1/26/15

Godzilla Action Stickers [Set A] (Imperial, 1985)

Okay, three down, one to go...here is set A.  What's extremely interesting here is the presence of Mechagodzilla! That was a real curve ball from Imperial, and it's the only American item I've seen from the mid-80's to actually have another Toho character on it.  I wonder if it was specified in the license, or if they just didn't care, and did it anyway!

1/21/15

Blue Oyster Cult "Godzilla Live" 7-inch single (CBS, 1978)

Another item to cross off the Want List--here is the 7-inch, 45 rpm promotional single for "Godzilla Live," which uses the same artwork from the 12-inch version (a photo from GODZILLA vs THE SEA MONSTER, I believe), cropped down.
And here are the respective labels:

1/15/15

Hand-made Vintage Beany & Cecil Statue! (details unknown)

We are nearing the end of my trove of Beany & Cecil collectibles, and we still haven't even covered my rarest, and most unusual, piece.  And I haven't even had it that long! Last year, I was skulking my favorite thrift store, which I try to do at least three times a week, when my eye caught something at the other end of the store.  It was green, vertical...and my brain suddenly locked onto it.  As I began to head that way, walking faster, my strangely disconnected mental inventory began to suggest to me that it was Cecil, the Sea-Sick Sea Serpent! Could it be a Soakie (bubble-bath type vintage product) bottle? The next thing I saw was a wooden base...a lamp of some kind? There were such things...and by then, I was close enough to see what was lying beside it..........in pieces! Egads, the find of the century, and I don't even know what it is, and it's broken!
I began to pick up the pieces, my poor, disjointed brain still reeling in the throes of "thrift-store discovery ecstasy," and it quit sending me suggestions as to what I was looking at.  The largest piece was definitely Beany Boy...followed by a leg...and then a foot...and then some crumbs.  Was this thing even fixable?
Stream-of-consciousness thoughts began to form, and then taper off...did some disgruntled thrift-store employee just chunk it on the shelf, haphazardly?  Why, the nerve of...but then again, maybe it was the method in which it was donated, so it wasn't even packed right...or somebody died, and it was cleaned out of their belongings....or a maniacal ex-wife threw it out.....
I snapped back to reality, and began to carefully place the existing pieces together.  The good news was that it appeared to have broken in the store, so it should all be accounted for...and it was!  The pieces pretty much fit together very well, so this treasure could be repaired....but what in the world was it?
The ending to my thrift-store adventure was that I took it to the front, showed them it was broken, and got a 50% discount (yeah, I know, but I wasn't about to argue).  The girl did say, "well, at least you can restore it, and put it back together again!"
After carefully transporting it home, I took inventory of exactly what I had.  I neglected to take photos of the wooden plaque that was used for a base, but it had an old-looking rubber stamp on the bottom from a woodworking company in Dallas.  The address included a ZIP code, which means it the oldest it can be is 1963...which is just the base, of course.  It could have been added at a different time.
And now to the materials...exactly what was this object made of? I've had some experience with different materials, and the natural choice would be Sculpy, but the problem here is that both characters are SOLID.  The assembled statue is heavy, and there's no way that Sculpy would bake thoroughly...in fact, you would build over a "filler" like balls of tin foil because of that fact.
Take a look at these pairs of photos, both with and without a flash:

You can see that the innermost core of the material is yellow, and the outside is almost pink.  The characters are held to the base by large wood screws.  Here is another view:

The yellow color reminds me of dental-stone.  This is the material that was always used by dental labs to make positive models of the impressions taken of patients' teeth.  The problem with this theory is, dental stone is mixed up as a liquid, like plaster, and then pored into a mold.  There would be no way to do any sculpting to it, and the characters have evidence of some sculpting being done, and also exhibit several fingerprints from the maker.
The material crumbled pretty easily at the break, but was otherwise very solid and dense...was there some sort of modeling material sold in vintage craft stores that would allow for this sort of method?  It's certainly not plaster; it's the wrong color and completely the wrong density.
So, maybe some "real" sculptor's clay that has to be fired in a kiln?
Luckliy, everything came back together very tightly--and, I should point out, Beany's propeller somehow avoided any damage in the handling of the piece, which is a miracle.  I will admit to one other restoration, though--Cecil had no eyelashes, only blank spots where they used to be, and it made him look just WRONG.  So, a trip to a craft store to procure some purple felt was in order.
I've unearthed a few mysteries on this blog, and I hope I have solved a few as well, but you can add this one to the pile.  Was this made by a devoted fan? Is it some sort of maquette? How old is it? I hope the photos show the level of detail involved.  It's not only expertly painted (with some high-quality paints, too, as they have stood the test of time), but the detail is admirable.  Cecil has the baggy folds that suggest he is a puppet.  Beany is squatty and proportional.  And what in the world is it made of?  Something somebody smuggled home from work, bought somewhere, or had lying around professionally??? And how in the world did it get to the American South????
I'm just cynical enough to know that I will probably never get answers to these questions, but one thing is for sure:  I will treasure this piece, which will sit at the top of my Beany & Cecil items in perpetuity.  Whoever you are, just know it has found a good home.

