The Fox and the Hound

•June 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

“I’m a fox. My name’s Tod. What’s your name, kid?”
“Mine’s Copper. I’m a hound dog.”

When The Fox and the Hound hit theaters in the summer of 1981 it had been four years since the last Disney film. FOUR YEARS! (Heck, we’re getting two Pixar movies this year alone!) Not since 1977’s The Rescuers had ol’ Walt’s boys given us some animated magic.

So we were understandably bouncin’ off the walls when the tale of Copper and Tod arrived.

Based on the book by Daniel Mannix, The Fox and the Hound was a bit of a weepie (think a kinder, gentler Bambi) but ultimately charming story of two best friends who shouldn’t have ever been friends at all.

When Big Mama the owl gets Widow Tweed to adopt young Tod the fox, we know it’s just a matter of time before he runs into lil Copper (voiced by Corey Feldman, no less!), who Miss Tweed’s cranky neighbor Amos Slade has just brought home.

Everything’s great for a bit, but as the two critters grow up they come to realize that they’re actually mortal enemies. And that, of course, puts a little crimp into their friendship…especially with Slade’s huntin’ dog Chief pokin’ around.

Then when Chief gets a broken leg, after chasing Tod and gettin’ whacked by that train, the boys can read the writin’ on the wall. And sure enough, Widow Tweed takes Tod and drops him off in the woods, so he can be safe and free. And we…well–– we just about lost it.

We like to think that Tod and Copper somehow made some time to see each other every now and again (and the smile they give each other after Copper saves Tod from the business end of Slade’s rifle certainly gives us hope), but even if they didn’t, they had a great run…short as it may have been.

The Fox and the Hound took in a heap o’ cash in 1981, makin’ almost $40 million, and it also helped launch the careers of some future big-time Disney folks, including John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Henry Selick, and even one Tim Burton, all of whom did some of the animation.

…and though we’d have to wait another four years for the NEXT Disney animated movie (The Black Cauldron), we reckon The Fox and the Hound was just awesome enough to hold us over.

Ar-wooo-woooo-woooooooo!

We ♥ The Fox and the Hound.

Air Jordans

•June 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

“It’s gotta be the shoes!”

1984 was a very good year for Michael Jordan. Shortly after winning the Naismith and Wooden NCAA Player of the Year awards, he was pick #3 in the NBA draft, won a Gold Medal at the Olympics in August, and signed a 5-year, $2.5 million contract with Nike.

Though HE might tell you winning the Gold Medal was the highlight of that list, we’ll tell him to his face that he’s full of hooey. It’s gotta be the shoes.

Air Jordans revolutionized the global shoe industry, and they continue to today—along with making MJ a veeerrrry rich man.

It all started in late 1984 (just after Michael signed), when Nike’s Peter Moore was tasked with designing the very first Air Jordan. Less than a year later the Air Jordan I dropped, and every year since then, the release date of the new Jordans has been very much “a thing”. (We’re on XXXI now, if you’re one of the few not keeping track. The XXXII is expected soon.)

Beyond just the shoes themselves, we got bombarded by no shortage of ads, hype, and endless marketing and promotion. Spike Lee, fresh off his successful 1986 directorial debut She’s Gotta Have It signed up with Nike himself to write, direct, and star in a series of Air Jordan commercials, featuring Jordan alongside Mars Blackmon, the character Lee himself played in that movie. Brilliant!

…and we haven’t even mentioned the now-iconic Jumpman logo that’s been a part of the brand ever since the launch of the Jordan III in 1988.

Air Jordan is still one of the most iconic, most profitable, and most widely-recognized brands in the world today. Sure, they may be “just shoes”, but they were born in the 80s, and as we all know, that makes them extra awesome.

It’s definitely the shoes.

We ♥ Air Jordans.

The Girl in the Video

•June 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Growing up as teenagers in the 80s we spent many an hour glued to MTV, watching videos. And the teenage boys among us spent even more time (we’ll wager) dreaming about the women IN those videos.

Folks, we hope you’re sitting down.

First, a disclaimer: It’s not often that we highlight something that wasn’t created, released, or otherwise birthed in the 80s…but every once in a while we make an exception. And this one’s a good one.

Now…what if said there was a place you could go on the interwebs that told you not only WHO the woman was in ZZ Top’s “Legs” video (Wendy Frazier. That’s her in the photo up there ^)…but how she got the gig, what it was like meeting ZZ Top, if she was ever recognized on the street, what she’s up to now, etc.

