All posts by Paul Stroessner

Daily Trivia – 4/4/11

Question: What car company’s pitchman lied in TV commercials but claimed, “You have my word on it.”?


 

Last Question: What four artists recorded “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1985 to raise money to fight AIDS?
 

Answer: Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder

“That’s What Friends Are For” was written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, and actually originally performed by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack of the movie Night Shift.

But most of us know the song by Dionne Warwick and Friends. It was recorded as a benefit for American Foundation for AIDS Research, and raised over $3 million for that cause. The song peaked at number one for three weeks on the soul chart and for four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. The Dionne and Friends version of the song won the performers the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, as well as Song of the Year for its writers, Bacharach and Bayer Sager. It also was ranked by Billboard magazine as the most popular song of 1986.


Wrestling of the ’80s

Hey Returnies, I am finally back, and feeling much better now. It took a lot longer to recover from surgery than I expected. But I guess the older you get, then longer it takes to recover. Who knew?!?

Unfortunately, I was set back a week longer than I expected, so I was unable to get an article out in time for a topic I was looking forward to discuss – Wrestling of the ’80s (And of course I’m talking about Professional Wrestling. Not High School, College, or Olympic Wrestling). Wrestlemania was held yesterday, so better late than never. I haven’t watched wrestling in about 10-15 years, but I was very much into it 30 years ago.

First, let me get this out of the way – WE ALL KNOW WRESTLING IS FAKE!!!!! So is Pretty Woman, Days of Our Lives, even my beloved Star Wars, as well as all Awards Shows! Good God, get over it! Sorry, but it’s a pet peeve of mine. As soon as somebody says the word “wrestling”, somebody always has to pipe in right away saying “wrestling is fake, you know”. It is entertainment, and there are actual writers. Admittedly, it’s not always the most intelligent entertainment – but it’s entertainment nonetheless. OK, rant’s over.

When I started watching wrestling, growing up in the Northeast, the Connecticut based WWF was basically the only wrestling on television until we got cable tv. Bob Backlund was the champion. But other popular wrestlers at the time were Greg “the Hammer” Valentine, “Mr. USA” Tony Atlas, Jesse “the Body” Ventura, and the tag team of Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito.

Then there was an explosion on February 18, 1985, called The War to Settle the Score. This was when the WWF aired an event on MTV that featured a huge grudge match between Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper. The entertainment and wrestling worlds collided when, during the match, Mr. T (who had conveniently been sitting ringside) came into the ring to help Hogan.

Oh yeah, we have it here:

This set up the main event for the inaugural Wrestlemania which took place on March 31, 1985. Hogan and Mr. T faced the team of Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff.

The WWF never looked back after that. In my opinion, the pinacle of pro wrestling was Wrestlemania III. It was held before a record attendance of 93,173 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.

The main event was Hulk Hogan against his former friend, the undefeated Andre the Giant. Hulk Hogan not only won the match to hand Andre his first loss, but he also body slammed the Giant, which had never been done before.

But the match that stole the show was the Intercontinental Title match between Ricky Steamboat and champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage. There was non-stop action in this exciting match, which ended with Steamboat winning the championship.

Here is a list of some of my favorite wrestlers from the ’80s:

Jake “the Snake” Roberts


Jake “the Snake” was one of the most intimidating wrestlers I had seen. His finishing move was the DDT, which would knock his opponent out cold. Oh, but he easn’t done yet. After winning the match, he would take his live Burmese Python, Damien, out of his canvas bag, and put him all over the poor opponent.

 

Curt Hennig


I liked Hennig when he was in the AWA, and was the AWA champion for a while. The AWA aired on cable for us in the Northeast, and was a nice alternative to the WWF. But, as many other promising-yet-underexposed AWA stars had before him (including Hulk Hogan, Rick Martel, and Bobby Heenan), he left the AWA for the World Wrestling Federation.

And he played a great character upon his arrival – Mr. Perfect. He had great skits such as getting a hole-in-one golf shot, hitting three-pointers with ease on the basketball court, and he remained undefeated in the ring for a long time.

Unfortunately, he had some demons, and on February 10, 2003, Hennig was found dead in a Florida hotel room. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office declared acute cocaine intoxication to be the cause of his death.

