Why My ’80s Childhood Was Radical, Dudes!


“Be excellent to each other.”

“Party on, dudes!”

~from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

I love it when a decade comes together!

Seriously, I felt the ’80s nostalgia pretty bad this week. It was the 25th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy. At the time, I was a precocious seven, and pretty annoyed that my cartoon shows were pre-empted for news coverage. I know better now, of course, and my heart is with those who lost loved ones on that terrible day.

On a happier note, I never get quite so nostalgic as I do thinking about the wonderful, awesome decade that was the 1980s. (Who gets all misty-eyed and says, “Man, I really miss the ’90s?) Nobody. The ’90s were the hangover to the party that was the excessive ’80s. Isn’t it hard to believe a decade synonymous with excess had the NES as its pinnacle of gaming awesomeness, the LeBaron as a cool convertible car, Yuban coffee for caffeine addicts on the go? Weird, huh?

I really knew I was a child of the ’80s when, on my dad’s retirement celebration, I was asked to give him a piece of advice. The first thing that leaped to mind was “Be excellent to each other.” Honestly. No Gandhi or Marcus Aurelius or Ronald Reagan…Bill and Ted. Bodacious!

Bill S. Preston (Esq.) and Ted "Theodore" Logan

Another shocker to my readers…I did not in fact grow up watching The A-Team as a child despite my fanaticism for it now. I do, however, distinctly remember eating Mr. T cereal at some point and being friends with a kid who had a B.A. Baracus action figure. I really pity the fool who didn’t. That notwithstanding, there’s a lot that makes me all mushy-gushy warm-fuzzy about the Decade of Reagan. In no particular order:

*The neighborhood pizza parlor (remember those? Even Pizza Hut, when it still had the eat-in locations?) with the totally awesome arcade and the ride-on horse for a penny. I used to save up coins or beg my parents just so I could indulge in some Asteroids or Ms. Pac-Man every Friday night. And the pizza was really good, too.

*Pop culture was at just the right levels of ubiquity. You could play Indiana Jones or Star Wars with your friends, but you had to use your imagination, too. There was no such thing as online shopping or super-deluxe replica lightsabers back then. Just a stick would do nicely for your pretend adventures in a galaxy far, far away.

*Kids’ cartoons were more than just talking heads or shameless toy commercials…at least some of them. (People forget that the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake, among others, were once properties of the American Greetings company.) I still try to catch reruns of Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers whenever I can.

*There were less media outlets…and more civility. People always talk about how “back in their day,” things were more civil. While I can’t say that I know whether this is true, it just seems that way. Reality shows, the blogosphere, and webcams have allowed anyone and everyone to express their opinions to a live audience. I’m not advocating a return to the Big Three networks alone, but it would be nice to sit back and listen to the voices sometimes instead of just being bombarded from all sides.

*Fewer huge cookie-cutter subdivisions meant a greater sense of community, along with a stronger sense of identity. I fondly remember trick-or-treating when I was growing up, and although every one of those houses was different, just about all of them had a family I knew. I could also walk on the sidewalk or on the street without fear of getting run over or attacked by a dog. This wasn’t some idealized, Truman Show utopia. It was my hometown, and I’m willing to bet it’s changed beyond recognition in the 20-plus years since I left.

*The TV shows, because of greater competition, were just cooler. The A-Team. The Cosby Show. Dallas. The Wide World of Sports. Icons, not just filler. Think of how the level of talent goes down in professional sports leagues when more franchises are added. Who wants to watch half the garbage that passes for network programming today? Not me. Back then, it really was must-see TV.

*Speaking of sports: during the Olympics, you actually had somebody you rooted for, and somebody you rooted against. Because of the collapse of the Iron Curtain, this is no longer so. Can you imagine Rocky IV being made today, with Ivan Drago being…Chinese? Venezuelan? Iranian? Neither can I.

*Less of the nutty political correctness meant happier, better-adjusted people. My late grandfather told all sorts of un-PC jokes in my presence when I was little. Did this make me grow up to be an Archie Bunker-style bigot? No. The main difference was that my parents took it upon themselves to teach me what was acceptable and unacceptable to say or do…NOT the government or some well-meaning but clueless entity.

*On that same thread, it was OK for kids to express a little bit of healthy anger. I call this the Wile E. Coyote conundrum. Back in the day, when most of the cartoons were of the Tom and Jerry or Looney Tunes “ultra-violent” variety, did we hear about as many school shootings, violent rampages, or random assaults? I’m sure they took place, but I doubt in the numbers that we tragically see today. Kids have aggression. Let them duke it out on the playground once in a while. It’s healthy and natural.

*There were a lot more heroes. Again, this might just be a generational phenomenon, but when I look at the comparisons, they’re just not there. Sarah Palin is no Lady Margaret Thatcher, and Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan. I distinctly remember having heroes back them, whether in the world of politics, sports (Tony Gwynn, John Stockton), or television (Bob Barker, Harry Caray). They just don’t seem to make ‘em like that anymore.

I could probably think of a thousand reasons why I really miss the ’80s. Is my life better, safer, more convenient now than it was back then? Probably. But I wouldn’t take a thousand iPads for one warm, happy memory of Pizza Hut collectible glasses, Asteroids, and Ronald Reagan in the White House. Those truly were the days…my salad days.

He is missed.

Got comments? Find me on Facebook or write me anytime! I love to hear from readers.

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on January 18, 2011.

200 Responses to “Why My ’80s Childhood Was Radical, Dudes!”

  1. I miss the eighties too!

    • me too, was a cool, no social media, no computers, jajajajaja

    • Wow! So true! So much fun is missed!