People, we would like to introduce you to Marc Tyler Nobleman. Well…more specifically to his blog, Noblemania. Well…even MORE specifically to the section of his blog titled “The Girl in the Video”. (Here it is.)

Marc loves 80s music. And 80s music means 80s music videos. And 80s music videos, more often that not, means beautiful women. Instead of just drooling at the videos in his later years, however, Marc took it upon himself to track down a fair-sized smattering of the famous models from the famous videos.

From Signy Coleman (the object of Huey Lewis’ affection in “I Want a New Drug” video), to Wish Cohen (who dressed as Alice in Tom Petty’s “Don’t Come Around Here No More”), Marc found them, interviewed them, and shared their stories with all of us.

Perhaps his biggest coup? Finding arguably the five most famous women-in-video from the 80s…the quintet who posed as Robert Palmer’s backup band in the video for his hit “Addicted to Love”. (Julie, Patty, Kathy, Mak, and Julia…for the record.)

So sit back, relax, and enjoy. We warn you, though––”The Girl in the Video” is an 80s-tastic wormhole of the highest order. Enter only if you have an hour (or three) to kill, because once you stop, you can’t stop.

We ♥ “The Girl in the Video” (Noblemania).

Oh Sherrie

•June 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

“You should’ve been gone, knowing how I made you feel…”

In April 1984, just seven months after Journey wrapped up its super-huge Frontiers tour (featuring “Separate Ways” and “Faithfully”), lead singer Steve Perry made it known that he didn’t need no stinkin’ band backing him up. He could do just fine on his own, thankyouverymuch.

Sure enough, his first solo album Street Talk went double-platinum, and its first single “Oh Sherrie” was a big reason why.

The peppy, up-tempo ballad, which Perry wrote for his girlfriend Sherrie Swafford, was a staple of the summer of 1984——not just on radio but on MTV, too.

Shot at the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, the video opens with a blare of trumpets before we see Perry decked out in Medieval garb. Ummmm….okaaaay? Turns out (in a creative little bit of meta-humor), we’re watching as Steve shoots the WAY over-produced video for…”Oh Sherrie”. The director has his heart set on a swashbuckling princess rescue in a flaming forest of doom, but Steve has other ideas; he just wants to sing his song to his lady. Clean and simple.

Thankfully Steve won the day.

(And yes…that’s the real Sherrie Swafford in the video.)

“Oh Sherrie” would go on to be a big hit for Steve, spending 20 weeks on the chart and peaking at #3 in June 1984. It would be, in fact, the biggest hit in Steve’s career (either with or without Journey) from that point forward. He would never again crack the Top 10.

Now…about that “flaming forest of doom”?

We ♥ “Oh Sherrie”.

Scarface

•June 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

“You wanna play rough? Okay! Say hello to my little friend!”

When most people think of Brian De Palma’s 1983 masterpiece, that line is the one thing they keep coming back to. But call us crazy––the part that’s been stuck in our head all these years is that chainsaw scene in the hotel during the drug deal gone horribly, horribly wrong…as Tony has to just sit there (at gunpoint, granted) and watch his poor buddy Angel say goodbye to his little leg. And arm. And, you know, probably other parts.

But hey, we were young then, and as memorable as the final shoot-out is…man, that chainsaw scene, dude. Pretty nasty.

As for the rest of the movie? Clocking in at almost three hours, Scarface may have been long, but it was as good as they come in the early 80s. It’s rock-solid, bloody (body count: more than 40), profane (f-word: 226 times), drug-fueled tale of excess that chronicles the rise and fall of Tony Montana. And the movie didn’t pull any punches when it came to showing it like it was in Miami at the dawn of our favorite decade.

Scarface may be considered an all-time classic these days, but when it first arrived in theaters, it was widely panned, considered too over-the-top for its own good and nothing but a really looooooong movie about how crime doesn’t pay. But some people just don’t get it.

Al Pacino turned in one of his best performances, and Michelle Pfeiffer (who we, of course, ♥) can pretty much pin the success of her entire movie career on her role as Elvira. (Yes, Grease 2 had come out more than a year earlier…but did anyone see it? No. No they didn’t.

