Friday, September 30, 2011

Wooly Willy Magnetic Mustache Toy



I loved Wooly Willy and his
MAGNETIC PERSONALITY.
Wooly Willy -- the magnetic mustache game was another toy I often thought of breaking open to see what was making it so magical. Wooly Willy was created way back in 1955 by Donald and James Herzog for their father's toy company in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Wooly Willy provided 15 minutes of fun.
I loved giving him different looks.

Wooly Willy was basically a picture of a bald dude encased in plastic filled with tiny metal bits that would form a mustache, beard, bushy eyebrows or head of hair as you moved the attached magnetic wand around Willy's face. It was a very simple concept and for some reason we kids loved it.

I think I remember getting Wooly Willy in my Easter basket a few times. It was the perfect toy to keep kids busy in the car or at boring restaurants back when we didn't have handheld video games. Sure, it got boring after about fifteen minutes, but I still loved creating different looks for Wooly Willy. Did you?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Water Ring Toss | Retro TOMY Waterful Games



Waterful Ring Toss by TOMY

Growing up, I was the oldest kid in our extended family. My cousins are all much younger than me so there wasn't really anyone to play with until the mid 1980s. However, in the mid 1970s, I was lucky enough to have an aunt who was just 11 years older than me. A while back I blogged about her awesome 1970s record collection back in the day.

My aunt loved these impossible-to-play ring toss water games. Waterful games were manufactured by TOMY back in the 1970s. They were like these plastic handheld tanks filled with water. Inside the small tank-like game would be a ring toss or ball toss. You would control the game with a button or two. There were a variety of games including basketball and soccer -- games of true skill because it was super challenging to win against the water. 

I always imagined breaking the Waterful toys open. I was so curious to touch and see what was inside. Was it was really water? Was that clear substance actually some sort of gel? I was a weird kid. 

Did anyone have one of these Waterful games, games you play with in water?
Wonderful Waterful Soccer!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lady Elaine Fairchilde from Mr. Rogers Scared Me



Lady Elaine you FREAK!
Lady Elaine Fairchilde from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on PBS scared the crap out of me as a kid. After doing a little research it is comforting to learn that many kids between 1968-2001 were freaked out by this beast of a puppet voiced by Fred Rogers himself. 

Why the freakish red cheeks and nose? Why that horrendous Beatles hairdo? Why so manly? Now that I think about it, all of those damn puppets freaked me out. The best part of the Mr. Rogers show was watching Mr. Rogers change into his comfy cardigan and slip on his sneakers and the sweet-sounding intro and ending songs. Honestly. Every time he stepped into that Neighborhood of Make-Believe my stomach would hurt as anxiety would set in.  

Watch weirdo puppet, Lady Elaine in action!



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fiddle Faddle - Grandma & Grandpa Loved It!



Grandma & Grandpa loved Fiddle Faddle
- the butter toffee popcorn.

My paternal grandma has been living with my dad for a while. This is giving us both a chance to spend more time with her. The other night my husband and I were at my dad's cooking dinner when I noticed something in the cabinet that totally brought me back. 

FIDDLE FADDLE!

Does anyone remember this? You may also think of Poppycock when you think of Fiddle Faddle. It's basically toffee or caramel clusters of popcorn mixed with peanuts. It is unbelievably delicious and horrendous for you and kills your teeth with every delicious bite. 

Staring at this blue box with the Fiddle Faddle logo across it, I remembered being young. I remembered visiting Grandma up in the mountains of New Jersey which seemed so far from our home on Long Island. I'll never forget it actually snowed on Thanksgiving while we were up there. I thought it was so amazing to see snow before December. Anyway, Fiddle Faddle reminds me of my grandparents. Grandpa loved that stuff as well. 

Here's an old commercial for Fiddle Faddle. I think it was big in the early 1970s.


Monday, September 26, 2011

E.T. TV Lap & Dinner Tray With Legs



The tin ET dining tray was the coolest in 1982.
When I was a kid back in 1982 I loved E.T. What's more, I loved watching TV during dinner time. Some times, especially if I had some sort of cold or flu, Mom would allow me to have dinner while watching TV. Don't ask me why, but this was such a big deal at age 10. 

