FAIL Friday: Hilarious Bootleg Action Figures

Here are two amusing bootleg action figures that I have recently encountered.  This one got away:

Remember that time when Spider-Man, Batman, and Zorro fought a dinosaur in the desert that is in front of the Capitol Building?
This one, however, did not:

It's called BATMAN & SUPER HERO, but it's just Batman. Having a fashion crisis.  What's unfortunate is that we can't read the complete text behind him:

We can see THE STORY OF BANMAN BEYOND, and a paragraph that ends with something about "the Neural..." but we can't be completely sure of the Engrish content behind the sword-thing.

There is also an axe-thing:

Is that a giant fist that holds the axe-thing? What in the world are you supposed to do with it?


Absolutely Bonkers Bootleg EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Cover Description!

In honor of tonight's premiere of THE LAST JEDI (I don't know if people realize this, but this is the real turning point for Disney.  Everything else up to this point, opinions aside, has been based on nostalgia, and was pretty "safe".  This is them taking the reins, completely, for the first time.  I read that there were no co-writers, even, this time....it better be good, Disney, or you are dead to me.).

You will have to click and enlarge the above photo, but you are in for a treat.  We have looked at a lot of "Engrish" from time to time on this blog, but I think the above better qualifies as "complete gobbledegook."

This is from the cardboard cover to a bootleg EMPIRE STRIKES BACK DVD that was in my local Goodwill the other day.  Just the cover, because that's all there was.  No DVD, no insides that would even hold a DVD.  Just the cover.  Luckily, I snapped this photo of it.

Here is a summary of the three sections:
1) A review of EPISODE I, that was typed with someone's toes, underwater, and in complete darkness.
2) A block of Chinese characters...that could say anything.
3) A cut-and-paste of a forum post, or perhaps a relative's e-mail, stolen from somewhere...apparently to fill space.


GIGANTIS, THE FIRE MONSTER Pressbook (Warner Bros., 1959)

Here is the 1959 Pressbook for Godzilla's second Americanized feature, GIGANTIS THE FIRE MONSTER.  We all know that in reality, it was Godzilla's first meeting with Angilas (or Anguirus, if you are so inclined), but for the picture, the monsters were renamed to Gigantis and Angurus.  A superb woodcut-themed art campaign was crafted for WB's striking posters and ads, which you can see in the following pages:

You will notice the mention of "teaser" ads; apparently somebody at Warner Bros. thought highly enough of their investment that they did a rare thing, at least for Godzilla movies:  they issued a "teaser" poster....today, this is business as usual, of course, for any "special effects" film (read: "CGI cartoon").

Unfortunately, in many areas, GIGANTIS was lumped into a double-feature with the lackluster TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE.  Wikipedia says that in some places, the second film was actually RODAN, which would have been the way to go!

But, what's this? A coloring contest! Here is a better photo:

Feel free to print out and color...no prizes here, though, just the guaranteed feeling of accomplishment (patent pending).

Also notice special mention of the TEASER TRAILER (which, also today, is a common practice).  On the YouTubes, the full trailer and at least one TV spot are also easy to find.  At some point, I've seen an original combination ad that included TEENAGERS, which I thought was a TV spot, but it ran longer than the 20-second time mentioned above, so I will have to locate it and watch it again.
As for radio ads, an LP of them appeared on Ebay within the last year or so...it seems like the opening bid was set too high, and it didn't sell, if I remember right.

The above page shows some combo ads, and the posters that were available (but not the "teaser" though...interestingly enough).  

Here are sample ads for theater owners to buy newspaper space and use.  Imagine reading your breakfast paper, and amidst real news about Nikita Khruschev or the Space Race, you see this:

And now, the best part of any pressbook, "EXPLOITATION!"

Some of this is a little familiar...see my articles on other Godzilla pressbooks, (especially GHIDRAH). Let's look at some of it more closely:

This is very much like suggestions we have seen before, on this blog, but let me spell it out for you:  

Warner Brothers wants you to ask your "local armory" (you know, the one by the 7-11) for a flame thrower.  Or a bazooka.

After all, you can just "strap them on lobby board" (whatever that means), "behind roped-off area." I mean, that way the public can't handle your flame thrower.  
Robbed a bank? Stole a house full of furniture? No, "tried to promote his local theater's showing of GIGANTIS"

My favorite in the above photo is "Promote smashed auto from wrecking service."  I'm just going to let that sink in for a moment.  As if that were even possible, why not let the rest of the town gather around the wreckage of Patricia's uncle's car...you know, the one killed by the drunk driver? Look! Now it's got a funny sign on it! It says "SMASHED BY GIGANTIS!" Ha! That's hilarious!

