Remembering Michael Jackson - The Pepsi Commercials

Today is retro commercials Monday here at the PopArtDiva blog and with the world still in shock and mourning over the death of Michael Jackson it seemed like a good idea to remember those wonderful, fun commercials he did for Pepsi in the eighties.

Do you remember this series from 1988?:

This was the one where his hair caught fire during the filming:

Here's a very rare Japanese commercial for Suzuki - long before all the plastic surgery. I think this one is from the 70s but if anyone has any more info on it, please leave me a comment.

This one from 1984 was one of my favorites - it features a very young Alfonso Ribeiro (best known as Will's cousin, Carlton Banks in Fresh Prince of Bel Air) as a Michael Jackson fan and imitator running into his Michael on the streets as he dances and impersonates his hero:

Michael Jackson could even turn a soft drink commercial into a full blown musical with story line and great soundtrack!

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Michael Joseph Jackson
August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009

It's official, the King of Pop has died at the age of 50. It's a sad day for music no matter the controversy that surrounded him in his later years.

I watched him grow up as extremely talented young man, shining out from the Jackson Family, to become a legend in his own time. I watched his descent into a strange Neverland of odd behavior and neurotic ticks and it saddened me greatly.

This photo above is how I shall think of him - as a master entertainer, a showman and a great musician. The music from Thriller, my favorite of all his music, will always play in my head when I think of him.

Goodnight, Michael. I hope you will find some peace now.

(Image courtesy of the U.S. Government: This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. )


Michael was not the only pop icon who passed away today, earlier Farrah Fawcett, known best as one of Charlie's Angels from the hit 1970s television show, lost her battle with cancer. My sympathies to Ryan O'Neal and Farrah's family in their time of loss.


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From Chocolate back to Chocolate in just 13 Steps?

From The POP ART DIVA Baby Boomer Blog

Hostess cupcakes have been a part of my life now for over 50 years. When I was in grade school I would get one every once in a while as a special treat. Back in those days you'd get a two-pack and the frosting was harder because of the less airtight packaging. I liked the harder frosting better.

I also liked the cream better - it had all those ingredients that are bad for you but taste so good - remember? But all in all, even with the "health" upgrade, it's still nice to have a Hostess Cupcake to look forward to after a hard day of creating!

13 Word Associations Inspired by a Hostess Cupcake - or How to Get from Chocolate to Chocolate in just 13 steps:
  1. Chocolate
  2. Creamy
  3. Gobble
  4. Full
  5. Endorphins
  6. Happy
  7. Energetic
  8. Creative
  9. Painting
  10. Accomplished
  11. Tired
  12. Hungry
  13. Chocolate

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Ed McMahon - Rest in Peace

With the passing of Ed McMahon we see an end to an era of television talk shows that most baby boomers cut their TV teeth on. Today I would like to honor the long career of a familiar face in late night:

Edward Leo Peter "Ed" McMahon, Jr.
(March 6, 1923 – June 23, 2009)

HIYO, ED and May You Rest in Peace.

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RETRO RONALD McDONALD - Clowning Around in the Sixties

We're all familiar with Ronald McDonald as he is now but here's the first couple of commercials with the original Ronald McDonald - you might notice a few little costume changes have occurred. What really got to me was the cup on his nose and that silly McDonald's Meal hat on his head!

Willard Scott claims to have invented the character after his stint as Bozo the Clown and, yes, this is Scott in this first incarnation as the "Hamburger Happy Clown" - minus a few pounds and wrinkles!

Ronald McDonald before the modern day makeover:

and just in case you think that was a joke or Ronald was just having a bad hair and wardrobe day:

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THE DORK, THE DANCE & THE DOWNFALL of my popularity. The Freddy made me a doofus!

Today's theme for the Old School Friday whirl is "Dance for Me". I immediately remembered my first experience with public dancing - it was a totally crushing moment for me. I had just moved from Kansas to California (read this as "dorky Midwestern girl meets kalifornia kool kids") and I was not up to speed on what was "kool" and what wasn't. Add that to the fact that I watched a lot of the British bands on dance shows and here's what you get:

This poor hapless teenybopper:Doing this popularity killing dance (while wearing those awful black horn-rimmed glasses!):

You are now officially given permission to laugh your butt off at me just like everyone else did in that gymnasium back in 1965.

