9/21/21

SOUNDSCAPES - Sounds For Slackers, Vol. 1 (2002)

 


Okay, on the surface, this is a CD of audio for you to use to get out of work, and is meant to supply you with the background audio to more realistically pull off that endeavor...at least, that's the joke.  Once you start listening to it, and you hear "Dr. Sarah Bellum" being paged in the hospital background noise track, you will know you've been had.  


Still, it does have its moments.  I enjoyed the "I'm On An Important Conference Call" track, which is a pretty good satirization of OFFICE SPACE-era teleconference politics.  And hey, maybe you can use it in the spirit in which it's intended, and get out of work today! Enjoy!

LINK:  Soundscapes: Sounds For Slackers, Vol. 1

9/13/21

Godzilla vs. The Thing Double Feature Ad Slick poster (American International, 1964)

 

When GODZILLA vs. THE THING was released in the United States in 1964, it was included in a double-feature (as several Godzilla films were) with VOYAGE TO THE END OF THE UNIVERSE (a U.S. dub of a slick Czechoslovakian space-opera film called IKARIE SB-1 from the year before*).  I was lucky enough to track down a dead-mint set of ad slicks for that double-feature, which came in the form of a large, poster-sized sheet measuring 21 by 27.5 inches. 

It's certainly too big to scan, so I did my best to get some decent photos.  You'll notice that at the top, there's a giant "SPECIAL SOCK COMBO ADS" headline...which at first struck me as VARIETY-type hyperbole ("boffo socko" and all that), but upon reflection, I think it's just a typo.  After all, the ads bear the title of "Double Shock Show," so that must be what was intended.

One of the ads is strangely upside-down, as well! 

Here is one of the small ads from the bottom of the sheet.  The stark artwork pairs very well with the EC Comics-type astronauts and flying saucers, and just makes for some sharp-looking ads.  These ads make me want to watch both of these films again...so, you could say they still do their job very well, all these years later.  


At the risk of repeating myself, nothing today holds a candle to this!

__________________________
*NOTE: I forgot to mention that you should see the original version of this amazing film, and not the U.S. dub discussed here, because the ending is completely changed to be as absurd as that of WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET.  So there's something to think about.

9/9/21

SUNDAY MORNING WITH THE COMICS (Reprise, 1966)

 

Let's get started on what will be a large group of exclusive offerings that can be found nowhere else but this blog! Well, as far as I can tell, but I assure you, there are some genuine rarities coming up, including some audio, some Godzilla-related items otherwise thought lost to time, and probably some goofy crap that may leave you wondering what's going on or where the exit is.

This first item is a super-rare LP from 1966 that eluded me for years and seems to be nowhere...but it's here now.  Once I obtained it, I realized why it's so rare:  quite simply, it's not very good! It has a real problem of not knowing what to be.  It looks like it began as a tribute to what we now call OTR (Old-Time Radio), then quickly jumped on the Superhero bandwagon as the cover shows you (seeing the year of 1966 should have been your first clue), and then somehow decided to attempt to be satire...or parody...or comedy...or something

It's a little hard to be comedic when you are trying to capture the young BATMAN television audience, and at the same time alluding to defunct oddities like whatever "Jack Armstrong, All-American Boy" is, AND mixing those misguided tributes with original "satirical" creations that aren't funny at all ("Captain Gorgeous" and "Wonder Mother" for starters).  I mean, "Wonder Mother" could almost be a straight Wonder Woman feature, but sounds like at the last minute, somebody decided to make it "funny."  Don't tell me they chickened out of featuring DC characters, because Batman and Superman are right there in the track listing...except while the Batman theme is a solid, and very rare version (don't worry, it's already been added to our collection of Batman TV Themes), they took the great Sammy Timberg Fleischer Superman theme and used it for a weak pantomime bit about a super weakling called "Pantywaist" that was already not funny even by 1966 standards.

The schizophrenia continues, because even though the track is listed as "The Green Hornet," it's in reality a send-up titled "The Green Hairnet" [groan].  Which is followed by a completely straight-faced tribute to Little Orphan Annie.  And it continues from there.  It's like three different potential albums collided in a hurricane, and left us with this one.

