Archive for the 80s Category

Shooting the curl in landlocked Alabama

Posted in 80s, high school, life, nostalgia, personal, pop culture, vacations with tags , , on July 29, 2016 by Paxton

Surf Alabama

My buddy Shawn over at Branded posted an article talking about his “skate” phase where he discussed the fashion and the gear he coveted during his early days of embracing “skate culture”.  It’s interesting how similar that was to many of our own experiences at that age.  But there was another phase that was very similar to the “skater” phase that included some of the same clothes, but the philosophies were vastly different.  I’m talking about the “surfer culture”.  Which is what I wholeheartedly embraced from late elementary school through high school (and even a little bit now).

How did I come about embracing surfer culture while living my formative years in landlocked Birmingham, AL?  Well, starting in 2nd grade, I became a competitive swimmer.  So I loved being in the water.  Also, my family, throughout the 80s, would travel every summer to Sunset Beach, just outside of Myrtle Beach, SC.  So I would constantly have my surfer tendencies refreshed in a beach town filled with surf shops festooned with giant shark heads and neon ocean waves with names like Wings, Bargain Beachwear and Eagles.

wings-store Bargain Beachwear

For me, it wasn’t just the look, which was a big part of it, but the entire philosophy of surfing which suited me well.  Even in elementary school, I was very laid back and took life as it came.  I grew my hair a little longer than everyone else.  It was this lifestyle that spoke to me in many ways.  So I embraced the fashion and culture in a hardcore way for many years.


Shawn mentioned T&C skate shirts.  This is where there is some overlap.  I also wore T&C shirts, but I wore the ones with the surf designs.  This was, hands down, my favorite shirt brand.  They had cool and interesting characters and a huge variety of designs.  I had several group shirts like Da Boys, but the one I remember most is the “Hard Core Detective Stories” shirt with the “usual suspects” type lineup.  And I had it on a BRIGHT yellow shirt, of course.  I coveted a few of the T&C solo character tees as well.  Especially any of the shirts with the tiki guys like “Shark Repellent” and “Surf Sacrifice”.


There were other shirts besides T&C that I wore as well. Two other brands I really liked were Panama Jack and Ocean Pacific.  I realize now looking at all these pictures that my favorite type of shirt was clearly the character picture on the back of the shirt with the small logo on the front left breast.  T&C was that style too.  For some reason, I just LOVED having a cool surf image on the back of my shirt with a small brand logo on the front.  My brother and I had matching purple Panama Jack shirts.  I really need to find a picture of that.

Sun Britches

What would I wear with my surf shirts? I would accept nothing less than Sun Britches board shorts. In my eyes there was no other swimsuit worthy of covering my delicates. These were true surf shorts and they were pretty popular even at our community pool in Birmingham, AL. The bright colors with the colorful rainbow stripes on the thighs, button snap, velcro fly and the blue/white sun and water label on the outside back so everyone can see how cool you are. I LOVED THESE SHORTS.  Still do.  I think some of the shorts used a shoe string tie instead of the button snap, which was also kind of cool.  The only drawback I can think of was that the velcro fly tended to be very dangerous if you were not careful.  If you know what I mean (and I think that you do).

So while I couldn’t really get a surfboard and showcase that around the neighborhood, the next best thing, for me, was a BMX bike.  Like Shawn, I liked skate boards, but I was terrible at them.  Plus, it felt like if you rode a skateboard, you HAD to know how to do tricks.  But if you rode a BMX bike, it didn’t feel like it was also necessary that you know how to hop up and down on one wheel or ride around on your seat backwards. You could just ride. And look awesomely cool.  And my ride was an early 80s Huffy Pro Thunder.


This is almost exactly what my bike looked like (photo via  Silver with the red highlights.  Obviously the first thing I did was to remove the chain guard (chain guards are for cowards).  Next I removed all of the pads and reflectors making the bike as dangerous to ride as possible.  Eventually I would get a BMX number attached to the handle crossbar.  I loved that bike and rode it EVERYWHERE.  Unlike Shawn’s ride, this one didn’t come with the awesome mag wheels.  It had spokes, which I didn’t mind.  But some of my friends had mag wheels and I really loved them.  I eventually wanted to put them on my Huffy, but it never happened.

I’m not entirely sure what happened to my bike.  I assume it was sold away in a garage sale for a price not even half its actual worth.  I do still have some of my surf shirts squirreled away somewhere.  I’ll have to find them.  Speaking of, I couldn’t find any specific personal pictures of myself with any of these items.  I’m still ransacking my house to see where they are.  When I find them, I’ll post some stuff up.  I’m pretty sure I have pics of my shirts and/or shorts, but I’m not sure a picture of my actual bike exists.  But I hope it does.

