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What the . . . Friday?

May 4, 2012

Dear Special Readers,

Due to your enthusiastic response to the 1988 video The Art of Scarf Styling that I shared here on Wednesday, I’ve decided to kick off a new weekly segment that I’m calling:

What the . . . Friday? 

Each Friday I will be offering you a splendid blast-from-the-past video that’s been dredged from the pits of the Pop Culture Wasteland.


Me too!

In honor of Mother’s Day this month, my first What the . . . Friday? video is this circa 1983 gem dedicated to those beloved women in our lives, our mothers.  Yes, those amazing women who wiped away our tears when we were sad, who wiped away our boogers so we wouldn’t eat them, and who wiped up the solidified cat vomit on the living room rug that we “didn’t notice” for three straight days despite stepping over it six times on the way to turn on the television set.

I’m sure you’ll agree that we can all learn something about treating our mothers right.  And I can’t think of a better ass-kicking A-Team star to remind us of this than Face   Murdock   Hannibal   Kung Fu Master in Episode 7   “Woman at the Bus Stop” in Episode 20   their van  Mr. T.


Your friend in flashbacks,


62 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2012 6:31 am

    I also like the message at the end: “Be somebody.” OK!!

    • May 5, 2012 10:11 am

      I’m not sure how “Be somebody!” had a lot to do with the “Treat your mother right!” theme. While they were at it, they should’ve thrown in “Don’t do drugs!” and “Study hard!” for good measure.

  2. May 4, 2012 6:34 am

    I pity the fool who doesn’t watch this and cry sweet tears.

    • May 5, 2012 10:15 am

      I admit I cried a little when the awkward chubby boy with the weight lifting gloves gave his mother a back massage. I cried because I knew he would probably be doing that every night until he was 40 while living in her basement.

  3. May 4, 2012 6:50 am

    I want his bling for Mother’s Day. Even if spell-check fails to recognize the word “bling.” I have coveted his necklace since childhood, and now I will have no peace until I get it.

    • May 5, 2012 10:17 am

      Mr. T was the original promoter of bling. If he doesn’t get credit for his amazing contributions to rap music, he at least should be given credit for bling. I hope this Mother’s Day brings you bling in the form of 188 gold chains.

  4. May 4, 2012 7:14 am

    I never noticed before how little Mr. T actually moves. He seems barely able to lift his feet. I am thinking it’s the bling weighing him down. That necklace must weigh a ton and I have to wonder if at night he wore a diamond studded neck brace to prepare for the next day’s heavy neck lifting. One careless wave of that hand and someone’s going to loose an eye to a chunky ring. He must eat his cereal with the other hand.

    • May 4, 2012 7:16 am

      I just had another look and I see rings on both hands. He must have ate his cereal with his head in the bowl.

      • May 5, 2012 10:22 am

        I wonder if he actually eats Mr. T cereal? I think Pee-wee Herman ate it on the first Pee-wee movie. I recall it tasted about as good as Cabbage Patch Kid cereal which was pure rubbish.

    • May 5, 2012 10:19 am

      I’m remember there was at one time a magazine article that detailed how much his gold chains actually weighed. (Perhaps in my Dynamite or Weekly Reader magazines.) I wish I could remember it and quote you the exact pounds but my memory is not quite that good.

  5. May 4, 2012 8:17 am

    YAY! Good find :)

    • May 5, 2012 10:24 am

      I first saw it a few years ago circulated through email so it’s really not my brilliant find. I’m glad at least a few of you hadn’t seen it before.

  6. May 4, 2012 8:32 am

    This will now be required viewing in my house every morning during breakfast. Thanks!
    I often wondered after growing up with these as examples there is no reason we should be at war with anyone.

    • May 5, 2012 10:25 am

      Required viewing while you’re eating Mr. T cereal? I can’t think of a better complement to Mr. T cereal than a Mr. T rap. I agree with you; this video changes lives.

  7. Emily Liston permalink
    May 4, 2012 8:37 am

    I really don’t know why Mr. T didn’t have a huge career as a rapper.

    • May 5, 2012 10:29 am

      It’s really quite sad that we all know him for “I pity the fool” when we should know him better for “M is for the moan and the miserable groan from the pain that she felt when I was born.”


  8. Emily permalink
    May 4, 2012 9:13 am

    Was it really ever cool for girls and women to wear just one earring? I was born in 1984, but I don’t remember that.

    • May 5, 2012 10:32 am

      I don’t know about the one earring thing but here’s what I remember. I remember going into drug stores to buy crappy jewelry and often seeing earring sets that included one gold stud and one long, dangling earring. Asymmetrical anything was really chic.

