Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” With Steve Martin… And Chimpanzees?

Friends, the other evening as I was closing things down for the night here at the Vault, Rockford Jay happened to share a YouTube video for 1959’s “El Paso” by Marty Robbins. The Grammy Award winning tune that tells the story of a gunslinger who slays another cowboy over the affections of Feleena, a dancer at Rosa’s Cantina, and in turn is gunned down himself later by a posse when he attempts to return to her. The song was written by Robbins and was included on his October 1959 album entitled Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, released as a single the following month with “The Running Gun” featured on the B-Side.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Marty Robbins – Topic.

I am sure that there are a lot of you Fallout: New Vegas fans out that remember hearing Robbins’ song “Big Iron” on your Pip-Boy 3000 courtesy of Radio New Vegas, Mojave Music Radio, and the Black Mountain Radio stations. I bring that up as that was one of the twelve songs featured on Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, along with “Cool Water”, which you might be familiar with if you’ve seen 2018’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Although that stunning soundtrack features a cover by the esteemed Tim Blake Nelson, who portrays the titular character of the film.

“Cool Water…”

You might find it interesting that it has been said that Robbins named the character of Feleena after a friend of his in school, although I highly doubt that the future songwriter and singer had to ever slap leather in his youth. As a matter of fact Marty Robbins would go on to write two more songs focusing on the events of “El Paso”. Starting with 1966’s “Feleena (From El Paso)”, the songwriter tells the early life and tragic fate of the dancer at Rosa’s Cantina – spoiler – but she picks up the gun of her lover and kills herself. Although it would seem that the two are reunited of sorts, they can be said to wander the town forevermore as spirits – heard by the townsfolk but never seen.

With 1976’s “El Paso City”, the songwriter basically recaps the events of the first song as he is flying over the city, mentioning that he remembers hearing the tune long ago. As the song continues though it is revealed that he seems to be the reincarnated gunslinger, as he’s never been to the city but he knows the old paths that the cowboy traveled on. In addition to frequently hearing a voice calling him to El Paso City – with another voice warning him that he might find his death there.

While “El Paso” continues to be a popular song, it was back in 1980 for an NBC special entitled Comedy Is Not Pretty! that Steve Martin proved that the tune could be improved on by adding chimpanzees, an elephant, Shetland ponies, and an Orangutan.

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY Kehlog Albran.

Pop Culture Poll: Dengar vs. Bossk

Friends, as most of you are already aware, today happens to be May the 4th – that day when the majority of fans choose to celebrate the lasting legacy of the Star Wars franchise. The celebration also seems to manage to tempt many of us to pry open our wallets for some fantastic merchandise, to say nothing of the fact that Disney+ has released both a brand new Star Wars inspired short for The Simpsons as well as the eagerly awaited first episode of the Star Wars: The Bad Batch animated series.

Originally I had played around with the idea of naming these new articles something like Pop Culture Combat, a silly tip of the hat to the likes of Mortal Kombat, but after talking it over with my fellow Pop Culture Retrorama Colleagues… we agreed that was a rather aggressive name to use, right?

So, with these Pop Culture Poll articles we will be taking two Pop Culture characters or properties, talk a bit about them (which is no different from what we usually do) and ask you the reader to tell us in the comments or on social media which is the winner in the proposed situation. And as today is May the 4th, I thought the first poll should be between two of the feared bounty heroes that were first introduced in 1980’s Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.

The Corellian bounty hunter known as Dengar is widely recognized for leaving a path of destruction in his wake while hunting his targets. Thanks to the excellent Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, we learn that Dengar and Bossk were working as bounty hunters during the three-year war that took place between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. In fact the duo worked for the bounty hunter syndicate on Tatooine known as Krayt’s Claw, along with the teenage Boba Fett who was the leader of the group.

