30th Annual Lead East Car Show: The World’s Biggest ’50s Party!

Over the Labor Day weekend in Parsippany, NJ the 30th annual Lead East Car Show took place at the Hilton hotel. It’s an event that I’ve heard so much about and have been meaning to go to for a long time, and this year I finally went and I’m glad I did. Read on for a recap and at least two references to Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Held annually in New Jersey, Lead East is the biggest car show in the state, or as they bill it, “the Biggest old car event” and the “Biggest ’50s Party,” and let me tell you they ain’t kiddin’! In addition to over 1,800 vintage and custom cars from over 20 states, Lead East offers concerts, parties, costume contests, food, collectibles for sale, movies playing drive-in style, karaoke, a prom, a sock hop, swing dancing, and of course, some good old fashioned cruising. With all that stuff going on, you don’t even need to be a hardcore fan of cars or the ’50s. It’s a chance to enjoy a fun day out with the whole family, and even the dog. There’s lots of folks who set up shop with tents for the whole 5-day stretch. One of those couples was nice enough to have myself, my father, and his friends at their tent for drinks and food which was awesome, especially the chance to get out of the blazing sun for a while.

Playing with Hot Wheels was one of my past times as a kid, but as I grew up I wasn’t much a gear head. I changed a tire once, but I can’t really tell you what’s what under the hood of my car. I do love looking at cars though, and driving them, especially the few all-time favorites of mine. I enjoy going to car shows like this in hopes of seeing my favorites and some of the rare cars that I had no idea existed. That’s where Father Armpit comes in. My Dad knows every freaking car imaginable and what year they came out.


My Dad merely needs to glimpse a car for a split second and he can spew out all it’s details. Going with him to car shows is fun because he’s so enthralled by them. So many of the cars we saw (and studied) at Lead East hold special memories for him. He could tell you every car he ever owned, my uncle’s first, second, third, and fourth car, and even which cars were purchased by a few celebrities. It’s like putting me in a KISS or WWE museum. I’d never come out. I’d be staring at everything as if I was Cameron Frye at the Art Institute of Chicago. And even though I’m not as fanatical about cars as my father is, I still had a blast.

Stutz – this model was owned by members of The Rat Pack

Although Lead East is a ’50s inspired car show, I had a hunch that I’d be seeing at least ONE of my ’70s favorites. In fact, almost as soon as I walked into the show I walked right up to my all-time favorite car, a 1973 Mustang Mach-1. The color wasn’t my preference, but that wouldn’t stop me from taking it for a spin or rubbing it with a diaper (like Cameron Frye’s dad does!). If you’re into ’70s cars like me, we’re all in luck – the Lead East website states that they have started to allow later model cars in the show on the Sunday installment of the show including 1976 models and earlier. It’s possible that each year they may let accept later models.

1973 Mustang Mach 1

Remember the “Greased Lightning” sequence in Grease? That’s what some of the cars reminded me of. But what was more amazing than all the crazy custom cars and all the little events they had going on at Lead East, was watching these guys and gals relive their high school days. The sight of a car can elicit such glows on people’s faces. The guys started to Remem-mem Rememmemmeber the first time they “parked” with their girlfriend, the first time they raced their car, and the first time they puked in their friend’s back seat. The Back to the Future DeLorean wasn’t there this year, but the thousands in attendance didn’t need it since the event itself was a time machine.

This truck reminded me of something out of Disney’s CARS

Mourning The Macho Man Randy Savage: My Macho Memories

Sexy Armpit & Miss Sexy Armpit (top) Macho Man (bottom)

I’M IN MACHO MISERY RIGHT NOW. The news of the passing of Macho Man Randy Savage has wrestling fans and the entire world buzzing right now. Savage was not only an icon of sports entertainment but a fixture in popular culture for many years. Describing Savage as a hero of mine is an understatement. I’m sure there will be an outpouring of tweets, blog posts, and YouTube tributes, and rightfully so, but this post will serve as a collection of my own Macho Memories.

Many of my Macho Man memories involve Miss Elizabeth. She was such a huge part of his mystique after he hired her as his manager. It was a controversial move to hire a sexy female valet who many thought had no mastery of the wrestling business. As we all know, they were a match made in heaven and hopefully they’ve met up so Savage could hoist her up on his shoulders once again for old time sake.

I had been into wrestling for about 2 years at that point. During that period in the WWF I remember everyone buzzing about Macho Man and Elizabeth. They were a hot topic and the couple grabbed the attention of everyone, not only wrestling fans. When the Miss Elizabeth LJN action figure first came out I remember wanting it so bad. I waited and waited and finally I got a special opportunity from my parents on Christmas Eve that year. They let my sister and I open each others gifts. After ripping open the paper I was so excited to see that my sister got me the Miss Elizabeth figure! Now Macho Man would walk the aisle with some arm candy.

