1. Fisher-Price Sesame Street Clubhouse
These days, we barely blink an eye at TV-show/movie tie-ins with popular toys. Lego is all over Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc., Dora the Explora runs rampant at Toys R Us, and even made-for-TV movies can make it onto T-shirts. But in the 70s and 80s, Sesame Street was fabulous (nary an Elmo in sight), Little People were must-haves among the preschool set, and when they put the two together? Pure magic. Stairs, two slides, a trap door/chute, tire swing, jump rope, wagon, tunnels, and all the characters... it was brilliance in a box.
2. Charleston Chew
When I was a kid we got to go to the convenience store on Saturdays and buy one candy bar. Charleston Chews were the longest. THAT MADE THEM THE BEST. Or so my pea-sized brain thought. Seriously, I thought I was getting the most bang for my buck, when in reality, the bars are not as fat as, say, Snicker's, and besides that, they're really an acquired taste. But oh, I thought I was gaming the system!
3. Babes In Toyland
It sometimes happens that, when you grow up, you revisit movies you adored as a kid and have a particular reaction, such as: "Wow, this movie is a lot more profound than I thought!" or "Aw, haha, such a silly film, but gosh I still kinda love it," or even "Hey, it's just like I remembered!"
And then there's Babes In Toyland.
I'm honestly convinced that unless you're under the age of seven, or completely, on-the-moon high, there is no way you can actually sit through this film without wanting to fly to Disneyland and kick Mickey Mouse in the shins.
It's so absolutely, mortifyingly creepy, I can't even...
But when I was seven, it rocked.
4. Armless Mr. Potato Head
All the other kids' Mr. Potato Heads had arms as well as secret compartments in their booties. Mine had neither, but it did totally rock a pair of spectacles, a felt mustache and a pipe. I would go on to use the ears while playing "house". They made excellent mushrooms.
Skateworld was -- well, still is -- our local skating rink, and during my elementary school days our PTA would have a Skate Night and everyone who was anyone would attend.
Skateworld was radical for a multitude of reasons, including:
-The black light area that made your white clothing glow.
-The "Dice Game", where you had a 1 in 6 chance of winning a free 5-ounce soda.
-The ability to make dedications. "And now, here's Ice Ice Baby, going out to Brandon, from Jessica!"
-Buying fake roses or carnations for people.
-Sitting at the "good table" which was up one step from the others.
-The Hokey Pokey. (this is debatable)
-Icees, blue OR red
-Arcade Games, such as Mario Brothers, where 25 cents could get you 3 lives.
-and skating i guess.
6. A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court, Rudy Huxtable-Style
Forget every other version of this movie ever made. (And for the love of pete, forget First Knight entirely.) This one rocks socks. The kid who goes back in time to the days of Camelot is none other than Keshia Knight-Pulliam, aka Rudy Huxtable! King Arthur is the dad from Family Ties! Merlin's a lunatic, Lancelot's just plain hot, and Mordred is a riot! Keshia impresses everyone with her modern inventions, including a walkman, a Polaroid camera, and a book about bicycles and hot air balloons. It's entirely fabulous. And why am I trying to sell you on this... okay, um, next?
7. Cereal Commercials
When I was little and didn't understand how TV worked, I thought everything was done in real-time. Yeeeah. And there were all these commercials where kids would be like "Man, I'm weak" (or tired, or unmotivated.) Instantly, a bowl of nutritious cereal would appear before them. They would take one bite. A moment later, they would be scoring the winning touchdown or winning a race, and my dumb little brain was certain that I, too, could become a star athlete if I ate ONE BITE of cereal. I would literally do this thing where I'd take a bite in the mornings and then run around the house like I was crazy and like Tony The Tiger was my best bud.
And this is why you shouldn't let your kids watch television. Or befriend me.
8. The Rabbit of Seville
I do love me some classical music, and the more I listen to it, the better I'm getting at identifying pieces and composers. However, all credit for knowing The Barber Of Seville has to go to Bugs Bunny, and if that's something to be ashamed of, then I don't want to be unashamed. (Video)
9. Piano Lessons
Well, I hated them at the time, and apparently I'm supposed to thank my parents, now, for making me take them. I'm torn. Sure, I love that I can now sit down and bang out a medium-worthy impression of nearly any song... tickling the old ivories, as they call it... but really, mom? Seven years of yawn-worthy afternoons, stick figures and staccato, metronomes and diminished sevenths? Think of all those afternoons I spent at lessons. They could have been spent playing Commodore 64 or something.
10. Lady Elaine Fairchild
To remind us all that some things are best left in the dark.