Besides the Batman theme, this LP does have a few other good things going for it.  I should point out that the music was competently provided by the Jimmy Bowen Orchestra and Chorus, and that there are some familiar voices to enjoy, such as the great Gary Owens and the great Bob Arbogast.  So, enjoy this tribute to the golden age of radio...I mean, this pastiche of colorful superhero camp...wait, no, I mean, this collection of original hilarious satirical creations.  I give up.

LINK:  Sunday Morning With the Comics (1966)

9/4/21

SON OF GODZILLA - TV Master Tape is BACK for a Limited Time!

BACK FOR A LIMITED TIME!

One of the better times of the year is fast approaching, and we are going to have several exclusives in the near future to celebrate what we are referring to while laughing as "Spooky Month."  This term comes from the influx of Engrish Aliexpress-type junk permeating Ebay now, where I saw the following description:

And so, "Spooky Month" has stuck.  So, let's start early this year! Anyhow, we've got a handful of items coming up that have never been anywhere on the Internets before, so stay tuned.  For now, enjoy a repeat posting of a DVD conversion of my SON OF GODZILLA original TV Station 1" Master Tape!

I have re-activated the link at the original post, which also contains info and artwork, due to popular request! Enjoy!

9/2/21

SMOG MONSTER Video Store Poster! (Orion Home Video, 1989)

 

It's always a little difficult to get a good photo of a rolled poster, but here is a pristine, unused example of the video store poster for the great 1989 promotion by Orion Home Video! It measures 27 x 41" and is the size of a standard one-sheet movie poster (which is nice because sometimes, video store posters are smaller).

This of course was the promotion that not only brought the AIP dub of GODZILLA vs. THE SMOG MONSTER to our homes (this videotape and/or its accompanying laserdisc continue to be the source of the audio for fan restorations, all these years later), but also 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 the fun-to-say Guilala).  Not too long ago, I also shared a dealer postcard from this promotion, which you can see here.

I can completely understand Toho trying to streamline kaiju names, and get down to only the "official" dubs that they support, but I wish they would still make our original American audio tracks available.  It doesn't mean they have to be erased from history, because after all, they happened, and are much-beloved.  Maybe this could possibly happen...Recently, Toho began sharing episodes of the Hanna-Barbera animated GODZILLA series from the 70's on their English YouTube channel, and I certainly never thought we'd see that day.

8/25/21

Akira Ifukube - KING KONG ESCAPES (Soundtrack) 2018 Limited Edition

 

From 2018, here is the super-limited vinyl edition of Akira Ifukube's amazing soundtrack for KING KONG ESCAPES.  Limited to 100 copies, this record was produced on brown "Kong Fur" vinyl.

This record was produced by Cheddar Brothers in 2018, and came with a patch and a sticker, which you can see in the photo above.  The artwork, although distinctive, was unfortunately not produced on a complete jacket, merely a folded card, the back of which you can see better here:


The absence of a proper jacket wasn't the biggest problem with the record, though.  Turns out, when you have a small run quickly produced in Mexico, errors in quality crop up.  Don't worry, you won't know it, because I was able to fix them myself [for example, in between every track was a small "Pbbbt" sound, a literal divider present on the master tape--in other words, this was supposed to be taken out by the people making the vinyl].  One interesting thing in the very first track was what sounded like surface noise (on a disc that had never been played and had been properly cleaned), but when I compared the track to what's on YouTube from a digital source, the tiny sounds were part of the original recording after all.  

For a complete track listing and run times, see here.

A second run of 300 copies was produced later in 2018 which was on silver vinyl, included a normal jacket with corrected artwork (moving Gorosaurus into view), and, hopefully, corrected the various mastering errors.  

Enjoy this often-overlooked rarity!

8/19/21

The Moons - Gammera (1966) and MORE!

 

This is a celebratory post, because I've recently accomplished one of my own long-time goals that I considered impossible:  I found a picture sleeve for my treasured copy of "Gammera" by The Moons (scanned here in quality)!