      Would like to share this silly poll too about being stranded…

      Wish you luck and continued success – hope to have as much fun as you soon! 8-)

    • I use to think I was the only person who felt that the 80’s were better than it is now. Quality of music, food, laws, everything was better then. I miss Gumby, the movie Lucus, and Mario Duck Hunt. There was a sense of freedom, I’ll never forget when my mom would pick me up from school in the station wagon playing all the music from the great hair bands.

      • Yes, things were better. More (as in TV channels, music stations, etc.) doesn’t always add up to better. My mom used to pick me up in our family’s old gas guzzler Chevy Blazer. Great times! Thanks for the kind words.

    • I really miss the 80’s. I watched the Karate Kid the other night thinking about the good times I had back then. How life was so much simpler back then. http://adsensegoggle.blogspot.com/

  2. Reality TV has definitely changed things!

  3. What strikes me as a child of the ’80s with children in the ’00s is how permissive our parents were with TV. I vividly recall watching Dallas, Dynasty, Moonlighting, Cagney & Lacey, the Streets of San Francisco…yet they’re all full of sexuality, both of the innuendo and blatant variety.

    I was, like, 7. And I was obsessed about whether Maddie and David were going to “do it.” Seriously!
    ;)

  4. I’m an 80s baby :) (born in 84 so I only had 6 good years lol– grew up in the 90s). But, I can say that the movies from the 80s are classic!

  5. Well said. The 80’s do rock.
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    Blessings,

    Ava
    xox

  6. Haha.. I never knew the 80’s were this fun. I still remember a few childhood memories in the 90’s :) great times, and yes nothing could replace the childhood memories of anyone :) not even a thousand iPad’s ;p

  7. I am so glad I had the opportunity to grow up in the 80’s! Things were just so different. I feel sad for all the kids today who won’t know what good family shows were like or how fun it was to play outside. Everyone has their faces in I-phones but when we were growing up we were experiencing the outdoors. Man I miss the 80’s!

  8. I miss it too. I blog about it a lot myself because of the fun times we had. Thank you for the reminder, and congrats on FP!

  9. Great post. We really enjoyed a torrent of pent-up creativity after the government got off the people’s backs.

    In the years prior to this era, the people were psychoanalyzed by politicians (we were suffering from a malaise), taxed up the ying-yang, and micro-managed by those same meddlesome politicians.

  10. I was born in 1980 and grew up in the ’80s. I miss it! And the toys and the candy, etc…

  11. I was a kid in the eighties, around 7 at the time of the challenger tragedy too. I agree with a lot of your points how things don’t seem so.. well… true to what they are today than they did back then. A lot has changed mind, the advent of the internet and market saturation for almost anything has watered down what back then would be select few ‘specialist’ people (sportsmen/actors/politicians) to almost anybody any time for their fifteen minutes.

  12. I loved the 80s love 80s cheesey pop too *lol*

  13. I just recently wrote a Flashback to the 80’s post too! Such good memories of childhood. I enjoyed your post.
    -FringeGirl

  14. Definitely missing the 80s here too. I can’t believe it’s been 25 years since Challenger. I was in school and we all got to watch TV all day to see that footage over and over. I sure didn’t mind missing lectures for that! Great post.

  15. I agree that Bill and Ted rule, but I’m not sure that all that many British people would consider Margaret Thatcher a ‘hero’ (or ‘heroine’…)

  16. Good post. It’s interesting the things that stand out to you, as a guy, verses to me, as a girl. I most remember the fashion (stirrup pants, shaker knit sweaters, etc.), hairstyles, and Growing Pains. I have to disagree with you about TV being more awesome. Have you watched the Cosby Show lately? I think we just didn’t know what we were missing b/c we only had 3 channels :)

  17. Though I come from Sweden I really can relate to what you are saying. I was born in 1981 and I remember watching Dallas, Falcon Crest, Cosby, Miami Vice with my mom from a really early age! My brother and I watched the A-team. “I pity the fool!” haha! I guess Sweden took on these american/western TV-series early. And all this other stuff I remember too. Video games and so forth. I could go on forever…

  18. I’m an ’80s child too…those were the days. I particularly enjoyed Degrassi Junior High back then (only REAL ’80s buffs would remember that show…lol).

    Great post!

  19. I was all about the ninja turtles back in the 80’s.
    BTW did you hear that there’s a rumored new Bill n Ted movie on it’s way? Pretty exciting stuff!
    ~J

  20. What a great blog! (I stumbled upon it – hope you don’t mind.)

    I, too, grew up in the 80’s and I sincerley do miss it. Just think how easy life would be if we could say “Be Excellent to each other” and leave it at that. Excellent.

  21. I am a fellow child of the 80s.. and I loved reading your post. Ah.. the movies… Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, the music…Duran Duran, Wham!, Human League… there WAS such a feeling of excitement and optimism back then- and I don’t think its just me looking at it through the rose colour tinted glasses of nostalgia.. such a dead-on observation about the 90s…lol… never thought about it but, no, I don’t think I have heard anyone harking back to the 90s…

  22. Fantastic post! Just the other day I was thinking about putting together a post similar to yours but I got sidetracked. The one thing that I think is worth mentioning, is that the 80s had some awesome music (my preference is for the alternative & rock);’back in the day’, artists actually put together original sounds, unlike today where everything sounds the same.

    I agree 100% with you on the matter of civility; I find that today, people tend to be rather uncivilized with each other. People push and shove with no apology, they are rude and aggressive and most seem angry. ‘Back in the day’, people said ‘thank you’ when you held the door open; they apologized if they pushed you. Today, it’s all about me-me-me and it irritates the heck out of me.

    Lastly, I also agree that TV shows were much better in the 80s! So much more fun, more humor and just plain good times.

    Wax on, wax off dude ;-)

  23. How could I forget it dude. It was the decade I got married and had two children.
    Nice memories.

  24. The 80s was also a great time to be a parent for many of the same reasons that you mention here. Thanks for reminding me of those wonderful days!

