Admiral Ackbar Autograph!

This is a bonus card from a Topps Star Wars card set that slipped by me in 2015, called "Hi Tek," which were clear trading cards made of plastic.  A Christmas present that I bought for my own self.


Sears Battery Operated Patrol Phone (late 1960's)

"Hello? Yes, I'd like to report some children without complete faces...yes, yes, I do have a badge..."
Here's an interesting antique toy I recently ran across.  Interesting, if you can get past the "striking" artwork on the front, which may or may not have been started by one artist, and completed by a second one...
Into the Uncanny Valley, anyone?
These "Patrol Phones" aren't really even walkie-talkies at all, but really just a primitive electronic version of two tin cans and a string.  Included is "45 Feet of Cord" as the box tells you, which is permanently connected to the battery cover of each phone:
Can you imagine a child's toy today coming with 45 feet of anything? I know there are strict rules now on string or cord lengths--given in INCHES--because of choking hazards...but this toy had enough to lasso a steer with.
Note the "antennae" in the upper left of each phone.  As an added feature, to provide some sort of authentic feel to the toy, the antennae, which were made of tightly-coiled springs, were to be extended during use:
But, in actuality, they did absolutely nothing.
The toys were produced by a Japanese company, which shouldn't be a surprise, and I'm sure were a catalog item for Sears stores.  Here is the side panel of the box, providing some instructions for use:
Note that you have to depress the side button to speak to someone, which is useful, so your friend will not accidentally hear you berating him, or putting the moves on his girlfriend, from the other side of your fort or treehouse.  Also, even though there is a "call" button, you have to push both it AND the "talk" button to call somebody.  I'd be interested to know what sound that made, but I have no "C" batteries at home, and it's too big an investment to buy some just for that reason...who keeps "C" batteries at home anyway?

It just occurred to me that this toy is identical in function to early office intercom systems that I saw as a kid in the 70's...I remember they were sold at Radio Shack stores (made by Tandy usually, of course), and were exactly the same thing, just not shaped like a phone.  You even ran the same cord between the offices to talk to somebody.  How times have changed.
Kinda like this.  As long as you wanted to talk to the SECOND person who had one of these, you were good.  Of course, nothing replaces good old-fashioned screaming, like we did it in my house growing up.
Finally, let's look at the other artwork on the box, which shows the actual, best use for this toy:  as a tripwire. 

"Tommy #1, Calling Tommy #2!  Come in, Tommy #2! Over!"
"Cut that crap out, Tommy.  I'm right over here...I can see you.  I can hear you yelling, louder than I can hear you in this stupid toy phone."
"Tommy #2, our trap has been successful...we have apprehended two enemy kids, uh, agents, and...they were both riding unicycles, which makes no sense! Over!"
"Quit saying over, or I will make you smell my Bermuda shorts again, you dork! Hurry up and start tying them up with your overly-long cord, but act natural until this kid walking a small brown calf passes by...then, I'll get their lunch money."


THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Dixie Cup "Story Cards" (American Can Company, 1981)

This post replaces the previous one on this subject, because at the time, I did not have a complete set of these cards, and now I am glad to finally fill in this missing piece of vintage Star Wars promotional collectibles on the complete list.  Here is the low-down:  Star Wars-themed Dixie Cups were always a thing, from the very beginning of the saga.  They continued through RETURN OF THE JEDI, and many styles were produced, in many, many different boxes, which featured cool artwork and, sometimes, cardboard items that could be cut from the back of the boxes.

Cut Card #2 (front)
Cut Card #2 (back)
In 1981, to further promote THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, a series of "Story Cards" were included inside "specially marked boxes."  The cards, if you can call them that, were really just heavier-stock paper, and small at that, and came in strips of four.  You could try to collect the entire set by buying boxes of Dixie Cups, OR send off six proof of purchases and FIFTY CENTS for the ENTIRE SET of cards, plus an ESB poster that had numbered spaces to attach your cards.  The completed poster told the story of the film. (Well, most of it, as it stopped just before the BIG REVEAL at the end.)  I imagine that more than a few kids ended up gluing their cards to their posters, which would have been very unfortunate, and probably not age well, either.  Today we will look at a complete set of cards made up of various strips.  Here is the only photo of the mail-away poster that I can find (until I track one down):

The strips were pretty randomly-printed, as you will see below, and I'm sure it was difficult to complete the set.  Here, then, is a complete set of 24 cards, made up of various uncut card strips:

Uncut Strip: Cards 15, 5, 12, & 22 (front)
Uncut Strip: Cards 22, 12, 5, & 15 (back)
Uncut Strip: Cards 3, 11, 19, & 8 (front)
Uncut Strip: Cards 8, 19, 11, & 3 (back)
Uncut Strip: Cards 21, 10, 18, & 9 (front)
Uncut Strip: Cards 9, 18, 10, & 21 (back)
Uncut Strip: Cards 1, 23, 17, & 15 (front)

Uncut Strip: Cards 15, 17, 23, & 1 (back)
Uncut Strip: Cards 22, 7, 4, & 16 (front)

Uncut Strip: Cards 16, 4, 7, &22 (back)
Uncut Strip: Cards 20, 13, 1, & 23 (front)
Uncut Strip: Cards 23, 1, 13, & 20 (back)
Uncut Strip: Cards 14, 2, 6, & 24 (front)
Uncut Strip: Cards 24, 6, 2, & 14 (back)
Lastly, here is the Special Offer from the back panel of a box containing a strip of these cards.  Interestingly, the cards don't seem to have been included with Star Wars-themed Dixie Cups, but non-SW (as in the first photo in this post).  This back panel was included with the final cards I bought, and the partial side panels (which I cropped out below) were from the "Fresh Herbs" collection, and not even SW boxes!  Note the nifty placemats and cool hat that you could also order!


