Five Things – 4.21.14

1. MTV Spring Break – Apparently in some parts of the world MTV still does some level of Spring Break programming during the months of March or April, but I don’t know anything about that and I don’t care. The late ’80s and early ’90s, though, that was different.  Back then MTV owned Spring Break for weeks at a time, filling their air with on-location versions of their shows and as a middle school kid, this programming shaped my impression of what MY Spring Break would be like once I was old enough to make my own bad decisions.

In 1987, the (nearly infant) Beastie Boys participated in a sweepstakes contest in which they would kidnap the winner and bring them to Daytona Beach for Spring Break. Here’s how that went:

In 1990, Remote Control hosted their final episode from Spring Break:

But the cultural pinnacle of MTV’s Spring Break for me was Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” performance on Club MTV in 1991, at the height of his powers:

Here’s a megamix of Spring Break coverage from 1986 to 1998, from Starship to Was Not Was to Information Society to MC Hammer to the Goo Goo Dolls to Mariah Carey. It’s got it all.

I really hope that Colin Quinn, Kennedy, John Norris, Duff, Adam Curry and Pauly Shore are sitting on a beach somewhere this Spring Break, toasting the good old days.


2. The Laffer Utilities – Sierra did remarkably little selling out in their heyday.  Their numbered series continued to give solid, story driven entertainment and the only thing that could really be considered their lazier effort was the repackaging of Hoyle card games into a compilation (and a second, and a third) – and even that wasn’t lazy, not really at all.  Then, in 1990, Sierra leveraged their popular loser Leisure Suit Larry into a Norton Utilities spoof that was called The Laffer Utilities. Even that wasn’t selling out, not by itself.  The bad part came when they charged money for it.

Laffer Utilities

Basically, The Laffer Utilities were a collection of crude office jokes disguised as programs.  For instance, one was an excuse generator – you clicked a button and it gave you a random excuse.  Ha, ha.  It seemed to be predicated on the fact that a) you worked in an office, b) you didn’t want to be in that office, and c) you were willing to put up with ANYTHING as long as it wasn’t work. A very ’80s-sitcom-movie way of looking at the workplace.

Laffer Utilities 2

Leisure Suit Larry, the franchise proper, got back on its feet in 1991 with LSL5, but this stain would remain on the fabric of the franchise. No pun intended.

Here are a few of the utilities. Hold your nose.


3. Russian Winnie the Pooh – Here’s a Russian version of Winnie the Pooh that’s pretty gorgeous, as well as charming and heartwarming.

In Soviet Russia, Pooh Winnies you!


4. Halcyon On and On – We’re headed to Moogfest this week, our annual tradition and in honor of that here’s one of my favorite moments from Moogfests past – Orbital’s “Halcyon On and On” from 2012.


5. Hang ‘Em High – And in non-Moogfest but similiarly awesome music, here’s Booker T and the M.G.’s cover of the theme from Hang ‘Em High.