Man Crates: Old School Memories (Part 1)

Now that I’m 5 years into this blog, I am being contacted by some cool companies more and more often. I am excited about this new company, that has contacted me, called Man Crates. They ship awesome gifts which come in a wooden crate that needs to be opened with a crowbar. There are many different packages available. For example, there is a Personalized Barware crate, Exotic Meats crate, Grill Master crate, Outdoor Survivor crate, a Retro Gamer crate, and…wait for it…an Old School crate. This Old School crate contains a Slinky, a Rubick’s Cube, a Yomega Yo-Yo, a Pez dispenser, and a ton of old school candy.

I was challenged to share my memories, and share what items would be in my crate. So, let’s have some fun, and take a trip down memory lane!

I was born in 1970, so I have almost as many memories of the ’70s as I do of the ’80s. So, we’ll begin there, and work our way through the ’80s.

The Early Years: 1970-1974

I don’t remember what I did 5 minutes ago. But I do remember that before I was old enough to go to school, I would need to take an afternoon nap. I’m sure toddlers and little kids do need to take naps. However, I think I had to take naps so I would be out of my mother’s hair while she watched her “stories” (a.k.a., Days of Our Lives, Another World, and The Doctors). But, at 3:30, it was time for me to watch my “stories”. This would consist of reruns of Batman (the Adam West version, obviously), then the grandaddy of all kids shows – Sesame Street (Who else here remembers Mr. Blooper…I mean Mr. Hooper?), Mr. Rogers, and The Electric Company (my favorite). I think Zoom was on after that, but I don’t ever remember watching it. The Electric Company was my introduction to Spiderman and Morgan Freeman.

Crate items:

Here are some items from that time period that I would include in my crate:
The Official Sesame Street 2 Book-and-Record Album and The Year of Roosevelt Franklin

I have mentioned several times on this site that my first cassettes I ever owned were Kiss Unmasked and AC/DC Back in Black. But The Official Sesame Street 2 Book-and-Record Album and The Year of Roosevelt Franklin were my very first albums. They were both released in 1971. The Sesame Street album had classics such as the Sesame Street theme song, “Play Along“, “Everyone Makes Mistakes“, and “Sing“. “Sing” was one of my favorites. And I just found out fairly recently that this song was so popular that The Carpenters actually covered this.
The Year of Roosevelt Franklin also has some great songs. “Roosevelt Franklin Counts“, “Just Because“, and “Mobity Mosely’s Months“. OK, I’m going to be 45 next month, and I’m over here jammin’ out to some Roosevelt Franklin! I don’t know anything about children’s programming these days, but I seriously doubt there is any that has music as good as this! These albums are going in to the crate!
And, one more thing related to this period that is going in the crate is the first toys I remember having – Sesame Street finger puppets.

The Early Years: 1974-1976

A great part of many kids’ childhoods were Saturday mornings. The earliest cartoon I remember watching was The Jackson 5ive. Not long after that, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids took over as my favorite cartoon…until I discovered Superfriends. Some other cartoons I remember from this time were Scooby Doo (until that dratted Scrappy Doo came along), Speedy Buggy, Josie and the Pussycats, and all the other Hanna-Barbera cartoons. They weren’t all cartoons on Saturday mornings, though. I loved all the Sid and Marty Krofft shows. I always hear about H.R. Pufnstuf, but I have never seen that one. My favorites were Land of the Lost, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters,
Far Out Space Nuts (Gilligan in Space), The Lost Saucer (Gomer Pyle in space), and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (starring a pre-Marlena Deidre Hall). I also loved the Star Trek animated series.

It was during this time period that I began watching the original Star Trek with my dad. I loved fire trucks, so I loved Emergency!, which is always on the Me channel these days. Of course, that went hand-in-hand with Adam-12. Another favorite show of mine was The Six Million Dollar Man. It was also during this period when The Muppet Show began. So, I graduated from Sesame Street to The Muppet Show.

I didn’t just sit around and watch TV. It was during this time that I learned how to read. I learned with Fun With Phonics. There were books, and records that went with them. The soothing voice of the lady on the record would talk me through the books. By the time I reached kindergarten, I was reading books.

