This Is The Way – Bonus Episode

Friends, we have a very special episode for all three of the podcasts, a bonus episode as it were, that is meant to act as not only my official announcement but explanation for why I am retiring. I hope you will understand that for the past 12 years that I have been fortunate enough to be considered a blogger, writer, and podcaster…I have realized recently that I am very tired. I need more however than just a break or vacation from writing daily articles and producing podcasts – I truly need to step away from the laptop and microphone – it is the appropriate time to look back at what I, as well as my fellow Pop Culture Retrorama colleagues have accomplished.

As I state on the podcast itself, I am very proud of what Allison Venezio-Preston, Ashley Thomas, Rockford Jay, Earl Green, Brett Weiss, IseeRobots, Javier Ojst, Rob O’Hara, and Gary Burton have accomplished with this site. And while I will soon shutter the Pop Culture Retrorama site and step away from writing in general, I am extremely happy to announce that Earl Green has generously offered to host not only the content on this site – but any future articles that the Pop Culture Retrorama colleagues might decide to write – on theLogBook.com. So, while I am slipping into the shadows, Pop Culture Retrorama will most assuredly live on.

I do hope that those of you who have been so kind as to visit this page, or even remember my work on the Retroist, understand that I did not come to the decision to retire lightly. Having said that, it feels like this is right path to take, thanks in no small part to my new career.

Many thanks to all of you. You have made something that I originally tackled as a hobby feel far more important, giving me a desire to write over 6000 articles and produce over 300 podcasts in the past 11 -12 years. I am grateful for your time and support, but more importantly your friendship.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

“Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!”

Feel free to keep in touch with me on Facebook or even Twitter. Or perhaps check out the Saturday Frights Facebook Page, and Diary of an Arcade Employee!

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Check Out This Sneak Peek Of Netflix’s The Cuphead Show!

Friends, for as long as I can remember I have always been a fan of classic animation, whether that be theatrical shorts from Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, Silly Symphony, or those Saturday morning and weekday afternoon cartoon series of my youth. That is of course why when Gary Burton asked if I might be interested in being a co-host on his podcast about animation, I readily agreed to join the Toon In podcast. At that time we were having an issue getting our schedules to coincide so I asked if I might use the name of the show for a series of articles on the Retroist. Not just because Toon In is a brilliant title for a cartoon related podcast, but in addition I hoped that it might help drum up some interest for the then upcoming show.

All my joking aside by using that GIF taken from 1982’s The Toy, while the Toon In articles might have been a little more popular on the Retroist than here on the PCR site, we had to put the idea for the podcast on the back burner while we attempted to figure out a proper format for the show.

Having said all of that, you can probably imagine how absolutely gobsmacked I was when the Cuphead game was announced. Combining my love of classic animation similar to the Fleischer produced Popeye cartoons with video games – I truly started counting down the days until it was finally released on September 29th of 2017.

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY Fasgort.

When Cuphead debuted for Microsoft Windows as well as the Xbox One, I was blown away by how beautiful the side-scrolling run and gun title looked, it truly was like a playable classic theatrical short. I was also taken aback by just how difficult the title was compared to the standard games being released. Like legions of other Cuphead fans though I totally accepted the challenge of the game, always giving it just one more shot at trying to clear a particular level. And that usually resulted in my failing over and over and over again…

Even with those gamers who were turned off by the difficulty level of the game, it seems that everyone fell in love with the characters from the title. All manner of merchandise for Cuphead has been released in the four years since it was released, including T-Shirts, Funko Pops, plush dolls, and apparently an upcoming animated series from Netflix. So enjoy this short teaser clip from the soon to be released The Cuphead Show!

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Netflix.

That was none other than Emmy award wining Wayne Brady providing his voice as King Dice, and online it has been stated that Tru Valentino (Fast & Furious Spy Racers) will voice the titular Cuphead, with Frank Todaro (Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy) as Mugman. There has been no official trailer or release date for The Cuphead Show! as of yet, but we will be sure to pass along the information when it is made available.

Check Out The 1977 Super 8 Version Of Star Wars!

Friends, until the release of Star Wars in 1982 to the home market on the likes of VHS, LaserDisc, Betamax, CED VideoDisc, and even the European based Video 2000 videocassette, the only way to enjoy the first entry in the original trilogy was to catch it in theaters in limited re-release engagements. As I understand it there were four times that the original Star Wars returned to theaters, with the first being in ’78 and then the following year, as well as in ’81 and then for the last time on August 13th of 1982.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Star Wars.

