Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fad Toys of the 90s

Recently I was chatting to some friends about just some of the toys we all had when we were kids and the 2 that everyone could really remember were Tamagotchis and Furby's. So I just had to write a little post of course! :)


I don't have my old Furby anymore but just looking back at old photos, thses things looked so weird! Yet they were a huge craze among girls in 1998. I mean they were a 'must-have' toy; you weren't cool if you didn't own one! And all the girls in my primary school called their Furby's Coco, I'm not sure why but that was just the done thing in our school!

To see just how 'must-have' they were; in the year they were launched (1998) over 1.5million Furby's were sold, in the next year this had increased to over 14million and in the 3 years of Furby's original production they sold over 40million toys. That's a lot of weird, furry toys with beaks.

A new Furby started out 'speaking Furbish' and the whole aim was to love your little robot, nurture them and they'll speak English. Little did us kids know that the toys were programmed to eventually say a few words in English, and no matter what country they were sold in that's just what they did. But of course we thought it was because of how great we cared for them!

I remember loving the Furby I had but looking back, wow that was a weird craze!


The Tamagotchi was created in Japan in 1996 and it swept the world. The name is split into 2 and in English it means 'egg' and 'watch'. Which is a pretty good description of what it actually is too.
It kind of seems that in the 90s there was a bit of a craze for toys that you had to care for, feed and love and all that jazz.

The idea behind Tamagotchi was simple; a child (much like myself) got hooked on these little things and wanted more and more as a sort of family. Great marketing plan guys :)
Tamagotchis were small, little egg shaped devices with a small, pixelated screen and few button. Your Tamagotchi lived in the screen, so to speak. It was only a small bunch of pixels that formed tiny, weird shaped animals but we loved them so much! You had to press the little buttons to feed them, play with them and clean up after the them or something and these little guys LOVED attention. You had to press these little buttons a few times an hour I seem to remember and so Tamagotchi's went EVERYWHERE with us. I can distinctly remember once leaving my Tamagotchi in the car for a few hours and when I found it again my little guy had died. When your Tamagotchi died it looked so pathetic as it sprouted angel wings and then disappeared from your screen. But yep, you guessed it, I cried. Well for at least 5 minutes until my Dad pressed the Reset button and then everything was good again!

Here's a song by Los Angeles duo Looner called, "I love my Tamagotchee". It's odd, but it sums up the craze perfectly!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

90s Cartoons

For today's post I've decided to write about the first 5 kids cartoons I can remember when I think back to the Saturday mornings I spent watching cartoons. Now I know there was alot of really great cartoons from the 90s and everyone has their favourites but these are just the first 5 that spring to my mind when I remember back. So enjoy!


I'm sure everyone has seen an episode of the Rugrats at some point and it honestly was the first 90s cartoon that came to my mind. I loved watching the Rugrats when I was younger and I so wished I had been on some of the adventures that Tommy, Chuckie and the gang had been on.

The Rugrats first aired in 1991 on Nickelodeon and ran until the early noughties. It was a hugely popular cartoon and it even earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! The original show was the best in my opinion, but it did spawn 2 different series and 3 successful films. Talk about a craze eh?

Here's the opening credits. I was singing them in my head before I even thought to upload the video! Sorry for the bad quality.

The Animaniacs

The Animaniacs was a variety style show starring the Warner siblings; Yakko, Wakko and Dot. It aired on the Kids Warner Bros channel from 1993 to 1995 and was a huge hit with kids everywhere. It actually spawned the next cartoon I'm going to write about, Pinky and the Brain, as each Animaniacs episode featured different, often slightly insane, characters with their own stories.

Here's the opening credits!

Pinky and the Brain

Pinky and the Brain is a spin off show from the Animaniacs about 2 lab mice who do the same thing every night; make plans for world domination.
Brain is a genius and Pinky is a bit of a bumbling, yet lovable, nuisance who wrecks Brains' plans every night.

