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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Star Wars Mashups With TV Themes

Star Wars meets 80s television! 

I recently found some great vids that showcase the epic Star Wars films using the original theme songs and openings from various 80s TV shows. Themes include Magnum P.I., A-Team, the Dukes of Hazzard, Chips, Dallas, MacGyver, and Airwolf. I really enjoyed these and give a big RD80s salute to those who created and posted them on YouTube!

Han Solo P.I.
(Posted by TheCBVee)

The Star Team
(Posted by Kalleanka71)


The Dukes of Star Wars 
(Posted by RNK007)

STAr WARs 
(Posted by Cheekynorman)

Star Wars Dallas
(Posted by Kalleanka71)


MacSkywalker
(Posted by Kalleanka71)

Starwolf
(Posted by Kalleanka71)
Also check out the Imperial version!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The 80s Arcade: Q*Bert


Before games were rated "M for Mature," we had the thought-bubble profanity of a large-nosed character named Q*Bert. Could we blame him for swearing after getting hit in the head with red bouncing balls and being chased by purple snakes? The real people who would end up cursing where those who hadn't thought up the idea for game, as over 25,000 cabinet games would be sold in its lifetime. Q*Bert would also jump from the arcade screen to the home console screens and even to television screens just a year after it's release in 1982. It's appeal was likened to Pacman and Donkey Kong with it's combination of lively characters and puzzle type game play. Q*Bert would soon find his way on merchandise everywhere like plush dolls, board games, and sticker books. The game would produce a few sequels, but none seemed to climb to the top of the pyramid like the original. 

Q*Bert was a relatively simple game produced by Gottlieb. The title character's quest was to jump atop a pyramid of cubes and change each square that he landed upon to the same color. To make the game interesting, it was possible to jump off the side of the pyramid if you weren't careful. There were also enemies and falling balls that tried to come in contact with Q*Bert which would cause him to lose control over his verbal etiquette and also lose a life. To assist against these antagonists like Ugg and Coily the Sanke, two flying discs were placed on both sides of the pyramid. Q*Bert could jump on these to be escorted back to the top of the pyramid and sometimes persuade Coily to try to follow and jump off the side of the pyramid. Other enemies included Sam and Slick, who would turn the squares back to the original color. But they could easily be stopped with a good stomp to the head.


Q*Bert's arcade success developed into a frenzy over the course of 1982-83. It was quickly ported into home consoles and computers like Atari, Texas Instruments, and Commodore. Parker Brothers would translate the game to a tabletop version and also as a board game. Gottlieb also produced Q*Bert's Quest pinball, which featured flippers in a unique "X" formation. The only arcade sequel titled Q*Bert Qubes was produced by Mylstar Electronics in 1983. It featured new enemies and patterns, instead of the traditional pyramid. The sequel never came close to the success of the original. Developers also tried to release a more difficult version of Q*Bert, but the Faster Harder More Challenging Q*Bert project was cancelled. Q*Bert 3 was released in 1991 exclusively for the Super Nintendo console system. It drew upon the original arcade game with newly shaped game boards and characters. A 3-D version was also released to Playstation in 1999.

Q*Bert also received his own cartoon as a part of the Saturday Supercade show in 1983, which was a collage of mini shows featuring video game characters. Q*Bert and Donkey Kong were the only two cartoons that lasted the entire two seasons of the show. The show featured our hero Q*Bert and his dealings with bullies in the town of Q*Berg, set in the 1950s era. His girlfriend Q*Tee and brother Q*Bit as well as other friends would help him along the way. Antagonists of the show were the familiar Coily, Ugg, Wrong Way, and Viper, many portrayed by voice-acting legend and Transformers alum Frank Welker. Many tie-ins from game were included in the cartoon including block-hopping scenes, flying discs, and those "swearing" bubbles proclaimed by Q*Bert.


With the down swing in the video market during the 1983 North American video game crash, Q*Bert's popularity would dwindle. But most video game enthusiasts will tell you that it remains as one of the most influential arcade games of all time. In my book, it's one of the top ten games at the 80s arcade.


Thanks as always to Arcade-museum.com and Wikipedia.

Monday, February 27, 2012

80s Timeworn Twelves: "Don't You Want Me"



"Don't You Want Me" by Human League (1982)

"Don't You Want Me" topped both the US and UK charts in 1981-82. It also topped the charts in 5 other countries and is listed as the 25th most successful single in UK history. It would be the only chart topping single in The Human League's native country of the UK, but would score another #1 in the US four years later in 1986 with "Human."

