Friday, April 14, 2017


You've probably noticed (or at least I've noticed) that I haven't been posting on here as much...not as much as ideally I'd like to, anyway. To be honest, I've kind of just not felt like writing about retro topics as much these days. Traffic has taken a dip (and not surprising, ad revenue has, too.) As you know I haven't done much with the YouTube channel lately, either. Just haven't had the motivation nor the time (for my other blog, the subject matter is completely different, and making a video post for that site is just a lot easier; I just speak about whatever's on my mind...so maybe I should just do the same for GR.)

But the other reason is, I've just been busy with other forms of writing. I got laid off in August and I recently decided (after much soul searching, meditation, and letting go of fear) that I really want to make a career out of it. (It only took the universe five times to get the message through to me that marketing is not where my heart truly belongs.) I still don't know where this will ultimately lead me...perhaps working for a local magazine. I do know one thing: I am so happy right now.

I realized that last year at this time, I was working in that new marketing job...and I was not happy. I was reporting to the CEO, who turned out to be the biggest a-hole and egomaniac I've ever worked for in my entire career. I was also still getting over a broken heart, and there were many afternoons I cried while driving home. I remember thinking that profound saying, "is this all there is?" more than once. After saying to myself so many times during last summer, "this isn't the job I had in mind" the universe did me another favor, and booted it from my existence. I actually think now it was one of the best things to happen to me.

These days I'm still working the freelance gig I had before getting the full-time job, but I've also been doing work for a woman that I actually met through that last company (she got shafted by them, too.) She runs her own business and gave me a nice chunk of online content to work on, and recently reached out to me again for some additional work. A reader that reads both my blogs also told me about a travel website that needed new writers; I'm still waiting to hear back to find out if the test assignment I submitted has been accepted (if it is, they'll pay me for it and will give me more)...more good fodder for a portfolio.

I'm in the middle of an online course I bought after being laid off, on how to break into freelance writing. I have so many topic ideas for magazines and content websites and really need to get my rear into gear in that area.

Long story short, I'm back in the same "happy place" that I was two years ago. Yes, it took me two years to get through some personal setbacks and find my center again, but I'm back, baby! And I'm grateful.

Back to Go Retro...it's not going away. I'd never do that, to my readers or to myself! But it IS going to have to get a new layout soon and I really think I need to take a brief break from posting just to recharge the inspiration in this area. The current template is a big improvement over the last one, but it's getting stale now and the bug that keeps posting an entire post on the home page is getting on my nerves. The site needs a new logo, too. Ideally I want to see it look like a real site with a nice image slider up top to highlight the most recent posts.

So if you come on here and some things look jumbled/out of place, I'll be tweaking and moving things around, I'm sure.

Stay tuned...thank you as always for reading....and I hope everyone enjoys their Easter or Passover!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017


The template I use screwed up this post again, posting the entire thing on the home page. Here's the link to leave a comment: http://www.goretro.com/2017/04/sharing-some-much-overdue-love-for.html

Sharing Some Much Overdue Love for the Bobby Darin Biopic "Beyond the Sea"

Recently I was visiting the Facebook page of a Bobby Darin fan group I follow and was surprised to see some negative comments being tossed around about the only movie made about Darin's life, Beyond the Sea. The guy that started the thread asked if Kevin Spacey (who starred in, directed, and produced the film) was drunk when he wrote the script (his fury was aimed at a scene where Darin is giving a radio interview about his support for Bobby Kennedy and drops the f-bomb, which he claimed never would have happened on AM radio in the 1960s.) Others chimed in by saying they knew other Darin fans that were infuriated by the film and were personally glad they never saw it.

To all of these Debbie downers, I have one thing to say: please remove the stick out of your anus.

I've been wanting to post a review of sorts of Beyond the Sea here on Go Retro for years now but other topics always got in the way. But now seems as good a time as ever to share a little love for the movie and explain why I personally feel it deserves a little more respect, particularly from my fellow Darin fans.

