Toho Champion Festival Winter 1972 Program Book

Have you have ever seen Godzilla posters that feature anime characters, or even Ultraman(s)...Ultramen? If so, then they are from Toho's Champion Festivals, which were held from 1969 to 1978.  At first, they were three times a year, and included marathons of different products (some that Toho only distributed rather than produced), along with a Godzilla film that was edited down to be more action and less talk! 
DAIGORO vs GOLIATH, which has been something of a "lost" film for those of us in the West.
In fact, these edits are the reason there was never a good copy of KING KONG vs. GODZILLA for years and years: some dolt did the edits on the master copy of the film.  

The delightful, and highly recommended, PANDA! GO PANDA! which began the independent career of Hayao Miyazaki!
By the end of their run, these festivals were down to once per year.  If you want the full story on them, and a list of content for most of the festivals, I direct you to this scholarly article on Toho Kingdom.

PANDA! GO PANDA! was so good, so pure, and so popular, that a sequel was made for the following year, as Japan was currently in the grip of "Panda-Mania"!
What we have here, then, is one of the souvenir books from the 1972 Winter festival, where the entertainment was DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (edited), the great PANDA! GO PANDA!, and the brand new DAIGORO vs. GOLIATH.  DAIGORO is something of a rarity in the West, in that it was never dubbed for distribution, and has remained unseen to a great part of fans.  It's an enjoyable kiddie film, all about a baby monster who has to face bullies and learn to potty train.  Yes, you read that correctly:  it's Japan.

I feel sure that this pristine book that I recently purchased is a replica, but all that means is that I have a better source to make these excellent scans! Below is the full DESTROY ALL MONSTERS section of the book:

This title actually says "GODZILLA: THE GRAND BLITZ OPERATION," as Toho was fond of giving their edits their own titles.  (Again, thanks to Toho Kingdom for this information.)
This is one of those amusing, and completely trippy, paste-ups that Toho made to promote the film.  The line of humans (and Kilaaks) in the bottom right is just far out.
Two-page spread!
What's more, this book also includes a pull-out section with 24 one-sided monster cards! Here they are:

And finally, inside the back cover is a Coloring Page, which was sort of a tradition in these books:

Print and color, or drop into your favorite art program and knock yourselves out!


Pocket Shots (Amazing Bootleg Pinball Game, circa 1990) !

I will treasure this forever and always.
Once your eyes have met this incredible sight, there's little more I can add, but I will try!  From the heyday of NES/SNES, here's what I see: 

Bowser (that nobody even tried to disguise a little bit) is being swatted away by Godzilla (or maybe Gamera?), who has a prisoner in his mouth, which is covered with bars, which are serrated like housekeys.  The imprisoned man is yelling "HELP," while a policeman (anyone ever play MAPPY?) threatens the monster with his truncheon.  

It's a lot to take in, really.


Godzilla / Dr. Pepper Store Display Poster (Dr. Pepper, 1986)

Here is a quick post for a Friday afternoon.  I haven't even had a chance to take my own photographs of this jewel, but I need to get it on the site, so here we go swiping the seller's Ebay pics:

This amazing piece is a store display poster, measuring the unusual size of 13 x 28 inches.  This is from the fondly-remembered Dr. Pepper ad campaign during the time of GODZILLA 1985.  If you aren't familiar with the TV ads from the time (I believe there are two, with a cinema version of one that is slightly longer), they are on YouTube! Check them out; you won't be sorry!

Love, American style.
Even stranger, a new character was created for the ads--which, you have to believe, took Toho approval--which was a girl Godzilla called only "Newzilla."  Far as I know, she hasn't been heard from since [insert your own jokes about chemicals in diet soda here].


Star Wars Trilogy - 10th Anniversary VHS (CBS Fox, 1987)

I made a cool find the other day.  Here is the order that things became apparent to my brain:

1) Star Wars on VHS
2) The entire trilogy on VHS
3) Still sealed
4) With 10th Anniversary labels? Wait, STILL SEALED? 

Unfortunately, still in the original shrink wrap, but they had been opened from the bottom [If they hadn't, they would be worth some coin!].  However, the tapes are in brand-new condition, and the copies each contained a postcard discussing things that were available for the 10th Anniversary (the front of which is at the top of this post).

