Throwback Thursday: That 70’s Show (1998-2006)

“Hanging out……down the street….”

It’s hard to believe that a show about the 1970’s is over twenty years old. That 70’s Show is the second longest running live action sitcom for the Fox Network (Married…With Children is the longest). It’s successful run ended fourteen years ago in 2006 after eight seasons, but the series is still extremely popular in both syndication and on streaming services such as Netflix.

The core cast:

  • Topher Grace as Eric Forman
  • Laura Prepon as Donna Pinciotti
  • Danny Masterson as Steven Hyde
  • Ashton Kutcher as Michael Kelso
  • Wilmer Valderrama as Fez
  • Mila Kunis as Jackie Burkhart
  • Debra Jo Rupp as Kitty Forman, Eric’s Mom
  • Kurtwood Smith as Red Forman, Eric’s Dad
  • Don Stark as Bob Pinciotti, Donna’s Dad
  • Tanya Roberts as Midge Pinciotti, Donna’s Mom

The cast also included Lisa Robin Kelly as Laurie Forman, Eric’s sister, who appeared in a recurring role. In Season Six, Laurie was portrayed by Christina Moore due to Kelly’s battle with alcoholism. Tommy Chong portrayed Leo, manager of the local Foto Hut and the resident pothead.

Many of the show’s stars would go on to have massive careers. Both Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher (who eventually married in real life) have become established stars on both the big screen and on television. Laura Prepon starred in Netflix’ highly successful Orange Is The New Black. Wilmer Valderrama continues to have success as part of the cast of NCIS, but he has also appeared in a number of successful films and voiced Manny on Disney Channel’s Handy Manny. Danny Masterson co-starred with Kutcher on Netflix’ The Ranch until accusations of rape surfaced against him. His career is currently up in the air. Topher Grace has appeared in numerous films and television shows over the years, most notably Spider-Man 3 and BlacKkKlansmen. Tanya Roberts left the series after the third season to tend to her terminally ill husband, Barry. She returned as a guest star in seasons six and seven. Lisa Robin Kelly would eventually succumb to her battle with alcoholism and passed away and the young age of 43.

Many of the episodes centered on the relationship between Donna and Eric, with the rest of the characters having their own subplots over the course of the series. Kelso, Hyde, and Jackie ended up in a love triangle and Fez spent most of the series looking for love, sex, and candy. He failed almost every time with love and sex, but his candy addiction escalated as the series continued.

One of my favorite things about this series was the many parodies and musical numbers that were inserted into the show. The show parodied everything from Reefer Madness to The Super Friends and featured musical numbers inspired by Westside Story, Grease, and more. There were also a ton of guest stars including a number of 1970’s actors and musicians like Alice Cooper, KISS, Mary Tyler Moore, and many contemporary stars like Bruce Willis, Melissa Joan Hart, and the Rock (Dwayne Johnson). Other notable guest stars included Betty White, Don Knotts, Billy Dee Williams, and Gloria Gaynor.

A number of future stars and established young stars also had guest roles over the course of the series. Amy Adams, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eliza Dushku, Justin Long, Shannon Elizabeth, Jenna Fischer, and Luke Wilson are just a few of the many guest stars who would go on to bigger and better things or were already popular when they made their appearance on the show.

A lot of the series took place in the Forman’s basement and one of the most popular elements of the show was “the Circle” where Eric, Hyde, and the rest of the cast would often “solve” problems and discuss issues while under the influence of marijuana.

I really enjoyed watching this show. Hearing Red call Eric a “dumbass” or watching Kelso get hit in the eye by Hyde never got old and still draws laughs out of me to this day. If you enjoyed That 70’s Show, tell me about your favorite moment in the series in the comments section.

As always, thanks for reading my post. Netflix currently has all eight seasons of That 70’s Show available for streaming and it’s also available on Blu-ray and DVD. Keep on rockin’, folks, and I’ll see you again real soon!

Imaginext DC Super Friends XL!

Look! Up In The Sky!!!

Imaginext just released three awesome new action figures in their new DC Super Friends XL line. Based on their smaller counterparts, these three figures tower over other Imaginext toys at around ten inches tall. The first three characters to be released are Superman, Batman, and The Flash.

Supes and Batman in their XL versions with John Stewart/Green Lantern in the traditional Imaginext size for comparison.

I was fortunate enough to acquire two of the figures, Batman and Superman, for review, and I have nothing but positive things to say about both figures.

These figures are essentially a supersized version of the traditional Imaginext figures. They feature the exact same articulation at the wrists, neck, arms, and legs as their smaller versions and have basically the same character design. The only things that I noticed different about the XL figures is that they are missing the foot holes that the smaller figures have and they appear to be made of a much harder plastic.

The packaging for the XL figures is very simple but extremely cool. The figures are fastened to a card back with a small “DC Super Friends” cardboard base. What makes the packaging so cool, though, is the bright artwork on the back. I’m tempted to keep the packaging for both figures!

I will probably end up getting the Flash figure as well. These brightly colored figures and their bulky size make for great display pieces, but if you are purchasing these toys for a youngster to play with, have no fear. These figures are sturdy and will definitely be able to take any and all punishment that is thrown at them!

I’m curious as to which characters will be in the next release for this line. Will it be Wonder Woman? The Joker? Harley Quinn? Possibly Cyborg or maybe Lex Luthor? All I know is that I’ll probably start purchasing more Imaginext figures as they become available.

Thanks for checking out this quick post about Imaginext’s new DC Super Friends XL action figures. Let me know in the comments if you like these figures or if you plan on keeping your collection at the traditional size level. I’ll be posting again real soon!

Calcasieu Serialfest!

Chapter 7!

I’ve been going to Calcasieu Serialfest for a number of years now, and Chapter 7 will definitely go down as one of the most unique chapters in the festival’s history. COVID-19 has struck a massive blow to tons of events similar to Calcasieu Serialfest, but Serialfest’s smaller size and choice of venue allowed it to go off with only a few minor changes. Those changes were noticeable and sorely missed, but the festival was still just as fun as it has always been.

As stated in my previous post, this year’s festival focused on the career of Linda Stirling. There was no shortage of Stirling performances at the festival, as eight chapters were shown from four of her most popular serials: The Tiger Woman (1944), The Purple Monster Strikes (1945), The Crimson Ghost (1946), and Zorro’s Black Whip (1944). A brief history of Stirling’s life was also discussed.

Other serials featured included Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952), The Spider’s Web (1938), and Dick Tracy (1937). Fans of Star Trek were treated to one of Leonard Nimoy’s earliest performances in Zombies of the Stratosphere and also got to see Clayton Moore, television’s Lone Ranger, in one of his earliest performances as well in The Crimson Ghost.

Calcasieu Serialfest was held at the Brimstone Museum in Sulphur, LA as it has been for the last few years. The Brimstone always does an excellent job of providing the festival with a great venue and made sure that this year’s event fell well within the regulations and guidelines for COVID-19. While I missed the free lunch and popcorn that is usually provided for the event, safety is much more important. Besides, I got to check out a new Mexican restaurant in the area for lunch during the festival’s noon break.

I also missed seeing serial cosplayer Bill Necessary at the festival. He was unable to attend due to circumstances beyond his control.

Despite not having popcorn or free pizza this year, the festival did have an extremely unique gift for all of those that attended the event. The festival had special Green Hornet face masks made for the event and they were a huge hit! Not only did they have the masks, but they also had some wonderful stickers and Green Hornet buttons for anybody that wanted them.

Next year’s event is already in the works, and unlike previous events, the July 2021 version of Calcasieu Serialfest won’t focus on an individual. Instead, 2021’s version of the festival will be called Welcome To The Jungle and will highlight jungle and adventure serials! I can’t wait to see which serials will be highlighted.

As always, thanks for reading my post. The Calcasieu Serialfest took on COVID-19 and managed to pull off an excellent event. I hope to see all of you there next year!

Edge Of Your Seat Action!

Saturday, July 25th, 2020, Sulphur, LA

Thanks to COVID-19, there haven’t been very many comic or pop culture conventions or festivals of any sort since March. Luckily for folks in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas, though, Calcasieu Serialfest is returning for another great year!

As in prior years, Calcasieu Serialfest will focus on one person’s career throughout the day. Linda Stirling is this year’s focus, and attendees will get the chance to see Stirling in selected chapters from serials such as Zorro’s Black Whip, The Tiger Woman, and The Purple Monster Strikes! Other serials that will be shown throughout the day include The Crimson Ghost, The Spider Returns, and Dick Tracy!

If you’re worried about the risk of COVID-19, please be aware that the festival has taken numerous measures to provide the safest possible environment to watch serials and enjoy the day. Chairs will be spaced at least six feet apart, masks will be required for entry into the event, and the free lunch and popcorn that was provided at previous festivals will not be available this year. There will be a break for lunch, but attendees can either bring their own food or visit one of the many local restaurants in Sulphur for lunch.

Unfortunately Bill Necessary will not be able to attend due to circumstances beyond his control. If you’ve attended the festival in prior years, you’ve seen Bill dressed up as characters such as The Phantom, The Green Hornet, and Captain Marvel. He’ll be sorely missed this year. With that being said, though, attendees are encouraged to wear their own costumes to the event if they so choose.

Calcasieu Serialfest will take place on Saturday, July 25th, from 10 AM to 5 PM with a break at noon for lunch. This is one of the few chances that many folks will get to geek out with friends and fans this year, so make sure to attend this wonderful FREE event and geek out for a bit!

Thanks for reading my post. I’ll be sure to post a follow-up about this year’s Calcasieu Serialfest in a couple of days.

Outpost: Wolf Rock Cave

Just East Of Rosepine, LA

I use Instagram a lot. I probably use it too much. I have two accounts on Instagram including @kens_alternate_universe and a personal account. One of the accounts that I follow is @thetravelingcrawfish, a blogger who posts travel photos, facts, and more about the great state of Louisiana. On Saturday she posted about Wolf Rock Cave on the edge of the Vernon Unit of Kisatchie National Forest. I never knew about this place until Saturday and it’s only about an hour away from my home, so I decided to hit the road with my kids to check out the only known cave in the state of Louisiana.

A shot of the front of the cave.

To see this rock formation in Louisiana is amazing. The cave isn’t very deep, but it’s one of the most unique features that you’ll ever see in the Pelican State. According to this article (please note, the article has been removed from the Leesville Daily Leader website), the cave has a larger room that has been sealed off because it was deemed too dangerous for would-be spelunkers to tackle. I’d love to see the big room, as it was apparently used as a shelter by natives long ago and was supposedly used to hide Union supplies and horses during the Civil War.

Bundicks Creek, which flows just down the hill from Wolf Rock Cave.

Getting to the cave isn’t tricky, but you will have to go off of the beaten path to get there. If you leave out of Rosepine headed east on Bailey Road, you’ll eventually take a left onto Parish Rd 455 (also called Providence Road) and drive until the pavement ends. Continue on the gravel road until you see the parking area for the cave. There’s an informational sign at the trailhead and it’s just a couple of minutes on a well kept trail to the cave. The cave sits high on a hill overlooking Bundicks Creek. There are no restroom facilities, benches, or trash bins on the trail or at the parking area, so be prepared to take all of your waste out of the area with you.

Thanks for reading this quick post. Wolf Cave Rock is a unique and wonderful site to visit. Learn more about it here and at the Vernon Parish tourism site.

All photos taken by me.

Classic Horror: Scream (1996)

“There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie.”

While it may not immediately come to mind whenever people think of classic horror, Scream definitely deserves to be considered as such. Directed by a legend of horror, Wes Craven, and written by Kevin Williamson, who would go on to write and/or create successful films and television shows such as Dawson’s Creek and I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream reignited the dead genre of horror by satirizing the genre, including some of Wes Craven’s own work.

The film had a ton of star power, a rarity of the horror genre, that included Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy, Boys On The Side, Bad Girls), Courteney Cox (Friends), Skeet Ulrich (fresh off of his role in The Craft), and Neve Campbell (Party of Five, The Craft). The film also featured a number of actors whose careers were about to take off including Rose McGowan (Charmed, Jawbreaker), David Arquette (Ready To Rumble, Eight-Legged Freaks), Matthew Lillard (SLC Punk!, Scooby-Doo, Good Girls), Liev Schreiber (The Sum of All Fears, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse), and Jamie Kennedy (Malibu’s Most Wanted, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment).

In the film, a serial killer terrorizes the town of Woodsboro, CA. The first murder takes place in the film’s opening sequence, as the killer (who has become known as Ghostface) calls Casey Becker (Barrymore) and begins asking her questions about horror movies. The film then begins to focus on Sidney Prescott (Campbell) as the one year anniversary of her mother’s murder by Cotton Weary (Schreiber) is approaching and her father becomes a prime suspect for the murders at the beginning of the film. Reporter Gale Weathers (Cox) arrives in town hoping to get a juicy bit of information from Sidney that will put her on the media map. She then sees the serial killer as a potential way to gain fame and begins following Sidney, her boyfriend, Billy (Ulrich), and others, hoping to catch the killer in the act. As the film rolls along, the killer (or killers) is revealed and we get to watch as Sidney battles the killer.

The movie winks and nods its way through numerous horror cliches, including referencing the “rules” of surviving the film as presented by Sidney’s friend, Randy (Kennedy). Those rules include never having sex, never doing drugs or alcohol, and never say, “I’ll be right back.” All of these rules are broken during the film to varying degrees of success. A fourth rule spoken by Randy, which mentions that a killer always comes back, is broken as Sidney shoots the killer again to ensure that he is dead. She replies to Randy after taking the shot, “Not in my movie.”

The film triggered a ton of copycat films including Williamson’s I Know What You Did Last Summer. It revived the horror genre as a whole a breathed new life into older franchises that had lost their bite like Halloween and Friday the 13th. The film spawned three sequels and a fourth one is in the works. It also gave life to a television series on MTV.

Despite its use of numerous horror cliches, the film did manage to throw in a few new twists. In particular, the use of two killers and only one real motive was something that hadn’t been done before. Sure, plenty of killers in slasher films go on a murdering spree just because, but in the case of Scream, only one of the killers had a personal motive in mind. Ultimately, the film was just as cliched as its predecessors, but more than happy to laugh at the familiar tropes of the genre while letting the blood flow during the film.

I really enjoyed Scream. I vividly remember seeing it with a group of college friends and then going back to the dorm to talk about the movie for a couple of hours. It was a fun horror film with decent scares and kills. What made it impressive is the fact that it let the audience in on the joke.

Thanks for reading my post. I’ll see you all again real soon!