Thursday, June 23, 2005

Ratt mirror in my living room?

No, there is currently no Ratt mirror hanging on my living room wall, but at one time I thought there might be. Summer is here and carnivals are going on so this made me think of carnival prizes and one summer years ago. If you have to a carnival then you know the type of cheap prizes they often. Some of the prizes years ago long neck, twisty bottles with colored water, tacky pillows and of course mirrors of rock bands. Now these things look pretty cheap now if you have somehow managed to hold onto one and it hasn't broken or turned some weird color. However, back then these mirrors were shiny and new maybe a bit like the carnival itself with all the bright lights and the excitement that comes from a once year event. Now the carnivals around here are run by the local fire departments which means the games are legitimate unlike some traveling carnivals. I am not sure that is a good thing or not because they means you might actually win some of this stuff have to take it home with you and find a place for it. When you are a kid or a teen then you wanted this stuff and knew where you were going to put it in your room and you knew just how cool (you thought) it would look in your room. So it was just a matter of playing the game and winning the prize, right? Not so easy as I would have hoped. Yes, they are legitimate so you can win, but they still make it hard to earn these hunks of junks. I went to a few carnivals with my father when I was little, but the first and I believe the only one I went to as a teenager was when I was 15 years old. It was late in the afternoon and my father asked me if I wanted to the carnival that night and of course I wanted to go like there was much else to do except sit around, sweat and watch TV. At least at the carnival I could walk around, sweat and try to earn tacky prizes. Well my father gave me some money and told me he would be off playing bingo and we agreed to meet outside the bingo tent in two hours. Lots of time to walk around and see what was going on. It didn't take me long to find the games with the metal prizes. There was one where you have to throw darts and pop balloons, but I forget how many you had to throw to win a prize. The other game was a ring toss with a bottle you had to get the rings around. Neither game looked easy, but without looking much at the prizes I decided to try the darts first because it looked easier. Again I am afraid that I have forgotten exactly how many balloons you had to pop to get a prize, but you had to get several to get any prize. Then there were levels of prizes like if you got a couple balloons popped then you get a tiny rock mirror which was actually just a very small mirror maybe the size of two baseball cards and it had a very cheap sticker slapped on it. I seem to remember ones like Duran Duran and Wham (yes it was that bad) and the best one they had was David Lee Roth, but it was like a green and white Diamond Dave that looked like his face was kind of warped. The best prize at this stand was a Twisted Sister muscle shirt and I was set on earning one. I do not throw darts very often, but after several tries I was getting the hang of it and after about $3.00 I had won a Twisted Sister shirt. So now I had a major prize, I had some confidence and most importantly I had money left. So I was ready to attempt the ring toss and see what else I could win. I stood back a minute and watched some other guys trying the ring toss. Again I cannot remember the specifics, but it seems like the hardest part was that the ring had to go over the bottle and then go all the way down to the floor. The bottle did not make this easy and rings would catch half way down hang there taunting you, but they wouldn't go all the way down. I was ready so I began playing and was struggling right away. I tried to relax, but I was spending a lot of money and winning nothing. Then finally a break through, had won one of there small prizes. These mirrors were different because they actually just a wooden frame with glass over a small poster so it was at least a real image rather than a green David Lee Roth. I selected a small Twisted Sister mirror so maybe it was time to quite. Wait a minute, wait a minute, they were changing some of big mirrors and bringing out some different ones. There I saw it, the Holy Grail of carnival mirrors, it was a large Ratt-Out of the cellar mirror. Yes, it had the cover of Out of the cellar in all it's glory and as a bonus it had the Ratt logo that had the rat with wires connected to it's head down in the corner of the mirror. My mind was set, I had to have that mirror and oh, yes it would go on my wall! I knew it would be hard to convince my parents to let me put it up. If I won a big mirror then maybe I should play it safe and pick a Van Halen mirror or the Scorpions because they just had the band rather than the woman on the Ratt mirror. No, I must have the Ratt mirror because it was calling to me well, actually I think being a teenage boy is what made me want that mirror. It took about $4.00 more, but I won that Ratt mirror. So for a mere $10.00+ I won a shirt that would fade bad after two washings, a small Twisted Sister mirror and the king of all carnival prizes the Ratt mirror. After many attempts of pleading I was able to talk my parents into letting me hang this Ratt mirror in my bedroom. Although I one day believed that I would have it on the wall of my living room like some trophy. I had it up in my bedroom for maybe a year before I took it down because my musical tastes were changing and Ratt were no longer towards the top of my list. The mirror set in my attic for several years and then in the early 90's I passed it on to Bob telling him to take good care of it because one day I might want it back for my living room. I have never wanted it for my living room, but I am greatly relieved to know that Bob still has it and it is still safe. Who knows, maybe in another 20 years I will want it back to put in my living room. Well, then again maybe not.


Blogger bob_vinyl said...

Other than my records, it's the best thing I have in my basement! It's still on the wall. Best of all, Linda hates it!

9:40 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Slight correction, forgot that the Ratt mirror came to me first! I had it on my wall for a long while too until I decided to make my walls all large flat posters. I took it down and eventually gave it to Bob when he expressed his desire to have it. Just had to interject that one! :)

Wonderful story, Mark. I remember my old neighborhood friend Shawn Rada won a Crue and Def Leppard mirror from those carnies an I had to get them too! Sure enough, I won Van Halen 1984, Crue Shout at the Devil, and I want to say Billy Idol Rebel Yell when they didn't have anything decent left...

7:23 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

On second thought, it may very well be the case that I traded the mirror back to Mark and then he gave it to Bob. I have pictures of my bedroom with that exact mirror on the wall. Mark, you and I traded stuff back and forth all the time. Maybe I got confused and that was the situation?

10:11 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

It's still hanging in the basement...

6:14 AM  

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