Tuesday, June 23

The Debunker: Did Deep Throat Tell Woodward and Bernstein to "Follow the Money"?

by Ken Jennings

The most beloved show in television history about daytime drinking, Mad Men, just wrapped up its eight-year run, with Don Draper and his ad-pitching peers marching boldly into the 1970s. For past Mad Men seasons, Ken Jennings of Jeopardy! fame has helped us debunk some persistent myths from the 1950s and the 1960s so we've asked him to keep on truckin' and do us a solid by debunking some "Me Decade" misinformation as well. It turns out that a lot of what we think we know about the seventies is pretty "far out."

The Debunker: Did Deep Throat Tell Woodward and Bernstein to "Follow the Money"?

Aside from Richard Nixon's immortal declaration "I am not a crook," it's probably the most famous quote of the Watergate era. Picture the scene: Bob Woodward in a darkened parking garage, a broken reporter, all his Watergate leads having turned out to be dead ends. There stands his ace in the hole, a highly placed administration source he calls "Deep Throat." "Follow the money!" urges Deep Throat. Woodward and Bernstein begin tracing donations to Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign, and break the story wide open. The three-word phrase has become a watchword of other investigations, both real and fictional, ever since.

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Tuesday, June 16

The Debunker: Who Screams During the Instrumental Break in "Love Rollercoaster"?

by Ken Jennings

The most beloved show in television history about daytime drinking, Mad Men, just wrapped up its eight-year run, with Don Draper and his ad-pitching peers marching boldly into the 1970s. For past Mad Men seasons, Ken Jennings of Jeopardy! fame has helped us debunk some persistent myths from the 1950s and the 1960s so we've asked him to keep on truckin' and do us a solid by debunking some "Me Decade" misinformation as well. It turns out that a lot of what we think we know about the seventies is pretty "far out."

The Debunker: Who Screams During the Instrumental Break in "Love Rollercoaster"?

"Rollercoaster! Of love!" It's one of the most famous choruses of the early disco era, and one of the signature hits of the Ohio Players, the Dayton-based funk band recently voted as founding members of the R&B Music Hall of Fame. The song was released on their 1975 album Honey and quickly became a million seller.

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Tuesday, June 09

The Debunker: Was Pong the First Video Game?

by Ken Jennings

The most beloved show in television history about daytime drinking, Mad Men, just wrapped up its eight-year run, with Don Draper and his ad-pitching peers marching boldly into the 1970s. For past Mad Men seasons, Ken Jennings of Jeopardy! fame has helped us debunk some persistent myths from the 1950s and the 1960s so we've asked him to keep on truckin' and do us a solid by debunking some "Me Decade" misinformation as well. It turns out that a lot of what we think we know about the seventies is pretty "far out."

The Debunker: Was Pong the First Video Game?

In 1972, an Atari engineer named Allan Alcorn soldered a black-and-white Hitachi TV and some simple circuits into a wooden cabinet and placed the device in a local tavern in Sunnyvale, California. On the TV, patrons who put in a quarter could play an exceedingly simple tennis-like electronic game that Atari called Pong. The game was such a hit that technical problems hit almost immediately: within days, the coin mechanism was overflowing with coins. By the end of the decade, Atari wound up shipping 19,000 Pong games to arcades worldwide, and sold 150,000 home versions during Christmas 1975 alone. The video game industry was born.

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Tuesday, June 02

The Debunker: Did the Jonestown Cultists Drink the Kool-Aid?

by Ken Jennings

The most beloved show in television history about daytime drinking, Mad Men, just wrapped up its eight-year run, with Don Draper and his ad-pitching peers marching boldly into the 1970s. For past Mad Men seasons, Ken Jennings of Jeopardy! fame has helped us debunk some persistent myths from the 1950s and the 1960s so we've asked him to keep on truckin' and do us a solid by debunking some "Me Decade" misinformation as well. It turns out that a lot of what we think we know about the seventies is pretty "far out."

The Debunker: Did the Jonestown Cultists Drink the Kool-Aid?

Comedian Louis C.K. does a joke about how much crazier and more vivid the 1970s were than anything we have today. "Today people are like, 'The president's kind of disappointing," he said. "Really? Our president wept like an insane person and then got on a helicopter and flew away!" But when I look back at the hallucinatory, holy-crap-did-that-really-happen Seventies, I don't think about Watergate. I think about Jonestown.

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Friday, September 20

Watch This First: Corvette Summer trailer, 1978

by Jason Toon

Our 70's Car Movie Trailer Week concludes with the story of a regular kid from the middle of nowhere who dreamed of zooming across the galaxy in a powerful craft: yes, it's Mark Hamill in Corvette Summer, reputedly shot before Star Wars but unreleased until after he hit the big time. It seems Lu- uh, Mark spent a year cherrying out the ultimate 'vette only to have it stolen the next day. A pre-Designing Women Annie Potts plays a sort of slutty, Earthbound Princess Leia.
 


70's Car Movie Trailer Week has been fun, but there are so many more "great" 70s car movie trailers than one week could possibly hold. Share your unsung favorites in the discussion thread.

Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Thursday, September 19

Watch This First: The Big Bus trailer, 1976

by Jason Toon

Four years before Airplane!, the disaster-movie parody The Big Bus barreled into cineplexes, fueled by the atomic star-power of Vic Tayback and Richard Mulligan. It's long been a favorite of Woot writer Sean "University" Adams, so Watch This First is pleased to present it here on the penultimate day of '70s Car Movie Trailer Week.
 


Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Wednesday, September 18

 

Tuesday, September 17

Watch This First: The Van trailer, 1977

by Jason Toon

Oh, '70s Car Movie Trailers, you're so innocently sleazy. The 1977 teen sex romp The Van don't mean nobody no harm. It's just looking for a lady in a short pair of cutoffs for a laid-back ride through endless stoned sunshine. If the trailer gives you the munchies, you can watch the entirety of this very NSFW pre-AIDS time capsule right there on the YouTube.
 


Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Monday, September 16

Watch This First: Grand Theft Auto trailer, 1977

by Jason Toon

Feels like a '70s Car Movie Trailers kinda week, doesn't it? So that's exactly what the Watch This First bureau will be doing all week long. Let's get it started with Ron Howard's 1977 caper Grand Theft Auto. When Opie and his girlfriend steal her dad's Rolls for a junket to Vegas, it's way more fun than the video game that would later take the same name.
 


Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Wednesday, January 11

The Trivial Eye: Album Covers of the '70s

by Jason Toon

When I was a know-it-all teenage punk, I thought the '70s was music's lowest point, a tacky, lifeless Dark Age of audio macrame. Now I think the '70s produced as many vital, thrilling records as any decade save perhaps the '60s. But wherever on that spectrum you lie, nobody can deny that the era - post-'60s, pre-CD - was the heyday of the art of the album cover.

These eight covers may not be the most iconic, or the most beautiful, and certainly not the biggest-selling '70s albums. But together they represent the range and artistry of that decade's embarrassment of album-cover riches. How many of them can you name?

Answers can be found by clicking here. Please post your answers, or arguments, below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia.

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