'The Greatest American Hero' reboot will have a female lead

I have fond memories of watching ABC's early-1980s comedy The Greatest American Hero and was only mildly surprised to hear they are bringing it back (as a pilot, for now). What was surprising is that the "hero" will be a "heroine" in the reboot.

Deadline reports:

...Hannah Simone has been tapped for the title role in ABC’s single-camera comedy pilot The Greatest American Hero, from the Fresh Off the Boat duo of Rachna Fruchbom and Nahnatchka Khan. In the reimagining with a gender switch of Steven J. Cannell’s 1981 cult classic, the unlikely (super)hero at the center, played by William Katt in the original, is being reconceived as an Indian-American woman.

Written by Fruchbom, The Greatest American Hero centers around Meera (Simone), a 30-year-old woman who loves tequila and karaoke and has spent her life searching and failing to find meaning, much to the chagrin of her traditional Indian-American family. An inexplicable event occurs that will change the course of Meera’s life forever: she is entrusted with a super suit to protect the planet. Meera may have finally found purpose, but the world has never been in more unreliable hands.

Read the rest

When Fonzie and the Happy Days gang time traveled

If you're a child of the seventies, you'll probably remember that while the sitcom Happy Days aired from 1974 to 1984, it was set in Milwaukee in the late fifties.

Ok, so in 1980, an animated spin-off series called The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang hit the Saturday morning cartoon circuit, lasting just two years. In those two seasons, they meet a "future chick" named Cupcake and are accidentally hurled through time and space in a janky spaceship with Mr. Cool, a talking dog. This quasi-educational show (which has Wolfman Jack as its narrator) chronicles their journey trying to get back to 1957, but first they jump to significant historical time and places, like the Salem Witch Trials.

So, it's a cartoon, made for early-eighties kids, of fifties youth bouncing around in time trying to get back to 1957. Sure... why not?.

If you have the time (heh), watch all of Season 1 and Season 2.

If you're wondering, this cartoon happened two years after Robin Williams landed a small role as Mork on the live-action Happy Days (which eventually turned into the spin-off, Mork & Mindy) and just three years after the Fonz jumped the shark.

Ayyy... Can you dig it?

(Weird Universe) Read the rest

If Siri existed in the 1980s

Leave it to Squirrel Monkey (previously) to imagine what Siri might have been like in the eighties. In this spoof called Wonders of the World Wide Web, they give the ancient alter ego of Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant a garbled, synthesized voice which I found particularly funny. Be sure to watch the whole video, as it just gets weirder as it goes along.

(Tastefully Offensive) Read the rest

E.T. is the star of Melodysheep's 'Phone Home' remix

Earworm alert: Remix maestro melodysheep (previously) just released "Phone Home," a "happy little E.T. song to brighten your day." It did. Read the rest

Friend of Kurt Cobain's shares early Nirvana demo tapes

Between 1988 and 1990, Tacoma musician John Purkey says Kurt Cobain gave him demo tapes. Now, he's shared those early Nirvana cassettes on YouTube.

Spin reports:

One tape includes Bleach demos recorded during the band’s first ever session in 1988 at Reciprocal Studios in Seattle, with Melvins drummer Dale Crover on the drums. Another features Nevermind demos recorded with Crover’s short-lived replacement Chad Channing, who left the band during the making of the project and was replaced by Dave Grohl.

The audio is raw, and many of the demos have seen the light of day via the numerous Nirvana compilations released after Cobain’s death, but the collection and backstory is interesting. Purkey played in several Tacoma bands during Nirvana’s early years and watched the band develop from scratch. He kept the cassettes in a metal box, hidden inside a second metal box, for years, he says in an accompanying video.

(Dazed) Read the rest

A fully-functional Rubik's Cube made of ice

Starting in 1980, spurred by popularity of the Rubik's Cube, UK-based Tony Fisher started passionately collecting "twisty puzzles."

Over the years, he's become quite the collector and inventor. All his "transformations" are really impressive. In fact, in 2016, he became a Guinness World Record holder for "World's Largest Rubik's Cube."

Well, now he has fashioned a fully-functional Rubik's Cube out of ice.

