Monday, June 15, 2009


This blog has no official sponsorship. But if it did, the perfect sponsor would be the Ideal Toy Company. Along with Marx and Mattel, Ideal was responsible for manufacturing some of the greatest toys of the 1960s. Unfortunately, Ideal and Marx are long gone. But thanks to YouTube, classic commercials like this one for 1961's Robot Commado live on and on! Remember, Robot Commando is here to help you!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Here Comes the (California) Sun

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, the cartoon producers who created Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and, perhaps most importantly, Jonny Quest. A little later in life, I wanted to grow up to be John Lennon. So you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this vintage TV commercial for Kellogg's Raisin Bran. The stars are Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks, who appeared on The Huckleberry Hound Show. The narrator (as always) is Don Messick, who also voices Pixie. Dixie and Mr. Jinks are voiced by the legendary Daws Butler. Hanna-Barbera were keen observers of the popular culture and The Beatles were frequently referenced in their cartoons. Here is a classic example. You gotta see this!

List-O-Mania: Psychedelic 100

As you know, the Internet is overflowing with LISTS. Many do not require a second look, but a rare few are so good they deserve a bookmark. If you are a fan of psychedelic music, you should check out Psychedelic 100. This site deals not only with psychedelic music of the 1960s, but also tracks the evolution of the psych genre through the seventies and beyond. As with all lists, there is room for argument, but this is one of the most informative and thoughtful compilations on the web. I discovered several rare gems via this site and maybe you will too. Lotsa fun!

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Favorite Martian Song

You know what I miss the most? The 45 rpm single. Those scratchy little seven-inch vinyl discs with the BIG holes in the middle. In fact, on many record players, you had to use a special plastic adaptor (seen below) to keep your 45s from sliding all over the turntable.

There was a huge monster craze in America in the early 1960s, following the release of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man and dozens of other classic horror films to television. In 1963, I was nine years old and in love with The Monsters. That same year, The Ran-Dells, a rock and roll trio from New Jersey, released a single on the Chairman label called "The Martian Hop." Fully aware of my monster-mania, my mother bought me a copy of the record. Now, I owned a few other 45s, but most of them had been purchased in plain white paper sleeves. "The Martian Hop" was different. "The Martian Hop" (seen below) came with a picture sleeve. This was a fairly rare occurrence in 1963 and the record became one of my most prized possessions.

In addition to the picture sleeve, this record had everything: soaring vocals, a great sing-along melody, space age sound effects, a sense of humor, and a great big bass drum driven beat. Not to mention that super cool picture sleeve. I played this record to death! I guess a lot of other people liked it too, because "The Martian Hop" went all the way to Number Sixteen on the Billboard singles charts in 1963. Not bad for a novelty record about a sock hop on the planet Mars.

Eventually, I began to listen to records that had nothing to do with Martians and Frankenstein, and I continued collecting 45s until the format vanished in the late 1980s. I have a cabinet full of those little seven-inch wonders, including some very rare releases and collectible picture sleeves. But none can compare with "The Martian Hop." I still think of it as my first record and my introduction to the worlds of "grown up" popular music and record collecting. Life is always better with a picture sleeve. And that's why I miss those scratchy old 45s.

Summer 2009 Air Times

During the summer of 2009, "Strictly the Sixties" airs twice a week - Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m. (Eastern) and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Because WCCR is a campus radio station, our program schedule changes quite a bit from semester to semsester. I will update this post to let you know when "Strictly the Sixties" is on the air. Thanks for listening!