A Very Fanboy Christmas
A Very Fanboy Christmas
Over the years, the writers and contributors to Nolan’s Pop Culture Review have become very much like a family. Just like any family, one tradition, when everyone is gathered together for the holidays, is to dust off the scrapbook and share the memories of Christmas past. Several weeks ago (with Nolan’s help), I sent out a request to just about everyone associated with this website and invited them to send in a photograph or two from a favorite Christmas. Many thanks to those who responded and helped make this installment of Retrorama a very special Fanboy Christmas!
First up, in chronological order, is little Mike Smith in 1963 before most of the rest of us were even born (sorry Mike!). As he points out, you have to love the cowboy boots and the suspenders aren’t bad either. Mike is one of the happiest children I think I have ever seen on Santa’s lap especially since this Kris Kringle looks like he might nod off at any moment. Mike has very few memories from this Christmas except that the Kennedy assassination was still fresh on everyone’s minds and had recently disrupted his afternoon cartoon viewing with news reports.
Now this is a little more like it. Young Lonnie Dohlen and Old St. Nick trade suspicious looks in this far more traditional Santa / child photo. Lonnie is dressed for artic exploration because he was living in the colds of Duluth, MN way back in 1972. His main memory from that Christmas is receiving a popcorn popper that ran off a light bulb. Hopefully it made better popcorn than the cakes from the Easybake oven. I love the cardboard elves holding the number. It’s like a cross between a Christmas photo and a mug shot!
One year later and half-way across the country, I cornered the G.I. Joe market in Christmas 1973. Yes, my seven-year-old alter ego (who still stops by to visit every once in a while) is happy as a clam with BOTH of the Sears Christmas catalog sets from that year (see Retrorama #454 for more on those) and the granddaddy of all G.I. Joe accessories, the Adventure Team Training Center! It must have been unusually cold in Ocala, FL that year for me to be wearing flannel pajamas. Shortly after this photo was taken, Moe Howard called and demanded that I cease and desist the use of his trademark haircut (I shaved my head and grew a mustache in protest)!
OK now, everyone in unison, one, two, three…………..AAAAWWWWWW! Here’s cute little Lisa Ciurro under the tree on Christmas morning 1974. To heck with the checkers and that boring old globe (who gives a kid a globe as a present anyway?), this four year old Fangrrl got dolls for Christmas! It’s a little hard to tell from the photos but in addition to a traditional doll and a Barbie make-up head, Lisa is proudly displaying a Mego Wonder Woman action figure (if it was made by Mego, it’s NOT a doll). Much like Ralphie’s treasured BB gun, Lisa’s father hid the articulated Amazon inside the tree and did not tell her until after she was certain Christmas was over. The old “one last surprise” bit, what a classic!
Christmas in Florida is always a little different than in the rest of the country. You can actually go outside on Christmas morning without a coat, wearing a short sleeved shirt and, if you just can’t wait to try out your new bicycle like Byron Rocher here, no shoes either! According to Byron, his parents liked to take pictures at most holidays but Christmas wasn’t one of them. Fortunately in 1979, they decided that Byron was so excited about his new bike that it deserved a photograph and now he can share a green Florida Christmas with us.
Somebody put a mask on this kid because he just made out like a bandit! 1981 was a Star Wars Christmas for a lot of children like young Chris Woods here. The Empire Strikes Back had just raked in a fortune at the box office and Kenner was busy pumping out everything they could think of in their toy line. Chris’s mom must have been a catalog shopper like mine because he is holding the Sears exclusive Rebel Command Center. During the height of the trilogy’s popularity, Sears released an annual playset that featured a cheap background and (more importantly) three or four action figures not yet available individually. Most notable among these is the rare blue Snaggletooth figure but all of the sets command some cash today in decent condition. There’s also an Empire Tauntaun and a cool Dukes of Hazard General Lee car in the background. No wonder Chris looks like he just hit the jackpot!
From the Merry Snoopy’s Christmas Dept.
I had the good fortune again this year of being able to join several members of Ocala’s finest music group, The Royal Guardsmen, for our annual luncheon. Chris Nunley (to my right in the group shot above) and his wife Karen were kind enough to host at their house this year and we spent a wonderful afternoon discussing music, Ocala history, television and all manner of trivia. It turns out the RG’s are big fans of Dr. Paul Bearer and the 44 Creature Feature! Bill Balogh (next to Chris in the group shot above with Pat Waddell on my left) even told me how they used to make a point of watching the show in their hotel room on Saturdays when they were touring in Florida in the ’70’s. I presented Chris with a couple of DVDs to help bring back some memories of America’s longest-running horror host. Sadly, we missed Billy Taylor again this year due to performing commitments but we’ll get him back one day! I got an extra special bonus surprise when I found out Barry Winslow was back in the Sunshine State after a couple of years of touring the country performing gospel music. Cindy and I were able to join Barry and his wife Teena for a quick coffee on Saturday morning but a longer visit is certainly in the cards for the near future. It was a magical musical weekend with some of the nicest people you could ever meet! Here’s wishing you and yours a Merry Snoopy’s Christmas 2008!