Highlights Magazine

Any child who grew up in the ’80s (or anyone who grew up from 1946 through today, for that matter) had one thing to look forward to when going to the dentist or the doctor. You could guarantee that there would be a Highlights Magazine to read in the waiting room. It would take your mind off of pondering whether you were going to get a shot or not. Although it is geared towards children aged 6-12, it was/is a great magazine for kids of all ages.

Highlights was first published in June 1946, started by Garry Myers and his wife Caroline Clark Myers in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The company is now based in Columbus, Ohio, and owns book publishers Zaner-Bloser, Stenhouse Publishers, and Boyds Mills Press.

Garry Myers earned a PhD in psychology from Columbia University before World War I. He and Caroline Myers taught illiterate soldiers for the US Army, with the latter becoming the first ever female teacher employed by the Army.

They became pioneers in elementary education and taught educators and parents. Garry wrote a nationally syndicated column entitled Parent Problems, and the couple co-authored several books.

The couple began to work for Children’s Activities, and lectured across the country. After finishing with Children’s Activities, instead of retiring they decided to start their own magazine, which would become Highlights.

Here are some favorite features that we would see each month:

Hidden Pictures

This feature has been published in every issue of Highlights since the magazine’s inception. It is currently found on page 14 of each issue. You would need to find small pictures within a bigger picture.

Goofus & Gallant

This is a comic strip featuring two contrasting boys – one was a douchebag irresponsible and rude (Goofus), and the other was a kiss-ass know-it-all kinder and ALWAYS did the right thing (Gallant). Often the panels would provide description, such as on a school bus: Goofus hogs his seat – Gallant makes space for someone else to sit down. Sometimes the situations would show the boys talking, such as phone courtesy when parents are away: Goofus: “Someone called but I forgot their name.” Gallant: “Someone called for you. I wrote down their name and number”.
And a more recent example: Goofus would not have crossed out “douchebag” or “kiss-ass know it-all” while describing characters from a children’s magazine – Gallant would not resort to name calling at all to begin with.

The Timbertoes

The Timbertoes was a comic strip about a family that appears to be made out of wood. The family consists of parents Ma and Pa and their children Tommy and Mabel. There are also animals: their dog Spot, cat Splinter, goat Butter, and horse Troy.


The Bear Family

This cartoon appeared in Highlights from the beginning until 1989, then reappeared in 1998. This family of bears included the mother, father and three children named Poozy, Woozy, and Piddy.



Ugh! Even as a child, I thought the jokes were horrible! And there would always be a Knock, Knock joke:

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”


“Repeat who?”

“Who, who, who, who …”


This was a little more interesting than the jokes. There would be about 10 riddles, and the answers would be upside down at the bottom. Here are a few examples:

A. What has a face and two hands but no arms or legs?

B. What five-letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?

C. What word begins and ends with an ‘e’ but only has one letter?

Riddle answers

What’s Wrong?

Finally, on the back cover, there would be the “What’s Wrong?” picture. There would be a big picture that has unusual objects take the place of normal things throughout the picture. You then need to find the various objects that are wrong.

What are your memories of Highlights Magazine? It was the first magazine subscription I ever had in my name. Did anybody have any favorite features?

Remember That Song – 6/30/14

Can you name the artist and song:

Those times I waited for you seem so long ago
I wanted you far too much to ever let you go

Last Song: “Bad Medicine” by Bon Jovi from New Jersey 1988
Great job Robert (@mishouenglish), Frida (@carrjam94) and Kickin’ It Old School (@oldschool80s)

Gonna take more than a shot
to get this poison out of me
And I got all the
symptoms count them 1, 2, 3

’80s Television Theme Songs: Dramas and Nighttime Soaps

Today, we will continue to take a look at some of our favorite television theme songs. Let’s Return to the ’80s, and check out some themes of Nighttime soaps and Dramas.

I must admit, I never watched Dallas in the ’80s. I was not exactly in their viewing demographic. Being a pre-teen to teenage boy at the time that this was on, I much preferred to watch shows with cool cars, and shows with a lot of explosions.
However, I was very familiar with the theme song, and I love it.

Fast forward to current day. Dallas is back on the air with a new generation, as well as several original cast members. I decided to hop on board as soon as it aired, and I love it! Larry Hagman’s J.R. Ewing was one of the most iconic characters of the ’80s. He was one of the original stars who came back on the new version. I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. Man, was I blown away! What an incredible character! At a time where anti-heroes are the rage, J.R. Ewing is the best one, by far. Sadly, Larry Hagman died last year. However, J.R. still has a major influence on the story.
And, the theme song is pretty much the same. It is one of the few theme songs that I don’t fast forward through on today’s shows.

