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Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011
by Rick Bentley - McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
It wasn't exactly the film Kelly McGillis would have picked for herself, but "Top Gun" went on to become the biggest box office draw of 1986 , taking in more than $176 million.

Kelly McGillis signed with Paramount Studios in the mid-80s to make two features films. The first, “Witness,” was a huge hit and earned her a Golden Globe nomination. The actress had some specific ideas about what she wanted to do in the second movie but the Paramount brass had already decided: It would be about a group of young test pilots.


It wasn’t exactly the film McGillis would have picked for herself, but “Top Gun” went on to become the biggest box office draw of 1986 , taking in more than $176 million. From its driving Kenny Loggins tune “Danger Zone” to the catch phrase “I feel the need, the need for for speed,” “Top Gun” became a hit and remains as high-flying as ever.


Tagged as: pop past, top gun
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Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011
A look back at a 1990’s childhood, with “where is it now?” updates!

PopMatters’ Kerrie Mills recently reviewed Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?, a book by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont that looks at the food, TV shows, toys, and other pop cultural milestones that kids grew up with from the 1960’s to 1992.


It sounds like a great idea, but why did they stop at 1992? A brand new generation has sprung up since then, with an emerging sense of nostalgia. Look at the success of Toy Story 3, the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys tour, or Nickelodeon’s heavily hyped decision to add reruns of ‘90s series like All That and Clarissa Explains It All to their late-night schedule.


It’s enough to make you wonder what future generations will look back on wistfully, and how this will influence Hollywood and/or manufactures to make a profit out of it. So here’s a look at a few things that have only recently disappeared from the spotlight, and their cultural impact.


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Wednesday, Jul 20, 2011
It's hard to fathom that the tune was released 20 years ago, but "Summertime" was and it likely will continue to be the quintessential summer jam for many years to come.

“Drums please.” And with that begins DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s massive hit, “Summertime” from their album Homebase. It’s hard to fathom that the tune was released 20 years ago, but it hit the airwaves in May of 1991 and the video debuted in July of that year. Built on a sample of Kool & The Gang’s “Summer Madness”, the song is an ode to all things related to those hot summer months including carefree relaxing, ridiculously skimpy clothing, fun-filled cookouts and competitive games of basketball at the park (with added female spectators!).


The video opens with Will and Jeff up to their usual, playful antics that made them so lovable as Will and Jazz on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before cutting to the duo seemingly coasting through the city on a platform with refreshing drinks in hand, taking in the sights. Throughout the clip, we see many of the aforementioned elements of summer (in slow motion!) along with kids running around playing, people dancing in Soul Train lines, open fire hydrants and pretty girls cruising down the street at “two miles per hour, so everybody sees you”.


While Will and Jeff have gone their separate ways, with Will being an international movie star and Jeff becoming a worldwide ambassador for hip-hop, “Summertime” may very well be their crowning achievement. Many others have tried to carve out their own hip-hop summer anthem, but “Summertime” remains the champion and likely will continue to be the quintessential summer jam for many years to come.



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Monday, Jul 18, 2011

On this day back in 1966, Bobby Fuller of the Bobby Fuller Four, known for his iconic tune “I Fought the Law”, was found dead in his car in LA at the young age of 23. Leaving this world so young like his idol and fellow Texan, Buddy Holly, Fuller’s death was declared a suicide, but rumors abound as to possible other causes. That aforementioned classic tune was later remade with a harder edge famously by the Clash.



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Friday, Jul 15, 2011
This year is the 70th anniversary of the first TV commercial, so we cast our glance back at the some of the most memorable ads of all time.

On July 1st, 1941, viewers seen the world’s first TV commercial, a 20-second spot for Bulova watches. It isn’t on YouTube yet, but you’re not missing much: just a clock superimposed on a US map while an announcer says, “America runs on Bulova time.” Thankfully, commercials got a lot more interesting throughout the years, so here’s a look at some of the most unforgettable.


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