3/27/12

Godzilla Movie Poster Collection (part three)

I have picked up more original, theatrical Godzilla posters lately, and I should (hopefully) soon be done with a complete set of everything that played theatrically in the United States (including GODZILLA 1985 and GODZILLA 2000). Here are my latest additions:
Whoops--the barcode isn't part of the poster. 
It's on the shrink-wrap of the frame!
First off, a word about the famous poster from the original, 1956 American version of the first film.  Real specimens are rare as hen's teeth, and can easily command a thousand dollars.  I have seen ONE real McCoy in the last several, several years on Ebay, and it was completely trashed....to make matters worse, the seller pulled it down, and didn't even complete the auction.  And yet, there are hundreds of copies on Ebay at any given time....this has to be the most-copied poster, and indeed, many of the ones on Ebay state in all honesty that they ARE reprints.  The problem is, some of these are done on big ink-jet printers, and they are of pitiful quality.  Some are photographically copied, and are quite blurry.  You will also see several of the 11x17" ones that various kaiju sellers offer.  These are excellent in quality, and very frame-worthy if you are limited on space.  They often come in huge protectors, sort of like expensive trading cards are put in. They are very affordable, and I would say nothing negative about them....but for my purposes, I'm looking for 27x41". So what is someone to do, who's looking for a full-sized KING OF THE MONSTERS poster?
I found the answer quite by accident, and the short version is, in the late 1980's (probably around or just after the time of GODZILLA 1985), a certain company offered a high-quality, super-sharp reprint of the KOTM poster, on heavy stock, and it's superb.  I bought one a few weeks ago from an honest Ebay seller....the problem is, many aren't so honest, and many THINK they have something really rare, when they don't at all.  In fact, there is one of these on Ebay right now, this week, for an $1800 Buy-It-Now....um, if this was a real 1956 movie poster, shouldn't there be some obvious clues? Or how about this: shouldn't it at least have FOLDS? Remember to use your head, folks, when you are looking at these types of things.  You should probably pay somewhere between $50-75 for one of these, and I can vouch for its awesomeness.
Next up is a real find indeed....I also recently scored an extremely nice 1964 GODZILLA vs THE THING poster.  This has been one of my top wants, and I've always been impressed with the marketing gimmick that kept Mothra a "secret" from the public.  Nobody does that sort of thing anymore! It's gorgeous.

Finally, for this round, we have a weird one.  There are two cases where classic Godzilla films were included in Double Features in the USA:  one being alongside another Toho film (MONSTER ZERO/WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS), and the other....not so much.  For some reason, GODZILLA'S REVENGE was paired with an obscure British pseudo-Hammer film called, in reality, NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT.  Leave it to America to re-title it ISLAND OF THE BURNING DAMNED.  Even though it included both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, the plot is--and I'm not kidding here--aliens land in the wintertime and make it really hot.  Sigh.
I haven't yet framed this one, but I think I'm going to fold it in half when I do so, and just display the important part.  After all, I am fast running out of wall space!
In fact, I have room for one final full-sized, vintage movie poster...but what will it be? Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion!

3/25/12

POPEYE - OYLE ON TROUBLED WATERS (Peter Pan Records, 1976)

Not too long ago, but then again maybe two years ago, I received an unopened copy of this read-along from a collector who was unloading lots of extra stuff from his collection.  I re-discovered this item over the weekend, opened it (remember kids: old shrink-wrap just KEEPS SHRINKING over the years!), scanned the book, and ripped the record.
If you were a child in the 70's, then your experiences often included items from Peter Pan/Power Records.  The very thorough listing in the back of this book only shows 45-sized items.  There were comic-sized read-alongs, and scores of long-playing albums, often using very talented actors. 
There are pros and cons to this Popeye story.  The biggest "pro" is that Popeye is voiced by the late, great Jack Mercer, and thank goodness for that.  And also, I have to give the artist they hired credit for a decent and passable job trying to re-create the feel of the Bud Sagendorf era of Popeye comic strips...in fact, it's unusual for this size of read-along that the entire book is done in comic-strip format, and that is interesting in itself.  There's also a bit of the KFS-era cartoon feel, in that we have "Brutus" rather than "Bluto."  (Still wish it was Jackson Beck, though.)