Dengar it would seem as the Galactic Civil War came to an end had no qualms with augmenting his natural talents, honed as a gladiator in his early years, by undergoing cybernetic improvements. And while it has not been stated outright, there is a character in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that bears a striking resemblance to Dengar, but is called Rothgar Deng.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Star Wars Explained.

The feared Bossk is a Trandoshan and the son of Cradossk, a famed bounty hunter in his own right who ended up making a good pile of credits working with the Empire during the Galactic Civil War. It has been said that Bossk’s first act upon being hatched on Trandosha was to devour the eggs of his other siblings. And while Bossk would be trained as a bounty hunter by his father, it would seem there is bad blood between the two, with some online sources stating that it involved the younger Trandoshan not being able to capture Han Solo and Chewbacca. It is noteworthy that the Trandoshans and Wookies have a long-standing rivalry, as the reptilian species delights in hunting, capturing, and skinning their prey to be used a gruesome trophies.

Make no mistake about it, the Trandoshans are extremely capable warriors and hunters, known just as much for their fierce nature as their cruelty. Although having said that Bossk would wind up acting as a mentor/bodyguard of sorts to a young Boba Fett, even sticking by the teenager during their period of incarceration in the Republic Judiciary Central Detention Center on Coruscant to protect him. After escaping the prison the two would stay together as a team when Boba founded the Krayt’s Claw syndicate, although the two bounty hunters would find their paths finally diverging, only to meet up again when answering a job from none other than Darth Vader. The job being offered by the Dark Lord of the Sith was to locate the Millennium Falcon and capture those aboard… but no disintegrations.

Like with Dengar, Bossk ended up working for Jabba the Hutt and can be briefly glimpsed in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – although as I understand it, in Star Wars canon as it is now, it is unknown whether the Trandoshan survived the rescue of Han Solo and the destruction of Jabba’s sail barge.

Enjoy this informative video focusing on Bossk and past lore now under the Star Wars Legends line of books, comics, and other media.

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY Star Wars Explained.

In closing out this article, let us say that both Dengar and Bossk are hired to bring in Preens B’oola, the Twi’lek criminal located on Corellia. Who do you personally think would be the one to succeed in capturing the target?

Can You Be The Leader Of The Pac With Pac-Man 99?

Friends, while we fans of Ghostbusters were understandably freaking out yesterday over the release of a clip from the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife, it seems that Nintendo and Bandai Namco dropped an exclusive new title for the Nintendo Switch. A 99-player online battle royale featuring an updated version of the iconic Pac-Man, appropriately enough entitled Pac-Man 99. Did I mention that it is absolutely free for members of Nintendo Switch Online?

I assume that Pac-Man 99 has been released as part of the continuing 40th anniversary celebration of Pac-Man, which began on May 22nd of last year, proving the arcade icon shows no signs of slowing down since his initial debut.

Considering that it is a 99-player battle royale, it shouldn’t shock you to learn that there are a few new bells and whistles added to the overall gameplay. For one thing you are going to have to be worried about more than just the likes of Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde. The biggest threat now will come from your fellow online players, who are going to be doing their level best to throw obstacles in your path such as the Jammer Pac-Man. Whenever a player gulps down a Power Pellet and then runs down and eats a ghost, a Jammer Pac-Man will be sent to one of the 99 other players. These moving obstacles resemble a ghost-like version of Pac-Man and roam freely through the maze, if a player comes in contact with one however it will slow them down considerably – making them the perfect target for the roving band of ghosts.

Also in the mazes are what Pac-Man 99 describes as Sleeping Ghosts, these smaller chain of ghosts can be gobbled up by the player at any time, with each one attaching itself to either Inky, Blinky, Pinky, or Clyde. After swallowing one of the Power Pellets though, all of the attached ghosts will also turn blue and can be gobbled up by the player, which of course sends a slew of the Jammer Pac-Man to an opponent.

