1/25/16

Sesame Street in 1970!


I found a stack of really pristine, hardcover Sesame Street books from 1970, when the show would have been turning 1 year old.  They have that great nostalgiac feeling of its early days, when there was a cruder, yet more exciting, feel to the show.  The Muppets had an enticing air of primitivism.  That surrealistic feeling of wonder always reminds me of my own childhood, and seeing these early segments still in rotation a few years later:
When there was Mr. Hooper.
And, Oscar was orangey-brown in the first season!
When Bert and Ernie were amazing.
When Cookie Monster was a Monster that ate Cookies (and sometimes lots of other things!)
And then there is this great moment that I found in the books:


1/19/16

THE CANTINA COMPENDIUM (2nd edition, 2016)

NOTE: Now revised--twice--as I had one oversight in the Comics chapter, and some major discoveries that had to be included in various places.  Imagine adding pages to the MIDDLE of your already-huge book...it tends to screw up your page numbers!

Why do we seldom talk about Star Wars around here?  Well, to put it mildly, because other sites do it better.  It was my first, true love, before (but just barely) Godzilla...ah, memories.  

But, when it pertains to our causes here at The Sphinx, it gets top billing.  Five years ago, in 2011, I wrote a "rough draft" of a "research project," collecting all of the information I could find over the years about the Mos Eisley Cantina.  The sources came from everywhere, including books, magazines, documentaries, comics, websites, you name it.  I was never completely happy with it, and in the five years that have passed, lots of better photos and some new information has emerged.  

Long story short:  it was time to do it right.  It's been an interesting journey of several months, but at last the book, the real book, is done.  

So, why read a 350+ page book about one scene of the original film? Not a bad question, and this is coming from somebody who rarely reads anything that's not comics....and certainly not anything without pictures (a double-major in English and History did that to me).  Well, if I said that it had almost 700 illustrations and photos, would that help?

Also, this version is completely re-organized, and very little of the original remains.  Here is the Table of Contents:
The first chapter looks at the evolution of the Cantina, and how it was featured in different versions and drafts of (what became) the finished film.  From there, we look at the two groups of men who created the actual masks used in the scene.  
Next, we show why it is impossible to accurately map the floorplan of the Cantina.  The fourth chapter deals with the actual filming(s) of the scene.
Chapters 5 and 6 are done in the format of an encyclopedia (you remember those, right?), where each customer of the Cantina is looked at up-close.  Where possible, concept art, reference photos, and original photos of masks are provided. We also look at the origins of the character's official name, as well as try to unearth the names of original actors.
In Chapter 7, every appearance of the Cantina in comics of all types are examined, with commentary.
The eighth chapter deals with Cantina toys and playsets over the years.
Chapter 9 deals with the dreaded Holiday Special, which only gets worse the further you investigate.  A short bio on each character is included.
Chapter 10 looks at the purposeful omission of Cantina information during the first year of marketing the original film.  The next chapter profiles different appearances of the Cantina in the media, such as variety-show skits, PSAs, and some surprises.
Finally, in Chapter 12, we examine Cantina Dioramas, and a full walkthrough of the process of building one is included!
Another improvement over the last volume was the Bibliography, which is now specific to each chapter, and includes links where available:
To summarize, no, you don't have to read it, but if you do, I promise you will learn something.  As I write in the Introduction, some mysteries will be solved, but others will be created.  There are little pieces of information, and anecdotes, scattered throughout books and websites, but this information has never been presented together.

I hope to make this book available on other sites (after all, I get absolutely nothing from it), but it's fitting that it is offered here first.  I hope it is enjoyed!

LINK (2nd Edition, Revision 2): the cantina compendium (2nd edition, 2016)

1/11/16

FAIL of the Day: "SUPERHEROES" by BlockTech

I don't know why I find so many hilarious things in the "cheap section" at the front of Target stores, but I do.  This is funny on so many levels.  I almost spent the three bucks for it, but in the end I lost interest.  
The funniest part of this are the names:  Revenge, Smasher, Falconman, Metal Man, and Lightning Bolt (of course, some of these are actual comic character names, but we won't go into that).  I've mentioned what I call "Grandmother Toys" before, because these are the sorts of items that are made to fool elderly people who need a child's gift, but don't pay any attention.

In the end, though, you have to wonder if there's anyone else this company wants to irritate, since they will be angering both Lego and Disney/Marvel...which between them own most of the world.  Why don't we just make fun of the dictator of North Korea or something, and go for a trifecta? Maybe include some "Bill Cosby is Innocent" stickers? It was nice briefly knowing you, "Block Tech!"

NOTE:  Now you can see a full review of this set......be warned! It's not pretty!