It’s been a little while since I dove in and deconstructed an awesome 80s era pop culture bedroom. This past week I had my mind blown a couple times when Pee-wee Herman shared the piece I did on his room from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure on Facebook and Twitter…
…and Zack Ryder and André Gower were discussing the breakdown I did on the Monster Squad Clubhouse on twitter…
I was honored to say the least!
This got me thinking about some of the films that I have on a list that I want to tackle at some point; stuff like Ferris Bueller’s room, or Chainsaw’s room from Summer School. A lot of what’s on my to-do list at this point is more in the realm of teenaged characters as I feel like I’ve exhausted most of the cool room for the younger characters (or the rooms I haven’t covered are kinda boring.) But there was one more movie with a younger kid’s room that I’ve been meaning to tackle for over a year now, a film that I had completely missed out on in the 80s and didn’t find out about it until just a couple years ago. The flick in question is an obscure and weird Austrian film from 1985 called Making Contact (though it’s also known as Joey in some parts of the world) that is mostly known for being one of Roland Emmerich’s first projects.
Though the flick was shot in German, an English dub was released on VHS back in the late 80s. I think thins might be why I missed it. Around that time I was increasingly becoming obsessed with horror flicks and spent most of my time in the video rental store browsing through A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Friday the 13th flicks. Luckily though, I stumbled across this flick a couple years ago via a suggestion from a reader. As soon as I could source a copy I sat down and took in this semi-lost 80s gem. Let me just say that this movie is pretty amazing as a relic of a bygone days, but it’s also one of the weirdest 80s kid’s flicks I’ve ever seen. Emmerich not only directed, but also co-wrote this supernatural thriller that centers on a young boy named Joey who is mourning the loss of his father. Joey finds that he has the ability to mystically contact his dad through a toy phone, though whether he’s really talking to his father or some other malevolent force is part of what makes this film so weirdly captivating. Let’s just say that there is a lot of telekinesis, living puppets & toy robots, and about 200 homages to Steven Spielberg films that very obviously had a huge impact on Emmerich.
If you haven’t seen Making Contact, do yourself a favor and seek it out. It’s a little uneven and weird, but totally worth the time investment. Not only is it a weirdly fun film, but Joey has one of the most densely packed 80s era bedrooms that I’ve ever seen on film (definitely giving Elliott from E.T. a run for his money.) I’m gonna do my best to breakdown as much of it as I could identify…
Joey has toys littered all over his room. There’s stuff stacked on every surface including shelves, bureaus, tables, all over the floor and spilling out of his closet…
1). Felt Steelers football pennant
2). Felt Giants football pennant
3). Felt Lakers basketball pennant
4). Sesame Street curtains
5). Cool BMX Poster (couldn’t identify it, but wanted to point it out)
6). Smurf stickers on the bureau
7). Return of the Jedi Sheets circa 1983
So, are felt sports pennants still a thing? I remember as a really young kid in Tampa, FL it seemed like it was mandatory for all kids to have a Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rowdies (soccer) pennants hanging on the walls. I’m having a hard time remembering any friends who didn’t actually. Also, I totally had these exact Return of the Jedi sheets around the same time too. In fact, I still remember the exact moment when I stopped “having” these sheets as well. For some reason my mom left me in my bedroom with a hair dryer when I was about 6, and I got the bright idea to heat up the sheets by turning on the dryer and sticking it underneath my balled up sheets. They totally caught fire, though it was a slow burn and I managed to get it out out before things got crazy. Man, I miss those sheets…
8). Terry Bradshaw Poster
9). Kenner Star Wars Tie-Fighter 1978
10). Kenner Star Wars Slave I, 1980
Photo from Collector’s Club of Great Britain
11). Kenner Star Wars Imperial Troop Transporter 1979
12). Tomy Racing Turbo Dashboard game circa 1983
13). Tomy Zoids Giant ZRK circa 1983
So, really quick I want to point to another item in the above screen shot, the race car helmet lamp. Half of the reason that it’s taken me two years to write this Making Contact bedroom breakdown is because I’ve been wracking my brain while searching the internet for where that thing came from. I haven’t been able to figure it out and it’s been driving me a bit insane. Does anyone know where that thing originated or when it was released? It seems so specific, which usually makes tracking it down easier, but not in this case.
**UPDATE** Thanks to reader Jack Frost for finding some auctions for the racing helmet lamp that have partically solved the mystery of where these things came from. Apparently they were produced in Austria in the 70s, though the manufacturer is possibly still in question. Looks like it was made by FF Leuchte. Here’s a clearer picture of the lamp…
14). Milton Bradley Pac-Man board game, circa 1980
15). Milton Bradley Donkey Kong board game, circa 1980
16). E.T. wallpaper (lining both his closet and this trashcan), circa 1982
17). Tomy wind-up walking shoes, circa 1981
18). Kid Stuff Records Pink Panther’s County Album picturedisc, circa 1982
19). Vanity Fair Smurfs Record Player, circa 1982
20). Horikawa Batter Operated Super Space Explorer, circa 1962
21). E.T. Plush doll (I can’t identify this specific plush, honestly it looks like a bootleg or carnival prize.)
21). Blow Mold Disney Donald Duck coin bank, circa late 70s
23). Dinky Star Trek USS Enterprise, circa 1976
24). Tamiya Wild Willy 2 motorized jeep circa 1984
25). Kenner Star Wars Ewok Village play set, circa 1983
26). Kenner Star Wars Millennium Falcon play set, circa 1983
27). Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University poster
28). Empire Strikes Back Yoda poster
29). Kenner Star Wars At-At play set, circa 1980
30). Kenner Star Wars Scout Walker, circa 1983
As you can see from the previous shots, Joey loved Star Wars and was fastidious enough to keep a bunch of the boxes for his play sets.
31). DC Comics Phantom Zone, #4, April 1982
32). Tomy Peepers wind-up walking binoculars, circa 1984
In doing research for this breakdown I noticed that the production designers were fond of Tomy toy products. I thought it was interesting that the Peepers wind-up toy above was actually the star of his very own Disney movie back in 1984 called Where the Toys Come From. The flick sounds like it may have even been the blueprint for the eventual Toy Story movies as well…
33). Pac-Man Pacmania toy drum set, circa 1982
34). Whitman Disney Donald Duck jigsaw puzzle
35). Tomy Hoomdorm Jumper toy, circa 1982
36). Parker Brothers Q-bert boardgame, circa 1983
37). APC A-Team jigsaw puzzle, circa 1983
And finally, before I end this mammoth bedroom breakdown, there’s one more thing I wanted to point out from the film that’s outside the bedroom arena. During a scene set in Joey’s school, he stops and takes a pretty rad school folder out of his bag…
38). Masters of the Universe school folder, circa 1983
Pretty darn spiffy if you ask me.
So, for those of you that have seen this film, did I miss anything? Let me know int eh comments!