Pac-Man 99 offers up power-ups for a player to use to keep in the game, like a speed boost, or even the option to hurl more of those Jammer Pac-Man to opponents who are on the verge of losing their match. There is more though, while the standard version of the game is available free of charge to Nintendo Switch Online members, you can pick up DLC packs – which offers additional play modes or even allows you to change the game theme to resemble other classic Bandai Namco titles like Dig Dug, Galaga, New Rally-X, and many others.

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY Nintendo.

So what are you waiting for, download Pac-Man 99 today and see if you can claim the title of leader of the Pac!

Pizza Hut Is Offering A Pac-Man AR Game On Their Boxes

Friends, having the benefit of being an employee at that Arkadia Retrocade in my neck of the woods, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that we keep our eyes and ears open for anything retro related. Shea Mathis, the owner and manager of the arcade has spent nearly nine years doing his best to make a visit feel like stepping into a living time capsule. Vintage posters ranging from The A-Team to Tiffany can be found on display as well as plenty of cherished toys from the ’70s and ’80s. That doesn’t mean that some exciting news doesn’t manage to slip under the radar, case in point the fact that Pizza Hut has begun to offer limited edition Pac-Man boxes as part of their ten dollar Tastemaker pizza deal. One that allows fans to play a special Pizza Hut themed Pac-Man game on their phone, right on the top of the pizza box by way of a QR code.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45ua4JWfUEk
VIDEO PROVIDED BY Pizza Hut.

I certainly don’t mean to question Craig Robinson, as the actor, musician, and singer is far more accomplished and knowledgeable than I am on a great many things… but in that commercial it sounds like he first experienced Pac-Man two years after it was originally released to arcades. Perhaps he was saying that it was in 1982 when he became a master Pac-Man player? Or there is a very strong probability that I am just thinking about a humorous Pizza Hut commercial way, way too much.

At the Arkadia Retrocade we too are fans of the iconic character co-created by Toru Iwatani, in fact as I have mentioned on numerous Diary of An Arcade Employee podcasts, the Pac-Man family of arcade titles are prominently featured in the showcase row of games upon entering the arcade.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that when closing the arcade down for the night this past Thursday, we made sure to order some Pizza Hut carry-out. Before digging into the pizzas though we took a few minutes to enjoy a couple of rounds of the “Pizza Hut Arcade” Pac-Man game.

Pac-Man - Pizza Hut - AR Game - 2021

I wouldn’t be too surprised if the top of this limited edition box doesn’t somehow manage to be displayed somewhere at the arcade.

Do You Remember Here’s Boomer?

Friends, it might not come as surprise to you that I have always enjoyed visiting antique stores and flea markets. I count myself as being very fortunate that my Wife is also fond of the same thing, even if due to the pandemic we have had to severely curtail the activity. The other day however we managed a brief visit and among the remembrances of the past I came across a lunch box for a television series entitled Here’s Boomer – a television show that I have absolutely no recollection of ever seeing. I took a moment to snap a quick photograph of the collectible with my phone, sending it to a few of my fellow Pop Culture Retrorama colleagues. Which resulted in the intro for the early ’80s TV show being sent to me, and catchy theme song aside, I can honestly say that I have no memory of this series in the least.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Drakester1997.

A Christmas for Boomer was a made-for-TV Holiday special that aired on NBC on December the 6th of 1979 – acting as a pilot for the Here’s Boomer series – although the canine character originated in another show. A Saturday morning series entitled The Red Hand Gang – featuring the likes of then Little House on the Prairie and future Whiz Kids star, Matthew Labyorteaux. The show focused on the adventures of a group of five children who managed to solve various crimes around their hometown.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Music Videos & Other Random Stuff.