BTW, that's my little kitty, Moki, I'm holding who loved to climb into odd places - but that's a story for another day.

Happy OSF - Go here to find other OSFers and join up too!
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Let's face it, our world is changing right before our eyes. The lives we took for granted just a year ago are no longer sacred or no longer exist - let alone the lives we lived half a century ago.

American car manufacturers, banks and companies that have been part of our lives since we were kids are either gone or going. The dream of owning a home has become more a fantasy than a dream, the security of our childhood is a thing of the past along with the idea of retiring with a gold watch from a company that you worked at for fifty years. Heck, the idea of just retiring may be a thing of the past.

We live in uncertain times and in uncertain times we tend to look back at the past with fond memories and a nostalgia for "the good old days". At my age (and on this blog) I tend to do that anyway, but today I want to take another direction. Today I want to take a look at the past and point out a few things that weren't so great - things that I don't remember so fondly from my childhood. So, with my tongue firmly in cheek and my twisted and scarred psyche firmly out front, I give you the things that aided in abetted in making me who I am today:
  1. The drab and clunky fifties fashions - talk about fugly - you rarely saw any fun colors, skirts hit just below the knee (a horrid hemline for most women's legs), there was a lot of plaid in my wardrobe and I hate plaid.
  2. The sixties weren't exactly an elegant era for fashion either - gogo boots, mini skirts (not great for those of us with calf-less legs), hip-huggers (thank God I had no hips in those days), long stringy hair, granny glasses - give me the beautiful fashions of the thirties and forties any day!
  3. I am also not fond of the seventies looks either - what were we thinking with those frizzy perms, hot pants and those horrid white leisure suits?
  4. The hairstyles of the fifties through seventies. Okay, I harp on this I know, but look at the photo and tell me if that is not a dorky haircut! And to get it that dorky I had to suffer through sleeping with bobby pins poking my head all night, every night. Let's not even go into the long straight hair of the sixties or the home perms of the seventies - with thin, fine hair like mine "bad hair day" was pretty much my entire youth's mantra.
  5. The only real "fast food" was McDonalds. Okay, this is not purely a "bad" thing about the past but I do love the fact that I can have a taco, Chinese and even Greek fast food by driving my car up to a window. At least I have a choice in my junk food now, lol.
  6. I got picked on by my older brother and sister. I doubt that's changed much in today's world - I'm sure older kids still terrorize their younger siblings - but it was still something that I'm sure warped my tender little psyche and made me the Normal Challenged weirdo that I am today, lol.
  7. Teachers. Teachers when I was growing up were drab old fuddy duddies who looked down their nose through little half glasses at you with a stern countenance, whacked you with rulers, made you stand in a corner, embarrassed you in front of all the other kids, made you stay after school on beautiful sunny days and made you write things like "I will not draw funny pictures of my teacher" over and over and over and over again. Of course, maybe the fact that I was an insolent little smart-ass of a bratty kid had something to do with that but still! I didn't like a teacher until I hit college and then they weren't just teachers, they were "professors" - and some were even cute!
  8. I loved most of my toys back then but when I look at the cool stuff kids can have today I'm jealous! I would love a hot pink Barbie car that actually has an "engine" - one you don't have to peddle. (BTW, I never even got a peddle car when I was a kid and I always wanted one of those.) And I love the cool computer games that did not exist when I was a kid - don't tell me that you wouldn't love a Wii even now. This is sort of less a dislike about then as it is a "I wish I could have had one of those then".
  9. And what about girl's baseball, soccer and even football? There was no such thing as a girl's baseball team when I was a kid. I was a tomboy and I envied my brother (remember Butthead?) getting to dress up in a real baseball uniform and playing in Little League.
  10. The ugly eyeglass designs of the fifties and early sixties. Just look at those horn-rimmed horrors in the photo above - I lived with "four eyes" all through my school career because I didn't get contacts until I bought them myself at twenty years old.
  11. "Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice, Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails" What I'm referring to here is the roles that little girls were shoved, spindled and mutilated into. Even then I rebelled against being forced to be "girly", treated differently because I was a girl and being relegated to society's idea of female behavior, female occupations and female lifestyles. I never saw a woman cop, a woman firefighter or a woman pilot. If I wanted to work I was told I could teach, type or toe the line! Balderdash!
  12. Family car vacations - I refer you to paragraph 3/4 of this post "Route 66 - Here's Yer Sign: Burma Shave"
  13. Babysitting. I earned money by babysitting - fifty cents an hour. Leaky, dripping, smelly, screaming little rug rats were the bane of my youthful existence from age 13 - 16. I don't have any kids and now you know why.
Yup, things have changed in the last half century. It's not all warm and fuzzy on Memory Lane despite what us old farts would have you believe. Change is not always bad and it's not always good, it just is. . . . .and maybe what I have the most trouble with! Am I getting set in my ways?

