9/21/18

Children's Godzilla Mask (unknown!)

Here is a plastic Godzilla mask that I am afraid I can't tell you much about, other than it's official! I bought it from a woman who collects vintage Japanese toys, and she had no further data, besides that it's charming and in unused condition!

9/6/18

GODZILLA Large Puffy Stickers Store Display (Item #895, 1979)


Here is another variety of Godzilla Puffy Stickers (you can see a store display for the packaged versions of these "Large" stickers in this post).  This is an odd-sized store display, measuring 10.25 x 21.5 inches, and was intended to hang on the wall of a drugstore or dime store, allowing the customer to purchase one large puffy sticker at a time.  There are 36 stickers stapled onto the cardboard background, which is divided into a grid with blue lines.

Header Card Artwork
There aren't many designs in this series of stickers:  there are the four main characters, four Godzillas (as it should be), only one Godzooky (as it should be), the "Bathe Sphere," an Allosaurus, and a "Glump" (Stegosaurus), making 12 in all.  Note that the "Bathe Sphere" is the rarity in this display, but there was no rhyme or reason to their distribution, from other displays that I have seen.


A closer look at the stickers.  Each one is bagged in a little sleeve.


I doubt that I've tracked down all the variations of Godzilla Puffy Stickers yet, but I must be getting close, at least! 

8/13/18

Edison Cylinder #8249 : U.S. Army Lancers, 3rd Figure (c.1907)


These actually aren't completely uncommon; they are around, but this is the first one I ever remember running into.  I wanted to find one for both historical and collectible reasons.  It's cool to hold in your hand and think about how far the technology has come since Edison (tirades about modern music are on hold today).

In the background, one of the new Parry Hotter Lego sets my wife was working on...sorry!
What is even better, there is a website archiving these cylinders, The UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive, in case you run across one and want to actually hear it! You can hear all 1:27 of this one here.


8/7/18

The Things That I See (continued)

We haven't done one of these in a while, and these begin to pile up, so here we go.  Lots of Ebay sights today, but we start with one that was in-person:


We have seen this before, but apparently, in some foreign countries, you can add (or remove) facial hair, and create your very own original mascot. If you think Backwards Terrorist Luigi is interesting, check out our post from earlier this year to see his also-unrecognizable brother....

File this under "one typo can screw it all up":
Although, I have to admit, I would see GODZILLA vs. MEGATRON. Godzilla would win, of course.


These shoes are definitely "Irregular Choice." But then again, I went back to check, and they ended for $177.50, so perhaps instead of laughing, I should be gluing some Godzilla bootlegs to some of my wife's shoes!


Next, let's turn our attention to--

Gaaah! No! Just, no.

The best is for last, though:

Say what, now? I think we have a translation problem involved, here.

7/30/18

Vintage Godzilla Trading Cards (Nu-Card, Rosan, 1961 & 1963)

We have looked at a couple of examples from the purple series before (seen here), but the earliest American trading cards that feature Godzilla and some of his Toho kin are these series:

"Horror Monsters" (Nu-Card, 1961)


The "Horror Monsters" cards were a series from 1961, and the first half of the set had green borders, with the second half being orange.  Godzilla-related green series...or orange for that matter...seem to never come up for sale, at least by themselves, so this was a great score for me.  Unfortunately, no photos from KING OF THE MONSTERS were used, and Godzilla's popularity hadn't yet exploded with KING KONG vs GODZILLA, so the more recent GIGANTIS was used for a couple of photos.

#4 Back.  No kids bought these for the jokes.


"Terror Monsters" (Rosan, 1963)




This is the "Purple Series" that came in 1963 (I always wondered if the Nu-Card company simply became Rosan later on.) 

Another contemporary set with these cards was  "Spook Stories" by Leaf.  The cards are copyrighted 1961, but this is impossible, because the Godzilla photos included are all from KING KONG vs GODZILLA!

