Celebrity Guests

TV shows always had “celebrity guests”.  Usually, these guests were actors from other shows or movies.  Sometimes, though, they were celebrities from other arenas, such as singers.  I don’t know if these singers came on these shows as cross promotions (trying to promote their music on TV) or for some other reason.  I just know that I distinctly remember a few of them.

 

1. Stacey Q on Facts of Life.  I can’t remember if this song was hot before, after, or at the same time Stacey Q was on this show, but I do remember being impressed.

2. Ray Parker Jr. on Give Me A Break.  I thought they were really stretching on this one.  They kept coming up with reasons for Ray Parker Jr to ask, “Who you gonna call?”, to which the Give Me A Break girls screamed, “Ghostbusters!”

3. Laura Branigan on Automan.  I always associate Laura  Branigan with Knight Rider because her song “Creatures of the Night” was used in an episode.  She herself, though, was once on Automan.  Automan got to play guitar behind her as she sang.  I never wanted to be Automan so much in all my life.

Don’t forget to check out my book TV In My Time for more of my 80s TV memories!

Vending Machine Madness

Christopher Tupa, the artist who did the covers for ANESthetizedPlaythings of the Past, and TV In My Time, has just put out a book called Vending Machine Madness.  This book contains paintings of various vending machine toys Tupa has collected over the years.  He’s giving the book away for free on his site.  You can get it here.   If the free pdf version doesn’t work for you and you’d like a Kindle file, contact me and I’ll send you one.  Tupa is truly a gifted artist.  I can’t imagine how he can do what he does nor how he can do it as prolifically as he does.  The book is a lot of fun to look at, and you can’t beat the price, so check it out!

Movies That Made Their Way To TV

In TV In My Time, I talked about a couple shows based on movies: M*A*S*H (which I didn’t know was based on a movie until I was in high school), Blue ThunderFerris Bueller, StarmanFriday the 13th: The Series, and the animated Rambo, as well as a few others.  Here are a few others that I again forgot to mention in the book.

Fame

I have very little memory of this one, but I know I saw it a couple times when I was quite young.

Private Benjamin

Again, I’m not sure I knew this was based on a movie at the time.  The only episode of this show I remember seeing was the one in which Private Benjamin had some sort of trouble in the shower and had to march back to her barracks nude.

Beetlejuice

An animated entry.  I saw several episodes of this before I saw the film it was based on.

Steel Magnolias

The girls in my circle of friends forced this film on us guys, and I was moved enough by it that I checked out the first episode of this show.

Droids and Ewoks

These didn’t make the book because I didn’t watch them much, but I was familiar enough with Ewoks that I can still sing the theme song today.

Alien Nation

I didn’t see the movie or the show for quite some time, but they were always a part of what I call that “vast TV landscape”.

Freddy’s Nightmares

Was real interested in this one until I discovered it was basically The Twilight Zone hosted by Freddy Krueger.  Later episodes did tie into the NOES mythos.

There were several others both before and after the playroom era that I have seen (my favorite being My Big Fat Greek Life).  A list can be found on Wikipedia.

 

Colecovision Kickstarter

I never played Colecovision. I never even saw one. But I still love what these guys are doing. They are making a fully-licensed Colecovision app. I’m imagining that this will be like the Atari and Activision apps that contain a collection of the best games. This is another chance at that “portable nostalgia” idea I like so much, so I chipped in my $10, which will get me a free copy of the app once it’s made. Maybe you’d like to do the same. Check them out at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rantmediagames/colecovision

Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters

I was just browsing through Crackle (which means I am really, really at a loss for entertainment) when I came across a documentary I had never heard of before: Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters.

Being a lover of documentaries on weird subjects as well as video games, I decided to give it a watch. As the title indicates, it is about a group of Tetris masters who are gathered together to determine which is the world master. Interestingly enough, the version of Tetris they choose to play is the NES version. I prefer the Game Boy myself. I just think Tetris is built for the Game Boy. But the NES version was a good choice.


Overall, the movie is pretty much as good as The King of Kong and Chasing Ghosts. There are lots of interesting side stories, such as the return of a Nintendo World’s Champion player and his claims to be able to get to level 30 (in NES Tetris, level 29 is considered a kill screen because the pieces fall so fast). Even more interesting is that this guy has his NES standing on its side, something I would never have considered doing in the original NES area and wouldn’t really consider doing today! Check out the website, which is selling the movie for $10, or hit it up on Crackle.