1/12/15

Beany & Cecil Match-It Game (Mattel, 1961)

Another interesting Mattel item that was made for Beany & Cecil.  This is a large and colorful game, and I must confess when I first got it, I thought the goal was to fit pieces in that matched adjacent pieces all the way 'round, and once I read the instructions, I found out that wasn't the case.  (Nevermind that, if it worked the way I thought it did, it would be a pretty impossible kids' game!)
Besides the matching element of the game, it also had a board game component, as players advanced on a track of their color for each match they were able to make.  The playing pieces punched out of (and were stored in) the game board itself, which is always precarious for posterity...but somehow, they are all still here.
The instructions are below.  And like I said, it looks like the player only has to match, at least, one side, and more if possible (which moves you farther along the game board to victory).


 

1/9/15

Beany & Cecil Ring Toss Game (Pressman, 1961)

Mattel didn't make all of the Beany & Cecil items from the animated TV cartoon.  Pressman made their fair share as well, and here is a good example.  This is the Beany & Cecil version of the classic "ring toss" game.
The graphics on the metal base are really great, and I like how each of the five posts correspond to a particular character...but they even took it a step farther, as each character is interacting with their post in some way (Cecil's is in his mouth!).
For a long time, I had the metal board hanging on my wall, as it makes such a cool display.  It strikes me that I haven't seen a complete one of these games since I bought this one several years ago, but I'm sure the more they were played with, the less they survived!
Box art (photo taken years ago from Ebay)

1/7/15

Jumping DJ Surprise Action Game (Mattel, 1962)

This is a neat item, but it strikes me that for Mattel's Beany & Cecil output, especially what we have looked at so far, it's pretty uncomplicated.  Still, it's nice to see the villain of the piece get a game that features him. 
Speaking of Dishonest John, while this looks like a puppet, and would make perfect sense if it were, it's actually a head on top of a metal frame, covered in a black vinyl bag of sorts.  Basically, you push down on his head, and he later pops up at random intervals, which I suppose figures into the game play (this is the "Surprise Action").  The metal scorekeeper device is actually built into the box, allowing up to six people to play the game simultaneously (and it tops out at 250 points).
Here is the instruction sheet for the game, which sort of works like Old Maid.  You make groups of cards, being careful not to get the DJ card, which actually TAKES AWAY 30 points.
And speaking of the cards, they are the real stars here.  Four of each character are included, with the artwork directly in the style of the TV cartoon.
 The lower left card shows the design that is on the backs of all cards.  At lower right, the nefarious villain card that you don't want to get!

1/5/15

Beany & Cecil Record Player (Vanity Fair, 1961 or 62)


Here's a lovely item, and it brings back memories of portable record players--the kind that were in bedrooms, schoolrooms, and Sunday Schools.  Of course, record players never really fit into the definition of "portable," and if you had to also carry a stack of records, you had some heavy lifting to do, but it was still a wonderful time.
I had to do quite a bit of restoration to this one, as all of the images were printed on heavy stock, very much like wallpaper, and every edge was peeling, due to the ravages of time, and probably, storage.
Just look at that chunky stylus! It looks like metal, but it's actually plastic.  You can't really tell from the photo, but the two speeds are 78 and 45 rpm!

