Monday, September 29, 2008

An eBay Rant

For the past few years, I've had a major issue with eBay. Not with the site itself, although there are plenty of those kinds of issues. No. My issue with eBay is with the sellers. While I do not begrudge anyone from attempting to make a quick buck by selling on eBay, what I do mind is the erroneous use of the word 'vintage' and 'retro' on eBay.

The dictionary defines vintage as: a period of origin or manufacture.

In everday use, this means items, clothing or furniture from a particular period of time. Or, antique. In other words, old.

My personal definition of vintage is anything from a particular period of time (or decade) that may not always be all that old or antiques. There are things that are vintage 1990's but I do not consider them to be antiques or even remotely old.

To illustrate my point, try searching eBay for vintage platform shoes. Sure, you will turn up several pairs of platform shoes (and most of the time not really even platforms but that is a rant best saved for another time). However, not all of the listings are vintage platform shoes. More often than not, you will see listing after listing of those costume pimp style platform shoes. Again, I don't mind these sellers listing these and trying to sell them. What I do mind is the use of the word 'vintage' in their listing. These are NOT vintage platform shoes! How in the Hell can they call something vintage if that item is currently being manufactured? Sorry kids, but such items are not 'vintage' items. I would say that they fall into the 'retro' category. If you really want a vivid illustration, try doing a search for 70s Disco. That will turn up a plethora of those stupid costumes, wigs and just about everything else you can think of. And lo and behold, several of those listings will also have the word 'vintage' in them.

Then there is the word 'retro'. Again the dictionary definition of the word 'retro' is: Involving, relating to, or reminiscent of things past; retrospective.

To me, that means, things that are made in such a fashion as to reflect the style or look of particular period of time but are not (nor will they ever be) 'vintage' items.

Those stupid costume listings are 'retro' things. Not 'vintage'. I really wish people would learn the difference. I get really sick of seeing 'retro' things listed as 'vintage' and vice versa. Believe me, I'm sick and tired of trying to find the genuine vintage 70s items while having to scroll through pages of useless retro things just to get to the good stuff.

In fact, it would please me even more if the people at eBay regulated these 'retro' listings to the eBay Stores section. Especially since 99% of them are not even auctions but 'Buy It Now' items. Why clutter up the really good vintage listings with this junk? And make no mistake about it. Those costume things are just junk. If I never see another stupid 70s afro wig listed as vintage, it will be too soon. It would even be a Godsend if these sellers actually learned to list their items for what they really are instead of what they think (or wish) that they were. Junk is junk.

It used to be really fun to shop eBay when it first started. 90% of the items listed there were actual vintage or antique items. Then, slowly things began to change. More and more people began flooding eBay with brand new itmes. It began to be more of a left overs or factory seconds store. Kind of like a Big Lots instead of a really great big garage sale. True, with the advent of the eBay Stores section, more and more sellers were listing their vintage or antique items as a 'Buy It Now' item. I think that this happened because the actual auction listings were flooded with garbage and folks just weren't able to find the good treasures anymore. I know these days, I prefere to 'Buy It Now' if I can. I just don't have the patience or the time to look through 25 pages of platform shoes just to find the 10-15 piars of genuine 70s platforms shoes that are listed amongst all of the junky retro crap.

Don't get me wrong. There are still great vintage auction listings to be found, but you have to really search for them. Trying to fliter out the junk and often filter out the good stuff too since seller just seem to throw around those great little buzz words like 'vintage' and 'retro'. They really like to throw 'retro' around with the word 'new' as well. Heads up people, that is a dead giveaway that the itme you are looking at is a 100% brand new item and is in no way vintage, antique or old. It may look vintage, but it is not. It all goes back to that old saying. Buyer beware.

I guess I've been taken in less by some of these shady sellers because I really know the period for which I shop. Doing some research really helps making sure that I don't get taken or fooled into believing that say, a swag lamp, is vintage 70s when in fact it's a replica from Finger Hut.

I just wish that eBay did a little bit more to keep these sellers a bit more honest. Or at the very least, make sure that they are listing their times accurately.

Finally, these sellers need to really, really, really learn what a platform shoe is and stop listing pumps as platform shoes. Platform shoes have platforms on the toe. At least a half inch or more. God, what a concept! Platform shoes with an actual platform. Imagine that!

And stop with this 'vintage retro' type of listing. An item cannot be both vintage and retro. Vintage retro? So, what it's vintage 2008 and retro 70s? Sorry, but that is just stupid and shows a complete lack of understanding as to what the item really is. It's either vintage or it's retro. It can't be both.

Friday, September 26, 2008

70s Music Compilation CDs--The Big Boys

Being the huge 70s collector that I am, it just naturally follows that I would have a huge 70s music collection. I been attempting for the past several years to collect every Top 40 hit from January 1970 to December 1979. This has become an lengthy process with at least 25 songs not available on CD at this time.

Of course the starting point for me was the release of 70s Compilation CD collections. Mainly from Rhino and TimeLife. It goes without saying that these two companies are the big boys of the reissue CD market. Both Rhino and TimeLife have the best reputations and are very well respected among oldies fans. Their pedigree in releasing collections of great music is second to none.