The plot for Here’s Boomer involved the titular character wandering the country, showing up to help someone in need before taking off once again – like a canine version of David Banner (Bill Bixby) in the popular The Incredible Hulk TV series. You might be interested to know that the character of Boomer was played by a rescued four-year-old mutt named Johnny – in fact the original title for Here’s Boomer has been said to have been “Here’s Johnny”. That idea however was abandoned as it was the obvious catchphrase made popular by Ed McMahon during the intro to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Here’s Boomer ran for two seasons on NBC starting on March 14th of 1980 and managed to feature an amazing cast of guest stars over it’s 20 episode run. Just a few include Tom Bosley (Happy Days), Michael J. Fox (Family Ties), Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes), Doris Roberts (Remington Steele), Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes), and John Amos (Good Times).

While I will never say I am an expert on anything in regards to pop culture – I still find it so bizarre that I have zero recollection of Here’s Boomer. What about yourself though, do you remember this television series?

Man(dalorian) Down: R.I.P. Jeremy Bulloch

At the end a year that’s already taken far too many favorite faces from us, we must again bid farewell to one of many oft-unsung players in the Star Wars universe (and quite a few other universes as well), actor Jeremy Bulloch. Born in Leicestershire, England in 1945, Jeremy was already finding his footing on a stage in front of an audience at the age of five, and acting professionally at the age of twelve. At the age of seventeen, he had a significant role in 1963’s film Summer Holiday alongside Cliff Richard, leading to a string of appearances on the big and small screen. Curiously, though he became a well-known face to British audiences, his biggest global claim to fame is the role of a space bounty hunter who never removes his helmet – and in the spirit of that famous character of his, this article will try to present a look at his roles in that genre (and related ones).

Jeremy Bulloch actually had significantly more screen time in Doctor Who than he did in the Star Wars universe. His first appearance in that series was in 1965, as a rebel assisting the first Doctor’s attempts to escape from “The Space Museum”, a much-loved four-part story that led into the six-part Dalek epic that followed, “The Chase”.

The Doctor (William Hartnell), Tor (Jeremy Bulloch), and Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) in Doctor Who: “The Space Museum”, 1965

1969 saw a guest appearance in the occasionally-paranormal-leaning ITV series Strange Report, one of many late ’60s/early ’70s shows that took plenty of cues from The Avengers. (Proving that the apple never falls far from the TARDIS, Strange Report featured former 1960s Doctor Who companion Anneke Wills in a regular role.)

Bob Tremayne (Jeremy Bulloch) in Strange Report: “Report 8319: Grenade – What Price Change?”, 1969

1973 saw Bulloch return to Doctor Who, this time fighting along Jon Pertwee’s Doctor in the four-part story “The Time Warrior”, which also introduced the Sontarans. (Bulloch’s character, Hal the Archer, was the first character seen to kill a Sontaran warrior in Doctor Who history, which may make Hal an even better marksman than Boba Fett.)

Hal the Archer (Jeremy Bulloch) in Doctor Who: “The Time Warrior”, 1973

Bulloch made background appearances, some of them not even credited onscreen, in Roger Moore-era James Bond films such as The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and For Your Eyes Only (1981), the latter of which where he appeared as Q’s assistant, Smithers. But of course, it was a completely faceless appearance in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back that allowed Bulloch to put his stamp on the Star Wars saga as the face and – at least until the round of alterations that accompanied the original trilogy’s release on Blu-Ray – voice of Boba Fett, a role he also played in 1983’s Return Of The Jedi.

Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch) and Darth Vader (David Prowse) in The Empire Strikes Back, 1980; name a more iconic duo. We’ll wait.

Bulloch had a starring role in the London Weekend Television comedy series Agony from 1979 through 1981; in that context, his role in that galaxy far, far away was a very minor blip in his career – though one with outsized after-effects, as he became a popular fixture at conventions as a result of his Star Wars stardom.

After appearing as Boba Fett again in Return Of The Jedi, Bulloch was a recurring guest in the 1984 series Chocky, and its follow-up (or second season), Chocky’s Children (1985), as Dr. Landis, a child psychologist whose motivations were left open to question as he examined a child who persistently claimed to be visited by an alien intelligence called Chocky.

