#6 Cookie Crook & Officer Crumb?

•July 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Have you ever woke up early in the morning, around 11-11:30, and thought to yourself, “Man, I could really go for a bowl of tiny chocolate chip cookies covered in milk…so much so, in fact, that I would most likely STEAL it from a CHILD given the opportunity?” Your answer may vary from “Yes-Everyday” to “Only a Few Times a Week.” Both cases, I’m sorry to tell you, result in you having the Cookie Madness. Cookie Madness is not a joking matter. It can turn your most business minded and noble blue monster into a cookie craving mentally unsound fiend. It causes family members to bicker with one another over the proper and most efficient way to eat a cookie. And, yes, it can even make the most seemingly normal pup of all the cartoon dog robbers yodel to no end. My God.

GMChipCookieHoundI’m sure you all remember Chip, the Cookie Crisp loving dog of yesteryear. He would often travel from group of children to group of children singing the praises of his cereal and exploding young minds with its raw deliciousness. Some adult would always come into the picture, some totally lame square adult at that, and be like, “Cookies aren’t for breakfast. Cookies are for other times. This is ridiculous,” and then Chip would shovel a bite of Crisp down their bossy kid-ordering pipes, one bite, and BOOM!

Cookie Madness.

But do you remember how this kid-helping canine crusader came to be? If not, then allow me to explain before Twentieth Century Fox or Warner Bros. picks up the rights to Chip’s origin story and casts Ryan Reynolds as the lead. CAW-OOOOOOOOKIE CRISP!

Guess what, kiddos. That dog has priors.

It all began with the Cookie Crook. The Cookie Crook would attempt to steal Cookie Crispcrookbig from a live action bowl of the cereal, but was always busted by Officer Crumb, the Cookie Cop, an Irish American policeman assigned to protect children’s unorthodox first meal. Sorry, Cookie Crook, but it’s all in the Game. After developing new and ingenious methods for stealing real-ass cereal from giant actual children, and always to no avail, the Cookie Crook returned to his own fully animated world and became a normal sized adult man. But, in his campaign to end all cookie themed cereal theft, Officer Crumb was never too far behind. Watching. Waiting.

I always felt that the Cookie Crook should have laid low. The mask is fine, but does he need the red Macy Gray hat that actually advertises his love of cookies. I also always felt that his mustache is hilarious. But instead of losing the hat, purple shirt, and blue sneakers, the Cookie Crook adopted a new best friend (and a partner in crime) in the early 90s. And thus our anti-hero hound is introduced.

CookiecrispChip was probably a good dog, good puppy, he is a good puppy, you are a good puppy, aren’t you? Yes, you are. Yes, you are. But of course, when your master is a raving lunatic with a sweet tooth and one purpose in life, what can you expect? Like master, like dog, I always say.

Chip and Cookie Crook were always thwarted by Officer Crumb. By 1997, Chip had become so popular that General Mills completely axed Cookie Crook and Officer Crumb from the cookie party. Chip lost the mask, probably found God, and then went forth to talk instead of take.

Eventually Chip was changed, as well. In 2003, General Mills introduced their newest mascot for the Cookie Crisp cereal line, Chip the Wolf. He may have kept Chip the Dog’s first name and signature howl, but he was an idiot. And nobody likes an idiot.

Chip never lost the relentless addiction that stemmed from his Cookie Madness, but he set aside his criminal ways to help us all see that, yes, you can have cookies for breakfast, and, yes, it can be an exciting part of your complete breakfast. And for that, I judge him not.

RIP Chip the Dog

1990ish-2003

Hey, Wikipedia has a list of the taglines for Cookie Crisp over the years. They have got to be the least clever taglines I’ve ever seen for anything ever! Here we go:

-You can’t have cookies for breakfast, but you can have Cookie Crisp! (1977 – 1983)

-If you like cookies, you’ll love Cookie Crisp! (1983 – 1990)

-Little cookies you can’t resist. (1990 – 1996)

-It’s like lots and lots of little chocolate chip cookies! (1996 – 1997)

-Doggone good cookies for breakfast! (1997 – 2000)

-The one with the big chocolate chip cookie taste. (1998 – 2002)

-Coooookie Crisp! Next time, it’s mine! (2003 – 2007)

-Totally Chipalicious (2007 – Current)

Thanks, Wikipedia! If you like cookies, you’ll love Cookie Crisp!? Shouldn’t you love the real thing before you go for the hardened, miniature, artificially flavored substitute? Nope? Okie doke. My bad.

Commercials! First without Chip…

And then one with him. They just can’t make it over to the other side of that bridge. Oh man, classic.

