CBS All Star Rock n’ Wrestling Saturday Spectacular (1985)

The Prime-Time Saturday Morning preview specials of the 1970s and ’80s have a bespoke magic to them, self-serving events created from scratch for the sole purpose of promoting other things elsewhere on that same network and using big star power to do it. It’s never a simple roundup, never a straight “hey, here are our…

It’s For Everyone – Today’s Special (1981)

The department store of the 1970s and 1980s was a labyrinth of wonders, a never-ending series of corners opening up into new lands – most of which were pretty dull to a kid. Until you got to the children’s department, that is. Push past the shoes and the pants and the dress clothes and more…

Cut. It. Out. – Out of Control (1984)

Before Dave Coulier warmed America’s hearts as Uncle Joey Gladstone, he hosted a low budget talk show for kids that spent most of its time off of the rails. Have mercy! Out of Control was conceived as a parody news magazine show for kids or, more accurately, a show about putting on a news magazine show for…

Christmas Day in Rainbowland – 1985 Holiday Toys

1985! The world got some good stuff in 1985 like Cherry Coke, Classic Coke, “We Are The World”, and Back to the Future. 1985 also found society in the middle of a huge media shift to the home video market.  VCR players were finally somewhat affordable to the average Joe and this would cause the…

Thanksgiving Is Tomorrow – The Facts of Life Reunion (2001)

I don’t normally push into the 2000’s here, but I guess it was just a matter of time.  And technically you could argue that this movie’s a reunion of a show from the ’80s so that makes it an ’80s thing. Also it’s almost Thanksgiving here in the US and Thanksgiving happens in this movie,…

Claymation Comedy of Horrors (1991)

Is there a Will Vinton seasonal TV special that’s not an absolute classic? If there is, I haven’t seen it yet. 1991’s “Claymation Comedy Of Horrors” continues the streak, with some of the best stop motion work I’ve ever seen. The story? Eh. But the animation? Classic. “Claymation Comedy of Horrors” opens with a flashback…

USA Cartoon Express – Monster Bash (1993)

The USA Cartoon Express broke a lot of ground in the 1980s and 90s with its approach to a kids block. Tucked away on the then-still-nascent cable giant lived a one to two hour block, depending on where it was scheduled, that was all for kids.  The block was a full takeover of the network,…

That’s Why Tony Gets The Big Money – Pick Axe Pete (1982)

There are clear winners and clear losers when you look across the history of video game franchises.  Some winners undoubtedly deserve their accolades, the perfect combination of charm and gameplay (looking at you, Mario!) Sometimes the winners becomes losers in the long run as their reputation becomes tainted by lackluster followup titles (looking at you,…

Oh, Your Concert Was Fantastic – Alvin and the Chipmunks Toys (1980s)

Alvin and the Chipmunks is one of the few franchises that seems to effortlessly skate from generation to generation without much fuss from society about the differences between iterations. It’s a pretty charmed life – how many other franchises enjoy the same sort of hall pass? With Alvin it seems that as long as the main…