5/11/20

GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND Military Flyer (c.1978)


Here's a cool flyer for a "return engagement" of the American version of GODZILLA vs. GIGAN, from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service! It features a creative spelling of "Ghidra" and a kids' on-base admission cost of only 50 cents! Click for full-page scan!

5/1/20

A Hitherto-Overlooked HB Godzilla Collectible (Morris Imports, 1979)

Front of album!
Last week, I discovered a vintage American (and other countries) Godzilla collectible that I had no idea existed, and Hanna-Barbera Godzilla, no less.  In 1979, you could buy a sticker album that held "Collectors' Stamps" of about 200 HB characters.  Each TV show got at least a half-page in the album, and the stickers filled in missing spaces that completed a mural for each show.  (Of course, these sorts of albums have been around forever, and still are.)

Back of album!
Here is the section for the HB Godzilla cartoon:

As you can see, they don't give him much text...here are the 3 stickers ("stamps") that belong in his section (#58-60).  The stamps themselves are smaller than a trading card, and I would think they were sold in packs, but I haven't found any photos of a wrapper in my research.
And now, brace yourselves...through the miracle of modern digital technology, scientists have been able to use computers to reconstruct what this completed page would have looked like.  As far as we know, no experiment of this type has ever been conducted before:

4/14/20

SMOG MONSTER Video Dealer Postcard (Orion Home Video, 1989)


Here's a great piece, a 1989 two-sided video retailer postcard (measuring 3 & 3/4 by 6 & 1/4 inches).  It showcases the fun artwork for this series of four videos (there was also a great dealer poster similar to this card), prominently featuring the movie poster art for GODZILLA vs. THE SMOG MONSTER.  Not only that, but this SP tape is still essential for any Godzilla fan, because it was the final (and only legitimate) time that the AIP dub was released (a laserdisc release was simultaneous), and those two releases continue to be the source of the dub for fan-made restorations!


Here is the back of the card.  The other three titles in the series were MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET (which we now know as GAPPA), YONGARY (A Korean kaiju clone), and THE X FROM OUTER SPACE (who we now know as Guilala). Good stuff!

4/7/20

GIGANTIS Original Theatre Flyer (1959)

From Baltimore, MD, here is a vintage flyer from 1959! That summer, you could see SHANE, or maybe THE SHAGGY DOG? Nah, hold out for GIGANTIS!



It always amazes me that somebody held onto these flyers, and even preserved them so well. I imagine somebody found this one in the pages of a large, heavy book, as well as away from acid, because it's pristine.  Here's a better look at the best part:


2/26/20

Godzilla - Aurora Model Kit (1969 version)

Aurora's first re-issue of their 1964 model kit (and the first with glow-in-the-dark extra parts) has become very highly sought-after these days.  Today we are going to compare artwork with the 1972 re-release, just in case you ever need to know the differences.


If you can get your hands on one, it's pretty easy to tell the difference, as the 1969 kit is the "hard box" version, and the 1972, while the same dimensions, comes in a flimsier box.  But, let's say you can't get close to one, or maybe you are looking at poor auction photos...? Well, it could happen.

The colors are a little washed out on the 1972 box, but the quickest way to differentiate is the bottom-left corner.  The 1972 has white text reading "For Ages 8 and Up, 1/600 Scale," while the bottom-left of the 1969 is blank.  Also, the 1972's copyright info in the top-left says "WESTON MDSE CORP" in a blue box, while the 1969 merely has white text reading "c) RKO GENERAL, INC."

Three side panels are unique:

A box on its side is more difficult.  The 1969 has an extra "-200" added to the kit number.

Now, if THIS is your view, in a glass case at a flea market, you have got it made. The years are printed on this one side only.  More fine print on the 1972 issue.

Also on this side, there is more print on the 1972 (note printing has been moved to Canada by 1972).  Also "CEMENT AND PAINT NOT INCLUDED."

If you want to see the contents, it's the same as was reissued in 1972, and again in 1978 by Monogram, so you can check out our articles on those!

For completeness, here are scans of the instructions! It goes without saying, but if you do ever run into one of these kits...buy it.



2/19/20

DRACULA'S GREATEST HITS (RCA, 1964)

I'm happy to say that yesterday, I added a long-time want to my collection, and that is the crazy LP called "Dracula's Greatest Hits."
Why, you ask? Here are a few reasons to love this kooky album:


1) Early 60's Monster Aesthetic.  First of all, this record takes you back to the time of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Aurora model kits, and bubble gum cards that featured stills of zombies, monsters, and ghouls with eyes gouged out...and nobody even questioned it.  Clearly it was a great time to be a kid.  Could we have had the Space Opera 70's without the Monster 60's?


2) The Artwork of Jack Davis, National Treasure.  I bet your house is full of other examples of Jack Davis art.  You might not have even known it, but the man did uncountable album covers, board game artworks, advertisements, and much more...and of course was a frequent contributor to MAD magazine, back when it was good.  He is missed.  Just get lost in the artwork above; I'll wait.


3) A Free Sheet of MONSTER FAN CARDS.  Now we get to my personal top reason for wanting this album forever--a full, unseparated sheet of Jack Davis monster trading cards! These were perforated, so sometimes it can be hard to find an unused sheet.  And, just look at what's on the bottom row!


