Pat Sharp. The man, the myth…the mullet. Even though he was the bloke who put the ‘fun’ into 90s kid’s gameshow Funhouse, he was professional with it. The ringmaster of this gungy circus, the conductor of this wacky orchestra, the referee of this hyperactive match. Well, you couldn’t expect any less from someone whose hairstyle said ‘Business at the front, party at the back’.
THE GANG: (l-r) Wembley, Red, Gobo, Mokey and Boober
‘DANCE YOUR CARES AWAY, worries for another day, let the music play…
down in FRAGGLE ROCK!’
After the success of The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, it was only natural director/producer/puppeteer Jim Henson should take his knack for creating and bringing to life amazing puppet characters, and create yet another huge hit… cue FRAGGLE ROCK!
Fraggle Rock definitely goes down in TV history for the catchy theme tune, one you could often hear being chanted on the school playground. The little gem of a tune really could be attributed to playing almost as big a part in the success of the show as the mastery of Henson. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be involved in this magical world after dancing your cares away in just the few opening moments!?! In saying that you now probably won’t be as surprised as I was to learn that the song even hit the British music charts, making it to an impressive number 33. But then if you are reading this, you probably already know that!
Fraggle Rock was very nearly as big a hit as its forerunner The Muppet Show, airing 96 episodes across a total of five series’ in countries such as Canada, UK, USA and New Zealand.
Thankfully, it was also re-run again and again, as if it wasn’t for this I surely would have missed out on the Fraggles, the Doozers and those giant furry humanoids The Gorgs, as I was a bit too young to have caught it the first time round. (Yes I was born late in the 80s, I know, how sad for me missing out on in my opinion the greatest era of our time).
The main Fraggle characters were Gobo (leader of the gang, who entertains his friends with stories of his globe-trotting uncle ‘Traveling Matt’ from the post cards he sends to him), Mokey (who is a bit of a hippy who likes reciting poetry and keeps a diary with all her thoughts), Red (Ed says: ‘I was Red growing up!’ Red has big hair, worn in two orange puffy bunches, is competitive, fun and a bit insecure at times), Wembley (the youngest, cheerful and cute, wears a shirt with little bananas all over it) and Boober (worry-wart and hypochondriac).
They all live in ‘The Rock’, which is situated inside Doc’s (who the Fraggles deemed as a ‘silly creature’) walls! They also referred to the outside world as ‘Outer Space’ – something they learn from Uncle Traveling Matt’s Postcards, which Gobo has to risk his life to sneak from Doc’s dustbin each time.
Obviously, as would be the case in a show like this Doc doesn’t notice that these cute little souls are living there, despite Sprocket his beloved pet dog failed efforts to draw his attention to them. However, at the end of the fifth and final series they do eventually become acquainted, becoming firm friends.
As for the Doozers, they were tiny (only six inches tall), quite plump and green, and are the second type of species that live on Fraggle Rock. (I especially love the little wellies that they wear!) The Doozers live for working and spend all their time building construction (for no real reason). The fact the Fraggles end up eating it all makes this exercise even more pointless (bastards)! They build this out of an edible sweet-tasting substance made from radishes.
The third species in the series (aside from Doc and Sprocket) were the Gorgs, a family of three huge furry troll-like beings, which consisted of a father, (Pa Gorg) mother (Ma Gorg) and son Junior Gorg). The family consider themselves as ‘rulers of the university, and dopey Junior is the heir to the ‘throne’. They live above Fraggle Rock.
Fraggle Rock also presented many other little songs sung by the Fraggles that are just as enjoyable. They despite the Fraggles as they keep surfacing to steal radishes from the Gorg’s garden – the Gorgs need the radishes as these stop them from turning invisible.
The theme for each show tended to revolve around the usual messages planted in kid’s TV shows – friendship, confidence, trust, honesty, blah, blah, blah! But one thing not so generic about the show was the way it was built as an international show from the start, this factor doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary until you consider all the scenes shot with humans were especially done for each particular market, so for the UK version of the show the entrance to ‘Outer Space’, which is what the Fraggles call the real world, leads to a lighthouse where lighthouse keeper ‘the Captain’ lives with his dog Sprocket.
In the US and German versions and in the German version of Fraggle Rock, the hole in the wall leads to the workshop of an mad-cap inventor called Doc (not quite the Back To The Future one, but close Lol!) AND in the French version it leads to a former bakery and new home of ‘Doc’, who this time is a chef, and his dog, who looks exactly like Sprocket, is called Croquette. So wherever you were watching it in the world, it appeared as if it was actually filmed it that country!
