Thursday, September 25, 2008
Straight out of 1989's "All New Double Dare Game Book" we present a collection of facts and trivia regarding the making of the greatest game show in the history of television.
- Marc, Harvey, and the producers of Double Dare have all run through the obstacle course. According to producer, Mike Klinghoffer, the Gumball Machine is the most fun.
- When the first episode of Double Dare was made they had to stop and start the obstacle course four times. Multiple problems included contestants not being able to find the flag since Marc Summers thought the producers had put the flag in the obstacle, and the producers thought Marc had done it, so there was no flag. When they restarted after putting the flag a cameraman got in the way , and the kids ran into him.
- Some obstacles are designed, but never make it to the show. For example, they tried to do an obstacle called the barber chair. The idea was, you'd pump yourself up high in the chair until you were high enough to reach the flag. The only problem was they couldn't figure out how you'd get down.
- One time the Double Dare tank was filled with vanilla pudding. The pudding was so thick when you'd jump in, you couldn't move.
- Double Dare used to tape in Philadelphia, until production was moved to Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando. The biggest difference according to producer Mike Klinghoffer was the weather: "We used to have to get down and scrub and clean everything on Double Dare. Now we just take it outside and hose it off."
- On the average, one out of every four teams makes it all the way through the obstacle course.
- All the drippy, messy food that is used on Double Dare is what they call "stale-dated" food. It's food that would otherwise be thrown out at the supermarkets. The producers never wanted to waste good food.
- During production of Super Sloppy Double Dare about 400 gallons of whipped cream are used a day.
Double Dare was a staple of my childhood and my friends and I went as far as putting together our own obstacle course in the garage. I truly would've given anything to be a contestant on Double Dare during my youth. Maybe I should throw my own Double Dare party as suggested in the double dare game book.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
We are only 10 days away from the official start of Halloween season here at the Nostalgia Factory. We will be celebrating the season with our 2008 countdown aptly titled: "It's the great Halloween countdown, Charlie Brown".
Join us every night as we cover anything and everything Halloween.
I'll be sharing some classic Halloween memories along with articles about some of my favorite Halloween related TV specials, movies, toys, books, and candy.
Don't miss out!!!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Back in the late 80s to the mid 90s "Up All Night" exposed my pre-teenage mind to such cult cinema classics as "Return of the Killer Tomatoes", "The Toxic Avenger", "Class of Nuke 'Em High", "Bikini Car Wash Company", and "Bufford's Beach Bunnies".
The show was hosted by the one and only Gilbert Gottfried, one of my all time favorite comics. The combination of Gottfried plus all the campy B-movies aired on the show made for a perfect Saturday night recipe.
On Friday nights the show was hosted by Rhonda Shear, who replaced Caroline Schlitt after the show's first two years. Rhonda annoyed the piss out of me, more than Gilbert's voice ever could. Gilbert was soothing compared to Rhonda in my opinion.
The show first aired on June 6, 1986 and was finally canceled in 1998 when the network began to air mainstream films on Saturday nights as part of a major overhaul of its programming and image.
The show would go from 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. with two films hosted by Gilbert. After a commercial break Gilbert would come back to either deliver some quick remarks about the film or continue a sketch or comedy routine which would last all night. After the second film ended they would air a third film without the host segments. Instead they'd use a series of bumpers with the show's theme music and some brief voice over from Gilbert.
If you'd like to host your own "Up All Night" retrospective then invite some friends over tonight and screen two of the following cinematic masterpieces from the "Up All Night" library:
- "Return of the Killer Tomatoes"
- "Kentucky Fried Movie"
- "Private Resort"
- "Vice Academy" (1-5)
- "Assault of the Party Nerds"
- "My Tutor"
- "Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death"
- "Bufford's Beach Bunnies"
- "Hamburger...The Motion Picture"
- "Toxic Avenger", "Class of Nuke 'Em High", or any other Troma flick from the 80s.