 

Ric Flair


Woooooo!!! “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair was a long time champion in the NWA. He didn’t seem to be as big as some of his opponents, but he always managed to hold on to the title (usually by cheating, and eventually getting his figure-four leglock on). He was basically the opposite of Hulk Hogan. His matches were always very entertaining, but his interviews were even better.

 

Road Warriors


They are may favorite tag team of all time. Hawk and Animal popularized the use of face paint. They were huge, and beat the crap out of everybody. They were involved in one of wrestlings greatest feuds when they moved to the NWA, as they teamed with Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff to feud with the Four Horsemen – Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, and Ole Anderson (and later Lex Luger after Ole retired).

 

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper


I loved Piper when he turned good, but he was even more entertaining when he was bad! He had a segment called Piper’s Pit where he interviewed fellow wrestlers. If he was interviewing a good guy, a fight would usually break out. The most notorious interview was with “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka. Piper started insulting Snuka’s Polynesian heritage by bringing out pineapples, bananas, and dropping coconuts onto the table. Then Piper ttacked Snuka by smashing him over the head with a coconut and shoving a banana in his face. This started a bitter rivalry.

In 1986, Piper took a leave of absence, and when he came back, the fans loved him. He had a retirement match in Wrestlemania II where he beat Adrian Adonis in a “hair-vs-hair” match. Then he went into acting. He starred in he 1988 John Carpenter cult classic, They Live. Piper eventually got back into wrestling.

So, who are your favorite wrestlers. Do you have any favorite matches/feuds? And I didn’t even get into the wrestling announcers! I loved Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon. Jim Ross was also great before his stroke. Who are your favorites?

Daily Trivia – 4/4/11

Question: What four artists recorded “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1985 to raise money to fight AIDS?


 

Last Question: What toy asked, “Can you and I be friends?”
 

Answer: Teddy Ruxpin

Sure, that bear looks cute and cuddly. That is until he starts talking and his mouth and eyes move. This evil bear made his debut in 1985, and was produced by Worlds Of Wonder. You stuck a cassette tape in his back and play it. Then Teddy Ruxpin’s mouth would move. The company produced books on tape that the bear would read.

The Worlds of Wonder company went bankrupt in 1990, and this toy line was picked up by Hasbro, which produced him under their Playskool line until 1996. They changed the cassette size to be special cartridges instead of standard cassette tape size.

In 1998, Yes! Entertainment brought Teddy Ruxpin back to stores for a third time. They went back to the original cassette size. In 2005 Backpack Toys announced a fourth version of Teddy Ruxpin, which replaced the audio tapes with digital cartridges. The doll is no longer produced.

Here is an early commercial:

The Teddy Ruxpin doll was so popular when it was first released that a cartoon was created for it: The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin. The show ran from 1987-1988. Teddy Ruxpin leaves his homeland in Rillonia with his friend Grubby in search of adventure.

I hope everybody enjoyed Teddy Ruxpin! Because, when Skynet takes over and destroys the world, we can all look back and see that the creation of Teddy Ruxpin started it all.

Do you think Teddy Ruxpin was creepy, or am I freaking out over nothing? Here is a poll. If you know of any other doll that is more creepy, please leave a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Dan Quayle Quotes of the Week – 4/1/11

I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy – but that could change.
Dan Quayle, 5/22/89

We’re going to have the best-educated American people in the world.
Dan Quayle, 9/21/88

I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made.
Dan Quayle, to Sam Donaldson, 8/17/89

Public speaking is very easy.
Dan Quayle, to reporters in 10/88

Happy April Fool’s Day!!

Daily Trivia – 4/1/11

Question: What toy asked, “Can you and I be friends?”


 

Last Question: On Night Court, what singer did “Judge Harry Stone” adore?
 

Answer: Mel Tormé

Judge Harold “Harry” T. Stone, played by Harry Anderson, loved movies and fashions from the 1940s, hated modern music (especially Barry Manilow), and idolized crooner Mel Tormé (a.k.a. “The Velvet Frog”).

I remember that Mel Tormé did have a cameo on the show, but I can’t find any clips.

I’m sure Harry went into mourning on June 5, 1999, when Mel Tormé died from a stroke at the age of 73.

Daily Trivia – 3/31/11

Question: On Night Court, what singer did “Judge Harry Stone” adore?


