8/25/16

Godzilla Color Bromide Set: Part 6, Gorath (1962)

 Another wise decision was made with the film GORATH.  There are only 4 cards, but all four of them prominently feature Magma, a kaiju who needs another outing.  Besides his appearance in an ULTRA Q episode (under another name), he's been woefully under-used.  (In fact, if you've seen that ULTRA Q episode, the plot is pretty similar to the photo above!)



8/22/16

Godzilla Color Bromide Set: Part 5, Mothra (1961)

Last Thursday, I had the privilege of attending the live-streamed Rifftrax presentation of MOTHRA in a local theater.  They are repeating it on the 23rd, and I highly recommend that you go if you can. It was worth every penny, and the guys still have it. 

Speaking of Mothra, she comes in at #5 in the Bromide set, and includes 8 different cards!









8/17/16

Godzilla Color Bromide Set: Part 4, Varan (1958)

There are six cards from Varan's movie, but once again, they all (wisely) are money shots--and, they have something the original film doesn't have: color!






8/16/16

Godzilla Color Bromide Set: Part 3, The Mysterians (1957)

For some films in this set, only a small number of cards were made.  THE MYSTERIANS is a good example:  there are only four cards.  In what was a smart move, they all feature the first MOGUERA.





8/15/16

Everything You Ever Heard About Twinkies is....Wrong???

At some point in your life, you have heard or read that there are enough preservatives in a Twinkie to make it last "forever," or a hundred years, or some such fill-in-the-blank number. That, after a nuclear war, it will only be cockroaches, which will subsist on all of the Twinkies, which will cover the earth.

You probably remember the ruckus several years ago:  in 2012, Hostess Brands company went bankrupt, and there was much internet anxiety about the disappearance of certain "snack cakes." (I ate these too as a child, but truth be told, when you study the crowds in a mall or airport, wasn't their disappearance really not such a bad thing? But I digress...)

Anyhow, I happened to be in a Target the night the news broke, and I bought one of the last boxes of "original" Twinkies, because hey, why not.  We all knew that some other company would rise up, buy the rights, or recipes, or...formulas or whatever, and start making all of the Hostess stuff again.  Looking on Ebay, there were thousands of crates of Twinkies everywhere for a dollar, so I figured I would just hold onto that box as a memento of another American company from my childhood gone by the wayside.

Actually, I completely forgot about that box of Twinkies.  It sat in the back of my pantry for four years, until my daughter found it this weekend.  When she brought it out, I thought, why not tear into it? They last forever anyway, right?
Um, nope:
I heard the sound of the box opening, which was followed by sounds of disbelief and disgust.  Not only were all of the "snack cakes" shriveled and petrified, but, as you can see, one particular offender was in even worse shape.
I suppose it's possible that the really nasty one wasn't sealed properly, and air was able to get in...but that really doesn't account for all its brethren.  When I say "petrified," I mean it.  Hard as a rock.  

I suppose I just point this out because it was rather shocking.  I sincerely doubt I would've let the Children eat such elderly processed pastries...BUT, let this be a warning to anyone who finds a box of Twinkies that are years past their Effective Dates!  It's just another thing to add to your list of things to worry about in these dangerous and modern times, isn't it?

8/12/16

Godzilla Color Bromide Set: Part 2, Rodan (1956)

Back to the Godzilla Color Bromide Set, the second film featured is 1956's RODAN, and there are 7 cards included.

People forget that in the original movie, there were TWO Rodans!




Aww, baby Rodan!!

8/11/16

The Very Best of Spike Jones (UA, 1975)

Here's a "best of" LP that isn't the usual "best of."  In fact, there is no "Cocktails for Two" anywhere to be found.  Instead, this collection includes tracks from Jones' later "solo" albums and singles.  That's not to say that the City Slickers are nowhere to be found, because they are here too. 
Enjoy!

LINK: Very Best of Spike Jones (UA, 1975)

8/9/16

Godzilla Color Bromide Set: Intro & Part 1, Gojira (1954)

Background information:  In 2001, a large collector's set called the "Godzilla Classic Box" was announced for pre-order through a Japanese bookstore chain, which arrived in 2002.  It included reproductions of posters and various ephemera, model kits, included a new vinyl Godzilla figure, and also included this boxed set, which I bought separately.  

According to my seller, the Godzilla Color Bromide Set was made by Kodansha.  You have probably seen bromides before--Japanese trading cards (a better word would be "pin-ups") that were postcard-sized, unnumbered, and usually completely blank on the back.  These days, for Westerners, they are a confusing and expensive item, and rarely come up at anything near a decent price.  We have looked at some high-quality scans in years past, on this very blog:  here and here.

Since those original posts, I have learned a couple of things.  According to my seller, these original cards were printed by Yamakatsu Shouten, which I am assuming is the same Yamakatsu that printed various sets of small-sized Godzilla trading cards.  Also, I had originally thought that there had been a series for each film, from 1954 to the 70's. But, as it turns out, it was instead one large set, printed in the early-to-mid 1970's. 

