At WHSmith you can afford to give them anything but the ordinary this Christmas

WHSmith Christmas advert from 1983, click image for a larger version.

At WHSmith you can afford to give them anything but the ordinary this Christmas

Looking at the prices, you realise how much cheaper some things are today. Of course inflation means that these prices in today’s money would be much higher. The ZX Spectrum at £99.95 was expensive, today you can buy a tablet, which is a lot more powerful for as little as £50! Of you can recreate the ZX Spectrum experience for £90.

The one that surprised me was the Indiana Jones VHS for £19.95, today you can get all four films in HD on Blu-Ray for roughly the same money!

Back in the 1980s I do remember going to WHSmith to  buy Christmas presents. My local branch was in the Lion Square development in Cambridge. The top floor was records and I remember buying quite a few cassette tapes up there as well as the odd piece of vinyl.

The gaming section always looked exciting, the covers of the games always seemed to be so much better than the actual graphics of the games themselves, but that’s 1980s gaming for you.

There was something warm and comforting about the brown and orange that WHSmith had back then. Today of course they seem to have lost their way a little and I am surprised that they are still around.

So what memories of WHSmith in the 1980s do you have?

Cinematic Advent Calendar #08 – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones on a horse

Indiana Jones is a film series which for many reasons should have failed. It was based on the 1930s adventure serials that were shown in the cinema at that time and into the 1950s. It was a retro adventure film, why would it have appealed to a modern audience? In many ways, despite the story, the quality of the filming and action sequences; I am sure the main reason that initially the film was successful was down to George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford.

George Lucas was well known for Star Wars, and had huge success. Steven Spielberg had made Jaws and Close Encounters and Harrison Ford had been the real star of Star Wars. This combination was going to attract an audience regardless of what the film was about. Raiders of the Lost Ark was a hit in 1981, it was obvious that there would be a sequel and The Temple of Doom followed in 1984. The Last Crusade came five years later in 1989.

This film choice was a bit of a tough one, in many ways the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a much more significant film, and really in some aspects probably a better film. However out of the first three Indiana Jones’ films, the one I like the most is the third one.

It’s probably for a range of reasons: I like the opening sequence from when Indy was a young lad. It’s nice to gain a better understanding of the motivations of the character and the origins of his trademark hat, whip and fear of snakes. There is Sean Connery playing Jones Senior. I do like films with Sean Connery and the relationship between dad and junior adds a fair bit of humour to the film.

Indiana Jones and Jones Senior

There is a scene in Venice and that is one of my favourite places in the world. It also features Petra and I really quite like that part of the story (no spoilers here).

Like a lot of people I wasn’t too impressed with the recent fourth Indy film, but I certainly didn’t hate it as some did. It’s an enjoyable romp, but is nowhere near the quality of the films from the 1980s.

I wonder with the purchase of Lucasfilms by Disney whether they will take the risk and do something with the franchise. Unlike Star Wars, the real draw these days with Indiana Jones is Harrison Ford, he is getting older and I don’t think he can play the part in the same way he did with the original three films. It will be a risk if they recast, but it could work. What do you think?

Get Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at iTunes.

Get  the entire collection of Indiana Jones films at Amazon.