The famous catchphrase is;

Pinky: What will we do tonight Brain?
Brain: The same thing we do every night Pinky..try to take over the world!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Ok so strictly speaking the TMNT started in the 80s but it was such a successful cartoon and I can vividly remember it from my childhood so I'm going to let this one slip!
The TMNT are 4 mutant, ninja turtles, from New York, named after famous Renaissance artists; Leonardo, Donotello, Michaelangelo and Raphael, and they are trained by a talking rat sensei. Still with me so far? Basically they're the good guys (heroes in a half shell- to be precise) and they fight the bad guys and save everyone. They're pretty awesome.

And last but not least... Biker Mice From Mars

Not many of my friends say they genuinely can remember this cartoon so that's why it's at the end of this post. It seems to have been forgotten, yet it was my favourite cartoon of the 90s. It seems I really had a thing for talking, cartoon animals eh?

It was released in 1993 and only had 3 short seasons but it was such a cool cartoon!

Basically, 3 cool-dude, biker mice called Throttle, Modo and Vinnie escaped from their home planet of Mars that was wiped out by the gross, weird Plutarkians who are hell bent on destroying Earth next. Anyway the biker mice land in Chicago on Earth and meet a female mechanic, conveniently named Charlene 'Charley' Davidson. The biker mice learn that Chicago's main businessman is a Plutarkian in disguise and so every episode the mice have to foil his evil plans, all while having some fun.

If that summary right there doesn't make ya wanna watch this cartoon then I just don't know what will :)

Well hope ya liked that!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spice Girls V Boyzone

Spice Girls Versus Boyzone... Who you chose to follow as a fan had a huge impact in the 90s. Personally I was all about the Girl Power myself (as were a huge proportion of my friends) but I still loved the Boyzone boys and their catchy tunes (again, as did all my friends). Howver, Spice Girls really started a whole new wave of feminism, eh, kinda. Whatever they stood for, their songs were catchy as hell! And the fact they all had different personas meant you could idolise any one of the girls and almost feel like they understood you. Spice Girls meant Girl Power and boy, did we love them.

The Spice Girls were an English girl-group formed in 1994 after a series of auditions to find the perfect mix of personalities for the group. 5 girls later and Spice Girls was formed and ready to take on the world.

They were signed to Virgin Records in 1996 and released their debut single, "Wannabe". This is a snippet of the girls singing "Wannabe" in their movie, Spice World.

"Wannabe" spent 7 weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart, becoming number 1 in over 30 countries and it helped to establish the group as a 'global phenomenon.
The girls gained their nicknames after a review in the Top of the Pops magazine and thus the Spice Girls were born; Ginger, Scary, Baby, Sporty and Posh.
The Spice Girls were hugely famous and had loads of number 1 and top 10 hits because their pop songs were catchy and got a lot of radio time. They became idols for girls everywhere with their slogan of "Girl Power" and their can-do attitudes. The Spice Girl image even became a franchise and they sold so much merchandising such as; a movie "Spice World", lollipops and chocolate, dolls, posters, tshirts and much much more. The Spice Girls essentially became a brand and according to the BBC they are the best-selling girl group of all time.
Alas all good things must come to an end and in May 1998, Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice, left the group due to professional differences. The Spice Girls released their 3rd album after Geri left but it flopped and eventually the Spice Girls split and went their separate ways. Young girls and boys everywhere were heartbroken. It was the end of an era.
However the girls regrouped in 2007, released a Greatest Hits album and did a reunion tour in 2008, which was huge and although it was finished prematurely it gave alot of old fans the hope that they would maybe return to make some more songs in the future.

Here's the girls on Top of the Pops in 1997 singing "Who do you think you are".

Boyzone was the boyband that vied for our attention in the 90s. Boyzone is an Irish boyband and they were set up in 1993 by Louis Walsh. They had huge success in the early 90s and they famously made a comeback in 2007 and they haven't looked back since. The boys have released 6 #1 UK singles and 5 #1 albums.

Sadly one of the band members, Stephen Gately, passed away in October last year, shocking family, fans and band members.

