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1970s 1980s Blogging Driving Movies Radio Travel

Kings Dominion

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Kings Dominion is a fun seasonal amusement park located between Washington D.C. and Richmond Virginia (much closer to Richmond) right along I-95. The 280-acre park opened on May 03RD 1975 – the same exact date that my little brother was born. Starting in the late-1970s and continuing into the mid-1980s me and my family would visit the park every few summers. We would actually alternate between Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens near Williamsburg Virginia (opened 13 days after Kings Dominion), and Hershey Park in Pennsylvania (opened 116 years ago this weekend).

Kings Dominion is generally open starting in mid-March – weekends only at first, and then daily from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. The park returns to weekends only during the Autumn months. It’s also open during Christmas and New Year’s Week for festive displays and events known as #WinterFest.

Me and my brother always had a lot of fun roaming around the park and riding all of the rides. My parents were there for the shows, shops, and restaurants.

There are still some original rides from the 1975 opening including what used to be the “Rebel Yell” rollercoaster – now known as the “Racer 75”. It rises to a height of 85 feet, and it drops 81 of those 85 feet at a top speed of 56 MPH. That was perhaps the first rollercoaster I ever rode on. It was scary back then, and I wouldn’t ride it today because – well – it’s still scary. (And nowadays I get motion sickness very easily on those types of rides.)

That’s me as a teenager in the early-1980s atop the Eiffel Tower – a one-third replica of the real thing – standing tall at 314 feet. (The observation decks are 40 feet below the top.)

So 26 years ago this week (leading-up to Memorial Day Weekend) was my final visit with my brother to Kings Dominion. My brother won a radio contest on Washington rock station #DC101 – two free tickets to Kings Dominion – where you got to go there as VIPs before the park opened to participate in a “Mission: Impossible” scavenger hunt all throughout the park. (The Tom Cruise movie premiered at the box office that week.) Me and my brother drove down to the park on an unseasonably chilly and drizzly day, and we had lots of fun with the scavenger hunt and the rides on that day.

A lot of fun family memories at Kings Dominion. It’s good to see it still thriving with new generations of families 47 years later.

Next #TravelThursday we’ll visit Chicopee Massachusetts. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
1970s Blogging History Humor Music Television

Match Game ’74

Earlier this year I stumbled across Match Game reruns on Game Show Network. I wondered why I wasn’t recording them. (GSN airs 2 episodes back-to-back at 1:00 and 1:30 ET weekday afternoons.) It’s perhaps my favorite game show of all-time – hosted by my favorite game show host of all-time – Gene Rayburn !

I remember my Dad watching it in the afternoon after I got home from school. He’d be laughing hysterically at times. Of course I was 7 and 8 and 9, so I didn’t understand the fast-paced and sometimes risqué humor. I think I was mostly interested in hearing the quirky yet repetitive theme music that played all throughout each show.

I picked-up on the reruns of Match Game several years later as a teenager in the early-1980s. “The Match Game / Hollywood Squares Hour” in 1983 and 1984 on NBC was a favorite to watch at home after school.

I’ve watched most of the reincarnations of Match Game over the years. I even like the current ABC prime-time version with Alec Baldwin as host. But nothing comes close to the original star-studded big-money Match Game on CBS in the 1970s. (Although that run was actually a remake of a much lamer and tamer 1960s version.)

Over the past several months I’ve watched a majority of the episodes that aired sequentially during the latter-half of 1976 as “Match Game ’76”. I say a majority of them because GSN actually skipped-over a bunch of them – probably because they included content that is considered too politically incorrect or insensitive for 2021 television viewers. (What was OK 45 years ago is no longer OK today.) I was actually disappointed when GSN recently “started over” and went back to episodes from the Summer of 1974 as “Match Game ’74” instead of continuing forward into 1977. But as it turns out those earlier episodes seem a bit fresher and funnier than those of 2 years later. (The show was still fairly new in 1974, whereas by late-1976 it was starting to become a bit stale.)

I’ll keep watching these old Match Game reruns. They make me laugh more than pretty much everything else on TV today. It’s fun to look-in at America at a simpler more innocent time in our history. I would even say that it was a friendlier time in our history – back when we could actually joke and laugh with each other without fear of offending or retaliating.