  25. I am also a child of the 80’s and do miss those things that are now gone. The day of Mtv playing videos and keeping up with my favorite tunes. TV and Radio now are not designed for consumer entertainment anymore. It is now just an outlet for advertising so the networks can make $$$$.

  26. I’m a child of the sixtries but my children are of the eightys. I have to admit they were good years.

  27. I don’t know? I guess I’m a child of the late-sixties and seventies, and looking back at the music and film created then…it seems a lot more interesting than the eighties. Think of: Bonnie and Clyde, Easy Rider, Taxi Driver, The Godfather….And all the edgy music: The Doors, Cream, Led Zepplin….Great stuff.

    The eighties seem like a nostalgic look back at fifties America, hoping we could be that country again. It’s a little sad.

    –jim gilmore

    • That’s an interesting perspective. Maybe it really is generational? I, too, love ’60s and ’70s pop culture, but because I didn’t experience them firsthand…

      Thanks for the comment.

    • check out my site if you get a chance:

      jimgilmore2010.wordpress.com

      thanks

  28. Being only 16 years old I know nothing about the awesomeness of the 80s, but a time that created thing I still enjoy today (mostly old NES games) it had to be pretty awesome…although everyone says the decade they grew up in was awesome because times were simpler when you were younger, no bills to pay or life to worry about.

    http://geekdome.wordpress.com

  29. Haha, Regan.

    I’m gonna go listen to my Rappin’ Ronnie tape.

  30. Being born at the end of the ’80s, I was too young to remember them, but I’ve always had a strong curiosity about that decade. Thank you for sharing.

  31. I kinda liked the hangover but, being married to an eighties lover I’m regularly forced to revisit your salad days;) I agree though, they don’t make em’ like they used too and civility was much more important then than it is now. good post ;)

  32. I love this blog entry! The ’80s were “my time” – my high school and undergraduate college days and oh, how often I get nostalgic for them too! I think it was just last night or the night before I was thinking it would be so cool to somehow travel back in time and re-live those days (although I would like to know what I know now, too!).

    I did not look it up, but I am pretty sure the Challenger disaster was January 28, 1986…so the anniversary date has yet to arrive. I remember that day well, too…..wasn’t watching it live, but once I heard about it, I was in mourning along with the rest of the country for those who “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God” (what Reagan used in his speech about it, although I don’t know who originally wrote it).

  33. Truth. I was born in ’81. I grew up watching The A-Team, Knightrider, and Airwolf. Did I have a clue what was going on? No way – but they had awesome vehicles and Mr. T. How can you lose? As an avid TV watcher these days, I wholeheartedly agree with you about the complete junk on today’s airwaves. Back then, it was about entertainment. Today, it’s about how much crap can I make for the cheapest amount and get the biggest payoff? Not to mention we’ve got about 90 more cable channels that need programming to fill their timeslots.
    I totally agree about the 90’s being a lame excuse for the after-80’s. In the 80’s the music was cheesy (by today’s standards) but agreeable and FUN! Today – well, we’re lucky to get stuff that even qualifies as music.
    People’s general affect was better too. People were chill.
    I do miss the 80’s.

    PS: Remember Silent Service for the NES? Game was rad.

  34. Totally Awesome!

  35. still waiting for vh1’s i love the 80s series to come out on bluray, id buy it in a hearbeat.

  36. It’s hard to say what I miss most about the 80’s but one of them is most definitely the Book It reading program sponsored by Pizza Hut. I read the *hell* out of anything and everything that I could get my hands on. Not only because I liked to read but because getting that little personal pan pizza the BEST!

    Oh, and book orders. Do they still have those today?

  37. I read hundreds of blog posts a week. I like parts of many of them. Every once in a while I find a person I want to read a ton. You’ve got the perfect mix for me! I already subscribed because I glanced through your last few posts and saw A-Team, ancient Greece, and Back To The Future references in about 5 seconds. I’m in. Keep it coming and stop by my site some time where the 80s are always on my mind too. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Glad to find you.

  38. Awe.. Parachute pants, legwarmers, gelly shoes, and teased hair… how I miss thee.

  39. Ah, yes. The Wide World of Sports. You could watch more than just football or baseball without having some massive cable package.

    amyk, the poem is by John Gillspie Magee, Jr. and is called ‘High Flight’. I had to study it the year prior to the Challenger disaster. RR quoted the first and last lines.

  40. This is funny because I really miss the cold War sometimes myself. It may have caused an unhealthy amount of ethnocentrism at times, but having a reason to think of ourselves as the good guys in the world (because there really were bad guys trying to kills us) made things a little easier. Now even Americans are taught to hate Americans. Blast!

    I think you left out a couple of big ones: The Brat Pack, John Hughes movies and teen culture in general. I learned everything I need to know about life from John Hughes movies and the like.

    Be excellent,
    Crystal
    (www.crystalspins.com)

  41. Boy, did that take me back. I miss the Halloweens of the 80s the most. There were so many kids trick or treating back then, some houses had “Sorry no more candy” tacked up on their doors. We even got trick or treaters ringing the doorbell past 10:00 PM!

    Last Halloween, I had 3 kids come to the door. At once. I don’t know why I still stay in costume to greet them at the door, year after year. Too optimistic. Oh well.

    While I will never miss the policies of his administration, Reagan was one of the best orators of our time.

    Great post!

  42. I love the 80’s music. I didn’t like the A-team tv show. I loved Oliva Newton John. I think she was 80’s. The Challenger disaster was very sad.

  43. Every time I get all nostalgic, I think of this fantastic piece by John Oliver on The Daily show.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-january-5-2010/even-better-than-the-real-thing

    • Alise, John Oliver just said everything I was going to say in a comment. Thanks for posting this link.

