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My Christmas 1982

As you know, I can't get enough 80s nostalgia already, but Christmas is an especially nostalgic time for me. Here I share a personal photo snapshot that takes me back to Christmas of 1982...

Old School Christmas 1982


Before we go any further, please check out the pajamas! Yes, I am not ashamed to say those are E.T. pajamas I am wearing. The film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial had been released in theaters in June of 1982 and became a pop culture phenomenon. The movie became the biggest blockbuster to date remaining the top box office grossing movie for six straight weeks and holding either the #1 or #2 spot until January. It holds the honor of being the highest grossing film of the entire 80s decade. They put E.T. on everything from books, to bikes, to cereal boxes, to dolls, to lunch boxes (had one of those, too), to an Atari video game , to pajamas and so much more. So seeing those PJs takes me right back to 1982.Panasonic RX-1230

Also in this picture, you can see the present that I had just unwrapped... the Panasonic RX-1230 AM FM Stereo Cassette Player/Recorder! Oh yes, my very first and very own radio with cassette player/recorder. Up to this point, I had a transistor radio and my parent's stereo. We had a separate cassette player/recorder, but my only way to record songs on the radio was to hold the cassette recorder up to the speaker which, needless to say, did not provide the highest quality of recordings. Now I could record my favorite songs right off of the radio.

Anybody who had these old cassette recorders will remember the process of simultaneously pressing the RECORD with the PLAY button Record & Playat the precise moment you wanted the recording to start. This would often include waiting for a commercial to end or a long-winded radio DJ to stop talking over the beginning of a song. It brought joy and rapture any time you could get a clean radio recording of a favorite single with as little talking as possible at the beginning or end of the song. That brings me to Casey Kasem and his "American Top 40" radio show.

"American Top 40" was heard in the fifty states and around the world every week on great radio stations like the one I was listening to on my Panasonic RX-1230. Casey KasemI would sit poised with a finger on the record button and play button listening to Casey introduce each of that week's Top 40 pop singles (as determined by Billboard magazine) deciding if I needed to record it or not. I would also often handwrite each week's list in a spiral notebook (which I wish I still had) for reference. Casey would mix in some trivia, anecdotes and, of course, the long-distance dedication which all added to the overall experience. Casey Kasem (who, as an awesome side-note, additionally provided the voices of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo and Robin on Super Friends) became synonymous with the radio countdown. Though he retired from the countdowns back in 2009 and I hadn't listened to one in many years, after his sad passing back in June of this year, I found myself fondly remembering Casey Kasem and his Top 40 countdowns. Especially in the early 80s, much of my musical tastes were influenced by listening to Casey count down the hits. I would get multiple upgrades to my stereo equipment over the years, but what awesome memories I still have of listening to Casey Kasem on my first Panasonic. "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

Taping my favorite songs off of the radio would lead to making my first mix tapes. I consider myself a master of the lost art of the mix tape, but that is a topic for a different day. Cassette TapesYou could never have enough blank cassette tapes ready to record on. I can still remember the smell when you crack open the wrapper on a brand new blank cassette tape. Memorex. Maxell. Sony. TDK. Hitachi. Scotch. JVC. Tightening them up with a pencil. Writing the song list in such tiny print on the inside of the cover. Choosing each song and its order with care and purpose. Almost nothing beats an awesome mix tape. It all really started for me after I received that Panasonic RX-1230 for Christmas in 1982.My Prince 1999 cassette

The extent of my music collection prior to that included mostly 45 rpm records, but now, in addition to recording songs off of the radio, I was able to buy some real music of my own. My very first cassette I chose to start my collection was 1999 by Prince. I am proud to say that I still have this original cassette (pictured here) though I seem to have lost the case over the years. Prince's 1999 became his breakthrough album after being released in October of 1982. If my memory is correct, my Mom bought 1999 for me shortly after Christmas that year, probably in January of 1983. I listened to the first three tracks on side 1 of this cassette countless times partly because it was my only cassette for a while and mostly because I loved those songs. The album's title track "1999" was first, followed by one of my all-time favorites "Little Red Corvette", then followed by the quirky "Delirious" all of which would reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. I just tried it out to see if it still played and I am surprised it still works and wasn't worn out from over-use. As I hold this 32-year-old cassette in my hand right now, I can't help but be flooded with memories of my Panasonic RX-1230, my very first AM FM Cassette Player/Recorder, and Christmas of 1982.

I can't thank them enough because my parents gave my brother and me a wonderful Christmas each and every year. This included much of what we put in our letters to Santa and so many warm memories. I decided to share the picture above and this one of many special recollections. The E.T. pajamas. My first radio/cassette recorder. Casey Kasem. Prince's 1999. Christmas joy. All of that from this one snapshot from 1982. I thought nothing could be better than being a kid opening presents on Christmas morning, but I have learned that it is only exceeded by watching your own children open presents on Christmas morning. All the best to you this Christmas season and hope you are all creating awesome holiday memories like I have from the 80s and every other decade of my life.