David Gore (James Hazeldine) and Dr. Landis (Jeremy Bulloch) in Chocky’s Children: Episode 2.1, 1985

At the same that Chocky was on the air, Bulloch made occasional guest appearances as the beleaguered Edward of Wickham on HTV’s much-loved high fantasy interpretation of the Robin Hood legend, Robin of Sherwood.

Edward of Wickham (Jeremy Bulloch) in Robin of Sherwood: “The Time Of The Wolf” Part 1, 1986

Bulloch’s appearances on UK TV are legion – Casualty, Boon, Sloggers, Jenny’s War, The Bill, and MI-5, among many others – but in the 21st century he found himself drawn back into the Star Wars universe with a very brief, non-Fett-related appearance in Revenge Of The Sith (2005), but an all-star sci-fi comedy, Starhyke, gave him more face time in 2009, alongside Babylon 5’s Claudia Christian, Red Dwarf’s Danny John-Jules, and other genre luminaries, proving that he could get a laugh as effortlessly as he could be menacing.

Dr. Striker (Jeremy Bulloch) and Captain Belinda Blowhard (Claudia Christian) in Starhyke, 2009

Jeremy Bulloch was 75, and will be much missed by his fans the world over.

And here we thought we had a “no disintegrations” agreement with the rest of 2020.

Happy 40th Anniversary To Robert Altman’s Popeye!

Friends, it was 40 years ago today that the live action adaptation of E. C. Segar’s iconic comic strip character of Popeye the Sailor hit the big screen – one week after it’s premiere in Orlando, Florida. Or possibly the premiere for Robert Altman’s Popeye was held in Los Angeles, California – it all depends on where you are looking on the internet. Having said that though it appears that everyone agrees the general release of the film was on December 12th. Shockingly considered a flop at the time – even though it managed to pull in 60 million dollars at the box office against a budget of 20 million – it is a film that is very near and dear to my heart. Thanks in no small part to the stellar performance by the late and great Robin Williams, to say nothing of the catchy tunes written by none other than celebrated singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson (The Point).

Video Provided by Trailer Chan.

You might be interested to know that the reason Popeye was adapted into a musical comedy is because of the film adaptation of the Broadway production of Annie. It would seem that Paramount Pictures and Columbia found themselves in a tug of war on which studio was going to pay the most for the rights to the hit musical. It was Columbia that would win the day – but producer Robert Evans (The Godfather, Chinatown) decided to secure the rights to another comic strip character. As it turned out, Paramount Pictures still retained the theatrical rights to Segar’s sailor man, thanks to the studio releasing the Popeye animated shorts from 1933 until 1942.

Wrong type of picture, Popeye!

It might interest you to know that Robert Altman (MASH, The Player) was not the first choice to helm the film, while many think that the celebrated director was an odd choice for the movie, originally it was going to be John Schlesinger of Midnight Cowboy fame that was going to direct. In fact Dustin Hoffman was going to play the lead in the picture, but he walked away from the role as I understand it when he clashed with Jules Feiffer, the screenwriter for Popeye.

At the time of writing this article, which is rather late, 40 years ago this evening I was sitting in the auditorium of a local movie theater watching Popeye. While normally my Father and I would have waited until the Saturday afternoon matinee to catch a new film – our love of Robin Williams – thanks to the popular Mork & Mindy TV series at the time meant we needed to see the musical comedy on opening night. That is really saying something as I have shared before that my Father absolutely despises musicals… almost as much as he dislikes video games. Unfortunately the showtimes printed in the newspaper were off – by about 30 minutes as I recall – so after talking it over we decided to catch the late show of Popeye in the next town. It is something of a magical memory if I am being totally honest, we were the only two people in the auditorium, and it was the first time that it was after midnight when we left the theater. And while Harry Nilsson provided a handful of memorable tunes for the film, it was “I Yam What I Yam” that proved to be an earworm in our household.