If you know the story, when the first Gamera movie was slightly reworked for a release in US theatres, a spacey, surf-rock "theme song" was commissioned.  The film (and song) were released in December 1966, so you will quickly understand why everyone always brings up the Neil Hefti "Batman" theme song when discussing it, as it was everywhere at that time.  In reality, even though the sleeve tells you that The Moons are "...The most Exciting Group Since The Beatles!!" there were no Moons (other than Keith, but he wasn't involved here of course).  In fact, the song was written by Wes Farrell, and brought to life by session musicians (there are a few theories on whether any famous musicians were involved, and I'd think we would know by now if that were the case). The B-side included an "instrumental" version of the song (which, as the only lyrics were "Gammera," wasn't too hard).  No matter what anyone tells you, only promo copies of this single exist, which were sent to radio stations, naturally, to promote the movie.  It's quite rare, especially with the sleeve--lots of promo singles never even bothered to have custom artwork prepared, and this sleeve is basically a mini-pressbook.

You probably know that the production version of a movie or TV song can differ greatly from the released version, which often happens because of variables in mixes or source materials.  I thought it would be fun to take a look at how the song was actually used in the film, and include it in the download below.  The song appears three times:  first, in a brief and sloppy introductory title card (there's a weird jump at this point).  Secondly, at the one-hour mark of the movie, there is a nightclub scene.  In the original Japanese film, it's because the people don't want to stop partying (sort of like what happened later in GODZILLA vs. THE SMOG MONSTER) and are oblivious to their fate.  In the American dub, it takes on an even stranger tone, because the band (and the guests) won't leave because they are repeatedly playing a theme song to the actual monster who is currently destroying their city, in true death-cult fashion.  What makes this even weirder is that there are no singers to supply the "Gammera!" lyrics, which seemingly come out of nowhere quite randomly! Lastly, the song briefly appears again over the ending title card (which says "Sayonara Gammera," believe it or not).

But wait, the history of this theme song doesn't end there.  A couple of years later, someone actually issued a pirate version of the instrumental B-side on a 45 under the title "The Sounds of Lane - Shing-A-Ling at the Go-Go," on the fictitious "Mickey Mouse" label!

A year after that, in 1969, a band from Peru called Los Jaguar's (yes, the name of the band most often includes the apostrophe; perhaps it was an artistic choice) properly covered the B-side, under the cool title "Tormenta en el Mar de la Tranquilidad" (Torment in the Sea of Tranquility) which I suppose alluded to the current moon-landing hysteria, while also giving credit to the original song and its author on the label.  Their version is lots of fun, and is in a lower key and slightly slower, giving the song some much-needed menace.  

Included in the download below are: 1) The original single and B-side, 2) A montage of its uses in the film GAMMERA THE INVINCIBLE, and 3) the cool cover by Los Jaguar's, as well as appropriate scans!

The Moons - Gammera (and more)

Lastly, don't miss the super-cool "Gammera" by Hexstatic, from 2010, which uses lots of fun samples from the film and theme song.  There are three different and distinct mixes, and if you click through to YouTube, there is a download link included in the text under this video, which is highly recommended! Enjoy!


8/17/21

KING KONG vs. GODZILLA Campaign Sheet (Universal, 1978-79)

 

Here is a page from a Universal Campaign Book (circa 1978-79), which went out to television stations and showed their available films, with a focus on the early 1960's.  It's printed on brown textured paper and hole-punched.

Interestingly, the synopsis on the back is very Kong-centric.  This is somewhat understandable, because the failed De Laurentiis KING KONG was still fresh on people's minds (the text incorrectly refers to that film as being from 1977, and if we are being fair, the release date was December 17, 1976, so...almost.) But hey, we should be glad they didn't include the old fallacy about there being "different endings" of the film, right?

Another point of interest is the inclusion of one of the more unique of Toho's famous paste-up production photos, where we see Kong standing on a...uh, stadium? I've always wondered about that one. 

Also, under "Starring," they list Kong and Godzilla (naturally, but they still give Kong top billing), and the only other names they bother to include are the "news presenter" actors who were added to the American version! 

