A Nostalgic Look Back: Commander USAs Groooovie Movies
Being an 80s kid was such a memorable time. The innocent gimmicky nature of the 80s, (often imitated but never duplicated) will live on in the memories of those who can look back fondly... I remember collecting Garbage Pail Kids Cards. Had such a huge collection it was ridiculous. And who could forget Mad Balls! And the fun, gimmicky WWF (now WWE) Wrestling. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, The Iron Sheik, all in their prime.
Ah, and the cartoons, 70s reruns of Welcome Back Kotter, and children's programming was great. Such lly pointless innocent buness endeavors of mass commercialism aimed directly at the 80s youths; in an effort to help to divert the melancholia of the times. We had Reagan and Gorbachev squaring off, the end of the Cold War... Financial cris around Europe. A masve Receson here in the states. Reagan stating "Ketchup is a vegetable". The AIDS cris. In fact, it was a lot like today; minus the internet, cell-phones and leaps in technology. And with the exception, and despite all of this, it was fun to be a kid back then.
My father had worked for the government during the Republican administration at the time. It took me until years afterward to understand why we had bologna sandwiches every day and the cheapest Mac & Cheese money could buy, Ramen noodles, generic soda, shopped at Thrift stores and the Salvation Army... None of my parents knew how long we'd have a home. My father went to work in the city each day thinking, 'Today could be the day the IRS is downzed'. And he was right to worry. Management was always cut first. But ade from these worries that I was not privy to until much later, and the cheap food, and the school lunches I brought that contained items no one would ever want to trade for, the 80s was a great time for me.
Part of what made it great was every Saturday on the USA Network, religiously, I'd be down in front of the TV watching cartoons all morning; And then it was time! 1pm would come along, and I'd be awaiting the Commander's (Jim Hendricks) theme muc to pop on, and for the announcement: "Commander USA's Groooovie Movies!"
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Yeah, theres a resemblance lol
It was also explained that bad knees had forced the Commander out of the Superhero buness, which wasn't all that much to hear him tell about it.
"When the Superheroes were dividing up the territory, Superman got Metropolis, and I got Topeka, Kansas," he says. "But heck! Being able to leap tall buildings isn't much in Topeka. I think the tallest building is four stories."
The Commander would come in, hang his trench coat on a moose antler, and address the audience (more than that, as a kid it felt like he was addresng me personally). He'd be surprised at first, like he just came back from a morning of saving cats from tall trees or fixing an old lady's flat tire (whatever minor super heroes with no powers would do), not expecting us to be in his Video Vault; and then he'd jump with a startled variant exclaim of "WHOAAAAAA!! Holy cats! Hey guys, ya snuck up on me again! Commander USA here, Legion of Decency, retired", chomping on his cigar in total Comedian fashion, and introducing us to great lly clascs such as "They Still Call Me Bruce". And "Bloodbath at the House of Death".
The Video Vault was a place I wanted to be at. Filled with all kinds of ridiculous movie props, 5-and-Dime junk. A place of treasures that appealed to kids; a collection of things we'd all hope to have one day. And the idea of growing up and posbly becoming Commander USA was a pleasant thought. I mean this in all ncerity, this man and his show were pure 80s magic. No longer duplicated or imitated. The likes of which we will never see again. I'm glad to have these memories; they will always be fond, yet somehow sad.
An entire list of the movies (1985-1989) Commander USA (Jim Hendricks) introduced is listed Here