Why: While the involvement of Sam Mendes and a successful rebooting means it’s become ultra-hip to watch James Bond again, I’ve been watching James Bond movies since I was a kid with my father, and I have the same affinity for Moonraker as I do Skyfall. Skyfall, for instance, has Javier Bardem as the villainous Silver. But Moonraker has weird unitards and a Noah’s Ark-style plan to create a new race of super-people in space. Okay, not really the same affinity. But you get it. I like it all. Even the corny Roger-Moore-y, seventies-y stuff.
How it manifested: I would ride my bicycle around the neighborhood with a backpack full of kite string, disguises, a plastic gun, a pencil and paper and a slinky. These were my superspy accoutrements should I ever need them. I rarely — okay, never — did.
Still a fan? Yep. And going strong. Just watched The Spy Who Loved Me on Saturday, in fact.
Why: Who didn’t love Indiana Jones? He was cool, funny, punched people, shot Nazis, climbed underneath trucks and escaped scary cave traps. Along with James Bond, Indiana Jones is one of my two favorite screen icons in history. I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark at a drive-in theater when I was young and it blew my mind. I still feel that way whenever I watch it. That has never gone away.
How it manifested: As a child, I’d sometimes pretend to be Indiana Jones with a jump-rope whip and an old cowboy hat that I thought looked like his fedora. I looked like the most low-budget Indiana Jones ever. But I thought I looked exactly like Harrison Ford.
Still a fan? Of course I’m still a fan, although Kingdom of the Crystal Skull rocked my faith a little. I choose to just ignore it, and you should too.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Why: I was really into ninjas, as most young children were. Plus, the Ninja Turtles liked pizza, and I liked pizza also. My friends and I would even go home from school at night, make paper throwing stars and cardboard-and-yarn nunchucks and bring them back for recess the next day. We were the only ninjas foiled by a light rain.
Still a fan? No. I outgrew the Ninja Turtles, and have no interest even in seeing the coming installment. I still think ninjas are awesome, though.
Why: A short-lived fad of toys in the eighties, M.A.S.K. stood for “Mobile Armored Strike Kommand” and featured a series of heroes who all drove vehicles of one type which changed into vehicles of another type. For instance, leader Matt Trakker drove Thunderhawk, which was a camaro that turned into an airplane. Dusty Hayes drove a jeep that turned into a boat and Brad Turner drove Condor, a motorcycle that turned into an airplane. To add more literalism to the acronym, they all also wore masks that gave them special powers. What’s not to love?
How it manifested: For the year that everyone loved M.A.S.K., I wouldn’t shut up about it, ever. I asked for M.A.S.K. toys for my birthday, for Christmas, for Easter. Clearly the idea of a vehicle being both a Corvette and a submarine was amazing; never mind that these toys were nearly impossible to play with because they weren’t made to be submerged in water.
Still a fan? No. I haven’t thought about M.A.S.K. again until, seriously, right this second. My fandom lasted about a year, and I’m sure my parents were thrilled that they had to buy a bunch of toys for that year.
Why: If you have to ask why Die Hard is one of the greatest things in the history of mankind, this conversation is over.
How it manifested: In sixth grade I got a neon green t-shirt made in Myrtle Beach with iron-on letters that read NOW I HAVE A MACHINE GUN HO-HO-HO. I cannot even imagine what would happen to a child who wore that to school in 2014. I also consistently still add my name to restaurant wait lists as “John McClane.”
Still a fan? Seriously? I still watch Die Hard about seven times a year. Why would you not?
Why: I guess that I felt like being a Bob Marley fan made me appear worldly and hip. In fact, it just made me look like the fifteen-billionth white high school freshman who felt like being a Bob Marley fan made me appear worldly and hip.
How it manifested: I bought all his cassettes at Cut Corner in Lexington. I even owned a Ziggy Marley album, although admittedly that was only because I liked the song “Give a Little Love” from the soundtrack of the 1990 Charlie Sheen/Emilio Estevez film Men at Work.
Still a fan? I guess so. Yes? Though at this point I feel like I’ve reached my limit of hearing Bob Marley music for my entire lifetime. JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE ON A BEACH DOESN’T MEAN ANYONE NEEDS TO PLAY JAMMIN’.
Why: Because — like VHS and Beta, HD or Blu-Ray, Laserdisc or DVD — one of the two toy lines about robots turning into cars, either Gobots or Transformers was going to be the best one, and I put my money in the Gobots camp because I thought it would come out on top. But seriously, look at that damn thing. It’s awful. Why would I think that’s better than Optimus Prime?
How it manifested: About twenty-five Gobots, each having lost an arm because every Gobot eventually lost one arm.
Still a fan? No. Thirty years later, the Transformers are on their fourth special-effects-extravaganza feature film and Bumblebee is a household name in every home around the world. The names “Dumper” and “Cop-Tur”? No.