By the way, was the theater-owner really supposed to "display" the crumbling wreckage of a destroyed automobile in front of the theater? (To say nothing of the safety of his patrons.) Surely not in the lobby, either? I feel like nobody in the "Exploitation" department thought any of this through...

But wait, there's more:

Invite your "Civil Defense" people to come and sit in the lobby of your theater for a few days. That's better than anything they are doing, right?

Also, arrange for "local shops" to have GIGANTIS sales, and you will need to include BIG bargains (get it? because GIGANTIS is big?) and LOW prices (which obviously makes sense, because.....wait, what is that supposed to refer to?) 

Today, we would say you should look for these people are "in basements," but I will submit to you that, in the 1950's, "Mouseketeers" were a thing, but "Science Fictioneers" was most certainly not.  Here I am, harassing my newspaper's science editor on a daily basis, and spending hours combing through all of my local mailing lists, and all because of your made-up words! You insult my intelligence, Warner Brothers "Exploitation" Department!


Godzilla VHS Promo Poster (Simitar/Blockbuster, 1998)

In 1998, Simitar released 5 Godzilla movies in the United States in multiple forms: both alone and in various boxed sets, and in both VHS and DVD formats.  (I remember buying the 5-DVD boxed set the same day I bought my first DVD player.) At Blockbuster stores, individually-wrapped VHS editions were packed with a folded promotional poster inside!

Unfortunately, the poster uses the wonky, GODZILLA 1985-inspired artwork from their KING OF THE MONSTERS, but I guess free is free. 


Godzilla Dr. Pepper Skateboard (Sport Fun, 1986)

If you recall, Dr. Pepper had a marketing campaign in 1985 & 1986 that included Godzilla (and resulted in some product placement in what was called GODZILLA 1985 in the USA).  We have looked at a bumper sticker and even a Diet Dr. Pepper can with a T-shirt offer, but this item stands at the top of that promotion, for sure.

Sean Linkenback first turned me on to the fact that this gem even existed.  This amazing item was a prize from grocery store drawings.  It was manufactured by Sport Fun, and it's unclear whether a few were actually sold via retail, or possibly mail-order, methods.

This one is a real beauty.  These skateboards have turned up two or three times in the past year or so, but it's hard to find one that wasn't actually used, like this one [note: my actual skateboard appears in the photos with a white background; the photos with carpet are from a much older auction].  But what sets it apart even further is that it includes the original box, which is that much more impossible to find.

Original shipping box with "DP" markings!
Top of original shipping box.  To the right you can see some writing done with a ballpoint pen, that says that the enclosed skateboard is "For the Kids," the rest of which is marked out.  Either the winner didn't need a skateboard, or possibly a Sport Fun employee obtained one, and gave it as a gift.
One of the crown jewels of any Godzilla collection!


The Justice League in "Cleaning Up Pollution" (Show 'N Tell, CBS, 1983)

Never thought I'd run into another of these, but since I did, then you get to "enjoy" it, too! 

Our short and insipid adventure finds a self-declared arch villain called "The Polluter" (Pollutor?) crashing a news broadcast to say that he has placed "muck bombs" in National parks...really, it's not as interesting as it sounds.  The Justice League shows up and dispatches all three bombs (two actually detonate, but never fear), and the news broadcaster continues to narrate the proceedings as they do so.  We only hear one spoken line from one hero, and he sounds very wrong...and, who's actually speaking is a mystery to the listener (but perhaps revealed on the accompanying filmstrip).

The flip side of these records was always some sort of "activity" (disguised as a "Special Mission"), the type of thing that gradeschool teachers used to play for kids in the 1970's...you may remember stomping around and causing the phonograph to skip! 

This one is called "The Jungle," and it has nothing to do with the Upton Sinclair novel.  I can't imagine that it inspired any children to do much; the narrator goes too fast and crams in too many animals (including that common, everyday jungle creature, "the owl"). The crappy way that many of these records was recorded continues to amaze me...granted, they were meant to be played on a "Show 'N Tell" machine with one small speaker!

Both sides clock in at just less than 8.5 minutes of "content."

