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|Back to the 80s: The Hottest Female TV Characters of the 80s - Kickin' it Old School
|09.27.08 (10:19 pm) 
This is part 2 of a two-part issue on Female TV Characters from the 80s. Part 1 was my list of Favorite Female Characters from 80s TV shows. If you have not read part 1 yet, please click on that link and give it a look first. Part 2, as promised, will be my list of the Hottest Female Characters from 80s TV shows.
I admit that this topic is a bit shallower than my average topic, but I thought it would be fun to list nevertheless. Interestingly, you will only see a small overlap between the two lists. I obviously did not include them in this list, but there were quite a few female child stars from 80s television who grew up to be beautiful women. That alone could be a topic for another issue (in fact you can click on that link to take you to that issue).
The list you are about to read is ranked based on how I best remember my opinion from back when these shows aired, but is probably adjusted a little based on my current perception. I would expect this list could vary quite a bit for everybody reading this based on nostalgia and tastes in women. I look forward to hearing your comments on who your favorites were or who I might have missed. With all that being said, let's get on with OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 HOTTEST FEMALE TV CHARACTERS FROM THE 80s (+ Bonus 5):
Honorable Mention. "Daphne" from Scooby-Doo (1969-86) - Since I gave you "Miss Piggy" and "Smurfette" on my last list, I thought it was only fitting that I include "Daphne" as honorable mention since she was pretty hot as far as cartoon characters go.
15. Stephanie Zimbalist as "Laura Holt" from Remington Steele (1982-87) - She was the actual private investigator who needed to use Pierce Brosnan's character to legitimize her business since the premise was that many potential customers would not feel comfortable hiring a woman for this type of work at the time.
14. Marilu Henner as "Elaine O'Connor Nardo" from Taxi (1978-83) - She was the only female character on the show until Carol Kane joined in 1980
13. Robin Givens as "Darlene Merriman" from Head of the Class (1986-91) - She was 22 years old when this series began yet she played a high school student
12. Justine Bateman as "Malorie Keaton" from Family Ties (1982-89) - I always remember her boyfriend "Nick" yelling her name in a tone that sounded like a combination of "Rocky Balboa" and "Stanley Kowalski." She is the sister of actor Jason Bateman.
11. Markie Post as "Christine Sullivan" from Night Court (1984-92) - Her character was ranked on the list from part 1 as one of my favorite female TV characters from the 80s as well
10. Valerie Bertinelli as "Barbara Romano" from One Day At a Time (1975-84) - She was just 15 years old when the show began, but she was 20 by the time the 80's came along.
9. Loni Anderson as "Jennifer Marlowe" from WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-82) - This was a fantastic show and though she may have looked like a blonde bimbo, her character was anything but that.
8. Chelsea Noble as "Kate MacDonald" & Julie McCullough as "Julie Costello" from Growing Pains (1985-92) - Both girls played girlfriends to Kirk Cameron's character on the show starting in 1989. McCullough was forced to leave the show when Cameron refused to work with someone who had posed nude in Playboy. Noble would go on to marry Cameron in real life.
7. Suzanne Somers as "Chrissy Snow" from Three's Company (1977-84) - She left the show in 1981. She was ranked on my favorite female TV characters from the 80s list along with her other Three's Company co-stars.
6. Melanie Wilson as "Jennifer Lyons" from Perfect Strangers (1986-93) - Possibly the least recognizable name on this list, but she played the love interest for Mark Linn-Baker's character on the show. Another interesting bit of trivia is that she is the daughter of Dick Wilson who played "Mr. Whipple" on the Charmin toilet paper commercials.
5. Erin Grey as "Col. Wilma Deering" from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81) and then as "Kate Summers" from Silver Spoons (1982-87) - No matter if she was in space or marrying Ricky Schroeder's dad, she always looked really good doing it.
4. Lori Laughlin as "Rebecca Donaldson" from Full House (1987-95) - She worked with Bob Saget's character and then eventually married John Stamos' character on the show.
3. Catherine Bach as "Daisy Duke" from The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-85) - Just a waitress at the Bore's Nest, but she does now have a style of shorts named after her.
2. Heather Locklear as "Sammy Jo Dean" from Dynasty (1981-89) and as "Officer Stacy Sheridan" from T.J. Hooker (1982-85) - The amazing thing about Heather Locklear is that she looked even better in the 90's and still looks great today. She has also had by far the most successful career of anyone on this list.