OK, that’s enough yapping. Time to throw some stuff in my crate.

Crate Items:
I used to love my Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids action figures.


Some other action figures I had that can go in the crate are my Star Trek action figures, Six Million Dollar Man action figures, and the original G.I. Joe.


I also had Scooby Doo Colorforms:


I failed to mention how big Fisher Price items were in the ’70s. I had a ton of Fisher Price toys. My favorite was probably the garage. You put the car in the elevator, and when it reaches the top, it rides down the ramp.


I cannot find a picture of the Fun With Phonics set I had. But, I would include that in the crate. I will also throw in my first two books: Silly Billy and The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party


The Early Years: 1977-1979

1977 was a transitional year for me. In May of that year, we moved from our apartment in Providence to a house in Warwick. I finished up my last month of 1st grade with my parents driving me to school. Previously, I had walked to school.

I made new friends and went to a new school in the fall. 1977 is a very important year for people of our generation. It was the year Star Wars came out. Star Wars actually made it easier for me to make new friends. We all had an instant connection, talking all about Star Wars, and what happened in the movie – before any of us had actually seen the movie. I still don’t know how we were able to do that, but we did. In those days before the internet, word of mouth was literally word of mouth. Not only was the movie incredible, but the merchandising was a dream come true for kids our age. Action figures came into prominence. I also got all kinds of Star Wars books, and had a Star Wars lunch box. Star Wars also created a seismic shift in entertainment. There were many space shows and movies that were created. There was Space 1999, Battlestar Galactica, and even Star Trek made a comeback, as a result of the success of Star Wars.
People of our generation are now making movies and television shows, and I think it’s pretty obvious. Not only is Star Wars returning to the big screen this year, but Star Trek has made a comeback, and the super hero movement is stronger than ever. There was a lot of super hero shows and movies in the late ’70s. I remember watching Spiderman, Captain America, and a show I loved – The Incredible Hulk. And of course, Superman was a huge success.

Now, let’s put some stuff in the crate.

Crate Items:

Duh. How about some Star Wars action figures!?

May as well include my old lunch box too.


I also had this Star Wars book…

star wars

I would also like to include my Incredible Hulk trading cards



The late ’70s was also the beginning of the video game movement. We will really delve into this next time. But, in the late ’70s, I remember playing pong a lot. I’m not into video games at all anymore. But, if I had a Pong system in front of me, I could play this thing for hours!



One thing I never owned, but wanted, was the Evel Knievel Stunt Set. So, we’ll throw this in the crate.

The late ’70s was also a time when I learned how to ride a bike. My bike was ok. But, I would have much preferred a Huffy. So, I’ll throw a Huffy in my crate.



Well, that will wrap things up for now. I will continue this series next week. And don’t forget, be sure to visit Man Crates in the following places:

Man Crates on Facebook

Man Crates on Twitter

Did any of these things bring back memories for you? What would you include in your crate? I will continue this series next week as we get into the ’80s.

MIAMI VICE: SEASON 1- EPISODE 4: Calderone’s Return: The Hit List (Part 1)

It’s Friday! You know what that means! Miami Vice day! I’ve loved every episode so far, and today is no different. Each episode is like a really good movie. Let’s get into this, and see what’s up with Calderone, who was the bad guy in the premiere episode, and this hit list.


This episode was directed by Richard Colla, and written by Joel Surnow. Surnow also directed the last episode, “Cool Runnin'”. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he co-created the hit shows, La Femme Nikita and 24. The original air date for this episode was October 19, 1984.

The episode begins with Tubbs doing surveillance from a hotel room. While he’s doing that, Crockett is in the room getting dressed and ready to meet with his wife, Caroline, and her lawyer about their upcoming divorce. Switek and Zito come in to relieve Crockett and Tubbs, and Switek says, “What’s new today with America’s favorite couple.” I thought that was hilarious. At the time this aired, everyone must have been talking about this awesome new show, and Crockett and Tubbs were probably getting to be household names already.
Next, Sonny and Caroline are meeting outside the courthouse with their lawyers. Caroline wanted to move to Atlanta, and take their son with her. So, both of their lawyers were playing hardball with each other, and Caroline’s lawyer was a real jerk. Sonny and Caroline go off to the side while the lawyers are arguing. Caroline changed her mind about moving. So, they fired both of their lawyers on the spot.