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The Soda Jerk and the local Drugstore Fountain

I found this really great commercial for Coca Cola from 1954. I was three years old when this ad aired on television, hehe. But what I really enjoyed was seeing the old soda fountain machine - remember those?

Once upon a time this was how we got all our soda pop. Growing up my family did not keep soda in the house - it was considered a treat and when we did have one it was usually at the five & dime, dispensed from a machine just like the one in this commercial. Often we got to order cherry cokes or vanilla cokes and even chocolate cokes - the "soda jerk" would simply add some of those flavored syrups in with the coke syrup! And yes, I did say "soda jerk" because that is what the person behind the soda fountain was called! (Click here for some great history on the term "soda jerk")

I still think those soft drinks tasted better than the ones we drink today in bottles and cans, how about you? And what was your favorite flavor to add to your coke?

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The Music of Family - This was my Heart & Soul

This weeks Old School Friday theme is "keep it in the family" and the first song that came into my mind was one that every one of us kids - my older sister, Patti, my older brother, Butthead and myself - learned as our first song on the piano. Even without piano lessons some kids could play this song, along with Chopsticks.

My Mom gave us all piano lessons - I took piano for eight years and it helped me with the flute and the guitar when I decided to learn those instruments. When Mom was in her late 70s, a year or so after her stroke, it finally dawned on me that she had probably always wanted to play herself so I hired a piano teacher to come to the house and give her lessons. One of the first things she played all the way through was "Heart and Soul".

I found this fun version of Heart and Soul played and sung by HUGH LAURIE and Geena Davis from Stuart Little.

How funny, I hadn't thought of either of these songs until I read this theme and now I can't get Heart and Soul out of my head. But I did manage to find a great Hoagy Carmichael version that should make it much easier for me to have this drumming through my head for the rest of the day. And I kind of wish I still had Mom's piano too.

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Goodbye Chrysler - We'll remember you fondly


Here in America, much of our pop culture has been centered around cars, travel and our love of the open road. Whether we fondly remember our classic hot rod from the fifties, our magic hippie bus from the sixties or those Starsky/Hutch muscle cars of the seventies, each and every one of us has memories wrapped around the cars of our past. You'll notice that each of my illustrations above for the fifties, sixties and seventies prominently features an icon car of the era - because our cars were a big part of our culture and life.

It seems as though all American cars may become only memories of our past because of the state of the country today. So, in honor of America's Love Affair with Cars I am tipping my hat to Chrysler, Chevrolet, Ford, GM, Buick, Pontiac and all the great names in American automotive history with a few songs, some art and a sad farewell to "American Made" cars.


When I was in high school two of the hottest muscle cars out there were the Dodge Challenger and the Plymouth Barracuda - both Chryslers. When our family needed a new car somehow my brother and I managed to convince Mom and Dad to buy a Barracuda! Ok, it wasn't bright orange, didn't have a 4 on the floor or bucket seats - but it was a Barracuda! We were a cool family - or cooler than those with station wagons!