Christmas of 1982, I received one of my favorite gifts that Christmas. It was an E.T. dinner and lap tray. Back in the early 1980s and late 1970s, metal or tin dining trays or TV dinner trays were popular. They had folding legs and you could sit with your legs stretched out with the dinner tray over your legs. If you were too sick to leave your bed, Mom could bring you the metal dining tray which would allow you to have breakfast, lunch or dinner in bed. 

I think I also had a Smurf lap and TV tray.

Kids of the '70s and '80s know there was nothing cooler than eating off of a tin tray featuring the faces of your favorite TV show, movie or cartoon character. Did you have one?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Waka Waka Fozzie Bear Doll - The Muppet Show


I loved my Fozzie Bear stuffed bear in 1978.

Although I remember watching The Muppet Show every week, I don't remember being that crazy about it. Weird, I know. To be honest, I was more of a Sesame Street kid.

I will say this, the best part about The Muppet Show was Fozzie Bear. I loved him. Something about him reminded me of one of my uncles - I think it was his voice and tone. One of my relatives gifted me a brand new Fozzie Bear stuffed bear one Christmas. I have a feeling it was my grandma. 

My Fisher Price Fozzie Bear stuffed bear was so soft and sweet. I loved his little hat and pink and white polka dot tie. Today the Fozzie Bear doll goes for about $20 on eBay.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Goodbye R.E.M.




R.E.M. got me through high school in the late '80s.
Yesterday R.E.M. broke up. I never really imagined this would happen to one of my most favorite bands of all time. My dad still catches his favorite bands of the '60s and '70s live and I assumed one day, I too would be an oldie rockin' out to my fave oldie band, R.E.M. Now all I can hope for is maybe there will be reunion shows like there are for The Monkees

I have Michael Stipe to thank for getting me through high school in the 1980s. High school - the most difficult four years of my entire life. I have seen R.E.M. live about four times and always thought they were one of the best live bands ever. 

My husband and I caught them in the summer of 2008 at my most favorite Long Island venue -- Jones Beach. An outdoor concert on the beach is always a gamble and we almost lost. That evening, we were faced with the most relentless thunderstorm of the century. I mean this storm was so bad the theater was actually struck by lightning. Folks were too scared to venture back to their cars to leave the beach theater. 



It was a true, "Hell no, we won't go" situation and within a few hours I was shocked when R.E.M. hit the stage. Soaked to the bone, I danced and sang along to each and every hit as if I were 15 again. Walking to the car I remembered the time I phoned in "Superman" to our local modern rock station, WLIR. The DJ refused to play the song unless I sang it. Embarrassed, but up for the challenge, I sang a few lines of the song and the DJ granted my request. 

I was hoping to see the band perform one last time -- maybe some day. R.E.M. thank you for being such an integral part of my youth. I'm sure you've touched thousands. You will be missed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1980s Bonkers Chewy Candy



Bonkers fruit chewy candy
yummy in the  mid-1980s.

BONKERS - BONKS YOU OUT!

The commercials may have been a bit annoying, but boy did I love Bonkers soft fruit flavored chewy candy. The print ads and commercials usually featured a southern housewife sporting an apron and wire rim glasses. "Some folks thinks Bonkers is gum, they know it's candy now!"


Bonkers by Nabisco are longer available -- sure we still have Starburst, but Bonkers were better. Bonkers candy even came in chocolate flavor. Remember? 


Monday, September 19, 2011

Word Up! Remember Cameo?


Word Up! I will forever remember the red cup on the Cameo dude's privates!
Today we have a guest post from my high school buddy, Dmitry who blogs over at FederalCTO.com. He had an odd run-in with a member of Cameo back in the late '90s and was kind enough to share it here at FourthGradeNothing.com. Whenever I think of Cameo or their song "Word Up!" only one thing comes to mind - the red jockstrap or protective cup the lead singer wears in the video. Researching, I just discovered that thing is called a "codpiece." 


