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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Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 100 – Gremlins

Friends, although it took much longer than anticipated to deliver the eighteen episodes that made up season three of the Saturday Frights podcast, we have finally reached the end of the line. What better way to celebrate the 100th episode of the show than tackling an important movie that we’ve attempted to cover three or four times in the past. While you might consider it something of a spoiler, I will tell you that the Projectionist and I actually do get to discuss 1984’s Gremlins on this go around. In addition I will give you a heads up that this podcast is far, far longer than the standard show. It just seemed that for the 100th episode of the podcast, a feat that has taken a little over six years to accomplish, that we should attempt to blow the doors off our previous episodes.

Obviously with a film like Gremlins, we are fortunate to have an abundance of information on the making of the movie. In fact there might actually be too much information to share, we ended up cherry picking the trivia we felt would interest you Fright Fans the most. Including a bit of information from the Gremlins reunion for Empire magazine, with Nick De Semlyen chatting with the likes of Joe Dante (The Howling), Zach Galligan (Waxwork), Dick Miller (Chopping Mall), Chris Walas (The Fly), as well as Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London).

As I share in the podcast itself, Gremlins was a movie that I was extremly hyped about seeing, when it was originally released to theaters on June 8th of 1984. As is discussed on the show, the backlash from parent groups over both Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as well as Gremlins, caused none other than Steven Spielberg to help create the PG-13 rating.

There is a lot to cover on this 100th episode of the Saturday Frights podcast, but before we get to show, I thought I should give a huge thank you to some special guests:

Ashley Thomas aka The Nerdy Blogger has her work frequently featured on Fangirlish as well as the Sci-Fi 5 podcast. The daily five minute podcast that provides the best in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror history – produced by Roddenberry Entertainment.

We also are lucky enough to have the esteemed Earl Green join us on this special episode of the podcast. Earl is no stranger to the Sci-Fi 5 podcast himself, as well as running The Log Book.com – one of the longest running sites on the internet focusing on everything pop culture.

Last but certainly not least is Rockford Jay, my co-host on the Saturday Frights Facebook page – who does his level best to help me keep a lid on the madness of the Vault. He manages to share his love of retro horror on a nearly daily basis, and I am sad to add is frequently the target of the Projectionist’s schemes and explosive temper.

Without further ado, please join the Projectionist and myself at the Haunted Drive-In, as we discuss 1984’s Gremlins. As always we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to listen to the show, and hope that you have enjoyed season three of the podcast.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

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Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 098 – Top 5 Horror Soundtracks

Friends, I am afraid that yet again we have managed to deliver a new episode of the Saturday Frights podcast a couple of days later than intended. In all honesty it has to do with the new job and the strain of attempting to find the necessary free time to devote to the show. Having said that though, we do have a very special episode of the podcast for you today, as the Projectionist and I are joined by three friends on this show. Fellow PCR authors who were kind enough to share their top 5 horror soundtrack picks with you, focusing on memorable music from all manner of film and television shows. I am willing to bet there are going to be a few on the lists provided today by our guests that you may not be familiar with!

Joining us to share her top 5 horror soundtracks is none other than Ashley Thomas aka The Nerdy Blogger, whose work is frequently featured on Fangirlish as well as the Sci-Fi 5 podcast. The daily five minute podcast that provides the best in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror history – produced by Roddenberry Entertainment.

We also are lucky enough to have the esteemed Earl Green join us on this special episode of the podcast. Earl is no stranger to the Sci-Fi 5 podcast himself, as well as running The Log Book.com – one of the longest running sites on the internet focusing on everything pop culture.

Last but certainly not least is Rockford Jay, my co-host on the Saturday Frights Facebook page – who does his level best to help me keep a lid on the madness of the Vault. He manages to share his love of retro horror on a nearly daily basis, and I am sad to add is frequently the target of the Projectionist’s schemes and explosive temper.