Biopics are a tricky thing to pull off. There have been some that are good, some that are bad (read the review I did last year about the time Don Johnson played Elvis), and some that are just plain ugly. I'd put Beyond the Sea in the good category and I'll even go a step further: it should be in the feel good category as well, because that's exactly how I felt by the time the end credits rolled. Reading the unfair barbs thrown at it on the Facebook group also made me nostalgic for clips of the movie, and now I feel like dusting off my DVD copy and watching it in its entirety again. When compared to the gloomy story lines and never-ending superhero action flicks Hollywood has been giving us in recent years, Beyond the Sea is a breath of fresh air, even if you're not a Darin fan.


Let me also say first and foremost that if it hadn't been for Kevin Spacey and this movie, I'm not sure I would have become the huge Bobby Darin fan that I am. I had a crush on Spacey back in day and followed his career news pretty faithfully for a while. When I learned about the Darin movie project, my knowledge of the "Mack the Knife" singer was very limited. I knew, of course, most of his hits -- "Splish Splash", "Dream Lover" and "Beyond the Sea" to name a few, but I had no inkling of the depth of his career and all that he accomplished. Something that I made a point of doing (other than researching Darin and his life online) was to read the biography that Dodd Darin -- Bobby's son with Sandra Dee -- co-wrote about his parents, "Dream Lovers: the Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee" (an excellent read, by the way, particularly for anyone enamored with the music, movies, and social changes of the mid-century period.)

That way, I wanted to be prepared when Beyond the Sea hit theaters in 2004; I'd know what was truth, what was made up, and what got overlooked in Spacey's film.

I'm the first to admit that it's not a perfect movie. It did gloss over or omit entirely some parts of Darin's life (which I'll get to in a moment.) Ideally, I've always felt that the only way a movie could accurately capture everything about Darin would be in a two-part miniseries format. Also, one of the biggest criticisms about Beyond the Sea was Spacey's age at the time he made the movie, considering that Darin was in his early 20s when his career took off (there's a scene early on that addresses this somewhat awkward detail.) But for the most part, it seemed nothing but sincere to me. Critics panned his efforts as a vanity project, but I can tell you from watching numerous interviews as the movie was about to be released that Spacey is a huge Darin fan and had nothing but the upmost respect for the entertainer's legacy and his family. Besides, Dodd Darin was very pleased with the end result. Here's what he said to the press after the movie was released:

"I'm very happy with the way the film turned out. Kevin loves my dad, and he wanted to do a tribute. My mother [who never remarried after her split from Darin] was speechless for a while after she saw it. It was emotional for her. There was a lot of truth and grit. But she couldn't be happier."

Maybe this is why some Darin fans are infuriated, because his son gave it his blessings? Who knows. Or maybe it's because Spacey took a little more creative approach to telling the entertainer's life story.

The movie begins with Darin, as an adult, actually filming a scene for a movie about his life (a biopic within a biopic) where he's singing "Mack the Knife" but then gets annoyed with his band's playing (which Darin, a perfectionist, was known to do in real life.) He then encounters the kid that will be portraying him as a child and (while having conversations with his "younger self") starts to tell his life story. Oddly enough, the kid was my major complaint about this movie; while I understand Spacey was looking for a little dynamo that could dance, it's pretty obvious that his choice for young Bobby doesn't have a drop of Italian blood in his body...not that it really matters.

The plot then focuses on Darin's childhood (and the pivotal moment where, while suffering from rheumatic fever, he overhears the doctor telling his grandmother Polly that even with the best of care he won't live past teen hood), his drive and ambition, his rise to fame, his "hippie" period where he chucked it all and found his bearings while camping out in Big Sur, and his relationship with Sandra Dee. In fact, the movie has him with Dee up until the end, ignoring the fact that they divorced in 1967 (after Darin became convinced that Dee was having an affair with her co-star, Bill Bixby, from a movie they were making together at the time) and that Darin got remarried in the early '70s to Andrea Yeager. But in all fairness--and how Spacey defends his script--the two never fell out of love with each other, which Dodd Darin talks about in his book. Darin would continue to spend nights over Sandy's house after they divorced, and Dee never even dated anyone else after their marriage ended.