1. Heather Thomas as "Jody Banks" from The Fall Guy (1981-86) - I liked this Heather more than Locklear back in the 80's, so that is why she ranks on top of this list. She was given the title of "most popular pin-up girl in America" during the 80's supplanting Raquel Welch to earn that spot.
There's my list. Let me know what you think, who your favorites were and who I may have missed. I look forward to your comments. That will do it for part 2 of this two-part issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks much for reading and hope you enjoyed them both. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary of those. You can also click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the blogbar Search Box in the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, please pass the word and let others know to give it a try. Peace and much love.
Check this out: There is a book that I have been waiting to come out for a while and now it is finally available. It is called Chasing the Eighties - The Ultimate North American Movie Location Roadtrip. Recently, three men careering hopelessly towards the end of their twenties decided to undertake a ridiculous romp of sheer nostalgic indulgence. It was to be one last look back to the glorious past before they decided to be grown ups and think about the present and the future. But first, it was all about Ghostbusters, Goonies, Guttenberg, blood, sweat and Corey Haim. The tour lasted three months and began and ended in Toronto, home of Police Academy. Over the 12 weeks, they met Chunk from the Goonies, Hightower, Hooks, Harris and Callahan from Police Academy, Jesse Ventura, Oscar the Grouch, Howling Mad Murdoch, Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell among many others. I am so jealous of the trip these guys went on. You should definitely visit the website where you can watch some videos, see some of the pictures and, of course, purchase the book about this adventure. If you are a fan of the 80's, you will definitely want to check this out.
Quote of the day: "Beauty is not caused. It is." -Emily Dickinson
"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief she is beautiful" -Sophia Loren
Download this: "The Heart of the Matter" by India.Arie - I love the original version by the great Don Henley, but this cover version is great too
|Back to the 80s: Favorite Female TV Characters from the 80's
|09.21.08 (9:49 pm) 
One of my more popular Top 10 lists is My Top TV Characters from the 80's. If you have never read that one before, please click on the link and do so. One thing I noticed on that list is that women are not very well represented on it. The only woman to make the list was "Maddie Hayes" from Moonlighting and she made it only as a combination with "David Addison" because of how they complimented each other so well on one of my favorite shows from that decade. You have to remember that I was just 7 years old in 1980, so the shows that were my favorite did not often feature female characters in the main roles.
I thought it would be interesting to look back more specifically at female TV characters from the 80's. I am going to do this through a 2 part issue. Part 1 will include my favorite female characters from 80's television. Part 2 will list the "hottest" female characters from 80's television. I thought both were worthwhile efforts.
Regarding my favorite female TV characters list, you must keep in mind that these characters had to come from shows that I actually watched. I will admit there are some excellent women characters that will not make this list simply because I did not watch them. Some of these will include Candice Bergen's character on Murphy Brown (1988-98) as well as Sharon Gless & Tyne Daly's female cops on Cagney & Lacey (1982-88). I am sure there will be more which I look forward to hearing about in the comments section. One other thing I decided was to not include Sybill Shepherd's "Maddie Hayes" from Moonlighting (1985-89) since she was on the original list and that she made it more as a combo with Bruce Willis.
With all of those points made, let's get on to OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 FEMALE TV CHARACTERS FROM THE 80's (+ Bonus 3):
Honorable Mention. "Miss Piggy" from The Muppet Show (1976-1981) & "Smurfette" from The Smurfs (1981-90) - One was a muppet and the other a cartoon character, but both were females, so I thought they deserved at least an honorable mention here.
13. "Grace Van Owen" from L.A. Law (1986-94) played by Susan Dey - Probably better known for her role on The Partridge Family in the 70's, she was one of the stars of one of the best dramas of the 80's
12. "Nell Harper" from Gimme a Break (1981-87) played by Nell Carter - She agrees to be the housekeeper for the white family of her late best friend becoming the female role model for 3 young girls and later to an orphan boy played by Joey Lawrence
11. "Julie McCoy" from The Love Boat (1977-86) played by Lauren Tewes - She played the boat's cruise director through the 1984 season
10. "Punky Brewster" from Punky Brewster (1984-86) played by Soleil Moon Frye - She is the youngest character on this list as the adorable Frye was just 8 years old when the series began
9. "Edna Garrett" from Facts of Life (1979-88) played by Charlotte Rae - The Wisconsin native played the housemother at the Eastland all-girls school in this spin off of Diff'rent Strokes where she played the housekeeper for the Drummonds
8. "Alice Hyatt" from Alice (1976-85) played by Linda Levin - She plays a widow with a young son who ends up working at a diner in Phoenix when her car breaks down there on her way to L.A. to pursue a singing career
7. "Sophia Petrillo" from The Golden Girls (1985-92) played by Estelle Getty - Though the other three women were thought to be the stars of the show, I always thought that "Sophia" stole every scene she was in. An interesting fact is that Estelle Getty was actually a year younger than Bea Arthur, yet she played her mother in the show.