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#5 Teddy Ruxpin?

•May 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Before I was the highly unaccomplished manchild you read before you today, I was actually a child. And like most children of the 80s and 90s and every other decade ever, I was all about some toys. If you approached me on the street this very day and asked me what my hobby was when I was seven years old, I would politely tell you, “Baseball.” But in my head, and in all honesty, I’m truly thinking, “Man, I wonder how much a good toy costs. I should go buy a toy.” However, both the federal and state governments, most insurance companies and employers, and all future romantic interests wish to classify me as an adult male. Fine. No toys. I get it.

But don’t ever say I wasn’t great at toys.

EXAMPLE: Let’s say you needed all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Master Splinter, Metalhead, and Casey Jones relocated to the other side of the bathtub in an aquatic transport. Sure. Should April come with?

See? Maybe not the best there ever was. Granted. But a real contender in my own right.

When thinking about all the toys over the years, all the adventures, all the stories, dipping way back in the ol’ memory bank,teddy_ruxpin earlier and earlier, the retina of my mind’s eye fixes on the calm visage of a familiar friend. A friend who any little boy or girl could stay up with late into the night, almost until the break of 9:30, quietly listening to his sweet whispers in the dark. A friend indeed. Ladies and gentlemen, Teddy Ruxpin.

Our friend Teddy was, well, a teddy bear, released by toy company Worlds of Wonder (and later by Playskool, and then by Yes! Entertainment, and then again by Backpack Toys). But Teddy was not just any teddy bear, mind you. Unless your traditional stuffed animal buddy could tell you stories, sing songs, and lip the words in almost partially believable sync, which it couldn’t, all you needed was a little Teddy in your life. That’s right. Teddy. Mr. Ruxpin if you’re nasty.

Teddy Ruxpin is one of the oldest toys I can remember owning, but still one of the tops. He might possibly be the one toy to rule them all. Why? Because he was a huggable, soft, storytelling critter who was part heart, part machine. Like if the terminator was slightly more fashionably minded, infinitely cuddlier, and filled with exciting yet wholesome undertakings to speak of instead of trying to hunt you down and kill you to prevent your future baby (By the way, you’re pregnant). But how could a dumb toy tell the myriad stories I type of when drunk Uncle Ted can’t even do that correctly, you ask? The answer is simple. Magic, fool.

And by magic, I mean technology!

Here’s the deal: You put a cassette tape in Teddy’s back and push the play button. A story or song would start and Teddy would move his mouth like he was actually speaking/singing the words (I guess I’ve made this point abundantly clear by now), and the kid would sit and stare for hours. Follow that with a television series. Easy. But how did Teddy actually make it look like he was speaking; was it something with the tape, you ask again, a little more specifically this time?

Yes. Teddy actually read both sides of the Teddy Ruxpin Signature Series Audio Cassette Friendship Story SeriesĀ® tapes which allowed the audio to play while the tape deck in his back read the other encoded side and interpreted the different pulses of each particular cassette into mouth movements that matched up to the audio. Yeah, that’s right. Encoding and stuff. What up?

It’s 2009, and I don’t get that. I’m not all scientifically minded and whatnot, but maybe you are and maybe your mind’s not exploded yet.

Hey nerd, if all that’s just not Johnny Mnemonic enough for ya, then how about this, four-eyes? Shortly after the release of Teddy Ruxpinteddygrubby comes Teddy’s best friend (besides you, of course), the GRUBBY! Out comes Grubby to the party complete with a cable that hooks into Teddy and a speaker that provides just the audio for the Grubby dialogue in a full-on feast-for-the-ears extreme mega story session. But what if, because of all these tapes I have to buy each week to keep my kid from crying all damn night, I can’t afford a Grubby doll, too? That’s okay, friend, because Teddy will read the Grubby stuff should no Grubby be present/hooked up. But how does Teddy know which parts of the audio not to mouth? I don’t know. Come on. I researched all that other stuff. On the net. He’s just Teddy. He waits patiently in silence for you to awake. He knows.

I realize that a lot of other rememberers of Teddy hold that he wasn’t a great toy. Not a great toy? It’s a proven statistic that, as of 2005, 30% of North America’s orphans are being raised by Teddy Ruxpin dolls. JK. Seriously though, I’ve spoken to a number of people who were “creeped out” by the doll and are still irked by his moving eyes and mouth. I must admit that I’ve preyed on this characteristic of Teddy myself. I put a regular ole audio tape into an old Teddy Ruxpin doll and played it for my much younger cousin so that Teddy would start malfunctioning (because he tried to read the other audio side as movement pulses). When the kid asked me what was happening, I told him that Teddy was telling the bad wizards to come take all his bones.

