Friday, December 5, 2014

Gremlins Read-Along Records (A Shitmas Post from Kristy Locklin of "Cradle to the Grave"!)

A few years ago, my dad gave me this box, which he purchased at a church bazaar.

Let me be clear … I am NOT a fan of Donnie & Marie – those toothy dipshits reached their peak cheesiness the year before I was born – but the contents of this container make me squeal like a kid on Christmas morning …

Behold! A complete set of Gremlin Adventures read-along records based on the motion picture “Gremlins”!

If you grew up in the early-80s, you owned at least one 33 1/3 RPM album that came with an illustrated book. You could see/hear/read fairy tales, nursery rhymes and Bible stories, but the most popular records were based on TV shows and movies.

In 1984 – the year “Gremlins” hit theaters – Hardee’s restaurants sold these discs for a buck when you purchased a sandwich, fries and a drink.

Check out the commercial:

Although I was a diehard McDonald’s junkie (my first word was “arches.”), I insisted that my mother take me to the inferior fast food joint until I possessed each piece of vinyl awesomeness.

It was a good investment on her part since Gremlin Adventures kept me occupied for at least an hour every day well into 1986. Another plus? They taught me how to read! These books aren’t just one-sentence-per-page plot summaries – they feature big words and (GASP!) full paragraphs!

And the PG-content isn’t watered down for a G-rated audience; the Gremlins still drink, smoke and sexually harass Phoebe Cates!

Flipping through the pages makes me giddy with nostalgia.

For years, the only thing that dulled my Mogwai-induced happiness was the fact that I don’t own a record player. The albums sat in their Osmond prison until last week, when my mom casually mentioned that she’d found an old turntable in the attic. Without hesitation, I hauled Gizmo and the gang over to her house.

The second that needle hits the record, I close my eyes and am transported back in time.

It’s 19984 and I’m sitting on the orange shag carpet in my parents’ faux wood-paneled living room. I take an imaginary sip of Tab as I listen to the narrator’s strong, yet soothing, baritone.

The character voices are a bit different from the movie, but, what do you expect from a 99-cent burger promotion? The chimes that alert you to turn the page sound magical. My eyes well up. My daughter, on the other hand, is bored to tears.

She turns on the TV to watch “Frozen” for the 500th goddamn time.

Whatever. I listen to all five Gremlin Adventures then look at her and smile.

“Perhaps, some day, you will be ready,” I say in my best Old Chinese Man voice. “Until then, Mogwai waits.”

- Kristy Locklin

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