We can’t say we’re 100% on board with the planned remake, scheduled for release in August 2018 (and starring Diego Luna), but we can certainly understand where they’re coming from. Imitation, as we all know, is the sincerest form of flattery, and there are few 80s movies worth as much flattery as Scarface…even though it took a while for people to realize it.

“Every day above ground is a good day.”

We ♥ Scarface.

Miami Vice

•June 15, 2017 • Leave a Comment

So….how do we boil down 112 episodes of one of the 80s’ best and most influential TV shows into a few hundred words?

How about: Crockett. Tubbs. Castillo. Elvis the alligator. T-shirt and blazer. Jan Hammer. Stan & Larry. Gina. Trudy. Ferrari. Guns. Drugs. Sheena Easton. Evan. Caroline. Golden Triangle. Noogie. Phil Collins. Little Richard. Miles Davis. St. Vitus Dance. Burnett. Michael Mann…

We could go on and on. Heck, we could write individual posts about pretty much every episode, including the phenomenal season two ep “Out Where the Buses Don’t Run”, which TV Guide named as one of the top 100 TV episodes of all time.

The saga of Crockett and Tubbs and their ongoing struggle to bring law and order to Miami was nothing short of a cultural revolution…and to think it all started with a simple memo from Brandon Tartikoff (the former head of NBC’s Entertainment Division), who wrote just two words: MTV cops.

Michael Mann took the idea and ran with it, creating a music-driven, moody, dark show (though with occasional glimpses of humor––thanks Stan!) that never shied away from showing the seedy underbelly of vice cops in what was then one of America’s most vice-ridden cities.

The list of guest stars could scroll for days, as could the episode-by-episode soundtrack. And that’s before we even begin to talk about the shows it inspired (NYPD Blue, Homicide, The Wire…) and the movies (Bad Boys, To Live and Die in LA, The Usual Suspects…).

But for us, THE Miami Vice moment came just over halfway through the pilot episode (“Brother’s Keeper”), as the newly introduced pair drive down the mean streets in a scene set to the ethereal, haunting “In the Air Tonight”. We knew instantly what we were in for. And we loved it.

Miami Vice lasted five full seasons on NBC (1984-1989), never doing really well ratings-wise, but there’s no denying it’s impact in our favorite decade.

It was a great run, and we’ll freely admit that when we saw Crockett and Tubbs drive away one last time in that “stolen” white Ferrari after turning in their badges in the final episode (“Freefall”), a part of us died too.

“Hey Tubbs, you ever consider a career in southern law enforcement?”

“Maybe. Maybe.”

We ♥ Miami Vice.

Need You Tonight/Mediate

•June 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

“Come over here…”

Any of you who join us in looking back fondly on the late 80s and remembering them as “INXS time” (yes, that’s a thing) no doubt share our pain.

How amazing was Kick when it debuted in mid-October 1987? (We’ve already sung its praises, in case you need a refresher.) And how even-amazinger was “Need You Tonight/Mediate”, the album’s first single, which first hit our ears a month earlier?

Notice that, yes, we called it “Need You Tonight/Mediate” and not just “Need You Tonight”…which brings us back to the aforementioned pain. Sure, despite the flawless segue linking the fourth and fifth songs on Kick, we only really ever heard “Need You Tonight” on the radio, leaving “Mediate” be relegated to the forgotten netherworld of 80s pop/rock.

It may seem like a minor little thing to get all bent-out-of-shape over, but when you have something so good (and as relatively short) as “Mediate” just sitting there already?? Just play it DJs! Come on!

Fortunately MTV occasionally played the songs together, thanks mostly to the uber-memorable dual-video directed by Richard Lowenstein…which went on to win 5 Moon-men at the 1988 Video Music Awards. The “Need You Tonight” section riffed on the Kick album cover before becoming a collage-tastic bit of video genius, and then the “Mediate” part payed homage to Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. Together they made five-and-a-half minutes of awesome:

Seriously…five-and-a-half minutes. That’s all it would have taken for radio stations to play the whole song(s), as it (they) was (were) meant to be heard.

But, eh, we’re just being petty, we suppose. “Need You Tonight” (without “Mediate”) spent a whopping 25 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 including a single week at the top spot in January 1988. And it would end the year as the 2nd biggest song, behind only George Michael’s “Faith”.

Not too shabby…for half a song.

Grrrrr.

“…like pretty Kate has sex ornate.”

We ♥ Need You Tonight/Mediate.