Side A of the 12 inch single featured a "Special Extended Dance Version" which added 3 1/2 minutes to the track. Side B was the track "Love Action (I Believe In Love)" which was also from the Dare album. It was previously released in the UK and became the band's first top ten hit. Listen to both tracks below!


  

Thanks to Discogs.Com and Wikipedia for art and record info

Saturday, February 25, 2012

80s Literal Music Video "Ghostbusters"


Here we go again!! 
The original music video to Ghostbusters was packed with neon furniture, cheesy effects, and more cameos than you can fit in Ecto 1. Adam Bertocci takes this 80s greatness and bundles it all up into a hilarious literal version that has some great LOL moments.



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This RD80s post sponsored by
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Friday, February 24, 2012

80s Motivational Posters 4

These motivational posters have become pretty popular post on the RD80s site. 
So I'll keep posting them and you keep laughing!!
(The last 3 posters are RD80s originals!)


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Linus Covers The Police

Linus Covers the Police


I recently came across three videos that takes classic Police songs and using our favorite thumb-sucker Linus Van Pelt from Peanuts instead of Sting. The video were posted by chalkdrinker on Youtube and are very high quality. I found these very humorous and figured others would as well! The songs used are "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," the appropriate song "Peanuts," and "Synchronicity 1" (which is my favorite.) Enjoy!



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

80s Exam: Name That Movie Line 5


Can you quote the movie line from these 80s movie scenes?
Leave a comment with your answers!

#1

#2

#3

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Misheard 80s Lyrics: "Your Own Personal Pizzas"


Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" is full of lyrics waiting to be misheard. But despite the lyrical butchering it's taken over the years, this 1989 song has been voted as one of the top 500 songs of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. 
I've definitely heard some of these from friends. Others I found online from sites like KissThisGuy.Com and AmiRight.Com (which are great sites by the way.)

Here's a list of misheard lyrics:

"Your own personal Jesus"
Your own personal pizzas 
You moan personal Cheese-Its 
Jerome...Ursula...Jesus
Your own versatile cheeses

"Reach out and touch faith" 
Reach out and suck face
Reach out and touch Frank
Reach out and touch Dave
Reach out and touch base
Reach out and touch me 
Creatures...from space

Leave a comment if you've heard others from this song!



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Sunday, February 19, 2012

80s Timeworn Twelves: "Beds Are Burning"



"Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil (1987)

Midnight Oil cracked the top 20 on the US charts in 1987 for what would be the first and perhaps last time. The second single released from their Diesel and Dust album would peak at #17 and open the ears to a "burning" issue in their native Australia. "Beds Are Bruing" is written about the Pintupi, an Aboriginal tribe that was forcibly moved from their native land and traditional lifestyle beginning as early as the 1930s. The finally group known as the "Pintupi Nine" moved in 1984. To raise political awareness, Midnight Oil penned lyrics about giving back the land to the tribe. Over the last couple decades, the Pintupi have moved back and is now a thriving community of about 400 people.

Side A of the 12" record single featured the album version, along with two remixes. The "Kintore East Mix" comes in at just over 8 minutes, about doubling the length of the album version. The second remix called "Yuendumu Percapella Mix" is more of an a-capella version of the song. Side B featured two versions of the album track "The Dead Heart," which included the original and a long version that added about 1 minute in length. It also charted in the US, peaking at #53.

    


Thanks to Discogs.Com and Wikipedia for art and record info

Saturday, February 18, 2012

80s Toons: "Saturday Supercade"


SATURDAY SUPERCADE

In 1983, the cartoon show Saturday Supercade was one of the first to feature characters from arcade and video games. The show consisted of many separate minisodes that would take us from the town of Q*Berg to the jungles of Pitfall to the headlines of the Swamp Gazette. Saturday Supercade would last for 2 seasons and 97 episodes. Many of the classic 80s voice actors helped bring the characters from the arcades to our living rooms. Let's all grab a bowl of Count Chocula and rediscover the minisodes of Saturday Supercade!


