Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Dig Love: Reasons Why I Love George Harrison

Several years ago, a rather arrogant male coworker asked me who my favorite Beatle was. When I responded with George Harrison his reaction was, "George! No wonder you're single!"

Assholes may come and go, but my love for George has never wavered. But that snippet of conversation shows how much George was misunderstood and under appreciated compared to John, Paul and even Ringo. I mean, the best description the mainstream media could come up with about George in the beginning of Beatlemania was that he was "the quiet one" which always seemed a little insulting to me. How little they knew. If John was the smart one, Paul was the cute one, and Ringo was the funny one, then George in my opinion was a combination of all three!

Martin Scorsese's recent documentary on HBO, called "George Harrison: Living in the Material World" provided additional insight into what true George fans already know: that he was the coolest! It's hard to believe that he's now been gone for 10 years (and even harder to believe none of the radio stations I listen to recognized the anniversary), but George is most certainly not forgotten from the fan pages and dedications I've seen on Facebook and YouTube. So today I'm sharing some love for the "quiet Beatle" and listing the reasons why he's my fave of the Fab Four:


He Made Songs About God Cool
Mass, CCD, and Catholic school could be a lot more fun if parishioners got to sing "My Sweet Lord" and "Awaiting On You All"...just saying. I never had a desire to listen to music with a spiritual message on purpose until I became introduced to George's catalog of solo work. His disdain for a world that prides itself on materialism and greed still resonates with me today. And when I need a pick-me-up, "Blow it Away" and "Beware of Darkness" help remind me to stay positive.
He Organized the First Charity Concert
1971's Concert for Bangladesh, performed at Madison Square Garden, was the first charity concert of its time to reach a wide mass of people and featured several big name performers including Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, and Mick Jagger. It raised $243,000 for UNICEF and helped set the stage for Farm Aid and Live Aid.

He Had an Incredible Sense of Humor
He hung out with the Monty Python crew, and his wry sense of humor is revealed in many interviews and even some of his music videos, like this one here for "I've Got My Mind Set on You." Watch for the dance number! 




He Was the Beatles' Best Guitarist
Well, certainly better than Ringo! I'm not knocking John Lennon's and Paul McCartney's guitar playing abilities by ANY means, but let's face it, if you are applying to be in a Beatles tribute band, the role of George is going to be the toughest shoes to fill. 15 years ago a guitar teacher wrote out to tabs to "Here Comes the Sun" for me to learn. Two years after picking up a guitar again and learning everything from scratch, I still don't have the guts yet to attempt the song. 

He Stayed Friends with Eric Clapton Even After His Wife Went with Him
The love triangle between George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and George's wife Pattie Boyd is perhaps the most infamous one in rock and roll history. Yet George, perhaps realizing that he was at least partially to blame for his first failed marriage, remained close with Clapton and toured with him in Japan in the 90s. Years after Pattie left Clapton, George remarked that in retrospect he was glad "that she went with Eric instead of some dope." 


Even Frank Sinatra Loved His Music
Frank Sinatra was not one to incorporate modern rock and roll into his set list, but loved George's ballad "Something" so much that he sang it on stage, often improvising the lyrics slightly to, "You stick around, JACK, it may show..." 

He Was a Master At Going Faster
George loved cars--he owned several from a Mini Cooper to a McLaren F1 (which you can see in the Beatles Anthology.) He was also a huge racing fan and friends with Jackie Stewart, and admired race car drivers for their concentration abilities, which he likened to transcendental meditation. 


He Had the Best Sense of Style of All the Beatles
From guitars to cars to pretty wives to the opulent Friar Park he called home, George's sense of style was greatly admired--and envied--by his buddy Eric Clapton. Clapton said that he wanted to be like George--which may have partially motivated his desire to win over Pattie Boyd's heart. 

He Loved the TV Show "Dallas"
Who shot J.R.? George knew the answer. A recent book by Monty Python alumni Michael Palin reveals that George was a huge "Dallas" fan. He even got angry one Friday evening when Palin called to discuss a film project, thus interrupting his viewing pleasure.


