Vintage Scan #6: Bizarre Celeb Endorsements

Jayne Mansfield China Ad
Click here to view full size

Call me crazy but Jayne Mansfield doesn't instantly come to mind when I think of someone I'd want representing my fine chinaware. Sexy and charismatic - yes, but hardly a Miss Suzie Homemaker. Was Barbara Billingsly unavailable?

Peter Lorre Shirt Ad
Click here to view full size

Along similar lines is the Van Heusen shirt ad featuring Peter Lorre. He seems a very odd choice for a dapper shirt model. This was ad was done a while after his disturbing role as the child killer in M, but still Lorre always played the sinister foreigner in movies. What a strange person to put as the spokesman for a clothing line! Sort of like putting Steve Buscemi or Crispin Glover as your spokesmen for PowerAde or Nike. They just don't seem to fit.

Vinyl Dynamite #4 : The Strawberry Statement

The Strawberry Statement
Click here to view full size

I've never seen the counterculture film The Strawberry Statement (1970), and I don't think I plan to. It's one of those protest/student unrest films popular during the late sixties/early seventies.

The album is mostly uninteresting. We've all heard "Our House" by CSN&Y a billion times, and the other tunes by Thunderclap Newman, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Neil Young are also nothing new. What peaked my interest were the theme music instrumentals conducted by Ian Freebairn-Smith...

What's that? Never heard of him? He composed the Magnum P.I. theme music! Hell yeah!

This score is about twenty years before Magnum, and (not surprisingly) has a psychedelic feel. The title of this track ripped from the vinyl is "Market Basket" and it's the first of several instrumentals on the LP. Enjoy! ... (or not)


Vintage Scan #5: Buy Me This

JVC Videosphere TV
Click here to view full size

I scanned this from a 1974 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Using an inflation calculator, this little number cost $690.87 or $798.85 with the battery recharger!

I love the slogan: "Turns you on... even when it's off!" Groovy.

And what exactly is "Instant-On Power"? If I remember right, TV's used to take a minute to warm up - and maybe this one actually came on instantly.

Mini Skirt Monday #10

I guess we can assume, judging by photos from late 60's/early 70's, that the mini skirt was everywhere?

I don't know how common it was in America's Bible Belt, but you'd be hard pressed to find a photograph of a busy subway station, restaurant, city street, or family reunion without seeing at least one or two mini skirts in the picture.

It's no coincidence that this fad would arise right around the time when Boomers, a huge segment of the population, were mostly in their twenties and the sexual revolution was in full swing. Sadly, your humble author was more interested in Romper Room than short dresses during this time.

And I certainly wasn't old enough to see it in the workplace...

(sigh) I'll say it again for the millionth time -I was born 15 effing years too late!


Vinyl Dynamite #3

Click here to view full size

Was "Wing Ding" slang for "orgy" in 1960s Britain? These women don't appear to be wearing any clothes underneath their towels; however, the 2 guys still have on their swimsuits, mercifully sparing us a glimpse of their... er, um... wing dings.

I can't for the life of me determine the date of this LP. Judging by its loud proclamation that it's made and recorded in England, I can only assume it was released around the time of the British Invasion - maybe 1965.

It's really an odd mix of tunes (all performed by unknown artists). There's some great selections, (i.e. "Needles and Pins")... but "Hello Dolly" and a song from The Sound of Music don't seem to belong. The track I ripped for you is "You Were Made For Me" originally by Freddie and the Dreamers.


Fads #9: Lust for Lowbrow

In the 1970's, the working class was king. The entire decade was basically a celebration of blue collar culture: custom vans, CB's, southern rock, trucker movies, denim clothing, rednecks both real (Billy Carter) and imagined (Dukes of Hazzard), tube tops, beer, and Burt Reynolds.

It is my opinion that no one personified this decade better than Philo Beddoe (Clint Eastwood) in Every Which Way But Loose (1978). This badass was the ultimate 1970's masculine role model. A far cry from the ideal man of the previous decade...

...That honor belonged to James Bond. Suave and stylish, 007 was the very definition of 60's cool. Bond personified the cocktail drinking ladies man. Everyone from Dean Martin to Tony Curtis took their turn acting like him, and your average Ward Cleavers of the suburbia dreamed of being like him.

Then came the 1970's. PRESTO! Rich, slick and suave was out. Poor, blue-collar, and rough-around-the-edges was in. Boomer males preferred the faded denim jacket which smelled slightly of pot to the pressed dinner jacket their father's used to wear. And this is where Philo comes in...

"Take this job and shove it" was the 1970's creed, and Philo epitomized it. He went from job to job, drinking beer at the Palomino, picking up chicks, and beating the shit out of anyone who messed with him. He liked country music, drove a truck, and could live off the land. Add to this, an orangutan friend who leans out the window to give the finger and you have the penultimate in American manhood.

Who was the ultimate hero of the following decade? I'll give you a hint: he's the governor of California.


Sex Sells #5: Hippie Comb Ad

[image source] I realize the sexual revolution was in full swing when this ad came out, but I'm still awestruck. This is an Ace comb ad for chrissake. I can understand advertising getting a little racy at times for fashion, automobiles, alcohol, cigarettes, and stereo equipment... but combs?

(sigh) I was born about 15 years too late...

[Also see my post on a sexy horse manure ad.]


Vinyl Dynamite #2

I got a little more than I bargained for while ripping this particular record. Yes, this blogger learned a valuable life lesson whilst ripping the Flowers Company record.

"My God, this is going to be awful", I thought to myself. I smiled as I looked at the cheesy cover, chuckled as I examined the losers on the back, and fully expected this to be a source of great condescending amusement. Fast forward five minutes and I am damn near crying at some of these songs. I was touched, moved and elevated by The Flowers Company. Yes, that's right - this cheesy 70's family that no one's ever heard of made Gilligan their bitch for damn near an hour.

The Flowers Company
Click here to view full size

back cover
The Flowers Co.

Here's a track from the album called "Pull Myself Together". It's about a man dealing with the emotional issues of a break up and having to explain it to his child. He also reflects on his own upbringing ("...momma never loved me and my daddy never cared...") which may have contributed to his own inability to maintain the relationship. I'm a sucker for a sad ol' country song.

[Dead Link}