Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic

Novelty acts usually fade from the limelight after their fifteen minutes of fame are up (quick - who wrote "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"?), and any kid with a tape recorder and a spare afternoon can record a song parody. So how did a frizzy-haired California kid with an accordion turn novelty music into a platinum-selling, Grammy-winning, celebrity-spoofing career that has so far spanned almost four decades? Sure, Dr. Demento's radio show helped, but "Weird Al" Yankovic has survived for one simple reason: the guy is just flat-out funny. Continue reading...

Jawbreakers

Jawbreakers

There are some candies that you just can’t wait to sink your teeth into. When it comes to Jawbreakers however, you might want to take things at a more leisurely pace, lest they become tooth breakers. By comparison, your jaw is in far less danger of breaking, although it is quite susceptible to aching. That’s the price to be paid for enjoying these little concrete-like treats. Of course, a little discomfort hasn’t stopped millions of kids from enjoying these popular candy balls. Some things (especially those involving lots of sugar) are just worth the risk. Continue reading...

Richie Rich

Richie Rich

For many a year, Richie Rich, the always kind and friendly “poor little rich boy” appeared in hundreds of Harvey comics. A Saturday morning cartoon was first attempted in 1980 but proved to be short-lived. It would take another 14 years before the mega-wealthy lad was brought to the big screen in the 1994 live-action film, Richie Rich. Continue reading...

Cocoa Puffs

Cocoa Puffs

Americans have gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs for the last five decades, thanks to the help of the manic mascot, Sonny, and those loveable Cocoa Puff Kids. With enough chocolaty, sugary goodness to power any kid through the morning, it’s no wonder the crunchy goodness of Cocoa Puffs has consistently remained on grocery store shelves and in the hearts and memories of kids everywhere. Continue reading...

Game & Watch

Game & Watch

For close to a century, the Japanese company Nintendo busied itself making playing cards for the popular game Hanafuda. Off and on, they would dabble in other toy and business interests, but it wasn’t until the dawn of the video game age that the erstwhile humble company would make international history. One of Nintendo’s contributions to the gaming world was the Game & Watch, a handheld electronic game that put the power of video games into the very portable palm of the hand. Continue reading...

Memory

Memory

Every once in a while, a game manages to teach a few valuable skills to unsuspecting players and make them smarter without them ever realizing it. Candyland snuck in some color recognition mentoring. Hi Ho! Cherry-O stealthily gave kids the ability to count, and Hot Potato … well, that taught the valuable lesson that if you holding something that is hot, you should hand it to someone else immediately. But in terms of developing concentration and matching skills, the name of the game was Memory – a simple card game that taxed those brain cells to no end. Continue reading...

Connect Four

Connect Four

Commercials come and go, but catch phrases live forever. The final quarter of the twentieth century heard just such a phrase moaned from the lips of one young boy after having lost a game to his sister. While no boy in his right mind wants to lose to a younger sibling, losing at Connect Four ranks with Sorry! and Risk in the pantheon of crushing defeats. Perhaps that’s why before Milton Bradley marketed the game in 1974 under the goal-oriented name “Connect Four,” it was simply and somewhat quietly known as The Captain’s Mistress. Continue reading...

Sorry!

Sorry!

The ancient game of strategy called Parcheesi got a modern makeover in the early 20th century, emerging as Sorry! the game that apologized for your woeful lack of skill and/or good fortune. First seen in England, it was imported to America in 1934 by Parker Brothers and a new family institution was born. Hearing your mom saying "Sorry!" in a saccharine, condescending voice as she denied you victory was enough to make you wonder if the notion of motherly love wasn't just a big crock. Continue reading...