7/12/18

STAR WARS: the cutting room floor. (Leaping Fox, 2018)

I'm pleased to announce the completion of a project that I've been working on for some time, which began with a desire to have all of the deleted scenes from the first STAR WARS film in one place.  After beginning this endeavor, I realized that I couldn't leave out the outtakes...and behind-the-scenes footage...and bloopers...and it just grew from there.  I think the description from the artwork explains it best:
I went through a long list of documentaries, fan-projects, behind-the-scenes TV specials, DVD extras, and more, and edited out over 300 separate elements (ranging from 1 second to ten minutes).  Then, I assembled them in an order that follows the shooting script of the original "THE STAR WARS" film (before it became the revised 4th draft during filming).  There are certain bits that required guess-work, and were open to interpretation, so I made the best determination I could as to where each piece should go.  Sometimes, the pieces were montages from one of the sources (which are all listed in the credits), that could be left as montages, but sometimes, the montages had to be painstakingly chopped up to be correctly placed.

There are few actual, genuine "deleted scenes" from STAR WARS, but documentaries such as "Empire of Dreams" have given us scores of outtakes and alternate takes, and with original, on-set audio.  All of these were spliced out for inclusion, as well.  Blooper reels were also divided.

Lucas, amazingly, had the foresight to have an additional cameraman document the making of his film, showing us that a "Making of" TV special had been planned all along.  Although many of these shots even have sound, most do not.  In most of those clips, foley (faked sound effects done after the fact) was supplied, as it was for lots of clips in the "Making of Star Wars" TV special (otherwise, William Conrad was talking over the action, anyway).  Almost anything that wasn't genuine was removed.  Occasionally, you will hear some voice-over or narration, because removing it proved impossible or unnecessary.  

To supplement the silent parts, I resorted to supplying music from the original soundtrack, to save the viewer from long silent passages. I attempted to use the "correct" tracks as much as possible, but this is not a precise science, as the viewer will see.

I divided the film into twenty "chapters," and made a spreadsheet of every clip that was used, noting its source.  (Readers of this blog know that I am always concerned with "credit where credit is due," and if a clip came from DELETED MAGIC, I notate that it did.) The spreadsheet is included, as well as a chopped-up version of it that can be printed as a booklet to store with the DVD.  The custom artwork shown here is also included in the download.

A note on the quality.  As owners of the 2011 Blu-Ray edition of the Trilogy know from watching the deleted scenes, discarded bits of 40+ year-old film will not look pristine.  In most, if not all of these cases, this is the best that we will probably ever have.  I did compare sources to each other, so if something looked markedly better in one documentary than another, it became the clip that was kept.  Every source seemed to have different aspect ratios, as well, so care was taken to bring nearly everything to 16:9 for modern televisions and monitors.  There is no "bigger" or "lesser" version of this project; purists may become distraught, but the mp4 is all that exists.

The "film" itself is 92 minutes, but along the way, some clips refused to fit into the narrative of the story, or would have bogged it down (such as the first lightsaber test footage, which was a bonus video with the e-book version of Rinzler's "Making of Star Wars" in 2013, for example), but were still relevant.  These leftover clips form a 22-minute Bonus Feature that concludes the DVD.  This will be a separate video on YouTube, but included in this download.

Projects like DELETED MAGIC and, later, STAR WARS BEGINS were life-changing gifts bestowed upon the fan community, and I wanted to give back by sharing something that's never quite been done before, and something that can sit, with those projects, beside the original Trilogy on your DVD shelf, as a supplement.  I hope that it is thoroughly enjoyed, in the "fair use" spirit in which it is intended...and I also hope that somebody takes it upon themselves to make "the cutting room floor" for both EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI...because I just don't think I have it in me.
DVD Artwork (included in download)

7/10/18

SPACE ATTACKER Game Watch (Nelsonic, 1981)

