Huckleberry Finn (Power Records, 1970s)

You know, I love Power Records.  For many of us, it returns us to the lost form of entertainment from our childhoods, the book and record.  While that is a good thing, this one is pretty awful.  Fortunately for our purposes here, that means it is still completely entertaining.
Often, Power/Peter Pan had some great voice talent, and that's not really the problem here...I would call it more of a "production" problem.  For example, somebody's fooling with the speed controls the entire time, to get Huck and Tom Sawyer to sound younger, but they come off somewhere between "chipmunk" and "Oz midget."  I was going to use the word "creepy," but instead I saved it for the character of Jim, the "runaway" "slave" (neither of which are actually true, it turns out).  Words fail me to describe what they attempted to do to his voice.  I can only assume there were no middle-aged black men around, so instead they tried to use some sort of filter to make the guy they HAD sound older and deeper-voiced....instead it comes off synthesized, scary, and downright demonic....exactly like this:
Starring the Decepticon Scourge as the voice of Jim, the runaway slave!
I really shouldn't go into the fact that the plot is a mishmash of ridiculousness...I should probably be fair and say that it is a very difficult thing to condense part of a Mark Twain novel into a short book-and-record.  But there are plot holes aplenty, and people are pulling random crap and switching costumes* left and right like Bugs Bunny. But hey, there isn't one racial epithet to be found. So there's that.
[*I mean it literally with the costume thing...the discussion with the con men is, "Hey, let's do Romeo and Juliet, since we're broke," and the subtext is, "Sure, since we have it completely memorized, have all the costumes, and have rented a theatre with the money we don't have." It's stuff like that.]

And then there's the part where Jim transforms into some sort of flying boat-thing and shoots everybody. Somehow, I think that A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court would have made a much better Power Record. 

Thank you, Power Records, for all of the great recordings you gave us while you existed.  This isn't one of them.
Enjoy, and I dare you to try NOT to think about Decepticons while you do. 


Yutaka Godzilla Set (1992) and Quarter-Machine Kaiju

We have a lot of new audio coming up in the near future, so before all that begins, I wanted to finish this round of The Sphinx Collection Tour (in other words, I took several photos last time, and I wanted to use them all). Continuing the theme of "small rubber kaiju representations"...
This set was made by Yutaka in 1992, and was so worth it.  They are closer to 2" in height, and have lots of detail, both in the paint and the sculpts.  Also, they give the buyer a little variety in some of their choices.  I always like to get another Angilas, but I can't say no to Baragon!
Back view of the package--there's also a cardboard diorama of the cityscape shown on the back.
Now these guys are a different story.  In the mid-1990's, I put a quarter in a machine at my local TRU, and out came a tiny Godzilla...many quarters followed! These are really just bootlegs, but they may be copied from an actual product.  I had to finish the set by buying a group online.  Here we see King Ghidorah, a red Godzilla, and a lumpy Megalon.
Followed by Titanosaurus, Hedorah, Varan, and King Caesar, whose eyes are so sloppily painted (raccoon), it's ridiculous.

Yellow Godzilla (no different than the red one), Angilas rearing up on two legs and ALMOST looking like Gamera without tusks, Baragon, and Mechagodzilla.
Gabara (odd choice there), deformed and messed-up Godzilla (come on bootleggers, where's the quality control?), and a Kong that I added from a different quarter machine (he just goes well with these others).
And speaking of bootlegs, here are some small Ultras I found at a Science Museum Gift Shop years ago, in a bin of "Spaceman Toys." Overall they are good, but the King has a crappy paint job. They are about an inch or so high.
These are they kind you usually see; they are bigger (around 2") and better-detailed and painted.  If they are official, they have no markings to identify them as such. I've always assumed they were Southeast-Asian bootlegs. (Why can't I walk outside and find street vendors selling me such things here??? Oh Fate, you are so cruel!)