Donkey Kong
19 mini episodes of Donkey Kong were produced from 1983-84. After escaping from the circus, Donkey Kong is pursued by Mario and Pauline to bring him back. As in the arcade game, Pauline is often taken by Donkey Kong and then rescued by Mario. The cartoon featured the comedian Soupy Sales as the voice of Donkey Kong and the 80s legendary voice actor Peter Cullen as Mario. (Cullen is most famous for voicing Optimus Prime in Transformers.) One deviation from the arcade story was that Pauline was Mario's niece in the cartoon, as opposed to his girlfriend.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fire Flower Funnies: Blooper Videos


If you've been around RD80s for awhile, you've probably noticed that I get a kick out of the Mario Brothers. I think the arcade and video games (and just Mario's image in general) defines 1980s culture. The original Mario Brothers arcade game in 1983 and the sequel Super Mario Brothers for NES in 1985 created a brand that is one (if not THE) most successful to date.
During one of my recent excursions on the web, I came across some humorous sprite videos of Mario and Luigi having some trouble in their world of pipes and castles. The videos posted below are some of my favorites. They use great sound effects, music, and at times, mild violence to have a little fun with the Mario Brothers. 

The first video uses the original Mario Brothers game and his struggles with pipes and koopa turtles. I loved the use of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" and Van Halen's "Jump" in this video.


This next video has some fun with Super Mario Brothers using Luigi as a doorman to a castle and also Bowser and Mario having a good laugh at a misfired fireball.



This last video is the probably the funniest of the three vids. Using Super Mario Brothers as the backdrop, Mario has some real trouble using the pipe warp. He finally calls upon a little inspiration from Rocky to make one final attempt to use the pipe warp.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Advertising Pitch Men In The 80s

The 80s were full of some colorful characters...even in commercials. Some of the pitch men were hired based on their popularity or celebrity. Other pitch men are forever linked to their brand and became more infamous. We also found a few diamonds in the rough, who got their start in television ads and went on to become more famous. Let's rediscover some classic advertising pitch men in the 80s.


Bartles & Jaymes
In 1981, E & J Gallo Winery gave us Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers and malt beverages. But it wasn't until three years later that "Frank Bartles" and "Ed Jaymes" started appearing in commercials. The two actors who portrayed them, David Joseph Rufkahr and Dick Maugg had no previous acting experience, but it worked well with the simple "down home" style of the ads. The two pitch men were based on the men who began the original winery. The ads became widely recognize and always included the famous catchphrase "...and thank you for your support."



Joe Isuzu
Easily the biggest liar of the decade, Joe Isuzu loved to make outrageous claims on how Isuzu could save you money. Sometimes he'd even through in a "free" dental plan or a "free" chauffeur...given that you paid for  them yourself. The actor David Leisure used his Joe Isuzu popularity to land a role on the long running sit-com Empty Nest in 1988. More recently, he's had roles on the daytime soap operas The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives. As far as Joe Isuzu, he reached the Mount Everest of platforms by appearing in ads for Super Bowl XXI. From 1999-2001, he was briefly resurrected. His famous taglines include his signature "Hi" at the beginning of the ad and also his famous end line of "you have my word on it."




Ernest P. Worrell for Mello Yello
The brain child of the Carden and Cherry advertising agency in Nashville, TN, Ernest made his first appearance in a 1980. The simplicity of his interaction with his buddy Vern became popular and was soon doing different variations of the same commercial for new clients of the ad agency (sometimes as many as 25!) Ernest was hired by the Coca Cola company in the early 80s to promote its Sprite, Mello Yello, and Tab soft drinks. Jim Varney would reprise the role of Ernest in many feature films until his death in 2000, the first being Ernest Goes To Camp in 1987. His work was never complete without his signature "KnowutImean?" tagline.


Bill Bixby for Radio Shack
Banking on the popularity of the Incredible Hulk television series from 1978-1982, Radio Shack hired actor Bill Bixby to pitch their Tandy computers. His tenure included such models as the TRS 80 and the TRS 2000 which was released in 1983. Although he never really had a catchphrase for the ads, most viewers didn't need one as they probably bought his computers, just to not "make him angry."


Paul Hogan for Fosters
Was there ever a more perfect fit for a pitch man? Paul Hogan aka Crocodile Dundee was the long time pitch man for Foster's lager in the 80s. He appeared in numerous ads for many different countries including the UK, Canada, and the US. He would continue to promote Foster's in the late 80s as well, during his rising fame as a movie star. He also didn't have much of a catch phrase, but most of his ads featured his "fish out of water" humor with him being in high society environments colliding with his Ausie bushman crass.


