Dragon’s Lair: The fantasy adventure where you become a valiant knight, on a quest to rescue the fair princess from the clutches of an evil dragon. You control the actions of a daring adventurer, finding his way through the castle of a dark wizard, who has enchanted it with treacherous monsters and obstacles. In the mysterious caverns below the castle, your odyssey continues against the awesome forces that oppose your efforts to reach the Dragon’s Lair. Lead on, adventurer. Your quest awaits!
The Dragon’s Lair arcade game was released on this day 35 years ago (June 19, 1983). After this date, you could find me glued to this game in the arcade at Cranston Bowl, every Saturday morning after our bowling matches. It didn’t matter that it cost a whopping 50 cents a game.
Hi Everybody! Paul here. Today is our big ’80s extravaganza! Several ’80s bloggers and podcasters got together, and decided on a common topic that we will share. We are promoting each others work, and introducing you to some ’80s blogs that you may not have know were out there. The topic in this inaugural crossover will be on our favorite cars that were famous in the ’80s. Here is the list of blogs taking part are:
I will kick things off, and Robert has an article himself immediately following this one. So, let’s get on the road, and get this underway.
Sonny Crockett’s Ferrari Daytona Spyder
Miami Vice was a perfect fit in the ’80s. It was the age of excess – bright colors, big personalities, money flying hand-over-fist, great music, lots of cocaine, and of course, fast cars. And one of the most iconic cars was Sonny Crockett’s black 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spyder 365 GTS/4. It was awesome seeing it flying down the streets of Miami. But, in perhaps one of the most iconic scenes in ’80s television was Crockett and Tubbs cruising in the Spyder, with Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” playing. What?!? A popular song on network TV?! NBC had a hit on its hands from that point forward. Unfortunately, the car only lasted 2 seasons. This Spyder was a modified version of the Ferrari. The suits at the Ferrari company were not happy with this, and sued for trademark infringement and trademark dilution. So, the Spyder was destroyed by a bazooka in the first episode of season 3. You can keep your Walking Dead. The death of the Spyder was far more horrifying than any death in The Walking Dead.
ZZ Top’s Eliminator
Awesome cars weren’t just seen in movies and television shows. The golden age of MTV had it’s fair share of great cars. Not the least of which was the Eliminator, which was prominently featured in a trio of ZZ Top songs – “Gimme All Your Lovin’“, “Sharp Dressed Man“, and “Legs“. The Eliminator was really a customized 1930s Ford coupe. Unlike other Ford cars in the ’80s, this car seemed to run pretty fine to me. I don’t believe I ever saw it broken down on the side of the road, leaking oil, with smoke coming out from under the hood. That would have been a letdown. Instead, this was one of the coolest cars around. The drivers weren’t too shabby either, right fellas? Not to mention. the car came with the best keychain ever!
For my final car, I am going outside the box, and heading to the arcade! Pole Position was a unique game in those early ’80s arcade days. Most games, you just stood at, and moved a joystick or roller ball around. In Pole Position, you became part of the game. Instead of standing at the machine, you would sit in a booth, and drive your own Formula One race car around the track, using a steering wheel and gas pedal. This was easier said than done for some of us. It could be tough navigating turns at a high speed, while avoiding other cars at the same time. One misstep, and your car would go up in a ball of flames, with your tires bouncing away on the course.
I’m not into video games anymore. But if I somehow found myself in an old school arcade, you would have a difficult time tearing me away from this game!
What were some of your favorite cars seen in the ’80s? I hope you enjoyed this series. Please let us know what you think, and if you would like to see more of these crossover events. Again, please check out the following blogs. Every one is on Twitter as well, so please give all these hard-working bloggers a follow:
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.
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.
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 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.
Duh. How about some Star Wars action figures!?
May as well include my old lunch box too.
I also had this Star Wars book…
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:
Question: In Revenge of the Nerds, what is the name of the quarterback of Adams College’s football team?
Last Question: How many lanes of traffic did the frog need to cross on each screen, in the original Frogger?
Frogger came out in 1981, and was a large part of the early ’80s arcade craze. The player guides a frog which starts at the bottom of the screen. The lower half of the screen contains a road with various types motor vehicles. If you’re lucky enough to make it across the 5 lanes of traffic, and land on the median, you then have to cross the river with logs, crocodiles, and turtles. You hop on the logs and turtles, and try not to go off the screen, or hop off the turtle before he dives under the water. Then you have to hop into your frog home.
Here is a little gameplay:
Buckner & Garcia are best known for their “Pac-Man Fever” song. They also did a Frogger song, whcih also appeared on the Pac-Man Fever album, called “Froggy’s Lament”:
Frogger had a short stint on the Saturday Supercade:
Frogger also received the Seinfeld treatment in this classic episode:
Question: Who played the scatterbrained Penny Parker on seven episodes of MacGyver?
Last Question: What was the hero of the Donkey Kong arcade game called before he was named “Mario”?
Before Mario, everyone’s favorite Italian plumber, became the face of Nintendo, he was a carpenter named Jumpman in the original arcade game Donkey Kong. Mario has come a long way as he has appeared in over 200 video games since he was created! Here is the one that started it all, as Jumpman tries to rescue Lady (now named Pauline) from Donkey Kong:
A novelty song if there ever was one. At the height of “Pac-Man Fever” and the rest of the arcade craze, this song was released, and capitalized on that craze. It actually peaked at #9 on March 27, 1982.
The duo that performed the song was Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia. After the huge success of “Pac-Man Fever”, they signed a record deal with Columbia/CBS Records. They never wanted to become a novelty act known for songs based on video games. But when they signed the record deal, the company insisted on a full album of video-game songs, although the duo had intended to write mostly pop music. They caved in to the demands, and released a full album of Pac-Man Fever. Here is their playlist:
Pac-Man Fever (Pac-Man)
Froggy’s Lament (Frogger)
Ode to a Centipede (Centipede)
Do the Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong)
The Defender (Defender)
Mousetrap (Mouse Trap)
Goin’ Berzerk (Berzerk)
They never hit it big again. Here is their (and video arcades) moment of glory: