Tony and Daniel: Popping Culture 6 (1981)

Daniel: You were born in 1981, meaning that you survived 1981 in the wake of all this incredible shit that we’re about to talk about. How did you do it? What is your secret to immortality?

Tony: Queen, Greatest Hits, released October 26th 1981.

1981 saw the release of the disturbing French art film The Cannonball Run (La Cannonball Run) starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. If you could go back to ’81 and assemble your own ragtag team of misfits and badasses to get in a car together and race alongside Burt, Dom, Roger Moore, Jackie Chan and all the rest, what characters from other 1981 films would you pick to assemble into a racing team? You get 2 different ‘81 characters and you get to use one of their vehicles from their movie. Choose wisely, Capt. Chaos is not to be taken lightly.

Burt Reynold's Lord of The Rings

Burt Reynold’s Lord of The Rings

Daniel: Sack head Jason from Friday the 13th Part 2, Zod from Superman 2 and I all ride on the back of Non, Zod’s giant henchman. Along the way, we learn the power of trust and Sack head Jason manages to gain the courage to ask a girl out. This endeavor ends poorly, but it’s a funny way to end the film before we cut to credits.

Create a 1981 Chimera. The Greek Chimera was composed of a lion, a snake, and a goat. What screeching, anguished parts complete the 1981 version?

Tony: Geddy Lee from Rush, the cute cartoon hound dog from The Fox and The Hound (who was voiced by Kurt Russell as a matter of fact) and the hockey masked beefcake that is Lord Humongous from The Road Warrior. I’d probably have to shoot it the minute I saw this poor abomination just to end its suffering.

Here is the trailer for the film Saturday the 14th  released in ‘81. After watching it is your life better or worse? Explain?

Daniel: I had never heard of this film before, and I saw the title while researching material for questions. I was so tempted to ask you the exact same thing.

I definitely think there’s an arc to my life that you can measure while watching this trailer. My life actually got better towards the end, where the trailer just devolved into people making sounds with little to no context. I guess that’s the easiest way to promote hilarity. Just get through as many one second clips of film as possible before the public realizes that nothing actually is going on.

But the beginning of the trailer? I don’t think I’ve ever been more depressed than I was when they did that Jaws parody with the shark fin in the bathtub. I can’t imagine being in a movie theatre where real flesh and blood people laughed at that. Though, if it happened, I think it would come at the moment right before I put on a pair of magic sunglasses and discovered that everyone was an alien.

What posters cover the wall of Tony’s hypothetical 1981 apartment?

Tony: Clash of the Titans, Evil Dead, Heavy Metal (because tits, pterodactyl) but really, all I need to show you who I really am is Rick James’ Street Songs album cover poster.

Rush released their classic soundtrack to ‘80s teenage virginity called Moving Pictures in ’81. What Rush song (off any album) do you think has the best chance of being played while lovemaking and not being turned off immediately by the opposite sex? Have you ever had the pleasure of making sweet, frothy, indecent lovesex while listening to the champagne-cybermead of progrock that is Rush? How did it feel then, having Geddy Lee’s sonorous high pitched vocal and Neil Peart’s technically perfect drum fills wash over your nethers like so much pure, cold Canadian snowstuffs? How did that feel, Daniel?

You don't have to be ashamed. Just stare for a bit. They don't mind.

You don’t have to be ashamed. Just stare for a bit. They don’t mind.

Daniel: You had me at “frothy”, Tony.

I cannot say that I have though. Your description of it makes it sound like I’m a kid that’s never had ice cream before. Like it’s such a commonplace thing that, if you were going to get lucky behind the dumpster of a Wendy’s, you’d tell the girl that you had to run to Best Buy really quick so that you could buy a Rush album to blare from an adjacent parking spot.

I’m listening to “Working Man” right now, and I’d have to choose this one. It lasts seven minutes, so it gives me ample time to explain to the girl what exactly is going on and why it should be going on, before we get down to business. And, after that, I’d still have like two minutes to spare to enjoy the rest of the post-coital song.

Quick! Hitler has invented time travel and has traveled to 1981 to stop the release of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. You counter-invent time travel to counter-stop him. What pop culture figures do you gather from the year 1981 to take with you on your Anti-Hitler team?

Tony: Wait; do I have to stop, Hitler? I mean, maybe he has valid reasons for wanting to prevent the release of Mad Max 2:The Road Warrior. It seems a little presumptuous to just assume the guy would do something really, really, really awful if put in a position of power, you know?

But fine, I’ll play along: I’ll take either guy from My Dinner with Andre (maybe we can bore ol’ Adolf to death,) the entire aged cast of On Golden Pond (maybe we can scare him to death,) and Superman from Superman II, because hey, couldn’t hurt.

1981 in August MTV debuted. Has MTV ever meant anything to you? If so what and why? Any favorite shows?

Daniel: You’re about to make me look like an idiot, because I am such a fan of terrible reality television. MTV means a morning of going to and scanning it for new episodes of Big Tips Texas, Scrubbing In, Real World: EXplosions, Friendzone, and The Hook Up.

Maybe it’s because I’m a youngin’, but I became of a fan of MTV only after they quit the music stuff and decided to dedicate it all to people screaming at each other.

Still listening to Rush, by the way. They’re not bad.

I know that you, Tony, are the Master of Making Love. What is your ultimate playlist for setting the mood in 1981? And invent one sex position after something from that year.

Tony: What you say is true. As for my playlist, I’d pop on the aforementioned Rick James’ Street Songs. “Give It To Me” cannot be denied and neither will you while it plays. After that I’d throw on the synthy, slow brood soundtrack to Escape From New York for the cool down, walk back from Mount Doom that is my usual post glory-shame snuggle session.



For the sex position I’d go with a move called a “Blow Out,” named after that De Palma movie. Just try and figure out how that’s executed properly, kids. Or, I’d do a little something I call,  “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains.” Named after the film of the same name. That one will be a very refined sort of debasement, hopefully involving someone who looks like Diane Lane.

The TV show Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends debuted in ’81 and I know you’re a big admirer of all Spidey animation, so what’s the deal? What is your obsession with the old webslinger cartoons? When did this fetish of yours begin?

Daniel: I really love superhero cartoons, especially the Batman and Spider-Man ones. However, the Spider-Man ones kind of win it for me, because the fans aren’t as nitpicky. If you take a current Batman cartoon and show it to a diehard fan of Batman: The Animated Series, he’ll have a heart attack trying to explain why Batman should be inherently dark and gritty and nothing else. Spider-Man fans are like that to an extent, but it isn’t as bad. The only problem they seem to have with it is whether or not Spidey is cracking jokes.

I watched the 90’s Spider-Man show growing up and it’s a piece of shit. It’s terrible. Every character model looks good for about three seconds before you realize that they’re animated like one of those sticker books that has you sticking characters on a backdrop and hoping that it looks like a passable action scene. Everything seems off. None of the characters really move at consistent speeds, making every walk or run look like you’ve clicked a fast forward button that also makes everything stupid. The plot lines are kind of cool, and I wish the censors had let them show punching and things, but overall, the show is a mess.

However, the Spectacular Spider-Man, overseen by Greg Weisman, the guy who did Gargoyles and Young Justice, is fantastic. Best twenty-six episodes in superhero cartoon history.

 Also, I’m on a quest to review every episode of the 60’s Spider-Man series, because I just hate me so bad.

You have to win an argument with 1981. What dirty secret/sad fact do you bring up to score the victory?

Tony: As great as 1981 was and all the things created in that hallowed year were (things like me, for instance,) 1982 was when my favorite thing, John Carpenter’s The Thing was released. So sit on that 1981.

Time machine time: You get to go back and warn someone creative about a future blunder. You can tell a favorite band not to make that triple concept record with reggae influences, you can tell a director you love not to make that shitty sequel he does in two decades later etc. So who do you warn?

Daniel: I go back and tell John Carpenter and Kurt Russell to leave us with only one Escape from film. I love Escape from New York, but Escape from L.A. is so bad that people will be writing think pieces about why it’s “not that bad” in the next few years.

In 1981, Bill Cosby played Satan and Donkey Kong was released. Are these events related?


Tony: Satan Cosby has been pulling the strings of the entire decadent video game industry since Nintendo rose to power and crushed the Jesus powered Atari console back in ’83, everybody knows that. Donkey Kong was just the opening note of his sinful, sweater-laden symphony. ……Uggggh, what? I feel …weird..  What was the question? Wait, why is my nose bleeding? Daniel, why is my nose bleeding?!

’81 was a banner year for werewolves. Not only was Burt Reynolds in two different features but this year also saw the release of An American Werewolf in London and The Howling. Both are outstanding to me, sometimes for very different reasons, but  which do you prefer?

Daniel: An American Werewolf in London is a great movie. But I’m a huge Joe Dante fan, so I’m going to give it to The Howling. I saw both films at around the same time, and answering this question makes me feel like I’m choosing one of my two hypothetical sons to take to Disney World, while I leave the other at home to be slightly associated with An American Werewolf In Paris.


The most popular movie from 1981 seems to be Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’m not a big Indiana Jones fan, but what are your thoughts on the series?

Tony: I love me some Indy. Obviously, I don’t include Part 4 with the CGI Prairie dogs and whatnot in my concept of the series. That entry I deem apocryphal. But the first 3, actually Raiders and Part 3, The Last Crusade, are both classics. Temple of Doom is really just okay and doesn’t really hold the same quality the other two have for me. Though certain sequences in Temple are knockout, (that bridge severing part fucking rules and I unabashedly love Short Round, just love him) the other two movies I can rewatch any time and they totally deliver. They’ve informed me so much in my idea of what a hero is and what an adventure can be. And Indy is a flawed hero, and he gets his ass kicked, a lot, but he’s got gumption and when it matters, he’s also got heart. Plus, dude is constantly killing Nazis. I’m into that.

It was in the hallowed year of 1981 that one Weird Al Yankovic was thrust upon the music world. How has his music shaped your young life and your young and still supple frame? (Daniel Dockery, stay at home non-mom, still keeping it tight)

Daniel: He shaped me most by causing me to fail classes because I was too busy writing parody lyrics. The last I wrote, I think, was a parody of “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, called “Mr. Darkside.” If you’ve never heard words before, that’s a Star Wars reference.

I don’t think my supple frame has recovered from writing that. You don’t just come back from writing “Mr. Darkside.”

Doing research for this interview, what is one thing from 1981 that you discovered that you never knew before?

Tony: I knew that President Reagan got shot in his first term by John Hinckley but I did not know that it happened only 69 days into his first term in 1981. Dude got shot in his chest after being President for like 2 months. If you’re going to assassinate somebody at least give them a probation period to kinda learn their job and figure out how they’re going to eventually destroy the world.

This way you then have a reason to try and murder them and prevent Skynet or whatever else is going through your diseased head, you know? It just seems kinda rude not to wait a bit.

You are allowed by the cosmos, (and me) to have the ultimate 4-way mini-orgy (is it still an orgy if it’s  only 4 people? How many people until we dip our toes in the orgy end of the pool?) with 3 of the foxy ladies of 1981 cinema. And not the boring actresses either, no, you get to get down with the characters they portrayed. So who’s on your dancecard and why?

Daniel: I think 4 people is the absolute minimum that you can have before you can call it an orgy. Any less than that and it’s just spicing up the marriage.

I choose Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau) from Escape from New York, because she’s fiery and takes control. She’d probably be the one to organize this whole thing, and afterwards, she’d definitely be the person that I tried to high-five.

Adrienne Barbeau is Wonder of the World 8 through 19.

Adrienne Barbeau is Wonder of the World 8 through 19.

Next up is Empress Nympho (Madeline Kahn) from History of the World, Part 1, for reasons that are self-evident.

And finally, I pick Patty (Cynthia Dale) from My Bloody Valentine, simply because she seems cool.

The schedule would be:

8 PM: Watch My Bloody Valentine.

10 PM: Orgy.

12 AM: Watch My Bloody Valentine again.

2 AM: Barbeau high-five.

I want you to sell 1981 like it’s a used car. If I was in the lot, looking to buy the year 1981, how would you sell me on it, using Wild Tony’s Crazy Deals?

Tony: 1981 was back when things were still built to last. Sure, you could get something nice and flashy and newer, something like 1994 or even 2006 or 2010 but none of those heaps are going to last very long. At the same time you don’t have deep enough pockets for something truly classic like 1971. No, what you want is something that might look terribly aged at times but still performs better, lasts longer and is made of more solid parts than most any new jack, plastic trendy piece of crap they churn out nowadays. You want 1981.  Or at the very least 1982.

Time machine time (again): You’re allowed to work on the set of any film made in ’81, what do you choose? And what job would you want? You can do anything, best boy, boom mic, assistant director, or actually be the director, star, caterer, whatever? Go!

Daniel: Man, I am going to be director of Saturday the 14th, and direct everyone to enter the time machine. I set the time for “Age of Killer Dinosaurs” and then I sit back and become a hero.


Daniel is a columnist at and writes all of You should visit it sometime.

Tony recently released his first book Nefarious Twit, WHICH IS AVAILABLE HERE DON’T SKIP THIS LINK, and writes the column Touch The Wonder.

3 responses to “Tony and Daniel: Popping Culture 6 (1981)

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