8/11/21

Kermit Schafer's Blunderful World of Bloopers (1970)

 

In reality, the entire title of this record is nearly as long as the program itself:  "HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE TV SPECIAL KERMIT SCHAFER'S BLUNDERFUL WORLD OF BLOOPERS BROADCASTING'S MOST HILARIOUS BONERS VOLUME 1" (not to mention there is a random "UNCENSORED" trying to float into the title somewhere).

Schafer of course is the man who made a career out of collecting comical flubs, spoonerisms, and malapropisms from the world over (supposedly even coining the term "blooper"), filling books, records, and occasional TV specials for decades.  In earlier years of the Internets, you could find volumes of his PARDON MY BLOOPER "party records" on blogs everywhere.  

The common criticism for these records is/was that they almost totally consist of re-creations, but owing to the early days of live radio and TV, this was unavoidable.  It did lead to a few infamous "urban myth" moments from time to time, and it seemed like you heard the same actors over and over on the six volumes of the PARDON series, which of course were later recirculated in other compilations.  By the 1970's and 1980's, blooper-archiving technology had much improved, and Dick Clark took the idea and ran with it (in fairness, he always acknowledged Schafer in the credits).

This LP apparently ties to a TV special, and while I couldn't tell you anything about the show, I can tell you that this is the most pristine record I've ever found in a thrift store.  Besides cleaning it, it needed nothing, and was pristine; like being played for the first time.  Can you imagine buying a comedy LP and never playing it? Then storing it for 51 years? That's like a blooper in itself.

Enjoy:  Blunderful World of Bloopers

7/10/21

The Golden Turkey Album (Rhino, 1985)

  


Here's something you won't find in lots of the places that you can search for stuff.  This is THE GOLDEN TURKEY ALBUM, put out by Rhino in 1985...I should point out that it's sort of a tie-in to the 1980 book (and sequels) THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARDS by Michael & Harry Medved (which is still essential reading...I used to check it out of the public library in the summers, right under my mother's nose).

This LP isn't the highest quality audio that you will run into (several of these, it appears, had to be taken from the audio of the films themselves) due to the nature of the films involved, but it's pretty rare, and was never re-issued or issued on CD.  It runs the gamut from cool/interesting (the Criswell sample and music used as the opening in PLAN 9 for example) to just plain painful (anything involving Arch Hall, Jr. or a Ray Dennis Steckler film).  

The liner notes are thorough and necessary to your "enjoyment" of this album, so I photographed them all for inclusion, because after all, you need to know why you are suffering...I find it's always better to suffer in context.

By the way, in a weird connection to this blog, Godzilla is pictured on the cover of this LP, as well as lots of other monsters and characters from random sci-fi and horror films...none of which have anything to do with the audio contained herein.  I'm sure it's supposed to be visual shorthand for "bad movie," but it'll have the opposite effect around here!

LINK: Golden Turkey Album

7/7/21

GODZILLA vs. HEDORAH 50th Anniversary

 


Hard to believe, but this year marks the 50th Anniversary of GODZILLA vs. HEDORAH, and therefore the title monster enemy, who's become one of my favorites over the years.  (In fact, it's July 24 to be precise!) I didn't even realize it until I saw this image on the cover of the latest IDW comic:


This is not one of those sites who shills, nor gets free stuff from manufacturers, but for the sake of completeness we should mention that IDW has just begun a new series of quarterly one-shots called GODZILLA RIVALS, the first of which features Hedorah himself, and while I hate alternate covers, there are two and both feature some excellent artwork!


Besides calling attention to this milestone, and while we are at it, here are two appearances of the old Smog Monster himself on official album covers that you might not have known about!
Frank Zappa - Sleep Dirt (1981)

Dinosaur Jr. - Sweep It Into Space (2021)

6/20/21

New Large Size of Godzilla Puffy Stickers (no manufacturer, 1979)

 

If there's one thing I've learned while studying and amassing Godzilla collectibles over the years:  there are always new discoveries waiting to be made.  And, here is yet another one!