So maybe Teddy is a little creepy, but he still kept a whole bunch of kids from being lonely at night, so he gets my AWESOME TOY stamp of approval that I’m currently considering having patented. Teddy was the man. I salute him. May someone buy him for their kid at a Goodwill so that he may sing his song another day.

Teddy Ruxpin commercial! Yay!

And another:

And NOW with Grubby friend! GRUBBY!

#4 The Secret World of Alex Mack?

•April 25, 2009 • 2 Comments

amackThings were pretty rough in 1994. People were clubbing other people in their Olympic kneecaps, the MLB players’ strike resulted in the cancellation of the World Series, John and Lorena Bobbitt suffered a stressful time in their marriage, Cobain departed for Rock Heaven, O.J. was [*ACCUSED AND LATER ACQUITTED OF*] killing folks, Whoopie hosted the Academy Awards, and, of course, Woodstock ’94. But if you were still having your birthday parties at the local roller skate rink, then I’d bet that many of 1994’s headlines didn’t capture your interest quite as much as Nickelodeon’s Saturday night SNICK line-up.

Now I’m typing to all the gentlemen out there. One of the earliest prepubescent crushes a grade schooler could bear emerged from Clarissa Explains It All. Clarissa explained many a thought-provoking issue over the course of the program, but she could never explain why watching Melissa Joan Hart every Saturday night made us all weird and stuff in our tummies or why Clarissa’s male friend, Sam, climbing up a ladder to her window left a bad taste in our mouths. So naturally when C.E.I.A (this is cool to do, right?) left SNICK, it created a void in our young hearts that neither Ren, Stimpy, nor our fear of the dark could fill. Not even the pure awesomeness that was the mobile Roundhouse T.V./grill recliner could roll the loss out of our minds. I, for one, couldn’t dance it all away so easily. It was a sad and confusing time.

And then, in late 1994, The Secret World of Alex Mack debuted. It starred Larisa Oleynik as Alex Mack, and then some otherlarissa people as other characters probably.

It is my understanding that Melissa Joan Hart went on to become somewhat of a successful teenage witch, but no spell or pixie demonry could draw me away from the beckoning allure of Larisa Oleynik’s Siryn call. Perhaps that was a little too over the top. Suffice it to say that Alex Mack was this young boy’s snack attack. Perhaps that was a little too creepy/rhymey. I liked the show and I thought she was pretty. Let’s leave it at that.

Besides my infatuation with the show’s star (and I know I’m not the only one…where my dudes who pretended to hate The Baby-Sitters Club movie be at?), the actual show was pretty great. You got your unassuming ‘girl next door’ tomboyish lead with mysterious new super powers, your scientifically sound chemical spill to elucidate said powers, your evil corporation bent on hunting down said lead with said powers, and your brilliant older sister and comical best friend to help said lead evade said evil corporation from discovering said lead’s said powers. Simple. What’s that? I’m sorry. Did you say you wanted a twist? How about Alex Mack’s dad just so happens to be a scientist who works for the evil chemical plant and therefore cannot know of his daughter’s secret? Oh, that’s good…

But surely the girl’s mother knows, right?

Nope. No way. We’re not talking about the slightly reticent world of Alex Mack here, folks.

Now, instead of unfurling the specifics of this series, I’m going to use this opportunity to explore a related form of nostalgia that is both funny and inexplicable. Possibly the worst feeling a young man can experience whilst harboring a boyish crush on a television/movie star (short of hearing she’s dating J.T.T.) is the disappointment he undergoes when he discovers the girl on the screen is older than he. It’s gut wrenching. For me, some of these (now) women include (but are not limited to) the aforementioned Ms. Hart and Ms. Oleynik, Thora Birch, Christina Ricci, Jewel Staite (Flash Forward), Christine Lakin (Step by Step), Rachel Leigh Cook, and Jodie Sweetin. Now, I’m not too much younger than these women, but that didn’t matter at the time; it hurt all the same. I still can’t explain why. I’m not sure if the little girls in class felt the same when they found out Devon Sawa or whoever was older than them, or if other guys suffered from similar letdowns as mine, but it was really important for me to be older for some reason. Why was it so important? I’ll never understand. Of course that’s just the silliness of a child and I’ve obviously matured to the point where a woman’s age doesn’t bother me within reason. I mean, I still have a shot with any of those ladies I mentioned regardless of my age, right?

Right?

Okay, you know it’s coming. A little Alex Mack intro for ya head. I totally spot some bare shoulder. What were you trying to do to me, girl?!