Back to Switek’s and Zito’s surveillance. We see some creepy dude getting into a limo to drive and pick somebody up. We know he is creepy, because there is some creepy music playing. It is almost Michael Myers Halloween music. He goes to pick up a couple of guys who Vice has been watching. They get in the limo. Then the “driver” gets a crazy shotgun, and kills both
men. A cop on the ground was there instantly (since they had been watching those guys), and Creepy eventually shoots him as well. He gets in another car with another creepy dude and takes off just as Switek and Zito get down there. Switek calls it in, and says where the car is headed. Somebody gives chase, but the bad guys got away.

However, the car is seen parked at another building. Tubbs arrives with a couple of other cops. He tells them to wait for backup. Then another police car arrives with sirens blaring. So much for waiting for backup! Tubbs grabs a shotgun and heads in. The main creepy guy takes off on foot, and Tubbs gives chase, but loses him.

All the cops are searching the building for any kind of evidence. The bad guys left behind a briefcase with weapons and a little black book. Somebody gives the commander, Lou, the book. Lou shows Tubbs the book. He looks upset. Then Lou says, “Where is he?” – He being Sonny. Sonny is in bed with Caroline. He was right – their divorce was as much a failure as their marriage was.

Tubbs and Lou catch up with Sonny at Caroline’s house, and fill him in on what happened. And that black book? It’s a hit list, and Sonny’s on it – #8…and the first 6 have already been killed. Cue creepy Halloween music.

They discover that the first six were drug dealers. Somebody is out to eliminate competition. Lou wants Sonny to go into protective custody, but of course Sonny is being stubborn about it. They have no idea who the killer is. They only have one set of fingerprints, and they don’t know whose they are. They belong to somebody on Interpol’s list, but there is no name. [He was the one that was driving the car that Creepy got away in. There is a picture though. Tubbs looks at the picture, and sees that he is with Calderone.

Lou and Sonny are at Sonny’s boat to pick up some things before he goes into protective custody. But, Creepy is staking them out. Lou catches a glimpse when the guy was going to shoot Crockett. So, he went and knocked Crockett out of the way, and got hit himself.

In the hospital, Tubbs fills Crockett in that it is Calderone behind all of this. Since, Lou’s life is on the line because of a bullet meant for Crockett, Crockett cannot just stand by. So, he and Tubbs try to figure out how to get Calderone.

They find out that Linus Oliver, who is #7 on the hit list, has a drug deal in the works. Crockett and Tubbs figure that Calderone is behind it. So, they grab Linus, and have him set up a meeting for that night with Mendez – the name of the guy he was supposed to meet.

They meet at a night club. This means we get music! “Let’s Get Excited” by The Pointer Sisters is playing while they are waiting for Mendez to arrive. Since this is the ’80s, and we are in a club with alcohol, we get a big bar fight (with ZZ Top’s “Tush” playing). Linus manages to point out Mendez, and they get him.

While they are questioning Mendez, they find out that Linus was killed. So, Mendez was not the hit man. And there is one person left on the hit list. Tubbs races to get to Crockett before the hit man does. An awesome song, I had never heard before, is playing during this sequence – “In the Night” by Russ Ballard.
Sonny, Caroline, and their son Billy get home, and the hitman is waiting for them. Now we get our obligatory shootout. Tubbs arrives, and the shootout gets even better. The hitman jumps out a window to get outside, only to find himself surrounded by the rest of the police. He goes out in a blaze of glory.