In the early 90s, just after Razor & Tie began reissuing 70s music under the name The 70s Preservation Society both TimelIfe and Rhino jumped on the bandwagon. TimeLife's Sounds of the 70s quickly became the premier collection to own and I doubt that anyone who has this series would argue the point. However, I find Rhino's Have A Nice Day: Super Hits of the 70s and Didn't It Blow Your Mind: Soul Hits of the 70s to be a more statisfying collections.

Sometime around 1996 or 97 I began collecting TimeLife's Sounds of the 70s and it took me about two years to complete. There is no disputing TimeLife's ability to license a huge amount of music for their collections and Sounds of the 70s certainly boasts a great roster of music. The series as a whole give collector's a much larger representation of the different styles of music that appeared throughout the entire decade versus the Rhino collections. The entire collection consists of 46 CDs with over an hour of music on each CD.

However, I do have a few issues with the collection as a whole.

First of all, each of the covers for each of the CDs I find to be really awful. I don't like a single cover. This is pretty much a symptom of all TimeLife collections. I've yet to run across any cover from any TimeLife series that I find attractive. They are all pretty abysmal. For Sounds of the 70s someone tried to give us a kind of pseudo Andy Warholesque renderings and in my opinion they failed misserably.

Secondly, the time it took to collect the entire series. Since these were only available through mail order (from TV advertisements and infomercials) you only got one CD every 4-6 weeks. That time could be shortened (as I did) to only 4 weeks between shipments, but that still seemed to take forever. Plus the selection of CD you received was random. Meaning you started with 1970 but the next shipment might be FM Rock. You didn't get them in the order they were issued or even numbered. Rather a lame way of doing it if you ask me.

Thirdly, the liner notes and pictures. Most of the time, the liner notes only discussed about 2/3 of the songs listed on the CDs. I found this to be a bit of a disappointment mainly because I'm a liner note reader and I wanted information on every song listed. Also, you only got two pictures of artists per CD. One on the CD itself and one on the back cover of the booklet and most of the time those pictures were altered in some way. Again in a kind of Andy Warhol style. And again, failing at it.

Fourth, and this has to do mainly with the structure of the sereis itself, the way the CDs were arranged. Meaning, you get CDs for each year (70-79) and then a second CD for each year (70-79: Take Two). After that, there are compilations CDs with titles like AM Nuggets, Pop Nuggets, Guitar Power, FM Rock and Dance, Dance, Dance. While a few of these categories like FM Rock I-IV, can stand alone, others are just nonsensical. I wish that instead, the year by year format had been continued. While other CDs in the set (like Punk & New Wave) I appreciate them being in the series, but I really could do without them. I do understand that TimeLife was really trying to cover all genres of the decade. I just think the entire thing could have been handled a bit better. Also, TimeLife made (in my opinion) a very unforgivable mistake. On the 1979: Take Two CD, they used the 1980 Can't Stop The Music version of Y.M.C.A. by the Village People. This was not the original version with lead vocalist Victor Willis but the rerecorded version with replacement lead vocalist Ray Simpson. Same on you TimeLife. You should have known the difference.

Finally, the shear difficulty in obtaining every title in the collection was a real headache. Certain CDs were only released in Canada (A Loss For Words, TV Themes, Pop Nuggets-Early 70s, and Pop Nuggets-Late 70s). While other CDs (70s Dance Party) were released long after the collection was supposedly finished. Additionally, in the 70s Dance Party CDs, TimeLife simply released the original 1979 disc as part of the 70s Dance Party portion of the collection. Also, by the time of the four Canadian only releases rolled around, there started to be some duplication of previously released material. Note a great selling point for these discs to American collectors.

For my collection, I haven't even bothered trying to get the 70s Dance Party CDs. They were released long after my shipments had stopped. Also, just about every track on these discs had been released on previous CDs. They became a big, 'why bother', kind of thing to me. As far as I was concerned, when I finally obtained the Pop Nuggets-Late 70s CD, my collection was finished. True, it ended on an uneven number (41 instead of 46) it didn't matter to me. I had moved on.

My favorite 70s music collection is by far the two series released by Rhino. Their Have A Nice Day: Super Hits of the 70s and Didn't It Blow Your Mind: Soul Hits of the 70s for me are just really fun collections to own.

The thing that I like about both of these series is that they remind of those great K-Tel compilation albums of the 70s. The focus of these series were not on the ultra cool FM sounds of the 70s but more on the one and two hit wonders from the decade. Songs that I've come to call goofy pop. Songs like Billy Don't Be A Hero, Arizona, Chick-A-Boom, Indiana Wants Me, Hooked On A Feeling, Drift Away, and the like. For me, these songs bring back many more memories of the 70s than say songs from Fleetwood Mac, Boston, Bad Company, etc. ever could. These gems on the Rhino sets are mainly the songs that I remember the most from the 70s. These were the songs that we sang along to while riding the school bus to and from school everyday. While not every song in these collections are memorable to me, I'd say 90% of them I do recall hearing on the radio at the time. And for me that is what really counts.

