10/26/15

Marvel Granola Bars Made My Head Hurt...

Maybe you have seen MARVEL Granola Bars at your local store.  If you haven't, they come with a trading card on the back, which means insta-purchase around my house.  

But that's not why we are here.  Each wrapper has a character, and looks like this:
Below each character is a "factoid," which is all well and good.  Their website says things like "What is Spider-Man's favorite food?" and things like that, which, okay, I get it, kids involved.  No problem there...but mine said this:
Okay.  I guess I am a casual Hulk fan; he's always been around, and involved in many great comics, but he's not my thing, you know (however, my youngest is the biggest Hulk fan I have ever seen.  I even verified this lackadaisical factoid with him).  I just don't think I've ever heard anything about gills in all the comics I have read over the past decades.
I'm sure that Hulk has a huge, Hulk-sized pair of lungs, and, I'm also sure that he can stay underwater a long, long time, by my own standards (which is, personally, 0 seconds), but Great Ceasar's Ghost, I mean, Holy Snikkt, Marvel--or should I say, Con Agra Foods--let's not get carried away!!
I hate to belabor this point, as I've dwelt on it far too much over the weekend, but all I can continually picture in my own mind is this:
Or, to make a more company-relevant comparison:
I mean, that's just silly! Isn't it?

10/21/15

Diet Dr. Pepper Can with Godzilla T-Shirt Offer (1986)

Here's one of the most unusual items in my Godzilla collection.  I have seen the T-shirt on Ebay (usually in kind of dingy condition), but I must confess I did not know how it was acquired.  Here is a Diet Dr. Pepper can from 1986...with Nutra-Sweet!
Most of us probably remember the Dr. Pepper ad campaign, and cross-pollination with the GODZILLA 1985 movie, which resulted in a couple of neat commercials that you can still see on YouTube.  
If you sent them $4.95 before December 31, 1986, you could have had one of these swell T-shirts.  It's fascinating to me that there is no proof of purchase required--not even a receipt.  You could have just picked up a can, copied the address, and gone home to buy your shirt.  
Shirt image, from Ebay Australia.  The artwork matches the Godzilla Skateboard (mentioned here before by Sean Linkenback), which was apparently a contest prize.
Also, not only have times changed, but also cans.  Despite the blue label and choice of sweetener, this can is heavier than I remember, and more so than cans today.  I'm led to believe that the top and bottom are steel, while the middle is aluminum (or aluminium, for my UK readers).  There are traces of corrosion on the bottom that wouldn't happen to an aluminum can.  I wasn't smart enough to give it the magnet test, but I will have to do that! Still, quite a bizarre addition, and those are some of my favorite kinds.

10/19/15

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

Here is the last of the four sets of Godzilla Action Stickers, made by Imperial in 1985.  On the back of the header card (pictured above) is an item number (#8931) followed by a letter (in this case, #8931-C), showing which of the four sets is in the package.
In set C, we have Godzilla blasting a ship, blasting electrical or radio towers (like in his first film), and surrounded by tanks (like in his first film).  My scan was a little shiny, so here is another view from an old Ebay photo:
It took years to track down all four, and amusingly, the stickers were apparently put on their backing card upside-down:
If you want to see scans of the other sets, they are here:
Godzilla Action Stickers - Set A
Godzilla Action Stickers - Set B
Godzilla Action Stickers - Set D

10/16/15

My Boxed Kenner Star Wars Stuff (1977-83): Why the Star Destroyer Sucked

What's blocked out there is my refrigerator...didn't think it was relevant to the subject at hand.
As Star Wars mania continues to build to a fever pitch of insanity, and break all sorts of monetary records, now's a good time to show my own collection of original Kenner toys that are still boxed.  I still have 99% of my Kenner hoard from when I was a kid, and all of the original figures, but over time I have been lucky to track down some original boxes and paperwork!