The "cons" are weird, though.  It's very sparse on sound effects...there's not even a whistle for the pipe-blowing at the end of Popeye's theme song; Mercer has to vocalize it.  The story is rather nonsensical and anti-climactic, and the title, while a decent play on Olive's name, has no meaning to the story itself, as she is just along for the ride, and there's hardly much of a ride.
The worst part to me is the deus ex machina of the whole thing...Popeye eats his spinach, SAYS he's going to do something magical, and does it, without so much as a sound effect to indicate this....and then Olive congratulates him on saving the day...all in one panel.  This could have been executed so much better!
Wha? Did WHAT?! Is he The Flash now or something?
But, at the end of the day, it's a classic Peter Pan read-along, so what are you gonna do.  Plus, it was fresh out of the package (but shouldn't brand-new, unplayed vinyl NOT be crackly? That is suspicious, like it was duped from another record....but I cleaned it up, so worry not). Enjoy!
Dig that poor kid's 70's Game-Show host blazer!


3/21/12

CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS Model Sheets (1978, Hanna-Barbera)

Note the Bat-8-Track Player (?) and TWO ACCELERATORS!
I have a real treat for you today.  Here is a set of model sheets from that seminal classic of my youth, CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS.  If I had to list the animated series that defined my childhood, the many incarnations of Superfriends would rank just under BATTLE OF THE PLANETS.  The Hanna-Barbera version of the Justice League of America dominated Saturday mornings (and afternoon syndication) for 12 straight years, and most of the 214 adventures are available on DVD....but not all! (Do you hear us, Warner Brothers??? Economy be damned; give us our Superfriends!)

Anyhow, these are pretty much solid awesome.  You will notice that some are from the first group of model sheets for the original series, and re-titled for this specific production (after all, the original Alex Toth designs continued to be used).  But that doesn't mean you won't get to see some really unusual items, such as the dashboard of the Batmobile, Clark Kent, and lots of things that were new for 1978, including Legion of Doom members!

Here's an interesting Factoid:  I read an interview yesterday with  Darrell McNeil, who was a young animator at HB, and he said the original concept for the team of villains was to be called "The League of Evil" and include Dr. Sivana (as Captain Marvel was to be included in the Superfriends at that time), The Joker, The Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Catwoman! You can read the interview, and many more, comprising an entire "history of the Superfriends" at this amazing blog I discovered, called Noblemania, at http://noblemania.blogspot.com/
"Solomon Grundy punch Solomon Grundy!!!"

3/7/12

Some of My Personal FAILs... (part three)

Actual image from dog-training book.
Not only is this "model" terrifying, but...anyone up for a game of PING-PANG?
I love it when Southeast Asia produces animated videos about American History. 
No wonder our children are stupid.

This is actually a page from a 1928 book of "Riddles" I found.



3/4/12

Ralph McQuarrie (1929-2012)


 It is with great sadness that I note the passing of one of my last living heroes, Ralph McQuarrie.  

My personal list of living heroes and luminary figures of unbridled creativity is dwindling at an all-too-quick pace.

I once wrote to him, and he sent me a page from his sketchbook, with a lovely hand-written reply, that I treasure to this day. Rest in piece, one of the last true Geniuses of this age.

In the book I wrote last year, THE CANTINA COMPENIUM, here is the paragraph I composed to introduce him:

"On the short list of names without whom we would have no Star Wars, McQuarrie’s name should be just under that of Lucas. Besides designing Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Stormtroopers, the droids, and several sets for the film, contributing heavily to the overall look of Lucas’ story, his amazing fingerprints are all over the rest of the first trilogy. His vibrant, painstakingly-drafted masterworks are true treasures, combining the lines and discipline of a master draftsman with the unbridled creativity
of a true visionary."