Most people would categorize most of these songs as probalby the worst songs ever recorded. While I can't deny that a lot of these songs are pretty awful, that is what makes these collections so much fun.

Each disc contains 12 tracks. There are 25 discs in the Have A Nice Day:Super Hits of the 70s and 20 discs in the Didn't It Blow Your Mind: Soul Hits of the 70s collections. There is one additional CD called Have A Nice Christmas: Holiday Hits of the 70s that contains 16 holiday songs. Unfortunately Elton John's Step Into Christmas and Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmas Time are not included. Bummer.

Each cover of the Super Hits of the 70s series features a really cool vintage 70s item. These range from the JVC Videosphere TV to platform shoes. In fact, this series was primarily responsible for me beginning my 70s memorablia collection. I love seeing that stuff so much that I wanted to own as much of it as I could. In fact, there are several items on these covers that I actually do own. Thanks to eBay.

The covers of the Soul Hits of the 70s has a vintage picture of a differnt soul performer from the 70s. I will admit that I'm not all that crazy about the covers for this series. I think that Rhino could have done a better job. But that is just my little nitpic.

Both series contains booklets for each CD filled with pictures of most of the performers on the CDs and they talk about each of the 12 tracks. There is some really fun trivia to be found in these liner notes if you take the time to read them.

My only issue with both of the Rhino collections is that I felt that they should have continued each of the series for another 5 CDs. True, combined there are a total of 45 discs, but I feel that certain years just weren't covered as well as they could have been. The years 1978 and 1979 suffer the most from this.

They way Rhino structured these series was more in keeping with the way a school year is laid out. The first CD in each series begins in the fall (sometimes summer) of 69 and the final CD in each series ends in the spring (or summer) of 79. Likewise, Rhino's folow-up series, Radio Daze: Pop Hits of the 80s began in the fall of 79. In fact, one could almost consider Pop Hits of the 80s: Volume 1 as the 26th CD in the Super Hits of the 70s series since it contains 6 tracks from 79. The collection was released in blocks of 5 volumes every year or so. While this made collecting them easy, it also led to a particular problem with the overall listening experience of these series. The songs in each series start off in a chronological order. Meaning volume 1 starts in the summer/fall of 1969 and ends in January 1970. The next volume picks up in January 1970 and ends in February 1970. They continue this way until volume 15 of both series where they end in the summer of 1975. In fact, for the longest time, volume 15 was the final CD in the Soul Hits of the 70s series. Rhino continued the Super Hits of the 70s series with the release of volumes 16-22, but for some reason when they released volume 16, they rewound back to 1970 and it took volumes 16 and 17 to cacth back up to summer 1975. The samething happened when volumes 16-20 of Soul Hits of the 70s were released. So, for about two years or so, Super Hits of the 70s stopped at volume 22 and Soul Hits of the 70s stopped at volume 20. Finally Rhino released volumes 23-25 of Super Hits of the 70s and once again we rolled back to the clock. This time to 1976 and continued on to 1979. So, when listening to these CDs the flow of the music from one year to the next is disrupted. Not a big deal, but I find it to be rather annoying.

Along with these two series, Rhino also tried their hands at a Funk series (In Yo Face) and a Disco series (The Disco Years) but these were short lived series. Each of these series didn't last more than 5 or 6 CDs each. I didn't collect either of these series so I can't speak on their contents or their merits. I've heard good things about each of them but I was just not at all interested. I guess I felt that, at least the Disco collection, would have been a complete duplication of stuff that I already had on other CDs.

At this point in time, I know that the TimeLife Sounds of the 70s series is out of print. I believe that the Rhino Soul Hits of the 70s are also out of print. A few discs from Super Hits of the 70s have gone out of print, but I think most of the series is still available. The only volume of Super Hits that I know for sure that has gone out of print is volume 2. I think that this may have been due to Rhino loosing the licensing rights to one or more songs on the CD.

For anyone who wishes to collect either the TimeLife series or Rhino series, I wish them the best of luck. The TimeLife series will probably be the most difficult to complete. The Rhino series (both) should be fairly easy. Rhino sold tons of each of these series and I see copies for sale on Amazon and eBay quite alot. Some of the more common titles from the TimeLife series (1970-79) are pretty easy to find. It's when you get into the Take Two discs and some of the other compliatoins that you have trouble tracking them down. As for the four CDs from Canada, those will be pretty expensive. Believe me, I know.

If you are looking for a smaller collection, please read my entry regarding the Razor & Tie 70s Preservation Society series.

For more information you could check out this site:

Rhino also released a 7 disc box set called Have A Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box Set. A very nice set that is a great alternative to the extensive sets described above. I also have this set and I highly recomend it.

An Update: I got a good deal on Amazon and so I did go ahead and get the 5 disc 70s Dance Party CDs to finish off once and for all, the TimeLife Sounds of the 70s set. The collection is now 100% complete.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What A Hunk!