Some people look back fondly on the greatest moments of their life. Some cite winning a high school football championship, getting married, or winning a huge sum in the lottery as random memorable life moments. Believe it or not, some of the greatest moments of my life involve WWF and Macho Man Randy Savage. His heel win to become I-C Champ, Savages feud with George the Animal Steele who was in love with Elizabeth, Savage vs. Steamboat at Wrestlemania 3, all the events that lead to the formation of The Mega Powers, The Wrestlemania 4 tournament which concluded with Savage winning his first WWF World Championship and sharing the greatest moment of all time in the WWF with Miss Elizabeth and The Hulkster in Atlantic City NJ. Then the Mega Powers exploded in the same venue at the next Wrestlemania. Years later he was in memorable feuds with Jake The Snake and Undertaker, Flair, and Ultimate Warrior.

savage WWF magazines

Life was so simple back then. Who cares if I sound old! On sunny and hot summer days I would walk down the local Rite Aid or ask my Dad to bring me to Quick Check and scan the magazine racks for the official WWF Magazine. A couple in particular made me literally explode with excitement. My sister dropped by while I was at a neighbors house to bring me the July 1988 issue with Savage on the cover. I nearly went into convulsions. I don’t think kids get this excited anymore over a magazine, but it made my month back then. I’d worship the pages and read the same articles over and over. It sounds incredible, but I can remember the exact moment I got most of them. I still have those magazines too.

Growing up, my best friend Frank and I were immensely influenced by Macho Man. It was easy for two best friends to call themselves The Mega Powers, but it was another to start filming themselves wrestle at a time when taping yourself wrestling wasn’t en vogue at all. At least in my neck of New Jersey, taping backyard wrestling matches wasn’t something that people we knew ever did. Leave it to us to spend our Friday and Saturday nights recording promos and matches while our friends went and “socialized” with each other. In our first match ever, we chose to explode the Mega Powers yet again just for the hell of it.

I know a lot of people claim that their parents are the greatest, but My Dad is seriously in the Dad Hall of Fame. He’s always been a fan of WWF right along with me. The fact that he interacted in my little obsession with me meant more than anyone could ever imagine. Through the big wrestling boom in the ’80s and then through the times when WWF fans got made fun of for still liking it well after it’s popularity surge was over – it was so cool to be able to share those moments with him. Of course he used to watch Saturday Night’s Main Event with me and bring me upstairs after I fell asleep on the couch, but there was one time in particular years later that will always stick out in my mind.

After Monday Night Raw premiered in 1993 I made it a big TV event. It was the highlight of my week. I set up my TV chair and grabbed my drink and snacks. Occasionally my Dad would watch with me, but other times if he was busy he would tell me to let him know if something good happens and he’ll come watch. That’s the kind of thing that meant a lot to me. I didn’t toss the baseball around much, I didn’t have much interest in sports or fixing cars, my world was all about WWF. He was a big fan of Macho Man and Razor Ramon at that time.

savage crush

In 1994, prior to Wrestlemania 10, Randy Savage and Crush began a feud that was pretty hardcore in WWF at that time. My father and I were shocked as we witnessed Crush turn on Savage. Crush pressed Savage up over his head and dropped him onto the steel barricade, lacerating his tongue. We were both in awe of how this played out in a very realistic way. Since that was just before the computer era really took off, there were no spoilers or dirt sheets to ruin the storylines, so it was a vivid and surprising night on Raw. The feud culminated at Wrestlemania 10 in a falls count anywhere match, just over the river at Madison Square Garden in NYC. It was Savage’s last appearance at a Wrestlemania.

armpit and jane

In recent times, Savage has kept a low profile but I’ve kept his spirit alive as much as I could. I’ve dressed up as Macho Man twice in the last couple of years. The first time was for a Halloween Costume Party at Asbury Lanes and my girlfriend dressed up as Miss Elizabeth. You can read more about that in this post. The next time I went with the classic lavender Macho Man T-Shirt and matching bandanna for my friend Jane’s surprise ’80s style birthday party. Each time it was a big hit and everyone was complimenting me on how good I pulled off the look. I even won runner up in the costume contest at Asbury Lanes.

I will miss you so much Macho Man, you were larger than life to me and no one will ever come close to having your unique blend of electric charisma and ring skills of a king. I hope the Fink announced you into heaven with Pomp and Circumstance echoing throughout the universe. “We’re gonna climb that mountain together and we are together forever Oooooh Yeah!” Elizabeth…DOWN THAT AISLE!