He explains:

This is my Rubik's Cube made from 95% ice and it is fully functional. All 8 corners and 12 edges are solid ice. The 6 centres are 50% ice and the core is plastic. The screws and springs are regular metal ones. The puzzle shown is a first attempt and works surprising well. I am thinking about making others with full ice centres and also fully coloured ones.
This video doesn't show how he made it and you'll see that the video footage is reversed in the beginning, making the melting ice seemingly "build" the toy. He does, however, write that he'll be posting the construction video soon. (Daily Mail)

Previously: WATCH: World record smallest 7x7x7 Rubik's Cube Read the rest

The 3D Pee-wee Herman tee

Eighties icon Pee-wee Herman is now featured on this fun t-shirt by Creepy Co. To see the full effect, pop on a pair of paper anaglyph glasses (included).

Oui, they made a 3D Pee-wee tee! It's available now for $26.99. Read the rest

Bad Lip Reading dubs 'Stranger Things' as a perfectly odd retro sitcom

Things have been turned upside down (see what I did there?) in the world of Stranger Things as the good folks at Bad Lip Reading have dubbed over original scenes from the show and created a funny sitcom version of it (Wonder Years, anyone?). It's 18 minutes long and worth a watch, especially if you're a fan of the popular Netflix series.

(Neatorama)

Previously: Watch this Bad Lip Reading of Trump's inauguration day Read the rest

Check out this hand-knit Pac-Man Icelandic peysa

This woolen Pac-Man sweater, an Icelandic peysa, popped up in my Facebook feed on Wednesday and it made me squee with delight. It's the handiwork of my friend Christine Clarke.

She told me that her husband, Doctor Popular, designed the sweater in knittingpatterns.is and, after some tweaking, she knit it up for him.

"I told him that if he designed a sweater, I'd knit it for him. But since he never knitted before, it was really difficult to implement his original design, so I ended up making a lot of modifications that didn't really affect the look but made a huge difference in how easy it was to knit."

And knit it, she did...

Christine told me she has been working on the sweater on and off for months, "I started it early February of this year, and of course I only finished it now."

If you'd like to knit one for yourself (and you're roughly the same size as Doc Pop), they've been kind enough to share the pdf pattern with us. Download it here. Christine says spent about $80 on yarn "because I had to get all the different colors, so even for a small accent (like the white), I bought a whole ball of it, so I'll have to think of a different project for all the leftovers."

Can't wait to see what's next!

photos by Christine Clarke and Doc Pop Read the rest

Another 80s 'shame' video: A Staten Island Bar Mitzvah celebration in 1988

Remember that "shame" video of the kid getting a Nintendo as a gift in 1988? Well, my former child actor friend Jared Hirsch saw it too and shared his own "shame" video from 1998 with me. His nearly two-hour long submission captures the splendor, joy, and robot sunglasses of his Bar Mitzvah reception on Staten Island.

I asked Jared if he had anything he'd like to say about the video. This is what he wrote back:

In 1988, I was a 13 year old growing up in Staten Island, the curious fifth borough in New York City. As all good young Jewish kids my age, my devoted parents threw me a classic 80s Bar Mitzvah. It was like a wedding, but for horny pre- and just-turned teens. Rented hall, live band, videographer, catered dinner, dancing, games, and all the attention I craved. I remember later that night sitting on their bed, counting all of the savings bonds I was gifted for becoming a man and feeling like a thousandaire. In 10 years, I cashed them and paid for a whole month of college. Behold in all it's transferred from VHS glory, my Bar Mitzvah party. Don't miss the Bar Mitzvah rap at 1hr10min, or my relatives not understanding how a video camera works. Delight in the snazzy renditions of your favorite 70s and 80 party songs. Cringe at the hair. Laugh at me for my overinflated ego, but don't forget that you too were 13 once.
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Watch this kid lose it over his new Nintendo (1988)

On Monday, redditor smulz shared this video of himself as a child receiving a Nintendo Entertainment System as a gift in May of 1988.

He writes, "I present to you my greatest shame. When my parents surprised me with a new Nintendo."

Whoa, whoa, hold up. There's nothing to be ashamed of here, sir. Your video is an amazing glimpse into suburban eighties life, from the guinea pig cages to that giant TV on wheels to your striped alligator shirt and thick glasses to your kid brother repeating, "I don't want to play with it." That part where you freak out and cry over getting an NES? Pure gold.