Sam Elliott. What a fox. Especially in the 70s. To oogle more at Sam and his gorgeous bod watch the 1976 film Lifeguard. He spends most of the movie wearing nothing but small red shorts and Speedos in one scene.
I don't know when this picture was taken, but it was definately in the 70s. From his hair style, I'm guessing around 1978 when he made the movie The Legacy. Which also contains his one and only nude scene.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The 70s Preservation Society Collection

Back in the early 90's Razor & Tie Music were one of the 1st companies to begin releasing 70s compilatoin CDs effectively beating both Time Life and Rhino to the punch. Using the 70s Preservation Society name, the series while small compared Rhino or Time Life's sets, are still fun CDs and I recomend them highly. However, it should be noted that a few of the titles are quite hard to find these days, but well worth the hunt. If you are looking for a small collection of 70s music that is pretty representative of the period, then look no further than Razor & Tie's 70s Preservation Society collection.

The first disc in the collection is Those Fabulous 70s. A collection of pure 70s Pop Music that doesn't fail to deliver that really 70s feel. A single CD collects 23 unforgettable (or maybe forgettable) pop gems like Billy Don't Be A Hero and Seasons In The Sun. Not for the feint of heart.

Another thing that makes this entire collection stand out are the wonderful covers for each installment. The use of vintage clothing and items from the 70s, in my opinion, are the real selling point of this collection. That is mainly why I started collecting these great CDs. Most of the covers are really cool.

I mean, just look at all of the great 70s stuff in that picture! I want each and every item. In fact most of that stuff I do have. Funny how that worked out. I'd love to get a copy of the TV commercial for this Cd. I remember seeing it but just never caught it on tape. If anyone out there has it, please let me know.

This CD must have sold thousands of copies considering how many used copies are floating around out there. This one should be no problem finding.

The second CD in the set is another one disc collection that gathers together some of the best of 70s Funk called Those Funky 70s. 21 Funky hits (well 20 actually. They threw in Rick James's Superfreak as a bonus 80s track) covering the entire decade. And just look at that girl's great outfit and platform shoes.

This collection is perhaps my least favorite in the collection. While I still love it, I just don't listen to it as often as I do some of the others. Still a good collection, but for me just not as memorable as the previous release. I guess I'm not into funk all that much.

Some tracks include Jungle Boogie and Tell Me Something Good. This disc is rather difficult to find these days, but it can be tracked down with just a bit of persistence.

The first of The 70s Preservation Society's mega 2 disc sets, Those Rocking 70s is a great collection of the more FM rocking sounds of 70s radio. 40 rocking hits (and a few album cuts) really bring the 70s Arena Rock period to life.

Songs include Takin' Care Of Business, Lovin', Touchin, Squeezin' and All Right Now. Several of these tracks are the full length album versions versus the edited radio versions. That, in my book, is a real plus.

Again, this set is rather hard to find but it can be found. At the moment there are a few listed on Amazon (along with Those Funky 70s) and can be had for around $30.00.

The next (and probably biggest seller considering the shear number of used copies that are forever popping up) 2 disc set in the collection is Disco Fever. One of the very first Disco collections released, this puppy sold tons of copies. This was my very first set I bought in the collection and I bought it right off TV when it was first advertised. In fact, somewhere on video tape, I have the commercial for this CD. I didn't save it on purpose, but was taping something else and the commercial just happen to run while I was taping.

As the cover boasts, it contains 40 hits from things like The Hustle to Knock On Wood. A word of caution, there are no Donna Summer tracks on this collection. A side from that, this is a great, great collection of the best of Disco.

This should be a fairly easy set to find. I've seen at least 2 different listings for it on Amazon. Next to Those Fabulous 70s, the easiest set to find in the entire collection.

After the success of Those Fabulous 70s, the 70s Preservation Society came back in 1991 with the 2nd volume of great pop tunes called More Fabulous 70s.
Once again filled with 23 great 70s pop tunes from One Bad Apple to Hooked On A Feeling and Little Willy. This disc is my second favorite in the collection and once again the disc is graced with a super great cover showing even more great 70s stuff.

This disc is really difficult to find. I got lucky and got a still sealed copy from eBay for a mere $10.00. You'll need a bit more patience to track this sucker down but again well worth the hunt.

Ok, here perhaps the single most difficult set in this collection to track down, Sweet 70s Soul. I got very, very lucky and picked up a copy of it on eBay for $25.00 so it is out there but again only the true collectors will have the patience to keep searching for it.

A 2 disc set that contains 40 of perhaps some of the very best of 70s Soul. Songs include I've Found Someone Of My Own, Proud Mary and Rock The Boat.
I'm not all that thrilled with the cover, but it does work to a degree. By now, the name The 70s Preservation Society was no longer appearing on the cover of the CDs, but it still appears on the spine and inside the sets.

The final disc in the set (at least until 1995) was Easy 70s and is pretty much what it says. The best of soft rock from the 70s. For me, this cover was a great improvement over Sweet 70s Soul. I feel that it perfectly give one that mellow feeling with rainbows and hearts floating all around you.