But to the point of this article, the Star Wars fans who were lucky enough to have access to a Super 8 film projector in 1977 could enjoy selected scenes released by Ken Films to the home market. There were three versions of Super 8 reels offered to the public by Ken Films, black and white as well as silent, a color edition with no sound, or color with the addition of sound. The scenes offered on the Super 8 reels were of Luke Skywalker being told about his Father and the ways of the Force by Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine. Then followed by Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Luke, plus R2-D2 and C-3PO making their escape from the Death Star. Concluding with the thrilling TIE Fighter attack on the Millennium Falcon as they make good their escape to the rebel base on Yavin 4.

Star Wars - Super 8 - TIE Fighter - Ken Films

With the popularity of Star Wars it will probably not surprise you to learn that the Super 8 reels sold very, very well indeed. So much so that Ken Films produced two more reels of selected scenes afterwards that were twice the length of their initial offering, resulting in about half an hour of 1977’s Star Wars when all was said and done.

The reason for this article is that the other day before I went to work at the arcade, I received a message from Gary Burton, not only a fellow author on this site but the chief technician at the Arkadia Retrocade. Gary asked if I might be able to come in just a little earlier than normal because he had picked up something at an antique store that he felt I would get a kick out of. That turned out to be something of an understatement as he powered up his 1973 Kodak Moviedeck 435 film projector and showed me the 1977 black and white Star Wars reel he had picked up earlier in the week. While possessing no sound, the scenes did provide subtitles so that the viewers could make sense of the highly abridged story of the classic 1977 film.

  • Star Wars - Super 8 - Kenobi - Ken Films - 1977
  • Star Wars - Super 8 - Han Solo - Death Star - 1977 - Ken Films
  • Star Wars - Super 8 - Princess Leia - Death Star - 1977 - Ken Films
  • Star Wars - Super 8 - 1977 - Droids - Ken Films
  • Star Wars - Super 8 - Death Star - Luke - 1977 - Ken Films
  • Star Wars - Super 8 - Kodak Moviedeck 435

In closing out this article, there was one other way to enjoy Star Wars at home back in ’77, and that was thanks to the excellent film cartridges and viewer released by Kenner. However if you would like to see the black and white Ken Films version of Star Wars for yourself, I found this copy that was uploaded on YouTube.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY rockyracoon86.

Toon In: I Haven’t Got A Hat (1935)

Friends, it was about four or possibly five years ago that Gary Burton proposed an idea for a podcast called Toon In. This was back when we were both fortunate enough to be part of the Retroist stable of writers and contributors, including Allison Venezio-Preston as well as Earl Green and many others. Gary’s wonderful idea for the podcast was to have the two of us, with another friend acting as third chair, to tackle everything from classic Looney Tunes animated shorts to Batman: The Animated Series. A show that would provide some of the more interesting history of a particular animated short but also offer a running commentary on the chosen subject itself. We were able to get two episodes of the podcast in the can before we had to put the show on the back-burner due to conflicting recording schedules. Until we are able to get the new podcast off the ground, Gary has been gracious enough over the years to allow me to use the podcast name for my continuing series of articles on animation. One of those shorts I had earmarked for the podcast was this 1935’s Merrie Melodies offering entitled I Haven’t Got a Hat. Which just so happens to be the debut animated short of none other than Porky Pig.

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY Jason Todd.

I Haven’t Got a Hat was originally released to theaters on March 2nd of 1935, although you might be interested to know the titular song was published in sheet music form the previous year, written by Buddy Bernier and Bob Emmerich. However the song was also recorded for the live action Tickets, Please musical short film that, according to the Internet Movie Database, was released six month later and performed by The Three Sizzlers.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Jerry Beck.

Not to besmirch the talents of those trio of singers but I absolutely feel that the version in I Haven’t Got a Hat which was performed by Bernice Hansen is the superior version. While that classic short was the introduction of Porky Pig (Joe Dougherty) it has to be pointed out that the silent characters of Oliver Owl and Beans the Cat are meant to be the stars of the cartoon. Although it would be the Porky who would become the breakout star when all was said and done – appearing just three months later in Into Your Dance.

In closing out this article I want to share that I first saw I Haven’t Got a Hat one early morning while waiting for the school bus on WTBS. The way that Oliver Owl treats Beans the Cat in regards to not sharing his candy always upset me – I can’t say I blame the latter for wanting to get a little revenge.

A huge thanks as always to the indispensable Jerry Beck’s Cartoon Research site!

Sega R360 Arcade Cabinet Located In A Field!