Back in 1997, the tech boom was starting, and everyone was getting into IT. At the time, I was working for McCall Consulting Group, and was a consultant (that's means "code monkey") to SQL Financials (an SMB ERP vendor, in case anyone cares). I lived in Atlanta, in the
Ashford-Dunwoody area (before it got all crazy with the MARTA station), working nearby at Ravinia. There was a pretty large Border's that I would go to, have some coffee and check out the latest computer books. At the time, those books seemed to be published more frequently than newspapers, and weren't any good unless they had at least 500 pages.


Cameo had a one-hit wonder with WORD UP! 

I'm in the sprawling 'Computer Books' section, checking out some 1200 page tome that had been release about Oracle 8i. And there's a tall, black guy next to me, checking out the same section. Out of nowhere, this skinny guy with glasses, looks in our direction and starts yelling, "Oh, my God! I can't believe it! This is unbelievable!" from main aisle. We look at him, and he continues with, "I'll be right back! Don't go anywhere!" I looked at the guy next to me, as I'm
pretty certain he wasn't excited about seeing me.

He runs back to us, thrusts a pencil and napkin into the tall guy's hands and says, "Let me get your autograph! No one is going to believe this is unreal! Let me shake your hand! This is awesome. No one's going to believe this! Let me meet you again!" The guy signs the napkin, thanks him for being a fan, shakes his hand a couple of times and eventually the guy runs off. This is before cell phones with cameras, so autographs were all you got back then.

Now I'm left in the Database section, looking at this guy next to me, realizing he's some sort of celebrity, but not having a clue who he is. And the conversation went something like this:

Me: I take it you're famous. Who are you?
Guy: Yep. I'm a musician in a band.
Me: Oh. Ok. What band?
Guy: I'm the bass player for Cameo.
Me: Really? You mean, "Word up?"
Guy: Yes, yes. Word Up. That Cameo.
Me: Cool. So . . . what are you doing here?
Guy: Well, we still play gigs here and there, but I can't go shaking my ass on stage when I'm 40 or 50. And a buddy of mine said there's good money in being a database administrator. And I thought I'd get a certification.
Me: Oh. Ok. Well  ... good luck with that.

We chatted a bit longer, and I handed him my card, as it would have been cool to refer the bass player for Cameo for a job, but nothing ever came of it.  I just did some searches, and can't find any reference to Aaron Mills (Cameo's bass player during their heyday) being an Oracle DBA, so I don't think he ever did anything in IT, but it makes for a cool story.

There you go ... Word Up!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dodgeball - Dumbest Gym Activitiy Ever


Dodgeball worst gym class ever!

It's no surprise that I hated gym. I challenge you to name a chubby kid who enjoys lacing up their sneakers and getting sweaty in the middle of the school day. I hated gym teachers -- every single one of them. I hated  the way phys-ed class turned my somewhat normal classmates into competitive shark-like idiots. I hated being picked last for teams. I hated every single second of gym and worse yet, I hated Dodgeball

Dodgeball sucked! I can remember the unmistakable scent of that red rubber ball like it was yesterday. I can't forget the bumpy feel of the soft rubber that didn't feel so soft hitting my chubs at 400 miles an hour. 

Dodgeball was like cruel and unusual punishment. Whose idea was it to create a game where the object is to hit another kid with a ball? Like, huh? I wasn't aggressive. I wasn't violent. I didn't want to slam my fellow classmates with a red ball, nor did I want to get hit. To this day, I have to say dodgeball was the dumbest gym activity ever and NO I didn't bother to see the movie -- I don't want anything to do with supporting the evil game.

1970s Jigsaw Puzzles in a Can


Jigsaw puzzles in a can were cool in the late 1970s.
Today I was walking around our local Publix grocery store and spotted corn chips in a can. Something about the size and style of the can, brought back a '70s flashback. Yes, I thought of Planters Cheez Balls, but I remember being very young and playing with puzzles that came in a can

There was something cool about the way the puzzle pieces came in a coffee type can. You would seal the can with a plastic lid, just like a coffee can. The can made the puzzles super portable and I could take them to Grandma's or a friend's house. 

Most of these 1970s jigsaw puzzles in a can were made by APC American Publishing Corporation.

