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Random Retro Part 1

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but for me, it seems like many times throughout the day something or someone will trigger a nostalgic memory.  I can be something as simple as someone feeling under the weather and wishing they had some hot soup, and in my mind I'm instantly transported back in time to 7 years old and being sick...staying with my grandmother and being fed Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup and orange juice from a half gallon jug.  Nostalgia is everywhere for me.  

When I think of those things, I make a mental note that I want to write something about it, but there are so many things like that that don't make for a full article, and don't seem like something for the forum, so I just hold on to them.

With so many of those random things floating through my head, I thought about doing articles of just random things with no real connecting theme just so I can get them down to share with you guys.  So here is the first one.  Again, there is no real connecting theme, and some of this is pretty random.

Wendy's SuperBar

Growing up, my Dad traveled a lot. Usually he made it home on Friday, and either then or on Saturday night he would take the family out for dinner. A lot of times we ended up at Wendy's for their amazing new SuperBar. This thing had it all.....salad bar, desserts, Mexican cuisine, baked potato toppings, pasta, and some very tasty grilled bread.

It was a nice change of pace from their usual offerings of burgers, chicken sandwiches and fries. My Dad was a fan of getting a baked potato, and then taking it to the bar to load it up. He even taught me the secret of the proper way to eat a baked potato with SuperBar toppings. He would first fill the potato with his favorite toppings...which was usually chili and nacho cheese. He would then proceed to eat all of the toppings from the potato, before returning to the bar for a topping refill. It was then that he would would eat the potato and toppings together.

I think it's the fond memories of times with my Dad that earns SuperBar a spot on this list, but regardless of that fact, the SuperBar was pretty dynamite on it's own. How I would love to be able to go there one more time, and take my daughters with me to teach them their grandfather's way of eating a baked potato at Wendy's SuperBar.

Here's a commercial for the SuperBar, and it features NBA star Rex Chapman!


Next to Lego, this is the greatest building toy that I ever laid hands on, and in some ways, it surpassed Lego. The size of the pieces and the way they were designed allowed for larger projects than Lego could handle, which allowed for such projects as bridges, buildings, and any other thing you could dream up. These were awesome if you had a fertile imagination. My brother and I used to build goose neck trailers for our Tonka trucks to pull along. 

The first set that I had was the bridge set. I remember it not being exactly easy to follow the directions and complete the build, but not so hard that I had to have help either. I just had to take a little longer than my older brother did to complete it. But when it was done, oh my was it ever a fun thing to play with. He and I ended up using those bridges to enhance the fun in our G.I. Joe adventures. As a matter of fact, just about everything we built with the Construx were to play with some other toy line we had. Rarely did we build anything just for the sake of playing with the Construx. I would put together swords and ninja stars when I would watch a martial arts movie and then let my imagination run wild. I would use them to construct obstacle courses and run my G.I. Joe men through their paces trying to re-enact the latest episode of American Gladiators. We used them to build tunnels and other things to go along with our Hotwheels fun. 

But my fondest memory of them would be the time I used them to build a scaffold. It was 1986, and The Road Warriors and The Midnight Express had just wrestled in a scaffold match at Starrcade '86, and I just had to re-create that. Years earlier, my father made me a wrestling ring, and I spent hours pitting my G.I. Joe men against one another in combat, pro wrestling style. I even gave them cool wrestling names and all. So I used the Construx to build a scaffold over my toy ring and used it from then on to settle the most intense feuds to ever take place in my room.

In later years, the line produced some "Space" sets with glow in the dark pieces. We had those as well, but mainly used them for what they were intended in the Space theme. But it was cool to take some of the glow in the dark pieces and use them to make "flash lights" to use on sleep overs.

Construx were so versatile a toy, I think they could hit the market today and be a hit all over again. I think they were fairly popular in their own right during their original run, but Lego had the market cornered, and Construx just didn't make it. Sad. It was one fine construction based toy line, and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to enjoy it. It was a role player. A solid backup. It enhanced the play of so many other toys in my collection, I would put it in the Hall of Fame just for that. 

Fat Pro Wrestlers

You turn on WWE programming today, and you're sure to find plenty of guys that are ripped and look like they've stepped straight off the pages of Muscle and Fitness. What you won't find however, are guys wrestling who look like you're dad, or the tough guy down the street who works on cars.

Back in the days when wrestlers earned their checks by how many tickets they sold, the emphasis wasn't so much on looks. It was a combination of their actual skill in the ring, along with their charisma out of it. If they could use their words to rile the fans up to the point that they would buy a ticket to see him get his butt kicked, that was enough. If he was good enough in the ring to make the fans believe what they were seeing, that was enough. Looks were just a bonus. Some of my favorite wrestlers would never be offered a cover spot on a men's magazine, but they sure could make you believe they would whip whoever DID appear on the cover.

The loss of the average looking, but tough son of a gun, in favor of hiring muscle bound freaks who can't wrestle, hurt the suspension of disbelief of wrestling. I want to see a guy who looks like my uncle fighting a guy who looks like your uncle. 

Take Phil Hickerson as an example.  Phil spent a lot of his career wrestling in the Memphis area.  While he certainly didn't look like a star by today's standards, he was one tough son of a gun and you had no problem believing what he did was real.  Here's a couple of videos of him as example.  The first one features a very young Sting & Ultimate Warrior right after they first started.

Phil Hickerson was a bad man.

Well that will do it for this week, but I hope to be back with more next week if time allows.  But in the meantime, check out some of my other articles here on RetroDaze that you may have missed:

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OldSchool80s Posted on Jan 18, 2016 at 10:11 PM

Totally relate to the "nostalgia is everywhere for me" premise. Keep the memories coming. Fun stuff.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Jan 06, 2016 at 07:55 PM

Construx were my go-to over Legos for the reason you mentioned, the ability to build your own playsets for action figures. Legos were too small and took forever to form into anything substantial, but with a few clicks of your Construx pieces around those little blue connector pieces you were set. You didn't need to whine to your parents for $50 to buy the Batcave, you could just make your own. I also use to build myself futuristic exo-skeleton armor weapons for for my forearms.

comic_book_fan Posted on Jan 06, 2016 at 03:27 PM

man i agree on wrestling i miss in they actually tried to look believable
and the announcers took it seriously now it's just about selling merch and twitter fallowers

Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 05, 2016 at 11:31 PM

Ahh, man. How I miss the Wendy's Super Bar. There used to be one in the Wendy's about 20 minutes from me. It was a glorious thing, for a reasonable price. And yes, it was always fun to watch those "regular guys" doing battle. I always found it funny to watch. Even so, some of them were technically talented. Others were just there to get beat up.

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