Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Go Retro Summer Giveaway!

Go Retro turned five years old earlier this month, and to thank my retroholic readers for their patronage, I'm raffling off a small prize: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin.

I reached out to the authors a few weeks ago and they graciously provided me with a free copy of this nostalgia-inspired cookbook. This book is NOT officially affiliated with the Mad Men series, but it does take readers into the gastronomical world of the early 1960s, with recipes to emulate the cocktails and culinary of the era and the show. With this book, you'll be able to mix an Old Fashioned to Don Draper's standard, or prepare Oysters Rockefeller guaranteed to make Roger Sterling vomit (that's not as insulting as it sounds; fans of the show know what I mean.) Swedish meatballs, Chicken Kiev (prepared with 12 tablespoons of butter--gasp!), Turkey Tetrazzini, and Sour Cream Coffee Cake are just some of the more than 70 recipes the book dishes up. 

Photo from
Of course, being Mad Men inspired means that there's an emphasis on luscious libations and appetizers. The authors set up the book with a nice tutorial on keeping a well stocked bar and the art of mixing drinks. Sprinkled throughout the recipes are historical anecdotes about established NYC restaurants from the 60s and descriptions of scenes from the show that featured food. 

I do have one small complaint about the book. Since it is a cookbook, it disappoints me that many of the dishes do not have accompanying photographs, except for a quick spread of selections in the middle of the book. It would be nice to see a full color photo for each prepared dish (and it makes it easier to locate a recipe when one is quickly flipping through the pages.) The other downer is the fact that no images from Mad Men could be included, since this is an "unofficial" cookbook not promoted by AMC. 

Still, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook is a swell bookshelf addition for anyone wanting to throw a retro themed party or just bring a taste of the era into their home. You can learn more about the book here.

Want a chance at winning the copy of the book? Just leave a comment for this post (if you're anonymous, I must have a way of contacting you, so please include an email address where you can be reached.) You can also enter by tweeting about me or the blog -- be sure to include my Twitter handle, @GoRetroPam. 

I'll randomly choose a winner on Friday. Good luck!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Ghostbusters Premake, 1954

I've watched the following clip about a dozen times now and can't stop being tickled or impressed by the brilliance of it. I found it over at the blog Retro Zombie, and hope the blog's author, Jeremy, won't mind me sharing it here. There's a clever dude on YouTube who is imagining what classic film trailers would have looked like had they been made in previous eras, and splicing together footage from older movies to recreate them, creating a "premake." This guy has imagined a 1965 version of Up! starring Spencer Tracy and Kirk Douglas, James Stewart as Forrest Gump (1949), and a 3D version of The Empire Strikes Back (1951.) But my favorite thus far is his rendition of Ghostbusters had it been made 30 years before the classic Bill Murray film, starring Bob Hope, Fred MacMurray and Dean Martin as the three paranormal scientists. Damn, the dude even got the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in there! It works for me, and certainly seems heads and tails above the dreaded Ghostbusters 3 rumored to be in the works. 

The song towards the end comes from a silly 1970s TV show called The Ghost Busters (starring some of the cast from F Troop) which had nothing to do with the 80s movie, but works so well here. You can see all of the premakes on this YouTube channel. Have fun!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Hidden Talents of Sherman Helmsley and Chad Everett

Photo from
The retro world lost two beloved television icons this week: Sherman Helmsley, of the hit 70s sitcom The Jeffersons and later, Amen and Dinosaurs (I'll refrain from making any "movin' on up" jokes) and also Chad Everett, the hunky star of the 70s pre-cursor to Gray's Anatomy, Medical Center

I could go on and on about the impact both stars and their hit shows had on television history, but instead I think I'll highlight their other "hidden" talent, which was...singing!

Sherman Hemsley was well versed as a jazz keyboardist, and recorded a single in 1989 called Ain't That a Kick in the Head (a different song than the one Dean Martin was known for.) He then released an album called Dance in 1992. He performed one of the tracks from that album, Eyes in the Dark, on Soul Train in 1992. Watching the clip, I was thinking how this is no worse than any of today's modern performers and in fact, it just may be more entertaining.