 

Last Question: In Weird Science, who played older brother “Chet”?
 

Answer: Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton was great as Wyatt’s (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) older brother, who was a military school student that abused the crap out of him and Gary (Anthony Michael Hall). Chet gets payed back when Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) transformed him into a freaky “Jabba the Hutt” looking creature until he apologized.

Here are the clips of Chet from Weird Science:

The Go-Go’s announce 30th Anniversary Tour

The Go-Go’s have officially announced their LADIES GONE WILD TOUR celebrating the 30th anniversary of their debut album Beauty and the Beat.

Last year, the group was to begin their “Happily Ever After” summer farewell tour, which was scheduled to kick off July 7 at Lilith Fair San Diego, and conclude in Austin, TX on July 27. However, it was canceled due to Jane Wiedlin injuring her knee after a 20-foot fall while hiking near her home in Northern California.

Now, this tour will begin on May 29 in Hershey, PA, and end on August 28 in Austin, TX. Here is the official announcement from the band’s web site:

THE GO-GO’S ANNOUNCE:

LADIES GONE WILD TOUR

Commemorative Activities to Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Beauty and the Beat.

March 28, 2011 (LOS ANGELES, CA) – 30 years after the release of Beauty and the Beat, their double-platinum debut album that cemented in our hearts and our pop-vernacular such smash hits as “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat”, the Go-Go’s and their fans prepare for a slew of 30th Anniversary activities for the 2011 summer and beyond.

Kicking off the festivities will be Ladies Gone Wild, a national U.S. tour with the legendary Go-Go’s Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey, Gina Schock, Jane Wiedlin and Kathy Valentine. The tour will include a very special Los Angeles homecoming show at the Greek Theater on August 17, Belinda’s birthday. This summer will also see the release of a Deluxe Edition of Beauty and the Beat, available May 17 from EMI, including a limited edition on hot pink vinyl. The Deluxe Edition includes a special bonus audio CD that features previously unreleased music from a 1981 live show. In August, the Go-Go’s will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In further news, the Go-Go’s have joined with Girl Scouts of the USA and Roland Corporation to bring the beat to a new generation in a national campaign called Girl Scouts Rock! Powered by Roland, an initiative to empower girls ages 8-14 through interactive music education workshops. “We Got the Beat”, the Go-Go’s original mega-hit, will be added to the curriculum.

In 1981, the Go-Go’s delivered Beauty and the Beat hot on the heels of their debut U.S. single “Our Lips Are Sealed.” The album hit #1, and was the first to top the Billboard charts by an all-female band that wrote and performed their own songs. 1982’s Vacation and 1984’s Talk Show continued their chart and radio successes with “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels” and cemented the Go-Go’s as one of the most iconic and beloved groups of the 80s. The Go-Go’s released a much-celebrated anthology, Return to the Valley of The Go-Go’s in 1994, and 2001 marked the last studio album of new material, God Bless The Go-Go’s.

Last summer the Go-Go’s had scheduled a farewell tour which was subsequently canceled when guitarist Jane Wiedlin required surgery after suffering injury to her knees in a hiking fall. During the band’s time off, they decided they were not quite ready to hang up their instruments and set to work preparing for this summer’s 30th Anniversary spectacular, Ladies Gone Wild.

Their story truly is a punk version of the American Dream. They came, they saw and they conquered the charts and airwaves with their kicky kitsch and sparkling California appeal, five feisty role models for future generations of ready-to-rock girls. From their halcyon days as America’s sweethearts to their current status as superstars who pioneered a genre, the Go-Go’s preside over an amazing three-decade reign as high priestesses of pop.

Today, the Go-Go’s live show continues to deliver every bit of the raw energy of their now-legendary punk beginnings, tempered with the wisdom of three decades of pop perfection. Don’t miss the celebration and a chance to go wild with the ladies of the Go-Go’s.