Without further ado, please join the Projectionist and myself at the Haunted Drive-In, as we discuss the top 5 horror soundtracks on the Saturday Frights podcast. As always we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to listen to the show, and hope that you are enjoying season three of the podcast so far.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

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Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 089 – Shadow In The Cloud

Friends, I think it will speak volumes that for this brand new episode of the Saturday Frights podcast – the Projectionist and I have decided to discuss Shadow in the Cloud. The World War II action/horror film that was just released on VOD and in select theaters just five days ago – starring Chloë Grace Moretz. Although I make a point of mentioning it in the show itself – this particular podcast is kind of a throwback to the original episodes of the show, in that we do not go fully into spoiler territory. It seemed like the most logical choice as many of you will not have had the opportunity to catch Shadow in the Cloud yet. We stick to mostly a brief overview of the film, touching on only that which you could see in the trailer itself. Which means that this episode has a shorter running time that our standard show – we hope though that you will be entertained nonetheless.

In addition the Projectionist has managed to bring along a few audio treats for your listening pleasure – to say nothing of the fact that he fills us in on the history of gremlins. I manage to even share a story from my Grandfather who served during World War II as well as the Korean War – he had some run-ins with more than a few pilots who swore they saw a Gremlin on their plane.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

We sincerely hope you are enjoying the new season of the show – if you have friends or family that are fans of horror – let them know about the podcast. HAPY NEW YEAR!

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The Top 5 Things We Liked In 2020

Friends, we are on the cusp of 2020 ending and 2021 beginning and I am sure that for many of you this year could not end quick enough. From the obvious pandemic, natural disasters, to an overwhelming and somewhat historic divisions in the ideology of people in regards to matters of importance as fundamental human rights, politics, or even if The Mandalorian is setting the proper example with how it treats imaginary animals. Of course, I have to add that as this site is focused on all things pop culture as well as retro related, 2020 has given me an absolute bellyful of writing remembrances of the many talented entertainers and people of note that we have lost throughout the year. However, with that rather heavy intro out of the way, it is too easy to focus on the negative – there were some nuggets of awesomeness in 2020 to be sure. Which is why a few of my fellow Pop Culture Retrorama Colleagues were kind enough to get together and share with you the Top 5 things we liked in 2020.

First up we have Ashley Thomas aka The Nerdy Blogger:

  1. Star Trek – I have been a Star Trek fan since I was introduced to the franchise in 2009 via the J. J. Abrams reboot. An unusual introduction, I know, but I did go back and watch every Star Trek film and every single episode of every series over the course of the next 6 years. I’ve also made a habit of watching the H&I channel’s #AllStarTrek block nearly every evening while I prepare for the next day and try to relax a bit before bed.

To say that I love Star Trek might be an understatement.

2020 reignited my love for the franchise. We had new Star Trek happening every week for about 3/4 of the year this year. Picard, Lower Decks, and Discovery are all very different, but each is a fantastic series in its own right. Star Trek has a common thread of hope throughout every series, and that’s been something I think we all have desperately needed this year.

  1. Vinyl! – Early this year, my husband and I made the investment in a good quality record player, replacing the one we purchased at the beginning of our marriage that had bit the dust a few years ago. This purchase has sparked the purchase of much vinyl this year, both new and old. My most fun retro find of 2020 is my copy of The Black Hole score. I didn’t think anything of it at the time of purchase, but apparently, my copy was once owned by PM Magazine.
USED WITH PERMISSION BY ASHLEY THOMAS
  1. Comic Books! – I’ve been a comics fan for nearly my entire life. I’ve probably bought more comics this year than ever before, again, both new and old. I’ve been covering the 1995 Marvel Gargoyles series here at the PCR and between cross-state searches by me and my best friend in my hometown in Tennessee, we completed my collection of the series. The thrill of the hunt for these books has been a lot of fun, and it’s been a great reminder of why I love comics so much. I feel like a kid again reading these stories, but they also remind me of what sparked my deep and abiding love of myth, legend, fantasy, and science fiction in the first place–Gargoyles.
  2. The Mandalorian – I think it’s safe to say that we all love Star Wars here at the PCR and The Mandalorian is perhaps the most universally loved Star Wars property since the original trilogy. What I especially loved about The Mandalorian this year was seeing all the powerful women on my screen. I wrote more extensively about this in my review of the season finale on Fangirlish (don’t read ahead if you don’t want to be spoiled), but that episode had 4 different kinds of women who are powerful in their own right show up and steamroll a pack of Stormtroopers like it’s nothing. As an adult, I appreciate what Leia did to change how women were represented in Science Fiction, but as a kid, I didn’t want to be a commander like her. I wanted to be in the middle of the fray, shoulder to shoulder with Luke and Han, taking out Stormtroopers. I got my dream fulfilled in the finale of The Mandalorian and I will always be grateful for that.
  3. The Pop Culture Retrorama – I hope it’s not too cheesy to say that I have deeply enjoyed being part of The Pop Culture Retrorama team this year. I am so grateful that I’ve gotten to contribute to the site, both via the blog and podcast. It’s brought me a lot of joy to have gotten to know my fellow contributors here at the PCR better this year and to be among such excellent cohorts at one of the most positive sites on the internet. We could all use a bit more positivity, even during the best of times, but no more now than in 2020. Special thanks go to Vic for being our fearless leader and for his tireless efforts to make this site the great place that it is.

