Garfield and Friends

Garfield and Friends

Garfield, role model for lazy cats everywhere, started out as a syndicated newspaper comic strip created by Jim Davis. And, as one might expect, the character proved popular enough to made the transition to TV commercials, which eventually led to his own Saturday morning show in 1988, Garfield and Friends. The kitty with an attitude endeared himself to many a young viewer, enough to stick around for a respectable 121 episodes. Continue reading...

The Love Bug

The Love Bug

Even with a star-studded cast that included Dean Jones, David Tomlinson, Buddy Hackett, and Michele Lee, there was no misconception with audiences as to who was the real star of Walt Disney's The Love Bug. That title belonged solely to Number 53, a sassy white Volkswagen Beetle, complete with blue and red pinstripes and a whole lot of attitude in this 1968 classic. Continue reading...

Radio Flyer

Radio Flyer

Kids have their own transportation needs. Sure, they can use a bicycle or Big Wheel to get around the neighborhood, but what if there are items that need to be carried along? Ever try to haul a bunch of toys, a pile of dirt, or your beloved pet on a bike? Chances are, they might not arrive intact at your destination. That is, until the advent of a small red wagon known the world over as a Radio Flyer. Versatile, practically indestructible, these metal workhorses have hauled tons of kid-friendly cargo for almost a century, and show no signs of slowing. Continue reading...

Larry "Bud" Melman"

Larry “Bud” Melman

Only in America could a 61 year-old file clerk in a drug rehabilitation center become an icon almost overnight. He wasn’t great at reading cue cards, he was often nervous and seemingly confused by his surroundings, and he spoke with both a lisp and a Brooklyn accent – none of which mattered. He was simply in the right place at the right time and when TV audiences got a glimpse of him, they took Larry "Bud" Melman into their hearts, making him a beloved figure of late night TV. Continue reading...

Fotomat

Fotomat

Somewhere in a parking lot near you, there might just be a tiny old shack, perhaps converted into a drive-up coffee stand or some other small business. Chances are, this was once a Fotomat and, in its glory days, was painted a brilliant sky blue with a pyramid-shaped gold roof. Cars waited in line impatiently, eager to relive their memories of a graduation day, or a vacation, or a baby's first steps. Fotomats once dotted the landscape of our nation. Then, almost overnight, technology swept in with little mercy and Fotomat became as extinct as the film they once developed. Continue reading...

Crazy Climber

Crazy Climber

Crazy Climber brought to mind the ancient myths of poor mortals cursed to repeat the same quest over and over again with no end in sight. That's not to say it wasn't fun. In fact, it was addictively so, enough to lure arcade aficionados to spend their hard-earned quarters ascending skyscraper after skyscraper in this endearing (and enduring) game, released by Taito in 1980. Continue reading...

Super Soaker

Super Soaker

So many scientists insist upon wasting their time on the boring stuff – medicine, space exploration, computer circuitry. It is the select few, the ones who understand the importance of playtime, that truly make the worthwhile contributions. In the 60s, it was the tireless hours in a laboratory perfecting the Super Ball, simply so that millions of kids could have the opportunity to play with a ball that could bounce over a house. And in the 80s, one brave scientist would re-invent the whole concept of water warfare. Put away those water balloons, holster that measly water pistol – there was a new breed of aquatic artillery on the block and its name was Super Soaker. Let’s take a look at the origins of this terrific toy. Continue reading...

Good Times

Good Times

Spin-offs of popular shows are common, but how often do you get a spin-off of a spin-off? Not very often, but the hit sitcom Good Times provided the best possible example. The story begins with Maude, a series starring Bea Arthur that was a spin-off from All In the Family. On Maude, the title character had a sharp, independent-minded African-American maid named Florida. Maude and Florida's verbal duels became a highlight of the show, making the Florida character very popular with viewers. When that popularity got too big for a co-starring role to contain, Florida got her own spin-off series, Good Times, in February of 1974. Continue reading...