More surprising may be the bit of trivia that Helmsley was a huge fan of 70s rock bands, most notably Yes (he recorded an album with Yes frontman Jon Anderson in 1999 which was never released) and more obscurely, Gentle Giant and Nektar. Helmsley once appeared on Diana Shore's Dinah! dancing to the Gentle Giant song Proclamation. The cat knew how to get down with those tight grooves. 

Chad Everett recorded an album, too, called All Strung Out in 1971. Chad appears in this 1976 television clip singing Leave It to Love. Embedding has been disabled, so you'll have to click the link to view it.

I'll be honest--I'd never heard of Chad Everett or even the show Medical Center until friend and Go Retro reader Apache Doug clued me in. Yep, the shame. It's evident from the comments on YouTube that many ladies crushed on Dr. Joe Gannon during the 70s--the original McDreamy, it seems. I'm also told he was a doctor with sideburns, a mod wardrobe, and a groovy bachelor pad with a ginormous sectional couch. 

Something tells me these two guys will surely be missed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Crystal Light Aerobics Championships

Photo via mariachilly on Flickr
I saw these clips making the rounds on Facebook last week, and they're nothing short of gems. They're from the Crystal Light Aerobics Championships, which were broadcast on TV back in the day in all its spandex-and-leotard glory. Each clip is a voyage into an 80s time capsule. Although they might seem laughable today (especially some of the hairstyles) don't be fooled; the participants clearly took the competition seriously, and were in commendable physical shape. Each sequence also had to incorporate certain moves (so many pushups, etc.) And would you take a look at that synchronicity! 

Technically, this type of competition is known as "sportaerobics" and was created by Sports Fitness International, an athletic marketing firm, in the early 80s as the fitness and aerobics craze was beginning. The first national championship was held in 1984 and became an Olympic sport in 1997. (I was going to say who needs the Olympics when you have aerobics championships, but needless to say it's a moot point.) 

They are a gas to watch...enjoy! The opening sequence to the first one is straight out of Olivia Newton-John's "Physical."

Monday, July 09, 2012

Andy Griffith Commercials...Mmmmm Good!

Via Mayberry Memorabilia Mania on Flickr
I saw lots of wonderful blog tributes to Andy Griffith last week; most notably a comprehensive list of Griffith's many television movies on my fellow blogging buddy Amanda's site Made for TV Mayhem (Andy Griffith: Pure Bad Ass) Check it out! For the way most of us will remember Andy, many of these roles seem a bit on the sinister side for him, but show that he had range as an actor and refused to be continuously pegged as a nice guy in everything that he played.

But it was his nice guy reputation and trustworthiness that made him a natural advertising spokesman for many commercials. I thought it would be fun to show a bit here. 

First, it should come as no surprise that The Andy Griffith Show was sponsored by many food products, particularly cereals. If this one for Grape Nuts, also featuring Don Knotts, doesn't make you chuckle then you must need surgery to replace your funny bone:

Here's one for Post Toasties Corn Flakes....reallll GOOD anywhere!

A cereal that tastes like oatmeal cookies...sure sounds goooooood!

When TV made the transition into color, Andy filmed this one for Gaines Burgers dog food. Notice that he doesn't say "Mmmmmm...good!" here!

In the late 70s, Andy promoted Ritz crackers and damned if these spots don't have me craving the buttery, high calorie medallions with cheese on them right now. Darn it, Andy!


This one's my favorite: Andy busting some rhymes!

By the early 80s, Andy filmed a few commercials for AT&T. An old reliable promoting another old reliable:

We're sure gonna miss you, Andy. 

Friday, July 06, 2012

Go Retro's .0001 Seconds of Fame

I've been keeping a secret from most of Go Retro's readers for a few weeks, but now that a particular episode of a popular show has aired, it's time to spill the beans. Many of you know that I'm a fan of The History Channel's American Pickers series. Well, a few weeks ago I received an email from a guy named Dan who reads the blog and who is also a visual researcher for none other than American Pickers. He found a photo of an Exxon "tiger tail" hanging from a vintage car that I used in an older post about full service gas stations and wanted to use it in the show during a portion where Mike and Frank find buried gas station signs. I would get credit and my name would appear in the closing credits of the show. I was thrilled but unfortunately the image wasn't mine and got posted before I started making the effort to credit images that I use in posts. After some detective work, I discovered the photo had embedded ownership info and I found a website that could have belonged to the photographer who snapped the photo.