      The 80s only seemed great because we were kids. We didn’t have bills, or jobs, or complicated relationships. Nostalgia and getting old go together like white on rice.

      The past is safe. The future is uncertain, so it seems worse by comparison. I love 80s music, but I like my life now.

  44. Yeah, the Challenger was the 28th, which happens to be my birthday. I turned 12 that day, and I really don’t remember it being my birthday that day. I remember my 6th grade teacher letting us go to recess early so we could watch the launch, and then when we saw it explode on live TV, the rest of the day is a blur. Then, in 1988, when the Discovery went back up, we got to see it during school, which was cool.

    I’m collecting a bunch of movies from the ’80’s. Red Dawn, Goonies, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Back to the Future trilogy, Breakfast Club, along with some of the TV series like Growing Pains, Family Ties, Who’s the Boss? Would I want to actually re-live the 80’s? No way. But, reminiscing is great.

  45. I think we could all use a little more 80s in our lives. Best. Decade. Ever!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    -Tricia

    http://stopbeingaloser.org/

  46. Aaah, the A-Team (I just watched the new movie recently…it was better than I expected, of course I expected it to be horrible, so that wasn’t hard), Barney Miller (okay, reruns, I’m not quite that old), and the Cosby Show.
    I remember I was a much better morning person when I was five years old and had Saturday morning cartoons to get me up.
    The 80s were nice, at least the first half. The half before I lost what seemed like the greater part of my day to that silly convention known as school.
    I agree with Cliff Ball. I can’t say I want to relive them, but I’d enjoy rewatching the television at least.

  47. The ’80s was the decade that couldn’t get out of its own way. It was awful. Cities were filthy and dangerous, the music was largely terrible, there weren’t more than a handful of memorable movies, and television — aside from a very few bright spots — was absolutely awful.

    Don’t believe me? Try watching an episode of Cheers or the Cosby Show, then remember that was the BEST television had to offer the entire decade. Now watch a second tier show: Silver Spoons. Hardcastle & McCormick. Too Close for Comfort. I’m telling you, it’s unwatchable.

    The song that my graduating class selected for its prom song in 1986? That’s What Friends are For by Dionne Warwick. Yeah, nothing defined my high school years like the pathetic crooning of a post-menopausal old prune-face who’d seen her biggest hits come out of the Brill Building in 1960.

    Ebony and Ivory. The Girl is Mine. We Are the World. Say, Say, Say. Maneater. Africa. The entire decade was awash in oversynthesized easy-listening schlock.

    Even the girls were repulsive. Big giant hair, dumb makeup, leg warmers and gigantic sweaters that conveniently hid the biggest asses in the post-war period.

    Ugh. All those bands that came out of Seattle in the 1990s were such a breath of fresh air. At least we remembered how to play guitars again.

    I have not one iota of fondness for that entire period. Feh, I say.

  48. Loved the 80’s. It’ll be funny in the future when they look back on the 2000’s and talk about the good ol’ days…remember when we had gas powered cars, xbox 360 on your t.v. and cell phones that you had to hold with your hands?
    Great blog and great memories!!

  49. Thanks for the article. I was just having a conversation the other day with someone about how all these new shows are coming out without any real “characters” in them. Shows loaded with attractive people and even a decent concept. But their lead characters are lacking dynamicism.

    For example, the upcoming “Fairly Legal.” Beautiful lead actress, acceptable dialogue. But if it weren’t part of the script, would you really buy her bossing people around and having them ACTUALLY listen to her. It wouldn’t happen. She isn’t a strong enough personality.

    I blame society’s acceptance of this bland type of programming on reality TV. The palate no longer craves for exciting, dynamic entertainment because we’re used to non-stars running across the globe or fighting for “survival” in their faux realities. These people really don’t have anything to say, but week after week, the American public tunes in to see what happens next. It makes me sad.

    But in the spirit of your article, I did watch the A-Team, Knight Rider, Who’s the Boss, etc. Some of my favorite movies still are The Goonies, Adventures in Babysitting and Some Kind of Wonderful. A couple of months ago, I ran across some old episodes of All in the Family and found myself laughing out loud. It was brilliant, ridiculous and touching.

    I was 12 the day the Challenger exploded, riding home from an overnight school event. The impact of it didn’t strike me at the time, but in retrospect, it’s still one of the events of history that I remember where I was.

    Thank you for a trip down memory lane.

    • You’re welcome. I couldn’t agree more with the downward spiral of TV and movies. Pretty faces and exotic locations do not a series make. I was just talking the other day with a friend about how the “A-Team” cast of 1983 would never pass muster today: a really crazy (and balding) guy, a serial womanizer, a guy who smoked all the time, and a really angry black man. But it worked back then, and it still works for me now. If it weren’t for sports and some of what the History Channel offers, I’d have thrown my TV out the window a long time ago.
      Definitely planning on watching some of those great 80s movies again (last week it was “Nine to Five.”) Thanks for the kind words!
      ~heather

  50. I too was a child of the 80’s… and 70’s. I miss the 80’s… and the 90’s.

    I recall the Challenger explosion because I was in the 7th grade and our teacher took us to the library to watch the lift-off live on TV. I recall we were all a bit shocked – of course – and confused because at first we thought it was “fake”.

    I was a big fan of the A-Team and the Cosby Show back then. And oh, the cartoons.

    And Ronald Reagan? He was The Man!

    By the way, Mad Murdock, aka Dwight Schultz, is now a radio pundit. http://www.dwightschultzfansite.nl/

  51. I wasn’t born in the 80s, but when I was born in the 90s, I remember that ‘hangover after the party’ you spoke of. My mom would always dress me up as a hippie. Hahaha, good times.. when I asked why, she would say, “Don’t worry it’s still in style!” (As I saw other people wearing those overalls!)