Another 2 disc set with 40 soft rock classics. Well actually 39. For some reason they threw in Air Supply's All Out Of Love on the set. While this song was a hit in 1979 it was only released in Australia until the 1980 album Lost In Love was released here in the US.

Other songs include You Light Up My Life, Summer Breeze and Precious And Few. For this being one of the last sets to be released, it is fairly common and easy to find. There are several listing for it on Amazon with most of them still sealed. As a note to be aware of, while the set can be found still sealed, after the first printings the inside booklet is slightly different. Instead of a three page fold-out, most are now only a two page booklet. Missing is a close-up posed shot of the cover models in their 70s garb and the 70s Preservation Society logo page. Not a big loss, but at least noteworthy.

Razor & Tie in 1995 were not quite ready to abandon the 70s Preservation Society name so out came this 2 disc set called Super 70s. Along with Sweet 70s Soul, this is hands down just as difficult to find.

This collection gathers together of the best Rock, Pop, Disco and Soul of the 70s in a more Top 40 oriented collection. 40 hits with songs like Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad (radio edit), Rich Girl, You're So Vain and American Pie.
Please be aware that this compilation does have a few duplications of tracks previously released on earlier sets in the collection. All in all, not a bad release and I really love the cover. Very 70s.
This would be the final set in the collection for another two years.
Finally in 1997, the 9th and final CD was released.
Suddenly 70s, is a collection of 40 hits. Be warned that there are two versions of this CD. The first, originally released in 97, is a two disc set and was only available through mail order and TV commercials. Later in 2001, a 'retail' version was released as a single disc with only 18 of the original 40 tracks. The two disc set is more of an AM Top 40 kind of release similiar in style as Rhino's Super Hits of the 70s series. Several of the tracks on the two disc set are tracks that The 70s Preservation Society had not released before making this set a nice top off to an already great set. However, the rather bland and unimaginative cover make this set, perhaps, the most unattractive set in the entire collection.

A few of the great tracks available on this set are, Go all The Way, Let Her In and Bad Blood.
The 2001 single disc version is also the only 70s Preservation Society CD still in print and the 70s Preservation Society name only appears on the very back of the CD and inside the case.

Well, there you have it. The entire 70s Preservation Society CD collection. Like I said, if you are looking to have a small 70s music collection, then this is the set for you. You will have to have some patience and perseverance to track down all of the CDs in the collection but I think they are well worth it. The great selection of tracks combined with imaginative covers make this one of my favorite 70s music collections.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My 70s Room

I haven't been posting much lately becasue I've been working on my 70s display room. Back in February my second roommate just up an vanished. So I spent the next couple of months cleaning out his room. Since his room is right next to mine and is only separated by sliding doors, I opened them up. Now the room has become the room where I display all of the 70s stuff that I've collected over the years. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

Now these are not the final pictures because I've added more to the room but you get a general idea.
This is the main door into the room. No, that is not the famous Farrah poster. It is a rug of the famous Farrah poster. There were rugs, beanbag chairs and numerous other things produced in the 70s with that famous picture of Farrah on them.

The white Owl was my mother's. She bought it at a flea market in about 1975 or so. It hung on our livingroom wall until she redid the livingroom and then it became mine.

The frog clock above the door is quite the conversation piece. When I first saw it on eBay I couldn't stop laughing. I thought it was the ugliest clock that I've ever seen. I just had to have it.

Next to the door are my Sonny & Cher dolls from Mego. Also the Suzanne Somers doll from Mego.

The man on the wall is Rock Pamplin. Playgirl's Man of the Month for May 1976. He went on to be Man of the First Five Years and he also did some model work for COLT Studios in the late 70s.
Now this picture shows one of those great fuzzy goofy foot rugs. It took me years and years to find one of these. This one is actually a promo item from Green Giant foods. You had to send away to get it. I'm sure that there are not many of these left floating around these days.
Of course the obligatory Star Wars bedsheets being used as curtains.
Love those patchwork suede floppy hats.
There are two pair of unused Starsky & Hutch knee socks.
And lots of fabulous platform shoes.
The belts and the purse that are haning there were my mother's and yes, she did actually were them.
The big white thing with the mushroom on it is a trash can. Fabulous!
I really love the keyhole mirror on the wall and the owl clock with the little owls. Too cute.

While it is hard to see, the record album haning there is the third album from the Brady Bunch called The Kids From The Brady Bunch. This is an Austrailian pressing of the album with what I consider to be a much better cover than the US version.

On the floor is my Kenner Millenium Falcon and Deathstar Space Station playset.

The magazines on the top of the bokkshelf are every issue of Playgirl Magazine from the 1st issue in June of 73 all the way to January 1980.

Next to the Playgirls on the left is a BC cookie jar from Marathon gas stations. On the other side is a great flowered chip and dip bowl.
A better shot of theowl clock.

Yes, that is my Kenner X-wing fighter hanging from the ceiling.

On the shelf are my Mego Jaclyn Smith and Farrah dolls. Below that is the only single that Farrah ever sang on. With a picture sleeve.

