The End-cap and Summary Years

Believe it or not, everything new in '87 was in vogue in 1989 for a reason.
August 12, 2014
Let me begin by saying Debbie Gibson, Basia and Public Enemy all had one thing in common. Guess what it could be and get back to me in a second. Was your initial thought they exploded on to the scene in 1987? You would be partially correct if you said that. The answer I was looking for was, "They all had singles released in 1989." So, if you are paying good attention, their debut albums were all put out in '87 but they came into their own in 1989. 1989 is what could be called an end-cap year or a point in time when the new people or things of two years ago become a household name.
Brace yourselves,I'm going to be looking at why 1989 came to be known as an end-cap year.

Electric YOUTH, feel the power. Darn it, now I have that abomination stuck in my eyes.

Let's review what happened in 1989 for all of those born after that year. Children everywhere started to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on one of the local channels as they gripped their Casey Jones and Ratking action figures in their hands. Some of the new movies filmed in 1987 such as "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" were in Theaters. Women hung up the biker shorts to sport biker pants and Lyrica (Am I spelling that correctly) in the Summer. Married with Children went from being a show that only a small percentage of people had seen to being the most controversial show on Telelvision after two young adults were exposed to the episode,The Cups Runneth Over. Those were just a few events that occurred in 1989.

Some people see '89 as the very last year of the 1980's. Others group the earliest part of 1990 with that '87-'89 era. To the naked eyes,a lot of the new shows of '87 had jumped the shark in 1990. For example, some say Full House went downhill after Stephanie crashed Uncle Joey's car into Danny's house. Of course, they were angered by how Danny only gave Stephanie a slap on the wrist to that sappy music we all know the show for. Honey, I Broke the House originally aired on March 9, 1990. For some reason, there were many occassions like that on Television in 1990.

Thank Jehovah for Quantum Leap on NBC Friday nights.

The point I'm making is 1989 was the last year of the late 1980s. Most of new sitcom actors and actresses of 1987 were still at their best for all of 1989. The earliest part of 1990 was a bit indifferent from late '89, but it had a new feel to it. The Discovery Zone opened and Entertainment Weekly, a new periodical, was available at Newsstands all over America.As you can see in the diagram below, people were still wearing biker hats in the early 1990s, but along with the upcoming styles of the mid 1990s. You can almost say the new fashions and inanimate objects of the late 1980s were introduced for the early 1990s.

In 1990, that guy was actually fresh. Zing

Time seems to move along like that. People created new inventions in 2000s for the 2010s. In the fall of 2005, it was chic to wear Lance Armstrong's Livestrong wristbands. No one, at that juncture, knew we would be wearing wristbands at the start of the 2010s like we are now. That craze has been going strong since 2011 onward. In the 1980s, we were introduced to Tim Burton's Batman and not many individuls in '88 thought Michael Keaton, then known as Beetlejuice or Mr. Mom, could pull off the role of Bruce Wayne. He proved everyone wrong and this lead to three sequels in the 90s (Two of which were horrible.They should have left the producing to Tim Burton). In that sense, 1989 was the last year of the 1980s because all the 80s did was build for the 1990s.

How did that Ricky Martin song go again? Livin' wit da one hit wonda?

Unlike 1989, 1992 was a fast leap year that doubled as, what I like to call, an end-cap year. '92 brought the early 90s to an abrupt end and paved the way for the mid 1990s as '89 did for the early 1990's. In good old 1992, the Burger King Kids Club logo morphed into its final emblem for the remainder of the decade. Of course, the Kids Club would seep into the 2000s, but the symbol for it changed to suit the times. The Tiny Toon Adventures characters also became prominent at that time as they were plastered on Pizza Parlor walls, overalls, Dixie cups, Video Cassette tape and fruit snack boxes. We had just became familiar with the show as a program for parents and children alike in late 1990.

Why do I get the feeling that Super Soaker was more than a toy to pubescent Middle School boys?