    Hahaha, also, this post made me laugh when you said ‘trick or treating was fine because you knew pretty much all the families that lived there’ and how ‘you didn’t have to worry about being chased by a dog down the sidewalk.’

    Well, haha, here’s something funny, when I was 5 and trick or treating, and went up to the door for the first time by myself, a huge black dog jumped on me before I could say Trick or Treat and chased me down 5 blocks. It was so bad the cops had to get involved and save me. I was so scared that I couldn’t stop running, (when the cops had already took care of the dog.) I just heard sirons and cop cars still moving full speed, that I just kept running. It wasn’t ’til then that someone had to knock the sense back into me to stop me.

    Hahaha, it’s funny now, but back then it wasn’t. I remember my superman costume being torn to pieces and me being all bruised, scratched, and bleeding from that furious dog, and oh yes, the tears running down from my eyes. Boy, did I try to run as fast as superman then. Sigh, my parents weren’t fast enough to help me and the owner of the dog didn’t care. She just said, “Oh, he does this all the time…”

    Your probably wondering how could I remember all these details from such a young age, well let’s just say I couldn’t interact with a dog for a couple years after that. It pretty much scarred me for life. :P

  52. I loved the 80’s.. I was in my late 20’s early 30’s and my kids was still kids, and we had such fun. my husband had the best job he has ever had. 2nd shift for 11 years, we liked that…no cable i the contry but something new, we rented movies..hig rentals was 250.00 a month. and gasoline was fair so we did a lot of riding around ohio back them..man it was nice.

  53. Hmm, I seem to be the only baby boomer here. You were born when I was graduating high school. And you’re feeling nostalgic from your “old age”? To be in my 30’s again!
    The 80’s had some awesome music. But I have to stay true to my roots and say nothing came out of the music industry better than the bands of the 60’s and 70’s.
    This is a great post though. All those tv shows, the big hair, leggings, the 1981 Camaro!, wouldn’t mind going back!

  54. Who can forget Star Wars, Star Trek, Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, black Trans Ams, Saturday mornings at the Roller Rink, hanging out at the mall, the Rubik’s Cube – and all it’s associated 3-D puzzles that required us to THINK? How about the Mattel electronic football, Atari 2600s, MTV, VCRs cassette tapes, boom boxes and British synth pop? As one who grew up in the 80s, I have to agree with your assertion that the 90s were the “morning after hangover” decade. Good TV, good movies, good music and a whole lot of fun. Will we ever see good times like those again?

  55. GAAAH!!! I can’t believe I wrote “it’s” instead of “its” when referring to Rubik’s Cube!!! How embarrassing!

  56. Congrats on being freshly pressed. Thanks for the fun trip down memory lane. We watched Buck Rogers and The A Team religiously.

  57. I was born in ’86, so while I can claim to be an child of the 80’s, unfortunately for me it really started in the 90’s. Although, we didn’t have cable at my house (we live out in the country far, far away from civilization…ok not that far), and I don’t think my dad wanted to pay for much satellite programming (do you remember the big dish satellites?) so we watched what we could get. Which was mostly TV Land, so awesome. So I did, in fact, grow up watching the ‘A-Team’, ‘Hogan’s Heroes’, ‘Green Acres’ (my mom wanted to name my sister Bobby-Jo…my dad won that name game thank goodness), ‘Three’s Company’, etc. My favourites were definitely the ‘A-Team’ and ‘Hogan’s Heroes’. And I totally remember watching ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ and LOVING IT! ‘Back to the Future’ as well.

    I read this because of the A-Team pic that caught my eye…While I didn’t get all your references, I got some and most of the stuff I do know from the 80’s rocks! But not parachute pants…or were those the 90’s? I have no idea.

    • Naw, the parachute pants came in when MC Hammer (1988 or so) began wearing them. Cool that you got to see a lot of the old-school shows in reruns; we had a ginormous satellite dish too. Thanks for reading and commenting! ;) heather

  58. Atari 2600, TI 99 4/A computer, we had it all… :)

  59. he he, miss mchquiver too

  60. I so loved the 80’s too and I really enjoyed the same show’s you did and agree on alot of the things you said.
    Nothing I say nothing will compare those days with the days kids live now. We had it all.

  61. Of course you thought things were more civil, less violent and better overall. You were a kid, and one would assume your parents protected you from the evil nature of man kind as most parents try to do. I’m about 10 years older than you, and I remember ever increasing gang violence, the neo nazi resurgence, and homelessness hitting critical mass in the 80’s.

    BTW, crime peaked in the early 90’s and has been trending downward ever since.

    As we look back on our lives, nostalgia rules the day. But memories are not facts, memories are still sweet, just the same.

    • Agreed…I see my childhood through rose-colored lenses, and in many ways things have gotten better. There’s just so much I miss from my 8-year-old perspective. I can’t go back, but I have my memories. Thanks for the feedback. :) Heather

  62. I hate to tell you this, but every generation thinks like that. For me it was the 50s for childhood and 60s for teen years, and I think the 70s were blah. Then the cycle started all over again, having kids in the 80s. If you don’t believe me read Annie Dillard’s “An American Childhood” or George Arnold’s “Growing Up Simple”, both written with the same nostalgia you now feel.

    Must agree on the tv shows though!! That’s been a slippery slope, with a few exceptions.

  63. I’m the same age – and I have to say that the new 80’s nostalgia trend makes me pretty sick. I don’t think it’s so much the 80’s that you all love so much, but your childhood, and the television shows and video games that you spent most of your childhood watching. Childhood is pretty great (for most people, anyway) but we’re adults now, so lets get on with making today as awesome as it can be.