Friday, September 12, 2008
The Super one also mentioned during the interview how there's a chance he'll return with another show of his own in the near future. It's been a long time since his last show; USA's "Super Dave Vegas Spectacular" back in 1995. In the meantime you can catch him as Marty Funkhouser during the new season of HBO's "Curb your enthusiasm" next spring. And stay tuned for our retrospective article on Super Dave coming soon.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Anyone who grew up with classic Nickelodeon programming during the 80s is very familiar with slime. It was, and still is one of the key elements of the Nick brand.
Many of us will never forget our first introduction to the substance during Nick's "You Can't do that on Television". The show was a Canadian production which got picked up for US broadcasts by Nickelodeon during the early days of the network.
When someone said "I don't know", green slime would pour on them from above. This became known as being "slimed." The first time in which "I don't know" was used as a trigger phrase for the green slime was one of the local episodes seen only in Canada and broadcast on March 17, 1979 - fittingly, St. Patrick's Day
For many years, the slime consisted of a mixture of lime green gelatin powder and flour; eventually, oatmeal was added to the recipe, as was baby shampoo so that it would wash out of the actors' hair more easily.
Nickelodeon quickly adopted "slime" as a feature in several shows it produced, and used it heavily in its marketing.
Mattel had already introduced a toy in the late 70s which sold in plastic cans and was also called Slime, but it wasn't until "You can't do that on television" and other Nickelodeon shows such as "Double Dare" popularized the green goo that kids everywhere became obsessed with the product.
Mattel's Slime (released in 1976)
Starting up in 1986 Double Dare took slime to new heights. Throughout the show's run gallons of slime got poured during the multiple physical challenges.
Now the folks at Jakks Pacific -- who over the years have put out some pretty cool outdoor toys as well as the great Rocky action figure line from 2006 -- are bringing Slime back with a vengeance.
Not only it the green goo back, but this time its accompanied by a wide assortment of gadgets including a Slime Ball which you can bounce and throw against the wall.
There's also a sprayer called the Super Slimer which can shoot a mixture of watered down slime up to 25 feet away.
The slime is currently available in smaller 8 ounce canisters as well as in a 30 ounce bucket.
I just picked up one of these bad boys at Target and let me tell you it's just as good as the original substance we all grew up with during the 80s.
The 90s brought a lot of variations to slime, like the thicker Gak produced by Mattel.
I wasn't as big a fan of those as I was of the gooey classic slime.
I hope Jakks continues to put out more Slime and classic Nick inspired products.
During ToyFair 2008 they also announced plans for a game called the SLIME! Time Splatter. According to Jakks you can insert a slime tablet with water into the center of the Timer Toss pod. Set the timer and throw the SLIME!-filled pod back and forth with a friend…whoever has it when the timer goes off gets slimed! I'm looking forward to this one since it's pretty much in the same vein as "Splash Out", a game put out by Galoob in the 80's which used water ballons inside a pod.
Back in the early 90's Mattel put out some pretty awesome toys based on the Nick brand including Slime, The Flash Screen, and my favorite: the water powered Nick Blimp -- which I had and loved until it got popped after a rough landing on the backyard lawn.
Hopefully Jakks will continue this tradition and expand their line to include more nick paraphernalia. Fans of classic Nick are in desperate need of an old school fix since the sudden cancellation of the Nick Rewind Collection brand of accessories and DVD releases. Hopefully we won't be let down this time.
The legendary slime geyser at Universal Studios Florida.
Harrison Ford gets Slimed
during the 2008 Kids Choice Awards
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Growing up in the 80's one of the staples of Sunday evening was "The Wonderful World of Disney". Every week we'd get an original kid friendly film or a network premiere of receent Disney theatrical releases.
One of the most enjoyable and fun filled TV movies to come out of this line up was "The B.R.A.T. Patrol". The film follows a group of adventure seeking kids living with their parents at a military base who discover a plot by a rotten officer to steal and sell military equipment.
The brats tend to get into so much trouble that as soon as they tell their parents about their discovery no one really believes them, leaving them no choice but to take matters into their own hands and stop the criminal operation.
The film stars Sean Astin, and Nia Long in some of their earliest roles.
Surprisingly the film was writeen by Chris Carter, who would go on to create The X-Files.