There is precious little information (as in none) regarding exactly how many sizes, shapes, and permutations of these vintage Godzilla puffy stickers exist, and new ones continue to sporadically turn up.  I was shocked to run across this one recently.  It's nearly 9 inches square, and includes 18 stickers.  As a quick glance at our list of American Vintage Godzilla Collectibles will tell you, there are tons of these!

All we really can say is the obvious:  they were made to promote the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, are dated 1979, and seem to list all of the current license holders, while omitting any actual manufacturer.  We may never know if these were even legitimate or not! 

On the back is a smudgy stamp saying "Peel Off Backing, Made in Taiwan." Not much of a clue!

5/25/21

The Things That I See (continued)

 These posts always begin with "it's been a while since we did one of these."

It's been a while since we did one of these, but guess what, things are still weird out there, so here goes:

This is what action figure-hunting is like for me.  I wanted to change the title to "The Invisible Iron Man."
I know a jigsaw puzzle exists that's completely blank, but this must be the second-worst puzzle of all time.  

And speaking of worst, here is the worst design for War of the Worlds, ever (I've read this book; there are no blondes in it at all).
Staying in the book section for a moment, I've noticed that, over just the last few years, I could've built an entire bookshelf of weird and/or disturbing books if I'd been so inclined...it would be interesting to have something like that in a prominent place in your home, that would be the first thing people see.  Turns out, "Rice Blast Disease" is also known as: blast fungus, rice rotten neck, oval leaf spot of graminea, pitting disease, ryegrass blast, Johnson spot, and neck blast.  I assume that list I just typed is most of the content of this book.

And, for the ladies, a book about that time that Hasselhoff played Nick Fury.  And bought a rug.


You could make a swell coffee table book about public domain VHS artwork, and how it fails at anything that it ever tries to be.  If only I had that kind of time.  This is "Based Superman just does not care."

Best for last department:  All of us who are old enough know that there was a time when "woodburning sets" that came with electric soldering-iron type tools were approved toys for small children, along with the normal comedian-fodder items such as lawn darts and chemistry sets.  Well, perhaps there was something to that after all.


This set came with very thin wooden shingles with pictures printed on them, the idea being that you used the iron to draw over the lines, color the picture somehow with some included paints, and then you'd have a piece of "art" that your mother would throw away next spring cleaning.  This particular set had a cardboard insert with some "Practice" areas:
Yikes. Junior Misogynists of America, much?

That feeling when your date's head is gone suddenly.

5/20/21

Godzilla vs. Mothra - The Byun Byun Monsters 2 Model Kit (Bandai, 1992)

 


Yuji Kaida is one of the greatest kaiju artists of all time.  I didn't even qualify that statement with "in my opinion," because it's simply an indisputable fact.  He's simply amazing, and the artwork for this Bandai model kit shows he is also a Chibi/Super-Deformed master...because of course he is.  He also sculpts for SH Monsterarts figures...but I digress! 

This model kit is one of a series called "The Byun Byun Monsters," ("byun byun" being an onomatopoeia like "vroom vroom") which included tiny buildings and adorable kaiju that were built around pull-back motors, allowing some hijinks and random destruction.  There are three model kits in the series--one for GODZILLA vs. KING GHIDORAH, and two for GODZILLA vs. MOTHRA.  This is the middle kit, #2, and it features Godzilla, Mothra (decorated with foil stickers), and a Mothra larva.  It would have been nice if the series had continued until DESTOROYAH...or, at the very least, we could've gotten matching artwork for the rest of the series' posters in SD style.  



Nevertheless, there is a lot to enjoy about this kit, even if you don't build it.  The instructions have a full-color side that showcase the artwork (which is a little cropped on the box), and even includes a guide to all of the kaiju cameos on the front! Can you name all 17? I bet you can!


While we are on the subject, here are "Byun Byun" kits #1 and 3.  I feel like the Battra kit wasn't a huge seller, because it doesn't turn up very often.  The Ghidorah kit, as you'd imagine, stays in pretty high demand.  It includes the parts to swap out and convert to Mecha-King Ghidorah too, which is nice.