  64. […] Why My ’80s Childhood Was Radical, Dudes! (via Prawn And Quartered) Posted on January 19, 2011 by Xanthor "Be excellent to each other." "Party on, dudes!" ~from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) I love it when a decade comes together! Seriously, I felt the '80s nostalgia pretty bad this week. It was the 25th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy. At the time, I was a precocious seven, and pretty annoyed that my cartoon shows were pre-empted for news coverage. I know better now, of course, and my heart is with those who lost loved ones on that … Read More […]

  65. Hey!

    Interesting reading your blog about why you loved the 80s!

    Nostalgia can give some pretty hard pangs, eh?

    I also did an 80s blog too from a UK perspective, and have some similar likes!

    Here’s the link: :-) http://philosofiez.wordpress.com/were-you-an-80s-child

    All the best.

    Fiez

  66. Yup! I was born in 1980…and I agree with every word u said…things were indeed different!

  67. […] "Be excellent to each other." "Party on, dudes!" ~from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) I love it when a decade comes together! Seriously, I felt the '80s nostalgia pretty bad this week. It was the 25th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy. At the time, I was a precocious seven, and pretty annoyed that my cartoon shows were pre-empted for news coverage. I know better now, of course, and my heart is with those who lost loved ones on that … Read More […]

  68. Early 80’s TV included Magnum PI (still really watchable) and Dukes of Hazzard. I think the 80’s in general had the greatest music ever produced by “one-hit-wonders”, and the stuff was really hopeful vs. dark. Don’t forget the mullet hairstyle, “business in front, party in back.”

    • I watched those shows too (my mom was in love with Tom Selleck.) Now, instead of the Mullet, we have the Kate Gosselin reverse mullet. Ugh.
      Thanks for the feedback; it’s appreciated!

  69. You know what I miss? Saturday Morning Cartoons! Made the weekends special. Now there’s cartoon networks and DVDs and DVRs and Saturday morning really doesn’t mean much of anything anymore. Kinda stinks for the kids, if you ask me.

  70. At least we know there exists a cycle…Trends always come back. :)

  71. Amen Sister, Amen. The 80’s rocked. Loved the music. Not sure if I’m going to care about the music of the 90’s

  72. The 80s were fun, but just like any decade, it had a dark side. I’m not going to rattle them off, but for those of us who were just kids at the time (I was born in 82) were able to ignore a lot of that and if our childhood was what we consider a good one, if not a great one, then it’s not surprising that we’d remember the decade so fondly.

  73. I so miss the 80’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  74. Thanks for reminding me of the good ol’ days! Great post!

  75. very cool! take me back to decides ago..

  76. I graduated from High School in 85. so my memory is slightly different and not as nostalgic. I do miss Thursday TV Family Ties, Cosby, Cheers, and MASH. I haven’t the foggiest what’s on TV now. I miss Frogger and Space Cadets, Atari and Intelevision. But mostly, I miss Coke Classic in a GLASS bottle …
    Thanks for the trip :)

  77. Gas was 25 cents a gallon when I was in high school….Getting old, I guess….None of you guys have heard of Grand Funk….

  78. Great post! Though I loved the cartoons and television of the 80s, I hated the music electronic music!

  79. Thanks for the great trip down memory lane! One of my favorites: Peewee eats Mr. T cereal on top of his pancakes in PeeWee’s Big Adventure.

  80. I mostly miss the music.

    I remember the 80s well, despite being born in 1982 and only being 7 at the end of the decade.

    Pizza Hut, at least here in Australia, had those awesome red vinyl booths we’d always sit in when the four of us went there for Friday night dinner (Friday night was “takeaway night”. I remember when they changed the ordered desserts for a dessert bar, ala Sizzler. It was awesome! Speaking of Sizzler – that’s a whole point in favour of the 80s all by itself! Their cheesy toast was second to none.

    It’s notable that the 80s has come back in fashion several times since then, but the 90s never have.

    Excellent TV shows such as Cities of Gold. Oh how I miss them. I don’t even turn the TV on these days. Even the news programs were better back then.

    Now you’ve gone and made me all nostalgic for my childhood. I’ve been meaning to write about my love for the 80s for a long time now; should really get around to that one day…

  81. This was awesome and totally gnarly lol, i had fun reading this. The 90’s did have there good points but were no where near as cool as the 80’s

  82. […] "Be excellent to each other." "Party on, dudes!" ~from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) I love it when a decade comes together! Seriously, I felt the '80s nostalgia pretty bad this week. It was the 25th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy. At the time, I was a precocious seven, and pretty annoyed that my cartoon shows were pre-empted for news coverage. I know better now, of course, and my heart is with those who lost loved ones on that … Read More […]

  83. I am actually more nostalgic for the 70s!

  84. Oooowwww yes the ’80’s sounds super!
    but i wasn’t there! i caught hte tailend :-(
    and here I was writing a blog about how awesome the nineties was…
    but i agree – wouldn’t trade my iphone in!

    p.s. i really did like the nineties :-) pre-internet
    oh oh oh and i remember pizza hut! and pacman..

  85. You know even after all these years I still don’t know where the beef is at…oh well.

  86. I liked the music…i still like it. The movies…now are so funny…without this computer special effects. I grew up in the 90’s but with the 80’s culture…cool times, you cannot have anything like that now…

  87. Forgive a WordPress Newbie’s Intrusion amongst the comments to you.

    The Baby Boom actually encompasses several generations. Those at the forefront, such as my parents,are endeared and recognized as “the greatest generation.” Those included in my part of the Boom are the Backdoor Boomers (1959-1965). While growing up, I so disticntly remember in the mid-sixties my parents looking back upon the fifties with embedded fondness. Three guesses as to why and the first two don’t count.

    Yes, the typical inclination is an individual remembering whatever time they grew up in as….. (how did Bruce Springsteen set it to words,) “Glory Days.”