After Pac-Man hit, and the Video Game Revolution had achieved maximum velocity, you were the coolest kid in school if you owned a Pac-Man watch that enabled you to "play the game" (well, sort of...it's a topic for another time, but there was more than one out there, and all of them were lackluster...the one I owned included tiny colored joysticks, one of which broke off right away in the little controller-nodule thingy). But, there were other options out there that enabled you to own a coveted video game watch!
Thus, Nelsonic's SPACE ATTACKER watch hit major stores' "Wish Books" that fall...I would be willing to bet that mine, which I got for Christmas that year, came from the late, great Service Merchandise.  
Not only did it have a light, calendar, and other digital watch features, but this watch had two things guaranteed to get every young boy into huge trouble at both school (where mine was taken away) and church (where mine was also taken away):  a cheesy video game, and a killer theme song.
More like "ear killer theme song," because when you held down the lower-left button, a shrill, out-of-tune, ear-splitting cacophony would ring out, and instantly let people in the next county know exactly where you were at that moment.  It was bad...in fact, worse than I remembered, even.
I remember kids in school arguing over what the song was supposed to represent, but I can now confirm for you that it was in truth a medley, and consisted of:  The "Twilight Zone" theme (in completely the wrong way), The theme from the "Star Trek" original TV series, and a little of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" from 2001....then, the whole thing started over.
But, it didn't matter, because after a few ear-stabbing staccato notes from the (sort-of) "Twilight Zone," the watch was usually jerked from your wrist by a nearby adult.
Now, understand that bumping that lower-left button was extremely easy to do, no matter how many times you were warned, no matter how you tried to concentrate and just do your math problems, it would always happen.  And, as if to really ruin childhoods everywhere, Nelsonic added another feature that meant instant punishment:  notice the lower two buttons under the screen, which are used to control the "game."  In normal "Watch" mode, if the left button (labeled DEMO I) was pushed, bumped, or breathed upon, the watch would enter--as previously stated--Demo Mode.  What the purpose exactly was for Demo Mode (besides causing spankings the world over), I have no idea, because as you can see, it showed you every position for every possible graphic in the game, which is dumb enough, but while doing so, the watch's "alarm" would ring out, as if you were being reminded to wake up.  Only, you were never asleep when this happened; you were always in church (as previously stated), school, or possibly, your great-aunt's funeral.

I planned to discuss the "game" in-depth, but it doesn't matter, because this game SUCKED.  A flying saucer would enter from one side of the screen, and pass overhead. As you can see, you are a small turret, and you have a stick representing the barrel of your gun.  You have exactly THREE positions you can be in to shoot down enemies.  Now is a good time to mention the fact that you have a PUSH-BUTTON to scroll through your cannon positions...are you in the "middle" position and you need to quickly go left?  You can't.  You die.  Are you in the "right" position, and you need to quickly go to the middle? You can't.  You die.

So, about these three positions--that means it's the same for the enemy, right?
Nope, because circled in the photo above are all the places that the flying saucers can be that you can't shoot.

True, they couldn't shoot you either, from those positions, but if you will, let me direct your attention to the RED CIRCLE OF DEATH. When the game began to speed up, the flying saucers would begin to cheat.  Their favorite move was to TURN SIDEWAYS, and then just land on you and kill you instantly.  Why is that even possible? Also, notice that "demo mode" shows FOUR DIGITS for the score...it is to laugh.  "17" was a good score for this game.

If I sound bitter, it's because I continue to be, but I had the last laugh on this thing, because I dug it out from storage, had the batteries replaced, and sold it on Ebay for $150.  Take that, Nelsonic!

Oddly enough, there are clone versions out there by other companies, and the game was even brought forward and sold as a STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN game watch...suckers.

As a public service though, I scanned the incredibly-rare instructions (admittedly, a large part of why I got so much for the watch, I'm sure), as the watch can be difficult to figure out how to set...so why not offer them here, just in case anyone needs them:


6/28/18

Godzilla "Mystery Minis" Vinyl Figures (Funko, 2018)

Uh-oh, Funko has made another adorable Godzilla product! Besides the "Pops," there has been one Godzilla "Mystery Mini" before, which was part of a blind-boxed set of Science Fiction characters.  This 3-pack is all-Godzilla and all new.  It's a Previews exclusive, which means comic shops only--but Amazon is also an alternative!
Aaaaaand speaking of Amazon, let's talk about the obfuscated "mystery" figure.  A couple of Ebay sellers had opened photos, and their figure was also the orange "Burning Godzilla." However, take a look at this photo supplied by an Amazon customer in their review:
Godzilla in 1954-ish color scheme? The question becomes, how many figures are in this line, anyway? The entire back of the package is taken up with stock art from the American movie--a film that's already over 4 years old, by the way--and gives us no clues!