Thinking back, I pretty much got to watch whatever shows I wanted when I grew up. But, this was one show that my mom would not bend on. She had to watch her Dynasty. I just watched long enough to catch the theme song.

Knots Landing
I kind of remember this theme a little bit.

Falcon Crest
I don’t remember watching Falcon Crest. But, we included all the other soaps, so we’ll include this one too.

L.A. Law
Now, on with the dramas. I liked this show, and the theme is good too.

I never watched this show. Again, I was not exactly the target audience. But, Al Jarreau sings this theme song, so that’s not so bad. Holy crap, Booger was in this show!?! I may need to watch this show now!

Classic ’80s song! This show was based on the 1980 movie. Irene Cara, who played Coco in the movie, sang the original theme song. Erica Gimpel, who played Coco in the TV version, song the theme song for the show. The part that stands out to me is Debbie Allen saying: You got big dreams. You want fame. Fame costs. Right here is where you start paying…in sweat.

Little House on the Prairie
This long-running hit show began in 1974, and ran through the beginning of the ’80s. I watched this when I was younger. And several years ago I started watching reruns of the show again. Man, for a family show, it could actually get kind of dark. Overall, it was a great family show.

The Love Boat

Here is another iconic show that began in the ’70s, and ran through the ’80s. C’mon, you know the song. Sing along:

Love, exciting and new
Come Aboard. We’re expecting you…

Special treat

Well that wraps up today’s shows. We will come back to more shows in the upcoming weeks. I’ll leave you with a fun video. Enjoy!

Remember That Song – 6/27/14

Hair’s to Friday!!!

Can you name the artist and song and complete the lyrics:

Gonna take more than a shot
to get this poison out of me
And I got all the
________ _____ __ _ _ _

Last Song: “Faith” by George Michael from his album Faith (1987)

Baby, I know you’re asking me to stay
Say please, please, please don’t go away
You say I’m giving you the blues

Remembering Michael Jackson *Repost*

This was originally written one year after Michael Jackson died. This was only 6 months into my blogging career. So, many of you may not have seen this yet. Now, let’s remember “The King of Pop” and ’80s icon, Michael Jackson 5 years after his death.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy. 9/11. The death of Michael Jackson. These are all events that people remember exactly where they were when they heard the news. On this 5 years ago, I got the news that Farrah Fawcett had died. Not too long after that, I got an email alert that Michael Jackson had been hospitalized. Then from work, I went to get my hair cut. While waiting, somebody came in asked if we had heard that Michael Jackson died. Then we were inundated with the news on TV and radio. There were people gathering all over the world to mourn the loss of the pop star. Jackson had 9 of the top 10 (if not the entire top 10) selling albums on iTunes.


It wasn’t too long before his death that Michael Jackson was shunned by most of the entertainment industry. After all, he was looking less and less like a human being, and more like an alien:

In 1993, a 13-year-old boy accused Michael Jackson of sexual molestation. On January 25, 1994, Michael Jackson settled the civil lawsuit paying an undisclosed amount to his accuser. It was believed to be millions of dollars. People didn’t know if Jackson was a child molester, or if somebody was just looking for a big payday.

Then in Germany in 2002, in front of hundreds of fans and photographers, Jackson introduced his son Blanket (Prince Michael II) by dangling the baby out of the 3rd story balcony of the Adlon Hotel.

British journalist Martin Bashir interviewed Michael Jackson over a span of eight months, from May 2002 to January 2003, filiming the documentary Living with Michael Jackson. The documentary aired in 2003, and stirred up major controversy. Jackson revealed to Bashir that not only does he invite disadvantaged children to his Neverland ranch, he lets them stay in his bed while he sleeps on the floor. Bashir questioned Jackson why he invites children into his room. Jackson defended himself stating that such activity is natural when the children are of close friends or family, and that “many children,” including the Culkin family children (including Macaulay and Kieran) have slept in the same bed as him. Jackson strongly denied that there was any sexual motivation for this.
Not surprisingly, in 2005, Michael Jackson went to trial for child molestation. On June 13th Jackson was found not guilty of all charges against him.
After the trial Michael Jackson left the country, and lived in Bahrain.


