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Category Archives: Cathode Rays

Hung Up on Clifton’s

I was watching an episode of the HBO series Hung today when another favorite location caught my eye — twice! Although the show is set in Detroit, the location crew used the famous Clifton’s Brookdale Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles as the settings for two restaurants the show’s characters dined in. Both are featured in episode #5, titled Do It, Monkey.

The first restaurant is a plush red-wallpapered eatery that might look familiar to Mad Men fans — it’s the third floor of Clifton’s, which I wrote about last May. For Hung, the room was decorated pretty much the same way we saw it two years ago. While it was classed up a bit as Don Draper’s New York getaway, for the tacky fondue restaurant patronized by actors Jane Adams and Steve Hytner not much change was needed. Our photo of the dining room is here.

The second restaurant was used by a different set of Hung characters as the woodsy-themed buffet where a suddenly downsized Anne Heche and family must eat. This is the ground floor of Clifton’s, where most of the customers dine. In the top photo, they dressed up the wall behind the buffet line with knick-knacks. Other than that, the restaurant is basically untouched in all its kitschy glory. I love that you can see a bit of the ’50s era Specialties sign (better photo here). The wide view at the bottom is the main dining area, surrounded by painted murals, fake pine trees and a stuffed moose head. It’s wonderful! My photo of the area from a different angle is here.

Busy Hands

In honor of MTV’s 20th 30th birthday, let’s take a look at a segment from Liquid Television, the 1991-94 animated hodgepodge best known for unleashing Beavis & Butt-head onto the world. “Invisible Hands” was an eight part L.T. series created by comic artist Richard Sala, who shares some interesting background info on the show on his weblog. The creepy pulp-horror vibe is on full display in part 1, below.

YouTube user ZappVid9 has a lot of Liquid Television segments on his channel, stuff that I totally forgot about. If the names Dog-Boy or Winter Steele ring any bells for ya, head over there and watch.

The Hal Linden Follies

An interesting bit of TV ephemera was recently posted in 10 parts on YouTube — TV Guide magazine’s 1980 year-in-review. If the idea of an all-singing, all-dancing Hal Linden turns your crank, by all means check out part one below. Actually, the show is an intriguing concept when you ponder that a few newsworthy events of 1980, like the U.S. pulling out of the Olympics and the Screen Actors Guild strike, meant (horrors) less stuff to watch. The special includes behind the scenes clips from Shogun and a heart-to-heart between Tom Brokaw and Ed Asner. Not to mention thorough rehashes on Dallas and country music (this was the Urban Cowboy era, after all). And Shields & Yarnell!

’70s-Something

Time for another ’70s toy commercial from Hasbro and the Duke archive. Like Leggy Fashion Dolls, I don’t believe that the Great Moves party game had a long shelf life. It looks like a Twister with something of a proto-Win, Lose Or Draw spin, only more logistically complex than either. For maximum 70s-ishness, the partygoers include Fred “Rerun” Berry and Roz “Pinky Tuscadero” Kelly!

Commercials That Pop

This 1977 commercial for Bubble Yum bubblegum brought out an “oh, yeah, I almost forgot that” reaction. Bubble Yum was the hottest thing going on the playground back then — it had a different, softer texture and the pieces were huge. I can even remember it being banned in my elementary school. Having an obnoxious puppet in the ad didn’t hurt it’s kiddie appeal, either:

Less foggy is the memory of this slightly later ad for Bubbilicious bubble gum with trippy animated kids floating through outer space. It makes my mouth water for “wild strawberry, bold banana, juicy orange, and now way out watermelon.”

The Who What Why Where When And How Day

Nostalgia time: The Mouseketeers at Walt Disney World was a 1977 episode of The Wonderful World of Disney starring the jump suited, semi-forgotten ’70s edition of the Mickey Mouse Club — you know, the one with Blair from The Facts of Life in the cast. As a tyke, I was obsessed with the mouseketeers and afternoons would find me a) watching the show, or b) reenacting skits from the show with the kids who lived across the street. We also owned the record album (which contained a white-bread rendition of “Walking the Dog,” I recall) and wore it out.

This Disney World outing was a special memory for me, since the Florida park seemed like such a mystical, faraway place. Disneyland was semi-accessible, but Disney World might as well have been Paris or London. Watching the show now, it looks like one long (and cheesy) commercial. Three years ago, I finally got to go. Didn’t see River Country, however.