Video games of 80sThe 80s marked an explosion of video games in arcades and in homes. What were your favourites? Don't forget, you can even play some of these games in the exhibition.
This week in the 80s…on 10 June 1982 Steven Spielberg’s science fiction PG-rating film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, became one of the highest-grossing box-office success, that is until Jurassic Park was released many years later in 1993. “Phone home”!
On 12 June, 1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. It set a major standard for many action-adventure films to date.
On 18 May, 1980, Ian Curtis, vocalist of pioneering post-punk group Joy Division, hung himself in his Macclesfield home at the tender age of 23. His death came just days before Joy Division were scheduled to begin their first US tour. He left behind a lasting musical legacy and inspired many tribute songs throughout time, from Factory Records label mates New Order and Josef K, as well bands like U2 and The Cure.
The lyrics to the song ‘Digital’ take on an eerie resonance, since it was the last song ever performed live by Ian Curtis.
Later that week, 21 May, 1980 ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was released and went on to become the biggest grossing film of the year, just as its predecessor, ‘Star Wars’, did three years before. Heroes, villians, romance, action, robots, spaceships – it’s got it all.
This week in the 80s…
Country music superstar Dolly Parton opens her ‘Dollywood’ theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA on 2 May, 1986. Perhaps you’d like to head over for some ‘thrills in the hills’ and help celebrate the park’s 25th anniversary?
On the 2 May, 1981, while working as a local wedding singer 12 months previously, Scottish vocalist Sheena Easton hits No.1 in the US with the classic housewife song of the 80s, ‘Morning Train (9 to 5)’.
Closer to home, how could we forget Cliff Young, the legendary 61-year old potato farmer from the Victorian Otway Ranges, who won the Sydney to Melbourne marathon, taking the lead while other competitors slept. That’s the way to win a race!
Till next week!
On 24 April 1986 Paul Hogan’s first film, Crocodile Dundee was released in Australia. He played an eccentric crocodile poacher who had to learn survival skills in a different kind of jungle – New York City. The film was a huge success both domestically and overseas and, like it or not, remains one of Australia’s most influential cultural exports. It probably also paved the way for Steve Irwin’s wildlife documentary series success as the Crocodile Hunter over a decade later.
On 26 April 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine exploded, causing the greatest nuclear disaster in history. It is estimated that over 600,000 people were highly effected by radiation and to this day a zone of alienation is maintained to minimise further dangers.
On a lighter note, the Eurovision Song Contest, held in the RDS Simmonscourt Pavilion, Dublin, on 30 April 1988 was won by none other than the now famous French-Canadian singer Celine Dion, as she represented Switzerland with the song “Ne partez pas sans moi”. It begs the question though, would you team a bubble skirt with a double breasted jacket? Only for the brave…
This week in the 80s is all about the cosmos! On 12 April 1981 the world witnessed the first launch of the Columbia space shuttle, which would go on to complete an amazing total of 28 missions into space, before a tragic ending in 2003 when it was destroyed whilst re-entering the atmosphere, killing all 7 astronauts aboard. NASA honours the final crew on their website.
Further into the decade, we witnessed the return of Halley’s Comet, on 10 April, 1986. It has been observed by our ancestors since 240 BC and is next scheduled to appear in 2061. The comet is significant in that it can be seen from earth by the naked eye. However, many were disappointed by its appearance in 1986, when a series of unfavorable viewing conditions aligned, meaning that many people missed out on seeing the comet altogether.
Did you get a peak at this momentous comet? We’d love to hear your stories!
Right now we’re gearing up for an exciting weekend where the mods will take over the museum! Now we know that there’s more to being a mod than Ben Sherman’s and scooters. You’ve also gotta listen to the right music! So let’s put it to the vote, what mod revival bands from the 80s still put a little style in your step?
This week in the 80s begins with the sad news of Marvin Gaye’s death on 1st April, 1984. He left the world a legacy of incredible motown music and, a prescription for ‘sexual healing’.