In March 2009, Jackson held a press conference at London’s O2 arena and announced a series of comeback concerts titled “This Is It.”


Sadly, Jackson died just before the first concert. But in October 2009, the documentary Michael Jackson’s This Is It was released. It showed rehearsals for all of the songs he was to perform, and it showed a little bit of his process in preparing the routines. It became the highest grossing documentary or concert movie of all time, with the earnings of more than $260 million worldwide.
I saw the documentary in the theater, and sadly, this would have been a great concert.
But Michael Jackson’s lifestyle got the best of him. Nobody tried to set him straight, or if they did, he did not listen.


While Michael Jackson is known for his controversies and his music, he was also an incredible philanthropist. The Millennium-Issue of the “Guinness Book Of Records” names Michael as the “Pop Star who supports the most charity organizations”.

Michael Jackson wrote “We Are The World” with Lionel Richie in 1985 and performed it as part of an all-star single to raise money for Africa in 1985.

In 1984, Jackson equiped a 19-bed-unit at Mount Senai New York Medical Center. This center is part of the T.J. Martell-Foundation for leukemia and cancer research.

He donated the proceeds from the sales of The Man In The Mirror to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children who suffer from cancer.

Jackson donated tickets to shows in is 1989 Bad Tour to underprivileged children. The proceeds from one of his shows in Los Angeles were donated to Childhelp USA, the biggest charity-organization against child-abuse. Childhelp of Southern California then established the “Michael Jackson International Institute for Research On Child Abuse”.

In 1992, he established the Heal The World Foundation, whose work has included airlifting 6 tons of supplies to Sarajevo, instituting drug and alcohol abuse education and donating millions of dollars to less fortunate children.

My Top 5 Michael Jackson Songs/Videos

I will end this on what Michael Jackson is and should be known for – his music and groundbreaking videos. Here are my top 5 videos:

5. Black or White

I love the guitar riff in this song. This was also kind of ironic because at the time people were questioning whether Michael knoew if he was Black or White. The end of the video was groundbreaking at the time with the shape-shifting between the people singing:

4. Smooth Criminal

This is a very cool song, and the choreography is great. The end of the video features the Anti-gravity lean.

3. You Are Not Alone

This is my favorite Michael Jackson ballad. It is a nice simple song, and he puts a lot of feeling into it.

2. Beat It

At the time that this came out, I was more into rock than pop. I listened to Van Halen, AC/DC, and Ozzy. But when this song came out, it made Michael Jackson seem cool to me. After all, it can’t be do bad with Eddie Van Halen performing the guitar solo.
But, of course the song got overplayed. Then I preferred Weird Al Yankovic’s parody, “Eat It”. However, I’m digging this song again.


This is often regarded as the best music video of all time. And who could argue? This was a big event for MTV. It was released on December 2, 1983, and it was a “must see” event. It did not disappoint. It was directed by John Landis (The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Trading Places), and co-starred Ola Ray.
The choreography with all of the zombies was great. Oh, by the way, the song is pretty good too. How can you go wrong when Vincent Price narrates?

So what are your thoughts? Should Michael Jackson be getting praised and honored as much as he is? Do you have a list of favorite Michael Jackson songs or videos? Any memories you’d like to share? Has anybody seen him in concert?

Also, if you’d like, you can add to the discussion on the Facebook page.

’80s Television Theme Songs: Action/Adventure/Police Shows

Welcome back to our look back at television theme songs. If you missed the previous posts, you can check out some great comedy theme songs in Part 1 and Part 2. Today, we will enjoy some themes of our favorite action/adventure/police shows.

Miami Vice

Obviously, we need to start with the ultimate ’80s TV show. When you mention Television in the ’80s, the first thing that pops into most people’s minds is Miami Vice. It had action, excess, fashion, Don Johnson, and, of course, the soundtrack of the ’80s. Just to name a few music artists who either appeared on the show, provided music, or both were: The Power Station, Glenn Frey, Willie Nelson, The Fat Boys, Gene Simmons, Sheena Easton, and Phil Collins.
So, with all that star power, there needs to be an awesome theme song. And Jan Hammer came through by writing and performing the definitive ’80s theme song. Even though it was an instrumental, the Miami Vice Theme topped the Billboard Charts in 1985. It also garnered two Grammy Awards. I must admit that it’s not my favorite song on today’s list, but there’s no denying it’s place in ’80s history.