What was missing, and what I wished had been included, is the following:

*His relationship with Connie Francis, his first true love before he met Sandra Dee. Francis's father didn't approve of Darin for some reason and wanted his daughter to focus on her career. He chased after Darin with a gun after he found out the couple had made plans to elope. Francis's autobiography is due to be released later this year, and she recently told People magazine that none of her husbands ever measured up to Darin; he was the love of her life.

*The fact that Darin hosted his own variety show on NBC in the early '70s, called The Bobby Darin Amusement Company.

*The factoids that Darin was a chess whiz and a member of Mensa.

*His last real hit "If I Were a Carpenter" isn't performed in the movie.

But, when the running time is only two hours there's only so much you can include, and these are minor grievances. I heard there were some scenes showing Darin's natural prowess for playing various music instruments that ended up on the cutting room floor (and sadly, were not included an extras on the DVD release.)

Now, for some of the details I was happy to see included...

*The yellow suit that Darin wears when he romances Sandra Dee on the set of Come September. Some say the suit was more of a faded yellow, but I believe Dee herself said it was "canary."

*Dee's mother's disdain at her daughter choosing Darin for a husband (the movie includes the factual line that she should have chosen Rock Hudson instead.)

*Dee's alcoholism leading to rifts in the marriage, although her anorexia and molestation at the hands of her stepfather isn't addressed. The scene where the newlyweds are preparing to sleep together for the first time sort of hints at this, as Dee panics at the prospect of actually having to have sex with her new husband. This leads to a slightly ridiculous scene where Darin appears with a sword and lays it on the bed in between them, assuring her that he won't cross the sword unless she gives him permission to do so.

*Darin's affinity for social justice and civil rights; there's a scene where he insists a nightclub owner treat a black employee with greater respect or he'll start a sit-in.

*Darin's nomination for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Captain Newman, MD (although I doubt he threw a temper tantrum at home after losing, as depicted in the film.)

The odd scene in question. But isn't the Darins' mid-century home fantastic?
The supporting cast that Spacey chose for this movie were stellar picks. You have the angelic Kate Bosworth playing Sandra Dee (even though her voice isn't as distinctive as Dee's was), John Goodman playing Darin's manager Steve Blauner, Brenda Blethyn as Polly Cassotto (Darin's grandmother, originally thought to be his mother), Bob Hoskins as Charlie Cassotto Maffia (uncle Charlie as he was known, who turned out to be Darin's stepfather) and Caroline Aaron as Nina Cassotto Maffia...the woman that Darin grew up believing was his sister, but actually turned out to be his mother. (Nina got pregnant with Darin while a teenager and she and Polly agreed to raise him as Polly's child during a time when unwed mothers and their kids were looked down upon.)

Nina is my favorite supporting character in this movie. As Darin's mother-in-secret, she tries to hide her heartache about the family scandal, particularly as she witnesses her son's rise to fame, unable to say anything. When Darin introduces his Copacabana audience to his wife instead of Nina, it breaks her heart.

I am glad that the movie did not omit the pivotal life event when Darin finally learned the truth about his parents. This shock was captured beautifully in this scene and I admit it make me choke up a bit the first time I saw the movie.  And the snippet of Rolling Stones playing in the background at one point is no accident; Darin was a huge Stones fan.



As to be expected, the movie is chockfull of musical performances and a bit of dancing--Spacey intended it to be reminiscent of a colorful MGM musical. A lot of people had no inkling of Spacey's singing chops until this movie hit the screens. I can't quite say that his voice is exactly the same as Darin's, but he's very smooth on screen and in the accompanying soundtrack, and as both he and Darin are master impersonators, he shows hints of this skill in the movie as well. Also, you have to give props to any actor that can actually sing his character's music pretty well and not resort to lip-synching, which is so common in so many other biographical films about music legends.