6. "Christine Sullivan" from Night Court (1984-92) played by Markie Post - She started playing the public defender in the 3rd season of this sitcom and was a key reason why I always enjoyed this show.
5. "Margaret ‘Hot Lips' Houlihan" from M*A*S*H (1972-83) played by Loretta Swit - I have watched this show more in syndication than I did when it was actually on and I have to admit that I am not as much of a fan as so many others are, but I have to give credit to this character who played a vital role in this iconic series.
4. "Janet Wood," "Chrissy Snow" & "Terri Alden" from Three's Company (1977-84) played by Joyce Dewitt, Suzanne Somers & Priscilla Barnes respectively - One of my favorite shows of all time, these girls combined with the amazing John Ritter to make it happen. Dewitt was on the show the entire run while, Somers was on the show until 1981 when Barnes took her place as the new blonde roommate.
3. "Peggy Bundy" from Married...With Children (1987-97) played by Katey Sagal - While this underrated show really hit its stride in the 90's, the older episodes are some of my favorites of this series which was one of the very first sitcoms on the FOX network
2. (tie) "Mom" from several shows over the 80's including:
"Clair Huxtable" from The Cosby Show (1984-92) played by Phylicia Rashad,
"Marion Cunningham" from Happy Days (1974-84) played by Marion Ross,
"Angela Bower" from Who's The Boss (1984-92) played by Judith Light,
"Maggie Malone Seaver" from Growing Pains (1985-92) played by Joanna Kerns,
"Elyse Keaton" from Family Ties (1982-89) played by Meredith Baxter-Birney,
"Roseanne Conner" from Roseanne (1988-97) played by Roseanne Barr,
"Ann Romano" from One Day At a Time (1975-84) played by Bonnie Franklin,
and all the other Moms from our favorite 80's sitcoms (if you have more, leave them in the comments section)
1. "Laverne De Fazio & Shirley Feeney" from Laverne & Shirley (1976-83) played by Penny Marshall & Cindy Williams - "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight! Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!" This show (a spin-off of Happy Days, so also set in Milwaukee) has the two girls work at the fictitious Shotz Brewery and live in a basement apartment where much of the comedy ensues. Though there were some other characters on the show (like "Lenny" & "Squiggy") this was one of the few shows where the female characters were the primary focus and stars of the show. That is why I rank them #1 on my list, though I do also have very fond memories of the show.
There's my list, but I definitely want to hear about your favorites as well. I wanted to give credit to the many great female characters from 80's television, but my next list will be much more shallow than that. Part 2 of this issue will list what I feel were some of the hottest babes to play TV characters in the 80's. I will tell you now that there will not be much overlap between the two lists. Here is a link directly to part 2 and my list of the Hottest Female TV Characters of the 80's.
That will wrap up part one of this two-part issue of Kickin' it Old School dedicated to the women of 80's TV shows. If you like this one and my first list (linked to at the top), then you might also like my Top TV Theme Songs list as well. It is not all 80's theme songs, but as you would expect, many of them are from my favorite decade. If you are interested in reading more of my 80's related issues, please click there for a summary. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary of those. You can also click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the blogbar Search Box in the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. Peace and much love.
Check this out: Since this issue is about women, I thought this reminder was appropriate. The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on 'donating a mammogram' for free (pink window in the middle). This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors /advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammograms in exchange for advertising. Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know. www.thebreastcancersite.com I try to do it once a day or at least as often as possible and now have the link on my desktop!! Please tell ten friends to tell ten today!