My favorite part of Tuesday nights, began with this:

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem… if no one else can help… and if you can find them… maybe you can hire… The A-Team.

One other note about this song. If you ever have an earworm (a song stuck in your head), you will get rid of it by listening to the theme from The A-Team. I swear that this really works.

Magnum P.I.
This is another one of my favorite themes of the ’80s. While I enjoy Tom Selleck on Blue Bloods these days, I really miss his Thomas Magnum. What a great show!

The Dukes of Hazzard
Speaking of missing people, I also miss the late, great Waylon Jennings. Not only did he write and perform the theme for The Dukes of Hazzard (“The Good Ol’ Boys”), he also narrated the show. This song reached #1 on the Country chart in 1980, and peaked at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Yeeee Haaaaa!!!

The Greatest American Hero
“Believe It or Not”, the hits just keep on coming! Joey Scarbury’s hit would peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was in the Top 40 for 18 weeks. Oh, and the show was pretty awesome too!

The Fall Guy
The Fall Guy‘s theme, “Unknown Stuntman”, is sung by the show’s star, Lee Majors.

Hardcastle & McCormick
We get two awesome songs for the price of one here! The original theme for Hardcastle & McCormick, “Drive”, was composed by Mike Post and Stephen Geyer and sung by David Morgan.
However, for the first part of Season 2, the theme song was changed to “Back to Back”, also composed by Post and Geyer but sung by Joey Scarbury (yes, that Joey Scarbury from The Greatest American Hero).
But, after many complaints, the original “Drive” theme song was brought back. I do prefer “Drive”, but I do like “Back to Back” a lot. I think that it was better than a lot of other theme songs. Take a listen, and see which you prefer. Here is “Drive”:

And here is “Back to Back”:

21 Jump Street

Here is another outstanding theme song. It is performed by Holly Robinson, who also starred in the show.


Just like The Dukes of Hazzard, this was another great show that began in the ’70s and ran through the beginning of the ’80s. It does have a little ’70s sound to it, but I love it.

Hill Street Blues
We have reached the final song for the day, so let’s be careful out there. This critical darling and audience favorite of a show also had an iconic theme song. It was written by Mike Post, and reached #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in November 1981.

And just as in the comedies, we have the “problem” of there being many more theme songs we need to cover. It looks like we will have another round of this in the upcoming weeks. Tomorrow we will cover some evening soap operas and dramas. And Friday, we will check out cartoon theme songs. Geez, I think we could do an entire week with just cartoon theme songs alone!
Well, I hope you enjoyed these songs today. Please let me know what you think, and tell us what some of your favorite shows or theme songs were.

Remember That Song – 6/25/14

Can you name the artist and song:

Baby, I know you’re asking me to stay
Say please, please, please don’t go away
You say I’m giving you the blues

Last Song: “Still They Ride” by Journey from Escape (1981)

This ole town, ain’t the same
Now nobody knows his name

And here is a live version

’80s Television Theme Songs: Sitcoms, Part 2

Welcome back as we continue to take a look back at our favorite television theme songs. Today, we will have another round of sitcoms. If you missed the first round, you can check out Part 1 of this series.

Now, let’s Return to the sitcoms of the ’80s.

Family Ties
This is a classy song called “Without Us”. It is performed by Deniece “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” Williams and music legend, Johnny Mathis.

Laverne and Shirley
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
Sclemeel, schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated

This classic theme song was titled “Making Our Dreams Come True,” and performed by Cyndi Grecco. This song was released as a single in 1976, and became a hit, charting at #25. She followed up with another single, “Dancing, Dancing”. It did not chart, so “Making Our Dreams Come True” made Cyndi Grecco a one-hit wonder.

Mork and Mindy
This is a fun instrumental theme song.

Bosom Buddies
The theme song for Bosom Buddies was Billy Joel’s classic hit, “My Life“. The theme song version is performed by a studio musician named Gary Bennett.

Who’s The Boss?
There were three versions of this show’s theme song, “Brand New Life”. It was performed by Larry Weiss (1984-86), Steve Wariner (1986-90), and Jonathan Wolff (1990-92). Here are all three:

Larry Weiss (1984-86)

Steve Wariner (1986-90)

Jonathan Wolff (1990-92)

Gimme a Break
Show star Nell Carter performed this theme song.

My Two Dads
Here is another theme song sung by one of the show’s stars. And no, it’s not Paul Reiser who sang this! It is performed by Greg Evigan, who many of us remember from B. J. and the Bear.