This was the kind of movie that after watching made you want to play out the scenarios in the film with your neighborhood friends and maybe even start your own B.R.A.T. Patrol.
I'm pretty sure I became obsessed with creating my very own motor powered skateboard after watching this film. I also stocked up on water balloons after being inspired by the chocolate grenades assault scene.
If you love "The Goonies", then this film is right up your alley. Obviously it's a made for TV effort so it's not as big in scale as "Goonies", but its still a great adventure flick for youngsters.
Unfortunately Disney has never put out this 80's kid classic out on video or DVD in the U.S.
There was only an international release on PAL video a long time ago.
Just like many great TV movies produced by the company over the years it is sitting in a vault somewhere. If this film had been produced now a days I'm sure there would've been at least two different DVD releases by now. Every Disney channel movie or show from recent years gets released on DVD quickly enough, but the stuff we grew up with during the 80's has been completely forgotten by the folks at Disney Home Entertainment.
Luckily someone had the brilliant idea of uploading the entire film onto youtube in recent months. So now is your chance to catch this forgotten 80's adventure classic that you might fondly remember from your youth.
Catch it before the suits at the mouse house take it down.
Another great kid adventure movie from Disney's 80's period is "Little Spies". That one I haven't been able to see again since it's original broadcast back in 1986. As I recall it was even better than B.R.A.T. Patrol. Hopefully I can track a copy in the near future and post a retro review. And if someone from Disney gets to read this please release some of the 80s tv movies many of us grew up with.
Here are some suggestions:
- "B.R.A.T. Patrol"
- "Mr. Boogedy"
- "The Blue Yonder: (AKA "Time Flyer")
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
This past weekend multiple T.V. stations across the country aired the final episode of "Ebert and Roeper at the movies", formerly "Siskel and Ebert at the movies".
Even though Ebert was not able to join in for the finale, Roeper closed the show by announcing that this was in fact his final episode, and that the same went for Ebert too.
Ebert had a great entry on his Journal at the Chicago Sun Times website where he went on to reminisce about the 3 decades on the air as well as assure his fans that the thumbs will return.
The weekend of September 6 will mark the beginning of the show's 23rd season on the air. It will also mark a new beginning for the show when hosts Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz take over the seats previously occupied by our beloved critics.
Not many of us are looking forward to this and would have preferred for Buena Vista to simply cancel "At the Movies" instead of changing it and handing it off to the newcomers. Why not come up with a new name for the new show and give closure to "At the Movies", or even allow Ebert and Roeper to take the show somewhere else?
T.V. pioneers Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel first paired up in 1975 at WTTW in Chicago when they hosted the local movie review show, "Sneak Previews." In 1978, the show moved to PBS and was syndicated shortly thereafter by Tribune Syndication and was renamed "At the Movies." In 1986, Disney-ABC Domestic Television (then known as Buena Vista Television) acquired the show, calling it "Siskel & Ebert & the Movies." Upon Gene Siskel's passing in 1999, the show retained the "Siskel & Ebert" title until the following fall when it became "Roger Ebert & the Movies." In July 2000, film critic Richard Roeper was named Ebert's new co-host and the show was retitled, "Ebert & Roeper and the Movies." The show was renamed "Ebert & Roeper" in 2001 and subsequently was modified to "At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper" last year. Ebert celebrated his 30th anniversary as a television film critic in 2005.
Here at the Nostalgia Factory we'll keep "At the Movies" alive by including Siskel and Ebert's reviews to some of the film's we'll be waxing nostalgia about in our upcoming articles.
We wish Ebert a full recovery from his battle against cancer and look forward to his return to the airwaves.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Joe Dante was one of the greatest director's of the 80's. He's still great, just check out his recent episode of Masters of Horror titled "Homecoming".
Back in the 80's he gave us such treats as "Gremlins", "Innerspace", and "The 'Burbs"-- some of the most imaginative movies of the decade. In the 90's he continued his career with such hits as Gremlins 2 and also directed one of the must underrated movies of the decade: "Small Soldiers".