Quote of the day: "A little more matriarchy is what the world needs, and I know it. Period. Paragraph." -Dorothy Thompson (an American journalist, who was noted by Time magazine in 1939 as one of the two most influential women in America, the other being Eleanor Roosevelt)
"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels." -Faith Whittlesey
Download this: "Love" by Matt White - Heard this song on a McDonald's McRib commercial and really liked, so I went and downloaded it for myself
|Back to the 80s: Top Ten 80's Robots List
|09.18.08 (10:22 pm) 
I came across an interesting list created by the humorous website Cracked.com and thought I would share with you. It is called "The Top Ten ‘80s Robots (We Expected to Exist By Now)" and you can click on that link to take you the actual article by Ben Joseph.
He begins with the following paragraph...
"We were promised robots. Crazy electronic sidekick or death-dealing automaton of doom, we didn't care, as long as the future shaped up to be the awesome electronic robo-battle we'd dreamed of as children. Flash forward 20 years and all we have are sorry, non-robotic pieces of supposedly innovative crap, such as "hybrid cars," "iPods," and "hope for the AIDs vaccine." Consider the below list a sort of report card, so modern scientists can see exactly how far they are from fulfilling the promises of our childhood."
When you think about it, back in the 80's there were so many inventions we expected to be part of our culture by the year 2000. Now it is 2008 and though there have been many great innovations over the years, there still is no casual space travel or completely automated homes/offices. And there really are not many robots with personality running around. Though personal interaction continues to be minimized through email/text messaging and automated service, I don't really feel like we are any closer to having robot companions coming to prominence. It is fun to think about for sure.
Now here is a recap of the Cracked.com list, but you will have to go to the actual article to get his commentary on each selection. Remind you, this is his list. Though I may differ with the order a little bit, I feel it is a very strong and creative list.
10. "Johnny 5" from the movie Short Circuit (1986) as well as the sequel Short Circuit 2 (1988)
9. "Lisa" from the movie Weird Science (1985) played by Kelly LeBrock - Not sure if I would consider her a robot, but if she was a robot she'd be the most beautiful robot I have ever seen.
8. "ED-209" from the movie RoboCop (1987) - He selects the new law enforcement droid which goes haywire instead of the star of the movie whom I would have selected.
7. "KITT" from the television series Knight Rider (1982-86) - The talking car which ranked on my Best 80s TV Characters List
6. "Data" from the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
5. "Rick Deckard" from the movie Blade Runner (1982) played by Harrison Ford - It is widely debated whether the character truly is a replicant or not.
4. "Crow T. Robot" & "Tom Servo" from the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-1999) - I love these guys and I love MST3K and though it came to more popularity in the 90's, it technically began in the 80's.
3. "The Terminator" from the movie The Terminator (1984) played by Arnold Schwarzenegger
2. "R2D2" from the movies Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) - How can you have R2, but not also include C3PO?
1. "Optimus Prime" of Transformers - Began with comics in 1984 and gained popularity through the marketing of toys and a television cartoon.
There is Ben Joseph's list. Like I said, other than the order and possibly whether a couple should be considered robots (Data was NOT a robot), it is a solid list. That is why I shared it with you. I did try to think about any robots he could have missed and so far only 3 came to mind.
First is the robot in the movie Rocky IV (1985). No, I am NOT talking about Dolph Lundgren's performance as Russian boxer "Ivan Drago." I am talking about the robot that "Rocky" gives to "Paulie" for his birthday near the beginning of the film. The robot does not play a major role in the film, but seems to symbolize status and what really, really rich people might give someone as a gift. I have seen this movie too many times to even count, so that is probably why it came to mind right away.
Second was "Twiki" from the television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-1981). I remember this show fondly and recall "Twiki" usually carrying another character, "Dr. Theopolis," around his neck. I also recall the robot having a funny voice and often saying "bidi-bidi-bidi" ; before he would speak. Here is a link to a short video where you can hear what I am talking about. "Twiki" would often be given the funny one-liners to help bring comic relief to the show. An interesting fact is that "Twiki" was voiced by none other than Mel Blanc who is well recognized as one of the original voices of Bugs Bunny and many other famous cartoon characters. I would have definitely included little "Twiki" on my list of 80's robots.
The other was "Vicki" from the TV series Small Wonder (1985-89). This robot looked just like a young girl and was played by Tiffany Brissette. She was incapable of emotion, spoke in a monotone voice and interpreted most commands literally. These characteristics along with her attempt to blend in as a normal child was what the humor in this sit-com was based off of. "Vicki" seemed to become more and more human over the course of this show which surprisingly lasted 4 years despite being considered by critics to be one of the worst shows on at the time. Even so, "Vicki" deserves to be included on any list of 80's robots.
That will wrap up this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. If you are interested in reading more of my 80's related issues, please click there for a summary. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary of those. If you enjoy Kickin' it, please come back often and be sure to tell a friend or two. Peace and much love.
Check this out: In a past ‘Check this Out' I provided links to watch a couple very entertaining songs performed by the Muppets. I have also mentioned a couple times my affection for the movie Pulp Fiction. Well, I came across a video that combines the Muppets with my favorite movie. Here is a link to watch Pulp Muppets. I love it!
Quote of the day: "He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has." -Henry Ward Beecher (obviously you can also replace ‘he' with ‘she' in this quote)
Download this: "If I Had $1,000,000" by Barenaked Ladies
|Top 20 Best Songs With 'RAIN' in the Title - Kickin' it Old School
|09.14.08 (9:34 pm) 
Back in June, we had more rain than we could handle here in the Midwest. Wisconsin had many counties declared as disaster areas as rainfall broke records that month. Many of you may recall the incredible scene at Lake Delton in the Wisconsin Dells where the lake literally drained and resulted in horrible damage including homes being washed away. Here is a link to a video showing some of that particular damage in progress.
After receiving that much rain in June, we have almost had no significant rain in this area during July and August. We went to the opposite extreme of drought conditions. Now we are getting some of the effects of the tropical storms that have been pounding the southern and eastern coasts. It has rained here for the last two days straight. This gave me an idea for a top 10 list. I was thinking about rain and how there are many great songs with that word in the title, so I made a list.
I made a list of all of my favorite songs which have the word "rain" in the title. As usual, I thought about only considering songs from the 80's, but there were so many good songs I decided to make it from all time. I decided to only include songs with the word "rain" or possibly "rains" or "rainy" and not words with rain in them like "rainbow." One of my favorite songs of all time is "Over the Rainbow" from Wizard of Oz, but it will not be included in this particular list. I will give you links to watch the video or hear the song for the majority of my selections, so please be sure to click on those.
Now, here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 BEST SONGS WITH ‘RAIN' IN THE TITLE (+ Bonus 10):
20. "Blame It On The Rain" (1989) by Milli Vanilli from Girl You Know It's True - Whoever it was that really sung this song, it isn't half bad.
19. "Tears & Rain" (2004) by James Blunt from Back to Bedlam
18. "Candy Rain" (1995) by Soul for Real from Candy Rain
17. "Laughter In the Rain" (1974) by Neil Sedaka from Sedaka's Back
16. "I Love a Rainy Night" (1981) by Eddie Rabbitt from Horizon
15. "Rain On the Scarecrow" (1985) by John Mellencamp from Scarecrow - I like the acoustic version from 1999's Rough Harvest album better. Here is a link to my top Mellencamp songs list.
14. "If the Rain Must Fall" (2006) by James Morrison from Undiscovered
13. "November Rain" (1991) by Guns N' Roses from Use Your Illusion I [link to video]
12. "I Wish It Would Rain Down" (1990) by Phil Collins from ...But Seriously [link to video] - Features the guitar playing of Eric Clapton
11. "The Earth, The Sun, The Rain" (1996) by Color Me Badd from Now & Forever [link to song playing]
10. "The Rain" (1986) by Oran ‘Juice' Jones from Juice [link to video] - "You're just a squirrel trying to find a nut."
9. "Can You Stop the Rain" (1991) by Peabo Bryson from Can You Stop the Rain [link to video]
8. "Here Comes the Rain Again" (1984) by Eurythmics from Touch [link to video]
7. "No Rain" (1992) by Blind Melon from Blind Melon [link to video]
6. "I Wish It Would Rain" (1967) by The Temptaions from The Temptations Wish It Would Rain [link to video of a live performance]
5. "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) by Gene Kelly from the movie Singin' in the Rain [link to video of performance during the film] - The song originated from the 1920's, but this is the most popular version and probably the best as well. Definitely click on the link to watch the outstanding choreography on display during the scene in the movie.