Star Wars Color Still (20th Century Fox, 1977)

I was mildly surprised to purchase a lobby card from the original STAR WARS--which would have been 11 x 14 inches--and have it arrive as a color still, which is 8 x 10 inches! But, as it's in fantastic shape, with no pinholes or tape even, it's still a smashing success!

And it's a great shot of stuntman Peter Diamond (as the Tusken Raider) and the beloved-to-The-Sphinx hero Mardji the elephant (as the Bantha) in the desert of California! Enjoy!


Baragon's Bumper Car (E-bay Ephemera, part six)

Sometimes you see something, and you just have to save the photo, to prove to yourself that you really saw it.  This above....thing...appears to be made out of a legitimate Baragon figure, but then my brain loses all track of what's going on.  
Note that Baragon's nails are painted, and his lips are...lipsticked...and that the whole thing looks like a prop that would decorate Pee-Wee's Playhouse.  
I would call it "nightmare fuel" if not for the presence of Baragon, but then again...and the punchline is, this thing SOLD.  If I remember correctly, it went for around 40 bucks.
But that doesn't answer the question........WHY?!

This bootleg LP sold last week...and, it's apparently so rare that it doesn't have a discogs listing.  Silly bootleggers, they don't know their Gorgos from their Godzillas.  Make a mental note though, if you see one of these in your local thrift stores, buy it.  It sold for over $150! Like I'd leave THAT on the rack and walk away, anyhow.

Felix the Cat milk cap (remember those?), Wendy's Kid's Meal, 1996.


Rodan CED Video Disc (Vestron, 1983)

When I was discussing the companion release to this disc, Vestron's GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS, I had mentioned that it may have been the only Godzilla or even kaiju film released in the CED format.  However, from some database searches, I can now tell you that there were actually three Godzilla-related CED discs released in the USA:  KOTM, RODAN, (which I just picked up), and GODZILLA 1985.  
More information on CED discs is available in that previous post, as well.


2001 Godzilla ("GMK, Giant Monsters All-Out Attack") NECA, 2016

The seventh figure in NECA's Godzilla series has arrived!  NECA has slowed down from the speed that began this series, but thankfully, it is still alive.  Here is their production so far:

2014 - Three figures (beginning in June of that year)
2015 - Three figures
2016 - One figure

If I recall correctly, Shin Godzilla is going to be next, but I'm sure it will be in 2017, at this point.  Here's a halfway-decent look at the new figure:
It's another stunning sculpt, and the bulkiest Godzilla so far, and that even counts 1985's thunderous thighs.  This figure's are actually bigger, and to my quick comparisons, everything is newly-sculpted.
Also, the biggest feet so far.  This Godzilla has huge, thick feet, and I think that's accurate to the design.
I decided to make a comparison to Bandai's version of this Godzilla, from their line of American vinyls (credited to Bandai Creation, of course).  You can see the major difference right away:  NECA's 2001 can't stand up very straight.  It's really true for all their Godzillas.  
Now, this really isn't a deal-breaker.  It's just the way it is.  In the first unboxed photo above, that is the absolute straightest he will stand and still have both enormous feet on the ground.  Sure, you can lean him forward more, but his heels will be off the ground.  You'll notice Bandai's posture is very rigid in comparison, and it just comes down to what you prefer for a given display situation. 
Of course, Bandai's 2001 isn't super-articulated, and this figure has all of the great design elements of the previous six, including the jaw.
Oh, and points for the tail, which has a lovely, blunt end, as well as the usual bendable wire.  (The point of the tail was a complaint of mine in reviewing previous figures.)
Overall, NECA's 2001 has a wider stance, a more impressive bulk, and nice-looking texture to the folds and scales of the sculpt, achieved with a dark wash.  Originally pushed back to September--and then again to October, until finally arriving in November--I ordered mine from Entertainment Earth, thinking they would never show up on store shelves.  However, I was surprised to see several of this exact figure on the shelves of my local Toys [backwards "R"] Us the other day, so you just never know.


Lego #76057 Expansion Project (Web Warriors Bridge Battle)

I know this was a popular idea, when this amazing set recently came out, to buy more than one and "extend" the bridge.  From the way it's designed, I think this was even what the Lego Group had in mind.  I was lucky that a local Wal-Mart ran a sale on this set for $78, instead of the $99 it originally was.  I don't know why they did that, but I haven't regretted the second purchase for one moment.
And of course, it provides room to involve the other current Spider-Man sets!
First off, let me say that I did absolutely nothing fancy.  I could have done a lot of modifications, but
I didn't see the need.  All I added were a couple of large plates to connect the two bridge playsets together, three baseplates for water, two minifigures (a fireman and a driver for the second taxi), and some clear rods and bricks to make the gliders fly.  That's all it took.  Really, you could modify this thing as much as you want--unless I'm parting out a set I like to keep it complete, so I just built the whole thing, and left off the final, small segment (where the street signs and trash can launcher is).  Not building that last part gives you the plates you need to hook both sides together, and fill in the missing street plates. 
I have over 300 Lego sets, and I have to say that this very well may be my absolute favorite set that has been made.  Definitely the best Marvel set, hands down!
Hey, I just remember that Doc Ock was involved when Capt. Stacy died in the original comics.  This was a happy accident.
If only they had given us a Gwen, instead of Aunt May.  Oh well, it feels just as therapeutic to dangle her from a bridge!
A better view of the translucent bricks and rods, which of course would work for the Vulture too.