John Mischotta, Jr for FedEx/Micro Machines
John Mischotta is known throughout the 80s and 90s for his work in television commercials. His first notable  ad was his 1981 commercial for Fed Ex, for which he was hired after appearing on the show That's Incrdible for his fast talking abilities. He would later star in over 100 commercials as the Micro Machine man, pitching the tiny cars to kids everywhere and reminding them "if it doesn't say Micro Machines, it's not the real thing." He would also appear in countless other national commercials and television shows for his amazing talent.


Mark Harmon for Coors
Before Agent Gibbs of NCIS got his badge, he was tapping the Rockies for Coors beer. In the mid 80s, when Harmon was People magazine's sexiest man alive, Coors profited from his forthcoming and all-American style. His first appearance as a pitch man was with his dad, also a longtime pitch man, in a commercial for Kellogg's 19 cereal in the 70s. After landing several television roles including Dr. Robert Caldwell on St. Elsewhere, Harmon would be hired by Coors to convey that "Coors is the one."


Jack Black for Pitfall
Long before Tenacious D and Kung Fu Panda, Jack Black was promoting the Activision game Pitfall for the Atari 2600 video game console. This was his earliest TV appearance at the age of 13.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Feb 13th Birthday Tribute

February 13th Birthdays
A great day to celebrate some 80s birthdays in music!

Peter Gabriel (62)

His biggest hit came from his 1986 album So. "Sledgehammer" would peak at #1 on the US Billboard charts and its music video has been declared MTV's most played video of all time. It was also win a record 9 MTV Video Music Awards in 1987.




Sunday, February 12, 2012

R.I.P. Whitney Houston 1962-2012


Whitney Elizabeth Houston 
August 9, 1963 - February 11, 2012

(Writers Note: This is my first obituary since I began this site about 4 months ago. I, like most, tend to form my own opinion of celebrities and their personal lives. Of course, the tabloid world doesn't help those opinions, but I hope to forego any speculation and focus more on fact. I like to view myself more as an 80s historian and would rather reflect on the impact of famous people like Whitney on my own life.)

According to her publicist, Whitney Houston was found dead Feb 11 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel at 3:55 PM local time. She was reportedly staying at the hotel in preparation for the Grammy Awards on Feb 12. She was truly an amazing talent and had one of the most successful music recording careers in history. From 1985 to 2009, all eight of Houston's studio and soundtrack albums would reach platinum status (one million copies sold) in the United States. She received 2 Emmys, 6 Grammys, 22 AMAs, and 30 Billboard music awards of the 415 total awards over the course of her music career. Sadly, her personal struggles over the past 10 or so years, seemed to overshadow her accomplishments in music.

Truthfully, I was never really a "fan"of Whitney Houston. I remember my mother frequently playing "I Want To Dance With Somebody" on our stereo in 1987. She played it so often that I also remember trying to bury it in the back of our record cabinet. Can you blame an eleven year old boy for doing that though? Then next time I remember trying to avoid Whitney's music was in high school, when the Bodyguard soundtrack was released. I remember frequently cringing and cursing the local radio station for seemingly playing her I Will Always Love You remake every hour. I also remember hearing, while listening to one of the top 40 shows, that it broke the record for weeks at the #1 spot. (It spent 14 weeks atop the Billboard charts, a record at the time.) As I formed my love for music and wanted to pursue a career in radio broadcasting in high school and college, I grew to respect Whitney's music career. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

80s Timeworn Twelves: "West End Girls"


"West End Girls" by Pet Shop Boys (1984)

The British synthpop band Pet Shop Boys struck music gold with their first single "West End Girls." It was originally released in April 1984 with limited success in the dance clubs in the US and Europe. After the group signed with EMI in 1985 and had an unsuccessful release of "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)", they decided to re-release a newly remixed version of "West End Girls." It achieved success unlike any other single in history at that point in time, peaking at #1 in the US, UK, and Canada.

The re-released 12" single featured a dance mix on side A, which extended the radio version by over 2 1/2 minutes. Side B featured the unreleased track "A Man Could Get Arrested" and a "dub" version of "West End Girls" that lasts over 9 1/2 minutes.