I also don't think Spacey looks like Darin (even with a prosthetic on his nose)...except for the part where he goes to the Big Sur and grows a mustache and sideburns. By that point, Spacey BECAME Darin for me, especially in this scene below where he changed his image to that of a denim-wearing folk singer in the late '60s. Spacey warming up his voice with a falsetto kind of gave me chills; he really embodied Darin at this point in his career (and I dig his shirt):



Darin's comeback is portrayed in the movie as well, where he wins an audience over with his peace anthem "Simple Song of Freedom." At the end of the film--well, let's just say Bobby Darin doesn't actually die. And while that may seem like a huge faux pas for some purists and another strike against the flick, I'm glad that Spacey didn't opt for that finale, especially considering Darin's actually death was totally grim, abrupt, and depressing. Spacey's version leaves you smiling. And ultimately, that is why Beyond the Sea didn't--and doesn't--deserve the venom that continues to be spewed at it.

Here's a couple of musical sequences from the movie to give you a taste...





Friday, March 24, 2017


If you were a kid growing up in New Jersey in the '70s, '80s, or '90s, there's a good chance you visited Action Park in Vernon, just over the New York line. In fact, many former patrons claim it was a right of passage to survive a visit to "Class Action Park"--a fitting nickname given its notorious reputation.

Just how dangerous was this place? It was so treacherous that while researching it I came across commenters on various sites that sustained broken noses, broken bones, skin burns, concussions, near drownings, and more. One said his mother worked at a nearby hospital, where she helped tend to a never-ending stream of kids coming into the ER with injuries from the amusement park. And they were the lucky ones. The place eventually became responsible for six deaths including an electrocution.

It all started with a man named Gene Mulvihill, a New Jersey developer who was compared to P.T. Barnum by a former employee in a 2013 documentary about Action Park. The concept behind the park's creation was well-intended: Action Park was designed and marketed as appealing to thrill-seekers where they got to control how fast they went on a ride, so naturally it was a preadolescent and teenage boy's dream. It opened in 1978 as part of the Mountain Creek ski resort and a way for the property to bring in money during the off-season months, and to also compete with Six Flags. It initially featured an alpine slide, a water park, and a race car track and in many ways, was innovative and ahead of its time. But as it grew, it added more new rides with poor designs completely devoid of safety standards. It's been said that its designers would just throw together rides without fully testing them to make sure they were safe to use.

One of the park's worst offenders was its alpine slide, a fiberglass sled that would carry riders down the mountain on a concrete track which were speed-controled via a throttle stick. As an aside, I rode a few alpine slides as a kid -- including one that used to operate in the next town over from my hometown, and others in the White Mountains -- and never experienced any problems. Then again, I always knew to slow my sled down while approaching curves and had the luxury of a fully-functioning speed control stick. Action Park's sleds, on the other hand, were poorly maintained and described as having only two speeds: extremely slow, and "death awaits" (the words of one employee.) Thus, it was very easy for someone to whip around a curve so fast that centrifugal force would flip them off the track, and riders that went too slow would often get slammed by behind by someone approaching them at a very high speed.

The slide was also responsible for the park's first fatality in 1980 when an employee went down so fast his sled flew off the track, causing him to fall down an embankment and hit his head on a rock. Kids that rode the chairlift up the mountain to get to the slide would sometimes spit on and verbally harass the passengers gliding down the hill below them. By the mid-80s the slide had caused 14 fractures and 26 head injuries not to mention numerous abrasions. Many riders would also take a turn in their bathing suits, which didn't help protect their vulnerable skin from severe scrapes.


Another hazard was the park's infamous Cannonball Loop, an insane looking water slide with an upside down loop at the bottom of it. Legend has it when a test dummy was sent down it, it came out the other end missing its head and limbs. The Cannonball caused people to lose their front teeth, bang their heads, bloody their noses and wreck their backs. It also trapped one rider inside the loop which led to an emergency hatch being added to the bottom to retrieve stuck passengers. Through the years it was shut down for periods due to numerous injuries.