12/31/14

Beany & Cecil Cartoon Kit (Colorforms, 1962)

And now, back to the Beany and Cecil Onslaught...more than one generation of children grew up with Colorforms, amazing and simple playsets that allowed hours of fun and customization, long before computerization took over.  Colorforms were available in just about every franchise imaginable; I still have my prized Pac-Man and Spider-Man sets...no Star Wars though, although today I bet there would be.
The description on the box explains how they worked:
Colorforms sets consisted of a plastic-coated backdrop, which fit into the lower half of the box.  Pieces were stored on removable flaps that were held into the backdrop by slots.  This insured that everything had a place for storage, which is always a good idea.
For a Spider-Man set, the backdrop is a cityscape; for Beany & Cecil, it is the beloved "Leakin' Lena," naturally with some sort of body of water for Cecil to populate.  Now, let's look at the pieces included:
The first card holds Cecil, Captain Huffenpuff, and some accessories, although I'm a little confused as to what the little round thing is...a throwing star? A peppermint candy?  These were usually the first pieces to be lost, although the original owner of this set was pretty fastidious, I have to say...even the filler piece inside of the life preserver is still present!
The second card has the villain, Dishonest John (or "DJ").  It's cool that Colorforms separated his body parts, because it allows for more poses during play (or amputation).  We get two different poses of Beany (with separate Beanie), and some random pieces.  The bird is actually Crowy, who belongs in the crow's nest, but we also get an oversized mutant seahorse, a sweater (?), another fish, and a snail shell, which is a bit puzzling.
And finally, the booklet itself, which is a great find, because like the tinier pieces, this would also be completely discarded:
"Besides, Mother will thank you!" I can feel the teeth of a thousand feminists grinding! Can't Father be responsible for the little snot once in a while???!?!
Some of the other sets listed are interesting (well, okay, not Shari Lewis, that's nightmare fuel), and are from a wide range of licenses.  If you want them, all you have to do is ask your local "toyman." Wait, what?

12/29/14

"Variable UNCANNY EMBRYO Horrible" (Woy Wes, 1990s?)

I talked about this before, in a series of articles on bizarro Ebay items, because I really never thought I would end up with one.  Most opening bids are ridiculous, which is true throughout Ebay these days.  However, I recently bought an interesting lot of Godzilla items, and this was included, so Godzilla item + bootleg + Engrish = score!
One thing we can say about this item is that it was made to try and capitalize on the ALIEN(S) craze, which the box art clearly tells us.  After that, things start to get confusing.  Surely this was molded from an existing, motorized Mothra toy? But the question is begged...why?
And another thing:  the seller thought it was produced in the mid-to-late 1980's, presumably to line up with ALIENS, but I am thinking it's really from the 1990's.  Note all of the warnings and CE symbols, above.  Those make me think it's a bit later than first thought.
This thing is about a foot long, and, not surprisingly, is made of the cheapest materials imaginable.  The rubber body is very thin, like an inexpensive Halloween mask.  In fact, the plastic button on the left side of the picture (which I suppose anchors the body to the frame) crumbled when I was adding batteries, so there you go.
So now the question is, does it CREEP IN DARK? Well, yes, actually, but if you let this thing creep up on you, you are quite deaf.  I added two batteries, (which was very difficult to do because the battery chamber is undersized) and switched it on.  Not only did the eyes light up (green, which Mothra larvae eyes never have been), but it zoomed across the table about two feet, and then stopped, emitted a high-pitched groaning sound, and then folded in half, with its front half raised up (you know, like a Mothra larva about to spray silk), and then repeated the process.  The box art would have you believe that it flops erratically...?
This is cool, and all, but once again, it's nothing like anything from ALIENS.  But, after all, I suppose that's not the point of bootlegs anyhow, and I wanted a Mothra larva anyway. 
As a side note, apparently this item was also available in green, which I guess is a step closer to being "Alien," but I'm glad I got the, uh, taupe(?) one.
Random Ebay photo

12/26/14

Cecil in the Music Box! (Mattel, 1961)

This has to be one of my most prized possessions, and favorite collectibles that I own.  This is a unique jack-in-the-box made to tie in the with Beany & Cecil animated cartoon, and it's stunning.  It has no rust, no damage, works perfectly, and included the original box!
Front (and also back) artwork
The graphics are wonderful to behold, and of course, the tune it plays is the Beany & Cecil theme, which ends right before Cecil springs up.
Left side
Right side--note that three characters are repeated, but with new artwork
And now, on to the original box:
Front and back artwork
Artwork on both sides
Box lid artwork

Inside flap of box