Boyzone were a huge success (and since their comeback they have been continuing that success) in Ireland, the UK, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and they had varying levels of success across Europe. However, before they had even recorded any material the band made a, now infamous, appearance on RTEs the Late Late Show which included dungarees and impromptu dancing. Gaybo was shocked as was the audience. Must see TV!

'Nuff said about that the better eh?

Here's one of my fave songs by the band, "Love Me for a Reason".

However, as I mentioned already, I was a huge Spice Girls fan (and still am!) along with the majority of my friends at that age. Nothing like a bit of female empowerment when you're 7 years old! I had all their songs on tape and I'll still throw them onto my old cassette player if I'm feeling nostalgic. Although I am ashamed to admit I actually had the Spice Girls dolls...yeah looking back that's pretty uncool. Oh well, the Spice Girls were super cool, can't deny that!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Best Disney Movies of the late 90s

Ok so to continue on from the last post! Disney-fest! :)

Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame was released in 1996 and it was inspired by Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Like all good stories it is a love story where Quasimodo, the deformed, sweet bell-ringer at the cathedral, falls in love with the beautiful gypsy Esmerelda who is kind to him and shows him that his soul is beautiful even if his exterior is not.

The movie dealt with alot of adult themes such as lust and infanticide, but they were approached with the view to being child-friendly. It is a age-old story of acceptance. It was also the first Disney film to use the word "damnation".

Here's the song "Topsy Turvy".

101 Dalmations

101 Dalmations is a live-action remake of the 1961 animated film One Hundred and One Dalmations. It was released by Walt Disney Pictures in 1996 and it was a huge hit that year.

The plot goes; Roger takes his dalmation Pongo for a walk one day where he sees Anita, a clothes designer, walking her dog Perdy. Both humans and canines fall in love and soon after Perdy has puppies. Anita designs a spotted coat but her evil boss, Cruella, wants to use actual dalmations and after Roger and Anita reject her money she has 2 henchmen steal the puppies. Chaos ensues and in the end Cruella loses and Anita and Roger adopt all the puppies she has stolen and end up with 101!
It's a great family movie full of action as we see the puppies and dogs around England try to sabotage the evil Cruella. And they are such cute puppies! I badgered my parents for years to get a dalmation after seeing this movie :)

Here's a snippet from the start of the movie.


Mulan was released in 1998 and was a huge success because it was different from Disney's other movies in terms of music and artistic design.

In the story, there is a war in China and when Mulan's father is injured she disguises herself as a boy in order to take his place. She is accompanied by her guardian dragon, Mushu, and a cricket. At the start of the movie she is clumsy but as she gains experience she becomes independent and courageous. And like all Disney movies it seems, she falls in love with a handsome warrior and China is saved and everyone lives happily ever after.

Mulan is probably my favourite Disney princess because she is determined and strong-willed and she really is a great role model for that.

Here's my favourite song from the movie when Mulan is training to become a warrior, called "I'll make a man out of you".

Toy Story 2

Toy Story 2 is the sequel to Toy Story and was released as a CGI film in 1999. It is the last movie in the Disney Renaissance. The movie keeps most of the original characters and voices from the first movie with a few extra thrown in. It's a great family movie full of action and excitement and I must have watched it weekly or about 2 years after it came out I loved it so much :)

The story goes that Woody is left behind when his owner goes to camp and he is stolen by a toy collector for his collection and of course the rest of Andy's toys rush to his rescue. It's a great storyline and it follows on nicely from the first movie. And as I mentioned before I truely cannot wait for the 3rd Toy Story that's coming out this Summer, it's gonna be so great to feel like a kid again!

Here;s the bittersweet song, "When Somebody Loved Me". Jessie, the cowgirl doll, sings it to show Woody how kids grow up and forget about their toys.

Well that's all the Disney classics from the 90s decade. Beauty and the Beast is my no.1 favourite and then Toy Story 1 but then it gets confusing and I just love them all. They all have amazing animation and the soundtracks are so inspiring and even catchphrases from the different movies like "Hakuna Matata" have filtered into everyday life. Even now, at the age of 19, I still love to watch a good old Disney movie. They're timeless and they will never get old.
Hope you liked the post!
Til next time :)