11 Nickelodeon Shows From the '80s

YouTube
YouTube

Plenty of former Nickelodeon viewers think of the network as the home of Clarissa Explains It All, Rugrats, You Can't Do That on Television, and SpongeBob SquarePants. Here are 11 shows from the '80s that may not be remembered quite as fondly, but are still worth another look.

1. Out of Control

The network’s first original live-action series has another big distinction to its name—it was the first home of Dave Coulier’s “Cut...it...out!” catchphrase. A sketch comedy show that skewed a bit older, Out of Control came complete with recurring characters, wacky skits, and bits like “Let’s Eat,” a segment that saw Coulier hitting various restaurants that claimed to have “the world’s best” of a certain item. The show ran for only one season, from October 1984 to May 1985.

2. Eureeka’s Castle

Co-created and written by popular Goosebumps author R.L. Stine, Eurkeea’s Castle was a charming, family-friendly outing that relied on puppets and wizardry to present some pretty clever characters and situations. Set in a wind-up castle that doubles as a music box (that's also owned by a lovable giant), Eureeka’s Castle focused on wizard-in-training Eureeka and her pack of wacky friends, most notably the tail-challenged dragon Magellan. The show first debuted in 1989 and ultimately carried on for six full seasons.

3. Adventures of the Little Koala

If there’s one big takeaway from the cartoon series The Adventures of the Little Koala, it’s that the sleepy marsupials go nutty for eucalyptus leaves. But the Japanese production was all about multiculturalism—both in execution and release—as it followed the eponymous little koala, Roo-bear, and his many animal and human friends. It was translated and dubbed into other languages, including Greek, Italian, and French. The English-language version first aired on Nick in October of 1984, running 52 episodes until March of the next year.

4. Count Duckula

This British show focused on, you guessed it, an animated duck version of Count Dracula. Originally spun-off from the Nick series Danger Mouse, the dastardly duck-centric cartoon debuted on the network in September 1988, eventually running on the channel for just one season (though 65 episodes were made). The series was set in Transylvania and primarily used bird versions of classic characters—Doctor Von Goosewing filled in for Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, for example—to tell kid-friendly versions of frightful tales.

5. Don’t Just Sit There

The early years of original Nick programming were punctuated with kid adaptions of adult formats, like the talk show Don’t Just Sit There, which was a mix of chat and comedy. The show was hosted by various kids and teens over its three-season run, most notably Will Friedle, who went on to star in the classic series Boy Meets World. The show boasted plenty of cool guests—from William Shatner to New Kids on the Block—along with its own late night TV-style house band, Out of Order.

6. Standby: Lights, Camera, Action!

Nick has long tried to make educational fare fun and relevant, and there’s no greater example of that than Standby: Lights, Camera, Action!, a series that went behind the scenes to show its younger viewers what it takes to make a movie. It’s a cool idea on its own, but you know what made it even better? It was hosted by Leonard Nimoy. Spock himself took kids behind the camera for films like Return of the Jedi, The Dark Crystal, Octopussy, and yes, even Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

7. Kids' Court

A frightening idea to parents during any era, Kids' Court sought to settle the grievances of viewers by way of mailed-in issues, on-camera child representation, and a scream-o-meter to determine winners. Very true to real-life court! The audience got to choose sentences to mete out to the bad guys, all but guaranteeing a wild and raucous time for everyone. While its grasp on the legal system was loose, the show tried to inject some education during commercial breaks, when it would present quiz questions about the actual legal way to do things. The show aired briefly from 1988 to 1989.

8. PopClips

How progressive is Nickelodeon? PopClips is generally viewed as the direct predecessor of a little something called MTV. Created by former Monkee Mike Nesmith, the '80s-era program was the first music video-centric show, featuring clips from bands like The Pretenders, Huey Lewis and the News, The Police, and The Rolling Stones. The show even had VeeJays. PopClips only aired for a bit—from late 1980 to early 1981—but its influence is felt even now.

9. Think Fast!

Nick has long loved game shows (perhaps even more than talk shows), and the energetic Think Fast! was one of their first. Airing between 1989 and 1991, the show combined some classic tropes—two teams of two, buzzing in, playing for money—with some interesting new twists, including an event that echoed the repetition of the classic Simon toy, a misdirection game that involved a random clown, and the ever-weird “Leaning Tower of Stuff” (that’s the one where you need to craft a leaning tower of, uh, stuff).

10. Turkey Television

This Canadian sketch comedy show was centered around an animated turkey named Thurman T. Turkey, who specialized in repackaging TV shows from around the world. For example, it featured a Dr. Joyce Brothers parody. Weird Al Yankovic showed most of his videos on the series. Like the show's “Hams Across America” sketch, it was all very strange and very funny. Sadly, it lasted just one season (from 1985 to 1986).