Then there was the Tidal Wave Pool, which eventually became known as the "Grave Pool." The waves generated by the pool were higher and lasted longer than at other water parks, overwhelming even good swimmers who would then crowd the side ladders. Three patrons drowned in the tidal wave pool: one in 1982 (the park's first customer death), 1984, and 1987. A dozen lifeguards had to man this attraction and pulled out on average at least 30 people daily, particularly on high-traffic weekends.


Another hotbed for disaster was the Tarzan Swing, which was exactly what the name implied: patrons swung out over a pool of water and dropped themselves in. With so many people waiting their turn in line, wise guy kids would flash the crowd by pulling down their swimming trunks as they swung out over the water. If swimmers didn't scrape their feet on the concrete on the other side for failing to let go at the right time, the shock of the very cold water would get them. One man actually took a heart attack and died in 1984 after jumping into the pool.

And that electrocution? It happened in 1982 on The Kayak Experience. This was a whitewater course which frequently caused riders' kayaks to flip over. When one patron had to retrieve his, he stepped on a grate that was in contact with a live wire powering the underwater fans. The ride closed and was never reopened.

Even seemingly tame-looking rides had their risks. The Super Speedboats, for example, were on a small pond known to be infested with snakes. And the Battle Action Tanks, which often appeared in television commercials for Action Park, used tennis balls as "ammo" for riders to shoot at one another. When a tank got stuck, which happened often, any employee that entered the lot to assist the rider would then get pelted with tennis balls by the other tanks. It was the only ride that was more dangerous to employees than customers.

Speaking of employees, Action Park regularly hired underage teens to man the rides. This compounded with easy access to beer and other alcohol kiosks made the park all the more risky. Despite its problems, Action Park remained so popular that it welcomed over a million guests per year. By the 1990s, however, Grand American Recreation--Mulvihill's company--was having so many financial problems and not just due to the numerous injuries. It went out of business in 1997. Action Park then operated as Mountain Creek Park from 1998 until 2013.

Today, the water park portion is all that remains of Action Park and it's still part of the Mountain Creek ski resort. There are still plenty of thrills in addition to child-friendly options, but the remaining and new rides are way up to safety standards (on the Tide Slide, which mimics whitewater rafting, participants must wear safety helmets.)

Still...can anything compare to coming home in a cast?

Here's a few vintage commercials for Action Park, footage from its heyday, and both parts of a 2013 documentary made for Mashable. By the way, it was also announced just last month that Johnny Knoxville (known for Bad Grandpa and Jackass) will be making and starring in a movie about Action Park. If you visited and have lived to tell the tale, please drop a comment!








The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever - Part 1 of 2 by insane-amusement-park


The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever - Part 2 of 2 by insane-amusement-park

Sunday, March 12, 2017


"It'll never happen to me," I used to say when I was younger. "I'll never let myself go."

But then I was laid off in August last year and guess what? I did kind of start to let myself go, at least on some days. And let me tell you, it can be a dangerous slippery slope.

Getting up later then usual and lounging in my PJs on my laptop until 10:30 AM on most mornings became the norm.

I went quite a few days without wearing makeup, especially if I wasn't planning on leaving the house that day (who was going to see me? Before you answer "the UPS man" I can assure you we don't order much online and there really have not been many through the years that I would consider attractive.)

I normally wash my hair every other day, but sometimes I let that go an extra day because I was simply too lazy to deal with detangling and drying it. I took to throwing on an old rag of a top and jeans. With no employer to go to and nowhere I needed to be, there seemed no point in making myself look presentable.

Worst of all, I slacked off with my exercising routine...and ended up gaining 12 pounds.

And the saddest part is, I had no real excuse for it. I'm not a mom and I'm not holding down a job outside of the house. I'm also not depressed, so I have no explanation for it other than sheer laziness.