On the speaker are my large size C-3PO and R2-D2 figures along with the R2-D2 cookie jar.

My Ronco Rhinestone and Stud setter is on the floor under the white donut phone.

And the really fun and cool smiley face trash can.

Of course another Star Wars bedsheet being used as a curtain.

There's just too much stuff on those shelves to mention so I'll just bring up the highlights.

There are two dolls on the top shelf. Disco Wanda and Gay Bob.

There is also a bottle of Farrah shampoo and conditoiner.
The lady speed styler hair dryer with Farrah on the box. Yes, the dryer is 100% complete and it works. Well, it doesn't heat up but it still blows air.

A boxed pair of vintage Earth Shoes.

The comlete sets for the Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica glasses.

A whole shelf of vintage Burger Chef things including all four King Kong glasses.

I just love that Love clock.

The contact paper behind everthing in the center is made up of flowers and the word 'love' all over it. I have a 50 foot rool of the stuff. No, I did not stick it to the wall there. I pinned it up.
The ice bucket in the very center is really cool.

The fish on top of the stereo is what I think is the tackiest thing in the entire room. It was a gift to my mother in 1975 and it used to have live plants in it. It just shows how much my father lacked in taste when it came to gifts.

On each side of the stereo are Cher's Travel Trucks with several Mego Cher outfits for the dolls. Also Cher's Dressing Room playset is there and the Sonny & Cher Theatre In The Round playset.

The four cases on the left are every Kenner Star Wars action figure they produced until 1985 when the line was discontinued.
More stuff that is too numerous to mention.

Lots and lots of really cool things.

The Fonzie record on the wall is called Fonzie's 50s Favorites. I found it still sealed at a flea market. You can punch out part of the back to make it stand up like a framed photograph.

The McCoy Smiley Face cookie jar and bank are on the speaker.

While you can't see it very will, on the bottom shelf is a Jackson 5 game and a pair of Disco Slip-On roller skates. These were like old fashioned sidewalk skates except these are blue plastic and have these great Disco strap pads on them.

Also, there are one of those obnoxious fuzzy dog kleenex box covers. Had to have one of those.
On the floor there is one of my mushroom footstools.

My Battlestar Galactica game.

My favorite toy as a child, the Fisher Price Play Family Castle. 100% complete and working. This thing brought me hours of fun as a kid.

A vintage Free Former skateboard.

A Fozzy Bear hand puppet from 1978.

Of course a lava lamp.

On the table are my Steve Austin, Oscar Goldman and Jamie Sommers dolls. All complete which is surprising considering how much my sister and I used to play with these. They are in really good condition for their age.
Here's a better shot of the dolls on the table.

A Farrah and Smiley face pillow on the bottom and a really cool orange beanbag telephone.

Also my second mushroom footstool.

My Matchbox 78 car case from when I was a kid. Yes, it is filled with vintage 70s Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars.
The doll on the wall is the Jill Monroe Charlies Angles doll. Can you tell yet that I am a big Farrah fan?

The black hoop with a lemon on the end is the Whammo Lemon Twist toy. I got one of these for my 10th birthday in 1976. I loved it but the dog got a hold of it and chewed it up. I was tickled to death when I finally found one on eBay. And it only cost me $3.00 plus shipping.
All of the records on the foor (starting with the prevoius two pictures) are my 70s Disco records collection. I have at least 150 albums and 12" singles from about 1973 to 1980. All 100% Disco.
There are the Star Wars Escape From Deathstar and Charlies Angels (with Farrah on the box) games.

All of the plant hangers are vintage 70s. There are no plants in them because the plants I had died. I'm not good with plants and never have been.

I really love the pink plastic swag lamp. That was a must have when I found it on eBay.

You can't see them very well, but there are a pair of red, white and blue Bicentenial sunglasses that have Gerald Ford on them. They have chains that you drape over your ears and it looks like you are wearing a pair of Ford earrings. Trully tacky.
On the shelf are my Mego Diana Ross and Captain and Tennille dolls.

This tiny space below the shelf is perhaps my favorite part of the room.
From the round Disco Infinity light to the silver platform shoes, just the entire way it came together I think is really cool. To me, it looks so Disco. I can't explain why, but that is what it reminds me of. Disco.

Next to the book shelf is the last of the Disco records.

The bookshelf contains all of me 70s TV shows on DVD. I have watched at least 90% of them. I'm a little behind but getting caught up.
The black candle holders on the shelf belonged to my cousin. She got them in 1974, I think.

Yes, that is a framed poster of Burt Reynolds Cosmo Centerfold.

Several fun things on the shelves.
Sabrina, Kelly and Kris Charlies Angels dolls.
A really cool green flowered desk set.

A vintage Matel Big Jim doll.

Next to the bookcase are a pair of Addis Running shoes like Starsky used to wear.

The records on the right are some really fun 70s records like all of the Partridge Family and Brady Bunch records. The Banana Splits album. All of the Krofft show albums that were available (Sigmund & The Sea Monsters, The Bugaloos, Kaptain Kool & The Kongs and the Pufnstuf Movie soundtrack). Lots of good stuff.