Meanwhile back at home, on the 5th April 1989, Ita Buttrose launched a controversial aids awareness campaign. Featuring an omnipresent ‘Grim Reaper’ bowling people down like pins in an alley, the advert had a high impact in Australia and helped spread the HIV/AIDS prevention message. Do you remember being scared by this?
And just so you don’t have any nightmares after watching the Grim Reaper, let’s go out with a pop song. Not just any song, but ‘Making Your Mind Up’, by the Bucks Fizz, one-hit wonders that took out the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981. I’m lost for words.
This week in the 80s…
The late Michael Jackson was famous for his signature dance moves, including the ‘moonwalk’ which he performed for the very first time, on US television on 25 March, 1983 at the Motown 25.
If you’d like to pay your respects, you could always brush up on your dance skills and take part in the ‘eternal moonwalk’.
Also, on 27 March, 1985, The South African Broadcasting Corporation banned Stevie Wonder’s music in response to Wonder dedicating the Oscar he had won the night before, for ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ to Nelson Mandela.
On 27 March, 1987, inspired by The Beatles’ 1969 rooftop concert, U2 shot a music video for the song “Where the Streets Have No Name” on a rooftop in Los Angeles, California, which was subsequently shut down by police due to security concerns.
Till next week!
This week in our 80s flashback, we revisit the wedding of all time with Scott and Charlene tying the knot, Princess Diana, and her Prince of course, impress the locals when they visit Australia for the first time and Madonna does a great job of stirring up controversy with her ‘Like A Prayer’ filmclip.
On the 18th March, 1985, ‘Neighbours’ began on the Seven Network only to be later dropped that year, leaving Channel 10 to pick up the pieces. They gave it a fresh youthful focus by bringing in some of the most popular characters of all time, including Jason Donovan & Kylie Minogue as Scott and Charlene respectively. Whilst the wedding was the big moment, who could forget the clothes, the haircuts and the very suburban proposal? Younger fans of Kylie today are sure to get a giggle out of this…
What is now considered the ‘Princess Diana phenomenon’ was in full force on 20 March 1983 when the Prince and Princess of Wales arrived in Alice Springs. The young Diana struck a chord with the populace and gave a boost to the flagging popularity of the royals in Australia (and worldwide).
Click here to see a photograph of the shy Diana with baby Prince William in Alice Springs.
Meanwhile, on 21 March 1989, Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” music video, taped in late December 1988 attracted criticism for its use of Catholic iconography and for the use of cross burning imagery, but also garnered praise for its interpretation of discrimination, rape, and faith. Pepsi dropped Madonna as a spokesperson out of fear the video will cause religious groups to boycott the company.
RIP Corey Haim 23 December 1971 – 10 March 2010
Why is it that we don’t ever hear about the successful child stars? Or is it that we just forget where they came from as they feed the wallets of Hollywood big wigs? After all, Leonardo Di Caprio is a child star graduate – remember him as the last gasp of breath ‘Growing Pains’ took when it became clear that it was just too creepy to pimp a 22-year old Kirk Cameron out to teenage girls? It’s easy to forget that Kirsten Dunst and Jodie Foster are former child stars too, since their records are unblemished.
But gossip columns love a good cliché and relentlessly cover the life of some poor schmuck that feeds the stereotype of child actors meeting with tragic ends, very often by their own hand. It’s not that difficult to understand how the stresses of worldwide stardom can have a detrimental effect on anyone, let alone a child. Somehow the normal rules of childhood no longer apply once you have a best selling film under your belt at age 6, as Drew Barrymore colourfully demonstrated throughout the 1980s.
Losing Corey Haim is sad, and call me cynical if you will, I have a terrible feeling that there are people employed by world wide media conglomerates whose sole job it is to write obituaries for ‘at risk’ personalities whilst they’re still alive so that they can be uploaded whilst the body is still warm and the news has filtered out of the Emergency room. Stars, however far they may have fallen, are front page news once they’re not around to stand up for themselves, not that they even need to, because once rigamortis sets in, suddenly everyone has a sycophantic Tweet and a personal anecdote to propel their own stardom further. Since The Haimster’s demise, I’ve noticed Todd Bridges getting a few more column inches. I’m just saying, is all…
Corey Haim’s death is heartbreaking, as heartbreaking as the loss of any 38-year old is. The difference is that his death and the painful lead up to it, was public. Even more demoralising is the timing. Had it happened only 2 or 3 days earlier, he would have made it to the most prominent position on the ‘Oscars Montage of Death’, usurping Patrick Swayze from the top spot. As they say in Hollywood, you’re only as good as your last film and there was no chance Haim’s family would be collecting a posthumous Oscar for his role in 2009’s American Sunset.