We were up to that time primarily a Chevrolet family - we had a '55 Bel Air, then a '63 Bel Air. My brother bought a 69 SuperSport and years later I purchased both a Malibu and later a Caprice. We saw the USA in our Chevrolets alright:

Later, when I began to do art shows and needed a van, I switched over to the Chrysler Voyagers. (These were sort of the adult versions of our hippie vans from the sixties though much less colorful!) I ended up buying several of them over the years - they were perfect cars for art shows - small enough to maneuver in the packed lanes but large enough to get a whole 10'x10' booth display and art in. It was practical, comfortable, economical and perfect for my business. Of course, in my heart of hearts all I ever really wanted was a Muscle Car - think Little Old Diva from Pasadena, lol!

I've had many cars over the years - all American made and I am proud that I have always "bought American." Today I still drive American - I have a Ford. We Americans are car lovers, we love the open road and we are a nation on the move. Heck, we invented the car, road trips and roadside attractions. If it wasn't for Henry Ford there wouldn't be a Fiat to buy Chrysler! America invented the car and turned it into a little deuce coupe!

So, join with me today, listen to some more great old American Rock and Roll Car Songs below - Get yourself a Route 66 T-shirt , a Route 66 poster or coffee cup - Grab your keys, crank up the tunes and let's all take one more cruise in our American Hot Rods today.



What cruising songs do you remember, what was your favorite car of all time?Tell me some of your car stories - leave a comment on this post and take a cruise down Memory Lane in your American car with me!

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Nostalgic Memories Light The Corners of My Mind

Today's theme for Old School Friday is "My current mood is. . ." which is kind of perfect for me this week because I am awash in nostalgia, memories and bittersweet reminders of my family as I go through photos and family heirlooms I haven't seen in over 12 years. The last time I saw these photos and objects was just after my father passed away. After his funeral I packed up lifetimes of their memories and mine, sold my house and went on the road doing art shows cross country - I put all my sadness and memories in boxes and packed them away.

Above is a photograph of me at about age seven learning how to ride a "big girl" bike. I was quite proud of myself for having mastered the skill and totally unaware that my mother was hanging onto the bike in case I wobbled and tipped over. This photo was taken just before my Mom got pneumonia and almost died. Maybe that is why this photograph is one that I could always see in my mind these last 12 years when I didn't have the actual photos to linger over.

By the way, I've mentioned several times here that I had a goofy haircut as a kid and now you get to see it in all it's dorky glory - those mid brow bangs and the little wonky curls all around. I'd forgotten totally about the plaid pants and maybe I should have been more upset at those, lol.

I am awash in images and memories of Mom, Dad, my sister, my little Shadow, Tink & Petey, friends and loved ones that have left my life but not my heart. I hope you'll forgive my indulgence in some chick flick girl music to accompany my trip down a photographic Memory Lane.

My current mood ranges between sadness at the loss of my family and a kind of aching nostalgia for the memories of our times together. Memories truly are lighting the corners of my mind today.

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Goodbye, Grasshopper - David Carradine Dies at 72

David Carradine was found dead in a hotel in Bangkok yesterday. Many people will remember him from the Kill Bill movies, but I will always remember him as Kwai Chang Caine from Kung Fu.

Mr. Carradine was an actor, a writer and a musician but I was unaware he was also an artist and when I stopped by the official David Carradine Website I took a look at some of his drawings and paintings. They remind me a lot of John Lennon's work in "A Spaniard in the Works".

This was an actor of wide range and a long career - take a look at his filmography, you'll be amazed at how much work and how many films he was in during his long career.

In memory of Mr. Carradine here is the original "grasshopper" scene from the 1970s TV series Kung Fu:

Goodnight and Goodbye, David. You will be missed.

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Thursday 13 - Old photos, Old movies, Old Me