And with this picture we have come full circle around the room.

The rest of the pictures are of the center of the room. This is the sitting area of the room. A denim beanbag chair and several large pillows surround a 70s palstic Parson table.

On the table are the ever present plastic grapes, coasters and ashtrays.

Think of the circle from That 70s Show and you pretty much get the idea for this area of the room.

The next picture is a better shot of the small bookcase. On the bookshelf are every Sears Catalog from 1970-79 including all of the Christmas catalogs.

The complete set of Matel Battlestar Galacitca action figures.
My sister's 70s Barbie dolls.

Then there is a shot of the ceiling with the smiley face light cover and the Kenner Darth Vader Tie Fighter. My other Tie Fighter is also hanging from the ceiling and I think it shows up in a previous pictire.

And last but not least a real good close up of my platform shoes. Yes, I used to wear these. I love each and every pair of them. I wish I could still wear them. They were too much fun.
Quite a lot of love and work (not to mention money) went into the creation of this room. And just think, I've added a lot more stuff to it since I took these pictures. Just imagine what it must look like now.

That 70s Show: Not So Much (Revisited)

I wrote this up a while back and just never posted it. So, for what it is worth, here's my final take on that 70s show that I wrote back in April of this year.

I just finished watching the final season of That 70s Show. Well…what can I say? Not much had changed between season seven and season eight. Well, Kelso moved to Chicago and Eric went off to Africa. Big deal. And the new guy, Randy, was a total waste. He said nothing and did even less. The character of Randy just didn’t seem to have a point. True, the character was trying to fill the gap left by Eric and Kelso’s departures, but he just never really worked.

In the final season it was obvious that the writing had taken a nose dive. Yep. The show had jumped the shark. There was no two ways about it. In fact, the only positive thing to come out of season eight was the final episode. The writers did give the series a rather good send off. I was quite impressed with the final episode. It was funny, sweet and kind of sad. Eric and Kelso came back for the final show and it really tied everything together.

Looking back on all eight seasons of this show, I think that the first four or five seasons were the best. While I always had problems with the writing, the show did have something going for it. When the show stopped hitting the audience over the head with all of the 70s references, it did at times actually become very 70s. Perhaps if the writers had tried just a little bit harder in not trying to make it ‘so 70s’ then perhaps they might have been able to take was just an ok show and make it good. Face it. The show was never going to be great. Period sitcoms rarely, if ever, really work because they are based on one thing. Nostalgia. And by its nature, nostalgia is a flawed way to view anything with any kind of perspective. It’s all like, ‘let’s put on our rose colored glasses and make jokes about Three Mile Island or the hostage crisis.’ It just doesn’t work.

Had it not been for the characters of Red, Kitty and Hyde I don’t think I could have made it through all eight seasons of this stupid show. Oh, and Leo. Leo was just a hoot to watch. Tommy Chong stole just about every scene he was in. And Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith as Kitty and Red were a real joy to watch. I won’t even go into how fabulous Danny Masterson is at being Hyde. These three, ok four, characters were, at least for me, totally believable. The others, Eric, Kelso, Donna, Jackie, Fez, Bob, Midge, and Laurie just didn’t strike me as anyway believable. Most of the time they were just caricatures and rarely did they ever rise above that. Maybe Donna and Eric were believable characters in themselves, but I just never bought into the whole ‘Donna and Eric belong together’ thing. Eric would be lucky to get a girl like Donna and a girl like Donna wouldn’t give a guy like Eric a second glance.

After about the first five seasons I found myself paying less and less attention to the stories and spending more time looking at the sets. Once thing really started to hit me (actually I noticed it in the very first episode but didn’t pay much attention to it until later). In, oh let’s say 1972, did Red and Kitty go through and have their ENTIRE house remodeled? When the 60s were over did Red and Kitty simply throw out everything they owned and replace it with new 70s things? Including the furniture? I mean, if you really look around at everything, there is not one thing in that house that isn’t from the 70s. Seriously. Take the kitchen for example. Everything in that kitchen is either orange, yellow, brown or green. There is not one thing blue or red. Every little nick nack is from the 70s. In fact, most of the time the only things in that kitchen not from the 70s is the food. I guess the set designers could be bothered to find a vintage Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle. Even considering that the damn things are everywhere. In the second to last episode, Kitty is showing the house to a potential buyer and the director decided to shoot the scene with a hand held camera. So we got to see the set like it was a real house with four walls. It only reinforced the fact the everything in that set was from the 70s. While this is a 70s collector or fan’s dream home, it’s not realistic at all. Yes, people did have rooms in their homes in the 70s that did look like this, but it mostly happened in homes that were built in the 70s. Yes, people were doing a lot of remodeling and home improvements, but the set of the Forman home just went way beyond that. People like Kitty and Red, even with their combined incomes could not have afforded to do everything to their home that is shown on that show. It would have cost a fortune. Even by 1970s standards. I won’t even mention Bob and Midge’s home. That just defies all logic.