Fellow Hari fans--did I miss any? We love you, George--never forgotten!
Oh, did I mention that he loved cats?!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Celebrate Christmas Like It's 1985

It's that time of year again--time to scour through scans of old department store "wish book" catalogs. The holidays wouldn't be the same without taking a look back at what we used to ask Santa for, and this time we're cranking up "Do They Know It's Christmastime" and visiting the 1985 Sears Wish Book. Let's have some fun...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Much to Be Grateful For

One of the many things that I am grateful for this year is Go Retro's continued growth and popularity. During the past 11 months I've seen traffic grow, new followers, and at least once a week I've started to get emails from people commenting on the blog or asking me to post something retro news-worthy because they obviously value the site. So I'd like to once again thank all of you readers and fans out there who give me the inspiration and encouragement to keep Go Retro growing strong! May you all have plenty of things to be grateful for this holiday season.

And for your entertainment, here's one of those vintage how-to manners videos related to Thanksgiving...how to behave at the dinner table. Watch yourselves today, kids!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fonzie & Fozzie: The Difference Between Two 70s Pop Icons

I know it's awfully hard sometimes distinguishing between Fonzie and Fozzie.  So I figured with the new movie featuring The Muppets being released today, here's some side-by-side comparisons to help clear up the confusion. You're welcome!

Catchphrase:
Fonzie: "Ayyyyyyyy!"
Fozzie: "Wocka wocka!"

Profession:
Fonzie: Being the Fonz
Fozzie: Telling Bad Jokes

Sidekick:
Fonzie: Richie Cunningham
Fozzie: Kermit the Frog

Favorite Article of Clothing:
Fonzie: Leather jacket
Fozzie: Brown hat
Enjoys Hanging Out With:
Fonzie: Hot chicks who are anything but dogs
Fozzie: Dogs and frogs

Transportation Mode of Choice:
Fonzie: Motorcycle
Fozzie: Studebaker

Favorite Hangout:
Fonzie: Arnold's
Fozzie: El Sleezo Cafe

Public Service to Children:
Fonzie: Starred in an 80s video called Strong Kids, Safe Kids aimed at helping children avoid child molesters
Fozzie: Starred in an 80s video called Hey! You're As Funny As Fozzie Bear aimed at helping children develop comedic skills

Special Talent:
Fonzie: Making cars start by pounding the hood with his fist
Fozzie: Singing and dancing

Often Heckled By:
Fonzie: No one would dare heckle the Fonz!
Fozzie: Statler and Waldolf

Notable Mannerism:
Fonzie: Giving the thumbs up
Fozzie: Wiggling his ears

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Whatever Happened to Wearing Pantyhose?

As a child of the 70s and 80s, I remember lots of pantyhose ads on TV as well as in magazines (including the infamous one where Joe Namath lounges in a pair of Beauty Mist tights.) Pantyhose was promoted as sexy, feminine, figure enhancing and even energizing. Celebrity women often promoted them. Today, I can hardly recall the last time I saw an advertisement for nylons. Pantyhose sales have been in decline for years, and L'eggs just launched a new campaign aimed at making the garment hip and cool again for 21st century women. While I'm not sure yet if they will succeed, I would like to offer a few words on pantyhose from the female perspective (and it's not all negative.) 

There's a few obvious reasons why pantyhose sales have tanked during the last decade, compared to their heyday that was the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Much of my reasons echo those in this Retrospace blog post. For me, personally, I gave up wearing the sheer, nude colored variety of pantyhose at some point during the 90s. I think my feelings why were the same as for most women: for starters, they were an unnecessary (and hot) layer during the warmer months of the year, and you can't exactly wear them with open toe shoes or sandals. This was also right around the time I quit my hotel job (which required a skirt and closed toe shoes as part of the uniform) for an office one. We all know that the typical office dress code has slackened significantly in recent years--and I'm not placing the blame solely on pants and jeans for making pantyhose obsolete, but the fact that women wear capris and leggings with skirts while at work in some places.

Then there's the fact that pantyhose will develop a run after so much use, and stretch in some areas (leading to extra material bunching around the ankles.) I remember stopping many a run on my last pair using a spot of clear nail polish. Many women also consider it a nuisance to wear them--the "panty" top portion is often tight and constricting. Speaking on The View a few years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama admitted her distaste for the garment: “I stopped wearing pantyhose a long time ago because it was painful. Put ‘em on, rip ‘em—it’s inconvenient.”