Here is the list of dates:

5/29/11 Hershey, PA
6/01/11 Morristown, NJ
6/03/11 New York, NY
6/04/11 Atlantic City, NJ
6/05/11 Mashantucket, CT
6/07/11 Westbury, NY
6/09/11 Boston, MA
6/10/11 Vienna, VA
6/11/11 Orlando, FL
6/14/11 Apple Valley, MN
6/16/11 Clarkston, MI
6/17/11 Highland Park, IL
6/18/11 Kettering, OH
8/12/11 Vancouver, BC
8/13/11 Portland, OR
8/14/11 Seattle, WA
8/16/11 San Francisco
8/17/11 Los Angeles
8/20/11 Temecula, CA
8/24/11 Denver, CO
8/26/11 Dallas, TX
8/27/11 Houston, TX
8/28/11 Austin, TX

Daily Trivia – 3/30/11

Question: In Weird Science, who played older brother “Chet”?


 

Last Question: What McDonald’s product bore the slogan, “The hot stays hot and the cool stays cool.”?
 

Answer: McDLT

See, all McDonalds food isn’t bad for you! Look at all the veggies that you could have on your burger! I think one side of the Styrofoam container had a whole head of lettuce and a big tomato slice on top of the top bun. Then the other side had the burger on the bottom bun. And the hot side did stay hot and the cold side did stay cold. But, most of the lettuce would fall out when you tried eating this sandwich. So we all reverted back to the Quarter Pounders, Big Macs, and Chicken McNuggets, and the Mc DLT disappeared.

Here is the original commercial starring “before he was famous” Jason Alexander:

Daily Trivia – 3/29/11

Question: What McDonald’s product bore the slogan, “The hot stays hot and the cool stays cool.”?


 

Last Question: What artist had a #1 hit with the theme from the movie Ghostbusters?
 

Answer: Ray Parker Jr.

Ray Parker, Jr.’s smash hit “Ghostbusters”, from the film of the same name, hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 11 in 1984, and stayed there for three weeks. It also peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart on 16 September 1984, where it stayed for three weeks. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, but lost to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You”.

Producers of the Ghostbusters movie had first approached Huey Lewis & the News to develop the theme song for the movie. The band decided not to, so Ray Parker Jr. was selected.

According to The Mad Music Archive, later in 1984, Huey Lewis & the News sued Parker, citing the similarities between the Ghostbusters theme song and their earlier hit, “I Want a New Drug”. According to Huey Lewis and the News, this was especially damaging to them since the Ghostbusters theme song was so popular, rising to #1 on the charts for three weeks. Parker and Lewis later settled out of court. Huey Lewis has stated that his experiences with the producers of Ghostbusters may have been indirectly responsible for getting his band involved with the movie Back to the Future.

On his 2001 Behind the Music special, Huey Lewis stated: “The offensive part was not so much that Ray Parker Jr. had ripped this song off, it was kind of symbolic of an industry that wants something — they wanted our wave and they wanted to buy it. [I]t’s not for sale. …In the end, I suppose they were right. I suppose it was for sale, because basically, they bought it.”

As a result of this statement, Ray Parker Jr. has filed a suit against Huey Lewis, claiming he violated the lawsuit’s confidentiality agreement and seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney fees. The lawsuit is ongoing.

I had never heard about the lawsuits, and I never had noticed the similarities before. I liked both songs anyway.

Here is the “Ghostbusters” music video:

And here is “I Want a New Drug” just in case you want to compare:

Daily Trivia – 3/18/11

Question: What artist had a #1 hit with the theme from the movie Ghostbusters?


 

Last Question: On Family Ties, who guest starred as Elyse Keaton’s alcoholic brother Ned?

 

Answer: Tom Hanks

In this “very special episode” of Family Ties (aired on January 26, 1984), Tom Hanks played Ned Donnelly, Elyse Keaton’s brother, who became an alcoholic. This was after Hanks’ Bosom Buddies years, but just before he made his “splash” in Splash and Bachelor Party later that year.

Alex (Michael J. Fox) idolized Ned. But his image came crashing down when at 2:00 AM, Alex did not want to make a beer run and Uncle Ned chugged a bottle of vanilla extract:

The episode started funny when Ned made his grand entrance carrying the Keaton’s trash bags claiming some guys in a truck were trying to take them away. But, but towards the end of the episode, there was a dark turn, peaking when Uncle Ned “pimp slapped” poor Alex across the room.

After realizing what he did, Ned finally admitted that he needed help. Tom Hanks’ career then took off, and we never heard from Uncle Ned again.

p.s. This will be my last post for a while. So feel free to look back at some of my other articles in the meantime. As “Ahnuld” said in The Terminator, “Ahhl be back”.