The box from Darth Vader's Star Destroyer yielded a couple of interesting moments:
Kenner's design work was really unparalleled among toys of the 1970's.  They made it possible to bring Star Wars into our homes.  They engineered some amazing and ground-breaking things that changed the history of toy production.  This playset wasn't one of them.  It was supposed to combine the bridge of the Executor with Vader's Meditation Chamber, but it came off as a strange, triangular "playset" with two narrow channels to stand figures in, that you really couldn't do much with.  It had a handle to fly it around, but moving that wedge-shaped oddity with no walls through space seemed bizarre also.  There was even a large cannon on the front, to further confuse the children.  One of my purposes upon acquiring it in 1980 was to re-enact the assembly of the bounty hunters, but even the package shows you that you can't really do that.  And, note the text calling him "Darth" still in 1980, like that was his first name!
Oh well, you can always re-enact Vader talking to the Emperor, right? Nope.  This was accomplished by a red plastic plank that hung from the ceiling, right in front of the huge canon.  It's a little baffling to try and get a giant hologram (of an old woman with a chimpanzee super-imposed over her eyes) out of a plastic rectangle with wavy lines on it.  
Also, "Darth talks to the Grand Vizier" is just an amazing line.  I realize Kenner was working way ahead of schedule, and subject to whatever documentation they could get from Lucasfilm, but Grand Vizier?! 

10/14/15

More Godzilla Puffy Stickers Discovered (1979, 3 Different)

It's always when you aren't looking for something, that you suddenly discover something new.  The world of Godzilla Puffy Stickers isn't very well-documented, which has become an unofficial mission of this blog.  Today we can add three more variations to that "world."

These are from the same unlisted manufacturer as ones we have looked at before, but a new assortment with different stickers and different header card artwork. This series ties in a little more prominently to the Hanna-Barbera animated show, although the main characters are nowhere to be found on the sticker sheets, as they were before.  (To see everything in a chronological line, see my side page called Vintage American Godzilla.)
The Item Number for this assortment (#1201) is different to any of the assortments with the artwork that we have seen before (such as the rack stickers, which were all #6000, including Godzilla AND the other properties that were licensed).  So, it's possible that this #1201 included other types of stickers, too.
One difference with these three is that they are all stamped on the back, to further remind you that they were MADE IN TAIWAN.  Another difference is, the first sets we looked at came with pre-printed prices (59 cents), while these leave blank spaces for stores to fill in their own.
This second set has identical artwork to the Puffy Keychain display we have looked at before (they have removed the chain through Godzilla's dorsal fin, thank goodness).  No surprise that the keychains are made from the same artwork as the stickers, and also don't list the anonymous manufacturer.
Key Chain Backing Card
The third set features a water-skiing Godzooky, as if that would motivate anyone to buy a product...if I'm honest, though, in the 1970's, this would have sold them, and if I'm being completely honest, the 6-year-old me would've wanted them.

So the question is, are there more variations to be found? I wouldn't be surprised...and if so, I will be buying them!

10/12/15

Godzilla: King of the Creatures! Jigsaw Puzzles (American Publishing Corp., 1977) 2 versions

Today we look at a really cool, but sort of out-of-left field Godzilla item that was produced in 1977, by APC (not the plastics company, but American Publishing Corporation).  Off the top of my head, it is the only Godzilla item that the company seems to have made...and, it came in two different versions.

First up is the boxed version of the puzzle, which was 81 pieces, and easier to complete.  Apparently I never took proper photos, and just nicked them from an auction several years ago, but hopefully these will be enough for you to see the puzzle.
You will notice right away, when you see the finished puzzle below, that the box contains more artwork than the puzzle gives us.  This mystery was solved for me just recently, when I finally obtained the other version, which we will get to in a moment.
Here is the side of the box, showing the piece count of 81, and a copyright of 1977 via Toho, which should mean that our puzzle is official.  One thing that puzzles me (ouch! pun not intended) is their invention of the slogan "King of the Creatures!" instead of the tried-and-true KING OF THE MONSTERS, which has been with us since at least 1956.  (And of course, the image is certainly based on that very movie!) It's not a bad logo, and sort of has a FAMOUS MONSTERS feel to it. 
Here is the finished puzzle, which measures 11 inches square.  We don't get the complete train car at the bottom right, and there is a hint of a building, and the tops of flames...which is a perfect way to introduce version two:
Also available that same year was another version of this puzzle, which came in about the size of a chocolate-milk-mix can.  This version of the puzzle contains 200 pieces, which are smaller, making for a much more challenging build, considering all the darkness and sky.  In fact, I probably wouldn't have completed it without the help of my daughter!
Front of Can
Back of Can
And here is the completed puzzle, which measures 11 x 17 inches...aha! It appears there was quite a bit more to that artwork after all!
Of course, the depiction of the fleeing crowd isn't really stellar, but oh well.
One last item, the original price tag on the top of the can!
Hey, K-Mart! I remember K-Mart! It was somewhere I would go.  It was somewhere that had toys.  Now, it is just a museum of sadness.  I don't think my local store has changed the floor tiles or fixtures since I was born.
Interestingly, somebody snatched this puzzle for 93 cents, in 1977! I only paid about 75 times that!