What is saddest of all is that Corey just didn’t leave on a high note. Plagued by drug addiction since allegedly being introduced to marijuana on filmsets around the time his career was taking off, Haim’s momentum of stardom gradually petered out as the 80s wrapped up. How ironic that as the decade the VCR emerged and came to an end, Haim went all post-modern on us and started to make films that went straight-to-video.The Lost Boys was the film that brought together Coreys Feldman and Haim. The concept of the ‘Two Coreys’ was a symbiotic, synergistic and, some would say, co-enabling relationship. This was ‘bromance’ decades before we’d even coined the term. This formula told us that 2 x Corey ≠ Corey2, equalled some incredible megaforce that made us all think that they made scores of films together. To be honest though, they really only made three of note and merit (The Lost Boys, Licence to Drive and Dream a Little Dream) with a handful of others that never made it to mainstream consciousness, plus some cameos in the likes of ‘Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star’ where they obviously take a dig at themselves. There was, of course, the (ahem) reality show, ‘The Two Coreys’ which only lasted two seasons because fellow recovering addict Feldman allegedly couldn’t handle Haim’s drug use and brought it to an end in 2008.
Whilst watching a tribute to Haim on The Daily 10, Catt Sandler described him as “THE Rob Pattinson of HIS day”. Clearly an attempt by a girl too young to know what she was talking about to give today’s teens and tweens some sort of context of the magnitude of Haim’s stardom. After all, had Haim died in the 80s, he would have been revered the same way River Phoenix is. Who is to say that Phoenix, who died of a recreational drug overdose publicly on the front steps of The Viper Room in the early 90s, wouldn’t have gone down the same road as Haim?
But let us focus on the good times. I don’t want to keep harping on about it, but ‘The Lost Boys’ was a defining film for Gen X. Sure, kids today have ‘Twilight’, but ‘The Lost Boys’ was marketed to teenage boys and girls differently. For the blokes, with the exception of the uber-hot Jamie Gertz, it was pretty much the appeal of a teen-focused action/horror flick on motorbikes. But for the young girls…where does one start? Not since the 1983 spunkfest that was ‘The Outsiders’ had heterosexual teenage girls had such a smorgasbord of hot young Hollywood hunks to feast upon.
A much maligned silent star of the film was Haim’s wardrobe. Whilst we all idolised him onscreen as Sam Emerson, the upbeat, wise-cracking younger brother of Jason Patric’s moody Michael, I just know that if a guy had rocked up to a party wearing anything like Corey’s knee-length, festively-printed shirts in the late 80s he would have been the subject of ridicule that would no doubt have scarred him for life. Somehow though, the Haimster had the charisma to get away with it, the male equivalent of being able to wear a Hessian sack and still look amazing.
Vampire films have traditionally been allegories for repressed sexuality and adolescents struggling with the trials of puberty. Whilst ‘The Lost Boys’ doesn’t dismiss this entirely, it addresses other relevant and timeless issues such as peer pressure, assimilation and non-conformist ideas of the concept of ‘family’.
The Lost Boys was very much a film of its time and by that I mean, you had to be there, you had to see it when it was relevant. If you were to watch it for the first time today, it might look as dated as a 60s Hammer Horror vampire film did back in 1987. It captured bad hair (when is the flat-top going to make a revival?), bad fashion, bad sax solos and just a hint of watered down Goth-pop culture and somehow turned it into a late 80s zeitgeist, forever remembered by children and teens of the 80s. We can only hope that as time passes, the image of the bloated, incoherent former child star Corey Haim fades away and the magnetic, self assured on-screen embodiment of Sam Emerson endures.
Thanks for the memories, Corey!