Icons of the Analog Age: Filmation

This is “Analog Agent Benjamin” coming at you this week with…. Filmation

Back in the 80’s there were 5 companies that made cartoon shows for TV, one of the best known in my opinion was Filmation.

Every time I saw that logo at the start of cartoons like He-Man, She-Ra, and many others, I knew I was in for a good show. What set Filmation apart from the other companies that made cartoons in the 80’s was that they made all of their cartoons in the U.S.A, while everyone else was having their cartoons made in Canada or overseas. To them, if the cartoon was going to be aired on U.S. TV, it should be made in the U.S. as well.

So, what was your favorite Filmation cartoon as a kid?

Icons of the Analog Age: Skittles

Yes, Skittles, another child of the Analog Age that lives on to this day. These fruity version of the M & M were created in 1974 and introduced in the US in 1982. Coming in a color loud crinkly tiny bag, this candy is literally bursting with the flavor of a rainbow. Since it started they’ve added a bunch of different sets of flavors from super sour to italian ice with menthol.

I think that should be a legal requirement that anyone who eats Skittles has to wear that outfit.

Whenever I eat these things my mouth waters so much. After the bag is gone, my mouth is all torn up, and usually end up biting the inside of my cheek. This is an agressive candy. The filling is all sugar like a jelly bean, but they must have a lot of citric acid in it to get that sour bursty sensation. Don’t get me wrong, I love ’em, in fact I love them so much that I ate a giant 1 pound bag and I still can’t believe not I’m diabetic!

Icons of the Analog Age: Lazer Tag

Lazer Tag is a toy just like a paintball gun accept instead of using paintablls, it uses lasers. It was introduced in 1986 and is still made today. You can even go to a place and play, but not using the official Lazer Tag brand.

The starter set came with a belt/straps, a sensor (that can detect a hit), and a gun.

They also made a baseball cap (that could detect hits from 360 degrees).

Then came the full vest with a holster.

The following year, they released an amazing helmet.

This thing is called Starbase and would just shoot you in all directions (for those kids who had no friends).

Walkie Talkies, and an amazing rifle followed, but then a tragic accident happened. There was a young man was gunned down and killed by police who thought he had a real gun. That pretty much ended all the fun.

Afterwards, they only released white guns and rifles, and then the stock market crash pretty much ended Lazer Tag along with the company that made it, World Of Wonder (Teddy Ruxpin, Action Max). Since then, it’s been bought, re-released, sold, redesigned, and bought again, currently Hasbro has the rights.

My brother and I were lucky enough to get the started set when it was first released. It was a lot of fun. The guns were really cool looking, and as long as you had both sets and plenty of batteries (each gun took 6 AA batteries and the sensor took a 9V!) it was a ton of fun.

The most fun we ever had playing Lazer Tag was in my grandparent’s basement–in complete darkness. It was so cool to see the front of the guns light up and all the lights flashing when you got hit.

Whenever we would have friends over we would play too. We never knew anyone else that had it though, which is a shame because we could have had a giant 30 screaming kids lazer war!

This is one of those toys that seemed completely futuristic. I mean, you could fire actual lasers–LASERS! You could even get shot by them! But I guess in the end it was just basically a fancy game of tag with lasers…maybe…that’s why they called it Lazer Tag.

Icons of the Analog Age: The Noid

A forgotten driving force of Domino’s Pizza sales in the eighties was the Noid. Animated and designed by the Will Vinton studios (the same people who brought you the California Raisins) was a character would would try to ruin your pizzas before they got to your house. He was an ugly little man who I couldn’t tell had red skin or was just dressed up. He would jump around, laugh and yell and get squished or hurt in every commercial.
Domino’s even made little figures and a video game based on the character. Warning: avoid the game it is not good.
The Noid should go down in history as a true icon because there wasn’t another character like him. Sure you have mascots who are trying to steal or eat said food, but none who are as ugly, weird, annoying or as stupid as the Noid, especially none who get hurt as much.
I raise up my slice of Domino’s in the air for you Noid. Here’s to a truly annoying little pizza demon, where ever you may be.

Icons of the Analog Age: Ronald Reagan

One of the biggest icons of the eighties was Ronald Reagan. Our president.

My Mom watched his shows and movies when he was a kid, and then elected him into office in 1980. Now, I’m not very political at all, but I do remember a lot of good things that Reagan did during his terms like ending the cold war, starting a “war” on drugs, and helping the economy. But he also made mistakes, like all presidents, the Iran-Contra Affair, “Star Wars”, and even escalating the cold war. Regardless of the good or bad, man, was he entertaining.

He had so many amazing caricatures drawn of him, so many great impersonations, and some of the coolest puppets ever made in his image. He was always portrayed as a forgetful, stupid, self indulgent, and totally narcissistic. Who knows how much of that was true, but it was still fun to watch.

He defined our thinking and our image of the US in the 80s. He really did transcend role of the president and became a true icon.

One of the clearest memories I had of Reagan was watching the 1984 elections on TV and wanting him to win because I thought he looked like a raisin with a weird haircut.

Icons of the Analog Age: The Fry Guys

I gotta say that all the McDonald characters were cool, but the Fry Guys were my favorites. They didn’t have any arms, but did they really need them? They were just these weird furry heads with glasses and sneakers. I didn’t know if they were supposed to be made out of french fries, but they just looked like furry little monsters that would shake all the time.

If you never heard of them, check them out: