The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough for the WWF!

In the 1980s many important acronyms were making headlines: the emergence of the AIDS epidemic, NASA and its riveting Space Shuttle Program, MLK Day became an officially observed federal holiday, and IBM introduced the first “personal computer,” to name a few. But for three pre-teen siblings growing up in Queens, New York, two other acronyms would enter into, and soon dominate, their household: the debut of cable network MTV and a few years later, the mainstream arrival of WWF.

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To this day, when I hear Animotion’s song “Obsession” my mind immediately flashes to the opening title sequence of Saturday Night’s Main Event.

WWF Wrestling was big in our house. HUGE. We watched the Saturday morning matches and the Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling cartoon, fought with our parents to let us stay up late enough to watch the Main Events, subscribed to the WWF magazine, ate the ice cream sandwich bars. In a word, yes, we WERE obsessed with wrestling, thank you very much, Animotion. The year 1985 was an important one for wrestling, too, since that was the year that many of these shows debuted. America was experiencing a tidal wave of Hulkamania! Also, thanks to a fateful meeting on a plane between Lauper and Captain Lou Albano, he was soon being cast as her dad in the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video, and Lauper was later was cast on various WWF programs and matches as Wendy Richter’s manager, playing opposite a villainous Albano (then the manager of the Fabulous Moolah). The crossovers sparked a period that’s come to be known as the “Rock and Wrestling Connection.”

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Now, an unrelated, or SEEMINGLY unrelated event in 1985 was the arrival of The Goonies in movie theaters. Written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Richard Donner (previously discussed on Retroist), we all know the story of a band of misfit kids trying to save their goon dock side of town from being torn down to make way for a ritzy country club. Any fan of the film will also remember the unofficial theme song to The Goonies, “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough,” performed by…that’s right, Cyndi Lauper! But does everyone also recall the amazing video (a two-parter!) that accompanied the single?

The video had it all! Most of the kids from the film showed up to reprise their roles, Cyndi’s mom of course makes an appearance, the Bangles play some lady pirates, and Steven Speilberg event makes a cameo, but the icing on the cake is that there are a TON OF WWF PERSONALITIES playing various characters in the video! The Iron Sheik, Roddy Piper, Nikolai Volkoff (who arrives on a pick-up truck, milking a plastic cow), Captain Lou, Wendy Richter, Fabulous Moolah, Classy Freddie Blassie, everyone playing their typical roles of “bad guys” vs. “good guys.” And of course, the, ahem, GIANT reveal at the end of the video.

wwf-magazineAgain, being the avid fans of both music videos and WWF matches, my brothers and I were in heaven when we discovered this video on MTV. But there was one problem: while we were always able to see the video when it was on MTV, the video had two parts, and we really never got to see the concluding video. And remember, this was in a time before the instant gratification of YouTube and Daily Motion, and websites like the mighty Retroist who would helpfully host both parts of the video.

(Here’s part 2)

Cyndi was actually appointed by Spielberg as the musical director for the movie’s soundtrack, and she enlisted the Bangles to record one song for the album (which, if you didn’t own the soundtrack, helps to explain their otherwise curious appearance in the video). Something interesting to note regarding the production of the video: it was also shot by the movie’s director, Richard Donner. According to a few websites (that lack citation), Lauper had a less than enjoyable working experience with Donner, suggesting that he was pushing too hard at times when she was exhausted from filming. Here’s some behind-the-scenes footage from filming of the music video, though, so you can judge for yourself. To my eyes, it looks like everyone’s getting along OK:

Another interesting bit of info: the original title of the song, as written by Lauper, was just “Good Enough,” but Warner Bros., who distributed the film, went ahead and modified it to “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” so that people would make the connection between the single and the movie, which helped the marketing of the film. None too pleased with this unapproved change of title (on an album that she musically directed), Lauper decided she would no longer perform the song live in concert, but in the past 10 years, due to popular demand from her fans, she has started to work it back into her set list.

So if you ever wondered why there were wrestlers, instead of Fratellis, chasing the kids in the video for “Goonies R Good Enough,” you now know why. And that should be good enough for you.

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Dollars and Scents at the Perfume Counter

If you were a pre-teen girl growing up in the late ’80s, early ’90s, you were probably a lot like me, saving your allowance/babysitting money to buy cheap makeup at the drug store (my go-to store back in the day was Genovese, a tri-state area chain that was later sold to the Florida-based chain Eckerd).

Now, the more expensive items in the beauty aisle were generally kept behind a sliding glass window, protected by one small circular lock/key that you had to ask the sales associate to come over and unlock (this never took less than 10 minutes to execute). This is where you would find your White Diamonds, Giorgio, Halston, CK’s Obsession, and other such designer fragrances. And that’s all nice and special, but what I would gravitate to (again, due to my lack of funds and lack of gentlemen callers at the age of 11) was the readily available, uncaged Designer Imposters Body Spray collection.