These tight economic times may have something to do with the unpopularity of pantyhose as well. Like any other consumer good, the price has risen, and I'm willing to bet some women don't want to spend needless money on something that they'll have to throw away after a few wears. 
Having said all that, I am a woman who still loves and wears other types of pantyhose (aka tights or novelty hosiery), especially during the colder months. Just recently I bought two textured pairs of tights in Macy's, and loved having the whole section to myself to oogle over. So many colors, patterns, and various weights from opaque to sheer--even sparkly ones for the holidays--and no surprise, they were on sale and with my store coupon I got two for the price of one. To any woman who doesn't like pantyhose, let me just say there's a big difference between the bland, old school, beige variety and the fun styles that can enhance an outfit (and your legs.) 

Also, I know from reading Gilligan's Retrospace post that men love them. Guys from my generation and earlier grew up seeing women on TV, in movies, and in person wearing hosiery. They also wore shorter skirts, which required something covering the legs. As much as I love knowing I have the permission to wear jeans to work, I make the effort to get some use out of a skirt or a dress at least once a week. There's definitely something about them that makes me feel sexier. I never met a guy who said he doesn't like pantyhose--especially the fishnet variety that Morris Day paid homage to in the 80s:


So what do you say, ladies (and gents?) Maybe it's time for pantyhose to make a comeback? They say nothing beats a great pair of L'eggs!


Friday, November 11, 2011

The Glam of Pan Am, Part 2

Collector's Weekly is an awesome vintage and antiques site that contacts me usually once a month about a new article they've published that they think may be of interest to me. I always feel bad that I haven't mentioned them here yet, but this past week they posted this wonderful article about ABC's Pan Am, collecting authentic Pan Am memorabilia, and what it was like to be a stewardess for the airline. The article features an interview with Kelly Cusack, a collector who worked for Pan Am during the 80s and 90s and who runs the The Virtual Pan Am Museum, which is definitely also worth checking out! The show's prop department has actually borrowed hundreds of period Pan Am pieces from Cusack to make the series as authentic looking as possible. Some of the tidbits I learned from the interview include:

*The flight attendant's reputation for being "easy" is false.
Sexy, yes, but easy, no. Cusack says it just isn't true and that the show tries hard to make the on-screen romances look tasteful.

*Those white gloves had to be worn at all times.
Stewardesses switched to black gloves during the winter months or when flying to colder destinations. If they took off from a warm location they'd be wearing their white gloves, and would switch to their black pair by the time they landed.

*The same group of stewardesses didn't fly together.
I think we already knew that. No one was that lucky.


The interview says that authentic Pan Am and vintage aviation relics are selling for big bucks these days, which isn't surprising thanks to the show. An official stewardess hat from the 60s recently sold for thousands online.


The Virtual Pan Am Museum is fun to poke around in, especially the Pan Am People section:
A Happy Veteran's Day, especially to all who served our country! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Where the Action Is: Groovy 60s Dance Party This Sunday in NYC!

Hey cool cats and daddy-os, my friend Allison asked me to pass along some groovy info to anyone who will be in the NYC area this Sunday. She and a friend are DJing a monthly event called Where the Action Is: A 60s Pop and Garage Party! The premier dance will take place at 116 MacDougal in Greenwich Village from 8 PM to midnight. Where the Action Is is hosted by DJs Hullabalou and Ajobo, two kindred spirits brought together in the fervent love and passion for '60s music, bringing you the best of 1960s pop, rock, garage, soul and folks. So if this sounds like your bag (and it probably is if you're visiting Go Retro) and you're going to be in the Village this weekend, check it out! 

Be sure to like them on Facebook as well! They're giving away drink tickets and posting fun 60s tidbits and clips on their page. Wish I could go! It sounds like a fab time.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sandy Sarjeant's Go-Go Dancing Moves

Ever since my last post about go-go dancing, I've been trying to find out if there were any notable women who made a name for themselves performing this 60s form of dance. After all, it's one of my time travel fantasy jobs. One such name that I uncovered is Sandy Sarjeant.

Sandy's name may not ring a bell to most Americans, but in Europe during the sixties, she was one of the most famous go-go dancers to ever shake her tail feather on television.

