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Now in our eighth calendar year!
PCR #384 †(Vol. 8, No. 31) This edition is for the week of July 30--August 5, 2007.

MOVIE REVIEW
"The Simpsons Movie" †by Mike Smith
ODDSERVATIONS
Stan Ridgway in Concert - July 29th, 2007 .... Remembering Ingmar Bergman and Laszlo Kovacs †by Andy Lalino
RETRORAMA
Welcome to Retrorama! †by ED Tucker
FANGRRL
Book Review: Resurrection Angel by William Mize †by Lisa Ciurro
MIKE'S RANT
Art House Sorrow .... Ironic .... Geeks Rejoice .... Nice Timing....Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 26: Steve Guttenberg †by Mike Smith
LETTERS
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
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Archives 2003
Archives 2002
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Archives 2000
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CF Presents Retrorama

Welcome to Retrorama Ė ED Tuckerís online file cabinet for all things related to the rich history of popular culture!

I spend a LOT of time doing research on various projects and am always coming across all types of bits and pieces of different pop culture items. For years I have been filing these trinkets of nostalgia gold inside folders and stashing them in boxes and drawers as they patiently await some future use. Well now, thanks to modern technology and the Pop Culture Review, I can finally put all these odds and ends in one place on the internet for everyone to enjoy.

We are fortunate to live in a time when many of the movies and television shows we grew up with are now finding new life on digital media. Retrorama will serve as a home for reviews of these products to help reunite fans with lost favorites and introduce new audiences to cult classics. These reviews will place an emphasis on the special features that often matter more than the main presentation to the fan boys among us.

The Retrorama section is also intended as repository for information requested by the readers of this website. Over the years, many people have written in to the letter column with questions about vaguely remembered movies, television shows, products, or even businesses and the contributors of this site did their best to share their knowledge and memories. I welcome any such requests or suggestions to now be sent to my attention and I will do my best to include them here as a future entry.

With that in mind, I now invite you to pull up a chair, open up a cobweb-covered cabinet, and flip through the files of our pop culture past.

Big Jim & Friends

In the early 1970ís, G.I. Joes toys were beginning to fall out of favor due to his close ties to the United States military. Mattel was only too ready to offer a competing action figure line that was a little smaller, a little cheaper, and a whole lot gayer than G.I. Joe Ė Big Jim! The biggest feature Jim had was a karate chop action arm that he flailed wildly whenever the button on his back was pressed. Unfortunately, karate chops were just about the only thing his unarticulated hands were good for! Mattel also wasted little time in retooling many of Barbieís accessories for Jim even though she was a larger scale doll! The photos shown here were from around the middle of the Big Jim run when Mattel was trying to phase out the less than spectacular sports sets and infuse some much needed adventure themes. They even added a villain for Big Jim to fight but the chrome fisted Dr. Steel quickly switched sides when the P.A.C.K. series came out a short time later. Did Mattel ever seriously think that G.I. Joe would feel threatened by a guy in bicentennial underwear?

Black Light Posters

Hereís a real blast from the past for those both old enough to have lived through the 70ís and sober enough to have survived! For those who donít remember, these were wall posters in groovy florescent colors that appeared to glow when a special light was shined on them. This was probably a phenomenon best appreciated stoned but even without the accompanying black light effect these were still some cool posters. I found this advertisement to be particularly interesting because I would have never thought of Bugs Bunny or the Road Runner as trippy and poster 14 has a Rorschach like effect that looks like a constipated tiki to me!

Flintstone's Shooting Gallery

The first time I saw this ad I nearly broke down laughing. I donít know if it was the violence or the incongruity that got me, maybe it was a combination of both. First off, I have no idea how the concept of the Flintstones lends itself to a shooting gallery. Sure, they had guns on the Flintstones but they were always some type of sling shot contraption, not a model 1911 .45 caliber automatic! When you combine this with the fact that the artwork shows both Barney and Pebbles gunning for Fred and Pebbles is busting a literal cap in her fatherís ass, Iím already laughing again! Whatís next, the Flintstoneís Drive-By Playset? The gallery looks like one of those wind up tin litho toys from Japan and the gun is a tried and true rubber dart launcher. I actually found this ad in a 1970ís catalog which must have been when the 1960ís prime time show was at its peak in week day syndication. They just donít make kids toys like this any more and probably for good reason!

Ricochet Racers

Hereís one of those toys that must have looked great on paper but just didnít translate well into practical application. Iím sure the guy at Hasbro who came up with this idea thought combining two of a young boyís favorite types of toys, guns and cars, was a canít lose bet! The Ricochet Racers were plastic cars that were placed into bullet like casings and launched out of a cool looking rifle. The basic set even came with a cartridge belt of sorts so kids could keep their selection of cars within easy reach should the neighborhood bully decide he wants to ďraceĒ. Unfortunately these just never caught on and most kids, like me, decided to toss the cars and just play super cops with the rifle. Hasbro tried to keep the line going by adding western and glow in the dark themed sets. As a last gasp they even produced a Spider-Man set with cars of Spidey and Captain America. These heroes were supposed to race to stop the bad guys but they couldnít save this sagging toy line in time!

Shogun Warriors

In the days before Japanese animation had over run the US television air waves, we still benefited from some of their cool toys like the Shogun Warriors line. These guys were staggering at close to two feet tall and every one of them fired missiles, launched space ships, or even blasted off parts of their body (usually the hands). They were also made of some really tough plastic that held up to bashing in Barbieís Dream House or leveling the Weebles Village! The three robots shown here were the first wave released by Mattel but several more were added during the next few years. As interest started to die down, they even added similar scale figures of Godzilla and Rodan for the robots to fight instead of your sisterís toys!

Sesame Street Dolls

OK, maybe itís just me but this is one of the sickest advertisements I think I have ever seen for a childrenís toy line. They could have just as easily called this line the Pedophile Pals and saved some licensing fees from the Childrenís Television Workshop! Just read some of the descriptions above if you donít believe me. Itís pretty obvious here that Big Bird is a half tanked letch who just stumbled on to an old pervís goldmine! Cookie Monster is eager to make a quick buck but Ernie is clearly having second thoughts about the proposition. Ernieís hair looks like it anticipated one of the site gags in ďThereís Something About MaryĒ by a good twenty years! The only thing that could have made this line any more fun would have been a Vice Cop Bert figure so you could run Big Bird down to the station before this gets any worse!



"Retrorama" is ©2007 by ED Tucker.   All graphics this page, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.