They cost THREE DOLLARS! But you knew that using the spray would make you smell like at least THIRTY DOLLARS worth of classy.

Often sitting on its own colorful store display perch, these fragrances came in aerosol cans (maybe about 3 or 4 oz, each), and each can declared that if you liked X-brand, then you’d LOVE their imposter version of that scent, which was often given a bizarro/slightly cheesier variant on the popular fragrance’s name.

“If you like Opium, you’ll love NINJA”

Well, that seems mildly racist, but maybe I WILL love Ninja!

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To add to the duplicitous pageantry, check out one of the company’s classic 1980’s commercials, featuring the “Best Undressed Bodies of 1989” (ironically, all of the models in the ad are, in fact, dressed). Not only did I want to smell like these women, I wanted to own all of their cool ’80s clothing! The off-the-shoulder ruffled top, the mutli-tiered polka dot skirt, the zipper-centered bikini top. How could you wear such clothes, douse yourself in imposter spray, and NOT be the belle of the ball?

Sadly, my favorite imposter’s scent, Night Rhythms, is not featured in this ad.

The spray fragrances are distributed by Parfums de Coeur, which sounds as fancy as it gets, since it’s French—right? But lo and behold, the company is based out of Darien, CT! It still exists and operates as a fragrance company, still offering some of its favorite imposter scents from the ’80s like Primo!, Oscar, and A Little Sexy. However, it seems as though today, the scents that they are copying at a fraction of the cost aren’t even as high-end as they once were, and include versions of such already-affordable brands as Bath and Body Works, Juicy, Ed Hardy and Victoria’s Secret.

Come to think of it: if you were of the mind to want to smell like whatever Ed Hardy perfume smells like, you’d probably also take some pride in knowing you only paid $3.00 for the opportunity.

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Everybody Wants Some!


Sure, there are numerous memorable moments from the ’80s comedy Better Off Dead: skiing the K-12, Lane botching his own suicide, challenging the Howard Cosell-loving asians to a road race at the red light, even Ricky’s mom blowing up, to name a few. But I wager that one of the finest moments in this film is when Lane Meyer does a little daydreaming while on the job at Pig Burgers, declaring that HE’LL show us what “everybody wants” (in answer to Pig Burgers’ poster whose slogan was that “everybody wants some”).

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What follows is some of the strangest, most delightful 3 minutes you’ll see in an ’80s comedy. A scene that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the plot/story/character development/movie, featuring the music of Van Halen, which will forever link their song to this film. It’s almost as though director Savage Steve Holland just really loved Van Halen and wanted to find a way to get almost the entire song into this movie. It acts in essence as a music video for the song, although it’s a singing claymation hamburger and dancing fries that we see. A very bad-ass singing claymation hamburger, I might add, who seriously shreds on a claymation replica of Eddie Van Halen’s custom designed “Frankenstrat” guitar. This is definitely a feat that I doubt could ever happen today in a studio-made movie (Better Off Dead was originally released in theaters by Warner Bros.)

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I tried to do a little interweb investigating into who the company might be that worked on the claymation sequence in the film. My best guest, based on production credits supplied on IMDB, was that it was handled by a company called Dream Quest Images, who also handled model making for such movies as E.T., Total Recall, and The Abyss, until the Walt Disney Company bought the DQI in 1996.

The kicker is that the song doesn’t even appear on the original motion picture soundtrack for Better Off Dead! And several times that I’ve gone looking for this clip on YouTube or even Daily Motion, the video was either fully removed, or the video remained, but the sound was often stripped out for violating terms of use and lacking permission to rebroadcast. So either Diamond Dave and the boys have become less litigious in their later years, or perhaps someone from the VH camp has come to realize that allowing clips like this to live a second life on video sharing sites only helps to keep people coming around for the Van Halen sound.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go and practice my moves for the big K-12 competition tomorrow..

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#Occupy John Malkovich!

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Separated at Delivery?

Adele and Tyne Daly (in Master Class). Their common raised eyebrows are making me raise MY eyebrow! Coincidence?

 

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Move over, laser Floyd

Talk about a Great Gig in the Sky

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Remembering the Big Man

Although many people will immediately think of about a dozen E Street Band songs when they think about all of Clarence Clemons’ musical achievements, but one of the first songs that came to my mind when I heard about his passing was the duet (triplet?) with Jackson Browne and (??? yes, really) Daryl Hannah (Browne’s girlfriend at the time), “You’re a Friend of Mine”

A classic 80s tune, a VH-1 staple back in the day, and a song with a great message in general.

You’ll be sadly missed, Big Man!

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