 


Thanks to Discogs.Com and Wikipedia for art and record info

Friday, February 10, 2012

The 80s Arcade: Zaxxon

Attack on Asteroid City!

It was like flying Luke Skywalker's X-Wing on a mission to destroy the Death Star! Zaxxon was a breakthrough in video game technology, achieving many firsts in the arcade world. The unique 3D perspective combined with the aircraft-like joystick was unlike anything at the arcade in 1982. Zaxxon's initial success would spawn an arcade sequel, computer and console versions, a table top version, and even a board game all within the first year of its release! Sega would also use Zaxxon's technology to create a militaristic sequel and also use the game to promote it's 3-D glasses for the Sega Master System. Even though the franchise is not as strong as some, Zaxxon's legacy remains an essential part of the 80s arcade. 
Zaxxon was the first arcade game to use "axonometric projection", which shows an image of an object as viewed from a skew direction in order to reveal more than one side in the same picture. For us arcade fans, it simply means...it was way cool and how Zaxxon got its name. Using your controls, you could guide your ship up/down/left/right through Asteroid City. If you made it passed the enemy guns, missiles, and force field barriers while blowing up gas tanks to refuel your ship, you faced the ultimate challenge. A large robot was waiting at the end of Asteroid City and defeating him allowed you to make your way back into outer space. After a battle with enemy ships, another city awaited.

  

Zaxxon's technology would be the precursor to games like Congo BongoQ*bert, and Marble MadnessIt was the first game to use shadows during game play and also the first arcade game to be advertised on television. Zaxxon initial success sparked it's only true sequel, Super Zaxxon. It was relatively the same with a faster (and more difficult) speed of play and instead of a robot, the final city battle was against a dragon. In 1984, the arcade game Future Spy was released, a Zaxxon look-a-like with a military theme. It used the same hardware, but was not an official Zaxxon sequel. Your main enemy targets were helicopters in the air and battleships in the water below. A new weapon was a torpedo that you could drop and destroy the ships in the water. Zaxxon was also released to home consoles from 1982-85. 

Milton Bradley got in on the hot arcade commodities and released many board game versions in the 80s, including a Zaxxon board game in 1982. Electronic game producer Coloeco also released a table top version of Zaxxon in 1983. In 1987, Zaxxon 3-D was released to the Sega Master System (SMS.) I was one of the few who owned a SMS growing up and had the game along with the 3-D glasses. It translated well into the 3-D realm with the major change being flying your ship straight ahead. This game felt even more like being in the cockpit of an X-Wing fighter in Star Wars, that is, as long as your 3-D glasses held up. Unfortunately, mine glasses did not and my SMS was "traded-in" for an NES. In 1995, Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 was released for the Sega 32X home console. Contrary to the SMS game, it reverted to the traditional Zaxxon style of play and used 3-D graphics with a 2-D background. Overall, I think it's safe to say that Zaxxon is an important game in arcade history and defintely belongs in the 80s arcade.

Thanks as always to Arcade-museum.com and Wikipedia.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

80s Motivational Posters 3

Here's another round of 80s motivational posters that I pulled off the web. Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

80s Literal Music Video "Love Is A Battlefield"



Here's another 80s literal music video, in which creative minds change up the lyrics and walk us through the original MTV video. This one is posted courtesy DJ Uri Dalal on YouTube. This production of Pat Benatar's biggest hit "Love is a Battlefield," is truly hilarious. It not only uses a female lead for Benatar, but also other people shouting things back at her during the video, like a complete play-by-play to the choreographed dance in the bar scene. Enjoy!




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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Limahl Takes Us Back to 1983!

Kajagoogoo frontman Limahl releases new single titled "1983"

29 years ago in early 1983, the British pop band Kajagoogoo rose to the top of the music charts. With heavy airplay on radio and MTV, their single "Too Shy" would reach #1 in the UK and #5 in the US. But surprisingly just a few months later, the band would split ways with lead singer Christopher Hamill aka Limahl. He would launch a solo career and would immediately achieve two hit singles in 1984. The biggest of those was the international hit "The Never Ending Story" from the popular film, which would reach the top ten in 12 different countries. Limahl would go on to release two more solo albums before reuniting with Kajagoogoo in 2003 for VH1's reality show Bands Reunited. Now in 2012, Limahl has returned to the airwaves with a new single that pays tribute to the year that he rose to fame!