    The Eighties were when I hit my “tweens.” A late bloomer. Puberty, Arrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggghhhh!!! To put it apropos,the best of best and worst of worst. What a time and there won’t be another quite the same again. With all you relayed about your ’80s Excellent Adventure Heather, you nailed it spot on! Oh and what despite Craig F and my nephew Chris believe, how proverbially and figuratively exact the 90’s were as the hangover. It was so virtually a ground zero for much of life that would (was) ahead.

    Hmmm, inspiration to expound upon elsewhere. I’ll have to do that and thanks too for the look back. Couldn’t help but get all nostalgic and sentimental.

    How the what so sad and happy can intermingle. I recall such things: as knowing where I was when John Lennon was shot outside the Dakota Apartments, and the rush my sister was going through prior to the Challenger blowing up. I could roll off a lot of musical one hit wonder artists but (saving that for another place…. heh, heh,heh) won’t. I might have failed getting beyond first year in college several times, but it was sure good for the partying. Hey, where might one be able to go today to hear Paul Harvey, followed by the most variety in Top 40 and Pop Radio? Or how’s this, spend late night watching either Johnny Carson or the current tunes along with the VJ rotation on MTV? Priceless.

    Well, back to the Present. “Would I lie to you?” By the way, anyone know who happen to be that “Joe Issuzu” fellow?

    • Thanks for the kind words. I also have many happy (and some not-so-happy) remembrances of the 80s, but most of them seem to be happy. If I had to pick a TV personality from back then to be on now, I might just go with Max Headroom.
      Rock on…and always be excellent to each other!
      HM Heather

  88. […] "Be excellent to each other." "Party on, dudes!" ~from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) I love it when a decade comes together! Seriously, I felt the '80s nostalgia pretty bad this week. It was the 25th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy. At the time, I was a precocious seven, and pretty annoyed that my cartoon shows were pre-empted for news coverage. I know better now, of course, and my heart is with those who lost loved ones on that … Read More […]

  89. I don’t even remember the 80s, as I was born in the last part of the decade, and your post made me nostalgic for it. Great writing!
    (Incidentally, Pizza Hut still has an eat-in location where I live, I still go there every Friday or so, and yeah, the pizza’s awesome. Good times.)

  90. Brilliant! Well done on f.p :)

  91. I was born in 84 in a country part of former soviet union, now a free country. maybe i was too young but i dont really miss the ’80s. I dont miss ’90s either, but I can already see that I will be missing ’00s.
    All these great tv shows you mentioned I actually had chance to watch on ’90s. they were good I agree, but there are good tv series now too. If not why you even watch tv? actully i myself dont watch tv for past 7 years, I have internet for that.
    Ppl complain that things are not so good nowadays, but these same ppl are part of the change that has happened. TV shows are not good, they changed because old format grew boring. Kids use too much technology and dont play outside… please, it’s our own fault. kids of ’80s are now parents, so you only have yourself to blame.
    and it all comes down to human reception and how more things are new to us when we are younger.
    ‘grass was greener when I was young’ it was greener, because human colour reception wares down like other parts of body with age.

  92. I like this crazy Merdug from A-Team ;-)

  93. […] post entitled Why My 80s Childhood Was Radical, Dudes! could have been written by me (apart from the fact it’s too funny, eloquent and well-written. […]

  94. Congratulations on making it to Freshly Pressed!

    Excellent post! Having been born in ’76, I often look back at the 80’s — especially television — and wonder where things went wrong. Instead of Looney Tunes and He-Man, today’s youth have a talking sponge and very little else. Instead of A-Team and Knight Rider, we have the Jersey Shore and the lot. Evolution, my a-double-s!

    Continue the awesome work! Your wit and love for A-Team have made be a subscriber!

    • Thanks, muchacho. I really enjoy looking back and really seeing how good I had it back then. TV as a whole sucks right now, doesn’t it? Gimme Max Headroom or Airwolf or TAT or Perfect Strangers any day of the week.
      Rock on!
      HM Heather

  95. Being 1990 born, I wasn’t around in the 80’s, but I can still compare between two, VERY VERY different years. 2010 and 2000. You can see the difference. Apple was a big fat bum then, now what has it become again? A super company?

  96. I may have graduated from High School in 1981 but I was fond of the 80’s TV (and the 70’s).
    The A-Team was a great show.
    I always wondered who was crazier, Murdoch or The Colonel.
    I settled on The Colonel. :)

  97. Having been born in the 90s, I missed the 80s altogether and couldn’t regret it more. I try to put myself in the era as much as I can, though, through “old” music (as my peers would say as they listen to Katy Perry), watching reruns of The Cosby Show, etc, and yes, through 80s throwback fashion.

  98. I also identify me with this era, I am from south america
    in Colombia. I remember many series of television
    which also translated into Spanish we saw in the 80s.
    I should clarify that some of you saw the series
    with the original names
    I remember some other names such shows as
    Dynasty,
    Dukes of Hazar, T A-TEAM (Los Magnificos), THE SIX
    MILlON MAN (El Hombre Nuclear), BUCK ROGERS, DIFFEN STROKES (Blanco y Negro) MANIMAl, KNIGHT RIDER (El Auto Fantastico), V THE FINAL BATTLE (V La Batalla Final)

    For me the Very Best Era of TV

  99. As a child of the 80’s, I now realize how much we sound like hippies. “Man, the 60’s were where it was at, man!”

    The 80’s was a technicolor decade bookended by the smoggy 70’s and the depressing 90’s.

    Great post.

