Monday, June 25, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: The 20 Minute Workout

I'm not happy with my progress on Weight Watchers this year. I lost as much as 20 pounds in 18 months, but have gained back a couple pounds since then. This is in large part to my ignorance of the exercise portion of the program. I need to get my lazy ass moving again.

This is a problem millions of Americans face, and have faced for the last few decades. The birth of the fitness craze as we know it goes back to the 80s, and can be traced back to this week's Tuesday's Forgotten TV, The 20 Minute Workout.

The 20 Minute Workout was a series produced in part by a favorite of Me and You blog entries past, Nelvana--yes, the animation studio! It aired on the CityTV group of Canadian stations and sold into syndication in US markets. It debuted in the fall of 1983 and was a big success. It aired original episodes until the spring of 1985 and aired in reruns for a few seasons afterwards.

The show featured a different host on each day of the workweek who led the other instructors in various high-impact aerobic exercises. Although the exercises were legitimate, it can't be denied that the appeal of the series for many male audience members was to watch the ladies in their workout clothes, a fact which the producers were not only aware of, but counted on.

Before the Shake Weight, there was The 20 Minute Workout.

The series was a spin-off of a successful video collection of workouts released in Canada, clips of which aired as interstitial programming on the Showtime cable channel in 1982.  This series, along with Jane Fonda's never-ending series of workout videos, created the billion dollar fitness industry that is still very prevalent today.

If you're up to the challenge, here is one of the workouts. Now sweat!

 For more forgotten audio and video, check out Sweet Freedom by Todd Mason. Thanks!

Friday, June 22, 2012

List O' Links for 06/22/2012

Have nothing to do? Need some cool linkage so you can surf the Web? No problem! I got you covered!

I love the Beatles, but they have a surprisingly large share of haters as well. The Onion AV Club runs down 18 anti-Beatles songs!

As long as we're hating, here's a list of the 16 worst superhero costume designs of the '90s.

We're list crazy this week! Here, according to Mental Floss, are 31 company and product acronyms spelled out. Maybe these will come in handy the next time you play Scrabble.

The blog Channel Ocho asks the eternal question: Why Batman?

Lastly, for all you hardcore music fans out there, you know you've always wanted to learn this, so I'm happy to help you out. Here is a concise history of The Rise and Fall of the Beautiful Music Radio Format. You're welcome.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So there was this time I hosted Jaws Week...

Today is the 37th anniversary of one of my all-time favorites movies, JAWS, and with Todd Mason bringing my defense of JAWS 2 to attention via Tuesday's Forgotten/Overlooked last week, I want to remind you about my JAWS Week event I held back in 2010 for the film's 35th anniversary.

I devoted an entire week of the blog to articles about the movie in particular and sharks in general, specifically about how the film affected pop culture. My article about JAWS movie posters is one of the most popular articles I've written here. With today also being the first official day of summer this year, I thought it apropos to mention JAWS Week again. I had a lot of fun writing those articles, and I hope you have fun reading them.

To access my JAWS Week articles, and all of my JAWS-related posts on the blog, click on the JAWS label along the right of the blog or simply click here. There are some deleted videos here and there, but I'm working on updating those as I write this.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Explorers

I'm often a day late with Tuesday's Forgotten--or some weeks, I don't post one at all--but this week, I'm a day early! Personal reasons preclude me from posting on Tuesday, so I'm taking the bull by the horns and getting this out to you today. This week's subject is the 1985 adolescent fantasy Explorers.

Explorers stars Ethan Hawke as Ben Crandall, a typical suburban kid with an obsession with space in general and aliens in particular. One night he dreams of a special computer circuit that would be capable of allowing interstellar travel. He mentions his dream to his super smart friend (played by the late River Phoenix) who proceeds to create the circuit from Ben's dreamed-up blueprint. They create their spaceship from, of all things, a Tilt-A-Whirl chair, and off they go (along with a third friend) into the wild blue yonder and beyond, where they encounter an alien race--or do they?

As I mentioned in my previous Tuesday's Forgotten Film selection D.A.R.Y.L., this is one of a sizable number of films from the mid-80s that involved tween age youngsters, especially boys, getting into fantastic adventures, and which also involve, at least to a small degree, a sense of wish fulfillment for kids of that age. Who didn't dream of going into space or getting involved with such adventures at that age? I know I did. That's what makes movies such as Explorers engaging, especially if you were of that age when these films were released, as I was.