Is anyone old enough to remember these?

APC American Publishing Corp. made puzzles in cans.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

1980s Gatorgum Gatorade Gum



Gatorgum was salty, sour & oddly delicious to me.
When I was a kid my dad was really into jogging and fitness. Today he's in his early 60s and still walks the park every morning. After going for a run, Dad would sometimes chug the original orange flavored Gatorade thirst quenching sports drink. I, of course, had to try Gatorade and I remember thinking it wasn't bad. It reminded me of Tang.

Soon I began seeing packages of Gatorgum around our house. I recognized the logo from the Gatorade sports drink Dad liked. Gatorade introduced Gatorgum around 1976 and this was probably 1979. Sure Gatorgum didn't taste as delicious as Bubble Burger or as sweet as Hubba Bubba -- but I still enjoyed it. In fact, I remember the taste like it was yesterday.

Gatorade gum or Gatorgum was neon yellow in color and had a citrus, salty and sour flavor and I sure would love a piece right now! Unfortunately, I'm shit out of luck. By early 2000, Gatorade discontinued making Gatorgum

View an old Gatorgum commercial from the 1980s - the gum from Gatorade!


Didi Seven the 1980s Stain Remover


didi Seven
Who could forget the miraculous didi Seven universal stain remover commercials from back in the day.  This $14.95 tube of stain remover promised to work wonders on ink, pizza, blood, rust, wine and iodine (who spills iodine on their clothes anyway?) stains on clothes. I remember being impressed watching a man with blue ink-stained hands add a drop of didi Seven and wipe them clean. Amazing!


Five Fun Facts About didi Seven
  1. The product was released in 1963.
  2. Didi Seven was invented by German inventor, Walter Willmann.
  3. Willmann named didi Seven after a childhood friend, Edith "Didi" and his lucky number 7.
  4. Didi Seven is no joke! Oprah voted it one of her favorite products in 2003.
  5. The secret chemical formula is heavily guarded and thousands of tubes have been sold since the late 1980s. 
Today didi Seven is still available and can be purchased on Amazon.com for only $11.97 -- odd how 24 years later and the price has actually gone down a few bucks. 


Monday, September 12, 2011

Greatest American Hero William Katt


William Katt was awesome as the Greatest American Hero.

At nine years old, I loved this silly weekly TV show starring William Katt as The Greatest American Hero. My little brother and I would anxiously wait for Wednesday nights to catch William Katt and Robert Culp in ABC's brilliant 60-minute comedy drama. Researching, I'm surprised to learn it actually only lasted three seasons and 44 episodes. I guess when you're young three seasons feels like an eternity. 

Part of me wonders if it was the "Believe It or Not" theme song I liked best about The Greatest American Hero, or maybe Bill Katt's wild blond curls. I also found Robert Culp to be quite handsome, even though he was old enough to be my grandpa back in 1981. 

The show featured William Katt as Ralph, a special education teacher turned superhero. I loved how Ralph becomes a superhero with superhuman powers thanks to a run in with some aliens who gift him a spiffy red superhero costume.

Does anyone else remember this early 1980s TV show, The Greatest American Hero


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Young Male Stars Gone Too Soon




Jonathan Brandis 
April 13, 1976 - November 12, 2003 
Cause of death: Suicide 
Sidekicks, Ladybugs, seaQuest DVS 


River Phoenix
August 23, 1970 - October 31, 1993
Cause of death: Overdose
Explorers, My Own Private Idaho, Stand By Me

Corey Haim
December 23, 1971 - March 10, 2010 
Cause of death: Accidental overdose
Silver Bullet, Lucas, The Lost Boys



Brad Renfro
July 25, 1982 - January 15, 2008 
Cause of death: Heroin overdose
The Client, Sleepers, Ghost World, The Informers


Heath Ledger
April 2, 1979 - January 22, 2008 
Cause of death: Accidental overdose of prescription drugs
10 Things I hate about You, Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Night




Friday, September 9, 2011

First Grade Penmanship Paper Wide Lined



Penmanship paper with dotted lines.