Thanks, Shawn for sending me down nostalgia lane to find a picture of my old bike which sent me spiraling into memories of Sun Britches and Ocean Pacific.  It was a lot of fun.



Nerd Lunch Episode 186: Star Wars Return of the Jedi Drilldown

Posted in 80s, nostalgia, pop culture on July 9, 2015 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

This is it, Nerd Lunch’s final drilldown for the final film in the original Star Wars trilogy.


May and Kay return to discuss the 1983 conclusion to the original trilogy. We discuss our first viewing of the movie, some of our favorite parts, some of our least favorite parts and we delve a bit deeper into our heroes’ possible planning sessions for Han’s rescue at Jabba’s palace.  Lots of fun to be had here and we announce the continuation of these drilldowns into the prequel trilogy.

Download this episode from iTunes, Stitcher or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or, listen to it online right here.

More Young Guns vintage trading cards!

Posted in 80s, Billy the Kid, books, movies, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , on July 8, 2015 by Paxton

A month or so ago Shawn Robare and I unveiled our custom set of vintage Young Guns trading cards. I showed you the even numbered cards in the set (Billy, Dick, Charlie, Tunstall, etc) and Shawn showed the odd numbered cards (Doc, Chavez, Dirty Steve, Murphy, etc). Also, if you guys were paying attention, we both revealed some variant/chase cards over on Cult Film Club which featured alternate image cards as well as custom book covers for the movie novelizations Shawn and I so wish existed.  Click the cover below to see these alternate card images plus see the other Young Guns novelization cover.

YG2 novelization

As such huge fans of the Young Guns movies, Shawn and I couldn’t leave well enough alone.  I mean, if we do an entire custom made vintage set of trading cards for the first Young Guns movie and then can’t do one for the sequel, then what are Shawn and I doing here?  Not our jobs, I’ll tell you that much.

So, we dug in and made a second set of cards for the sequel and now it’s time to see those cards.  Like last time, I’m going to show you half the set here.  If you want to complete the full set of Young Guns II cards, hop on over to Branded in the 80s and see Shawn reveal the second half of the set.

First off, lets check out the wax paper wrappers.  Here’s the main wrapper with Billy.

YG2 wax wrapper

And as is sometimes done, we made a variant wax wrapper for the set featuring Pat.  Shawn even has a rare third wrapper variant over in his article featuring Arkansas Dave.  Check it out.

YG2 wax wrapper 2

Now, let’s take a look at the odd numbered cards in this set. Like I said, jump on over to Branded in the 80s to see the even numbered cards in the set. You can click any of these images to see them BIGGER on Flickr.






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Nerd Lunch Halloween Extra Helping: KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978)

Posted in 80s, movies, music, nostalgia, podcast, pop culture with tags , , on October 31, 2014 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

I have an extra special Halloween treat for you. Jeeg and I recorded a Special Helping of Nerd Lunch for this spooky day and we recruited Jay, a Lieutenant in the KISS Army to talk about the legendary 1978 KISS movie, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (aka Attack of the Phantoms).

KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park

We spend time talking about our history with this movie as well as some of the awesome 70s-ness of the clothes and dialogue and how incredibly stupid-awesome KISS comes across in the movie.  There are like 5 or 6 musical interludes and some awesomely crazy-weird concert footage featuring Peter Criss playing air guitar on carnival rides and Paul Stanley walking on laser beams.  And expect to see KISS vs Frankenstein at one point.  Seriously.  This movie is BONKERS.

Download this episode from iTunes, Stitcher or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.

Cult Film Club Episode 14: The Last Dragon (1985)

Posted in 80s, movies, music, podcast, pop culture with tags , , , on April 30, 2014 by Paxton

Cult Film Club

Welcome to another exciting episode of the Cult Film Club.  This week, Shawn, Jaime and I are discussing the 80s martial arts/musical classic, Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon.

Last Dragon

We go over the story and the awesome characters. We discuss all the things we love about the movie. We talk about Sho-Nuff and Eddie Arcadian. We talk about Bruce Leroy and special guest cameos by William H Macy and Chaz Palminteri.  We spend an hour essentially having nerd orgasms all over this movie.  Join us, won’t you?

When you’ve finished listening to the episode, check out 30 Things We Love About The Last Dragon.