Next is none other than Rockford Jay, my esteemed co-editor of the Saturday Frights Facebook page:

(5) BIG BIG BLU-RAY SALES
Deep discount summer and fall sales by the good folks at Kino Lorber, Scream Factory, Criterion, Warner Archive, and others gave me plenty viewing to pass the empty lockdown hours.

(4) NOVELTY T-SHIRTS GALORE
From Kolchak’s Independent News Service to Jim Rockford’s Yellow Pages ad, to the Power Records logo and Heroes World catalogue art, deep dive nerd shirts made lounging around the house a colorful affair.

(3) CUSTOM NERD VENTURES
A desktop designed paper Mego-sized Enterprise bridge playset from Cardboard Agitprop? Three-Dee printed Super Powers action figures from Emilio Zee? Toy-Ventures Magazine from the good people at PlaidStallions? Great bespoke geek projects helped fill my empty hours!

(2) REDISCOVERING LOCAL EATERIES
I made a point to eat local and spend local to do my part to help our struggling small businesses and restaurants, and I was all the fatter for it! Chili cheese fries from Joe’s Chicken Shack! Roast beef splits from Pine Mountain Grill! Slaw dogs from Patriot’s Dairy Bar! Daily specials from France’s Diner, the Circle T, and the Isom Double Kwik! I ate so much, I got the shakes! And I got the fries too!

(1) BABY YODA EASES THE PAIN!
Need I say more?

Allison Venezio-Preston is up next:

1) I fell in love with watching 1980s and 1990s corporate training videos, learning the policies and procedures of companies that may or may not be still in business as we close out 2020. The idea of watching an employee have to act like the worst employee ever, and how companies handle that type of employee behavior tends to yield some hilariously awkward results.

2) Netflix did a ten-episode series based on The Baby-Sitters Club. I know it was done 30 years ago for HBO, but this series took the first eight books (the original worked because it was thirteen original stories), and I believe one of the Super Specials as a two-parter, and turned them into half-hour episodes, modernizing some of the elements of each episode, while sticking with the main plot of each story. I watched the series over the course of a week while walking on the treadmill in the morning, and I felt it to be a faithful adaptation, and as well acted as you can expect a television series based on a series of books aimed at preteen girls could possibly be.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Netflix Futures.

3) Since conventions were a no-go this year (we would have attended at least one, under normal circumstances), convention companies taking to a virtual format has allowed me to see celebrities I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. I looked up Galaxy Con’s virtual panel offerings and put the ones that interested me on my calendar so I could watch them. My favorite, by far, was Jodi Benson from The Little Mermaid, especially when she sang “Part of Your World” at the conclusion of her panel. I had goosebumps and tears like you wouldn’t believe listening to her beautiful voice, the song of a precocious teenager, longing for a life beyond the one she already knows. Thirty years ago, Ariel was my first Disney Princess, and listening to her sing reminded me of many happy hours listening to the soundtrack in my cassette player.

4) Piggybacking on the virtual convention panels, in June, I made a $15 donation to the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, California, and was able to watch a one-hour isolation concert featuring Kenny Loggins. I’ve talked about my love of his music plenty of times in the past, and my husband, my mom, and myself have been to two of his concerts. The concert was short, sweet, and to the point, but it felt personal. My husband and I felt like we had front row seats – we sang along, made popcorn, and took “concert selfies.”