Bandai Monster Legend Museum (1997) Set "B"

Today we continue our up-close look at one of my favorite Bandai releases, the "Monster Legend Museum," set "B."  This set offers 20 more kaiju, in an orangey-tan and dark blue, with the two odd light blue colors thrown in, exactly like the first set.  I have to say, I very much prefer the black and silver of the first set, but it does help to organize them quickly, so I guess they had their reasons.
Group photo of set B. I don't know why the Godzilla on the right is out of kilter. My tesselation skills have declined.
Three more Godzilla designs; different amounts of toes again.
Junior squaring off against Destroyah.

Mighty Gorosaurus, King Ghidorah (the "other king of the monsters"), Fairy Mothra, and Battra larva.  I just realized that the light blue figures are from 90's Mothra films! Clever Bandai!
Megalon, Mechagodzilla (original), Biollante, and Titanosaurus.
Fire Rodan (in flying pose), Hedorah, Destroyah in crab form.
Kamacuras (or Gimantis, depending on where you grew up), and Dagahra, which I confess I had to look up because I haven't seen Mothra II in some years.
Beautiful Baragon and Gigan! What a pair.
Oddly missing from this "Museum" are Manda, Minya, and Spiega (or Kumonga, depending on where you grew up).  I may sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I have a theory that Bandai doesn't want fans to be able to own a diorama of DESTROY ALL MONSTERS for some reason..it just never works out in any scale. Something's always wrong, and somebody's always missing.  I don't know why. If they released a boxed set tomorrow of all eleven monsters, in the right scale to each other (I mean you, Minya), and it was $500, I would sell something to own it.  It's just that simple!


Bandai Monster Legend Museum (1997) Set "A"

Back in 1997, Bandai issued these two really cool sets, of 20 kaiju each, which loosely translates to the title I've given here.  The boxes were identical, except for a tiny "A" or "B," which made it a little tricky for us English-speakers.  They came with twenty highly-detailed rubber monsters, some of which you had to assemble (it is still tricky to this day getting the right tail on the right Godzilla), as well as a large card showing eight small pictures of Japanese Godzilla movie posters.
Today we are going to look at Set A, which is mostly black and silver, with a couple of light blue monsters thrown in for no apparent reason.
The Japanese characters after the "A" apologize for taking all of your money, while laughing at the buyer at the same time...weird, huh?

Set "A" group photo!
I have never found the perfect way to display these awesome little guys--by the way, I should mention that they are all around an inch-and-a-half tall. With that in mind, we will now look at them a bit more closely, so on with the show...
Four Godzilla suits--notice that one has four toes, and the rest of these, three!

Mecha-King Ghidorah, original Rodan, original Mogera, and poor, overlooked Magma! We haven't forgotten you!

Hush, kids! Don't disturb them! It's a mama and two babies!
"Death Ghidorah" from the first 90's Mothra movie, Water Mothra from the second, Spacegodzilla, and Ebirah!
The ever-faithful and amazing Angilas, Mechagodzilla II, and Varan, who we also haven't forgotten!

The 90's version of MOGUERA, Battra, and Little Godzilla! Awww!
Well, that's all twenty, because the two Mothra larvae count as one, apparently--but thanks, Bandai, for giving me twins, so I can re-enact the ending of what we call GODZILLA vs. THE THING! Next time we will look at set "B," so stay tuned.


