All New Branded in the 80s Podcast, Episode 8!

By Shawn Robare

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On this episode of the show I take a look at a couple of documentaries that highlight some unsung heroes of the 80s that have virtually been written out of the history of the pop culture they helped to create.  The films discussed are Candyman: The David Klein Story and The Rock Afire Explosion.

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On this episode I also give a shoutout to the supremely cool Rob Lane of Straight to Video.  You can find Rob’s music at his site, or download the albums for free here.

This episode is also brought to you by the fine folks at!

You can find the episode on iTunes, Stitcher, the Branded Facebook page, or you can also stream it directly from the handy player below, or download it directly by right-clicking and saving here.

You can subscribe to the podcast here!

If you want to chat about the show or other fun 80s junk, you can send me an e-mail to

  • Steve L.K. Macrocranios

    I think it’s kind of rare to have a singular person responsible for any one pop culture phenomena so these guys’ stories are super interesting to me. To be able to say ‘This is the person who came up with or is most responsible for this thing that impacted everyone’s life’ is usually only something I only read about George Lucas.

    So many other legendary 80s things are group efforts. I guess maybe there were Atari programmers famous for individual games or maybe writers like Larry Hama or toy inventors, but I can’t really name many other ‘Man behind the brand’ people quite like the Jelly Belly guy. Maybe the pet rock guy?

    I was too afraid of the animatronic animals at pizza places to be in awe of them. Something about their artificiality scared me worse than clowns. I can see why the RockaFire guy thought he’d never actually get his 15 minutes of fame being so behind the scenes but it is nice that it happened.

    These stories of lost fortunes and obscurity are worse than those terrible things I read about lottery winners squandering their money because at least these guys did something to legitimately earn money or recognition.

    Oh, and hearing you say “animatronic anthropomorphic animals” so smoothly puts me in awe of your delivery skills. I know you’ve gotta be reading this stuff but it comes out without the jilted delivery of most podcasters working from a script. Hearing you talk is is almost like an actor delivering lines-it totally sounds like this is all off the top of your head!

    • Thanks Steve, that actually means a lot. I do write scripts, but try very hard to make it sound as off the cuff as possible. You more than anyone else I’ve met can surely attest to the awkwardness of recording a one person show, and hearing your robot poems always put me in a state of awe.
      As far as other folks that were singular sources behind pop culture phenomena, you’re right, it’s pretty rare. It’s usually a marketing team for sure. Even though there were a handful of people writing and proposing ideas, it still amazes me that John Pound was the sole artist for the first two sets of the Garbage Pail Kids, and he also really designed the look and feel of the line up until this day. He was doing something crazy like one of two paintings a day for the first series which is pretty crazy.