In case you haven't noticed, your Facebook news feed is flooded with back to school pictures of kids smiling ear-to-ear in their new outfits while clutching new lunchboxes and back packs. I've already told you about my favorite 1970s and 1980s school supplies. One thing I sort of forgot about was the big, wide lined penmanship paper from back in the day! 

I believe we used this in first and second grade. Remember how difficult it was to write the alphabet? I don't miss those days. Now all we do is type. I rarely write notes anymore. Even shopping lists can be emailed to my phone. 


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Exclamation Point Perfume from the '80s


ex'cla-ma'tion perfume from Coty.


"Make a statement without saying a word," the unforgettable catch phrase from ex'cla-ma'tion or Exclamation perfume back in the days. This inexpensive perfume is artistically packaged in a black and white bottle shaped like a huge exclamation point or exclamation mark

This Coty classic perfume from the '80s and early '90s is still available at local pharmacies or department stores and perfectly priced for young shoppers at under $20 per bottle. I've told you about my favorite perfumes from the past, sadly I never did own ex'cla-ma'tion Perfume by Coty.

Did you make a statement without saying a word? Did you own ex'cla-ma'tion perfume? I didn't, but I remember my friend Jen in high school did. It had a very pretty scent. I may head over to CVS today to take a reminiscent whiff. 





Caboodles '80s Plastic Makeup Case Kit



The Caboodle was essential to holding all of  your makeup and beauty accessories in the '80s.

Caboodles took the idea of a tackle box and made it awesome back in 1987.  Sadly, I can honestly say I may be the only 1980s girl that did not own one of these plastic Caboodles makeup and beauty cases. Caboodles were super cool and came in pretty colors like pink, baby blue and turquoise, but for whatever reason I just never got around to getting one. 

Caboodles were all the rage at sleepovers, camp and college. Girls would tote their treasure chest-like Caboodle packed with makeup and Scrunchies. I believe I was the only freshman in my college dorm who did not arrive armed with my overstuffed Caboodle


Moms and '80s fanatics may be surprised to know that Caboodles are still alive and well today. Sadly like everything else, the Caboodles are modernized to fit today's styles. Check out their website at Caboodles.com

Did you rock the Caboodle (not Kaboodle) back in the day?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Vintage Avon Hershey's Chocolate Kiss Lip Gloss

Vintage Avon Hershey's Kiss Chocolate
Lip Gloss from the '80s.

When I was about 12, I babysat my cousins every Thursday night while my aunt attended a ceramics class at the local high school. The only reason I can recall these babysitting sessions taking place on Thursday nights is because of NBC's Must See TV line up.

I remember starting the evening off watching Cosby Show and Family Ties with four well-behaved little cousins. I'd send them to bed around 9 and tune into Cheers and Night Court. I knew it was getting super late when Hill Street Blues came on. I'm guessing my aunt would grab a coffee with a friend on those late Hill Street Blues nights.

My aunt was a stay-at-home mom with four small children. She wasn't exactly made of money and her life wasn't exactly easy or filled with lavish vacations and purchases. My parents wouldn't allow me to accept any form of cash payment. This was okay by me -- I felt funny taking money from family anyway.

My aunt had a friend who sold Avon. To thank me for giving up my Thursday nights, she'd gift me fun little treats from Avon. I especially remember loving this Hershey's Chocolate Kiss Lip Gloss from Avon. I wish I could get my hands on that exact same Avon lip gloss today without spending $30 on eBay. It smelled so chocolaty and delicious. The Hershey's Chocolate Kiss Lip Gloss came in a plastic kiss-shaped and tasted so yummy on my lips. 

It's funny, we get so many expensive gifts throughout our lives, yet I never forgot receiving that small token gift. Do you remember a simple gift that stuck with you throughout the years?


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Aziza Nail Polish Pens 1980s



Nail Polish Pens were hot for a hot second in the 1980s.
I've never been very good at applying nail polish. To this day I get manicures and pedicures because I have absolutely zero skill when it comes to painting my nails. Back in the 1980s, Aziza Nail Polish Pens were all the rage. I thought my prayers were answered as a young teen. 


Sadly these nail polish pens didn't work as good as they did in the commercial.

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