Buckner and Garcia, “Pac-Man Fever”

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Pac-Man Fever Buckner and Garcia (Columbia/CBS Records, 1981)

While you may never set out to write a novelty song and you may never aspire to be known as a one hit wonder nor, most especially, be tied to a song as silly as Pac-Man Fever, what did they really expect? Songwriters Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia were well aware of the craze that Pac-Man was experiencing during the 1980s and dutifully wrote this ode to cash in on a piece of the pie. Pac-Man Fever peaked at #9 in the U.S. in March of 1982. It was certified Gold, had sold over a million copies by the end of 1982 and 2.5 million copies as of the end of 2008. (Pac-Man Fever also peaked at #9 in Canada.)

Not content for a novelty song, Pac-Man Fever the single was taken off the album Pac-Man Fever. Get this: all seven songs on the album are based on popular video games of the time. I guess being tied to a novelty song or a song as silly as Pac-Man Fever isn’t so bad after all….

Jeffrey Dahmer

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Jeffrey Dahmer (May 21, 1960 – November 28, 1994)

Born Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dahmer first displayed troubling behavior after a childhood surgery at age 4 to correct a double hernia. He committed his first murder in 1978. He would then kill, dismember and sexually assault 16 more teens and men that he would lure back to his apartment between 1978 and 1991. Dahmer kept body parts as mementos of his crimes.

Dahmer could have been stopped in May 1991. Dahmer’s neighbor Sandra Smith was forced to call police after she witnessed a 14-year-old boy running naked in the street. Police came and took Dahmer’s word that the boy was his lover (and incidentally the brother of a boy he had assaulted three years earlier). They escorted the “couple” home and took a cursory look around, but quickly left, not wanting to become involved in a homosexual domestic disturbance. After they left, the boy was killed and if the police had taken a proper look around they would have found the body of his 12th victim, Tony Hughes and could have saved 4 lives.

Finally in July 1991, Dahmer’s 13-year reign of terror ended. Police spotted 32-year-old Tracy Edwards wandering the streets with a handcuff dangling from his wrist. He claimed a “weird” dude had drugged him and restrained him. The police arrived at Dahmer’s apartment — again. The knife that Dahmer threatened Edwards with was in the bedroom. So were many photographs of dismembered bodies. Dahmer was subdued and taken into custody. More searches revealed dismembered body parts in the fridge, freezer and in preserves jars. In 1992, he was sentenced to 16 life terms.

Initially in prison, he was kept out of the general population. He eventually convinced authorities to let him integrate. While on work detail with Jesse Anderson and Christopher Scarver, two other convicted murderers, Scarver brutally beat both Anderson and Dahmer with a metal bar from the weight room. Dahmer was pronounced dead after an hour, Anderson died a few days later.

“Poor Fellow My Country”

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Poor Fellow My Country (HarperCollins Australia, 1975)

Regarded as Australia’s
longest work of fiction (at 1,463 pages), Poor Fellow My Country is a Miles Franklin Award-winning novel written by Xavier Herbert. It tells the story of Jeremy Delacy and his illegitimate grandson Prindy in the years leading up to World War II.

Fortune Bubble Gum

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Fortune Bubble Gum (Albert & Sons, 1980s)

Bubblegum lovers and fans of Fortune Bubble Gum have reason to rejoice! The popular bubble gum from the 1980s that disappeared in the 1990s re-entered the marketplace last February. Fortune Bubble Gum was a large stick of pink bubble gum wrapped in wax paper that contained a funny fortune. Pick up a pack and see what it says!

“Heil Honey I’m Home!”

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Heil Honey I’m Home! (Galaxy, 1990)

Heil Honey I’m Home! was a British sitcom written by Geoff Atkinson that was cancelled after one episode. 11 total episodes were produced. The show’s premise was that Adolf Hitler (Neil McCaul) and Eva Braun (DeNica Fairman) live in Berlin next door to Jewish neighbors Arny and Rosa Goldenstein (Gareth Marks and Caroline Gruber). Television historian Marian Calabro described Heil Honey I’m Home! as “perhaps the world’s most tasteless situation comedy.” Though others have defended the show. English professor David Hawkes argued that the show failed because it “disastrously exceeded” the limits of irony.

The show was cancelled almost immediately. It currently sits at #61 on Channel 4’s list of “100 Greatest TV Moments from Hell.” Heil Honey I’m Home! aired on September 30, 1990.

The Tornados, “Telstar”

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Telstar The Tornados (Decca (UK)/London (U.S.) Records, 1962)

Telstar was the second instrumental recording to hit #1 in both the U.S. and the UK in 1962. Telstar was written and produced at Joe Meek for the British band The Tornados. In fact, Telstar was the second British recording to top the charts that year (the other being Stranger on the Shore). Telstar was named after the communication satellite that launched in July 1962.

A lawsuit was launched against Meek by a French composer Jean Ledrut claiming that Telstar had copied his piece La Marche d’Austerlitz for the 1960 film Austerlitz. The suit prevented Meek from receiving royalties during his lifetime. The issue was settled three weeks after Meek’s suicide in his favor in 1967. Austerlitz has not been released in the UK until 1965 so there had been no way for Meek to have known about the similarities by the March 1963 lawsuit filing.

“Roman Holiday”

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Roman Holiday (Paramount Pictures, 1953)

Starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday won three Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Costume Design and Best Writing. Hepburn’s performance as a
sheltered princess who falls for an American newsman in Rome has made this film an American classic and ensured that the love for the movie endures. Roman Holiday was directed and produced by William Wyler and written by John Bighton and Dalton Trumbo. Due to his blacklisting, Ian McLellan Hunter had to front for him. In 1999, Roman Holiday was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Produced for $1.5 million, Roman Holiday made Paramount $12 million.

“Diamonds for Breakfast”

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Diamonds for Breakfast (Ariola, 1980)

Diamonds for Breakfast was French singer Amanda Lear’s fourth studio album from West German label Ariola Records. With the decade change, Lear’s own musical taste had changed and her
style shifted from disco to pop rock for this album. It was a good shift and Diamonds for Breakfast gave Lear two more European hits, Fabulous (Lover, Love Me) and Diamonds. Fabulous (Lover, Love Me) was a top 10 single in Sweden and a minor hit in Germany. Diamonds reached the top 10 in Norway. Diamonds for Breakfast was a top 10 album in both Sweden and Norway and finished at #11 in Austria.

Fisher Price Cash Register

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Fisher Price Cash Register (Fisher Price, 1975)

The cash register has multi-colored coins that would roll down the ramp. You could turn the crank, hear the bell ring and watch the drawer open to reveal your coin! Recommended for 2 to 4
year olds, the cash register taught early counting and color recognition.

Z. Cavaricci Pants

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Z. Cavaricci Pants (1980s)

Now most fashion experts will tell you that you actually want your clothes to appear tailored to your body, read fitted, but not skin tight. Apparently the designers of Z. Cavaricci missed this memo. Once upon a time in those crazy 80s, Z. Cavaricci pants were the dress pants every young, style-conscious male reached for. The pants featured a high waist, baggy legs and tons of pleats. You could certify that you owned an original Z. Cavaricci pair because they had a small white label above the zipper. The brand Z. Cavaricci is still around, but they no longer make this style of trousers.