I do have to give a big high five to Barry Williams and Christopher Knight for their guest appearance in one episode of the final season. They played a Gay couple that moves in next door to Kitty and Red. Barry and Christopher were simply hilarious. In fact, the scenes involving them were perhaps the funniest of the entire series.

I still have several issues with That 70s Show, but in the end I did enjoy most of what I watched. The show tried too hard at times to be funny, clever and oh so 70s that it usually missed the mark. When it stopped trying so hard was when it was at its best. The sad things is, kids who did not grow up in the 70s will watch this show and think that that was how it really was in the 70s. It wasn’t. The dialogue continued to be a problem through out the whole series. 70s teens in the Midwest did not say things like ‘awesome’ or ‘totally’.

All in all, I have to take the series for what it is. A totally unrealistic, nostalgic peak into a decade that I feel was much more interesting than what was shown.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

TheSearch Is Killing Me

Have you ever been so close to finishing a collection that the search for the final items just drives you almost insane?

Well, that's where I am with two CDs that belong to two different 70s sets. The first is pictured to the left. It's from The 70s Preservation Society. The CD was released around 1991. It's out of print, but what is amazing is that all of the other CDs in this small collection are pretty easy to find. If I never see another copy of Disco Fever or Those Fabulous 70s again it will be too soon. Heck, even Those Funky 70s CD is more common (and it was released much earlier) and easy to find than the 70s Soul Cd.

The second is called Pop Nuggets: The Late 70s. It's from Time-Life's Sounds of the 70s collection. Now this one (pictured on the left) I can understand why it's a pain in the ass to find. There were 4 CDs in the Sounds of the 70s Collection that were only released in Canada. Two of those I managed to find years ago through a mail order place that specialized in hard to find and out of print CDs. I eventually found the Pop Nuggets: Early 70s on Amazon for an outrageous price. Now the Late 70s CD is on eBay and I know I'm going to pay an arm and a leg for it. However, once I win it, my Time-Life set will be complete.

As for my 70s Preservation Society set, well....the search goes on.

UPDATE: Both of these CDs are now in my collections. Yippee!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Bionic Quandary: A Possible Solution

Well, the wait continues. For those in America waiting to have the original Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman on DVD there seems to be no end in sight. Back in 2004, Universal (the owners of the shows) released a trailer of upcoming releases and there was a trailer for The Bionic Woman starring Lindsay Wagner. So, it looked like there might be hope. Well, 2004 came and went and nothing. Now here we are in 2008 and still nothing has happened with the original Bionic shows on DVD. At least in America. The reasons for this delay can be found here:

If you think that is a mess, try figuring out why the 60s Batman series isn’t on DVD yet. The legal issues holding up both Batman and the Bionic DVD releases are one big legal knot that doesn’t look like it’s going to be resolved anytime soon.

So, while the long negotiations continue to release these shows in America on DVD, there is a solution. At least a temporary one. While this solution isn’t 100% above board, it’s better than resorting to finding the shows on bootleg DVD. While I do not condone buying bootleg DVDs nor will I encourage anyone to do so, the ultimate decision is your’s and you must deal with your own conscience on that issue. What I did for myself, and many others have done this as well, was to buy a region free or multi region DVD player and purchase the UK DVDs of the first two seasons of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. I’m sure that in some people’s opinion, buying a region free DVD player is a little…well…underhanded shall we say? I don’t think that it is strictly illegal nor do I think that it is 100% legal either. I think it falls into one of those ‘gray’ areas. I really don’t know. I mean, how legal is it for a DVD retailer to break into the region codes on DVD players and remove them and then sell them as region free? Also, how legal is it for someone to purchase DVD (albeit 100% legal in the country where they were released) sets that aren’t sold in this country? With the whole ‘rights’ issues preventing these releases in this country, I can’t really see that this is legal. After all, I believe that this is why region codes are programmed into the DVD players in the first place. But again, these DVDs are 100% legal in the UK and other countries so where do you draw the line?

Well, the line for me was the fact that I could purchase a region free DVD player through a reputable online retailer and then use that same retailer to purchase the DVDs. In my opinion, if any of this was totally illegal then Amazon would have stopped it long ago. I don’t think that it is illegal for me to have the DVDs, but the region free DVD player is where things might be a little ‘sticky’ for me. I just plane got tired of waiting for two of my favorite shows of the 70s to be released in this country. So, I put aside my doubts and fears and slapped down the cash for the player and the DVDs. It took 20 days from the time I ordered the DVDs for them to arrive. Believe me, that wait seemed longer than the current wait for them to be released here at all. So, for the last three evenings, Steve Austin has once again been gracing my TV screen. It has been too exciting for words.

I shouldn’t say this, but if you are like me and are tired of waiting for these shows to be released in this country, do what I did. Get thee a region free DVD player and make that UK purchase for the DVDs. For me it was worth every penny.

The only question in my mind now is once these shows are finally released in this country will I go ahead and get them? Probably. In fact, I can almost say with 100% assurances that I will. In the meantime, I am totally enjoying my UK sets and hope that season three for both shows are released soon.