Monday, April 30, 2012

1984: Classic Apple Commercial

Speaking of computers, here's a classic Apple computer commercial from 1984. This commercial, also named "1984" which ran during the Super Bowl that year, introduced the breakthrough Apple Macintosh computer. According to Wikipedia:

In one interpretation of the commercial, "1984" used the unnamed 
heroine to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by her 
white tank top with a cubist picture of Apple’sMacintosh computer on 
it) as a means of saving humanity from "conformity" (Big Brother). 
These images were an allusion to George Orwell's noted novel, 
Nineteen Eighty-Four, which described a dystopian future ruled by 
a televised "Big Brother". The rows of marching minions have direct 
cinematic parallels with those in the opening scenes of the 
classic dystopian film Metropolis. 

The commercial was directed by acclaimed director Ridley Scott.

Friday, April 27, 2012

When Computers Became Cool

With the advent of the first personal computers during the late '70s and early '80s, there dawned a new era of coolness for computers and those who used them. Suddenly, those quirky, savvy "computer geeks" were the epitome of chic. There was even a certain shadowy sense of power that was perceived to derive from being hip to all the secrets and esoteric knowledge of computers. 

One of the best examples of this was the sci-fi flick Wargames (1983).

 Wargames was the story of a young computer hacker, played by Matthew Broderick, who succeeded in hacking into a powerful defense department computer which was enabled with the ability to launch nuclear missiles. Although the character played by Broderick originally thought that his interaction with the defense computer (dubbed the "WOPR") was just a game, things quickly escalated to the point of nearly causing a nuclear war.  The movie's portrayal of the race to prevent nuclear catastrophe, and the climactic ending, served as a moral lesson in the midst of the Cold War.

 Wargames became a popular and well remembered '80s movie classic, and also an example of the emergence of the computer geek. 

 A less easily remembered TV show that came along around the same time was Whiz Kids. Whiz Kids aired on CBS during 1983-84, a featured a story line about a group of computer savvy young teens who use their computer skills to fight crime.

Here is the opening credits to the short-lived Whiz Kids.

Afterward, computers, and those who kept the knowledge of computers, began to appear in many of the movies of the '80s. This included many of the nerd oriented flicks that appeared during the mid '80s, such as Revenge of the Nerds (1984) and Weird Science (1985).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Help Stop Bullying

This is a personal post, and a personal request to my readers. 

Bullying is a blight on the lives of many young people. Now there appears to be some momentum to fight this type of abusive behavior, and to shine a light on its effects. Learn about bullying and the damage it causes, and do all that you can to fight this scourge.

Here are some anti-bullying links:

Friday, April 20, 2012

American Bandstand in the '80s

There are so many good memories of growing up in the '80s, and catching the latest hits on American Bandstand. Here are some wonderful retro-80s moments, courtesy of Youtube.

Above is the great Dick Clark interviewing Scottish singer Sheena Easton.

Here is a classic clip from 1984, featuring the A.B. crowd dancing to Spandau Ballet's "Only When You Leave," as well as some commentary from Dick Clark, and some '80s era commercials. This one really takes you back. The music, the styles, the commericals... all classic '80s.

And here's the group Animotion performing their big hit "Obsession" in 1985.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dick Clark (1929-2012)

Dick Clark was practically an American icon by the time that I became familiar with him. His hosting of American Bandstand from the '50s through the '80s was a central component of rock era culture, and something well remembered by teens of several decades.

My first memory of Dick Clark was actually as he was serving as the host of the popular Pyramid game show back in the '70s. I was a nerdy (and weird) elementary school kid back then, and I suppose was more easily drawn to the glam and flash and humor of game shows than I was to rock music. I do remember that once, the high school chorus came to our elementary school, and one of the songs they played was the theme from American Bandstand. The leader of the chorus introduced the song by noting that we may recognize it from a show watched by our older brothers and sisters over in middle and high school. I remember at the time, it intrigued me that watching American Bandstand was somehow a sign of reaching a certain age.... that it was "older" kids (older from the vantage point of elementary school kids, of course) who watched this show.

When I reached the teen years myself, I followed the path of previous generations from the '50s onward, and quickly developed a love for rock and pop music. And I soon found myself turning in to the old classic, still alive and well in the '80s, American Bandstand with its host of many years, and still then vibrant and active as ever, Dick Clark. I've always been so glad that both Clark and his Bandstand were part of my '80s youth, with its New Wave and Michael Jackson, as it had been part of youths that grew up on Elvis and the Beatles and Motown and disco. 

Dick Clark and American Bandstand: a rock era rite of passage.


Rediscover the 80s (click) has a great tribute to Clark.

Another loss:

Sadly, another figure from the '80s has passed away: Greg Ham of the popular '80s Australian group Men at Work. 

Greg Ham (1953-2012).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

'80s Commercial Catchphrases

Here's some phrases that probably have absolutely no meaning to you unless you were around to see commercials from the 1980s.

"Time to Make the Doughnuts."

"Wheres the beef?"

"Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?"

"Only half a cup? I thought you liked coffee."