11. Hey, Dude

Sure, this may be a bit of cheat—who can forget Hey, Dude?—but you might not realize the show actually started in the '80s, not in the heady days of the '90s. The dude ranch-set teen sitcom made its debut on the network on July 14, 1989, and continued on for five seasons. The series followed the hijinks of the Bar None Dude Ranch's charming teen staff. Fans will be happy to know that Hey, Dude still pops up on TeenNick from time to time.

15 Convenient Products That Are Perfect for Summer

First Colonial/Lunatec/Safe Touch
First Colonial/Lunatec/Safe Touch

The Fourth of July is the epitome of summer—and after several months spent indoors, you need some outdoor fun more than anything. Check out these 15 summer must-haves while they’re on sale and save an extra 15 percent when you spend $50 or more with the code JULYFOURTH15.

1. CARSULE Pop-Up Cabin for Your Car; $300 (20 percent off)

Carsule tent from Mogics.
Mogics

This tent connects to your hatchback car like a tailgate mobile living room. The installation takes just a few minutes and the entire thing stands 6.5 feet tall so you can enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of your car.

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2. Mosquito Killer Lamp; $30 (25 percent off)

Mosquito-killing lamp.
Kinkoo

If you just so happen to be one of those unlucky souls who attracts a suspicious amount of mosquitos the second you step outside, you need this repellent lamp to help keep your arms and legs bite-free. It uses a non-toxic combination of LED lights, air turbulence, and other methods to keep the pests at bay.

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3. Super Shield Mosquito Repellent Electronic Watch Band; $17 (57 percent off)

Mosquito repeller watch.
Safe Touch

While a lamp is a great non-toxic solution for keeping bugs at bay, active individuals need a bug repellent that can keep up with their lifestyle. This wrist wearable keeps you safe from mosquitoes anywhere by using ultrasonic sounds to drive them away.

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4. ZeroDark 3-Piece Tactical Set: Flashlight, Lantern, and Headlamp; $20 (66 percent off)

Aduro flashlight set.
Audro

If you want your summer to be lit, this set will do the trick. All puns aside, this trio of LED brightness is perfect for camping fun and backyard parties, or it can be stored in the car for emergencies.

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5. Outdoor Collapsible Cooler and Camp Table Set; $64 (27 percent off)

First Colonial cooler.
First Colonial

Cookouts are easy with this cooler and table set that chills your drink until you're ready to pop it into one of the four convenient cupholders. Bring this set camping or out by the pool for convenience anywhere.

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6. Trident: Underwater Scooter; $550 (21 percent off)

Trident underwater scooter.
Geneinno

If you’ve ever dreamed of better mobility while exploring the water, you’re not alone. The Trident underwater scooter, which raised over $82,000 on Indiegogo, can propel you through the water at up to nearly 6 feet per second, which isn't that far off from how fast Michael Phelps swam in his prime. The battery on it will last 45 minutes, allowing you to traverse with ease.

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7. Go Portable Solar Oven; $119 (14 percent off)

GoSun solar grill.
GoSun

Bake, roast, steam, or broil anywhere you bring this portable oven. Measuring in at just over a foot long and weighing only two pounds, the oven will work in most daytime weather conditions and can hold around 13 ounces of food.

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8. 3-in-1 Waterproof Bug Zapper Lantern; $25 (50 percent off)

3P Experts bug zapper.
3P Experts

Mosquitoes tend to be a big problem at night, partly because it's hard to swat in the dark. This lantern will light the area and zap mosquitos from nipping at you in the process.

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9. Urban E-Skateboard: Basic Version (Orange); $120 (73 percent off)

Urban Rover E-Skateboard
Urban Rover

This e-skateboard is perfect for getting around during the summer. You'll catch a breeze while you’re cruising on the battery-powered platform and won’t break a sweat when you pop the compact board in your bag.

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Headlamp from One80Light
One80Light

Camping, car troubles, and sports all pose a problem at night. This LED headlight will light up your surroundings across a 180-degree radius for prime visibility, meaning your outdoor activities won't have to stop when the sun sets.

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Bladeless fan
Whirlwind

This portable fan comes in a powerful handheld size so you can keep cool while on the move. Unlike other portable fans, this one has a sleek, bladeless design and features three different speeds.

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12. Bladeless Personal Fan; $22 (63 percent off)

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This bladeless fan won't just keep you cool while you work on your laptop—it also has a built-in rechargable battery that you can use to charge your phone.

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13. MOGICS Coconut: Portable Waterproof Light; $37 (24 percent off)

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This portable light is designed to adapt to your lighting preference. It self-inflates in a few seconds and can bounce, get wet, and set the mood.