4. "Purple Rain" (1984) by Prince and the Revolution from Purple Rain - Unfortunately due to the purple one's strict enforcement of copyright, there are no videos to link to. Here is a link to my Top Prince Songs list.
3. "Mandolin Rain" (1986) by Bruce Hornsby & the Range from The Way It Is [link to song playing]
2. "Can You Stand the Rain" (1988) by New Edition from Heart Break [link to video] - This is one of my favorite songs of all time and here is a link to my Top New Edition Songs lists.
1. "Fire and Rain" (1970) by James Taylor from Sweet Baby James [link to video of live performance (1998 Live at Beacon Theater in NY) - James Taylor is one of my all time favorite artists and this is one of his very best songs
There's my list. Please let me know if I missed any of your favorites by leaving your comments. As you see, there are many amazing songs with "rain" in the title. On this rainy day, I can't help but think about them. I pray for the safety of all of those who have been in the path of any severe storms this summer or in the future.
That does it for another issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. If you are interested in reading more of my 80's related issues, please click there for a summary. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary of those. You can also click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the blogbar Search Box in the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. Peace and much love.
Check this out: Here is a sign advertising "Land for Sale" which looks to be a pretty tough sell in its current condition. I found this amusing, so thought I would share it...
Quote of the day: "The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Download this: "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor - There are many solid covers of this song including Babyface who released his version on his 2007 album called Playlist
|9/11/01 Always Remember, Never Forget - Kickin' it Old School
|09.11.08 (1:17 pm) 
7 years ago now - September 11th, 2001.
Always remember, Never Forget.
Treasure every moment you have. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why they call it the present. I heard that somewhere once and thought it was appropriate to remember today. That's all I have for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. I just thought I needed to not let this day pass without pausing to remember.
Quote of the day: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana (1905)
Download this: I thought I would recommend a few songs that I felt were appropriate for this occasion... "I'll Remember" by Madonna, "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan and "Seasons of Love" by the cast of the musical Rent
|Back to the 80s: The Best Candy From When I Was a Kid - Kickin' it Old School
|09.07.08 (7:55 pm) 
I am not a big eater of sweets and, to the surprise and disgust of many, especially not a big fan of chocolate. It's not that I do not like sweets at all, but just not to the level that many others do. However, there are some types of candy that I do enjoy and that remind me of being a kid again. I thought that I would publish my list of favorite candy from when I was growing up in the 80s.
Now, many of the candy on this list was around before the 80s and most of it is still around today, but these are the types of candy that take me right back to being "a kid in a candy store" again. Before I get to my favorites, I thought I would start with a couple types of candy that I remember well, but not quite as fondly. Here are 3 types of candy that I deem as the worst of the 80s:
Candy Cigarettes - Now these were fun to pretend you were smoking and acting like an adult. Some candy cigarettes even would create a little puff of powder (like smoke) when you blew on the other end. They came in a little cardboard box just like real cigarettes. Everything was fun, except how they tasted. The best description I would use for the flavor of a candy cigarette would be like eating a piece of chalk.
Candy Buttons - Now these did not taste so bad, but they were a lot more work to eat than they were worth. They were little dots of candy stuck to a long sheet of paper. The problem was that it was nearly impossible to eat one of the candy buttons without getting a little bit of the paper stuck to the back of it. Then you have to pick the little wet pieces of paper off of your tongue or just swallow the paper with the candy. I never understood this candy other than maybe it seemed like you were getting a lot more candy on that long strip of paper than you really were.
Those hard sticks of bubble gum included in a pack of baseball cards - Back in the day, this stick of petrified gum was just loosely packed right in with the cards. When baseball cards started, you were actually buying the pack for cigarettes and then later gum and the trading cards were a bonus. By the time I was a kid, I was buying the pack for the cards and not the gum. I would still try to eat the gum anyways, though it often would crumble into pieces and/or cut the roof of my mouth as I tried to chew it. Once again, great memories, but bad taste.
Those are my memories of the worst candy from the 80s, so now I will give you my favorites. Like I said earlier, you won't find a lot of chocolate on this list, but lots of other great candy which bring back great memories for me. In some cases, I will include links to fun commercials from the 80s. So let's get on to the list. Here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 CANDY FROM THE 80s (+ Bonus 5):
Honorable Mention. LifeSavers - This was a sure bet to be included in our Christmas stockings each year. Excellent basic hard candy, which I wanted to at least give an honorable mention to.
