Boombox Cinema
September 26, 2009 4:27 AM   Subscribe

By 1989 the boombox had established a fairly stable place in the pantheon of pop culture cinema, with the releases of both Do the Right Thing and Say Anything. Can you remember seeing (and hearing!) the machine in earlier films? I'm especially interested to learn its earliest appearances.
posted by billtron to Society & Culture (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Star Trek IV in 1986 had a scene with one.
posted by reptile at 4:30 AM on September 26, 2009

Pretty sure I remember the boombox showing up in the 1979 film "The Warriors" although I can't definitively confirm that.
posted by jeremias at 4:39 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mentions of the Boombox in Songs, Movies, Television, Film and Print

They've got the earlist movie (mentioned, not sure if shown) as The Survivors, 1981
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 4:42 AM on September 26, 2009

Godbless the internet. Boombox in "The Warriors" confirmed.
Around 2:35.
posted by jeremias at 4:43 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Steel Pulse, "My Radio," from Earth Crisis, which came out in 1984.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:43 AM on September 26, 2009

Not the earliest appearance, but there is a memorable boombox scene in Bad Boys (1983).
posted by marxchivist at 4:47 AM on September 26, 2009

Boom boxes were already extremely common by the time of Breakin' (1984).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:56 AM on September 26, 2009

A gentleman in History of the World: Part I (1981) wanders through the square in one of the ancient Rome sequences, with a boombox blaring "Funky Town," by Lipps, Inc.
posted by steef at 5:02 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Beat Street, from 1984, immediately springs to mind.
posted by sueinnyc at 6:06 AM on September 26, 2009

Not an appearance, but mention of a boombox: I remember an episode from WKRP (according to the wicker that would be 1978-1982) where Johnny Fever is talking on-air about a boombox on your shoulder and how the crowd will part like the Red Sea.
posted by philfromhavelock at 6:31 AM on September 26, 2009

Times Square (1980): Nicky's boombox is the one piece of property the cops let her keep, she plays "I Wanna Be Sedated" by the Ramones on it at top volume while running through the hospital to find Pammy, and it becomes a central item of decor when they move in to Pier 56. The film was shot mostly in October and November 1979.
posted by Devoidoid at 7:13 AM on September 26, 2009

The 1982 hip hop movie Wild Style features multiple boom boxes.
posted by googly at 9:05 AM on September 26, 2009

Here is the Flashdance scene from 1983, featuring breaking and a boom box.
posted by smackfu at 9:56 AM on September 26, 2009

In the 1980 film Fame, Leroy is listening to a boom box with headphones attached. The teacher turns it off and informs him "in the future, Mr. Johnson, you will leave your ghetto blaster at home." (Don't know if it was a regional thing, but I live in the Detroit area, and these types of radios were referred to as "ghetto blasters" long before they became "boom boxes.")
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:24 AM on September 26, 2009

The Wild Life - 1984.

And yeah, Ghetto Blaster preceded Boom Box. First time I recall hearing the term was 1980, Toronto, from a 12 year old girl who went to a Catholic school.

By the end of the 1980s, of course, "ghetto blaster" was no politically correct.
posted by philip-random at 3:24 PM on September 26, 2009

1985's "White Nights" had the boombox playing crucial dual roles as a dick-measuring (metaphorically) tool between Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov (sp?) *and* for fooling Soviet surveillance bugs.
posted by Thistledown at 10:43 PM on September 26, 2009

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