In the midst of this Decadeology talk, I must talk about what is known to me as the "summary years". A "summary year" is a one year that gives a person a general idea of what one whole span of 1,086 days (including the end-cap year) was about. 1987 is one summary year that definitely comes to mind as I write this. A '82er did not even have to live through the mid 1980s to know what occurred in them. 1987 gave away everything that happened from 1984 to 1986 to someone who never saw them. Some people even consider 1987 to be the last year of the 1980s. Everyone from Punky Brewster to ALF were there.

How could Filmation's Ghostbusters be the fake ones when those Ghostbusters came before Harold Ramis' Ghostbusters?

1987 was a very seminal year for everything 80s it seems. It gave birth to what we know as early 90s pop culture and it put an end, more or less, to the mid 1980s. '87 was one large response to the mid 1980s in a way. It gave birth to what we know the early 1990s for and put an end to the mid 1980s. In a way, it passed the torch from my generation to the Millenials. Let's look at what became of He-man in 1987. He-Man blew up in 1984 so, naturally, the motion picture was set for release in 1987. The Smurfs were pretty popular in 1984 too, but that's besides the point. Everything made before 1984 was gaining adoration from both Reganites and Democrats. After the 1987 movie was released, guys never thought to look in the MOTU aisle of Toys "R" Us ever again unless they were completist. Blokes found Gwildor to be more of a pest than Orko itself. Young males of the 1980s were already on the fence when it came to He-Man because the dumb citizens of Eternia could never figure out that He-Man was really Prince Adam. Like some early to mid 80s pop cultural figures, He-Man went on under a new series. In other words, He-Man was not exclusive to the 1980s as VH1 would have you believe.The He-Man figurines of the early 1990s did not hold momentum like the original did.

1987 was an unforgettable "summary year" that changed everything.Mallory Keaton of Family Ties was dating the artsy Nick Moore, the infamous Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion came to pass and ALF began wearing clothing in 1987. So, 1987 was the "one era over" term when all of the mid-80s programs started to jump the shark and pack their bags to go to TV Land forever. Nothing was safe during that moment, not even Nintendo. In the late 80s, The Power Pad, Joycard Sansui,Roll & Rocker (Total rip-off of the Pogo ball, if you ask me) and the Power Glove were all new to stores. As we know now, they were all difficult to use. It's amazing how far we have come since then. I know my brother was guilty of wanting two of the three of those gadgets, however he did not even get one of them. Michael Jackson began sinking like he was in quick sand around that time too. Sure, everyone I went to school with used the slang, "bad" (Meaning good, really) but the album was no Thriller.

He says it himself, "He's really really bad". Michael wanted us to "leave him alone" about it.

The last "summary year" that my generation will ultimately remember is 1993, the year the Bayside and Beverly Hills crowd graduated. That stage really explained the early 90s from beginning (When the Saved By the Bell dolls and merchandise were out) to the end (Whiney "I don't wanna cry anymore" Houston (R.I.P.) won a Billboard music award for the Bodyguard soundtrack). '93 brought closure to the early 90s in many ways. Do you recall Shannen Dohetry (Of Our House fame) getting fired from 90210 for verbally attacking her cast members? Looking back, that was the end of an era for all of those who enjoyed the Brenda episodes of the FOX show. The third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was playing in Theaters earlier that year also. I know Shellheads that wouldn't touch that one with a ten inch stick.

Quite a few of my cohorts today believe the whole early 90s began in 1990 and ended in 1994. They would be partially correct considering that boys and girls were still collecting Ninja Turtles action figures and donning Cosby sweaters for the time being. Still, I say a total transition took place in '93. Parker Lewis went from being apparent on the FOX Network (When is the last time you heard that? Nowadays, we simply label it "Fox") to running in syndication on the USA. I felt the surge of the early 90s die more towards the end of 1993.Saved By the Bell :The New Classon TNBC did not measure up to the original at all and the stories were recycled.

I don't know about you, but I tend to stay away from anything with the word "new" in the title. The New Adventures of Captain Planet was more hokey than the original and that's saying something. I never like the first list of episodes.