LINK:  Probably still better than the Justice League movie


Godzilla Greeting Card (Ambassador, 1986)

Here's a greeting card from 1986.  On the surface, we see an airbrushed version of a well-used promotional photo of Godzilla from GODZILLA vs. THE THING.  How well-used? Here are just a few examples I randomly pulled:
U.S. Lobby Card!
UK "Front-of-House" card!
Japanese Lobby card!
The entire series of Mexican lobby cards uses this picture!
Another U.S. Lobby card!
The entire series of Italian "photobustas" uses it too!
And, many more...you get the point.  It's a go-to Godzilla photo, often found in newspaper articles or books about monsters.  Anyhow, here is yet another use of it, albeit in a new way.  Here is the inside of the card:

...which is amusing, but it made me wonder what the occasion would be, where you would actually send this card to somebody.  Besides kaiju attacks, I mean. (It's always good etiquette to send a card after a kaiju attack.) But...people used to send more cards than they do now, it's a fact. Moving to the back, you'd think this was a clear case of unauthorized usage of the Big G's photo, right?
Nope.  At least, there's a 1986 Toho copyright, so that means something.  And since Ambassador is owned by Hallmark, I'd be leaning toward legitimacy on this one.  Also, is it me, or is the cute cartoon on the back by Sergio Aragones, or MAD margin fame? I'd put money on that, too!


the hulk files (Leaping Fox)

The fourth addition of my attempts at re-arranging and supplementing all of the various vintage superhero items that are out there is: the hulk files.

You probably wouldn't be too surprised to learn that there aren't THAT many Hulk songs out there.  Also, it's bad enough that the 1966 cartoons have never gotten a DVD release (they did in the UK), OR that the 1982 animated series has never gotten a DVD release (it did in the UK); even the 1996 "FoxKids" series hasn't been completely released over here (it was in the UK...sensing a pattern here?). 

So, all of these various themes are included, including the live-action TV series also.  However, like the earlier "files" volumes, anything spoken word is skipped.  I do usually try to provide a list of those, and since there wasn't room in the disc artwork, here it is:

If you are looking for some spoken-word Hulk action, here's what I know of:

1) "Hulk vs. Bulk (1966)" Included on the same Tifton single as the first Hulk song was also the first Hulk spoken-word adventure, where Rick Jones watches the Hulk punch an alien blob/cloud-thing, which is an interesting idea, but rather unconvincing in its lack of believable sound effects.
2) "The Incredible Hulk at Bay!" (Power Records with comic, 1974, adapting INCREDIBLE HULK #171)
3) THE INCREDIBLE HULK (Power Records LP  #8216, 1978) 4 stories
4) SHOW'N TELL Record & Filmstrips (CBS, 1983):  
     Spider-Man & The Hulk in Sharing Can Be Fun
     The Hulk in Adventure on the River
     (and probably more)
5) "Tape-Me-Along Cassettes Vol 1 - Marvel Super Heroes: How Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk Began"  (Kid Stuff, 1986)   longest title....ever.
6) "The Incredible Hulk #181" (Intec DVD, 2003)

I did manage to uncover a handful of interesting songs (others, maybe not so much), so please enjoy.

LINK:  the hulk files



Here is a very scaled-down pressbook for the 1970 double-feature that was WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS and MONSTER ZERO.  As you have probably seen from the myriad examples of pressbooks elsewhere on this blog [click the pressbooks tag to see them all], they are very useful to help you know what items existed for certain films...but this one focuses only on the different sizes of newspaper ads.
Also, this pressbook is 8.5 x 11", which, though easier to store and less likely to be folded, allows less room than its predecessors for art and text. 
Speaking of text, there isn't much.  In fact, there are two brief synopses of the films, and only two sample newspaper articles.  These are worth reading; note the first one, which begins the ballyhoo right away, with the title of "New Science Photography Makes Monsters More Human Than People." 

The article makes several confusing claims.  It says that military models for WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS were "motor driven" and "more than a yard long." Some were motorized, yes, but I didn't think any WOG models were nearly that big...until Sean Linkenback reminded me of the Maser cannon being pulled by the tank-like vehicle:
Here it is (almost) in scale with Tsuburaya himself:

Another claim is that the previously-mentioned NEW camera equipment "enable[s] the filming of 0.1 mm movements." So, a tenth of a millimeter... with no context given as to how this would be useful, or why.  Of course, bear in mind that any "new" technology referred to is from films that were already 4 and 5 years old, respectively! 

I can't let the last paragraph go by without quoting it (italics mine):  "The frightening hide of Godzilla's body were [sic] made from plastic and foam rubber, while the skins of wild dogs provided the fur on the land-bred monster."

The skins.  Of wild dogs.  Say what, now? Is this entire article was the victim of mis-translation?  Besides all that, WHO is the "land-bred monster"? King Ghidorah?...who of course is from space. [Again, Sean points out that they were referring to Sanda.  I think the real problem with this article is that they are conflating the films of their double-feature.]

I know in the beginning, I said pressbooks help answer questions about collecting movie ephemera, but sometimes they do create more mysteries and unanswered questions!