#3 Blue (Da Ba Dee)?

•April 15, 2009 • 2 Comments

I have done some things in my childhood that I’m not proud of. For instance, during a heated snow ball fight that lead to my younger brother locking me out of the house in the cold, I entered through the back, ran to his room to retaliate, found that it too was locked, and preceded to kick a hole in the door. I’ve thrown rocks at cats. Peed in community pools. Farted in elevators. “Pantzd” friends of mine in front of others. Good friends. People close to me with elastic waistbands at mid-thigh level. I might even be responsible for a number of wedgies. I can’t remember specifically. My point is that these things are unfortunate blemishes on an otherwise superb record of human understanding and tranquil coexistence. And while it may be embarrassing to acknowledge these past blunders, perhaps nothing, no hurtful tease issued from my lips or regrettable Cheetoh flavor dust wipe onto the shoulder of another, no, perhaps none of it is as distressing and lamentable as my fondness for the Eiffel 65 song “Blue (Da Ba Dee).”

eiffel65bgtn41 Eiffel 65 released “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” on their 1999 album Europop, and without any premonition, a whole planet of intelligent life went wild. The song climbed to #1 in numerous countries and #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

In the days of such esteemed Disney Channel Original Movies as Brink!, The Thirteenth Year, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, Halloweentown, Johnny Tsunami, Smart House, etc., I successfully ignored and avoided the craze surrounding musical acts like BBMak and SHeDAISY (as, of course, I should have). But when the channel introduced me to “Blue,” I thought, “Who are these three Italian pioneers and what is this sublime log cabin they’ve created?” All I wanted to do was listen, dance, sing the lyrics that don’t make sense, dance, listen, sing, jump, pose, dance, start the revolution. But it wasn’t going to be that easy. I was going to have to be sneaky. If anyone at school found out how much I liked “Blue (Da Ba Dee),” all the 8th grade cred I had amassed would be leveled to the ground. It didn’t look good…

…until I utilized the classic technique “Negative Attraction.” Negative Attraction, also known as Mock and Awe, is a process in which a particular enthusiast of something, such as a song, belonging to a specific demographic, such as 8th grade, verbally slanders that which they appreciate to protect their image. By heavily mocking “Blue” as if I were a HUGE fan and it was totally my FAVE song, I gave the impression of detest whilst secretly getting to listen to it. Here’s an example:

Me: Hey Fred, have u heard that STOOOOPID song that goes, “I’m blue da ba dee dabba dai da ba dee,” and so forth?

Fred: No.

Me: Gawd, it’s so funny and dumb and awful. Let’s go listen to it!

Fred: Ok.

See? I got to indulge in a guilty pleasure by pointing out the ridiculousness of the song to others. And “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” was indeed ridiculous. I’m sure the three members of Eiffel 65 know this. They are probably sitting together somewhere in Italy, drinking expensive coffee, laughing, talking about the fast cars they get to drive.

Of course, listening to “Blue” a hundred times with my mom on the way to school took its toll. I eventually transitioned from pretending to think the song was stupid to actually thinking it was stupid. Which it was. But I liked it and I wish I hadn’t been so embarrassed by it. I know now that I had no 8th grade cred. I should have accepted and embraced the song for how it made me feel. I should have listened to my heart. Alas, wait until 2020 for hindsight, as they say.

Here’s the music video. Man, if only the internets didn’t ruin time capsules, futurepeople could unearth this work of art and develop hypotheses about our culture’s affinity for aliens, waving back-and-forth, and wearing leather ball caps.

#2 Adventures in Dinosaur City?

•April 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

In the scientific community, dinosaurs once ruled the planet. In the kid community, dinosaurs simply ruled.

If you asked a kid today what his or her favorite dinosaur is, he or she would probably say, “Harry Potter.” If you didn’t walk away immediately after that, you might say, “That’s not a dinosaur. That’s a little magic wizard man. Dinosaurs are ancient reptilian creatures that roamed the earth sixty-five million years ago. Try again.” Then the kid would probably ask for a push-pop and you would chuckle to yourself or throw a chair in anger or some other such thing.

Dinosaurs just don’t have the same influential impact on children now. I can name my favorite dinosaur. Ankylosaurus. I type that with resolute certainty. No problem. There’s just not as many youngsters out there with their hearts in it to win it, roaring at their teachers, opening doors, getting onto floors, everybody walk the dinosaur. But as many of you are surely aware, the dino craze of yesteryear was contingent upon one cultural phenomenon: Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park hit theaters in 1993 and made all sorts of childrens cuckoo for cold blood. Not in a dinosaur vampire way (though that’s the coolest idea I’ve probably ever had), but in a “I’m totally going to subscribe to Zoobooks just for that one special dinosaur issue though the free tiger poster is pretty sweet, too” kind of way. Yes, Jurassic Park was absolutely outstanding to behold as a child, but what did we watch to satisfy our prehistoric preoccupation before that?