Dante grew up on the thrills of sci fi and horror movie matinees and has now turned his attention to putting together a very cool website called "Trailers from Hell".
On the site the director, as well as other luminaries such as John Landis and Rick Baker share their encyclopedic knowledge on some of the crappiest movies ever filmed through commentary tracks which accompany each trailer. You can also choose to watch the trailers without the commentary.
Show some support for Joe by visiting www.trailersfromhell.com
If you love the flicks featured in Trailers From Hell and are anywhere near the vicinity of Walt Disney World then visit the Sci-Fi Dine In over at Disney's Hollywood Studios (Formerly known as MGM Studios).
I haven't been there in a long time, but I hear the place is still alive and kicking. Inside a soundstage-like building you'll find yourself right under the stars at a drive in theater with a huge screen playing old B movie trailers. The dining booths are in the shape of vintage cars.
Ten years later during the summer of 1988 "Return of the Killer Tomatoes" made it onto a couple of screens across the country and the world would never be the same.
I first caught this masterpiece of 80s cinema on cable TV as part of "USA Up All Night", USA network's block of cheapo horror and skin comedies hosted by the one and only Gilbert Gottfried.
As I watched this film I was completely fascinated by its absurd blend of comedy and B-movie elements. I popped in a tape into the VCR and recorded the rest of the flick. Days later I ran to my local video store to find this piece of insane crap that had just rocked my world. I rented it multiple times that year.
As the film opens a decade has passed since the great tomato war…a time when produce turned bad and humans became their prey. After humans defeated the tomatoes utilizing the terrifying sounds of a horrendous love song titled "Puberty Love" tomatoes were completely banned. Pizza makers began to use alternative ingredients when making their delicious pies—and that's just what Chad (Anthony Starke) and company are doing at Finletter's Pizza, the restaurant owned by his uncle and former tomato war hero Wilbur Finletter.
Unbeknownst to anyone, the crazed professor Gangreen (John Astin) is working on a terrible new invention which can turn tomatoes into living, breathing people. One of Gangreen's early creation's is the lovely Tara, played by Karen Mistal, who after falling for Chad escapes from the professor's mansion and subsequently reveals the professor's master plan for world domination by using his army of tomato soldiers.
If you have never experienced the greatest chapter in the "Killer Tomatoes" saga I suggest you find a copy of "Return" at your earliest convenience. Here is a list of some of the greatest reasons to do so:
- The Channel 73 One Dollar Movie: "Big Breasted Girls go to the beach and take their tops off".
- George Clooney acting his heart out as Matt, the scamming best friend of Chad Finletter.
- F.T. - Fuzzy Tomato could've been the best thing to happen to movie tie-in plush dolls since the Ewoks.
- Momar Kadaffi, Ninjas, and Cowboys in the biggest pizza parlor brawl in motion picture history.
- Costa Dillon (one of the filmmakers) playing multiple characters throughout the entire film.
- Rick Rockwell from "Who wants to Marry a Multimillionaire" portraying a convicted former press secretary.
- Former Olympic gold medal winner Steve Lundquist playing Professor Gangreen's sidekick Igor .
- Did I mention "Big breasted girls go to the beach and take their tops off"?
The film's cult popularity led to two more sequels, a Saturday morning cartoon show on Fox Kids, a video game, a toy line from Mattel, and soon in 2009 a remake of the entire Killer Tomatoes concept.
The 2009 film will be produced by the same guys responsible for the hit web show "Ask a Ninja". Lets hope it retains the Dillon-DeBello touch of absurdity that made "return" work so well.
In a multitude of films released during the decade we were introduced to a series of kids who could outwit any parent, teacher, and government agency with their smarts, last minute ideas, and clever (if perhaps doubtful) use of technology. Many of these films such as "Real Genius" and "Weird Science" used the concept for laughs, but few of them managed to use the dynamics of this genre for compelling story telling.
Two of the smartest and most successful examples of this genre are the lesser known "The Manhattan Project" and the classic "WarGames".
"WarGames" benefits immensely from the great dynamic and charm between its two teen heroes: David, played by Matthew Broderick, and Jennifer, played by Ally Sheedy.