What worries me is, the answer is probably "it's Funko." They have reinvented the art of collector manipulation!

6/25/18

"Magnetic Godzilla" (Jumbo Puffy Magnets (Item #2129, 1978)

You have to take this item with a grain of "Why?" because I can assure you, even in the late 1970's, a Jumbo Puffy Magnet caused consternation.  Yes, Puffy Stickers were a thing, and Character Magnets had long been a thing, but someone decided to combine the two, and this was the result.

An unopened one has been a minor "grail" item for me for several years now, in that the last packaged specimen eluded me:
The one that got away...fortunately, it was Godzooky.

When this one appeared, I leaped upon it, and I'm glad to say, it featured the much-preferred Godzilla.  "Jumbo" is a good word, and should be in the title.  The whole thing with header card measures 11.5" tall.  Apparently though, like the Puffy Stickers this nameless company also made, these were offered in different sizes.  About a week later, a loose example came up that I also bought, and it was much smaller:
Also, much Godzooky-er.
I do have one other loose example, which is also the "Jumbo" size.  It was in a display header card from an old gumball machine. It's elsewhere on this blog, but for completeness:

Back to the packaged Jumbo specimen at hand, here is a bit better photo of the header card:
On both this, as well as the packaged Godzooky specimen, the Item Number has a (reproduced) first digit that is written in, so there was some sort of running change or error in the numbering.

The magnets are pretty weak.  The small Godzooky will stick to the refrigerator, but needs to be undisturbed to stay up there, and would never hold up a sheet of paper.

Another "most wanted" item checked off.  Now, "KING OF THE MONSTERS Pressbook" moves to the top of the list.

6/13/18

Bootlego Ultraman and Baltan minifigures!

Yes, these are Chinese bootlegs, but they are irresistible ones...I was very surprised to see these pop up, as the people who produce "bootlego" have moved into lots of original directions. First up is Ultraman:

It goes without saying (or typing), but I certainly hope they produce some more of the Ultra Brothers in the near future.  I ordered two of these figures, and I'm glad I did, because the dreaded Quality Control issues definitely come into play with a figure that has such a complicated paint job.  I had to mix and match parts to make one passable figure...he's not 100%, but close enough.  You will see the leftover parts shortly, in a photo below.
Next up is the Baltan:
I hope they don't go too crazy with villain kaiju, but Ultraman definitely has some great and iconic foes to be made.  There is a design flaw in the giant claws, in that they won't insert completely into the arms, and with bootlego, if it "don't fit," you "don't force it."

Baltan attack! (Insert scary slow-motion laughing here.) Here you see some of the "factory error" parts that I couldn't use, including an Ultraman head that is so mangled and mispainted, it looks downright creepy!
"GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"

6/4/18

World's Fair 1982 Shopping Bag!

In going through a drawer looking for something ELSE this weekend, I uncovered this shopping bag from the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee! As you can see, Pac-Man was all the rage at the time.  I also remember a giant motorized Rubik's Cube that rotated as it "worked itself." Both those things were huge at the time.  I think this bag has survived so well because of the thick plastic they used to use!

By the way, I did eventually find what I was looking for:  a feather from a vintage Big Bird suit that a friend got for me 20 years ago! Mission accomplished, with a bonus.

5/25/18

40th Anniversary of the LEGO Minifigure

Here, side by side, are two minifigures, 40 years apart! On the right, the very first minifigure, the Policeman, from set #600, made in 1978.  On the left, the "chase figure" from the newest (Series 18) set of Lego Collectible Minifigures, who is based on him!  As you can see, this first minifigure featured a sticker on the body, rather than printing. Happy birthday to the Lego Minifigure!