Why bother getting all dolled up if no one's going to see me? Well, the thing is...I see me. Every day.  And after too many days of doing this, I realized that Billy Crystal as Fernando Lamas was right: "Darling, it's more important to look good than to feel good." Or as I like to say, when you look good, the feeling good part follows.

When I look at candid photos of folks over 40 that were taken back in the day, or even family snapshots of grandparents and other older relatives, it seems that in general most people from earlier generations did a better job at not letting themselves go compared to today. Some of them even looked downright glamorous right into their septuagenarian years. That doesn't necessarily mean that they aged better, but they definitely made a greater effort to look presentable, especially when going out in public: neat clothes, groomed hair, and a little bit of makeup were the norm.

I realize this isn't exactly a "retro" post but something I've thinking about lately, especially as I'm now in my 40s -- the decade when a lot of folks seem to let themselves go, due to changing metabolism, hormones, age, etc. (Although, to be fair, there are people in their thirties and younger that let themselves go, too.) Now that I'm back on track and have broken some habits, here's what I would advise to help prevent others from sliding down that slippery mid-life slope into Slobville...

Keep Your Weight Down

Easier said than done, especially during the winter months, and I've learned the hard way that my metabolism isn't the super fast one I had in my twenties. There's no way for me to put this delicately, so I'll just say it: I think people in general look AWFUL once they start gaining weight, and when you're older and you gain weight, it really makes you look like crap.

Something I always did no matter where I worked was I would take a walk during my lunch break if the weather was good, so when my part of the country went through a warm snap recently I laced up my Reeboks and did an hour-long walk around the neighborhood. (I also started to get back into running before our region turned sharply colder.) After the blizzard hits that they're predicting for Tuesday, I plan on going cross country skiing again. Lastly I've been making the effort to do a regular workout (mix of aerobics and weights) a few times a week.


Do physical activities that you enjoy doing, such as bicycling, swimming, dancing, hiking, or rollerblading/rollerskating. The older I get, the more I realize the importance of rediscovering or keeping up with activities I loved doing as a kid. For me, it's a lot of bicycle riding and I'm also planning on taking a paddle boarding lesson this summer.

I've also blogged about this before, but I've really cut my sugar consumption in recent years. I'm convinced more than ever that sugar is as addictive as drugs; it lights up our brains in the same way and once people get used to gulping down extra large sugary drinks all day long or putting away a box of cookies in a day it gets more difficult to stop. I put a teaspoon in my morning coffee and drink mostly water at every meal (except for a half glass of soda or bottled iced tea a couple of times a week) and I save a small dessert for after dinner. (I recently got hooked on Yasso frozen yogurt bars; those things taste like dense ice cream and average between 90-100 calories a pop!) Occasionally I'll have a piece of dark chocolate in the afternoon as a pick-me-up, or some gummy bears. And that's it. I never eat anything sweet for breakfast, unless it's a small spoonful of maple syrup on pancakes or French toast.

Keep in mind that the American food industry has packed a ton of its products with hidden sugar, like most yogurt brands (as in regular flavored yogurt.) I tend to buy the plain unsweetened yogurt and then mix in a little honey and whatever I like so I don't end up eating something with 18 grams of sugar in it.

Keep To A Regular Morning Schedule If You Can, Even On the Weekends

Instead of schlepping around in a bathrobe until it's nearly lunchtime, I've made the effort to wash up and get dressed by 9 AM most mornings. I try not to do too much on the laptop until I'm "ready to work" so to speak because I know I'll just sit there and answer emails and start doing work.

Keep Up the Grooming Habits

I put makeup on most days, even if it's not my usual "full face" because it makes me feel good. Sometimes a little foundation, mascara and nude colored lipstick or gloss is all you need to feel pulled together. I also keep my fingernails trimmed and filed, and massage hand cream into them every day.