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10 Facts About The Blue Lagoon On Its 40th Anniversary

Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields star in The Blue Lagoon (1980).
Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields star in The Blue Lagoon (1980).
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Brooke Shields was just 14 years old when she filmed The Blue Lagoon, the infamously sexy and slightly salacious island-set romance that capitalized on burgeoning hormones in a big way. The film was shocking when it debuted on July 5, 1980—but even 40 years later, it can still make jaws drop. Here’s a look at some of its more compelling tidbits, complete with undiscovered iguanas and a nifty trick to cover up nudity.

1. The Blue Lagoon is based on a trilogy of books by Henry De Vere Stacpoole.

Although the film closely follows the events of the first book in Henry De Vere Stacpoole’s series, also called The Blue Lagoon, the film’s sequel (1991’s Return to the Blue Lagoon) breaks with the storyline presented in the 1920s-era trilogy to essentially re-tell the original story (read: more tanned teens falling in love on a tropical island). Stacpoole’s books were far more concerned with the culture of the South Seas population, particularly as it was being further influenced by the arrival of European cultures.

2. The Blue Lagoon was adapted into a film twice before.

In 1923, director W. Bowden crafted a silent version of the story. More than a quarter-century later, British filmmaker Frank Launder made a very well-received version for the big screen in 1949, starring Jean Simmons and Donald Houston. The film was immensely popular, becoming the seventh-highest grossing domestic film at the U.K. box office that year.

3. The Blue Lagoon's costume team came up with a clever trick to keep Brooke Shields covered up.

Brooke Shields was just 14 years old when she filmed The Blue Lagoon, which led to some challenges for the production team, especially as Shields’s Emmeline is frequently topless. So the costume designers hatched an ingenious (and, really, just kind of obvious) way to keep her covered up at all times: they glued her long-haired wig to her body.

4. Brooke Shields’s age was an issue for a long time.

Even after The Blue Lagoon was long wrapped, completed, and released into theaters, issues related to Shields’s age at the time of filming still lingered. Years later, Shields testified before a U.S. Congressional inquiry that body doubles—of legal age—were used throughout filming.

5. The Blue Lagoon was nominated for an Oscar.

Cinematographer Néstor Almendros was nominated for his work on The Blue Lagoon. And while he lost out to Geoffrey Unsworth and Ghislain Cloquet for Tess, he already had one Oscar at home for his contributions to Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978). The skilled DP, who passed away in 1992, was also nominated for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Sophie’s Choice (1982).

6. A new species of iguana was discovered when it appeared in The Blue Lagoon.

Parts of the film were lensed on a private island that is part of Fiji, one of the habitats of the now-critically endangered Fiji crested iguana. The iguana appeared throughout the film, and when herpetologist John Gibbons caught an early screening of the feature, he realized that the animal that kept popping up on the big screen wasn't a familiar one. So he traveled to Fiji (specifically, to the island of Nanuya Levu), where he discovered the Fiji crested iguana, an entirely new Fijian native.

7. The Blue Lagoon won a Razzie.

Despite its stellar source material and Oscar-nominated camerawork, The Blue Lagoon wasn’t beloved by everyone: The Razzies foisted a Worst Actress award on Shields. The actress won (lost? hard to tell?) over an extremely mixed bag of other nominees that somehow also included Shelley Duvall for The Shining. Come on, Razzies.

8. The Blue Lagoon director Randal Kleiser hatched a plan to get his stars to like each other.

Because the chemistry between the two leads was vital to the success of The Blue Lagoon, director Randal Kleiser (who also directed Grease) came up with the idea to get star Christopher Atkins feeling a little lovestruck with Shields by putting a picture of the young starlet over Atkins’s bed. Staring at Shields every night apparently did rouse some feelings in Atkins; the duo had a brief romance while filming. "Brooke and I had a little bit of a romantic, innocent sort of romance in the very beginning of the film," Atkins told HuffPost. “It was very nice—we were very, very close friends."

9. Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins's affection didn’t last for long.

Despite their early attachment, Shields and Atkins soon began bickering nonstop. “Brooke got tired of me,” Atkins told People in 1980. “She thought I took acting too seriously. I was always trying to get into a mood while she would be skipping off to joke with the crew.” Still, Kleiser even capitalized on that, using the tension to fuel the more frustrated scenes, lensing the tough stuff while his leads were tussling.

10. The Blue Lagoon's film shoot basically took place on a desert island.

Kleiser was desperate to capture authenticity for the film, going so far as to live like his characters while making it. "To shoot this kind of story, I wanted to get as close to nature as possible and have our crew live almost like the characters," Kleiser said. "We found an island in Fiji that had no roads, water, or electricity, but beautiful beaches. We built a village of tents for the crew to live in and had a small ship anchored in the lagoon for our camera equipment and supplies. This filming approach was quite unusual, but it just seemed right for this project."

This story has been updated for 2020.