Roger Ebert even hailed the film as one of the best movies of the year during its original theatrical release in 1983. The impressive supporting cast includes Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and Barry Corbin. In the film Broderick's character of David is a high school hacker who is trying to download the latest video games before their release to the public. Unbeknownst to him he ends up hacking into a military supercomputer which could trigger nuclear war.
The film boasts a great orchestral/electro pop infused score by one of the most promising film composers of the 80's Arthur B. Rubinstein (Blue Thunder, Stakeout, Amazing Stories).
Arthur B. and director John Badham collaborated on a great deal of memorable projects during the decade.
Last month to celebrate the release of the "WarGames" 25th Anniversary DVD and its direct to video re-imagining ("WarGames: The Dead Code") fanthom events organized a one night only theatrical presentation of the original classic in multiple screens across the country.
It's amazing to see how well the film holds up regardless of what sometimes feels like ancient technology. The 80's are not that far behind, but we have come quite far in terms of technological advancement over the last 25 years. What makes the film work brilliantly is that it never truly focuses on just its technology, the heart of the picture lies in its two main characters and what they both believe in.
The film manages to be both quirky and thrilling.
One of the best scenes in the film features both David and Jennifer contemplating what might very well be the end of their lives in a poignant exchange where David states to Jennifer how he has just realized there may not be a tomorrow through the simple and effective use of the line "I never learned to swim". This scene was actually written by Tom Mankewicz (1978's "Superman", "Ladyhawke", and various Bond films ) who was asked by Badham to help out the night before the scene was set to shoot.
The connection that develops in the third act between the two young heroes who have so much to live for and the old reclusive Dr. Faulken (John Wood), creator of the WarGames program who has lost his son, and alone without a family can easily accept the end of all life is still very powerful stuff for an 80's teen movie.
The new anniversary edition DVD has some great special features including a retrospective documentary where Broderick, Sheedy, and director John Badham retell the story of how the film was taken away from it's original director Martin Brest two weeks into principal photography and how Badham -- who was offered the director's chair halted production so he could concentrate on restructuring some of the elements that bothered him and the producers.
Martin Brest went on to direct "Beverly Hills Cop" immediately after being fired from "WarGames" and that film's success turned him into one of the most sought after young filmmakers of the decade.
"WarGames" is still a crowd pleaser and the benchmark for all teen adventure flicks.
If you haven't seen it in a while pick up the 25th Anniversary Edition DVD. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
In 1986, just a few years after "WarGames", came a surprise turn from writer director Marshall Brickman with the release of "The Manhattan Project".
Brickman was well known as the writer of many hit comedies from Woody Allen. He won the Academy Award in 1978 for "Annie Hall". Having someone of his pedigree take a crack at this genre produced some refreshing results.
The Manhattan Project tells the tale of Paul -- a high schooler played by Christopher Collet, who discovers a nuclear weapons facility in his home town, operating under the guise of a pharmaceuticals company.
The film works perfectly as a thriller, featuring a great cat and mouse game as the bright teen steals some plutonium from the top secret facility just to prove he can build a nuclear bomb as his science project. The film features Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon in an early role as the object of his teen affection and Frasier's John Mahoney as one of the military officers who's after Paul.
As the plot thickens our young heroes realize they must do whatever it takes to stop the construction of any more nuclear devices by using their homemade bomb to get the attention of the authorities.
One of the high points in the film also comes from the relationship that develops between the teen leads and the adult figure, in this case John Lithgow's Dr. Matthewson, who in the film's third act joins the young heroes on their mission to expose the secrets of the nuclear weapons facility.
The film is skilfully directed and also features a stirring score from french composer Phillipe Sarde.
Released on June 13, 1986 in 827 screens "The Manhattan Project" went on to gross a measly 3 million dollars and is sadly not as remembered today.
The new DVD edition released by Lions Gate includes two featurettes where director Marshall Brickman sheds some light on his thoughts about the story and what drove him to write something so different from his previous works.
If you have never seen it before this special edition DVD presentation is your best bet at discovering this rare 80's gem.