If there was hope for Sonny and Caroline to stay together, it is now dashed. Oh, and we find out that Lou died. Man, this is ending on a bummer. Then Crockett and Tubbs find out that Mendez finally broke, and said that Calderone is in the Bahamas. Crockett says that it’s only 60 miles away. He asks Tubbs when he can be ready. Tubbs replies, “I am always ready.” Holy crap! That was so awesome!
Oh man! Freeze-frame. To Be Continued…


There were only three songs on today’s episode. But, man they were good ones!

“I’m So Excited” by The Pointer Sisters


“Tush” by ZZ Top


“In the Night” by Russ Ballard


Final Thoughts

This show has me hooked! These episodes just keep getting better and better. There were a lot of funny parts, and there was some intensity. And of course, there were some great action sequences. There were no big name guest stars in this episode. Maybe the biggest guest star (pardon the pun) was Ron Taylor, who played Linus. The best known movie he was in was Trading Places. I kid you not, imdb credits him as “Big Black Guy” in that movie. We mainly get to see the vice squad. I am warming up to Switek. He is pretty funny. He and Zito have had great chemistry with Crockett and Tubbs right from the beginning of the series.

I kind of feel bad for Lou. But not too bad, because I know who is coming to replace him. Lou was serviceable as captain, but there was nothing about him that really stood out. He wasn’t the tough, grizzled type of captain, and he was not a flabbergasted, whiny one neither. So, he wasn’t bad. But he wasn’t great. I’m really looking forward too see the arrival of Edward James Olmos (and not just because he was the first celebrity to follow me on Twitter).

Now I can’t wait to see the next episode! I am going to try to have some self-discipline though, and hold off watching it until next week.

Once again, I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode, or on Miami Vice in general.

Quote of the Day: Top Gun

Maverick: [spots Charlie for the first time] She’s lost that loving feeling.
Goose: She’s lo… No she hasn’t.
Maverick: Yes, she has.
Goose: She’s not lost that lo…
Maverick: Goose, she’s lost it, man.
Goose: Come on!
Goose: [to himself] Aw sh… I hate it when she does that.

Remember That Song: 7/31/15

Hair’s to Friday!!!

Can you name the artist and song:

When you want the dream to last
Take a chance forget the past

Last Song: “Hold Me ‘Til the Mornin’ Comes” by Paul Anka and Peter Cetera from Walk a Fine Line (1983)

Great job Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, & Other Stuff!!!

Hold Me ‘Til the Mornin’ Comes
Until I see you smile
Take all the sadness from your eyes
Hold me till the mornin’ sun
Let me stay we’ve just begun

Quotes of the Day: The Running Man

Happy 68th birthday to Arnold Schwarzenegger!!! Here are some killer quotes from The Running Man.


Running Man Sub Zero

Ben Richards: [after strangling Sub-Zero with barbed wire)] What a pain in the neck.

Amber: [after Richards cut Buzzsaw in half with a chain saw] What happened to Buzzsaw?
Ben Richards: He had to split.

Ben Richards: [after killing Damon Killian] Now that hit the spot.

Remember That Song: 7/30/15

Today is Paul Anka’s 74th birthday. He is mainly known for his hits in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. But he did have a hit in the ’80s. Can you name this song? It was a duet. Can you name the artist who sang this with Anka?

____ __ ____ ___ _______ ______
Until I see you smile
Take all the sadness from your eyes
Hold me till the mornin’ sun
Let me stay we’ve just begun

Last Song: “Subdivisions” by Rush from Signals (1982)

Great job Andy (@andytorah)!!!

In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out

Remember That Song: 7/29/15

Can you name the artist and song:

In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out

Last Song: “You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)” by Jeffrey Osborne from Emotional (1986)

I’ll be there just wrapped around you
I can’t hold back
What I feel inside
It’s just a fact

Remember That Song: 7/28/15

Can you name the artist and song:

I’ll be there just wrapped around you
I can’t hold back
What I feel inside
It’s just a fact

Last Song: “Drivin’ My Life Away” by Eddie Rabbitt from Horizon (1980)

Great job Jim (@JimVilk)!!!

Those windshield wipers
Slappin’ out a tempo
Keepin’ perfect rhythm
With the song on the radio
Gotta keep rollin’