Thursday, January 30, 2014

Vintage Ads: Real...Or a Really Good Fake?

With Photoshop so prevalent today, anyone can mock up a fake "vintage" ad. Some are quite obvious...like the ads I've seen for Facebook and Twitter. Others, though, are pretty darn convincing they make you wonder. That's why I thought it would be fun to look at a smattering of ads I've come across online that are either outlandishly authentic or too outlandish to be authentic. Real...or a really good fake? Let's take a look. How many of these would have fooled you?

Friday, January 24, 2014

GoRetroPam, Where Are Youuuuuuu?


The other day I received the following comment on my latest post from a regular reader of this blog: "Dave Madden and Russell Johnson die, the Captain and Tennille divorce...where are you?" It's tough to decipher the tone of comments online sometimes, but this did seem just a wee bit demanding in my humble opinion. To tell you the truth, it kind of got on my nerves. No one is paying me to write this blog, so why should anyone tell me what to write about? This same person also suggested at one time that I write about Paul Williams. Paul Williams gave me the creeps when I was a kid and he was showing up EVERYWHERE, including as a guest star on my beloved The Muppet Show (no offense to the Paul Williams fans out there. He is a talented and nice guy for sure, but if anything my blog post would be about how his unusually stunted stature,  general appearance, and voice gave me the heebie jeebies as a kid. Sorry, but it's true. You'll have to forgive me; I was five at the time.)  

Where was I? Or where am I? Ha ha. I must admit that the more I thought about it, the more it seemed a blog post might be in order to enlighten the masses as to why the blog hasn't been getting updated on a more regular basis. The simple answer to the question "where are you?" is quite frankly, I'm freaking busy.   

For starters, I have a real job...a Monday through Friday, full-time job. If I were out of work I'd probably be putting my heart and soul into Go Retro, and posting on a daily basis. In addition to the day job, I've had a side gig for a few years now managing the social media channels for a manufacturing company...and when we're launching a giveaway on Facebook or when Twitter decides to changes the configurations for their profile pages, that means I have to put in some graphic design work in addition to updating content. The company also has its own blog which I'll admit I have not been updating as often as I would like to.

Whenever I can, I try to stay off the computer. I need that break from a screen or I'd go nuts and my eyes would become permanently bloodshot. I stick to an exercise routine, and believe it or not, there are some shows on modern TV that I like to watch. Because I also have to have some sort of social life, I organize my own Meetup group. All of this means that Go Retro often gets pushed aside, even on the weekends.

Also, Go Retro was never intended to be a news site. I simply don't have the time to cover every death and divorce related to those who had their heyday during a past decade. I've done "RIP" posts in the past and too often they end up sounding like, "Someone famous died today. Blah blah blah." And then, understandably, no one wants to comment. It's a drag.  

Instead, like most bloggers I like to write when the inspiration comes. I'd rather post once a month with some truly inspired commentary than struggle to write boring, half-assed posts several times a week. I'm also not an expert in everyone and everything from the pop culture past. That would be impossible to accomplish. I'm a fan of certain things, and I often learn something new when I have to research for a blog topic.  

That said, the Facebook page for Go Retro is often where the action is--and retro-related deaths and divorces (including the Captain and Tennille's split; no more muskrat love!) pretty much do get covered there on a regular basis. So check it out and give it a like if you...like.

I will admit that Go Retro is in a bit of limbo at the moment...I'd like to update the banner, tweak the layout, provide content for the menu headings, and get a better photo to use for my profile picture (another dirty little secret about me is that I don't walk around every day looking like I stepped off the Shindig stage. I have a few 60s-inspired dresses and pieces and that's it. Mostly I'm all about having a classic closet that can take me through the next ten years.)

If anything, this has made me think about prioritizing my time better, blocking off writing/blog updating time and brainstorming new topics and topic themes to keep it fresh. If I can.  

So bear with me, GoRetrophiles. Hopefully there's good things to come. Like maybe that Paul Williams post.   

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Most Awful Knitting Idea Ever Conceived


I've been knitting since I was 10 years old, so trust me when I say I've come across some horrendous knitting patterns in that time, which includes the 1980s and 1990s decades, after all. Other retro blogs have also showcased bizarre 1970s-era fashions to knit ranging from dickies to bodysuits for men. 

But nothing could prepare me for the knitwear booklet cover above, that I found on the appropriately-named blog The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done

This is, without a doubt, the....Worst. Knitting. Idea. Ever.

Gee, do I want to begin with making the Klan hood? Or maybe one of the rapist starter kits? 

The ONLY conceivable idea I can dream up for wanting this knitting pattern would be to use Fun Fur yarn and knit yourself a Wolfman mask for Halloween. But even that's a stretch. And the saddest thing to me, as a knitter, was learning that the patterns were designed by Meg Swansen. That name may not mean much to the average person, but Swansen is the daughter of Elizabeth Zimmerman, a VERY talented knitwear designer and former columnist of Vogue Knitting, among other prestigious knitwear achievements!

I'm creeped out looking at it. I got even more creeped out when I realized the father looks like he's sticking his tongue out and that the kid in front is poking the apple pie with his finger. Wait a minute...what is the point of putting an apple pie in the shot? The marketing people must have figured putting a warm, homey apple pie would tone down the unsettling feeling and make us think this was a nice, average, all-American family. 

When they're not carrying out robberies and murders on the weekends. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Song's Story #4: Popcorn


I was watching The Millers the other night when they used the instrumental "Popcorn" as background music for a funny sequence. Being that it's such a contagiously quirky tune I hadn't heard in a while, I found myself looking it up today, starting with a search that included "Kraftwerk" and "80s." And that's when I discovered the shocking and somewhat embarrassing (for me) truth about this song...

"Popcorn" has nothing to do with Kraftwerk or the 1980s. It was composed and released by Gershon Kingsley...in 1969. It was one of the tracks on Kingsley's album, Music to Moog By, a collection of songs played on a Moog synthesizer. Kingsley himself has said that he came up with the main melody in 30 seconds. And the reason for naming it "Popcorn" apparently has nothing to do with the melody emulating popcorn kernels popping, but a studio engineer's observation that "pop" stood for pop music and "corn" for corny, or kitsch. Go figure. 



Folks who were around in 1972 remember the appropriately named band Hot Butter taking on a cover of the song--which is the version heard in the The Millers, and which I incorrectly attributed to Kraftwerk. In fact, the song has been covered by everyone from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass to Muse, but not Kraftwerk. I probably got that from someone mislabeling it on Napster back in the day!

Hot Butter's version was an international hit, reaching #1 on the music charts in Australia, Germany, France, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, and the Netherlands. It reached #9 on the US Billboard Hot 100. 

Since then the song has permeated pop culture and has been used in TV commercials, movies, video games (including Digger and Pengo), Dance Dance Revolution and more. Mr. Wick even played it on the harp on The Drew Carey Show. Listening to Kingsley's original Moog composition, you'd swear it was just recorded today. 

And no matter what that studio engineer said, the song sure sounds like popcorn popping to me--and always gives me a serious craving for the crunchy snack!

Here's Kingsely's original version, followed by Hot Butter (with dancers!) and my personal favorite, The Muppets, covering the song:





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