15. Pop Rocks - These little bits of candy would explode in your mouth. I remember an urban legend about a kid who ate a packet of Pop Rocks and then drank a can of Coke and his stomach exploded. I assumed this could not be true, but never ventured to prove it myself.
14. Wax Bottles - These wax bottles included a little tiny bit of flavored liquid inside of them. The idea was you could bite off the top of the bottle and then drink the contents. It was more fun to throw the whole bottle in your mouth and chew the wax. This would put a nice waxy coating on your teeth and tongue.
13. Ring Pop - I was a fan of most any kind of sucker or pop. I could have also included the Whistle Pop, Dum Dums or that generic sucker you'd get at the bank or doctor's office. I chose the Ring Pop because it was cool. The only problem is once you started licking it and it became sticky, you had to be careful about wearing it as a ring. If it rubbed against dirt or anything, it would stick to the Ring Pop and now you would have to pick the tiny particles off before you could continue eating it.
12. PEZ - I think these were more popular because of the cool dispensers. You could get your favorite comic book super hero, Star Wars character or cartoon character among many other choices. I always remember the quote from one of my favorite movies Stand By Me (1986) when I think about PEZ. The movie was from the 80's, but it was set in 1959. One of the kids says, "If I could have one food for the rest of my life? That's easy. PEZ, cherry flavored PEZ. No question about it." Here is a link to a video from that movie and this line happens at about the 1:19 mark.
11. Smarties - This was a popular Halloween candy and one of my favorites to get in my Trick or Treat bag. Speaking of Halloween, one of my friends once put together a creative costume for a Halloween party using Smarties. He came as "Mr. Smarty Pants" and glued packets of Smarties all over a pair of jeans. I thought it was quite creative.
10. Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum - I loved bubble gum including Bubblicious and Bubble Yum, but I always like Hubba Bubba best. Grape was my favorite flavor. I remember an 80s ad campaign which had cowboys having a bubble blowing showdown (instead of firing guns at each other, they would see who could blow the biggest bubble). Here is a link to watch one of the commercials which I saw so many times that I could still recite the lines.
9. Pixy Stix - These were just thin paper tubes filled with what seems like pure sugar. Just pour them onto your tongue and it gives you quite the sugar rush.
8.(tie) Gobstoppers & Spree - I still like these quite a bit today. They both turn your tongue colors relatively quickly. I would also include Jawbreakers in this same category, though it seems like Jawbreakers today aren't quite as hard as they were when I was a kid. They probably had a lawsuit where some kid broke a tooth and had to soften them.
7. Tootsie Pop - I always remember the slogan "How many licks does it take?" and the commercial where the wise owl eats it after three licks. Here is a link to watch that fun commercial. Though it was a different candy that I don't include on the list, I also remember the commercials for the Tootsie Roll with the song singing "Whatever it is I think I see becomes a Tootsie Roll to me." I like the pops better.
6. Bottle Caps - These candies looked like little bottle caps and had soda flavors including grape, cola, orange, cherry and root beer.
5. Gummi Worms - I guess these were born as a result of the success of the Gummi Bears. This candy originates from Germany and the rubbery-textured gelatin based candy is shaped into worms about 4 inches long. Loved them.
4. Big League Chew - As I said earlier, I always liked bubble gum. I also love baseball. Big League Chew was shredded gum that came in a pouch just like the chewing tobacco the pro ball players used. Here is a link to watch one of the commercials from the 80's for my favorite bubble gum.
3. Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip - These were packets of a sugary powder similar to the contents of Pixy Stix. But to add to the sugary goodness, you ate this powder by licking a stick made of sugar, dipping it into the powder so it would stick to wet area you just licked and then eating it off the stick. A kid could not ask for more sugar than you got when eating this treat.
2. Reese's Pieces - These are peanut butter flavored candy with a chocolate candy shell and are Made by the same people who brought us one of my all-time favorites, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. They were introduced in the U.S. in 1980 but really gained popularity after they appeared in the movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) as the alien's favorite candy. An interesting note regarding the movie is that Steven Spielberg first approached the Mars company about using M&M's, but Mars declined the offer. He then approached Hershey about using their Chocolate Kiss, but Hershey declined too. Reese's was the third option and the candy received a huge boost in popularity and sales. I bet those other candy companies regretted that decision. Here is a link to an 80's commercial for the candy that uses an alien probably intended to build off of the E.T. recognition.
