06 November 2007

Retro Wishlist II: The Revenge

Hey, kids! It's time for the next installment of the Retro Wishlist! These additions are much more expensive and difficult to obtain than the first three items, but what's a wishlist without stuff like that?

04. A DeLorean DMC-12

Oh, come on. You knew I had to include this. Who doesn't want one of these things?

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The DMC-12 was featured in a certain series of time-travel comedies and has since become something of an icon. It was only in production from 1981-1983, since DeLorean Motor Company went bankrupt after the arrest of its founder. Thus, the number of cars that still exist is relatively small, estimated to be somewhere around 6500.

This is one of the most unique cars I've ever seen. Instead of being primed and painted, it's plated with stainless steel. Apparently, some owners have painted their DeLoreans; I personally would never do this, since I think it really takes away from the value and charm of the car.

It also has those distinctive gullwing doors. As a kid, I thought they were the coolest thing ever (which led to a short-lived obsession with Lamborghinis). I still think they're pretty damn cool, but I have to wonder about something: Do DeLorean owners have to park on the outskirts of parking lots to be able to open the door and get out of the car?

Only three times have I ever seen a DeLorean in real life. The first time, I saw one speeding down the interstate and had to suppress the overwhelming urge to stalk it. The second time, I saw one sitting at a car lot/garage as I passed by. (The next time I drove by there, it was gone.)

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The third time was two nights ago. I'm staying with a friend while waiting to move into an apartment, and I was just hanging around when my friend comes inside talking about something awesome he just saw. Naturally, I had to go outside to find out what was going on. Well, the neighbors had a DMC-12 sitting in their driveway, which is fucking amazing enough as is. But it wasn't just any DMC-12-- it was decked out to look just like the time machine from Back to the Future. It was all lit up and had the wires, cables, flux capacitor, the whole nine yards. It even had sound clips from the movie playing through its speakers.

As you might expect, I had a nerdfit and did a really stupid happydance after inspecting it thoroughly. I'm still kicking myself in the ass for not asking the guy if I could take a picture of it. Of course, it's gone now. Damn it.

I've heard that the car is going back into limited production next year. I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, I'm so getting one when I get 50,000 dollars to spare.

05. A Big Ugly Dish System

...Also known as "television receive-only". Surely you guys have seen a ten-foot satellite dish sitting in someone's yard before. That's what I'm talking about. Satellite TV, 80s-style.

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Why do I want one of these when I could just get one of those modern, much smaller dishes? Mostly to fulfill an old childhood desire.

When I was a kid, my family spent a lot of time at Uncle Sonny and Aunt Ruby's house. (They weren't really my aunt and uncle-- more like my mom's cousins or something like that.) They lived in a rural area, and since you couldn't get cable out there, Uncle Sonny had a big ugly dish. Since I was just a little bitty thing, and BUD systems are kind of complicated, I was never allowed to mess with it.

Back before we had cable, the idea of getting TV from places other than Oklahoma City boggled my little mind. I really wanted to see what kinds of new and interesting channels I could find, and if there were any cartoons on them. My dad said Uncle Sonny could get channels from all over the planet, which even now, sounds fascinating.

Anyway, I never got my hands on that dish-controller-box contraption. In the 90s, Uncle Sonny left his big dish in the dust and got Primestar-- a newfangled satellite service that used a much smaller dish --instead.

Unfortunately, TVRO is pretty obscure now thanks to stuff like Dish Network and DirecTV, which makes me a little sad. This makes it something of a waste for me to ever try getting one set up, not to mention I'm no electronics hobbyist, and would have to pay somebody some serious bucks to set it up for me. I don't like TV that much. But if I ever have large amounts of money lying around, and no better use for it, I'd go for it.

03 November 2007

This Is Home Box Office.

Okay, readers. It's time for the nerdiest post yet (but certainly not the nerdiest I'll ever write). Can you handle it?!

As you all know, HBO is probably the biggest cable network ever. However, this post isn't really about HBO. Rather, it's about its bumpers, on-air graphics and movie intros, a few of which I'll be showing you thanks to all those other retro lovers out there on Youtube.

Home Box Office signed on for the first time in 1972. Can you believe it's been around that long? Neither can I. I thought it started a few years later, like many other networks. Anyway, check out this rare ID. It's from the 70s, back when the "O" in "HBO" still overlapped the "B". That damn O sure was an attention whore. I dig those rainbow stripes though. Very old-school.

Couldn't find it on Youtube, so check it out on RetroJunk!

Another common misconception is that HBO was always a 24/7 network, but it actually didn't start that until December 1981, nine years after its inception.

What that means is that at one point in time, HBO had a sign-off sequence! This blew my mind when I first found out about it on the internet. Not because it's a stellar example of animation (it's not), but because the idea of a pay channel signing off at night is really bizarre. Also, it seems like something of a rip-off, especially when you consider that HBO cost around 12 bucks a month back then, which, in 2007 money, translates to roughly 3000 dollars. Oh well. Check out the video anyway!

(If you'd rather go to Youtube and watch the video, or if the embed doesn't work for you, just click here.)

Alright, you want to see something really dated? Check this next video out. Apparently this clip was recorded in late 1980, but the 70s aesthetic was still going strong. This thing is funktastic. Also, is it just me or does that little theme for the movie intro bear some resemblance to the Star Trek theme music? Listen for it when the words "HBO Feature Movie" come on the screen.

(Again, if that doesn't work, go here.)

Oh, but you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Here's the cream of the crop. The crown jewel. The mother of all the HBO logos, graphics, and intros. If you were alive in the 80s at all, chances are you remember seeing this thing at least once. My parents didn't even subscribe to HBO and I managed to see it. I don't remember when. I don't remember where. But I saw this thing once at some point during my childhood and I never forgot it. I remember wishing that I could see it again, but I don't think I ever did until I found it on RetroJunk at the beginning of my big retro craze. Needless to say, this just added more fuel to the fire.

Anyway, here it is: the glorious HBO Feature Presentation movie intro, aka "HBO in space".

(Or go here.

If you don't think that was one of the most awesome things you've ever seen, then you can just get the hell out of here right now.

Not only is it fucking epic, it also features one of the most exquisitely crafted models I've ever seen. That's right, it ain't CGI, kids. That thing was built in 1982 by hand with blood, sweat, and tears. Or...maybe just hammer, nails, and paint. Even the flying HBO logo that almost crashes through the screen at the end is a model.

Anyway, it's visually impressive even today, but the music is what really makes it amazing. Every hear it, I get chills. And then I feel like watching something huge like Poltergeist, Star Wars, or Raiders of the Lost Ark.

There also happens to be a really cool behind-the-scenes look at the making of this thing, which you can look at here if you like that nerdy kind of thing (which I do!).

Also, HBO might have taken themselves very seriously when they made that, but they also had a sense of humor: they made more than one parody of this intro for April Fool's Day. Here's one of them. Go look at it, dammit! Or the giant HBO logo will come for you in your sleep.

I have more clips, but I think I'll end this one here. I don't want to scare away the last two people that are reading this thing. Plus, it's late and I'm hungry. I promise the next post won't be quite as nerdy as this. If you appreciated this post in any way, please leave me a damn comment and tell me so I don't have to strangle myself with an old VHS tape.