1. Space Academy – A little bit Star Trek, a little bit Lost in Space, and a whole bunch of camp, Space Academy appeared on CBS’s Saturday Mornings in September 1977 and disappeared shortly thereafter.
I went into this expecting to see something like Ender’s Battle School, with cadets and combat and conflict and I was kind of disappointed in that regard. Space Academy is a school of friendly kids that get along really well with each other and are guided by Commander Isaac Gampu, played by Lost in Space’s Jonathan Harris.
The crew is what I would assume some network execs back in the 1970s considered “diverse enough”. Also there’s obviously a cute wisecracking robot.
The concept’s still kind of neat – it’s a floating school that explores the universe led by this 300 year old commander. The design of the show is a bit uneven; the interiors of the ships and the school are interestingly detailed by someone who obviously cared how they looked…
…while the exteriors on the planets seem to be ripped straight out of first season Star Trek. Dullsville.
The writing and acting leave quite a bit to be desired, but the idea itself is pretty interesting. Here’s the first episode – check it out, it’s worth a look.
2. MTV Top 20 Video Countdown – Is this the most representative program for MTV in the 1980s to mid 1990s?
I’d say so. There are definitely better shows, more memorable shows, like Beavis and Butthead, Liquid Television, 120 Minutes, Headbanger’s Ball, and Remote Control, but I think the Top 20 Countdown takes what was then MTV’s meat and potatoes – music videos – and gives you what they thought to be the best of the best at the time. This was MTV’s reason for being.
The Top 20 Countdown had several hosts over the years but Adam Curry’s the one I always associate with the show. Like the show itself there were better, more interesting VJs on the air but Curry was the vanilla core. Here’s an episode of the Countdown from 1990. Jeffrey Tambor’s cameo in the “I Wish It Would Rain Down” video is a highlight, as are all of the commercials.
3. Kangaroo – This was one of my favorite arcade games of the 1980s; you play a Kangaroo who climbs through levels punching baddies and jumping to get bonuses. What’s not to love? Even as a kid I loved the artwork and cabinet design around this game. It’s remarkably consistent throughout its promotion as well. Here are a few examples.
4. Stephen King American Express Ad – King’s been quoted as saying this is the one thing he’d change if he were allowed to do it all over again. It’s not that bad, is it?
5. Archie Comics – Here’s a full-page ad for all of Archie Comics offerings from Suzie comics #56. Thanks, Scans-Daily!