5) Getting recognition from my peers for my writing is something I always appreciate, and I consider my writer’s circle to be a tight-knit one. Having the opportunity to work on the Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast, which allows me to talk about nostalgia, while working with an amazing group of fellow writers, has been one of the best parts of this crazy year. I also had the opportunity to talk nostalgia and my craft with Mark from VHS Rewind! earlier this year, which was exciting.

I’m not going to lie, this hasn’t been the easiest year, with furloughs, quarantines, and tragic losses, but being able to escape and “look back,” even for a little while, helps make the present a little easier to deal with. Here’s to 2021, and perhaps a little more…calmness?

In all honesty, my fellow Pop Culture Retrorama Colleagues touched upon every single thing that I liked in 2020 – from The Mandalorian and Star Trek to getting takeout food at local restaurants. Although I will have to add that I am so very grateful that the Arkadia Retrocade has been able to keep it’s doors open through the pandemic – I might not be part of the arcade at the present – but just knowing that it continues to thrill the Players that visit has done much to lift my spirits. The same is true for Pinpoint, the pinball bar in my neck of the woods – as I have mentioned on the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast – owned and operated by Bo Counts who was one of the original technicians at the arcade. I do not venture out very much but it felt good to experience a little normalcy in 2020, stopping by for just a few minutes and enjoying one of my favorite energy drinks and pinball tables.

That also is true with a local business that is just two doors down from Pinpoint – the hallowed Block Street Records. Not to sound like a broken record – ahem – but I look forward to popping in once a month and just browsing all of the awesome vinyl that is available – although it might not shock you to learn that I frequently pick up a soundtrack or children’s record during my visits.

Another local business that made 2020 more bearable is Rock Bottom Books – the local comic shop that I have been visiting for the past 34 years. There is something pretty magical when the owner knows you well enough to successfully predict 99.99% of the time what books you are going to want in your pull list, right?

Last but not least though and at the top of the list of my Top 5 Things I liked in 2020 – is you. We simply could not do this without your continued support of the site and the various podcasts – so from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. Have a very safe and Happy New Year!

In closing out this article I obviously want to thank my fellow PCR writers, this site would not be half as much fun without their contributions. Some like Earl Green, Ashley Thomas, Allison Venezio-Preston, and Rockford Jay join me on the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast. However there is also Brett Weiss, Gary Burton, Rob O’Hara, I See Robots, Javier Ojst, and Daniel XIII that are very much part of the Pop Culture Retrorama family and help make this site special.

Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast Ep. 016 – Holiday Special II

Friends, the Holidays are upon us once again and my fellow Pop Culture Retrorama contributors felt that it was the perfect time to get together and put out a second Holiday Special. As I mention on the show itself, if 2020 had not thrown a monkey wrench into my podcasting plans, this second Holiday Special would have in fact been the start of the second season of the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast. At the very least we hope that this new episode of PCR will help a little in getting you into the Holiday Spirit – I am not ashamed to admit that being joined by Allison, Ashley, Earl, and Rockford – sharing thoughts and memories of some of our own favorite television Holiday Specials has really brightened my own Holidays. For what it might be worth, I start off the podcast with some information on the beloved Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town – which just ten days ago celebrated it’s 50th anniversary!

In addition on this second Holiday Special we have Allison Venezio-Preston, who talks about a memorable episode of The Hogan Family – surprisingly for a sitcom of the time – it was the only Holiday themed episode.

Earl Green joins us once again to discuss the recently released The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special – as well as giving you a glimpse at just how very much he appreciates Porgs!

Ashley Thomas aka The Nerdy Blogger of Fangirlish – talks about her love of A Disney Channel Christmas!!!! – which originally was broadcast back in 1983. This is a special that I am very sad to say that I missed, as we were not lucky enough to have The Disney Channel at that time.

Last but certainly not least is the esteemed Rockford Jay – considering he helps keep a lid on the madness over at the Haunted Drive-In, it might not shock you to learn that he has decided to discuss a classic episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. One that just so happens to take place during the Holidays… and features a Werewolf on a cruise ship!

Grab your favorite Holiday snack and beverage and join us for the second Holiday Special of the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast. And from all of us here at PCR – we wish you one and all – a very safe and happy Holidays!

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

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Do You Remember The ’80s TV Show Puttin’ On The Hits?