Download the latest episode from iTunes, Stitcher or listen to it online right here.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Hard Rock Zombies (1985)

Posted in 80s, monsters, movies, pop culture, zombies with tags , , , , , , , on October 25, 2013 by Paxton

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Having recently revisited Return of the Living Dead I wanted to watch something similar in tone and execution.  Sort of a hard rock zombie horror movie. Searching hard, REALLY hard, I thought I’d found exactly the movie I was looking for. It’s called Hard Rock Zombies. Hard Rock Zombies The tag line says it all, “THEY CAME FROM THE GRAVE TO ROCK N’ RAVE AND MISBEHAVE!”  I don’t know how familiar all of you are with this movie, but I was only aware of the poster (above).  Which is pretty awesome.  I’d never seen the movie nor had I really ever given much thought to actually watching the movie. So, thanks to AWESOME-tober-fest 2013, I have finally had a chance to watch it.  Let’s start with my expectations.

This came out the same year, 1985, as Return of the Living Dead.  The very next month, actually.  Which surprises me because I totally thought this movie was a direct reaction to the underground popularity of ROTLD.  However, to come out the next month I would assume it would have been mostly filmed by the time that came out.  Which is interesting. Anyway, that’s where my expectations were.  Something along the lines of a Return of the Living Dead.  A funny, hard rock horror movie that may make little sense but has lots of fun with not only the genre but itself.  Did I get it? Let’s find out.

Well, the first scene in the movie is sort of bonkers.  Two guys on a leisurely drive pick up a hot chick on the side of the road. This chick is Elsa.


The group stop off at a lake and go skinny dipping.  Elsa drowns and slashes both of the guys while another weird guy and two dwarves watch and take pictures.  Both bodies are carried out of the water and put in clear plastic wrapping and then Elsa cuts off one of the guys’ hands and immediately holds it lovingly up to her cheek while singing, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles.


And that’s where we BEGIN. Continue reading

AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: The Re-animator (1985)

Posted in 80s, Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2013 by Paxton

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Today I’m going to talk about the 1985 cult horror film classic, Re-animator starring Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton.

The Reanimator

I have seen this movie previously. I watched it numerous times during my Fangoria “horror” phase. In the late 80s-early 90s I was a “gore hound”. I loved splatter films. Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead. All of them. Fangoria was my favorite magazine and it clued me in on many other awesome horror movies that were out for me to rent on the burgeoning VHS rental market.  This was one I discovered in the pages of that awesome magazine.

Re-animator is based on the original Lovecraft short story, Herbert West – Reanimator.  It’s not a direct adaptation, though.  The movie takes many of the characters and some of the situations and re-imagines them a bit.  While the Lovecraft story is sort of an homage to the original Shelley Frankenstein, the movie is a parody of both the Lovecraft and Shelley stories.  It takes the elements of horror and the macabre from Lovecraft’s story and infuses much dark humor into the situations.

Some might think that this movie doesn’t fit into the traditional “zombie” genre.  Herbert West is re-animating the dead, so his creations are, in effect, zombies.  Though maybe not the mindless brain-eating zombies popularized by Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead.  You could probably also throw this movie into the “mad scientist” genre.

The plot revolves around Herbert West.  Newly arrived at the Miskatonic University medical school.  He rents a room from Dan Cain, student and boyfriend to Megan, the daughter of the medical school dean.  Things start going awry when Dan discovers that Herbert is performing medical experiments with a brand new serum he’s invented for bringing the dead back to life.  Dan and Megan are drawn into Herbert’s deadly machinations as the bodies not only begin to fall, but continue to rise up again.

Herbert West - Jeffrey Combs

I can see the elements of Lovecraft’s story that were re-imagined as I watch this movie.  Herbert constantly wanting fresher dead bodies, Dean Halsey becoming a zombie and being institutionalized and reanimating a head separate from the body.  Now that I’ve read the story it’s cool to see this in the movie I know so well.  The story in this movie covers roughly the first two parts of Lovecraft’s story.

As the movie started, I was sort of surprised at how blatantly the score rips off Herrmann’s Psycho score with the violins.  And, for what is essentially a B-grade horror movie, the effects hold up fairly well.  And while the acting is understandably, not great, the performance of Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West is nothing short of awesome.  He plays the role with such earnest seriousness it makes the craziness all around him seem that much more crazy.

This film is sort of famous for the “head” scene later in the movie (you should know what I mean).  And it’s every bit as awesomely weird and crazy as I remembered.  So, yes, this film still holds up pretty well for me.  I enjoyed watching it again.  The film did well enough that it got like three sequels.  I haven’t watched any of them.

However, the title of the first sequel should clue you into how much of a Frankenstein parody this series really is; Bride of Re-animator.

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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.