Friends, while my time at the arcade has been scaled back to one day a week due to the economic impact of the pandemic, I can tell you that even being back that single shift has done much to pick up my spirits. In the nearly nine years that the Arkadia Retrocade has been open for business, my input into the success of the arcade has been tiny, for all intents and purpose it has been to act as doorman or a janitor when the call arises – the joy of working at an arcade in this day and age though is still pretty amazing. Obviously that is one of the reasons I created the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast, in addition to giving me an opportunity to discuss my memories of the arcade and video games of my youth. Which is why my co-worker at the arcade, Gary Burton, the chief technician for Arkadia was quick to send me a recent article by Matt Gardner of Forbes. It was revealed that a rather rare Sega arcade cabinet was discovered out in a field north of Belfast, Ireland by Lee Peters, who as it turns out is a member of a Facebook group who specialize in this particular arcade cabinet. The R360 as is hinted at by the name, allowed a Player to sit inside a circular cockpit, buckled up for safety purposes and spin 360 degrees in any direction. In total it is believed that only up to 200 of these cabinets were ever manufactured by Sega starting in 1990 – in fact it apparently was originally listed as a ride instead of an arcade title.

As I understand it, the R360 was initially released in Japan in ’90 before being given an international push the following year. The game that was most commonly associated with the 2,200 pound cabinet was G-LOC: Air Battle, which allowed a Player to experience it as either a game or as something akin to a thrill ride in demo mode. It should not come as any surprise that it was always intended to be run with an attendant on hand who could manually shut the game down if an issue occurred. In fact thanks to this YouTube video that was uploaded back in 2013 you can see the game in action for yourself – although BE WARNED there is just a bit of salty language as the Player starts up the game itself.

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY Daniel Robar.

While I am sad to say that it sounds like the remains of the R360 arcade cabinet that was located in that field can’t be salvaged by Peters, it does appear he is still going to attempt to rescue it. You might be interested to know that Sega released a two-player cabinet known as the R360Z in 2015 featuring a game entitled Transformers: Human Alliance, obviously a tie-in with the Michael Bay Transformers films.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Negatron.

In closing out this article I will have to say that as amazing as the R360 and R360Z seem to be, my motion sickness guarantees that I will never be able to play one if I happen across them at an arcade in the future.

Phosphor Dot Fossils: Arkadia Retrocade

Friends, this new Phosphor Dot Fossils video from Earl Green is rather special to say the very least – as you won’t be experiencing a playthrough for an arcade or classic PC or home console title – but a walkthrough of the Arkadia Retrocade. The arcade that I have had the pleasure of being part of for nearly eight years – this is the location of course that you have heard me talk about on the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast. In fact thanks to Earl, you will be able to see more than a few of the titles that we have tackled in 53 episodes of the show. With the added bonus for of all the fans of Arkadia who are unable to make the trek – to get the opportunity to scope out the second wing of the arcade. And while Earl mentions it himself, it bears stating that with over 150 arcade cabinets there are bound to be a few that have sadly gone down and await repairs. These are machines of course that are in some cases are over 30 years old – that were never designed to be in continuous operation for 6 days a week and upwards of 16 hours a day.

Now I have touched upon it in the Diary podcasts themselves but Shea Mathis, the owner and manager of the Arkadia Retrocade, has poured everything of himself into the place. Every bit of memorabilia that lines the walls from posters to vintage toys are from his collection, many of them from his own childhood. That is half the fun of visiting the arcade – taking the time to stroll through what Shea has pulled off – which when you get down to it is a living time capsule. While obviously COVID-19 forced the arcade to close it’s doors to the public for over five months – the good news is that thanks to a friend of Shea, a fundraiser was set up and allowed the community to come to his aid. A way for the community to show their thanks and appreciation for an individual who is always going out of his way to help others in need. In fact for what it is worth, you sort of get to see Shea in this Phosphor Dot Fossils video – manning the front of the arcade as always.

It should be noted that Earl Green has been an extremely good friend to the arcade – donating a massive portion of his home console collection to Arkadia. So without further ado, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Arkadia Retrocade, courtesy of Earl Green and Phosphor Dot Fossils!

Video and Article Images Provided by Phosphor Dot Fossils.

Here Is To One Year Of The Pop Culture Retrorama Site!

Friends, it would appear that today marks the first anniversary of the Pop Culture Retrorama site – it was one year ago today that with the support of the Retroist – I was able to post the first article to the site.Which was What Is Pop Culture Retrorama, the mission statement that I decided to originally pin to the front page of the site itself. Which to sum up was – this site was intended as a spot to host my various podcasts as well as continuing to enjoy what I had been doing for nearly a decade on the Retroist site – which boils down to the desire to discuss and share my thoughts on those retro and pop culture related subjects I hold dear. For one year now, thanks to those of you who have been kind enough to visit us on a daily basis and even go out of your way to help spread the word on the site through Facebook and Twitter – the Pop Culture Retrorama site has continued to grow.

