The Rise and Fall of the Garbage Pail Kids

The Rise and Fall of the Garbage Pail Kids

10 years prior to the Pokemon frenzy in the late 1990s, the Garbage Pail Kids ruled the trading card world. In 1984, Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were highly popular in toy stores. In that year alone, 20 million dolls were sold worldwide! The Topps Trading Co decided to use the popularity of the dolls to create a parody line of trading cards. Using cartoonist Art Spiegelman's concepts, the first series of Garbage Pail Kids sticker cards were released in 1985. The gross-out and toilet humor themed cards were an immediate hit among boys, which had left collecting Cabbage Patch Kids dolls to the girls. Also, for boys who weren't in to collecting sports related cards, GPK cards gave them an outlet to collect. 

Real people names were used on the cards, so there was practically a card that related to everyone. (Find your name on Wayne's Garbage Pail Kids References website) In that initial year, two sets of cards were released in the United States with over 80 different characters is each set. GPK cards would also become popular in other countries like Canada, United Kingdom, and Holland. For young boys, they were humorous and fun to collect or put in stickers books. To parents, they were crude, disgusting and repulsive. To teachers, they were a distraction, which were banned from many classrooms. Despite the adult rejection, GPK remained popular and four more series of cards were released in 1986. But production was halted for a brief time that year, as Cabbage Patch Kids maker Coleco sued Topps over copyright infringement. A judge order the cards to cease production during deliberation. A settlement was made out of court and Topps agreed to change the GPK logo and resemblance to the Cabbage Patch Kid dolls.

In 1987, five sets of cards were produced and a live action movie was released to movie theaters in the late summer. The movie is widely regarded as one of the worst ever made. RottenTomatoes.Com gives the film a 0% rating and IMDB.Com users give it a 2.7 out of 10 stars. It was also a financial failure, making just $1.5 million at the box office on a $30 million budget. A GPK cartoon was also produced in 1987 by CBS television network, but was removed from the fall scheduled. The 13 episodes never aired in the US and it wasn't until 2006 that Paramount Home Entertainment released Garbage Pail Kids - The Complete Series to DVD. On the heels of the movie flop, four more sets of cards were still released in 1998. But by the end of the year, card sales dwindled and the planned 16th series of cards was never released. Topps has continued to produce new and flashback releases of the cards over the last 13 years and they still remain active today.

Looking back, I remember collecting a few GPK cards along with my sports card collection. I don't remember my parents banning them or getting upset over them, but I never really collected enough for it to become an issue. As a parent now, it's very hard to imagine a time when kids collected cards of baby-type figures smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, and bludgeoning themselves. I don't think anyone ever died because they tried to imitate the figures on the cards, but it was probably a good thing that their widespread popularity spanned only 3 years before they could get to the demonic ritual series. But we, the children of the 80s, will still remember them as part of our childhood. Here is Cracked.Com's take on the remembering the franchise:

More GPK on RD80s:


80s Literal Music Video: "White Wedding"

From his self titled 1982 album, here is the literal music video for Billy Idol's "White Wedding." If you are not crying from laughing so hard after watching this, then you don't belong on this site! Hilarious!


6 Bit Culture Club

" come and come and gooooooo..."

Pumped Up Kicks of '89


The Real Wrath Of Khan

Retro Top Ten: Stealth Bomber Features

The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, otherwise known as the B-2 Stealth Bomber, made it's first flight on July 17, 1989. According to Wikipedia, 21 were built with 20 still in active service for the US military. At the time, each aircraft cost $787 million dollars to build.
Here are some features that the Late Night crew thought should have been added in that budget....

From the home office in Sioux City Iowa...

Top Ten Features Of The New Stealth Bomber

10. Has two-inch ball hitch on back so it can pull Stealth trailer
9.   Makes square and crescent-shaped ice cubes
8.   Plenty of room on wing for Trump logo
7.   Computer tabulator shows pilot up-tp-the-minute frequent flyer mileage
6.   Easiest plane ever for pouring Pepsi Upside down
5.   Siren sounds if monster appears on wing, like in "Twilight Zone"
4.   Nose cone opens to release giant spring-loaded boxing glove
3.   Enormous speakers can be heard playing "We Will Rock You" across a continent
2.   Advanced bombsights allow crew to deliver payload right down Khaddafy's shorts
1. Kids fly free

Find this Retro Top Ten List in this book


80s Exam: Newspaper Job Openings

 I drew up some job openings based on 80s tunes. Can you figure them out?

Ultimate 80s Halloween Party Playlist

With Halloween just a week away, I thought I'd put together my Ultimate 80s Halloween Party Playlist to help with the success of your party. 13 songs that I personally guarantee will make zombies dance, witches sing, and young trick-or-treaters say "I hear strange music...I think that house is haunted!" Here they are in chronological order:

1980 - AC/DC "Hell's Bells"
1982 - Michael Jackson "Thriller"  
1982 - Hall & Oates "Maneater"
1982 - Golden Earring "Twilight Zone"
1983 - Whodini "Haunted House of Rock"
1984 - Ray Parker Jr. "Ghostbusters"
1984 - Rockwell "Somebody's Watching Me"
1985 - Whodini "Freaks Come Out At Night"
1985 - J. Geils Band "Fright Night"
1986 - Oingo Boingo "Dead Man's Party"
1988 - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince "Nightmare On My Street"
1988 - The Fat Boys "Are You Ready For Freddy?"
1988 - INXS "Devil Inside"


Help Me Find This Missing 80s Person....

The 80s Arcade: Heavy Barrel


Heavy Barrel was one of my favorite games at the 80s arcade. If you had kept a total number of plays on every arcade machine throughout my life, this would probably be #1 on my list. For those that need a refresher's course, Heavy Barrel was a one or two player shoot-em-up or run-and-gun type game released in 1987. Each player had a main gun and grenades to fight off the enemy during the game. By collecting keys and unlocking boxes, you could obtain different types of guns, grenades and shields. You could also find parts to assemble the "Heavy Barrel" gun, which had a range of about half the screen. Once assembled, you had 30 seconds of unlimited fire power to destroy as much as possible with this ultimate weapon. 

Heavy Barrel was a great arcade game for so many reasons. For starters, it had a unique joystick for controlling your soldier's movement and your weapon aim at the same time. You could proceed forward through each level and at the same time, direct your weapon and grenades 360 degrees to fire at the enemy. According to Priglmeier.Com, Heavy Barrel is one of only about 20 games to use this style of rotary joystick. Another great feature about Heavy Barrel was it added other elements to previous run-and-gun games like Rush'n Attack. There were similar games that were more popular at the time like Contra, which had the sole purpose of shooting all the bad guys and advancing to the next level. But Heavy Barrel gave you short terms goals like collecting those precious keys to unlock better weapons, grenades, and Heavy Barrel pieces. That made the gameplay much more fun and a step above Contra in my mind.

In 1990, an NES version of the game was released. Of course it was one in my collection at some point. It did a pretty good job with copying the concept, but just didn't have the control and gaming experience you received at the arcade. In the early-mid '90s, a good friend and I had a favorite hangout that was basically a hamburger stand with an attached game room. They had some classic arcade games like Pole Position in this hole-in-the-wall joint, but lucky for me, Heavy Barrel was also included. I usually gravitated to that game and remember my experience got to the point where the challenge was trying to beat the game on one quarter. Even at that point, I never grew tired of the game. There are just some games you can play forever and get the same great experience each time. This was definitely one for me.

Thanks to Arcade-Museum.Com and Wikipedia.


Not Sure When To Whip It?

Use this helpful flow chart in any situation to determine if whipping it is appropriate.

Thank you JT, wherever you are!

