Thursday, January 24, 2008

Roll Up For the Magical Musical Tour

Sure, Liverpool is famous for its Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, but if you find yourself in Manchester, England during the next few months you may just want to check out the Magical Musical Tour, being sponsored by Urbis. The tours take place on January 26, February 9 & 23, and March 8 & 15. Here's a bit of what the Urbis site says about it:

"If you love to reminisce about being a teenager in the 60s, or wish you had been, then Urbis has a brand new tour for you!

Starting from Urbis at 10AM every other Saturday from 12th January, the 60s Magical Music Tour will take visitors out around the city to some of the key sites from Manchester's musical heyday. Discover where all the star acts such as The Hollies, The Who and Jimi hendrix played on the circuit.

Visit the spots where Manchster's Northern Soul crowd used to hang and find out how the Twisted Wheel kept its music Manchester's best loved secret!

If you still have 60s clothing in your wardrobe then why not get into the spirit of the era and come in costume! There'll even be a taster of the music discussed as the tour is accompanied by a soundtrack featuring some of the hits of the decade."

Sounds like fun. Too bad I'm 3,000 miles away and won't be in the UK until later in the year. The tour lasts for 2 hours and more information can be found here on the Urbis site.

Oprah Wanted To Be The Charlie Girl

Picture courtesy Harpo Productions, Inc. and

Yesterday's Oprah Winfrey Show was chock-full of retro goodness, and the first trip down memory lane was a segment about the Revlon fragrence, Charlie. You remember the Charlie girl, don't you? The beautiful blonde with the white pantsuit, incredible looking car, and handsome boyfriend who greets her at a nice restaurant. Oprah confessed that she loved the commercial when it came out in 1973 and wanted to be the Charlie Girl. "I wanted to stride like her with confidence. I wanted to be this fabulous." Well, who wouldn't?

Oprah interviewed Shelley Hack, the model who appeared in the debut commercial (and who apparently hasn't aged.) Hack went from being the Charlie Girl to being a Charlie's Angel. Charlie the fragrance was launched in 1973 by Charlie Revlon and was meant to be a perfume indicative of the independent 70s career woman who breezes through her day into the evening. Charlie's classic scent - a mix of sandalwood and cut grass - is still found on drugstores' shelves today.

The rest of the show was pretty iconic, too. Called "What Makes America America", Oprah revealed when the hamburger was invented and showed off Dorothy's ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz. You can read and watch segments of the show on the site.

And that Charlie ad? I still remember the melody. You can watch it by clicking once the video player below.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do You Remember These?

Burma Shave signs, Howdy Doody, and petticoats. I'm too young to remember these, but too old not to appreciate them. I must admit viewing the Do You Remember These? site made me a bit sad. It's a time that is gone forever, and which we'll never see the likes of again. How many do you remember?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Got Rickets?

When you were a kid growing up during the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s, was your mom always telling you to drink your milk? Well, mom knew best. Because for the past few months I've been seeing online news reports that the once-defunct bone disease, rickets, is actually making a comeback in parts of the U.S. and the U.K. because kids are not drinking much milk nowadays. Seems the little, lazy unhealthy fatties much prefer drinking their soda and sports drinks and it's doing a number to their wee bones. Doctors claims to be seeing the disease make a comeback in alarming rates.

I just can't get over how stupid some people can be, especially when it comes to the health of their children. Rickets causes achy bones, swelling of the joints, and bowleggedness. Fortunately, the disease is curable - through proper diet and exercise. So, all you moms (and dads) your kids and yourselves a favor by going retro...drink milk! What a concept.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Smurftastic! The Smurfs Turn 50

A Smurf tries to woo Smurfette with a big piece of birthday cake. Photography copyright Nevit Dilmen via Wikipedia.

If you were a little girl growing up in the early 80s like me, you no doubt remember watching the cartoon show The Smurfs Adventures on Saturday morning TV and you likely owned several of the plastic figurines. I still have the "La, la, la la la la" theme song stuck in my head.

Up until now I thought the Smurfs were an 80s creation, but it turns out they actually celebrated their 50th birthday yesterday. They were the creation of the late cartoonist Pierre Culliford, also known as "Peyo", who introduced the blue elf-like mushroom dwellers in a comic strip in October 1958. To mark their 50 years of existence in the entertainment industry, organizers are planning a 3-D animation feature film expected to be released next year. Supposedly the new movie is going to include more female Smurf characters, so that Smurfett won't be lonely.

That's comforting to hear. I always thought Smurfette, being the only female Smurf in her village, was either very lucky or unlucky. I guess it depends on how smurfslutty she was.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

GoRetro's Retro Hottie of the Month: Elvis Presley!

Happy Birthday to the King from a fellow Capricorn.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Moonstruck: A Tale of Two Lunar Tunes

“It’s la luna!”

That’s what Vincent Gardenia’s character cries out in the 1987 film “Moonstruck”, while taking his dogs for a walk on a moonlight-illuminating evening. Soon thereafter, Cher falls in love with Nicolas Cage in the movie.

Song composers have also never underestimated the power of the moon to seduce and bring lovers together. Witness the numerous “moon June” ditties that graced the music charts in the 20th century: Blue Moon, Moon River, and Mr. Moonlight come to mind, to name a few. And lately, I’ve been seduced by two vintage moon songs myself: Moonglow and Moonlight Serenade. Both were released during the same era and have haunting, heart breaking romantic melodies that feature prominent clarinets and have stood the test of time. But which is the better song?

Moonglow was written in 1934 by Will Hudson, Irving Mills and Eddie De Lange and originally recorded by the Dorsey Brothers (before their squabbling caused them to go their separate ways) but the most well-known rendition is by Benny Goodman, who recorded the song with his quartet in 1936. This version was most recently heard in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Aviator when DiCaprio, playing Howard Hughes, takes Cate Blanchett, as Katharine Hepburn, for a soaring evening airplane ride. But according to the website SpaceAge Pop, the song enjoyed a period of immense popularity in the mid-50s when it was featured in a William Holden movie called Picnic. It actually dissolves into the theme from Picnic, which resulted in those two songs being recorded together after the movie was released. It also features a dreamy sounding instrument that isn’t commonly heard anymore: the vibraphone.

Moonlight Serenade was composed by Glenn Miller in 1939 with lyrics by Mitchell Parish as an accompaniment to Sunrise Serenade. Miller originally wanted to call it “Now I Lay Me Down to Weep” (having a bad day, Glenny?) and indeed, the song is more somber in tone than romantic. It eventually became the trademark opener for the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Where Moonglow is punctuated by a single clarinet melody throughout the song, Moonlight Serenade is a perfect example of the classic “Miller sound” of layering saxophones over a clarinet section. And the lyrics, which are not commonly known since they are often not recorded with the song (two exceptions are Frank Sinatra’s and Carly Simon’s versions) are as every bit as lovely as the instrumentals:

I stand at your gate
And the song that I sing is of moonlight
I stand, and I wait
For the touch of your hand in the June night
The roses are sighing a moonlight serenade.

Moonlight Serenade’s presence in pop culture seems to have endured more than Moonglow. The song has cropped up in numerous television appearances including All in the Family, The Simpsons, Growing Pains, and even Doctor Who, and films such as Big, Jack the Bear, The Notebook, and The Aviator.

So which is better? The answer is neither. Or better still, both. They just don't write those moon Junes like they used to.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy New Year!

Three days what? Hope you partied like it was 1999...or 1967.

No, this isn't an old family photo. I snatched it from a site called Mulfalisa.

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