That wraps up this special holiday article. I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. You can read much more 80s awesomeness (including over 100 exclusive interviews) at the Kickin' it Old School blog (http://OldSchool.tblog.com). Please stop by to like our Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/KickinItOldSchool80s and follow us on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/OldSchool80s .

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OldSchool80s Posted on Dec 26, 2017 at 08:26 PM

@JOscarJr Glad you enjoyed and thank you so much for reading

JOscarJr Posted on Dec 20, 2017 at 08:15 PM

These are great memories, and you helped stir some of my own as well. I have discovered that "American Top 40 - The 80s" is available on platforms like TuneIn and iHeartRadio, so I go back in time quite frequently while listening to the old countdowns. Great stuff!

Vaporman87 Posted on Apr 05, 2015 at 12:06 AM

@Retro King: Do you mean to say that you recorded YOURSELF performing broadcasts, or you simply recorded actual radio broadcasts? If it's the former, then I am in the same boat. I still have several cassette tapes with my friends and I acting out our "broadcasts". Great stuff.

Retro King of the Land Posted on Apr 04, 2015 at 06:41 PM

I had that same radio! I used to tape "radio broadcast' late into the night with that.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 22, 2014 at 04:11 PM

@OldSchool - I'm not sure if I ever had a pair of ET pajamas, but I do know I owned an ET t-shirt, because I'm wearing it on my "ET Birthday". That was the birthday my mom had somebody make me an ET cake, which I have described in another article comment section. Basically, it was a two foot tall ET made of cake. And it tasted awful.

OldSchool80s Posted on Dec 22, 2014 at 02:36 PM

I thought the pajamas would get more comments.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 16, 2014 at 10:11 PM

While on the subject, there is a great image collection of cassette tapes located here. I tried contacting the owner to see if he'd be willing to lend out his image collection to us, so we could have it displayed here, but never received a reply.

SockofFleagulls Posted on Dec 16, 2014 at 09:11 PM

I got my first mini boombox a little later in the decade, but I remember trying to record songs off the radio and when high speed dubbing was THE feature to have on your boombox or stereo. Thanks for the memories!

BarryBgb Posted on Dec 16, 2014 at 07:01 PM

This was great. I used to record stuff all the time too. I had so many tapes (close to 100) and it was an obsession. I had all of them too until this past year when I was finally able to let a few boxes go. What can I say? More space was needed. It was with a heavy heart, but I had to. Those were good times.

E.T. is as magical now as it was then. Still gives goosebumps. I was 3/4 around the time, but I remember seeing it on the big screen. I had the lunchbox and a plastic mug that came with Reeses Pieces. Those were the days.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 15, 2014 at 11:07 PM

Yeah, I actually transferred quite a few over to CD's, but having them on a memory card of some kind would also be a good idea.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Dec 15, 2014 at 10:58 PM

@Vaporman87 I might just take you up on that. It's about time to transfer those recording before the tapes disintegrate anyway.

OldSchool80s Posted on Dec 15, 2014 at 04:39 PM

Thank you for reading, enjoying and commenting!

My parents still have and listen to a Christmas mix tape I made for them way back then which includes my intros and commentary in between songs. A little embarrassing, but also great memories! I think your kids will definitely enjoy discovering your tapes.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 15, 2014 at 04:04 PM

Perhaps we should exchange audio files of our "ramblings" for laughs. :D We may be the only people (aside from our families) to appreciate such things... ever. LOL

Hoju Koolander Posted on Dec 15, 2014 at 03:57 PM

Being born in '82 I missed the initial E.T. phenomenon, but I did somehow end up with a stuffed animal that had a leather like texture to simulate his alien skin. Such a weird choice for a "cuddly" toy.

Right there with you on recording to tape! I personally commandeered every cassette recording device in my house to record old-timey radio dramas, morning drive comedy shows and NPR style interview segments. For Christmas a few years ago my sister got me a brand new tape recorder and some blank tapes to pay tribute to my old hobby. To echo Vaporman87, I can only hope my kids care enough to listen to my childhood ramblings. I will look forward to their reviews.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 14, 2014 at 11:45 PM

Ahh, man. I share your joy of reminiscing about the use of the record function of cassette recorders/players of our day. Only, where you were delighting in capturing your favorite songs of the day, I was using mine to preserve, for all time, my ability to pretend to be a DJ/Radio Talk Show Host/Sportscaster... along with some buddies of mine. I have probably 40 cassettes containing various mixes of those pretending sessions. Some were actually funny, most were only funny to me and the people I recorded them with. Though, something tells me they will be found humorous again someday when my kids find them and start listening to dad acting a fool in his youth.

E.T. was huge for sure. My mom even had somebody she knew make an E.T. cake for me. But this was not a sheet cake with E.T. painted on with icing. It was a cake IN THE SHAPE of E.T.! Probably about 2 feet high. It tasted... awful. But man... it was cool to look at.

Thanks for sharing this with us OldSchool. It's good to read something from you again.

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