Retro Top Ten: Dan Rather Closing Lines

From the home office in Sioux City Iowa...

Top Ten Ways Dan Rather Could Conclude 
"The CBS Evening News"

10. Put finger in cheek; make cork-popping sound
9.   Pretend to "sweep up" spotlight on floor
8.   Say "Nighty-night" and put head on desk
7.   Reveal which news story of the evening was the fake one
6.   Lick lips and say "Mmmm-mmmm, time for pie!"
5.   Give coded message to "Li'l Newshounds" fan club
4.   Wink and say "Pour the gin, Lydia, I'm on my way home."
3.   Hurl sweat-soaked scarf to female fans
2.   Light big cigar and say " Ha-ha! See you tomorrow suckers!"
1. Feed carrot to CBS news bunny

Find this Retro Top Ten List in this book


Donkey Kong Death Match

Donkey Kong Death Match

For those of you who remember battling your friends for the high score at the arcade in the 1980s, I highly recommend you watch the film King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. I've watched it many times and it's one of my favorite documentary films. It's the story of Steve Wiebe's quest to beat the Billy Mitchell's long-standing high score on the arcade game Donkey Kong.

For me, the film really conjures up some great memories as a kid, playing arcade games at the roller skating rink and the mall. The film is a Rocky story of sorts as Steve stumbles his way into competitive arcade gaming and decides to challenge the Mt Everest of records. To further stress how good this film is, Rotten Tomatoes website has it listed as 97% "fresh" and a 93% audience "liked it" rating. Put it in your Netflix's well worth the watch! Watch it below through Hulu...

Follow Billy Mitchell, Steve Wiebe, & Twin Galaxies on Twitter
@billy_mitchell @stevewiebedk @TwinGalaxies


Six Degrees of Kevin.... NOOO!!!!!!


80s Icons In Cassette Tape Art

If you are like me, you aren't quite sure what to do with that box of old cassette tapes in your garage. I recently came across a unique and artistic way that Erika Iris Simmons is using yards of recycled audio tape to create music and film icons. See if you can recognize these from the 80s.

Ghost in the Machine- Michael Jackson  Ghost in the Machine- Madonna

Ghost in the Machine- Bon Jovi                Ghost in the Machine: The Clash

Ghost in the Machine- Debbie Harry of Blondie

Ghost in the Machine: Steven Tyler

Check out iri5's "Ghost In The Machine" picture gallery on Flickr
for more great cassette and film art!


80s Literal Music Video: a-ha "Take On Me"

Earlier this year, I discovered "literal" music videos on Youtube. These videos take the original music video that would have been played on MTV and uses new lyrics to guide you through what is happening or will happen next. I thought these were very funny and a cool new way to watch some of the best music videos from the 80s. First up is a-ha's "Take On Me", which won 6 MTV video music awards in 1986. Enjoy!

Rediscover a-ha's Greatest Hits


Worst Songs of the 80s?....Gimme a break

Rolling Stone magazine recently released the outcome of a readers’ poll for the ten worst songs of the 1980s. Now I’ll be the first to tell you, that there were some songs released in the 80s that made a pancake on a turntable sound good, but I had to laugh when I saw this list. (Even Andy Greene admitted in the article that the readers got it wrong.) I'm gonna give you my take on this list and why this needs to be Rolling Stone's "final countdown."