Yes! A (totally unauthorized) Godzilla card! Now, before you scoff at his portrayal as my kids did, remember that this was right on the heels of KING KONG (who also gets a card here) vs. GODZILLA, which brought the big G into the American mainstream.  I think the portrayal is excellent.  I should point out---and I need to do a future post about this--that there are only even a handful of Godzilla items produced in the USA during the entire decade of the 1960's, which, from a modern standpoint, boggles the mind!

Back to the LP, before I forget.  The entire 28 minutes is up on YouTube, so "enjoy" if you will! It's very silly and fun!


BONUS:
Here are high resolution scans of the sheet of Monster Cards! I didn't even crop them, because I didn't want any software downgrading the files.  To make up for the narrow-ness of my scanner, I scanned all four corners of the sheet.  Enjoy:

12/27/19

Godzilla/Toho American VHS Guide is Updated


After much delay, the sub-page has been updated that chronicles all of the Godzilla/Toho VHS tapes released in the USA.  Besides correcting some errors, 18 new tapes have been added, bringing the total to over 160!
Click on the link on the left side of the page and take a look.  A downloadable PDF version of the list is available at the bottom of that page. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

12/6/19

Godzilla Against Mothra (Action Figure, NECA, 2019)

Is it possible that NECA has gotten even better? I'm no NECA shill, and I'm not one of those sites that gets free figures to review, either. When something's crappy, I am pretty forthcoming about it.  But the newest Godzilla figure from NECA has again beaten its more expensive Bandai counterpart.

And we just got the KK vs. GODZILLA suit this year! Can we just keep going, chronologically?
Not long ago, NECA abandoned their "blister pack" packaging for their Godzilla line, in favor of boxes. The genius of it is, not only is the original Japanese movie poster art is on the front, but you can re-pack the figure when you are done with it! The old packaging was a little unwieldy, and of course required that you completely destroy it.  Going forward, reissues will all be in this format--which is both good and bad, because the most eager of us scarfed these up in the old packages....also, in some cases, they are including the "Atomic Breath Effect" piece, where it originally wasn't included, like the 1954 Godzilla, for example.

Just LOOK at the backdrop that's included! Oh--as the kids say--"the FEELS!"
So yes, the box is amazing, but how is the figure itself? Well, it's astounding, and here goes:


The likeness is fantastic. The articulation matches previous figures, as does the tail, but--and I think I said this last time--they have done a glorious job making the tip of the tail more blunt, as is accurate. The figures now come with a small instruction sheet recommending that you now use hot water to assemble the tail! (I think I first saw this with the KK vs. G figure as well.)



Now, the eyes are obviously more yellow than Bandai's, and it's a matter or personal preference, but I don't think they look bad. In the film they come off as pale yellow, maybe...again, it's an eye of the beholder thing (ouch, I didn't even mean to do that).

I always like to compare these figures to other figures or vinyls, and unfortunately, my SH Monsterarts 1964 Godzilla is at the front of a glass case that loads from the back, and I just can't get my hands on him for this review...but here is Bandai's "glamour shot":


As you can see, a lovely figure, tons of detail too...but quite a bit more than 20 bucks!  One of the biggest drawbacks is, it's basically a 5" scale figure.  I am pretty sure this was done because all the other figures they had done by the time of its release were all more modern Godzilla suits, which were representations of Godzilla that were supposed to be much taller.  Not so with the NECA 1964 though, he is fully as tall as the other Godzillas in the line.

With what's been announced, we are up to 20 action figures in this line now, so I think it's time I start a checklist page, which you'll be able to access from the left-hand menu once it's done!


10/4/19

"Super Deformed Series" Vinyl Figures (West Kenji, Japan, 2003) - PART TWO

Here are the rest of the very interesting vinyl figures that I recently added to my collection, continuing from where we left off last time!

Godzilla 1962

This figure should have been a home run.  This Godzilla is a favorite design for many people, but it's probably my least favorite of the group! Let's take a look.

This figure was obviously bought at one of those "big box" stores...
The KING KONG vs GODZILLA suit is one of the most unique Godzilla suits.  Bulky and frog-like, he is much beloved.  However, something doesn't gel for me here in this representation.  

I've always said that the style of "Super Deformed" involves simplifying the design of the character, yet utilizing the exact, correct amount of detail:  neither more nor less than is required to get the idea across.  Japan is overflowing with folks who are masters at this, and I think that's what bothers me here:  maybe too much was crammed into this figure, and it doesn't work!
Compare him to the "1969" Godzilla we saw last time, to illustrate my point about the definition of "Super Deformed."

Gigan

Gigan is one of those kaiju designs that has endeared itself to me more and more with each passing year.  He's a good example of a 70's monster done right.  

And, unlike our previous candidate, he translates well to this style, and is posed in an action stance.

This figure is a huge winner.  Someone you'd want to hug....if you wouldn't get bisected vertically while doing so.

I researched these vinyls after I received them, and read that they were pretty valuable...but I can't part with them, and I hope these two posts have shown you why!