Needless to say, I didn't expect to get any recognition since the photo wasn't mine to begin with. But Dan, being the stand-up guy that he is, said that they would include me in the credits for taking the time to track down the origins of the photo. (And yes, I updated the original post with the copyright info for the photo in question, now that the owner was confirmed.)

Earlier this week, the episode aired. It flashed so quickly on the screen that I couldn't see anyone's name, let alone mine. But a very sharp eyed reader, Doug (who writes his own witty blog called Apache Doug's Teepee -- check it out sometime) recorded the episode and managed to snap the above photo of the special thanks section...and not only did they list my name, but more importantly, Go Retro! (Click on it for a larger view.)

I've blocked out my last name because of safety and privacy reasons...having a blog means being accessible to anyone with an Internet connection and as a woman, I do want to be careful

So there you have it...not quite the 15 seconds of fame that Andy Warhol said everyone gets, but as my brother-in-law reminded me, I'm due for another 14.9999 more. A special thank you goes out to Doug for taking the photo and sending it to me! And thank you to Dan and the American Pickers crew! Next time, think I could get an autographed photo of Mike Wolfe? 

P.S. The top photo isn't real; another special thanks goes out of Greg of UMRK Radio for his stupendous Photoshoppy skills.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Rock of Ages: Vintage Ibanez Guitar Catalog Scans

I recently came across this unnamed site which hosts a collection of scanned Ibanez Guitar catalogs from 1971 to 2005. No surprise, the ones from the 80s--with its big haired musicians and neon colored guitars--were the sweet spots that really caught my eye. You'll have to forgive the fact that with the exception of Joe Satriani, George Benson, Steve Vai and Steve Lukather, I have no idea who most of these musicians are without relying on Google. I wasn't into the big hair bands or their members, but I love how these sample pages just scream 80s. The era also seemed to usher in musicians to help endorse the guitars, where previous catalogs didn't feature many personalities.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Fourth!

Photo via The Kitsch Bitch
I'd like to wish all of my American readers a very happy and safe Fourth of July, full of pomp, parades, and hotdogs! You know, this month marks a special anniversary for the blog--it's now been going strong for five years. It's hard for me to believe since the time definitely passed by in the wink of an eye. So, to celebrate this milestone and to thank my readers and fans for their patronage, I'll be doing a giveaway next week. It's nothing earth shattering, but it is a nice item to win (hint: especially for foodies) so stay tuned. Hope everyone stays cool and safe today!  

Monday, July 02, 2012

Go Retro's Retro Hottie of the Month: Steve McQueen

Well friends, I don't think anyone who's been visiting the blog lately will be the least bit surprised by my choice for this month's Retro Hottie of the Month. Like REO Speedwagon sang, I just can't fight this feeling anymore. You know, usually when I choose a Retro Hottie, I try to pick a man who's just as sweet on the inside as he is on the outside. Someone with redeeming qualities that you would gladly bring home to mama. In other words, I try not to be too superficial with my choices, because it's what's on the inside that counts even more than the outside...right? However, there's a time and place for being completely, unabashedly, unapologetically superficial. Today is one of those times. 

Steve McQueen was the ultimate badass. It's not that underneath that rugged exterior he didn't have his moments of humility; a few weeks ago I posted about the interview he graciously granted to a high school student, which turned out to be his last. He loved animals and he quietly donated to several charities throughout his movie career, which no one knew about until after his untimely death. As one of my readers said, he was always thinking of the little guy, perhaps because of his own deprived childhood. Having said that, he probably was not the type of man most women would want to marry--he was a notorious philanderer; Ali McGraw claims that after he spent a night with two women (neither of which were her) he asked her to make them all breakfast. That takes serious cajones. He made his wives sacrifice their own careers in lieu of his own. He was also an alcoholic, a heavy drug user and patron of Mexican brothels. His first wife, Neile Adams, said that he held a gun to her head when he suspected her of cheating on him--even though he bedded many, many women while married to her. His increasing paranoia due to heavy cocaine use and physical abuse towards Neile eventually broke up the marriage. He locked horns with his male costars and directors, and fought with his colleague and friend Paul Newman to get top billing in The Towering Inferno