In addition with this site, I was hoping that my fellow pop culture archaeologists and friends from the Retroist might also join me in this new endeavor. I was not disappointed either as the likes of Allison Venezio-Preston, Gary Burton, IseeRobots, Earl Green, Ashley Thomas, Brett Weiss, Rob O’Hara, DanielXIII, Rob Klein, Justin Salvato, the Retroist, and Rockford Jay have provided articles and more importantly continuous support over this past year. I have always put a lot of faith into the belief that more voices on the Pop Culture Retrorama site only makes it all the more better – and I truly believe that my fellow writers and contributors have only proven that to be true. After all how would we ever know that the likes of Wendy’s training videos, an early appearance television appearance by Steve Martin, Hagar the Horrible merchandise, the upcoming Intellivision Amico, the Marvel Comics Gargoyles series, an 1988’s KOFY TV Country Dance Party Commercial, a meeting with Mister Rogers, and the ’80s television show V would be such incredibly popular subjects?

Of course I would be remiss to not thank two others, for their continued support of the Pop Culture Retrorama site. The first big thanks goes to my beyond patient and understanding Wife – who doesn’t get upset when instead of taking it easy, I feel compelled to write a 1,000 word article on the merits of Xanadu or a 1978 Halloween public service announcement starring Peter Pumpkin. While it is true that I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the help and support of my friends on this site – that goes double for my Wife.

Then of course I must thank you – for taking time out of your busy day and spending a little of it checking out what we have to say and share on this site. I’ve mentioned this on the podcasts themselves but it bears repeating – there are thousands of worthy sites that share all manner of retro articles and information on the latest pop culture news. I feel what the Pop Culture Retrorama site offers above all is an honest look at whatever the subject might be – with the added benefit of not including a heaping dose of snark. Because I have always been pleasantly amazed at just how alike we all are – we may not walk the same path but we can enjoy in sharing the memories of our youth or what we are passionate about.

Here is to the first anniversary of the Pop Culture Retrorama site – thank you again for your continued support – it is very much appreciated, my friends.

Video Provided by RHINO.

Diary Of An Arcade Employee Podcast Ep. 053 – Qbert

Friends, thank you as always for taking the time to join us for a new episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast – although this marks the last show for Season 2. Which is why I hope we are going out on a high note, as we will be discussing Q*bert – that classic 1982 platformer from Gottlieb. As I try to do with every episode of the show, I not only share my first experiences with the subject of the episode, but do my level best to attempt to shine the spotlight on those talented people responsible for bringing the game to life. In the case with Q*bert we have three co-creators to thank, those are Warren Davis, Jeff Lee, as well as David D. Thiel. I actually talked about the last two in the Krull episode of the podcast – but I was able to find an interview with Davis in addition to one with Lee, that when you have a moment you will want to read for yourselves.

Personally I have always thought that Q*bert was and is a pretty tough game – plus the difficulty seems to ramp up rather quickly. Which is why I was surprised to learn that Warren Davis had been working on a sequel to the hit game he co-created – one that managed to raise the bar for difficulty even higher!

Video Provided by Were1974.

I am extremely happy to report that Earl Green was able to join me once again on this episode, in his segment he discusses the many ports of Q*bert to the popular home consoles and computers of the day – plus the staggering amount of merchandise that was created for the character. While Gary Burton wasn’t able to appear on this last show of season 2 – as you will hear for yourself, he had a very good reason to miss submitting a segment. Furthermore I make mention on the episode itself that the Retroist has an amazing personal story about Q*bert that he shared on his very own podcast.

While this season of the Diary podcast is coming to a close, after a brief two week hiatus, I will return with the first episode of Season 3 of the Saturday Frights podcast. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with us over these past 12 weeks and for all of the wonderful comments about the show. Now then, it is time you get hopping on those cubes along with Q*bert – just keep an eye peeled for Coily and his goons!

Remember that for even more pop culture related goodness – make sure to check out Earl’s own website, the Logbook.Com – absolutely one of the best and longest running sites for all your retro needs.

If you have a moment, why not help us reach new listeners? Not only subscribe but leave us a rating and review for the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast – whether that be on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or Spotify?

