“Don’t get him wet, keep him out of bright light, and never feed him after midnight.”
Perhaps the best-known rules in cinematic history.
Joe Dante directed Gremlins, released June 8, 1984; the movie starred Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, and Hoyt Axton. The June release date seems a little strange to me as the film is set at Christmastime, but it worked as it ended up the fourth highest-grossing film of 1984.
A bizarrely brilliant half comedy, half horror movie, the film was criticized for its violence but beloved for its cuteness. It is cited by many as one of the films that prompted the creation of the PG-13 rating less than a month after its release.
The Hardee’s fast food chain released five book and record sets to coincide with the popularity of the film: “The Gift of the Mogwai,” “Gizmo and the Gremlins,” “Escape from the Gremlins,” “Gremlins—Trapped,” and “The Last Gremlin.” I am lucky enough to still own four of the five in my record collection.
Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson teamed up together in the Ivan Reitman-directed classic Ghostbusters, released in theaters on June 8, 1984. The movie was a massive success, the second highest-grossing film of the year, trailing only Beverly Hills Cop.
There was, of course, a sequel to Ghostbusters released just a few years later (we’ll talk about that one in a few weeks), a reboot released a few years ago (we may never speak of that one again), and a planned second sequel to the original next summer. In addition, Aykroyd has hinted at a prequel television series based on the original characters.
There are tons of toys, books, costumes, and even video games. Here are just a handful of the offerings on Amazon, but you can page through several more items yourself…
- Little Golden Book
- Metals Diecast Figures
- Mr. Potato Head
- Diamond Select Action Figure
- Funko POP! Figures
- Video Games
Ghostbusters remains to this day a cultural phenomenon.
I fondly remember watching reruns of Welcome Back Kotter during the summer when I was off school. I loved imitating Horshack’s “Oo-Oo-Oo” because I was knew I wasn’t cool enough to pull off Barbarino. Sadly, Mr. Kotter and the Sweathogs left the air after only four seasons, with the final episode, “The Breadwinners,” airing June 8, 1979.
Two of the actors that portrayed Sweathogs are no longer with us. Both Robert Hegyes (Juan Epstein) and Ron Palillo (Arnold Horshack) passed away in 2012. Marcia Strassman, who played Mr. Kotter’s wife Julie, also passed in 2014.