Recently, I was personally contacted by Tommy Olsen who owns a Norwegian production company. Along with Dig Music, his company KVK Digital released Limahl's new single "1983" on January 20, 2012. Olsen, along with Limahl, Stig Antoneson, and Rune Maurtvedt wrote and produced the single, which also includes two remixed versions. Here is what Olsen says about Limahl's new single:
The song is about the fabulous 80's with MTV, synthesizers, vinyl, and cassette. (Limahl's) "namedropping" several UK acts that influenced him in the song, groups like Duran Duran, Visage, and Human League. The release was exactly 29 years after the release of the UK no. 1/US no. 5 hit “Too Shy” by Kajagoogoo. The track has received massive attention and media/press from all over the world have been contacting us about Limahl.
(Listen to a fishbowlradionetwork.com interview below from 2012)


80's VJ host Pat Sharp also did a teaser for '1983':
We released a new free "Limahl 1983" app for iPhone and Ipad last week following the release of the single. The "Limahl 1983" app is listed as one of 21 cool new apps to try out in this article from the UK website The Guardian. 

"1983" is now available for digital download on AmazoniTunes, and 7Digital. Also, check out the free app for iPhone and iPad which features the story behind "1983", song lyrics, and a new updated Limahl bio.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

8-Bit Remixes of 80s Tunes


Released in North America in 1989, many of us remember the first time we played Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega Genesis. The game had great graphics (for that era) and an awesome soundtrack. Recently, I found some great remixes of 80s hits, that retrofits the song to make it sound like it came straight off a classic Sega or NES video game. Thanks to @classickmateria of the Cold Slither Podcast for giving me the inspiration to do some 8-bit song research! 

TheLegendOfRenegade
First up are a couple posted by TheLegendOfRenegade on YouTube. He has many other Michael Jackson and The Police remixes posted on his channel, but here are a few of my favorites:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

80s Timeworn Twelves: "The Superbowl Shuffle"

"The Super Bowl Shuffle" 
by The Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew (1985)

Prior to their Superbowl victory in 1986, players from the Chicago Bears football team would record a rap single called "The Super Bowl Shuffle." It wasn't the players that came up with the idea though, it was a fan by the name of Richard Meyer. His idea was to write and produce a rap song for the Bears players and then choreograph a music video. Meyer was put in touch with wide receiver Willie Gault, who then spread the idea to other players. 21 players agreed to do the song and give a good portion of the profits to charity...that figure would turn out to be over $300,000! The song featured Bears star players like Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, William "The Refrigerator" Perry, and Mike Singletary rapping about themselves and their contribution to the team. The single was released after the Bears regular season, in which they won 15 out of 16 games. Many thought the song was arrogant, include Bears defensive end Dan Hampton who did not participate in the recording of the song. But the song proved to be true as the Bears would easily make it to Super Bowl XX and defeat the New England Patriots 55-10.

"Super Bowl Shuffle" would climb to #41 on the Billboard Top 100 chart and sell more than 500,000 copies. It would also be nominated for a Grammy award for Best R 'n B Record By A Duo or Group. Side A of the 12" single featured the radio version. Side B featured an "extended vocal mix" which added 40 seconds to the track, and then finally, an instrumental version.
Click below to watch the music video to "Superbowl Shuffle"

Art and record info provided by Discogs.Com and Wikipedia

Friday, February 3, 2012

NFL Players Who Became 80s Actors

NFL Football Players Turned 80s Actors

It's hard to believe that football players could have a successful acting career other than playing "a dumb jock." But many Superbowl champions and former NFL football players did just that by trading in their pads and helmets for Hollywood scripts when they retired. During the '80s, some converted actors were very successful, while others settled more for cameo roles. As we continue with Superbowl Week, let's take a look at NFL players with the most successful acting careers in the '80s. (I was definitely surprised by some of these guys.)

Dick Butkus
A tough linebacker turned sitcom softy. After a very successful NFL career with the Chicago Bears, Dick Butkus' acting career started with many guest appearances on TV shows during the 70s-80s. In the early part of the 80s, he appeared on shows like Magnum P.I., Greatest American Hero, and Simon & Simon. He landed a regular role on the short lived television series Blue Thunder. More guest appearances on Murder She Wrote, Night Court, and Growing Pains would land him another recurring role on the show My Two Dads. He would reprise the role of Ed Kwalicki for 2 years on the show in the late 80s. His acting career would slow in the 90s and eventually end with a recurring role as a basketball coach on the show Hang Time.