Sandy on her wedding day.
Sandy enjoyed a lucrative go-go or mod dancing career on two music shows: the UK's Ready, Steady, Go! and a German program called Beat Club. From what I saw on YouTube, male fans certainly remember her fondly and she was the cream of the British mod scene. Known as "Crazy Legs Sandy", she apparently invented her own moves which were tough for the other girls to emulate (not that it didn't stop me from trying to copy her in the privacy of my home.) But info about her bio is very scant on the Internet. Her other claims to fame were that she released a catchy single called "Can't Stop the Want" and she married British keyboardist Ian McLagan from the band Small Faces in 1968. (She starred in the music video for their hit Itchykoo Park.)

After that, the trail goes cold. How Sandy got her start dancing remains a mystery, as does anything that happened to her after 1972 (she did have a child and divorced McLagan.) If anyone out there has any additional information about Sandy, please feel free to share it. In the meantime, here's some clips of her fabulous and contagious looking moves--they sure make me want to get up and dance! She was one skinny looking chick, but how could you not be when this was your profession all day long?











In this Otis Redding performance, Sandy is the middle girl: 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Land of the Lost TV Series #2: Midnight Caller

If you recognize the line, "Good night America...wherever you are" then you were a Midnight Caller fan. This was one of my favorite TV shows while I was in high school. There were a few reasons for it: namely, another friend and I both thought that lead actor Gary Cole (before his Office Space role) was super hot, the plots were interesting, and it differed from other cop series of its time in that the lead character doubled as a San Francisco radio talk-show host known to his listeners as The Nighthawk. Midnight Caller ran for three seasons, although I wonder if it's ever remembered much in TV history. 

Gary Cole starred on Midnight Caller as Detective Jack Killian, a cop who quit the force after accidentally shooting and killing his partner. Now dealing with a drinking problem, he gets a call one day from Devon King, the beautiful owner of a San Francisco FM radio station. She offers him a job working as a radio talk show host late at night, taking calls from listeners and trying to help solve their personal problems. (Now granted, this part of the premise never made sense to me--why would a radio station randomly call an alcoholic ex-cop and offer him an on-air job for which he has no experience? Whatevers.) Jack got personally involved with many of his callers' plights and acted as a detective during the day to solve crimes (which means the man didn't get much sleep.) Billy Po, played by Dennis Dun, was Killian's sidekick on both of his jobs. 




Midnight Caller sometimes worked controversial topics into its storylines. One such notable episode was called "After It Happened" and was about a bi-sexual man with AIDS who infects women with the HIV virus on purpose. It was one of the first times the disease would be part of a network television plot, and because people thought it portrayed bisexuals in a negative light, it sparked protests by GLADD and AIDS activists. Nonetheless, one of the woman who co-starred in it won an Emmy for her role in the episode.


My favorite character on the show was Devon King, played by Wendy Kilbourne. I was delighted to see comments from male viewers/fans on YouTube clips who admired Devon's style, because I did as well. She was one classy and smart business lady, and one of the few female TV characters I looked up to. Jack had a thing for her, and sometimes the chemistry between these two on screen seemed very believable. In between struggling with drinking and family issues, Jack had a few loves on the show, but like most viewers I really wanted to see him and Devon end up together. They almost did during an episode where Devon had to deal with a stalker and Jack camped out at her apartment to protect her, which ensued in a steamy kiss. But eventually Kilbourne wanted to leave the show and was pregnant, so the writers had her character get pregnant by another man. This scene that I found online, after Devon has her baby, is the last moment she shares on screen with Jack. Both actors did a fine job showing the adoration they had for each other...the hint of a relationship that was never meant to me...and it made me a bit sad to watch! Oh, and of course, Devon named her son Jack.

 

There's a ton of full episodes of the show on YouTube, but they're in Japanese! Proof that the show had international appeal.

This was a good and unique series. I miss shows that can put an interesting twist on the same old premise and keep us coming back for more, the way Midnight Caller did for me each week. Do you remember the series?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Power Outages

Hey my readers, just an update that I've been itching to blog this week but have been unable to do so because I lost power Saturday evening in the nor'easter snowstorm and it hasn't been restored to my street yet. To say I'm pissed is an understatement, but I won't bore people who come here looking for retro fun with the details, just that I can't post much at the moment. Hopefully we'll be returning to our regularly scheduled retro programming this weekend!

Since I probably won't get to do Two Forgotten Friday Favorites tomorrow, I might as well have some fun with this and a couple of songs with a common theme: dancing in the dark. Hope to back online in the evenings soon!



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