Video and Article Image Provided by Movieclips.

I feel that even though it was considered a box office disappointment back in 1980 it has managed to become a cult classic, thanks to the performances by not just Williams but Shelley Duvall (The Shining), Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian), Bill Irwin (Legion,) and Paul Dooley (Sixteen Candles) to point out just a few. And while it seems that the esteemed Leonard Maltin was one of the most vocal critics against the picture – Popeye was reviewed favorably by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on Sneak Previews.

Video Provided by Eric Stran.

Here is to 40 years of 1980’s Popeye – a charming and still very entertaining musical comedy. To close out this article, why not enjoy this 1979 interview with Robin Williams on The Dick Cavett Show?

Video Provided by The Dick Cavett Show.

How Could You Make Zork Better – By Turning It Into A Book Series!

Friends, when my Father set enough money aside to buy a personal computer – he found a used one in the want ads, a graduating student from the University had no further need for his Commodore 64. As the last thing that my Father wanted from the computer was for it to become another gaming system – he only agreed to two game cartridges that the student was offering. Those were Kickman, the port of Midway’s 1981 arcade game entitled just Kick – and the still fantastic Choplifter by Broderbund Software. To say that I loved the Commodore 64 is the epitome of an understatement – thanks in no small part to magazines like Run that allowed me to type-in programs and save them on my Commodore Datasette. It wouldn’t be until over a year later that I received a disk drive for the Commodore 64, which even though my Father didn’t want the computer to become a gaming system, it allowed me access to one of the greatest computer games of all time. The iconic interactive game called Zork – originally released by Infocom in 1980.

Video Provided by Joltonline.

For many weeks, once I was finished with dinner I would attempt to navigate the mysteries of The Great Underground Empire. And some of my fondest memories of the Commodore 64 involve playing the likes of the Zork series, Wishbringer, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Planetfall, and The Lurking Fear to name a few. In the early ’80s though Infocom managed to make Zork even better – by having Steve Meretzky (Planetfall, Sinistar Unleashed) as S. Eric Meretzky write four gamebooks based off the then trio of classic interactive fiction games.

Of course the arcade has the collection of Zork books!

Starting with The Forces of Krill which was originally published in August of 1983 – with illustrations by Paul Van Munching – the book introduced readers to two young characters named Bill and June. However after they discover a magical Elvish blade hidden underneath a bush on their way home – they are transported to the Land of Frobozz, in the Kingdom of Zork. In addition they are known by all in the land as Bivotar and Juranda, the niece and nephew of King Syovar the Strong.

Released under the What-Do-I-Do-Now banner, the Zork books followed the same format as the Choose Your Own Adventure series and others – although it kept the scoring system from the interactive video games. There were 20 possible endings in The Forces of Krill gamebook – with the overall goal being to guide Juranda and Bivotar in collecting the three Palantirs to aid in the defeat of the dark forces of Krill.

I spent a lot of time in The Great Underground Empire – both by playing the Zork video game series as well as reading the books over and over again. Except with the latter, they managed to make Zork even better – because while I couldn’t drag my computer to school and play throughout the day – I could visit the Kingdom of Zork almost any time I wanted by cracking open one of the What-Do-I-Do-Now books.

1980’s Flash Gordon Has Been Saving The Universe For 40 Years!

Friends, I think we can all agree that as we near the end of 2020 that it has been less than enjoyable – in particular with the loss of many of our favorite entertainers – just a few days ago Hugh Keays-Byrne (Mad Max, The Blood of Heroes, Mad Max: Fury Road) joining that unfortunately growing list. However this year has also seen the anniversaries of a slew of classic and cult classic films – such as the 40th anniversary for the likes of Motel Hell, Alligator, Airplane!, and The Blues Brothers to name a few. Today though marks 40 years of the 1980 film adaptation of Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon – starring Sam J. Jones, Max von Sydow, Timothy Dalton, Topol, Melody Anderson, Mariangela Melato, Peter Wyngarde, Ornella Muti, and of course the legendary Brian Blessed. My Father and I caught this film at the local movie theater 40 years ago and it became one of our all-time favorite films – thanks in no small part to that iconic soundtrack courtesy of Queen!