It’s the start of a fresh new weekend here on my blog. Be sure to check-out #TravelThursday tomorrow, as I continue to tell you all about my [blank] !

All rights reserved (c) 2021 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Categories
1970s Blogging Music Radio

My Top 5 Hits RETRO – 1976

Every Friday I post the Top 5 of one of my classic hit music charts based on personal preference and influenced by radio airplay from either 15, 25, 30, or 35 years ago this weekend (rotating each week).

It’s the 5TH Friday of the month, so it’s a special, as I go back 45 years ago. Here it is – for the week ending Sunday October 31ST 1976:

  1. “If You Leave Me Now” – Chicago
  2. “Disco Duck” – Rick Dees & His Cast Of Idiots
  3. “Rock’n Me” – Steve Miller Band
  4. “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald” – Gordon Lightfoot
  5. “A Fifth Of Beethoven” – Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band

There it is – the surprise # 1 smash on the Billboard Hot 100 from 45 years ago. It spent a month at # 2 after its single week at # 1. It was also a Top 10 smash all across Europe and “down-under” in Australia and New Zealand.

When I was a teenager during the early-1980s I wanted to be a Top 40 deejay when I grew up. I wanted to be like Casey Kasem and Rick Dees, or even Dick Clark. I also wanted to be a Meteorologist. Then I figured that I could be a radio deejay who gave weather updates 3 or 4 times per hour. Neither one of those childhood dreams came true; although, as a blogger here I am in the weekly hit music chart business, and I occasionally write about the weather. So there’s that. #LivingTheDream

Next Friday on RETRO I’ll go back 15 years ago to November 2006.

It’s halftime my friends. I’ll be back on Sunday and Monday with 2 more blog posts for this weekend. Enjoy your Saturday. Thanks for going RETRO with me !

All rights reserved (c) 2021 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Categories
1970s Blogging Church Driving History Home Life Photography Scripture Travel

Lanham Maryland

#TravelThursday continues, and in this edition we visit the unincorporated Washington D.C. suburb of Lanham Maryland – my childhood home from 1975 to 1980. It was my favorite childhood home. The biggest mistake that was made by my Dad back then was when we moved away to Northern Virginia in November 1980. It changed my life forever. I lost all of my friends. My run with Scouting ended. My education suffered in that I entered a much tougher school system than the one I grew up with. I probably would not have joined the military 4 years later if we had stayed put. I probably would have gone to college (likely my Dad’s alma mater – the University Of Maryland). I may have embarked in a career in Meteorology or Radio Broadcasting. But we moved away in 1980, and my life took a different turn.

Via Redfin I recently viewed 35 photos of the house that me and my family lived in 41 to 46 years ago. (I love modern technology.) It was quite eerie yet fascinating to look inside and outside of that house – all modernized all of these years later. It looked gorgeous. It looked like it went through a massive HGTV makeover. When I saw my old bedroom I reminisced about all of the memories in that room (good and bad) as a 7 to 13-year-old. (I’m 54 now.) The backyard still has the original railroad ties landscaping done on it by my Dad back then. We bought the home brand new just after construction was done on it early-on in 1975. I think we paid about $59,000 for it. (It sold for $450,000 a year ago. Its current Redfin estimate is $534,153.)

Our house was located in a neighborhood right behind our previous apartment complex neighborhood of 1969 to 1972 (about a half-mile away). My Grandmom and Granddad lived exactly a mile away. My Aunt, Uncle, and many Cousins lived a mile-and-a-half away. My elementary school (Kindergarten and 3RD through 6TH grades) was imbedded within my neighborhood. I could literally walk up my street, cut-through a yard, climb the fence, and be on school grounds within a few minutes.

6 summers ago me and my family returned to Lanham Maryland as part of a vacation to drive-through our old neighborhoods. Here’s our family Catholic church from the early-to-mid-1970s. It’s where I attended 1ST and 2ND grades from 1973 to 1975. It’s where I observed my First Communion on February 15TH 1975.

Join me next #TravelThursday as we visit another location on the face of this earth.

They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. You can go to bed without fear. You will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. (Proverbs 3:23-26 NLT)

All rights reserved (c) 2021 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries