New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.67: I Wanna Hold Your Hand

I Wanna Hold Your Hand: Protests, Police, Prostitutes, and PAUL!!!

Some DVDs linger on my “must watch list,” but for one reason or another keep getting passed up in favor of repeat viewings of Mr. Mom and Nightmare on Elm Street. Those things happen. I’m rendered powerless when I turn on the TV and see Psycho on, but when there’s a hundred movies that I’ve been meaning to watch for years and I still haven’t followed through, then that’s a problem. Recently, I finally watched one that has literally been on my list for more than 5 years.

Talk about underrated! I hereby add 1978’s I Wanna Hold Your Hand to the most underrated comedies ever. While growing up I never even knew about this film. It didn’t really play on TV all that much and it didn’t make a ton of money at the box office either. Considering all the movies that have gone unnoticed in theaters and eventually became legendary on VHS and DVD, by rights this should be one of them, but it’s not. As we take a closer look you can be baffled along with me as to why I Wanna Hold Your Hand doesn’t always show up on those lists of classic rock and roll comedies.

There’s several reasons why you’ll want to check this movie out. What’s most noteworthy is that the film was written and directed by Robert Zemeckis and get this – it was produced by Steven Spielberg! If they aren’t the movie Mega Powers, I don’t know who is! Secondly, my notion of the film before I watched it was that it was probably some sort of Beatles biopic like a more straight laced version of Spinal Tap. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. The Beatles merely serve as the catalyst for the teenage characters to get to the Beatles legendary performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Remember when Clark Griswold said “Getting there is half the fun, you know that!” Well that is definitely the case and the Beatles take a back seat to all the craziness that happens along the way.


I Wanna Hold Your Hand has more in common with a teen period piece like American Graffiti than a straight up rock and roll film. It’s a time capsule of Beatlemania. Naturally it will have more of an effect on you if you lived through the ’60s, but that didn’t phase me one bit. The cast is fantastic and it includes Nancy Allen who makes out hardcore with Paul McCartney’s bass, the late Wendie Jo Sperber in her film debut (you may remember her from Bosom Buddies and as Mary McFly’s sister in Back to the Future) in her funniest role, Marc Mclure (Marty McFly’s brother), and Eddie Deezen who played the geek Eugene in the Grease films.

In 1999, the KISS version of this film was released as Detroit Rock City. That’s not an exaggeration. DRC is one of my favorites, but I couldn’t believe how much that film borrowed from I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Oh, and last but not least…the film opens in Maplewood, New Jersey! 

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol. 29: The Polar Express Stops in Maplewood, NJ

If you were on board The Polar Express, would you really want to stop in New Jersey? Can you believe that Santa Claus (aka Schlatter Claus) actually has to bring presents to the kids in the toxic waste dump known as New Jersey? Santa would risk the chance of becoming a fat, red, radioactive, hairy beast. As you can see in this clip from 2004’s The Polar Express, Santa’s elves almost shitcan the idea of stopping in Maplewood, NJ, but the “big man” ultimately pusses out because he’s the nicest guy in the world.

This little punk bitch Steven from Maplewood put gum in his sisters hair and then acted like the lying brat that he is and couldn’t even own up to it. Steven repeated “I didn’t do it” over and over again. Whether I should be pissed at the creators and editors of The Polar Express, or if I should direct my anger toward the little annoying kid is irrelevant. Either way, this kid royally pisses me off. Why, why, why did they have to show that clip of “I didn’t do it” 5 times?? Are they serious? 5 f-cking times? Completely uncessary! I got the point after the first one, thanks. “I didnt do it” oh but you DID do it. You annoyed the Mumm-Ra ever living shit out of me. I want to smack this kid in the mouth with a spatula. Please cue Kool and the Gang’s latest track that they recorded just for me “Interrogation Time,” because if Steven didn’t do then I need some f’n answers. Hey Steven, who put the f’n gum in your sisters hair if you two were the only ones in the room at the time? You are the biggest f-cking liar! Stop blatantly denying that shit!

What’s with the elves sounding like they are from New Joisey? Apparently, Santa Claus is their Godfather figure or Tony Soprano take your pick. If there’s any truth to this then that means all of the wishes of all of the children around the world get filtered through the Garden state and then sent up to the North pole. Whether you are naughty or nice, the elves either say yay or “nah, f-ck that kid.” Remember when you wanted the Castle Grayskull playset for Christmas back in ’83? Remember how disappointed you were when you realized that it wasn’t under the Christmas tree? You can blame that on one of those made elves who ratted you out to Santa Claus about how you stole that little jerkoffs grape fruit roll-up at lunch time. Don’t even get me started on my Millennium Falcon fiasco! Let’s just say I was never able to recreate any of Han and Chewie’s space adventures all because of an incident involving artificial fruit and a cute little blonde girl. I’ll say no more. So, if you don’t get what you want from Santa Claus this year, blame it on the elves who run organized rat outs of naughty kids in NJ under the guise of waste management.

**There’s a lot more to be said about Maplewood, NJ’s place pop culture so stay tuned for future Armpit posts featuring this town!

Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel from Maplewood, NJ


You don’t need EZ-Pass to go on this ride, and probably not even a Fast-Pass. The handmade golden carrousel actually spent close to 40 years in New Jersey before becoming dedicated to Cinderella as part of the Magic Kingdom theme park in Florida’s Walt Disney World. **The above excerpt was scanned from The Walt Disney World Trivia Book Vol.1: Secrets, History, & Fun Facts Behind the Magic by Louis A. Mongello.