Miscellaneous

Favourites from Times Gone By

Nancy Drew book cover: The Secret of the Old Clock

Here are some of my favourites from back in the day (specifically, the 80s and early 90s).

Favourite books

I was a voracious reader as a kid, and a frequent visitor to the library. I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew as a smart, independent, ass-kicking female. I also liked The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins/High (Team Elizabeth all the way). I remember before going to my first “dance” I kept re-reading the relevant chapters in whichever Babysitters Club book that included Mary Anne’s first dance. For a while, I was into R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, although I don’t think that lasted long.

Favourite board games

I really liked Clue, and I was always Miss Scarlett. I also liked Trivial Pursuit, but a lot of the questions in the Genus Edition were things I just hadn’t been exposed to. I have a vague memory of playing Hungry Hungry Hippos at my friend Beth’s house, but aside from that I don’t recall playing games with friends.

Favourite music

I think my first cassette tape was New Kids on the Block. I was team Jordan all the way. I remember one summer the local skating rink was open for roller skating, and I brought my NKOTB tape for them to play while we were skating.

I didn’t see this music video until much later, because we didn’t get MTV, and MuchMusic, the Canadian equivalent, was on a cable channel that was out of reach for our tv that covered channels 2-13.

Other favourites around that time were Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and Kylie Minogue. I remember dancing to Tiffany in my backyard.

Favourite magazines

I occasionally got copies of a teenybopper magazine. I can’t remember the name, but it was similar to Tiger Beat. When I was a bit older, I would take out copies of Teen Magazine from the library. They had these little tear-out booklets inside, which I would tear out and keep, being the badass that I most definitely was not.

Favourite tv

Saved By The Bell was a big favourite, as was Who’s The Boss. When I last had cable a couple years ago, there was a station that ran Saved By The Bell reruns on Saturday mornings, and it’s still a fun blast from the past to watch. Apparently there’s a sequel series coming out that includes many of the original characters.

Friday night was TGIF on ABC. It was the one night a week that my brother and I could have potato chips and pop. The exact lineup varied over the years, but included Perfect Strangers, Full House (way before Aunt Becky turned criminal), Family Matters, Boy Meets World, and Step By Step. Ah, simpler times.

Favourite movies

My movie watching when I was young was fairly limited because there just wasn’t a lot of access. I was a big of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. I remember watching Michael Keaton-era Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the local theatre. But a lot of 80s and early 90s movies I didn’t end up seeing until I was older. I never watched Star Wars, which I know is weird for my generation. And while I remember Corey Haim and Corey Feldman being in teenybopper magazines, I don’t think I saw any of their movies at the time.

Weird crush

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Rafael of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was hot. Okay, not really, what with being a turtle and all, but still.

Favourite treats

There was a corner store just down the road that had a mix of 1, 2, and 5 cent candy. I can’t remember what they were called, but there was a purple puffy 2-cent candy that I was a big fan of. Fun-Dip and Nerds were also favourites, and Gobstoppers were fun too.

Favourite clothes/shoes

The 80s was so much fun clothing-wise. I loved my aqua blue Converse high-tops, which were usually paired with slouch socks. Then there were acid wash jeans, neon spandex bike shorts, neon tops… I actually wish I had saved some of my favourites, especially a New Kids on the Block t-shirt I had.


Any favourites you’d like to share?

29 thoughts on “Favourites from Times Gone By”

  1. I don’t really connect with the pop culture of my generation. The music and TV I like is a couple of decades older than I am; prose fiction even older.

    My family won’t play Trivial Pursuit with me because I always win. Just saying. I liked Cluedo (the English name for Clue) and I always played Professor Plum. I made up little biographies for the character and worked out what their motives would be for murder.

  2. We were an 8-track family but when cassettes came out, our family’s first two were Air Supply “Lost in Love” and Billy Joel “Glass Houses.” We no longer listen to the former artist but do the latter. Classic rock, motown, with some 80s metal (we tend toward less misogynistic fate, which is limiting…) dominate our playlist today. Remember listening to Beatles Sgt. Peppers, Little River Band, Steve Martin wild and crazy guy, and Spider Man vs Green Goblin on vinyl. 8-tracks were mostly Queen, Boston, Styx, Kansas, and Meat Loaf.

    Tried to learn to break dance. It didn’t take. Still listen to some Run DMC and Newcleus “Jam On It”. Loved Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2 (electric bugaloo) movies. Loved original rap before it was sex, drugs, and violence.

    Grew up with Choose Your Own Adventure books. Encyclopedia Brown, too. First can’t-put-it-down book: The Borribles (original: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/19/borribles-childrens-books-reissued-1980s-riots).

    Both Coreys were in “Lost Boys,” a teen vampire movie with Echo & the Bunnymen cover of Doors “People are Strange.” Great cast and music.

    We watched a lot of TV. Monty Python was cherished. Cop shows like Hillstreet Blues and hospital dramas like St. Elsewhere (howie mandell, ed begley jr, william daniels) (worst last episode ever). NBC must see Thursdays from Fame to Cosby.

    Welcome Back, Kotter (John travolta), The White Shadow, Sha na na (Bowser). The Carol Burnett Show! SNL. Johnny Carson.

    1. Awesomeness! My parents had a stereo setup with an 8-track and record player. I don’t remember them ever using the 8-track, but I had some kids music on vinyl probably along the lines of Raffi and Sharon, Lois, and Bram.

      Choose Your Own Adventure were so cool!!!

  3. Best. Post. Ever. I too liked a lot of what you’ve referenced here! I discovered Christopher Pike as an adult and loved his books; and I was upset that they’d never been on the shelf at my local bookstore for me to read when I was younger–but quite honestly, they might’ve terrified me at that age.

    I love Clue, too, and there was another trivia game I liked called Head of the Class. It had easy questions and harder questions for whatever your level was. One easy question was, what’s the chemical symbol for ice? Fun stuff for kids at that age.

    I loved TGIF, too, and you can’t go wrong with Rafael. He was so deep and soulful… for a turtle… with half a shell. I’m glad your parents gave you and your brother chips and soft drinks every Friday! How fun is that?!

    Hmm…. yeah, the pop culture back then was amazing. I’m not as into it today. It’s become more… I’m not sure how to put it. But those were the days! Oh, I remembered I used to love Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in the nineties. However, I can’t rewatch it for several reasons: they compressed the audio and don’t have captions on the DVDs, which is a lose-lose. But also, the program terrifies me today and I can’t handle the intensity of it like I used to be able to! Go figure–I have no idea how to account for that change.

    One show that I rewatched several years ago that filled me with joy and happiness was Diagnosis Murder with Dick Van Dyke. I have no idea why, but that show just makes me feel so freakin’ good. The characters care about each other, the level of intensity is just right, it’s funny, and who doesn’t love Dick Van Dyke? He’s so fatherly and loving. He’s my fave actor, and Betty White is my fave actress. I think it might’ve been around 2006 that I watched it last, so maybe I can watch it again soon without knowing how every episode ends, but even if I do know, I’d still enjoy it. The only issue is that Dick Van Dyke’s hot, crushworthy son, Barry Van Dyke, who’s also on the show, keeps saying “try and” like, “I’ll try and solve the case,” and I keep yelling at the screen, “It’s try TO! Try TO! UGH!” Although if I were to turn it into a drinking game, I could get a nice buzz going.

  4. This is great, you must be about my age or very close. we are a smaller generation so it’s always nice to see these cultural references. I was all about the Ninja Turtles and NKOTB.

  5. New Kids on the Block, Kylie and Jason.
    Wet Wet Wet were a big thing in my time but I didn’t become customed to listening to them, until I was an adult. So very late with that one.

    TV, was Saved By The Bell too and Bat Man, from an old tv series that came on and new ones since then.
    Star Wars and Star Trek. Oh, A-Team. Hiw can I forget them.

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