When I Was the World

I've seen it many times with grownup eyes, and I still can't be too sure as to why or how a simple - very simple - music video would or could imprint itself so aggressively on the mind of a two-year-old.
Was it just the effect of a moving power ballad, or, more specifically, the power of music itself on someone who's only been on this planet for a coupla years & some change? Maybe, but the song on its own didn't move me in the way its visual counterpart apparently did.

Here's some historical context for anyone who's not aware:
Following the success of Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in 1984, an American counterpart was formed - USA for Africa - with the intention of writing and recording a similarly-themed charity song to bring money and awareness to the hunger & famine in Africa. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, "We Are the World" was one of the highest charting records of the year. Additionally, there was a videocassette released featuring the performance as well as a lengthy making-of segment, titled We Are the World: The Video Event
If you were alive in '85, it was a hard piece of pop to avoid - especially for a TV kid with cable and a VCR. And while I'm clearly just a product of the culture and a slave to nostalgia, there were details from the video that I can identify as being uniquely attractive to me:

  • The animated globe/USA for Africa logo over the ominous opening notes is, I think, effective to anyone of any age, with or without childhood frame of reference.
  • The science of microphones and why it was necessary for each performer to sing directly into them. Also just the overall aesthetic of them - so much so that my aunt made me one using a circle of cardboard atop some sorta antique broomstick.
  • Cyndi Lauper's so unusual fashions shine through the crowd of her Adult Contemporary peers - as does her performance. I would hang my sister's necklaces over my ears & pretend they were Cyndi's long earrings.
  • And for some reason, I designated Ray Charles as the star of the show and would always get surprised/excited whenever they got to his bit.

The 1980s was the first generation when anyone - especially kids - had the freedom and the benefit of watching something specific at any time, and as many times as they'd want. And while the choices weren't as sprawling as today's streaming services allow, I'd wear out any visual media we had -- and so "We Are the World" worked its way into my rotation. I'd learned the words (as I was still learning words in general), but I also began to mimic the stars: swaying like Ray & grunting like Bruce.
I suppose this is what kids do.

At some point in 1985 my parents took it upon themselves to audio record me as I sang along to the TV. I'm sure some amount of stage fright resulted in not-my-best performance - though I'm sure if I got another crack at it today, I'd get the part.

- Paul




We all knew we couldn't stay away from this subject for long - there're just too many to consider. Case in point: the combined filmographies of Kubrick, Woody Allen, and David Lynch alone are enough for its own series of sexy sets. But we'll try not to be so pre-diddly-ictable and continue to keep it inclusive.

Still though...

Bill's basement bar - Edward Scissorhands
Inside each of these pastel postwar suburban homes is a "man cave" like this - back when they were a bit cooler.
If I ever had a big enough house, I'd certainly set aside a spot to recreate this retro nook (and stay fully stocked in lemonade).

Hallorann's bedroom - The Shining
Never mind the black velvet smut and the big sexy bed - when Dick has to fly halfway across the country and drive up a mountain through a blizzard only to get chopped up into little bits, it makes the room he left behind seem that much cozier and safer.

The vault - The Addams Family
Every room of the house is altogether ooky, but nothing beats the seemingly-endless cathedral of gold coins and precious stones that Scrooge McDuck would sell his nephews for.
Added to that, one understandably needs to get past a secret bookcase and go down a sorta happy-fun slide and ferry across an underground canal to get to it... It all adds to its appeal.

The Flamingo Hotel suite - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The room itself isn't without its shag-carpet charm, but it isn't until the boys do some redecorating that it really comes to a fantastic note. Ignoring the solidified mustard and ankle-deep still water, the psychedelic array of Christmas lights, stuffed animals, and Debbie Reynolds shrine translate into a kinda Ralph Steadman art installation. I attempted to recreate this look for my bedroom as a teenager.

McDonald's - All the President's Men
I'ma just leave this here...

Harry's Apartment - The Conversation
It may be a model of simplicity, but it's still early 1970s simplicity. From the middle-of-the-road furniture and light fixtures to the Woolworth's knickknacks to any other home furnishings acquired by a man attempting to appear 'ordinary' all add up to a standard showroom of a comfortable bachelor lifestyle.

Nintendo Game Player's Hotline - The Wizard
Only a handful of workplaces come to mind, and none of them feature gray office cubicles and headset telephones - unless, of course, you can kick back with Nintendo Power magazine all day & answer questions about Double Dragon and Ninja Gaiden.

The Beatles' home - Help!
You gotta hand it to the set designers: if the fictional '65 Beatles lived in a house together, this is what it'd be - one sprawling living room vaguely divided into four separate cartoonish gimmicks.
Most who've seen the movie usually agree that John's setup with the swivel bookshelves and sunken bed is the sexiest.



Wow! That was close! We can laugh about it now, we're alright!
Cumulatively, y'all got (almost) every frame; had you pooled your answers to the bitter end you'd've gotten that much closer to the finish line.
But if we've learned anything from this round, it's something we've already suspected: not enough of you are well-versed in the cinema of Steven Seagal - that's something we'd like you to work on for next season.

Here are the answers:
The Killing
The Limey
My Cousin Vinny

Green Room
So I Married An Axe Murderer
The Player
Real Genius
Rain Man

Born on the Fourth of July
Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth
The Money Pit
On Deadly Ground
The Terminator

Highest batting averages go to Ethan (with the most right answers) and Luke (whose recognition of Money Pit would've given Ethan a damn-near full house).

Different frames, same game. Don't get scared now.




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