1. Friendly Giant – Before the BFG, before Andre, the original friendly giant was… The Friendly Giant. This charming little CBC show ran from 1958 to 1985 and trickled out to a few US markets, but mostly stayed in Canada.
Bob Homme played the titular Giant, who played music or told stories in his castle with his rooster pal Rusty and his giraffe pal Jerome. Each episode opens with a slow pan across a miniature village until the Giant was revealed. The design of the miniatures and the Giant’s castle are quite charming and it’s got a real simple sedate, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood feel to it.
For better or for worse, they really don’t make them like this anymore .
2. Ghostbusters Training Manual – Found in the 1985 Scholastic Book Fair catalog, this was your standard blockbuster tie-in product with a cool twist.
This sticker book disguised itself as a training manual on how to be a Ghostbuster. Don’t get any lofty ideas, it’s still a pretty thin veil draped over a basic recounting of the story beats in the movie, but it was a step that most don’t bother with!
Restored by the folks over at Ghostbusters Inc., here are some key training tips. Hit the links to see more:
Not sure first-name-only signatures count as legal certification, but the Ghostbusters were never the types to do things by-the-book!
3. Pie Face – Pies in the face are(? used to be?) hilarious, right? Well, how about a board game where you put yourself at risk of getting a pie in your own face right in the comfort of your own living room?
I mean, you have to actually make the pies yourself. And load the pies into the contraption. And put your own whipped cream on the pies. And pay money to do this. But still! Who wouldn’t want to? The mom certainly had a great time on the box! My favorite bit of the box art is the son keeping score.
The game requires you to spin a wheel to find out how many times to “pump” the pie-throwing contraption. If you’re unlucky your “pump” will be the one that triggers a pie in your face, embarrassing you in front of your family and, most of all, requiring you to make and load another pie. Here’s an ad for this terrible, terrible idea.
4. Mutant Rampage: Body Slam –More CD-i love this week with Mutant Rampage: Body Slam. The console might have been a rough patch in our technological heritage, but that doesn’t mean all the games were awful. They weren’t all Link games.
Mutant Rampage: Body Slam isn’t a “great” game by any means, but it’s good. One of the better on that console. A side-scrolling beat-em-up, as was the taste of the time, MR:BS offered considerably better animation than most of its competitors (looking at you again, Link), and competent gameplay.
Here’s the intro, which I applaud for its awesomely ridiculous premise as well as its animation:
And some gameplay. Not bad. Not great, but not bad. That could have been the CD-i’s slogan.
5. Valentine’s Day 1864 – Here’s a beautiful illustration from an 1864 Harper’s Weekly, just in time for you and your sweetie this Valentine’s Day.