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Dec 4, 2015

The interwebs.. a great tool for the retro TV and movie enthusiast

One of my favorite internet pastimes is surfing for info on various topics of retro goodness.  I've used the internet to compile a multitude of background, stories, and history on various fuzzy memories that existed from when I was a kid.

Since first getting on the internet back in 1996, there have been a few topics I've intermittently been scouring the web for.  Unfortunately, a couple of these searches have garnered absolutely no results for me thus far.  Here are a few entertainment topics that come to mind, that I occasionally tried to research for 17 years. 

A couple of years back, I posted this article with absolutely no clue about the following TV show and movies.  Within a day, some of my great readers hipped me to what a couple of them were all about..



"The Truck stop sitcom" 
There was a television show in the 80s (maaaaaaybe late 70s) that revolved around a truck stop.  A husband and wife owned or ran the truck stop, and their son was always hanging around.  There was a comedic element to this, because the son was an adult that they treated like a child.  I remember them trying to soothe him one time, by telling him to go and help himself to a microwave burrito.  I can't remember anything about the intro, but the closing credits featured an aerial shot of the bustling truck stop.

I remember the show being incredibly funny, with a revolving door of interesting and funny characters.  I may be mistaken.. but I swear I've seen the actors on other TV shows of the era.  Maybe it was Hee-Haw, maybe they were just bit actors, I'm not for certain.  My parents and grandparents used to love the show, and I've been searching for any kind of info on it for years now to no avail. 

I have learned that the show was not "Hee Haw Honeys" and may or may not have starred actor Gailard Sartain.



"The post apocalyptic end of the world movie" 
Back in the days before cable and satellite TV, network television channels would fill late night time slots with an endless array of old movies.  I remember staying up incredibly late one Saturday night and watching a very interesting movie.

The movie took place in some kind of post apocalyptic world.  Survivors of a war were located somewhere cold and blizzardy, in some type of base.  Eventually, the main character of the movie sets out for Washington in an attempt to shut down an automated nuclear warhead.  If not disengaged in time, the missile will launch towards an opposing country, trigger an automated retaliation, and destroy the whole world.

I watched this movie intently right down to the bitter end, when the main character falls down some type of shaft and sustains a life ending injury.  I remember being upset at the ending, but I would love to watch the movie again just for the heck of it, and maybe even to perform a retro review.

In this case, My search has come to an end!  A dear reader ( Backthrow ) has given me the skinny on this flick, which is entitled VIRUS (1980, a.k.a. DAY OF RESURRECTION, a.k.a. THE END), basically a big-budget Japanese movie (the most expensive movie made there, up to  that time) with some American stars in the cast: Glenn Ford, Chuck  Connors, Robert Vaughn, George Kennedy, Henry Silva, Bo Svenson, Edward  James Olmos and Olivia Hussey, plus Japanese action star Sonny Chiba  (THE STREET FIGHTER series, KILL BILL PART 1).

The premise is that a man-made virus pandemic, of Soviet/Eastern Bloc origin, has accidentally wiped out most of humanity, apart from a small international group of survivors (mostly scientists) based in Antarctica. Submarine captain Chuck Connors has to go back to the U.S. to disarm the nukes that have been triggered to launch.

Incredible!  All of these years I've been searching the web for answers about this movie, when all I had to do was put my search in front of my readers!  Thanks a bunch Backthrow, I really appreciate you filling me in on this flick that was waaaaay ahead of its time!


Possibly the first ever crazed-psycho-truck-driver-stalker horror flick 
Another movie I saw late night on network television, took place entirely on the open road.  The premise.. an uptight and obnoxious commuter cuts off a semi truck.  Later on down the road, the driver finds himself behind the same truck that's slowly putting along, driving well under the speed limit, and belching out thick clouds of exhaust.  The truck driver sticks his hand out of the window and motions for the car to pass him.  As the driver goes to pass the truck, he almost gets in a fatal collision with an oncoming vehicle.  It was at that point, that the motorist starts to get worried.  The rest of the movie succinctly revolved around the terrified motorist running from the disturbed truck driver who relentlessly starts stalking him along lonely and sparsely traveled back roads.

I could never remember how the movie ended, because I conked out during a commercial break after about an hour into the flick.  I woke up at around 4:00 a.m. to some gospel programming, and kicked myself ever since for missing the ending.  I always believed the movie to be made in the 70s, but wasn't certain.

This original article was posted for a mere three hours and thirty-eight minutes, when pop culture blogger extraordinaire Brian Adams gave me the skinny on this great flick.. 

The movie is entitled "DUEL", was made back in 1971, and starred Dennis Weaver as a commuter that gets terrorized by a crazed truck driver.  Learning that this flick was directed by Steven Spielberg, now makes me understand why the plot and story was emblazoned in my memory banks for all of these years.

A big thanks to Brian Adams for putting this particular search to bed for me.  If you have a chance, swing by Shawn's website Cool and Collected for loads of awesome pop culture collecting goodness.   Now.. enjoy the gripping, terrifying, and horrific theatrical trailer for the awesome 1970s thriller "DUEL"






These shows made a big enough impression on me, to keep me searching for any shred of information on them for seventeen years.  If I can think of anything else I get stuck on, I'll definitely take it to my readers and fellow  retro enthusiasts for help!



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