If you possibly have suggestions for future episodes or want to chat about the current show – you can reach me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com. You can find me on Facebook or Twitter and make sure to check out the Arkadia Retrocade Facebook page. Or for daily updates you can hop on over to the Diary of an Arcade Employee Facebook page – heck -you can see videos and more fun a couple of times a week by checking out my Instagram page!

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Diary Of An Arcade Employee Podcast Ep. 052 – Krull

Friends, thank you as always for taking time out of your busy schedule to listen to a new episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast – this week we are tackling 1983’s Krull, the action adventure twin-stick shooter released by Gottlieb. As is standard with the Diary podcast I have shared my first encounter with Krull – in this case both the film as well as the arcade game tie-in. In addition I have done my best to shine the spotlight on not just the long history of Gottlieb but those responsible for bringing Krull to the arcades back in the day. If you have not have had the pleasure of playing the game yourself – while pretty faithfully following the events of the 1983 film – it is a game that is in all honesty pretty tough. Perhaps not as hard as actually attempting to face off against The Beast, the otherworldly villain of the film… but close!

As I mention in the show itself, I was able to locate an interview with Jeff Lee – courtesy of Good Deal Games. A brief excerpt where the co-creator of 1982’s Q*bert is able to share his contribution to the Krull arcade game – speaking of the former… you will be hearing more about Lee on next week’s episode.

I am afraid that Gary Burton was unable to join us for this episode of the podcast, quite frankly he has his hands full helping to get the Arkadia Retrocade back open. However we do have the esteemed Earl Green back for a new segment, this time talking about the equally difficult Atari 2600 game version of Krull.

I truly do hope that you have enjoyed the second season of the Diary podcast so far – I am extremely grateful for your support of the show, taking time out of your precious schedule to give us a listen. So without further ado I hope you will grab your glaive and then prepare to face The Beast for the fair hand of the Princess Lyssa on the Planet of Krull!

Remember that for even more pop culture related goodness – make sure to check out Earl’s own website, the Logbook.Com – absolutely one of the best and longest running sites for all your retro needs.

If you have a moment, why not help us reach new listeners? Not only subscribe but leave us a rating and review for the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast – whether that be on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or Spotify?

If you possibly have suggestions for future episodes or want to chat about the current show – you can reach me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com. You can find me on Facebook or Twitter and make sure to check out the Arkadia Retrocade Facebook page. Or for daily updates you can hop on over to the Diary of an Arcade Employee Facebook page – heck -you can see videos and more fun a couple of times a week by checking out my Instagram page!

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In 1979 Only Computer Perfection Would Suffice

Friends, over the weekend it appears that Gary Burton, the head technician at the Arkadia Retrocade and frequent guest on the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast, was able to hit some flea markets. I have been fortunate enough to go along with him in the past and it is absolutely uncanny the amount of awesome retro related things he is able to find. Case in point – he picked up a working copy of 1979’s Computer Perfection from Lakeside Games. A company no stranger to various board and electronic games throughout the ’70s – such as Crash Tower, Aggravation, Duell, Avalanche, as well as Intercept. I can tell you that I certainly remember seeing Computer Perfection in the likes of the Sears Wishbook as well as on shelves at the local Walmart – it is a game that I always wanted but never was able to get my hands on. A fact that the Universe appeared to take delight in mocking me with… when Computer Perfection would show up in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century television series as a prop.

While I never was able to add Computer Perfection to my game collection that does not mean I did not have the opportunity to play it. Thanks to my third grade elementary school teacher I was able to enjoy the game before class would begin or if I was unable to participate in recess. Being a somewhat sickly child had it’s advantages in a couple of cases – although perhaps once or twice I was known to feign an illness so I could stay inside and play Computer Perfection.

Video Provided by Bionic Disco.

Now one of the elements that made Computer Perfection so enticing is quite frankly it’s awesome design. That beautiful plastic blue dome when flipped back to reveal the buttons acts as the “On” switch for the game – in total there are four games that can be played on Computer Perfection. The first two are meant for one player to enjoy – those are Countdown and Black Hole – the former is a test to see who can press the ten buttons in proper order in the least amount of time. With Black Hole if you accidentally press the wrong button the game will shut off all of the lights and you will have to attempt to complete the game by memory. The remaining two games are Brain Battle and Light Race – both are for two players – and I will have to admit I never actually played. Although the description on the back of the box reads:

“Brain Battle – Battle to turn all lights either on or off. Computer will keep score.
Light Race- Race to capture as many lights as you can. The ultimate game for fast thinkers.”

Perhaps Gary Burton and I will get a chance to play some Computer Perfection at the arcade in the near future?