Tag archive: Barry Manilow
There’s something vaguely touching and poignant about mysteries that have (due to the whims of fashion) passed out of mainstream popular consciousness. Where once they might have been given high billing on Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World, or been deemed worthy of sizeable entries in Usbourne’s books of the unexplained (etc), they’re now consigned to prowl around the internet’s outer perimeters – scrabbling at the main gate and (feebly) demanding re-entry.
Such thoughts are on my mind thanks to the memory-jogging effects of my newly purchased TV Cream Toys. There, on page 31, I recently stumbled across words that once (when I was but a wide-eyed youth) caused thrilling ripples of delicious fear to zip up and down my spine -
If ever there was a mystery that had (from a position of some significance) seen its stock rapidly plummet and crash then it was this same triangle. Popularised by Charles Berlitz, and rendered instantly kitschy by Barry Manilow, the triangle was (during the 1970s) one of the most potent phenomena on the Fortean radar.
It didn’t (like more conventional mysteries) just frighten, bewilder and discombobulate people – it actually made them disappear. The thought of thus disappearing, instantly and eternally, struck my childish sensibilities as one of those “fates worse than death” you occasionally heard mentioned. One minute you were there – reading an in-flight magazine & contemplating a week in the Caribbean sun – and the next minute you were (horribly and inexplicably) gone. Doomed, as I supposed, to an eternity of useless shrieking and floating in some swirling, trans-dimensional no-space.
Realising that children would respond to this gnawing dread by consuming products based on the very thing they feared, Milton Bradley hopped on the zeitgeisty gravy train and gave us Bermuda Triangle: The Board Game.
Until I saw the pictures in TV Cream Toys I’d forgotten that any such object ever existed – and with good reason. Unlike those board games of yore that managed to adapt to changing times and remain relevant (cf. Cluedo), Bermuda Triangle‘s time in the pop-cultural sun was but a brief one. Like the triangle itself it remains firmly (and fittingly) rooted (and trapped) in the 1970s.
As far as actual game mechanics are concerned, I remember little, having probably played it but twice or thrice. The description on BoardGameGeek doesn’t immediately set pulses racing…
“In this game, you try to run a successful ship-transport operation…”
Yikes. Words that would make any observant child suspect that a dreary and dreadful “educational” board game was being foisted upon them by joyless parents. Happily the sentence ends with a bang that boots such suspicions into touch:
In this game, you try to run a successful ship-transport operation in the mysterious Bermuda Triangle.
Hoorah! That’s better.
On a side note, I’m disappointed to discover that Mr. Manilow’s ditty is not the musical investigation of the paranormal I’d always imagined it to be. Instead of dealing with time vortexes, alien kidnapping etc., it turns out to be little more than a warning about the dangers of your woman “disappearing” into another fella’s arms while on a sun holiday. As if the song’s lame partner-swapping “humour” isn’t tedious enough, the only version of it I could easily find online comes pre-packaged with a shit video based on shitty Lost. Apologies:
A final question then. Do chiddlers these days still have sleepless nights pondering the (contemporary) likes of the Bermuda Triangle, or have pedophilic/terrorist bogeymen moved in to dominate their nightmares instead? Answers to the usual address.
P.S: I’m getting so much fecking spam in my “moderated comments” queue that I can no longer be bothered sifting through it for the genuine articles. If anyone’s comment gets accidentally nuked then please email me (email@example.com) and I’ll sort it out.