Perhaps he just couldn't help it. His mother was a prostitute; his dad, rumored to be a barnstormer in a traveling circus (which certainly explains where the daredevil genetics came from) abandoned the both of them shortly after McQueen was born. Like John Lennon, whose own father left him early and who was mostly raised by his aunt, McQueen was left for stretches at a time with a relative, his uncle. This man may have been the only steady adult male role model in his life--he gave him a tricycle, which fostered his passion for motorcycles and other fast machines, and introduced him to the great outdoors on his farm. But McQueen grew up with a rebellious streak nonetheless, joining a street gang and getting into trouble with petty crimes. And when you get a job working as a towel boy in a brothel as a teenager (and you're invited to sample the goods as a perk) how could you possibly grow up knowing how to properly date and love women? Luckily, he was admitted to the Boys Republic, a nonprofit school for troubled boys which he often visited and gave back to after he became a big movie star. His years there, plus his stint in the marines, probably saved his life. 

That said, there will never be another Steve McQueen (Jeremy Renner, are you listening?) When I'm watching a Steve McQueen movie, I simply cannot take my eyes off of him. The man was sex on a stick and simply damn beautiful to watch -- those steely blue orbs that convened so much in many roles without a spoken word, the slightly compact but muscular physique, the lines around the mouth, the naturally blond...well anyways, don't take my word for it. The photos say it all. Oh yeah. American pistol packing testosterone at its best. There's a reason (or a million reasons, perhaps) why he earned that "King of Cool" title.

I'm not going to credit every single photo here -- as my disclaimer says, I own none of the content (but as you can see, many of them came from Life magazine.) If one of them came from your site, I'll gladly give credit. 

The lady in some of these photos is Neile, McQueen's first wife, and the mother of his children. She was the great woman behind the man, and very instrumental at securing key movie roles for him. The Life photographer who took the series of previously unpublished photos said years later that he was surprised they divorced, as they seemed very much in love during the photo shoot. McQueen told the reporter at the time, "With strangers, I can't breathe...but I dig my old lady." 

"I'm a cowboy. On a steel horse I ride. I'm wanted--wanted--dead or alive."
At the height of his career, McQueen reportedly worked out for 2 hours a day (and boy, do those rockin' biceps show it!) In the mid-70s, however, he took a break from Hollywood and let himself go--gaining a lot of weight and growing a beard and long hair. He then appeared like this in the 1978 film Enemy of the People. This was supposed to be Steve's comeback but not surprisingly, it bombed. Movie fans expected to see the clean cut, handsome Steve and he was unrecognizable in the film. McQueen soon returned to his traditional appearance, thank goodness. 

I like this one. A lot. 
Natalie Wood with Steve in the film Love With the Proper Stranger. They had a real life fling later on, in between marriages.

Neile clowning around with her husband.

Photo via
The McQueens: Steve, Neile, son Chad and daughter Terry.
Photo via
Proof that even celebrities take awkward family photos. Click on it for a larger view. I dig Neile's dress and white go-go boots.
Photo via The Selvedge Yard
"You've got style, that's what all the girls say..."

That Mustang. That turtleneck. Sadly, McQueen wasn't allowed to do most of the driving in that infamous car chase scene from the movie--his long-time stunt double Bud Ekins was behind the wheel, but McQueen coordinated just about every aspect of the chase and the rest is movie history.

"I'm not sure whether I'm an actor who races or a racer who acts." Off camera, McQueen participated in many motorcycle and car races, many of them of the endurance quality. 
Photo via The First Steve McQueen Site
Harper's Bazaar, holding onto lucky lady Jean Shrimpton's leg. 
From The Films of Steve McQueen
Photo via The First Steve McQueen site
Photo via The First Steve McQueen site
Photo via The First Steve McQueen site

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