Here is the list:

#1 Starship - "We Built This City"
#2 Europe - "The Final Countdown"
#3 Chris De Burgh - "Lady In Red"
#4 Wham! - "Wake Me Up (Before You Go-Go)"
#5 Men Without Hats - "Safety Dance"
#6 Falco - "Rock Me Amadeus"
#7 Bobby McFerrin - "Don't Worry Be Happy"
#8 Tony Basil - "Mickey"
#9 Taco - "Putting On The Ritz"
#10 Rick Astley - "Never Gonna Give You Up"

My first problem with this poll is there is no real definition of "worst." Is it based on a general dislike for the song? Is it because it sounds bad musically or the singing off key? Or is it because there is no substance to the lyrics? My guess is most people voted because of a general dislike for the song. I could see maybe voting for a couple of these songs for the same reason, but I would have a problem voting for any song that had tremendous success. Here are the positions, respectively, that these songs peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: 1, 8, 3, 1, 3, 1, 1, 1, 4, 1. To reiterate, that's 6 number 1s, 3 top 5s, and 1 top 10!!! It's hard for me to believe with this kind of success, that this poll accurately represents the USA as a whole.

Which brings me to my next point. The audience polled by Rolling Stone includes people that should not get a vote. But wait, isn't Rolling Stone a music magazine? Shouldn't its readers know a thing or two about music? Of course they should, but this kind of poll should use an audience that is age appropriate. By that, I mean people who know have heard these songs many times and remember a time when they were first popular. By their own statistics, 30% of Rolling Stone subscribers are ages 18-24. That's people who were born in 1987-93! C'mon, they shouldn't get to vote! If you polled that group on what radio station they listen to, do you think the station would play any of these songs? I'd also venture that 90% of the people who voted for Rick Astley were in this group and voted just because they were sick of being "Rickrolled" three years ago.

I say enough with the top ten list polls as a whole. I think personal top ten lists are fine to voice your opinion, but the right audience needs to be right on any polling topic or else you'll get results such as these. Nice try, Rolling Stone, but next time keep your results to yourself!


Martha Quinn, the "Tweetjay"

Our 1980s MTV might be gone, but that's not keeping some familiar faces from connecting us to the music we love!
MTV's five original "veejays" Mark Goodman, Nina
Blackwood, Martha Quinn, J.J. Jackson, & Alan Hunter
I was lucky enough to have cable television in it's early stages and also to have parents that let me watch MTV. I believe those two things cultivated my love for music and ultimately led to pursuing a bachelor's degree in radio broadcasting. Many of my friends know that circumstances didn't play out as I expected (in a good way!) and I never really pursued my career in radio. I decided a couple weeks ago to start this blog, mainly to have a place to store some of my musical data that's been lodged in my brain all these years. I also wanted to have a little fun remembering what it was like as a child of the 80s. 
As a recent convert to Twitter, I've been poking around in search of my favorite bands and musicians to follow and maybe, jolt some of those memories. Using the "Who To Follow" feature, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon many people I knew from the MTV era! Among that first group of people I chose to follow was Martha Quinn. Wow, talk about mind-jolter! Through her Twitter profile I've found dozens of other people, some that I've probably not talked about for 25 years. 
I recently sent a tweet to Martha calling her a "tweetjay" in honor of her former job as an MTV veejay. Kudos to her and the 3 other original veejays (RIP J.J. Jackson) for keeping the music alive and introducing to a new generation. They can also be  found on XM satellite radio on the 80s on 8 channel.
Martha, Alan, Mark, & Nina
at the MTV 30 year anniversary broadcast on XM.

So for those of you who would like to follow my path to "rad" crowd, I've taken the liberty of shortening the process for you. Here is a list of Twitter accounts to resurrect the 80s in your life!

Original MTV veejays 

Other MTV veejays and personalities from the 80s 

80s musicians & bands

I'm just scratching the surface on musicians and bands available, so please feel free to comment with some of your faves to follow on Twitter!


Acid Washed Denim In The 80s

One thing was for sure, 
acid washed denim jeans were a lot warmer than leotards or parachute pants.


But if you got too hot in your denim jeans, you could always make them less air-tight...

...and a little more rico suave.


Misheard 80 Lyrics: "Sweet Dreams Are Made of These"

Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

Happy Columbus Day! In honor of the explorer, let's "travel the world and seven seas" with the Eurythmics. This song is often misheard I think mainly because of Annie Lennox's accent. For the longest time I thought she was saying "these" and was always like....these what? This is radio, I can't see what you are pointing at! I can't disagree with you if I wanted to!