After the massive success of Fraggle Rock, a series of books followed, which I haven’t actually read myself but from catching up on the programme recently I should imagine that they are every inch as exciting as the program itself and each page filled with as much whimsical joy.
The DVD’s were also released later on in early 2000’s, proving its popularity as people were buying them 20/30 years after the show was originally aired, embracing the nostalgia of a favourite childhood show and perhaps introducing it to future, unknowing, generations.
In research for this article I managed to find a whole episode of button moon on Youtube and, I have to say it’s a lot different watching it back now. The catchy yet brief theme tune goes, ‘We’re off to button moon, we follow Mr Spoon, button moon.’ THAT’S IT! This is then repeated twice. Somehow, I remembered it to be a lot more… well, a lot better than that. But oh no, it’s just 11 words long, and a bit rubbish really !
Footloose can best be described as a feelgood dance movie that was originally released back in 1984.
But even though the 80s was known for its dance films, this one had that extra little bit of grit and edge. For starters, you had to be 15 or over to watch this movie, as it featured naughty things such as bare bum cheeks on display and a minister slapping his daughter. Radical.
In a land where everything American is fully embraced, celebrated and emulated, the birth of a contemporary, youth-oriented show that was Dawson’s Creek became an overnight sensation in the Philippines, the country I fondly call my homeland. My people have long been fascinated with American culture because in many ways it embodied boldness and mirrored a lifestyle that was far different from ours. As a result, US exports such as Sesame Street, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Hershey’s Kisses, Twinkies had infused with our own culture.
‘When I was a little girl, my mama used to lock me in the attic when I was bad, which was pretty often. I would pretend I was a princess trapped in a tower by a wicked queen. And then suddenly this knight on a white horse with these colours flying would come charging up and draw his sword. And I would wave. And he would climb up the tower and rescue me. But never in all the time that I had this dream did the knight say to me, ‘Come on, baby, I’ll put you up in a great condo.’
Meet Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts in her breakthrough role), a beautiful redhead. Oh, yeah, she’s also a prostitute.
Would you trust a man with a bald head, a potential Oedipus complex, tight leather chaps and a great line in leopard print cardigans? What about if he forced you to don a dodgy tracksuit, bad eyebrows and a poofy fringe? Would you still trust him if he led you into a maze with no guarantee of escape? And to top it off, would you still be so trusting after he thrusts you into a locked room to pit your wits in some of the most gruelling contests know to man in the hopes of winning a crystal which he’ll pocket immediately on your release?
Back in the day The Arsenio Hall Show was the hottest late night talk show on American TV. And even though we didn’t have it here in the UK, if you had friends or family in the US, you made sure they taped it for you every week!
Imagine this day at the office – you’re an undercover cop, just going about your business when you’re shot in the face by some ne’er-do-well. When you wake up, some bastard has reconstructed your face so you look like David Hasselhoff. Then, while you’ll still reeling from that horrible news, they give you a talking car.
So, you’ve got a super intelligent car that can drive itself, but you also have David Hasselhoff’s face. Swings and Roundabouts.
Anyway, that’s the set-up for Knight Rider (1982-1986). The aforementioned bastard was Wilton Knight, founded of FLAG (Foundation for Law and Government) and after he pops his clogs in the pilot episode, it’s up to Irish smoothie Devon Miles to send Michael (Hasselhoff) and KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) on crimebusting missions.
With Halloween approaching, it got me thinking about how the classic horror film doesn’t really exist anymore. I haven’t seen the latest Brit flick Demons Never Die yet, but haven’t heard great things about it to be honest.
Alas, gone are the days when it used to be a proper event whenever a scary movie was about to drop in the cinema. From Nightmare on Elm Street and its sequels, Friday 13th and Child’s Play, it was enough to get everyone (old and young) excited at the prospect of being scared sh**less all in the name of entertainment!
To this day a lot of the classic horrors are a lot more frightening that the newer ones, even with the advent of the Internet, HD, improved 3D, GGI and other technologies. For me the best flicks from this genre were either the ones which were just damn right disgustingly gruesome or the ones that weren’t that scary but had a good enough storyline to keep you entertained and cause the odd heart jump in all the right places. And if you were lucky you got both.
So, in saying that…I Miss The Old School take a look at the the top five old school horror flicks (in our humble opinion of course) of all time… ‘Of all time!’ *Kanye voice*