Engrish of the Week: The "Airsoft Sport Gun" Instructions

All of us have been in a flea market, thrift store, or back alley at some point in our lives and seen these types of things...you know, the cheap, loosely-shrinkwrapped, bootleg items from Asia that try to pass as popular products, only for a fraction of the price.  They are designed to catch us at our lowest point, and fork over our rapidly-devaluing American currency.
Well, recently, at one of those places mentioned above, I broke down and bought what I hoped was a fun toy, for the price of five bucks.  The cheaply-screen-printed box, which I should have photographed, said it was an "Army Airsoft Pistol," and nothing could have been farther from the truth.  If I hadn't have thrown it into the trash angrily, I would have taken a picture of it.  It looked something very close to this:
Imagine this in Herve Villachez's hand.
The problems were legion. First of all, the grip of the pistol was about an inch and a half, which should have been obvious to me.  So it's hardly a "pistol." As if this didn't render it useless enough, there is no "Air" involved in this "Airsoft," rather, you pull back the top portion of the gun to set the tension on a spring...this is roughly equivalent to the spring inside of ballpoint "click" pens...McGuyver could have made a better gun out of one of those pens.  It included a few dozen hard plastic orange pellets, which were bigger than standard BB's...I completely forgot to mention there is no way to LOAD the thing, other than roll one of the orange pellets into the barrel of the cocked weapon...just like real guns, right? You know how you have to cram bullets down the...no, you don't. Because nobody does that. Anywhere.  
So now, you have a loaded "weapon" that is ready to shoot...as long as you hold the barrel perpendicular to the ceiling, because if you don't, your "ammunition" (which may or may not be fruity candy) will fall out.  Look out, Neighborhood War Games, because you are one dangerous mother at this point.
Actually, not really.  Pulling the trigger will indeed launch the beanbag filler, but not very well, and not very straight...part of the problem probably has something to do with a handle that is not long enough for the average human who is above the age of six months.  And the strength required to actually "cock" the thing is somewhere in the area of Circus Strong Man, so we are left with an interesting paradox.
Enter trash can.  So why am I telling you all of this? Because my five dollars turned out to be well-spent after all, because the "Instructions" were a veritable cornucopia of mangled-Engrish entertainment! Let's take it one piece at a delightful time:
First off, is "Airsoft" a sport? Do people congregate in fields and shoot each other with BB guns, like the kid in school your mom would never let you play with? Is this a thing?
As if you don't know what you have just purchased, the opening sentence tells you. "This product is an airsoft airgun."  Do you know any "pers on(S)age eighteen(18)"? If you don't, you at least need some ADUIT or PERENTAL help.  Also, make sure you call your local police station and ask what their REGLULATIONS may be...they love taking those sort of calls.  They really do.
Lastly, we are advised to read the manual, which is one side of one sheet of paper.  I would have said, "since you are reading this, we can move on now."
Make sure you go to the sporting goods store and buy a $50 padded gun case for your $5 toy if you are going to carry this in public.  (Really this is so no one will laugh at you.)
Also, enjoy it in your "handling training," whatever that may be, or "movie and theatrical production application," which is basically just stringing English words together randomly: "Enjoy in your Methodist swordfish arousal activity."
Oh, and make sure you ask your "airsoft dealer" where the local shooting range is..."Excuse me, 400-pound cat lady with scabies, who sells outlet-mall crap that fell off a truck in front of her house and now has a booth at the flea market, can you direct me to the nearest Gentlemen's Gun Club?"
Lastly, to store it, unload it (just point it at the floor, your one bullet will fall out), remove the batteries and gas that it doesn't even have, and lock it in a $2000 gun safe. NOW you can go into the Federal Building.
The lower half of the sheet is a huge grid of nine illustrations.  If it is a "good" thing, then the square is marked with a huge "O," which of course is the International Symbol for Stuff You Are Allowed To Do.  If it's "bad," then you get a huge "X." The safety elements are wasted on me, because all I can think of at this point is Hollywood Squares. You'll see at the end, when it's all together. 
This first warning says that you are to wear giant, Yoko Ono sunglasses every day of your life, because somebody just MAY be randomly shooting you in the eye.  My problem is, what have you accomplished if they shoot an inch lower? Nevermind, because it's a big "O" for this square.
Now things get serious...it's important to remember: never, never, NEVER barndish (or fier) your toy gun at anyone...mostly because your "bullet" won't travel at the distance shown, and you will be laughed at.  Notice how the guy's pistol has suddenly become an uzi at this point. "X" !
Also, if you do, handcuffs will fly out of a car tire and land on your wrist, but don't worry, one half of them will be closed.  Also a huge "X" ! (Imagine the Family Feud buzzer at this point.)
Make sure you READ THE VERY PIECE OF PAPER YOU ARE HOLDING AND READING AT THE MOMENT YOU ARE READING THIS.  Now they tell us! I also notice that the one the guy has is totally blank, and I can't help but think that he is getting better information.  "O"! (By the way, you can keep track of our hero here, because he has a nose.)
Great. Somebody didn't read the manual! Oh, and his gun has turned into an AK-47 suddenly. BUZZ! "X"!
So NOW he decides to read the manual, and he murders his neighbor, who has a coffee mug for a body, one-handed with an assault rifle that shoots plastic balls.  It could happen. "X"!
I swear this guy is going to have a Howitzer by the next panel. This whole paragraph is a clustertard of Engrish delights.  It's main tenet is an eternal truism, though: if you are going to tansport it, make sure it's not cocealed.  That says it all. Circle gets the square!
We've all had these days...you are in the prison workshop, taking apart your assault rifle with a barbecuing tool, and what happens? Well, mister, you have just voided the warranty you didn't have! That's right. Didn't you know you are supposed to go to an autherized center only? Nevermind that you didn't feel like driving to Malaysia for the day...you tried to remove the orange Safety barreel, and that is marking a tederal offense! Good thing you are already in jail! "X"!
And lastly, PLEASE install the safety plug that the gun didn't come with...what? Oh, nevermind that other thing, it's just an Optional part anyway. We don't know how it got into the diagram.  Whatever it is. "O"!