Then again, one could proclaim the hindmost of any year is the prequel to the next twelve months.Did anyone catch how Beavis and Butthead went from characters in two MTV Liquid Television shorts to having their own series just the utmost part of 1993? Any person my age who witnessed that interval will tell you that '91 and '92 had a different feel from '90. I see it this way, there was an '88-'90 (or '88- early '91) epoch and a '91-'93 (late '91-'93) time period. In the first one mentioned, we took notice of the dawning of Donald Trump's power, Dan Quayle jokes, gun usage instead of rooftop tossing and economic downturns. In the latter,we came to know Mulder and Scully, scandals involving important African-American heads and the rise of 90s Starter jackets. In my own words, late '91 and all of '92 lead to 1993. Americans would be without Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 giving center stage to Paige Turcos (Judith Hoag was better, in my honest opinion) if not for Secret of the Ooze doing well in Cinemas and on VHS.

Those two shorts are the most early 90s thing I have ever feasted my eyes on.

The 1990s like any other decade has three chapters to it. The first one emanates a sense of purpose and concentration. The second system dates gives off a general idea of what the decade is about. I'll give you an illustration of what I'm talking about. In 1993, Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas was promoted in TV spots, Burger King ads and newspaper articles. The 90s were the decade of Tim Burton's moving pictures getting darker and darker. That particular film was a milestone because he would go on to discover that he wanted to do one more stop motion musicals in the early 2000s. Well, that and Jack merchandise brought in big bucks for Burton during the mid 2000s. To be fair, Edward Scissorhands action figures and shirts sold well to consumers at Hot Topic, as well. That Sleepy Hollow of his was a total flop, we can all agree on that. The last branch officially kicks off the upcoming decade with strong quality regulations. Many Star Wars fanboys will say that Jake Lloyd ruined Star Wars with his flat acting and woefully frivolous lines; those same devotees will apply high-chroma reds to their faces to simulate Darth Maul, the bad@$$ of the movie. Their fascination with the villainous essenttia led to the speculations and fan-fictions of the next decade.

To be honest, the decade went like this:

The kiddies would not be so happy if we were to reverse things here.

The 90s had the same attributes the 1970s consisted of, for the most part. Surprisingly,there is no 90s preservation society. Children and teenagers of the 90s had sketch shows, movies derived from sketch shows, silly fads (Switch out the pet rock for pocket and digital monster cards),re-emergence of urban music, celebrity worship and gray-haired high-level federal officials with major political sex scandals behind them. Frankly, I thought the 90s were too much like the 1970s from mid '92 to the hour "That 70s Show" came out. Like I said in my last article, the best part of 90s were the early 1990s because the culture was memorable and not so edgy or obnoxious. Only two crossovers, that I know of, existed in that bout and they were Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Meet Archie.In case you are wondering, yes, the US Dream Team was the greatest bind in all of history with the worst being most of those X-MEN comics from the mid to late 90s.

Yeah... the less said about this the better. And we say we survived the 1980s; the early 90s were much fiercer.

I'm really intrigued by 1989 as an "endcap year". It was closer in tone to the 2000s towards the end in most parts of the world. Personal computers in the classroom, the screening of The Punisher starring Dolph Lundgren in West Germany movie houses and having a Bush in office all took place in 1989. Let's say the 90s, 00s and 10s never existed, you could foreshadow what would happen in the years to come by revisiting 1989. It's, for use of better words, riveting how Christian Bales career as an actor was starting to unfold just as Tim Burton was doing Batman. I don't want to go off-topic, but Heath Ledger's first role was an ORPHAN CLOWN! Talk about everything happening for a reason and destiny being mapped out for us all. I remember seeing the teaser for Tim Burton's '89 Batman flick and thinking it was ahead of its time. The black suit was perfect for the edge of the 1980s at the same time when masses were clamping on to the Bicyclist and Biker modes. Seasons were changing with re advent of black shirts; my generation was ragging on the hair metal artists of the 1980s all the while. With all due respect, Guns N Roses made all of those glam rock bands sound like Tammy Faye Bakker of whom they were obviously modeling themselves after.