10/1/15

THE SUPER DICTIONARY (Part Fourtymillionteen, and Also THE END)

Okay, if we screw up our courage (that saying just never sounded positive to me), if we believe in ourselves hard enough, and if we have a pocket full of antidepressants, we can conclude THE SUPER DICTIONARY today.  Isn't that the news you wanted when you rolled out of bed this morning? (Me neither!) But we can do this!
My life has improved so much since reading this entire book.  I taught my Children to clean the fatty stuff out of their ears, we now bake foods in the oven on top of fatty stuff paper, and this next holiday, I think I will take everybody to Madame Tussaud's Fatty Stuff Museum.
 Unfortunately, the scale didn't go all the way to CONNIVING JERKWAD.
My friends, this is your last time to view the amazing hero for our times, El Dragon.  Let's let our last image be of the fool trying to run all the way to the sun.  Yes.
This definition would make Yoda embarrassed, and his grammar sucks.
Plus, and I know I have said this before, but even if you are four-year-old, and you have to look up the word WHAT, then you are a moron, and there is no hope for you.
 Not that we have ever, ever had any context with these panels in the SUPER DICTIONARY, but it sort of makes you wonder what's going on here, doesn't it?
Annnnnd, here we go again with more racial-sensitivity embarrassment from this lobotomy-cluster disguised as elementary reference material.  You may remember, sometime around the letter B, we had a similar chortle at the word black, but does that really excuse it?  She looks sort of peachy-colored to me...certainly not the same as her teeth, nor the "color of snow."  Plus, there is a whole group of like 17 people who argue that white isn't even a color, but the absence of a color.  I don't know about you, but the absence of, say, a $100 bill or a handful of Chex mix certainly isn't the same as the real thing.
But we can't linger--that would mean that the SUPER DICTIONARY had won, and we are nearing the broken-glass-covered finish line!
 Because................it's him? His own self?
Wow, things went downhill for Krypto when they stopped using him for several years.  After touring with Led Zeppelin, he was another O.J. Simpson houseguest, finally winding up as party companion to Charlie Sheen (which explains why his head is several sizes too big for his body). The rest of the details, I do not want to know.
So here's a guy who can simultaneously hear the screams of dying infants all over the world, but is so bored, he decides to free-fall to earth without footwear.  As if boots have any bearing on super-invulnerability.  (No Super-Socks, though, which is...interesting.)  All this is, is another pointless thing to prattle on about while standing around the water cooler at the Hall of Justice, while everyone pretends to care, but secretly curses how indestructible he is.
She planned to protect them, but a giant hunchback with a red thing glued to his face appeared, and they both fainted faster than useless Pokemon. 
SUPERMAN: "And, I am so amazing, I also have heat vision!"
DOCTOR:  "Gyyaacckkgghgggg"
Well, it's a day in the life for Robin, of course.  His "cape the color of lemons" isn't helping his (alleged) masculinity much, but hey, they didn't mention his tights!
Because the Joker is about to break into song-and-dance again? This panel eerily predicts the Michael Jackson "Smooth Criminal" video so accurately, I got temporarily spooked.
Ignoring the giant purple Dalek behind Robin, here's another "art" lesson, kids, which can be summarized as: DON'T.
It's funny, but besides the famous Lex Luthor "forty cakes" panel, this was the other panel I saw somewhere on the Internets, long ago, and it made me want to track this book down.  And it ended up being our next-to-last panel...In hindsight, this was a truly terrible idea, and years of therapy could not undo the damage this book has caused. Some ideas are like that.
Four-hundred-and-eighteen mind-numbing pages later, we have arrived at the end.  
I was so relieved, I almost didn't notice the worst definition of zoo in history, or the fact that Black Canary is doing the Vulcan thingy to Batman's head...or that Green Hawkeye is having a seizure of some sort.  Or that the malformed giant white arm behind Superman is supposed to be connected to Green Lantern...or the fact that Wonder Woman's had a growth spurt....or the way they spelled goodbye as if we were taking dictation for Shakespeare.
But, you know what? None of this matters!  Because it is over! Good-by, and good riddance, SUPER DICTIONARY!