Rediscover the 80s


80s Art: One Major Party

Courtesy ABC80s.Com


Jolt Cola: The Original Energy Drink

"All the Sugar and Twice the Caffeine."

Yes, that was the initial slogan for Jolt Cola when it hit the grocery and convenient stores in 1985. When I was growing up, this stuff was more forbidden than beer. It had parents pushing their grocery carts about 5 MPH faster down the soda and snack aisle. The only time I drank them was when me and my friends rode our bikes to town to go to the candy store. In my opinion, they were almost too sweet to drink...almost. 
By the time I reached high school in 1990, Jolt cola had become more of a fad. There was the occasional time when a friend would bring a couple cans to school to drink before a basketball game. We used poke fun at him, but Jolt matched his personality and his reckless abandonment on the court for 5 minutes and 5 fouls.
In 2005, Jolt reestablished itself with a new "battery" looking can and more flavors. The new look didn't help the financial state of its manufacturer Jolt Co Inc though, and in 2009 the company filed for bankruptcy. But thanks to the energy drink surge in the past few years, Jolt Cola survived and changed its name to Jolt Energy:
For more caffeine and sugar nostalgic feelings, I invite you to watch the Jolt Cola segment on VH1's I Love The 80s.


Things Rick Astley Will Never Do

@PepsiThrowback on Twitter


Retro Top Ten: Good Things About A Baseball Strike

From the home office in Sioux City Iowa...

Top Ten Good Things About A Baseball Strike

10. San Diego Chicken will be forced to get a real job
9.   Gives the public time to get used to a commissioner named "Fay"
8.   Nike can launch ad campaign for "Bo Knows Picket Lines"
7.   Chance to round up hundreds of potential Yankee managers
6.   It be fun to watch Morgana run to kiss pro bowlers
5.   Allows time for that bright orange nacho cheese stuff to mellow
4.   Cleveland fans can boast that the Indians are tied for first place
3.   Newspapers have more room to devote to Marla Maples
2.   Frees up unused Astroturf for my hairpiece
1. Gives indoor lacrosse a fighting chance!

Find this Retro Top Ten List in this book


Cassette Tapes and Pencils


Back Off Man...I'm a Ghostbuster!: Christmas 1985

A fellow blogger of mine, Dan Fogerty, recently wrote an article for called Movies Everyone Should See: Ghostbusters. The article triggered some of my own memories of Christmas in 1985. I was a huge Ghostbusters fan and frequently wore a sweatshirt with the image above (Picture cropped to protect the innocent.) For my 9th birthday party in November of the same year, I also remember playing a game of musical chairs using a 45 record I owned of the Ghostbusters theme.

This summer, my family took a road trip to PA to visit family and friends. While I was there, I got to dig through some of my old keepsakes. Among them I found about a half-dozen picture packs, one of which was from Christmas morning in 1985. Here are some of the memories that were triggered from Dan's article. This first picture is of me in my new unwrapped "Back Off Man...I'm a Ghostbuster" sweatshirt:
You'll also notice my "Back Off Man...I'm flipping through my Masters Of The Universe sticker book" expression. Notice the pile of other clothes that I received that Christmas that are flung on the intricately patterned couch. The gold robot (in the bottom portion of the pic) came to life when you pushed the red button on top of his head. The large black thing that looks like a dead animal was actually a large stuffed animal dog. Unfortunately, none of these items are still in my possession.
This Gobots jigsaw puzzle was also a present I received that year. (Also, no longer in my possession)
But the one thing I can still claim to have is my diecast Voltron! Such a great toy for a 9 years in old in 1985. I really loved the cartoon and it soon became my most prized possession, that I shared carefully with my friends.

So there is a look into my past. Many more memories and moments from my childhood in the 1980s to come!
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