Just the 10 of Us
“Growing Pains” had one of my all-time favorite theme songs. It’s spin-off, Just the 10 of Us had a theme song that was not to shabby either. It is “Doin’ it the Best I Can” performed by Bill Medley, who we know as one of The Righteous Brothers, and of course from the Dirty Dancing theme, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life“.

This theme, “Then Came You”, is performed by Steve Nelson and Gail Lopata Lennon

Perfect Strangers
We’ll wrap up today’s list with one of my favorite songs from today. This song is titled “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now”, and was performed by David Pomeranz. It was written by Jesse Frederick and Bennett Salvay, who had composed the themes for Full House, Step by Step and Perfect Strangers spin-off Family Matters.

Well, that does it for today. There are probably even more sitcoms that we can include. But, tomorrow we will move on to some of our favorite Action/Adventure shows. We’ll have to come back to some more sitcoms in the upcoming weeks. Does anybody have any other sitcom themes we haven’t gotten to yet?

Remember That Song – 6/24/14

Can you name the artist and song and complete the lyrics:

This ole town, ain’t the same
Now nobody _____ ___ ____

Last Song: “Panama” by Van Halen from 1984 (1984)

Great job Robert (@mishouenglish) and Frida (@carrjam94)!!!

Ain’t nothin’ like it, it’s a shining machine
Got the feel for the wheel, keep the movin’ parts clean

’80s Television Theme Songs: Sitcoms, Part 1

Remember when television theme songs were more than a few seconds? They showed the premise of the show and introduced the starring characters. Sure, some of them may have been corny (especially on some sitcoms), but the opening theme was just about as good as the show itself. This week, let’s Return to the ’80s, and enjoy some awesome theme songs that we miss. There are so, so many that we can’t possibly have them all in one post. Instead, we will make this a series this week, and break it up into different categories.

Today, we will start with sitcoms. Again, there are so many great sitcom themes that there will be multiple sitcom posts. So if it looks like there are some missing, chances are that they will be covered later in the week. These are listed in no particular order.

Happy Days
The original song was Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock”. Then from 1976 through 1984 the show had its own original song written by television theme writers Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, who also wrote the themes for Wonder Woman, Laverne and Shirley, and Love Boat. The song was sung by Jerry McClain and Truett Pratt, who were also known as Brother Love.

Golden Girls

This song was “Thank You for Being a Friend”, and was written by written by Andrew Gold. It was actually a #25 hit on the Billboard charts in 1978. You can see him perform it here.
The television theme version was recorded by Cynthia Fee (who is also known for her 1984 duet with Kenny Rogers, “I Don’t Want To Know Why“).

The Facts of Life

“The Facts of Life” theme was written by Growing Pains dad Alan Thicke, Days of Our Lives star Gloria Loring and Al Burton, and was sung by Gloria Loring.

Silver Spoons

The show’s theme song titled “Together” was written by Rik Howard and Bob Wirth. It was sung by The Archies’ alumni Ron Dante.

Punky Brewster

This theme song is “Every Time I Turn Around”, and was written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo and sung by Portnoy. Here is the version from seasons 3 and 4. To see the first season version, check out the Punk Brewster article from May 6 .

Charles in Charge

There were 2 versions of this song, even though the lyrics were the same. They are both good.

Season 1:

The rest of the seasons:

The Jeffersons

This song is “Movin’ on Up” and was written by Jeff Barry and Ja’net Dubois, and performed by Dubois. I dare to not move your hands or feet to this song!

Diff’rent Strokes

Like it’s spin-off, The Facts of Life, this song was written by Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring and Al Burton. This was sung by Alan Thicke.

Growing Pains

This song is “As Long As We Got Each Other,” sung by B.J. Thomas and Jennifer Warnes, and was written by Steve Dorff and John Bettis.
B.J. Thomas had hit songs such as “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” and “Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love“. Jennifer Warnes was a very successful duet singer as she had hits with “Up Where We Belong” (with Joe Cocker, from the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman) and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” (with Bill Medley from the 1987 film Dirty Dancing).

And here’s a full version of the song:


This is “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”, and was written by Gary Portnoy (who also wrote and performed the Punky Brewster theme) and Judy Hart Angelo and performed by Portnoy. I like the long version. The short version usually gets played for the reruns now.

Does anybody else have any favorites? There are more to come this week. In addition to more sitcoms, there are action/adventure theme songs as well as nighttime soaps, and dramas.