      • Emily permalink
        May 8, 2012 9:07 pm

        Wouldn’t that feel………you know, unbalanced? Sort of like the jewellry equivalent of wearing a combat boot on one foot, and a flip-flop sandal on the other? I don’t think I’d like wearing asymmetrical earrings, but then, I’m boring–I’ve worn the same small sterling silver hoops (and yes, just one in each earlobe), almost every day for almost the past three years. I used to really like wearing big hoops, or fancy dangly earrings (it was a novelty, because I only got my ears pierced when I was 21), but wearing heavy earrings got uncomfortable after awhile. I had some feather earrings I liked, but the feather broke off one of them, thereby ruining the pair, and it didn’t occur to me to go asymmetrical, because this happened around 2007.

      • May 8, 2012 9:59 pm

        Asymmetrical is always the way to go, Emily. Even in 2007. I’m working on bringing back asymmetrical permed bangs.

      • May 11, 2012 8:16 pm

        I would love to work the asymmetrical jewelry look. I just haven’t gotten the guts to do that yet.

      • May 13, 2012 10:18 am

        If you were really cool, you’d not only sport the asymmetrical jewelry back then but also the asymmetrical hair! Cut short or buzzed on one side and then long on the other. Brilliant.

  9. May 4, 2012 9:24 am

    Oh no! Something’s wrong with my computer and I can’t get the sound! But just watching this maestro and his back up team, The Solid Goldtone over Plastic Dancers, brought the 80s back in a mind-melting rush. I’m going to do a little rocking now to self-comfort.

    • May 5, 2012 10:37 am

      “Oh no!” is right, Peg! I’m so sorry that you missed the line where Mr. T says, “M is for the moan and the miserable groan from the pain that she felt when I was born.” While I watched this video, I continually thought to myself, what if Robert Frost was a rapper?

  10. May 4, 2012 9:50 am

    Oh yay: I’m a SPECIAL reader! We both know you added that in especially for me, but don’t worry I won’t tell, if you won’t. I hope you didn’t say anything to important after that, because I’m still stuck on feeling immensly special and not at all in “oh-you-know-she’s-errr-special-kinnda-way”, but rather in the “distinguished-Jane-Austen-Belle-of-the-ball-kinnda-way”. Ah life is good! ;)

    • May 5, 2012 10:39 am

      C’mon, you already knew you were special! “Special K”, like I always call you. I think if you started a rap career, you could go by Special K. You might even make one million dollars! You might even top Mr. T’s rap career! Just consider it.

      • May 5, 2012 12:10 pm

        VERY nice – I didn’t even think of that! See that’s why you are the accomplished writer and I’m a healthy breakfast choice (at least according to the commercial) ;)

      • May 5, 2012 12:13 pm

        I guess I don’t know the definition of “accomplished writer” then. I’d rather be Special K.

      • May 5, 2012 12:17 pm

        If I remember correctly a certain lady wasn’t just published once (Humpty Dumpty digest), but twice (Happyness TV-guide) as a child (ahem – can you say Wunderkind?! ;) ) and that’s not even mentioning the recent FreshlyPressed events in her life – but if it’ll make you feel any better I’ll share my cereal-status with you. :) You can be the the red stuff (allegedly fruit) and I’ll be the flakes :)

      • May 5, 2012 12:23 pm

        You failed to mention when I drew and wrote my own ads for a toy store. But I forgive you for the oversight.

    • May 5, 2012 12:41 pm


  11. May 4, 2012 11:44 am

    I had never seen that. Too funny

  12. May 4, 2012 12:16 pm

    HA! LOVE this new feature. This blog makes my soul happy.

    • May 5, 2012 10:41 am

      Does your soul like Mr. T? If so, I’ll try to remember to dig up my Mr. T Valentine’s Day story sometime.

  13. May 4, 2012 1:14 pm


    • May 5, 2012 10:42 am

      My thoughts exactly. Actually, I think my exact thoughts were WTF? As in, “What the…Friday?”

  14. May 4, 2012 6:18 pm

    That’s as painful as Mike Tyson singing in The Hangover II. There’s a good reason Mr. T never took off as a rap singer.

    • May 5, 2012 10:45 am

      I have never seen more talent in rapping than the Chicago Bears singing “The Superbowl Shuffle.”

      • May 5, 2012 10:57 am

        That video always gets to me. When the Punky QB sings his heart out, well, I just….just a sec, I’ve got something in my eye.

      • May 5, 2012 11:00 am

        I first saw The Superbowl Shuffle in my town roller skating rink. It was the talk of the town that our skating rink had just got a screen and projector for watching music videos. So you could skate while looking over your shoulder. Great idea. My friend Katie and I were so entranced by The Superbowl Shuffle that we actually sat down right in the middle of the rink to watch it. It was the first time I ever cared about football in my life.