To see for yourself, here is the film's official trailer, followed by the entire film itself. Enjoy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

List O' Links for Friday 6/15/12

I haven't posted a List O' Links in awhile, so let me rectify that problem now. Surf away!

I posted my own tribute to the Incredible Hulk in honor of his 50th anniversary previously, but the LA Times Hero Complex created their own fine tribute as well

Speaking of tributes, Histories of Things to Come has a touching one in honor of late astronomer Jack Horkeimer.

For fans of both old time radio or science fiction, here is a collection of episodes of the great 50s sci-fi radio program X Minus One.

His name is Shawn Robare, and he's a mechanical pencil addict. "Hi Shawn!"

A vending machine that prints and sells a book on the spot? Why not!

Lastly, Laurel and Hardy made fantastically funny films, yet they sometimes ended on a bizarre note. Tom Ruegger of Cartoonatics shows just how bizarre.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Random Images of Awesomeness

I had such high hopes for blogging this week, but once again, life got in the way, so today I'm just going to post various images I've collected off of the 'Net that I think are cool, funny, or just eye-catching.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I hope so. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Lemonade Days 2012

Today marks the beginning of this year's Lemonade Days fundraising event for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. This four-day event is the biggest fundraising event of the year for one of the most prominent organizations fighting childhood cancer "One Cup At A Time." My lovely wife Joanne is once again hosting a lemonade stand at the elementary school where she teaches, and my company is also hosting their annual stand today. Please learn more about the organization here and donate whatever you can.  Even better, learn how you can host your own lemonade stand any time of year. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: D.A.R.Y.L.

I may be a day late, but here I am with this week's Tuesday's Forgottem Film. This week, it's the 1985 sci-fi family drama D.A.R.Y.L.

The titular boy in question is not just a boy, he's a Data-Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform, essentially a cyborg, designed as a weapon by the military. His main creator is overcome with a conscience and decides to help the boy escape his captors, and D.A.R.Y.L. wanders into the home and heart of unwitting foster parents, played by Michael McKean and Mary Beth Hurt.

They are amazed at the boy's abilities to think and act at such a complex level, but love him all the same. Once they learn the truth of D.A.R.Y.L.'s origin and the government brass that is hot on his trail, they fight to keep D.A.R.Y.L. from harm and wish to adopt him as their own.

This was one of several interesting films made for a tween market during the mid-80s that also has appeal to an adult audience; I may explore more of those films in this feature down the road. D.A.R.Y.L. was once available on DVD, but seems to be out of print now, although you can likely find it in the usual second-hand outlets. It's also available on Amazon Instant Video.

Here is a (poorly synched) trailer for the film. For more forgotten greats, surf on over to the Sweet Freedom blog. Thanks!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con 2012 Recap

Welcome back to the work week!

As my Twitter followers now know well, I attended Wizard World's Philadelphia Comic Con this Sunday along with my two children, and we all had an amazing time. We started in a room set aside just for kids, with an arts and crafts program in which the children made their own masks and colored Star Wars coloring pages. This was succeeded by a kids costume contest. As luck would have it, there was a 42-way tie for first place (what a surprise-wink wink) and all the kids won a prize of their choice. My daughter Megan chose a large My Little Pony figure, while my son Brian chose a long sword that lights up and makes sound effects (no, that sword won't get annoying real fast).

After a quick snack, we moved onto the main hall, which was huge and filled from one end to the other with artists booths, retailers, and celebrities of all kinds. The kids were especially happy to meet someone of whom they are obviously a big fan:

We perused the entire hall for the next two hours, picked up some cool looking artist prints and books, and talked with some great people. I spoke with Dan Parent, current writer and artist of Archie; South Philly's own Johnny Zito, author of Moon Girl and Dogs of Mars; John and Sanji, creators of the comical zombie video series For Zombies; the great geek culture-inspired rock band Kirby Krackle (their first time in Philadelphia); Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca from the Star Wars films; and a person I wanted to talk to last year but didn't get to, Lou Ferrigno, TV's Incredible Hulk.

Other celebrities in attendance were all five captains from the various Star Trek TV series, Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell of Quantum Leap, Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead TV series, Chis Hemsworth of the Thor and Avengers movies, Dean Cain, star of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (he played Clark, not Lois); and Melissa Joan Hart, TV's Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Lastly, right before we left, we all got our picture taken with the Batmobile from the Batman 60s TV series. Although Megan and I had our pictures taken with it last year, Brian wasn't able to attend then, so this was his first time.

And that was our great time at this year's Philly Comic Con. If you get the chance to attend a con in your area, I hope you have as great a time as we did!