Friends, a couple of days ago as I was about to call it a day, Rockford Jay popped in for a brief chat. During our conversation he inquired if I remembered a television show called Puttin’ on the Hits – a syndicated music and variety program that was attempting to tap into the popularity of MTV at the time. In my neck of the woods when Puttin’ on the Hits was first broadcast on September 20th of 1984 – I was barely familiar with MTV – thanks to catching the iconic music video for “Thriller” at a neighbors’ house.

Puttin’ on the Hits was the brainchild of William “Randy” Wood – who apparently in 1982 regularly hosted lip-syncing competitions that were so popular he felt that they needed a bigger venue. Thanks to the likes of Dick Clark (American Bandstand) as well as Chris Bearde (Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In) acting as producers, in addition to Richard A. Clark – yes, a son of the legendary Dick Clark – taping began at Universal City Studios in Hollywood, California.

The great news is while I might not have ever experienced Puttin’on the Hits – Rockford was more than kind to share his memories of the TV series:

Despite living in the middle of nowhere, my community had a pretty hip and forward thinking cable company. When it debuted nearly forty years ago, the brand new MTV was quickly added to the roster of basic cable channels received in my household, on channel 21. My sisters and I were at the ages when we would have begun to start paying attention to music, and MTV was music overload, pumped into our home via coaxial cable 24 hours a day and in stereo. We were avid viewers, without too much parental discouragement, and we spent many rainy weekend days parked in front of the TV, catching our favorites artists, songs, and videos in the regular rotation.

So in 1985, we were primed and ready for a new weekly show that road the waves of music television into syndication, in the form of Puttin’ on the Hits – an early take on reality TV that combined pop music, MTV imagery, and young energetic performers in a competitive format, all brought to use courtesy of the superstation WGN channel 9. Contestants would lip sync to a song in full costume before a studio audience, capturing as much of the character and style of the song or the original artist – or both – as possible, competing for a cash prize and judged by a panel of celebrities. Well, let’s say “celebrities”.

If we were home in early Saturday evenings, my sisters and I would never miss an episode. Would we hear some of our favorite songs? Would the contestants be good? Would the performances be close to what we had watched on MTV or would a competitor put a fun spin on their material? Whatever the show had to offer, we were ready to cheer on our favorites.

Video and Article Image Provided by Magnetic Tape Head.

In closing out this article, do any of you have any fond memories of Puttin’ on the Hits?

Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast Ep. 015 – Halloween Special II

Friends, as Halloween is nearly upon us, my fellow PCR contributors felt that it might not be such a bad idea to get together and produce our second Halloween Special for the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast. As the Projectionist and myself had no plans for such a special for the Saturday Frights podcast – this sounded like an excellent idea. Besides giving those of us on the site an opportunity to help you get into the spirit of the Season – this second Holiday Special when all is said and done focuses on a lot of spooky and Halloween themed television shows and specials. For example, Rockford Jay not only shares his memories of a time that his Family threw an impressive Halloween party – but catching Trick or Treat – the pilot episode for the Tales from the Darkside series.

In addition on this second Halloween Special we have Ashley Thomas aka The Nerdy Blogger of Fangirlish – who shares her love for the 1993 animated adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree. A Holiday treat that I have shared my love for many times in the past.

Allison Venezio-Preston joins us once again, this time to talk about an episode of Quantum Leap, one that surprisingly wasn’t released in time for Halloween back in the day. But after hearing her segment, I think you will agree that it is a perfect episode to watch during the Season.

Earl Green shares his thoughts on the recently released Doctor Who: Fury From the Deep – a formerly lost episode during the Patrick Troughton era of the television show. A story that involves the Doctor and his companions getting mixed up in an investigation of an odd sort of seaweed – one capable of both mind control and even poisoning it’s victims.

As for myself, I talk a little about Walt Disney’s The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, the 1963 adaptation featuring Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner) as the Reverend Dr. Christopher Syn aka the Scarecrow. The character who first appeared in the 1915 book entitled Dr. Syn: A Tale of Romney Marsh by Russell Thorndike.