1. Lemonheads - My grandpa's favorite candy was lemon drops, so I always liked lemon candy too. Lemonheads are a lemon flavored candy made by Chicago based Ferrara Pan Candy Company. Here is a link to a virtual tour of how this candy is made through a unique "panning" process. This company also made some other favorites of mine including Cherry Clan (now called Cherryheads) and Alexander the Grape (now called Grapeheads). They were all sold in small boxes that were value priced. These were easily my favorite candy as a kid.
There's my list. Hope some of those brought back memories for you, too. Are there any candies that you fondly remember from the 80s??? Or from whatever decade you grew up in? Please share them in the comments section. Many of these candies are available to purchase in stores today, but I found a company that makes it easy for you to order many of them online. They also have gift baskets available, so give it a try. Here is a link to the website right here...
Candy you ate as a kid®... includes many of Old School's favorites on this list and many more fresh candies from the 50s, 60s and 70s... still available after all these years!
That wraps up this sweet issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. If you are interested in reading more of my 80's related issues, please click there for a summary. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary of those. You can also click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the blogbar Search Box in the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. Peace and much love.
Check this out: If you read my issue on The Karate Kid, you know that is one of my guilty pleasures from the 80's. I saw this site which shows look-a-likes and thought this one showing The Karate Kid compared to the danger sign from a ladder was funny.
see famous look-a-like faces
Quote of the day: "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." -Dolly Parton
Download this: "Good Things" by The BoDeans - One of my all time favorite songs and it is by a band formed here in Waukesha, Wisconsin back in 1983
|New TV Drama by Steven Bochco - Raising the Bar - Stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar
|09.01.08 (2:44 pm) 
There is a new television drama series which is set to premiere tonight (9/1/08) on TNT called Raising the Bar. There are two reasons I intend on at least giving this series a chance.
First, the show stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar whom I will always remember as "Zack Morris" from Saved By The Bell which ran from 1988-1993. Saved By The Bell was one of my "guilty pleasures" back in high school and college. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have always been a fan of the very cheesy high school TV comedy. Gosselaar would later star on NYPD Blue as "Detective John Clark," but I will always remember him as "Zack."
The show also stars Jane Kaczmarek (Wisconsin native) who is best known for her role as the mother "Lois" on Malcolm in the Middle. Still it is Gosselaar that caught my attention and that I look forward to seeing in this new role.
Second, the show is created and written by none other than Steven Bochco. This is the same guy who has brought us other series like Hill Street Blues (1981-1987), L.A. Law (1986-1994) and NYPD Blue (1993-2005). That resumé alone seems to make this new series worth giving a chance. Those are some of the greatest television drama series of all time and, who knows, maybe this could be the next.
Now, I am not sure if this series will be outstanding or not. I am also not sure if we really need another legal/courtroom drama. I am, however, willing to give it a try for a few episodes to find out. I am so disappointed in much of the television programs that we have to choose from nowadays that I am willing to give anything a try that might be entertaining to me. Here is a link to the official website for Raising the Bar where you can find out much more about the show.
The show airs at 10:00 Eastern/9:00 Central and I intend on setting my DVR to record it without a doubt. Hopefully in a few weeks I will be back telling you how much I like this show. There are lots of other shows coming back within the coming weeks, so the television schedule will be getting a little more crowded again. I will still stick with my perennial favorites, but it is worthwhile to give a new show a chance because you never know when you might get hooked.
That wraps up this short issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks for reading. We will get back to some more 80's topics very soon. In the meantime, feel free to check out the Archives located in the upper left hand column or use the blogbar Search Box in the right hand column to find any other past issues of Kickin' it that might interest you. Peace and much love.
Check this out: I was watching this Blue Man Group concert that I recorded in HD and saw a performance that I thought was pretty awesome. They did a version of "Baba O'Riley" by The Who which was incredible. I find the way that the Blue Man Group creates music pretty amazing to begin with, but this song was especially cool. I could not find a link to watch the exact performance I saw, but I did find a link to watch a very similar performance. So click there to see it yourself. One of my favorite parts is the way they play the piano. Hope you enjoy it.
Quote of the day: On this Labor Day I thought this to be appropriate... "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." -Confucius
Download this: "Baba O'Riley" by The Who
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