FILMS and MORE… Entertainment Innovations from the 1980s



Inspiring entertainment eureka moments from the Eighties…


And now it’s back to the eighties, as entertainment brought us something completely different.



It’s that time of the month again when 80s Reboot Podcast Dave and the 80s League bloggers join up for another post and podcast collaboration. As with all of these posts I’ll be adding the links to the other blog posts and the podcasts as they happen.

This time we’re discussing our favourite 1980s Innovations, so as I write an entertainment blog, I’m going to look at some of my favourite (and more irritating moments) entertainment eureka moments from this time.


Rubik’s Cube

Rubik’s Cube commercial 1980, MrClassicAds1980s

The Rubik’s Cube hit the toy market in the early 1980s. This infamous 3D cube puzzle had nine stickers on each of the six sides in six different colours with an internal pivot system helping each of the coloured pieces to turn independently. The aim was to return the mixed up colours and display all the same coloured stickers on each side.

This then became a obsession frustration challenge to many a kid – and adult – with books helping you achieve this goal unless, of course, you were one of the girly swots who could solve it. Roy Castle’s Record Breakers (1972-2001) BBC Children’s TV show was full of them, wee kids who could do the puzzle in the quickest time, usually competing live with other girly swots similarly gifted children. This was fun to watch, looking at their wee, hot, frustrated faces as they tried to beat each other and Castle bouncing between them with his trusty stopwatch until a smug-looking child prodigy completed it one micro-second before his nearest rival.

Needless to say, after discussing this with my Darlin Husband, I was happy to hear that he couldn’t do it either. And like our family, he had resorted to taking it apart then putting it together in a completed puzzle or gently peeling the stickers off and resticking them in the correct pieces.

Usually, you could convince your dad you completed it only once, as the state of the stickers often gave the game away. However, the small version of this toy as attached to a key ring was the most popular in our school, with many a kid playing with them in the audience of School Speech Days while the Head Mistress enthralled all about the latest savings in the school budget or whatever they talked about in these halcyon days of school girl youth.


Game and Watch Electronic Games

Game & Watch Multi Screen Commercial (subs) [1982], Satoshi Matrix

Once upon a time in the Christmas early 1980s, Santa came and brought us three sisters, three of the recently invented Nintendo Game and Watch series games.. probably in the hope we would play with these rather than fight in the back of the car. The games were Donkey Kong Jnr, Snoopy Tennis and Parachute,  each game with a watch and alarm and the then new-fangled LCD screen. The wee player icons made the game less blocky looking than my Split Second but similarly, the game had a wee directional pad to guide the player.

The Game and Watch games had Game A and B with B being basically a speeded-up version of the game. The game kept a copy of your highest score. Which. Was. The. Most. Frustrating. Thing. Ever. Not because a high score was difficult, it’s just as you mastered the game and got to a High Score of 999, you were happy to get one more point to reach the thousand score and beat your siblings. But the score started at 000 again leading to lots of frustrated groans all around.


British Breakfast TV

BBC Breakfast Time pre-launch trailer – Sunday 16th January 1983, tv68

British Breakfast Time (1983-89) aired for the first time live in our homes as we munched our cereal in Britain in 1983 on the good old BBC. The BBC’s show replaced the Open University programmes at this time, full of professors chuntering on about random scientific stuff (mostly in Black in White if I remember rightly. or maybe that was our telly).

Just the kind of stuff to make you go back to sleep really. Especially if you were a 13 going on 14-year-old girl like me. Breakfast Time had nice, cosy sofas with nice, cosy presenters such as Frank Bough, Nick Ross and Selina Scott in nice, cosy, garish 80s jumpers, presumably to make it more nice, cosy, informal and friendly, talking about hard news and mixed with fun features in a nice. cosy way. Alongside the Green Goddess aka Diana Moran the keep fit totty.

ITV followed the BBC, with TV-am / Good Morning Britain (1983-2002) a couple of weeks later and was spearheaded by ‘Famous Five’. They were Michael Parkinson, David Frost, Angela Rippon, Anna Ford and Robert Kee. However, these presenters chopped and changed. The show as I remember it was presented by Nick Owen and Anne Diamond, also in natty colourful jumpers.

It also had annoying colourful (and not just their jumpers) characters such as Wincey Willis the weather lady, Mr Motivator ( in his lycra, all in one gym suit (shudder) and Roland the Rat, an irritating puppet to “entertain” us kids. Not that it did, like its impressionists… The show also had celebrity gossip just as we were leaving to go to school, which was REALLY frustrating. Not that I  knew any of the names but then there might just have been that wee Dallas (1978-91) exclusive clip of an unresolved cliffhanger…


Brat Pack Movies

The Breakfast Club Official Trailer #1 – Paul Gleason Movie (1985) HD, Movieclips Trailer Vault

The Brat Pack actors and actresses were a group of young Americans starring in the teen aka coming of age movies in the 1980s. Actors included the clean-cut Rob Lowe, sensitive Andrew McCarthy, lovely Ally Sheedy and style icon, Molly Ringwald. Ringwald had hair to die for. Clothes to die for, but I also sadly got into looking like a Brat Packer about a decade too late.

I got nicknamed the Basketcase at college, by a friend who cast five of us as his Breakfast Club. I became obsessed with the Brat Pack films after the BBC showed a whole season of them. This led to a bit of a crush on Andrew McCarthy. And then I dutifully watched all his films up to and including Weekend at Bernies (1989).

But back in the 1980s, then I’d only heard of The Breakfast Club (1985), thanks to a good friend raving on about Judd Nelson’s attributes in the back of a school lesson. Sadly, being the smallest 15-year-old ever – and haven’t grown since then – I couldn’t see these on the big screen due to an unbelieving cinema cashier.  Notable to watch films for the record Pretty in Pink (1986), About Last Night (1986) and Class (1983).


Celebrity Fitness and Aerobic Videos

Jane Fonda – Original Workout (Trailer),  Music On TV1

Invented in the 1980s, after a wife of a Home Video founder idly commented it would be nice to do exercises at home rather than at the gym. This led to actress Jane Fonda releasing a plethora of home exercise videos with her instructing the masses on fitness and aerobics.  Fonda usually had lots of sylph-like nymphs and a few buff blokes in neon lycra behind her carrying out the exercises too.

Presumably, showing the masses that even “Joe Bloggs” could get fit too. This fitness craze continued and led to a run of similar videos released by actresses and actors on the big and wee screen. And even more of these – usually by ex-Eastenders (1985-) – stars in the years decades after that. However, 80s stars included those from soaps such as Dynasty (1981-89)’s Heather Locklear to actresses such as Raquel Welch. As for the guys, you too could beef up with the best with even Arnold Schwarzenegger getting in on the action…

This craze even made it to music,  wee screen and big screen in Perfect (1985). And in music, Olivia Newton John’s hit song Physical became the workout mantra for the 80s fitness freak. In TV’s Dallas, Bobby Ewing even bought his wife, Pam a fitness studio so making the average male viewers’ blood pressure go up with actress Victoria Principal attiring a leotard for many of her scenes, and possibly their dream storyline.



8 thoughts on “FILMS and MORE… Entertainment Innovations from the 1980s

  1. Great picks! I had totally forgotten about the Rubik’s Cube keychain! I had that before I got the regular Rubik’s Cube. There was also a Rubik’s Snake.
    I remember that my mom had a Jane Fonda workout tape. All those exercise shows were quite the rave back then. There was Richard Simmons, and some other aerobics shows. I even remember Mousercise on the Disney Channel.

    Liked by 1 person

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