Oh, the nostalgia for our younger years…
Today I’m taking you back to the decade of excess and decadence.
I was a teen in the ‘80s and soaked up the gaudy, gorgeous culture of that decade. Let’s take a quick look:
Did you listen to arena rock? Journey? REO Speedwagon? Night Ranger? Or maybe you loved the Hair Bands. Def Leppard? Poison? Motley Crue? Bon Jovi? Or perhaps your tastes were more along the lines of The Thompson Twins, or Duran Duran, Howard Jones, or the dozens of other New Wave groups. Or maybe you liked Heartland Rock: Seger, Mellencamp, Springsteen, or Petty. Or did you prefer The Cure (Post Punk or R.E.M (College Rock)? Maybe it was Madonna? Michael Jackson? The Bangles?
Then, of course, was the ‘80s fashion… The girls wore mini skirts, leg warmers, and stirrup pants, while the guys pulled on their parachute pants and Members Only jackets. The ‘80s found willing consumers of brands like Benetton, Coca-Cola clothing, Esprit, Ocean Pacific, Jordache, and Swatch. There were big everything: big earrings, big glasses, big sweaters, big shoulder pads, and big hair.
Hollywood entertained us with oodles of movies we still love: Ghostbusters, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Indiana Jones, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, St. Elmo’s Fire, Top Gun, The Little Mermaid, Willow, The Karate Kid, Footloose, E.T., Weird Science, The Goonies, Back to the Future, and The Breakfast Club are only a few.
Then there was television. Ahh, the wonderful world of ‘80s television… Cheers and The Cosby Show. Alf and The Golden Girls. The A-Team and Growing Pains. The Wonder Years and Who’s the Boss. Family Ties and Knight Rider. Miami Vice and Perfect Strangers. Moonlighting and Silver Spoons. Quantum Leap and St. Elsewhere. Dynasty and Designing Women. The Fall Guy and Fraggle Rock.
And, oh yes… Everybody wanted their MTV.
We loved the decade-defining products of the ‘80s: We listened to cassettes on our Sony Walkmans. We started our dizzying digital journey with the Commodore 64, the Apple MacIntosh, and the IBM PS/2. We dove cool cars like the Chrysler K-car, the Subaru Brat, the Delorean, the Pontiac Fiero, the Camaro IROC-Z, and the Ferrari Testarossa. We played with Cabbage Patch Kids and Garbage Pail Kids and Teddy Ruxpin. We memorized the patterns on Pac Man and saved the maiden in Donkey Kong. We ate (and grooved to) The California Raisins. We were hopped up on Jolt Cola. (And oh, yeah… We hated New Coke). Bartles & Jaymes and Sun Country Wine Coolers were the rage. Every guy wore Polo Cologne while the girls tested out scents like Opium, Obsession, and Georgio. (Everybody smelled pretty good in the ’80s!)
I was mostly out of my cartoon watching days in the ‘80s, but I nevertheless remember the slew of Saturday morning cartoons fueling the sugar-filled minds of the younger crowd: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He-Man and The Masters of the Universe. Thundercats. Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers. She-Ra Princess of Power. Duck Tales. The Real Ghostbusters.
And speaking of cartoons… did you know that the longest-running American sitcom (and the longest running American animated program and longest running scripted prime time American television series) began in the 1980’s and is still going today?
That’s right, The Simpsons debuted on December 17, 1989.
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Speaking of The Simpsons, we have a new friend here on The Nostalgia Diaries—an Emmy-Award Winning lead animator on The Simpsons who is, in his own words, a “fellow nostalgia junkie.”
We are talking about Chance Raspberry, of course.
When Chance contacted us and told us about his current nostalgia-driven, personal animation project, we (of course) jumped at the chance to help him!
Using the animation skills he has honed over the last 12 years on The Simpsons TV show, The Simpsons Movie, and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Chance is now crowdfunding his own animated show called Little Billy—a new series about growing up in the 1980‘s with a neurodiversity and based on his own “wild childhood with Tourette Syndrome.”
Now, if you are not familiar with the term “neurodiversity,” here’s a pretty good description:
Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others. — The National Symposium on Neurodiversity at Syracuse University
But Little Billy is not a show about life with special needs. As Chance explains:
“It’s a show about LIFE told through the eyes of a family conquering Special Needs. The ’80s nostalgia, animation quality, story, adventure, and universal heart of Little Billy all play equally important roles. The Special Needs layer of the series is just the icing on the cake.”
Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, we love having the opportunity to help with awesome, creative projects like this, especially when it aligns with our quest to celebrate the past to create better days today. As Chance said to us in a recent email, the mission of his series ”is very kindred to yours – a better future by embracing (and learning from) the past.”
And as he explains on his Indiegogo project page:
“Now, after harnessing the energy of my Tourettes to achieve a 10-year career on The Simpsons, I’m back to my roots creating this show for everyone like me—for all the old-souled kids at heart who ‘grew up different’ in any way and who still long for the fun, adventure, and wisdom ‘80s cartoons had to offer!”
And hey, if it can further raise public awareness and education concerning neurodiversity (in fact a portion of his crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo will be donated to the Tourette Association of America) and encourage everyone to “stand out, be unique, and embrace individuality,” that’s a positive project we can stand behind. We also think you, our wonderful readers, might want to consider helping Chance make his Little Billy animated project a reality.
Here’s the Little Billy project pitch:
Meet Billy Harper…the most hyperactive child in the world! As the sun sets over 1980’s suburban America, the decade that gave rise to Generation Rx is about to come face to face with Patient Zero. Hand-crafted by a lead Simpsons animator with Tourette Syndrome, this series and its creator, Chance Raspberry, invite you to be yourself, embrace what makes you “you”, and rediscover the heart, adventure, and magic of your ’80s childhood like never before with Little Billy, the world’s first and only animated series about neurodiversity, special needs, and the power of being different. If you’re not like the other kids…he’s just like you!
And, of course, what would an awesome Indiegogo campaign be without an awesome video pitch! Listen to Chance explain his inspiration and passion for this project, and you will see why Corey and I decided to personally donate to his Indiegogo project:
You can also check out the Little Billy series trailer to see even more of the ‘80s nostalgia that continues to inspire and fuel Chance’s Little Billy project!
His campaign is ending on December 16, 2017, and so far he has raised over $3,600 toward his $10,000 goal. We’d love to see Chance meet his goal. He has put together some fun perks for donating (an animation lesson or portfolio review, t-shirts, posters, and more!) so we encourage you to check it out!
And hey, just remember: “If you’re not like the other kids . . . he’s just like you.”
(Please feel free to share this with your friends and family and your own readers who might be interested in backing Chance’s campaign!)
Steve is a lawyer, writer, and the lucky father of three amazing boys. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, his goal is to help readers focus on the important things, and wants everyone to celebrate the past to create better days today.
At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.