Back to this boxed set:  included are four bundles of bromides, as well as one large packet of 30 bromides in unmarked envelopes, held together with a green piece of twine.  I assume that this was at least one way that bromides were sold in Japan (Godzilla collecting is all about informed assumptions).  This makes a total of 214 included cards, because the sample card glued to the front of the 30-card packet is repeated in the set.  So, in the end, we have 213 different cards.
Here is the list of films, from the back of the box.  There are 19 different ones included, and we can figure out which ones they are pretty quickly from the years provided.  Some films have a large number of cards, and some films have just a few.

So the question is......is this set complete?  My original impetus for buying it was to figure out what was included in this classic card set.  Nowhere do I see the word "complete," but it would seem to defeat the purpose of such a set--and a high-end Japanese collectible--for it to be incomplete.  Secondly, my set included a handful of duplicate cards [EDIT: There are NO duplicate cards; merely some similar cards that at first glance, look alike, and a couple of included variations]. 
After going through and organizing the entire set, I'm comfortable saying it's complete.  I haven't found any vintage scans of Godzilla/Toho bromides that aren't included here.

So, assuming this set is complete, then we can start to have an understanding of what the entire set looked like (213 cards).  Today, we will look at the first film featured in the set, the original Gojira from 1954.  I love the hand-coloring on these old cards (which extended to lobby cards of the time period too), but you may notice an occassional slight blur on the reprinted cards.  We can compare them better when we match them with some of my original cards (linked to above).  I'm not sure why the blurriness would have crept in, as I'd think the cards were scanned instead of re-photographed for this set....but there I go assuming again.

GOJIRA (1954)
 Nine bomides are included:
Okay, I have to say this here:  this is a much-used publicity paste-up (hilariously with a woman added in Godzilla's hand), and in the street behind him are two large tires or something....doesn't anybody else see them as HUGE EYES? Like he is standing on another, more giant Godzilla? I have been meaning to ask this question for years.  I can never NOT see it.
...continued in Part 2!

8/3/16

Earl Scruggs 5 String Banjo Instruction Album (Poer International Corp, 1967)

Forget teaching birds to talk, or any of that.  Let's learn to play the banjo instead.  Of course, I said recently that you couldn't learn to play the guitar from a 45 rpm record, so why then would a longer format work for a more difficult instrument? I'd say the same applies, and it's equally as futile to try and tune a banjo to a record as it is a guitar.  As this record was in basically unplayed condition, I'd assume nobody tried it.
Once again, a book is meant to accompany this recording, but in this case, it was sold separately.  You will just have to enjoy learning from Scruggs' dulcet, Huckleberry Hound-like tones, which, being born in the American South, convey a sense of friendliness, to me at least.
He does cover a lot of ground on this one, as the back cover shows, and if you've ever messed with a banjo, you know it's a bit overwhelming.  Why anybody invented an instrument with a round body--which slides off your lap as you are trying to play it--I will never understand (probably some sort of sciencey reason).  Good luck!

LINK:  Earl Scruggs (don't we need an apostrophe here?) 5 (don't we need a hyphen here?) String Banjo Instruction Album (Poer International Corp., ES BIA-1, 1967)


7/29/16

Train Your Bird To Talk (Eagle Record Company, 1976)

Before you ask, yes, yes this is a real thing.  I'm not even going to make fun of it.  Well, okay, I bought it because it seemed hilarious, so there.  But what I can't do is tell you whether it works or not.  If you own a bird, you have a huge benefit over people that purchased this album originally:  you have the technology (to quote the opening of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN), and by that I mean, you can use the digital version of this album, set your device to replay it infinitely, and probably end up with a bird that says "HI, BABY" a thousand times in a row.  (Seriously, how 70's is that. I am surprised there's not a track for "What's your sign?")  There, I said I wasn't going to make fun of it, and now I'm getting off track.  Here is the back cover:
There's a helpful and serious article about bird-owning there, as well as a list of birds that talk, some of them I've never even heard of.  Here's a closer look at the tracks included:
They are nice enough to tell you that it's a female voice doing the talking, and it appears that she's not looped, from what I listened to.  Oh, and I should tell you about the music!  When you first start the record, you think you are in for an acoustic-prog experience, because that's what happens, but it fades down to nearly nothing when the woman's voice starts talking, staying on the very edge of audibility, until the end.  I was surprised at this, because I've read that birds will imitate most anything if they hear it enough (birds in pool halls make "racking and breaking" billiard sounds; my mother had a parakeet that would beep out the alarm-setting keypad noises)...so why would you include a bit of music on a record that solely exists for birds to learn from?
Eagle Records has the hits! We've got them all, including "How Are You," and who could forget "Hello Pretty Bird"?!...wait, that was "Silver Eagle Records" I was thinking of, a sort of K-Tel subsidiary back in the day.  Nevermind.

LINK:  Train Your Bird To Talk (Eagle, 1976)