Please thank your mom for us for pulling out the camcorder to mark this important moment in your childhood, if for no other reason that we can enjoy it some nearly 30 years later. Read the rest

'Stranger Things 2' episodes imagined as vintage paperback book covers

Brazilian artist Butcher Billy describes himself as a "pop culture butcher obsessively looking for the perfect cut." I think he's found just that with his latest artworks.

The nine-piece series imagines each episode of Stranger Things 2, from "MADMAX" to "The Gate," as the cover of an 80s-style paperback book. So cool!

Billy's work has been featured several times here on Boing Boing. If his work is your kind of thing, his Instagram is definitely worth following.

(Design Taxi) Read the rest

The 'Ghostbusters' theme song played on floppy drives

Pawel Zadrożniak's Floppotron is back. This time his "computer hardware orchestra" is tackling the Ghostbusters' theme song. I think even Ray Parker Jr. would approve.

(Sploid)

Previously: The Floppotron: reclaimed computer hardware as a musical instrument Read the rest

Elvira chainsaws a pumpkin in her campy MTV Halloween special (1984)

Remember when MTV was quirky and cool?

Well, it was. In fact, in 1984, MTV asked Elvira, the legendary Mistress of the Dark, to host a six-hour special on Halloween night.** That special was titled, "Elvira's MTV Halloween Party" and looking at it now, it seems so experimental, like the theater kids were let loose in a TV studio, and I mean that as a good thing.

Forces of Geeks writes:

Elvira was given a 6 hour programming block on Halloween night 1984 to show all the spooky music videos there were interspersed with her usual shenanigans. Not just that but the middle 2 hours of this was a showing of Night of the Living Dead (with a special, shot for MTV, intro by George Romero) which Elvira would pop up into now and then.

Watch in this video uploaded by YouTuber Rockula Presents as the campy queen of Halloween pimps her own merch, brings on special guests, and shares old black-and-white horror movie clips and many music videos -- ranging from The Specials' "Ghost Town" to Oingo Boingo's "Little Girls" (no, that isn't Peter Dinklage at the 8:19 mark) to The Residents' version of "This is a Man's World" and, of course, Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead."

Also see her demonstrate the proper way to carve a Jack-o-Lantern, you know, with a chainsaw.

Other notable moments:

-- I believe that's John Paragon playing "Breather" (uncredited) at the 13:05 mark. You may remember Paragon was the actor behind Jambi, the genie of Pee-wee's Playhouse. Read the rest

Air-horn version of a-ha's 'Take on Me'

"Take on horn" is YouTuber Kyrne's humorous take on a-ha's 1985 hit "Take on Me" and it's pretty funny.

And who remembers this gem? If 2008 was the last time you watched the literal version of the "Take on Me" music video, it's high time you give it a look again. I had forgotten how good it is!

Now my face hurts from smiling so much.

(Nerdist)

Previously: a-ha played 'Take On Me' live on 'MTV Unplugged,' will tour and With no music, A-Ha's "Take On Me" video is dark and disturbing Read the rest

30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story

Excited to stumble upon this recently-released documentary on a real '80s phenomenon: 30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story*.

In the 1980s a bunch of underground cartoonists parodied a popular doll. The resulting commercial product tapped into the international kid zeitgeist. That young generation felt, rather than knew, that this product spoke to the rebellious nature they had for the corporate pop culture that was being fed to them. To quote Art Spiegelman, "We were bringing the counter culture to a new generation of kids, only it was the candy counter."

You can watch it on Amazon, like I will right now.

Update: I just watched it and it's fantastic. It goes deep into the GPK story, from start to finish. As a pop culture nerd, I have to say that I loved every minute of it.

*This is obviously NOT to be confused with The Garbage Pail Kids Movie from 1987. That is a whole 'nother beast. Read the rest

a-ha played 'Take On Me' live on 'MTV Unplugged,' will tour

Norwegian band a-ha recently took to the stage to sing an acoustic version of their 1985 hit song, "Take On Me." It's nice to hear that lead singer Morten Harket can still hit those high notes after all these years.

The band will begin an MTV Unplugged acoustic tour through Europe in early 2018, followed by a full-electric tour in the summer.

(The Loop)

Previously: A-ha! This app turns your living room into a 1980's music video using augmented reality Read the rest

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