While the official release of the second season of the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast is still a month or so away – we hope you are enjoying the new direction of the show so far. Without further ado, have a safe and Happy Halloween as you listen to our second Halloween Special.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

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Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 086 – Cool Air

Friends, although this latest episode of the Saturday Frights podcast was sadly delayed for three weeks – a brand new podcast has been uploaded for your listening pleasure – tackling a 1971 episode of Night Gallery, an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cool Air. Although we mention it on the show itself, this is actually the second episode of Night Gallery that featured an adaptation of Lovecraft’s work – however Cool Air greatly benefits from a teleplay by none other than Rod Serling. As always the Projectionist and myself do our level best to shine the spotlight on those in front of and behind the camera – although with this memorable 1971 Night Gallery segment – besides the adaptation by Serling – another reason it excelled is that it was directed by none other than Jeannot Szwarc (Jaws 2, Somewhere in Time). Which would prove fitting as unlike the original story by Lovecraft – this version of Cool Air is very much a tragic romance.

If you can watch Somewhere in Time without bawling… you are stronger than I am!

While this episode is a tad shorter than the previous podcasts so far for season three – we did benefit greatly from information found in Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour by both Scott Skelton as well as Jim Benson. If you are a fan of the classic television series, you truly owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of their book – you can find it available on Amazon (Although you might want to skip that hardcover version).

The Projectionist has brought along a few audio treats for this show, and we are joined once again by Rockford Jay – who shares his own memories of seeing Cool Air. I feel that we provide a full synopsis for this episode, while not giving you the beat by beat rundown as we have been known to do in the past.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

We hope you are enjoying this third season of the Saturday Frights podcast – so before you put in a call for 300 pounds of ice for your bathroom – we hope you will take a moment and listen to our discussion of Night Gallery’s Cool Air.

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Halloween Decorations – Keeping The Faith

Growing up in a small town in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, I enjoyed Halloween the way any kid did – picking out and wearing a costume, going trick ‘r treating and getting a variety of candy, having a change of pace at school with classroom decorations and home room Halloween parties during the last hour of the day with passed out treats from home placed gently on a paper towel on your desk, and the general feeling that Halloween was a season that was geared especially at kids. But beyond that, it didn’t have any more or less of a special place in my life or in my memory. It was a part of life to be taken totally for granted, and that’s exactly what I did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yDc63h9AnU
Video Provided by Vintage Throwback Classics.

This started to change when I became an adult – when I had my own home and was in charge of my own Halloween season and festivities, when I was the one who was passing out treats to a steady stream of costumed visitors from 5 to 8 pm on whatever night the local municipality designated as “Trick-or-Treat Night”. I started noticing how much had changed from what I remembered. A lot of the same candy was around – Pixie Stix and Ring Pops and Dum Dums – but some particularly memorable things weren’t, like Mr. Bones, the bone-shaped candies that came in a plastic coffin that you could assemble into something resembling a skeleton before you ate it. Why would something that wonderful pass out of circulation? What happened to Ben Cooper and Collegeville boxed costumes with plastic smocks and styrene masks with the string that went around the back of your head? What of Scar Stuff? Fake Vampire Blood? Wax lips and fangs? Plastic spider rings and vampire teeth? Haunted house records with the same sound effects on every release? Crepe paper pumpkins and big blow mold light-up figures for the front lawn? All these mainstays of my childhood Halloweens were missing when I started looking to put together Halloween the way I wanted.

That realization pretty well sparked a love for the Halloween season in me as an adult that I never felt as a child. I understood all these things I remembered with affection were fading into a fuzzily remembered past, and I determined that I was going to try to give myself a fun, colorful Halloween season every October, whether anybody else appreciated it or not. Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, witches, black cats, hoot owls, and skeletons became the anchors of my style. I tracked down paper decorations that, while not vintage themselves, easily brought to mind a retro style that I was going for. I found a regional chain of department stores that still sold old fashioned blow mold outdoor decorations, and I bought one of everything they had before they went out of business for good a couple of years ago. I loaded up on vintage Halloween sounds and songs from the “Monster Mash” era of spooky novelty songs. And I allowed myself one indulgence of the “inflatable era” of modern decorations – Sam, the mischievous embodiment of the spirit of Trick ‘r Treat itself. All of this thrown together in a tacky, colorful display that makes me happy. Every year, there are fewer and fewer kids coming to my front porch with an enthusiastic “trick or treat” on their lips, but there’s always one who says “Wow” or “Now THIS is what Halloween is supposed to look like”, and I feel like I’ve done something right to perpetuate a little of the Halloweens I remember.