  100. Seth McFarlene and his show, Family Guy, pretty much killed any nostalgia I had for the 80s by running it into the ground. Now that being said, I just purchased an Atari 2600… although I guess that is actually 1970s tech, but whatever

  101. that was just beautiful man…..way too true

  102. Heather, really nicely-worded post. It’s always great to trip down Memory Lane, especailly as a fellow child of the 80s (Check out our 80s blog, if you’d like– I think you’d get a kick out of it: http://bestofthe80s.wordpress.com/). And you’re right– why DOESN’T Pizza Hut make collectible glasses anymore? ;-)

  103. Heather, really nicely-worded post. It’s always great to trip down Memory Lane, especially as a fellow child of the 80s (Check out our 80s blog, if you’d like– I think you’d get a kick out of it: http://bestofthe80s.wordpress.com/). And you’re right– why DOESN’T Pizza Hut make collectible glasses anymore? ;-)

  104. Sorry for the dupe.

  105. I feel the exact same way. I was born in 72 so my childhood was split between the 70’s and 80’s. But I totally agree with you on each and every one of your points. The nostolgia is overwhelming sometimes. The question I struggle with though is this…did things appear they way they did beacause we were children, or were they truly better? Will my children feel the same way about this decade when they are in their thirties?

  106. I loved the 80s!

    And I still own an Atari ST (fully functional the last time I´ve checked it) and a C64 Emulator stick looking like a Competition Pro Joystick, which I bought, because of the installed Paradroid game!)

    Music of the 60´s – 70´s and 80´s still rocks!

  107. I was an 80’s baby, 90’s child. this post made me wish i did not have my embarrassingly-bland 90’s childhood but got to revel in the bold, free fun of the 80’s. Most excellent.

  108. Completely disagree. I graduated from high school in 1982. Remember the Cold War? We were terrified of nuclear disaster, the end of the world, what Ronald Reagan would do next, James Watt dismantling the EPA, Wall Street con artists just like now (remember bonfire of the vanities?) Farm Crisis, AIDS epidemic coming to light, etc. Not to mention mostly forgettable pop music/pop culture, militant born again-christians, crack cocaine, war on drugs (“just say no”), medical waste on the beaches, and Iran -Iraq war with the hostage crisis. Bleh.

    • Like any era, it also had its downside. I myself was terrified that the Cold War would come to a nuclear finish, so I agree there. Some things just never change, but that’s part of human nature to a large extent, isn’t it? Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  109. omg i just posted on this!! i love your recap, keep up the good work. if you’d like to read my blog go to jbrower76.wordpress and search for “the awesome eighties…” let me know what you think!!

  110. […] original post here: Why My ’80s Childhood Was Radical, Dudes! Posted on 2011 年 01 月 18 日 by lanshang1460. This entry was posted in 未分类 and tagged […]

  111. […] the original here: Why My ’80s Childhood Was Radical, Dudes! Posted on 2011 年 01 月 18 日 by lanshang1460. This entry was posted in 未分类 and tagged […]

  112. I think all of us who grew up in the 80s will tend to look back at it with rose-tinted glasses. That’s probably true for the children of any age, but the remarkable thing about growing up the 80s is that it was the seedbed for many of the technological and social changes that we are living in today.

    Consumer electronics, advances in telecommunications, consumer culture generally; these all started to really flourish in the 1980s, albeit in crude, unformed, ways. Only now are they being reinvented in more user-friendly, practical ways. But the first practical applications were often in the 1980s.

    It was also the last decade of widespread true trust in technological progress as a solution to man’s problems, despite the many tech advances since.

    • Very good points. You had the birth of the personal computer, video games, movies on demand. It truly was a crossroads of the Industrial Age, the Space Age, and the Virtual Age.
      Thanks for the comment.
      ~H.M. Heather

  113. […] This post hit it dead on for me. I loved the 80′s and Pizza Parties at Pizza Hut were things childhood os made of. Especially on a June afternoon after a good game of baseball!! "Be excellent to each other." "Party on, dudes!" ~from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) I love it when a decade comes together! Seriously, I felt the '80s nostalgia pretty bad this week. It was the 25th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy. At the time, I was a precocious seven, and pretty annoyed that my cartoon shows were pre-empted for news coverage. I know better now, of course, and my heart is with those who lost loved ones on that … Read More […]

  114. IMMA 80s baby FOREVERRR! thundercats and care bears will forever be apart of me lol!

    mimisworld21.wordpress.com/

  115. Being a boomer, I not only don’t miss the 80’s, I wish I had missed them completely. The rise of Reagan “Ronny Raygun” and the neocon robots he spawned, who have destroyed the world economy.

  116. […] Article: Why My 80′s Childhood was Radical, Dudes! […]

  117. The 80’s birthed some of the greatest movies…Breakfast Club,Pretty in Pink and my all time favorite, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Nick Cage in Valley Girl…totally awesome! My favorite 80’s quote, “Gag me with a spoon”!

  118. เสื้อผ้าเกาหลี

    Being a boomer, I not only don’t miss the 80′s, I wish I had missed them completely. The rise of Reagan “Ronny Raygun” and the neocon robots he spawned, who have destroyed the world economy.

  119. Great nostalgic post. My biggest 80’s moment was the day I sat on my living room floor and watched the very first broadcast day of MTV, when you know MTV was a video channel. The awe, the continuous music, Van Halen, Duran Duran and Music VJ’s……I feel misty. And nice quote from Raising Arizona by the way “salad days”.

  120. จองตั๋วเครืองบิน , ตั๋วเครื่องบิน , ตั๋วเครื่องบืน

    ราคาถูก

    Thank you :)

  121. I was 10 when the Challenger exploded, and I vividly remember the exact moment when I heard the news and how sad I felt about it. Regarding cartoons and tv of the 80s, I agree they were definitely more violent back then, but it was an over-the-top type of violence that was practically comedic. I think that served as a good outlet for our aggression; not like shows today that are very realistic – I think it adds to people’s subconscious aggression. Or whatever. I just really miss the 80’s. I wouldn’t want to be my kids in this decade.

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