Fred Dryer

Taking a Superbowl loss out on bad guys everywhere. Fred Dryer's NFL career lasted 12 years and included one Superbowl appearance (XIV) with the Rams in 1980 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. His acting career began with guest appearances on TV shows like Laverne & Shirley and Chips. His first major consideration as a lead actor was for the role of Sam Malone for the sitcom Cheers in 1982. After Ted Danson got the role, he would guest appear in a few more shows and movies before landing the lead role of Sgt. Rick Hunter on Hunter. The show would last for 7 seasons until 1991 and Dryer would also reprise the role in several TV movies thereafter. One little known fact about his NFL career is that Fred Dryer is the only player in history to personally score two safeties in one game.
Ed Marinaro
From running back to running down criminals. Ed Marinaro's NFL career was relatively short, just 6 seasons, but appeared in Superbowl VIII & IX with the Minnesota Vikings. After retiring, he would begin his acting career most notably with a small role in 1980-81 on Laverne & Shirley for 11 episodes. In 1981, he would also take his most famous role as Officer Joe Coffey in Hill Street Blues. His role would last for five years and over 100 episodes. His career continues, mainly in television, and has most recently been featured in the show Blue Mountain State.
John Matuszak
Who would've figured that Sloth was a 2-time Superbowl champion? John Matuszak aka "Tooz" was an NFL journeyman for 9 years, playing for 5 different teams. He was on the Redskins team for their Superbowl XI win in 1976 and retired in 1982 after winning Superbowl XV with the Oakland Raiders. His acting career began shortly after with guest appearances on TV shows including MASH, The Dukes of Hazzard, and Fall Guy. He would land his most memorable role underneath much make-up as Sloth in the popular film The Goonies in 1985. After the film, he continued his TV guest appearance tour on The A-Team, Miami Vice, and Perfect Strangers. Matuszak died in 1989 at the age of 38, after heart failure caused by a pain killing drug and cocaine overdose.
Merlin Olsen
A priest who used to sack quarterbacks. NFL Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen played 15 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. He would only miss 2 games his entire career and help guide the Rams to four straight division titles in the mid 70s. After retiring in 1976, Olsen pursued a career in acting, which he began in the early 70s. He would land the part of Jonathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie for 51 episodes from 1977-81. Soon after, he would star in the TV show Father Murphy for 3 seasons. Throughout the 80s, he would continue an interest in football from the broadcaster's booth as a color commentator for NBC, alongside Dick Enberg. Olsen passed away in 2010 of cancer.
O.J. Simpson
"Juice" to jokes. NFL Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson played 11 seasons in the league. During that time, he had several small roles in TV shows and films including Dragnet, It Takes a Thief, Towering Inferno, and Roots. He did not pursue an acting career after retirement. But a few more small roles in the early 80s paved the way for his most memorable performance in 1988 as Det. Nordberg in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. He would reprise he role two more times in the 90s, before his acting career (and the rest of his life) came to a screeching halt during his famous murder trail in 1994.
Bubba Smith
Strong man on the football field and on the big screen. Bubba Smith had a 10 year career in the NFL with 3 teams. He played in two Superbowls with the Baltimore Colts, winning Superbowl V against the Dallas Cowboys. He began his acting career after his retirement in 1976, guest appearing in TV shows Good Times, BJ & The Bear, and Taxi. His first recurring role was in the short lived comedy Up All Night in 1981-82 before landing his most well-known role. He appeared as Cadet Moses Hightower in the 1984 film Police Academy. He would reprise the role six more times in the 80s. He would also work along side fellow NFL player Dick Butkus in 1984 on the TV show Blue Thunder. He continued his acting career throughout the 90s and beyond until his death in 2011 of heart disease.
Carl Weathers
From the Raiders to Rocky. Carl Weathers didn't have a long NFL career. He played just 8 games with the Oakland Raiders before signing with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League for 3 years in the early 70s. He would retire to pursue acting. He began with guest appearances in TV shows before developing a very successful film career. Weathers role of Apollo Creed in 1976's Rocky launched his career to new heights. He would reprise the role three times from the late 70s to mid 80s. He would also appear in Predator, Action Jackson, and the TV series Tour of Duty in the late 80s. He continues to guest appear in mainly TV shows today.
 
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