Well, there was Adventures in Dinosaur City. aidc1

Adventures in Dinosaur City is a 1992 television film that took audiences to a fantasy land where cheesy puppets warmed hearts and confused senses of chronology. From what I recall, three teens, two boys and a girl, love a cartoon about dinosaurs. The youngest boy suggests watching it on his father’s big screen but, uh oh, oopsies, his father is actually a scientist and that big screen is actually an interdimensional time vortex that pulls the viewer(s) into a goofy innuendo-laced puppet populated primitive world. A land of the lost minds if you will.

Our three young heroes are pulled into a strange new world in which dinosaurs speak radical talk and wear tubular threads. The trio first meets a pint-sized pterodactyl named Forry who reluctantly leads them to “Dinosaur City,” also known as Tar Town. The kids then meet the aptly named dinosaur hipsters Tops and Rex, a *spoilers* triceratops and tyrannosaurus rex that work together instead of running away from/eating each other (respectively) to defeat the villainous Mr. Big and his cavemen cronies. Our young human friends team up with the duo and save Dinosaur City and so forth. I could offer some more detailed plot points here but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that this movie served as a middle step between The Land Before Time and JP which makes Adventures worth remembering. Instead of thinking three horns and long necks can’t be friends, I learned that cool dinosaurs wear Nike sneakers and sunglasses. Of course only a year later I learned that a dinosaur will eat you off a toilet if so inclined or spit gross black venom tar in your eyes, even if you are hilarious on Seinfeld. It doesn’t matter to them.

Though I have subtly (or not so subtly) bashed Adventures in Dinosaur City for being a pretty crappy flick, I remember it fondly I guess. If you’re looking for some baddd dino dudes with lots of ‘tude, then search no longer, friends. Your day has arrived.

Gimme Claw!

Adventures in Dinosaur City trailer!

#1 Ecto Coolers?

•March 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

ectoWhen I was a kid, I wanted to be a Ghostbuster.

That was it.

Done.

Who you gonna call?

Me.

The job entailed adventure, controversy, humor, and the supernatural. Or supernature as I’ve become fond of calling it just now. To put it simply, busting makes one feel good. It was rather apparent that during the heyday of the Ghostbuster films and the animated television series, The Real Ghostbusters, many of America’s youth longed to don a gray jumpsuit and proton pack as the franchise exploded in popularity. But short of buying all the toys, costumes, cereal, VHS tapes, soundtracks, books, action figures, toothpaste, candy, gum, video games, posters, fruit snacks, and other assorted memorabilia, how could a young person such as myself support the busting cause and mirror the bravery and dedication of Dr. Peter Venkman and company?

Remember Ecto Coolers?

Yes. Ecto Coolers. These little mixed citrus flavored boxes of joy were a promotional tie-in between Hi-C and The Real Ghostbusters series. The juice box featured the show’s ghoulish mascot, Slimer, which caused the product sales to skyrocket due to the character’s immense popularity. The fact that Ecto Coolers were delicious didn’t hurt either. There wasn’t an ecto cooler way to get your 10% fruit juice. Those boys and girls with Juicy Juice and Ocean Spray could go sit on the monkey bars for all I cared because my friends and I were at the lunch table sipping on Ecto drank. If there was something strange and it didn’t look good, we were on the front lines fighting those evil spiritual forces one straw slurp at a time. I don’t ever recall being afraid of no ghosts.

The unheralded success of the Ecto Cooler actually caused the beverage’s production to continue years beyond the cancellation of the T.V. series. Slimer eventually disappeared from the front of the box and Ecto Coolers were renamed a few times before the drink finally died in the late 2000s. You could probably recreate the taste yourself by taking a bite of a tangerine and then drinking orange juice, but what’s the point without that lovable slimy specter’s image holding up the logo for some reason? I mean I’m not going to eat an oatmeal cream pie if it didn’t come from Little Debbie, am I? Nope. For all I know it’s just oatmeal and cream smashed together. Psh. Not the same.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, the Ecto Cooler commercial. If this bad boy popping up on your screen on a Saturday morning didn’t get your head spinning for some delectable ecto taste, then you were probably into Hot Wheels or Pound Puppies or some other non-busting who-cares-thing.

 
fighting fire with unlit matches

Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches /// Recruit my army from the orphanages