Bad English? Try Bad Hair. What does Bon Jovi amount to in 1999? They become the Bon Bon Jovis. It was wayy too easy in those days.

1989 has quite a bit in common with 1992 apart from both being end-cap years.Look at the videos below, the archetypal on (Curiosity Killed the Cat's Name and Number) is from 1989 and the others belong to 1992 (Keith Sweat's Keep It Comin', Right Said Fred's I'm Too Sexyand Swing Out Sister's Not Gonna Change). Not pictured here was En Vogue's My Lovin (You're Never Gonna Get It.

Before the green screen, there was the WHITE screen. I'mmm in neeed of a good llllacenger. Halls Honey Lemon is myyyy brand of choice.

Aside the videos, you could take a gander at the 1992 Los Angeles Riots photographs and tell that most of the mob were still using attire from 1989 in the spring of 1992. You could contend that late '89 to mid '92 made up the early 1990s. It's really up in the air. I have friends who said the start of 1990 was still 80s. 227, Mama's Family, ALF and Belvedere were all still on tube, so not much changed from late '89 to the tumultuous beginning of '90. I say 1989 was not only an end-cap year of the late 80s but to the whole 1980s. We last saw Crazy Eddie, Alexis Carrington Colby, James "Sonny" Crockett and Vicki the robot (not counting the reruns from the early 90s) in early '89. The final step towards the 1990s truly arised in late '89. Could you imagine the 90s without the artificially flavored Ouch! bubble gum?

These didn't look any more realistic than those shocking chewing gum pull head trick joke toys. What were they thinking? Oh, the plastic dispensers were meant to look like that?

Unfortunately, not many period pieces are set in "end-cap" or "summary years". The only ones I can think of are the '87 flashbacks on Friends and the recollections before the credits roll for Psych. I'm not sure why 1992 has not been captured to the fullest extent; Kate Lanier, who wrote CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story got 1990 correctly. I like the act when Lisa Lopes is in the roller skating rink partying on Friday night. I personally remember people doing the Roger Rabbit, MC Hammer and Robocop dances, at night, in Soul Train Lines during the very early 1990s ('90-'91) in roller skating rinks. Lately, most of the coming of age pictures have been taking place in 1985-'86. Last year I thought Surviving Jack would be picked up for three more seasons. Boy was I ever wrong with that one. The Costume Agent for that show wasn't paying strict intentness to what we were wearing and when certain trends were apparent.The No Fear shirts were almost sold out from late '92 to '96 along with Yaga tees, not 1991! There's pretty much nothing for now, hopefully I will inspire someone to write about the actual 1991 with its Rocketeered orange bandana (Ricoooooo Suave) Zubaz pants having Velcro Ball Catching Gamed Terminator 2 ads in malls and Street Fighter 2 arcade cabinet self and '92.

Member's Only? In '87? My brother was on to the Billabong jackets phase by then. This is an atrocity!

Every day matters now as much as it did then. Thankfully, we have movies recorded in that day and age. In conclusion,'92 was one of the only years a Kid N Play movie was not in the plans for the approaching session. House Party 3, if you can stomach it, contained the child groups, lingo and looks indicative of the mid 90s that began in mid '92, though. A good number of us will concur the early 90s had meaningful Theatrical characters like those found in the 1980s, only they were not as fantastical as what were '80s movie addicts were used to. The City Slickers, Newsies,Kevin McCallister, George Banks, Deloris Van Cartier, Frank Slade, and Cousin Vinny all have their place in history and our lives. Regardless of what you call them, 1987,'89, '92 and 1993 were all significant for the new music that was getting airplay. Blame it on the raaain yeah yeah. On second thought, I need to abstain from calling most songs of '89 masterpieces.Well, I hope you Retrojunkers enjoyed the time traveling bit. Thank you for reading my article.

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