  1. Sleep in.
  2. Stay in your jammies and read the paper an extra hour
  3. Watch all the silly morning talk shows and do your mani-pedi
  4. Cook chili and cornbread for dinner
  5. Bake a chocolate cake for dessert too
  6. Okay, do a little work - but only a little
  7. Take your dog for a walk in the rain - don't ask me why but they love to get soaked on a walk but if you ask them just to go pee in the backyard they dig in their heels at the door.
  8. Watch all the silly afternoon talk shows - they'll put you to sleep and a nap while the rain patters on the roof is the best kind of sleep
  9. Sit outside and enjoy the smell of the rain and the lovely drops on all the plants
  10. Take an afternoon bath and put on fresh jammies
  11. Have a cup of cocoa while the thunder rolls overhead and you go through all your old photo albums (I just got all mine back after 13 years!)
  12. Eat your chili while watching some late afternoon reruns like Father Knows Best or Welcome Back, Kotter
  13. Make some popcorn, get back into bed and watch Mel Brooks movies while the rain continues to patter on the roof as you fall asleep - remember to put the sleep timer on!
This is what I have done and will do for today - ok, my little work was posting this and bidding some graphics jobs online - but I'm already in my second set of jammies and getting ready to serve up my chili and cornbread and the cake is baking in the oven. The popcorn is set out for a late night snack and my Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs movies are all lined up - nite, nite - don't let the bedbugs bite!

By the way, a really funny Twitter tee shirt makes great jammies.
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Are Baby Boomers Too Old to Twitter? NOT!

I'm a big Twitter fan and so I had to laugh the other day when another boomer asked me, "What's a twitter?" How do you explain Twitter to someone who can't even figure out e-mail?

Yes, the internet may be a "young person's game" but don't count us old farts out yet! You might be surprised at just how web savvy some of us are getting. Case in point, I not only Twitter but I have designed several products just for my Tweeps over at my Twitter Page (twitter.com/popartdiva) - just to show those young whippersnappers that they ain't shoved us into a six foot hole just yet:

Meet My New Zazzle Store for Twitter Fans:

There are four unique designs including:
I tweet there4 I M
I can say anything in 140 Characters
Tweet and Retweet
Follow Me @

My little window display allows you to stop motion, zoom in on any product, make a comment about the product, rate my products and click to buy right here!

So if you are a web savvy, boomer Twittering "older but wiser" citizen like me, click away and support a fellow baby boomer - Get a tee, an apron, a cup, a poster or even a bumper sticker and share your love of PopArtDiva aka TweetleBirdie and Twitter with one click!

And Follow me on Twitter!

TweetleBirdie™ and the TweetleBirdie Character are trademarks of PopArtDiva.com
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Born this date in 1926 Marilyn would have been 89 today.

From PopArtDiva.com

Copyright 2007 by PopArtDiva.com. All Rights Reserved.
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To celebrate her birthday today I am posting the three works of art I've done in her honor as well as some Marilyn Monroe quotes, videos and other Marilyn fun.

Above is a fun little graphic illustration entitled "NORMAL JEAN LEAVES THE SCENE IN A LILAC CADILLAC" showing Marilyn leaving Hollywood in her prime - it was a little fantasy that still makes me wonder if she would be alive today if she had done just that.

I also did a piece entitled "HEAVEN TRUMPS OSCAR" a comment on that fact that Marilyn never won an Oscar. I like to believe she would have had she lived beyond the age of 37.
From PopArtDiva.com

Some of my favorite Marilyn Monroe Quotes:
  • Before marriage, a girl has to make love to a man to hold him. After marriage, she has to hold him to make love to him
  • I've been on a calendar but I've never been on time
  • A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night.
  • Dogs never bite me. Just humans.
  • I don't mind living in a man's world as long as I can be a woman in it.
  • No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they're pretty, even if they aren't.
  • If I'd observed all the rules, I'd never have got anywhere.
  • It's not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on.
  • It's all make believe, isn't it?

Because I am the POP ART Diva I had to do a Pop Art Tribute to Marilyn in homage to the warhol style too:

Pop Art Tribute to Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn singing "I Wanna Be Loved By You":

The Famous Happy Birthday Mr. President:

(By the way, take a very close look at the bumper sticker on the Lilac Cadillac in the top illustration I did - you can see the closeup by clicking this image then clicking on the same image on my website for a close-up view)
And my very favorite scene from any Marilyn Monroe movie, from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" Marilyn performing "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend":

I wonder often what Marilyn would have done with her life and career had she lived beyond her thirties. It's hard for me to realize she would have been close to ninety today. She was, is and always will remain a legend in my mind.

All images on this post are copyrighted by Pop Art Diva. All rights reserved. No permission is given to copy, distribute or reproduce without written permission from PopArtDiva.com.
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