Video and Article Image Provided by StudiocanalUK.

I have shared numerous times in the past that listening to music in my household just wasn’t a thing – the soundtrack for Flash Gordon was an exception – picking it up at the local Walmart the day after we caught the film. In particular I would listen to both “Vultan’s Theme (Attack of the Hawkmen)” and the “Battle Theme” over and over again when my Father was out working in the yard. Flash Gordon also made me a card-carrying member of the Brian Blessed fan club at the age of eight!

“Come Vic, we will find glory!!”

At the time that we caught Flash Gordon at that fabled Razorback theater of my youth – I actually wasn’t aware of the long history of the popular comic strip character. My Father was adamant about seeing the film thanks to his love of the reissue of the serials in the ’40s – starring the fantastic Buster Crabbe – who secured the Olympic gold medal in ’32 for the 400-meter freestyle swimming event. A feat that helped him to become an actor – eventually leading him to portray not just the character of Flash Gordon but Tarzan and Buck Rogers too!

While most of the cast were signed to a multi-picture deal – Flash Gordon didn’t perform well enough at the box office to warrant sequels. Just as with a few of my other favorite films like The Thing, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Electric Dreams, and Krull – it took time for the movie to find it’s audience. Thanks to cable television, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray releases over the years – Flash Gordon has become a very popular cult film.

Go Flash Go!

So here is to 40 years of 1980’s Flash Gordon… we gratefully thank you for saving and entertaining every one of us!

Video Provided by Queen Official.

Celebrate The Holiday With The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw

Friends, from all of us at Pop Culture Retrorama, we hope you and yours are having a safe and happy holiday. I thought that since it was Thanksgiving that we should share an appropriate retro holiday special – I originally thought perhaps that 1979’s Intergalactic Thanksgiving or Please Don’t Eat the Planet would be a great choice – but in all honesty I talked about it already in that PCR podcast special. Instead I thought you might enjoy The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw – an uplifting Thanksgiving special that originally premiered 40 years ago on the 20th of November. I am not sure what I was doing on that night back in 1980, but I also managed to miss Daffy Duck’s Thanks-for-Giving Special, which was shown before the Berenstain Bears’ special.

The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw happens to be the second of five animated specials based on the popular book series by Stan and Jan Berenstain. The first as a matter of fact was The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree, that aired on December 3rd of 1979. In addition this animated special was written by Stan and Jan Berenstain and has the first appearance of the character of Bigpaw – who would go on to show up in future books as well as the mid-’80s animated series on CBS.

Music for the holiday special was overseen by Elliot Lawrence (As the World Turns, Network) – although the lyrics for the three song featured in the special were provided by Stan Berenstain. It featured Ron McLarty (The Flamingo Kid, The Postman) as both the narrator and the voice of Papa Bear, with Pat Lysinger, Gabriela Glatzer, and Jonathan Lewis as Mama, Sister, and Brother Bear. Bigpaw was voiced by Bob Kaliban, who you might recognize from the likes of Car 54, Where Are You? or the 2009 version of Schoolhouse Rock!.

Video Provided by Jack Sheldon – Topic.

The story for The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw concerns a legend in Bear Country known appropriately enough as ‘The Thanksgiving Legend of Bigpaw’. It states that if the bears show no signs of being generous to the needy – especially with the gifts provided by Mother Nature – then Bigpaw will show up to eat up Bear Country due to the ‘selfishness debt’. As it turns out, the legend is… partly… true. Can Thanksgiving be saved after a disastrous meeting between Bigpaw and the citizens of Bear Country?

Video and Article Image Provided by Berenstain Bears.