There have been more than a few horror films released during the Holidays or revolve around the Christmas season – although not all of those are a film I make sure to watch every Holiday season like with 1984’s Gremlins. If you are kind enough to check out the Saturday Frights podcast – you probably know we have had a running April Fool’s Day gag that we are going to cover Gremlins but something always happens to interrupt our coverage of that classic movie. I have so many fond memories of seeing Gremlins in the theater when it was originally released on June 8th of 1984 – most of those I will eventually share on the SF podcast – maybe when we hit that big 100th episode? Now while it did not have the marketing blitz of say Star Wars or something – the truth is there was a smattering of toys, Colorforms, and adorable plush dolls of Gizmo the Mogwai to beg parents to buy. That Summer while spending time at my Grandparents I set up a lemonade stand along with a neighborhood kid – this was after the Police shut down our little Ghostbusters franchise operation. We were able to earn enough money with the stand during that Summer for each of us to take a trip to the local Walmart and buy one of those LJN PVC Gizmo figures. Much like with Ghostbusters, it seemed like every waking moment during that time was spent doodling the characters from Gremlins on spare pieces of notebook paper… and on my homework, etc. There was something about the black comedy of Joe Dante’s masterpiece that really struck home with me – even if my Father didn’t care for it all that much.
As I have shared before, being in a single parent household – money was always pretty tight – especially when I was a kid. Having said that I have also pointed out those times my Father went above and beyond to make sure I had a great birthday or Christmas – that goes for the book and record set for Gremlins. This five record set was only available at Hardee’s fast food chains in ’84… and that was a big problem for me as the nearest location was a 30 minute drive away. Bear in mind what I said about money being tight – so a ‘frivolous’ trip to grab the Gremlins book and records wasn’t something that I felt was going to happen. So please try to imagine my surprise when my Father came home from work one afternoon and informed me that we were heading up to Hardee’s for the express purpose of picking up the Gremlins set.
When we got there, my Father asked me to go and find a seat while he ordered our food, sitting down he slid The Gift of the Mogwai over to me – he also had to share some bad news… they had sold out of the other Gremlins book and records. That didn’t stop me from quickly tearing the plastic off the first of the five record and books – happily reading the retelling of how Randall Peltzer bought Gizmo for his Son. Now I also have to say that my Father was pulling my leg – he had indeed picked up the other four book and records, hiding them in the car while waiting for the food. I am proud to say that I still have this Gremlins set and in my youth I would listen to them over and over again while laying in the middle of the living room floor.