Wash and style your hair (and get it trimmed or try out a new hairstyle.) I also think it's a good idea to upkeep the grooming of areas most people won't see during the winter (get your mind out of the gutter! I'm talking about shaving your legs and pits, if you're a woman, and making sure your feet and toenails look presentable. But hey, it doesn't hurt to upkeep the private areas that get grooming, wink wink.) Sure, if you're single, no one will know but you -- but it will make you feel great.

Another thing -- I make sure the roots of my hair don't grow in too much before I color them.

Save The Old and Baggy Clothing for Dirty Household Jobs

Personally, I don't feel like myself if I'm wearing clothes that aren't flattering on me. So last year I splurged on a few pairs of dark new jeans that fit me well, and several stretchy and form fitting long tees from Eddie Bauer that are great for layering, and I've pretty much stuck with these staples throughout the winter.

Also, don't underestimate the power of simple jewelry or a nice scarf to pull an outfit together.

Ultimately, I think keeping yourself pulled together is a choice. You can either choose to let yourself go, or you can choose to make a little time to keep up the self care and keep yourself looking fabulous into your forties and beyond.

Sunday, March 05, 2017


Side note: here we go again; the blog template put the entire post on the homepage (grrrrr.) To leave a comment, here's the actual link to the post to do so (which also includes the title): http://www.goretro.com/2017/03/elle-macpherson-kicked-my-butt-my.html

When I was younger, I went through a brief period where I wanted to look like Elle Macpherson. And if I couldn't have Elle's face and body, I would have at least settled for her impossibly long legs. Eventually I decided that I was beautiful in my own unique way, but when Elle released a workout VHS in 1994 -- called Elle Macpherson: Your Personal Best -- I jumped at the chance to emulate The Body's body through exercise.

It quickly became my favorite workout tape -- much more so than Cindy Crawford's Shape Your Body (which came under criticism because some of the warm-up moves could injure your neck and back.) But when DVDs came on the scene and my VCR eventually died, I had to give the workout up other than the moves that had been committed to memory.

Flash forward to 2017 and I discover, with delight, that some incredibly awesome person actually uploaded Your Personal Best to YouTube! Earlier today I finally pulled on my Athleta workout gear, ignoring the fact that the 12-14 pounds I have gained during the past year are making me look like I'm in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is going to be a piece of cake and a blast, I'm thinking to myself; after all, I did this workout 2-3 times a week back in the day.

I couldn't do even half of the last aerobics section. Sigh...I really am getting (ahem) older (and getting sidelined with a nasty virus for a while after Christmas didn't exactly help me stay in shape.) I was sweaty, hot, and tired -- not unlike having the flu (and I'm sure the achy part will come tomorrow.) Elle Macpherson -- and her trainer on this video, Karen Voight -- kicked my butt. But of course after hopping in the shower I felt great, and I'll be making this workout a regular part of my exercise routine a few times a week.

There's a few reasons why I love Your Personal Best. For starters, even though it was released over 20 years ago it has aged tremendously well, with just some opening graphics and the soundtrack (INXS, Power Station, Sting, etc.) giving the era away. It was also filmed in Hawaii, including one location that was featured in the first Jurassic Park movie. But most importantly, it delivers a really awesome workout in an hour that incorporates sculpting and lifting weights with burning some calories via low impact moves. And of course, Macpherson is her beautiful, personable self in it. I remember a few months after I first started doing it in the '90s, a fitness instructor complimented me on my toned upper body when I took a class with a couple of friends at their gym. So I know it works!

Elle Macpherson made an earlier workout video, in 1989, called Elle Macpherson Stretch and Strengthen, but Your Personal Best definitely beats that one. Karen Voight, by the way, has trained Hollywood stars and has produced over 25 workout videos.

YouTube is now teeming with a lot of uploaded "vintage" workouts (even though Your Personal Best doesn't feel so vintage.) Sometimes it's fun to try these out, if even for the nostalgic value of watching women hop around in colorful spandex. If you're curious to try it out for yourself, here's the entire Your Personal Best workout:

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