      • May 5, 2012 11:05 am

        We were newly married and living in the Chicago burbs then – EVERYbody loved the Bears. It was a magical time. I had a humongous crush on Mike Singletary who was a sweet, gentleman/teddy bear until it was time to rip somebody’s head off.

        I thought your roller rink story was going to end tragically what with the over the shoulder idea. Brilliant.

      • May 5, 2012 11:09 am

        I figured you were a Bears fan, Peg. I liked Refrigerator Perry, but only because he completely saturated the airwaves with silly commercial endorsements.

        I don’t remember that anyone was killed at the skating rink while watching videos — there must’ve been little roller skate-wearing angels watching over us.

  15. May 4, 2012 9:20 pm

    OMG! Where in the world did you find this?? I’ve never seen it! Looks like it was done during Mr. T’s popularity! Did you check out those cammo shorts and the tube socks! HOLY BUCKETS! And I just love the way he pulled the microphone out of what appeared to be his butt! LOL!

    Thanks for my laugh today!

    • May 5, 2012 10:46 am

      Yes, thank you for calling attention to that, Cathie. I was hoping he didn’t pull it out of his butt. I was hoping it was in his back pocket. Now I’m going to lay down and rest for a while until the images of this fade from my memory.

      • May 5, 2012 1:39 pm

        Ummm…Angie…you’re fooling yourself. It was out of his butt. There are not pockets in those Richard Simmons shorts. LOL

      • May 5, 2012 1:58 pm

        Great point! I think you’ve just proven your theory.

      • May 5, 2012 2:13 pm

        LOL! Give you the willies a little bit, huh?

  16. May 5, 2012 12:31 am

    I feel nauseous. I feel so sickly I can’t even tell if I’ve spelt that right.

    • May 5, 2012 10:48 am

      So what part made you sick? Was it the microphone stored between Mr. T’s butt cheeks (thank Cathie for noticing this) or the awkward boy giving his mom a back massage? For me it was a little of both.

  17. CLStall permalink
    May 7, 2012 8:35 pm

    That was something. I just don’t know what and I grew up through 70’s and 80’s.

    • May 8, 2012 1:11 pm

      I still have figured out if that video really happened at all since I blacked out shortly after hitting “play”.

  18. Emily permalink
    May 8, 2012 9:09 pm

    Hey, has anyone else noticed that all of these compact, nuggety pseudo-foodstuffs are beige? That’s really not very healthy………

    • May 8, 2012 10:01 pm

      They are all beige. Maybe that’s a food color to stay away from. Green good. Beige bad.

  19. May 9, 2012 1:23 pm

    Angie, how did you find a clip like that? I wonder what you had to wade through. Good luck on that.

    • May 10, 2012 7:02 pm

      I’ll tell you what, Les, it was buried in a big vat of crap. I had to dig through Circus of the Stars, Hollywood Squares and about a zillion other bad videos of celebrities operating completely outside of their element. I don’t recommend anyone do this without wearing rubber gloves.

  20. May 11, 2012 8:18 pm

    Look at Mr. T in those short-shorts! Too funny!

    The little boy in the beginning is Bumper Robinson, who’s probably been in everything and anything ’80s.

    I wonder who the woman at the end who says “Be somebody” is. She looks really familiar to me.

    • May 13, 2012 10:16 am

      Seriously. Those shorts. Awful.

      I thought that kid looked familiar! I didn’t know his name but I remember him appearing in a lot of commercials and sitcoms. The woman at the end who says “Be Somebody” appeared as a teenager in the movie Summer School. If you saw the show, she was the one who couldn’t pass her driver’s test. She was probably in a lot of other things too, but that’s the only appearance I can specifically recall.

      • May 13, 2012 12:43 pm

        “The woman at the end who says “Be Somebody” appeared as a teenager in the movie Summer School.”

        Kelly Jo Minter! Yep, I remember “Summer School.” Mark Harmon, Kirstie Alley, and a bunch of “old” teenagers. That movie was hilarious. Also loved “Mind Over Matter,” the song from it, which was sung by E.G. Daily (aka Tommy Pickles). Another version of that song was done by Debbie Harry.

        Your daily dose of ’80s trivia brought to you by all the random pop culture knowledge floating around in my head.

      • May 13, 2012 3:05 pm

        You are a true master, Dienna. You could serve as my blog’s official fact-checker. I could even give you a more prestigious title, like maybe “Director of Research”. It pays nothing and I will take all credit for your brilliance. So how could you refuse that offer?

        I loved Summer School. I especially loved the Bill & Ted knock-offs.

      • May 13, 2012 3:07 pm

        Hey, it’s all good!

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