As you can see, it turned out to be the best five bucks I've spent in a long, long time.  Here is the completed "manual," for your further enjoyment:
 Also please note that "X" won the game with a vertical Tic-Tac-Toe down the middle of the board.  They went home with a stereo set, the 18" color TV, and the Hawaiian vacation, but it had a sad ending.  They forgot to wear their Yoko Ono glasses, if you know what I mean...!


Nu-Card "Horror Monster Series" - #135, Rodan (1961)

This mint specimen just arrived in the mail.  This card is from a different series of trading cards than the purple cards I scanned recently.  This series was made by Nu-Card, and began in 1961 with a green-bordered series, followed right afterward by an orange-bordered series, and continuing the numbering.
As you can see, this series also included a "Horrible Joke" on each card...


Godzilla Puzzle and 2 Card Games from Japan!

I'm happy to say, there's about to be a new Leaping Fox release (probably tomorrow)! Meanwhile, let's look at a few of my recent additions:
First up, the Mecha-King Ghidorah puzzle from Far East Monsters, a company that I really miss. I was a huge fan of the "Destroy All Monsters" statue series, and I was heartbroken when the company folded, and we weren't going to get the rest of the planned diorama showing all eleven kaiju together with interlocking bases.  The Godzilla and King Ghidorah that they did make sit proudly on top of my display case though, and I enjoy them to this day!
The artwork is stunning, and the puzzle is huge, as the box says.  It's a lot more challenging than I thought, and the absence of a straight border makes it even more so.  The puzzle includes a Puzzle Guide, which is an enormous poster of the artwork, printed on super-heavy paper, and suitable for framing!
Next up are two card games from Japan.  One is dated 1993, and I believe they are both from that time period, because they feature the 90's Mechagodzilla and nothing later than that.  They are both made by "Papel Creations," and I was fortunate to buy both in sealed boxes.  The downside is, as always, that the instructions are in Japanese, and I'll have no clue how to play them! This first game includes one deck, in a handy and protective plastic case (I wish Americans gave their products half the consideration that the Japanese do!).


Next we have the second card game.  This one includes two decks, also in the considerate plastic cases.  While the first game had brown card backs (see above), this one featured red for one deck, and sort of a bluish purple for the other.

This second game features more "classic" pictures, and older characters.  Both games have multiples of each card...in the second game, there are different values, some with negative numbers, and the lack of text leads me to believe it was a math-based game, probably for young children.

It makes me wonder--can the two games be used together? Maybe not, but I will probably never know!
Stay tuned; ye olde Leaping Fox is coming out of hibernation!