If you don't remember, or weren't there, in 1987, Star Wars was dead.  Dead, dead, dead.  [We can argue about whether it should be now....here's a hint, I lean toward "yeah, probably."] The movies were done, and so was the classic line of Kenner toys and the long-running Marvel comic.  There had been little new product, other than Saturday morning cartoons that under-performed, some sequels to the Ewok TV movie (that under-performed), oh, and also a failed 3-D comic from a different publisher (that also under-performed) that lasted 3 whole issues.

When you read the list of merchandise that was available, you can sort of form an understanding of the state of things:
Pins, jewelry, and...Hamilton plates.  Yes, now you could hang your tacky Star Wars plates next to your entire series of plates about the "Charles and Diana" wedding.  I'm sure there are folks that fondly remember the role-playing game, but it was incomprehensible to me.  We can probably agree that the STAR TOURS ride is the coolest thing on this list, even though it can be viewed as a precursor of impending doom.  And, note that you have to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive catalogs from each manufacturer! That was just the way things worked then, kids.

Here are the tapes themselves; essentially the 1984 releases in 1987 shrinkwrap, but lovely specimens of pure, unadulterated OT:
That's cool...wait, THIRTY BUCKS?! Oh yes, friends...anyone else around here remember that the first movies released to VHS were over a hundred dollars?


Brumberger - Morse Code Instruction Course (undated)

Not doing anything today? Maybe you'd like to take a few minutes, and learn Morse Code? Here is an undated 45 that I recently found, credited only to "Brumberger," and contains two beginner's lessons.  

Really, that's about all that I can say about this disc.....other than, by the time you get to Lesson 2, and they start showing you examples of letters and numbers, it struck me that they all start to sound the same.  I toyed with making a joke edit where each and every example was followed by the same couple of beeps.  In fact, the beeping they use on the record is pretty weak, and could have been a much more effective sound! The only other observation I can make is that I feel like Morse Code would be pretty difficult to learn, and even harder to keep up with once you were using it! What do you do when you are in the middle of a long sentence, and lose your place? 

LINK:  Morse Code Instruction Course


Canary Training Record / Training Your Parrakeet To Talk (1952)

A double-shot of helping people, which is what we do here...well, if you own a small and ridiculous bird, that is.  This is your one-stop shop for training your small and ridiculous birds.

First up is the well-titled "Canary Training Record," Featuring "The Hartz Mountain Master Canaries."  Take a moment to appreciate this.  These aren't just any run-of-the-mill padawan canaries; they are on the Council!
When I was young, my mother owned a parakeet, so I don't know much about canaries, but I do know this:  you can teach canaries to sing.  It's what they do.  I thought the purpose of this record was to teach them THESE SONGS, as in, the ones that are on the record.  The two sides of this record contain six classical songs (for want of an appropriate category) performed on organ and, for some strange reason, marimba.  
Well, if that is possible, it won't be with this record, because it sounds like the organist (and marimba-ist) are set up in a pet store.  There is random canary singing--several at once--going during the entire time each song is playing.  And no, it's not following along.  It sounds like complete chaos.
Maybe the point of this record is just to teach them to sing, randomly, and hearing other birds causes this? I don't know; I'm not a canariologist.
This record is undated, and the back shows you that you need approximately 25 different Hartz products to keep your one-ounce bird alive, so good luck!

Next on our agenda is "Training Your Parrakeet to Talk," from 1952.  You will notice right away that they use the archaic spelling of "Parrakeet," which my spell-correct keeps underlining, because today we (meaning "we" in the bird-training-record-posting field) use the more common "parakeet."  
Also right away, you will see that the bird featured on this record is named "Peter Parker."  Now, this pre-dates AMAZING FANTASY #15 by a good 10 years, but is it possible that Stan Lee's (or Steve Ditko's) wife had a non-talking parakeet, and one of them went out and bought this very record, which ended up inspiring the name of the alter-ego of their newest super hero? As Hong Kong Phooey would say, ".......could be!"
This record has instructions, but also has an announcer, who reads you the instructions, which takes up half of the first side.  It's funny, but when I first heard this record, I was positive that the bird's talking was faked.  As I said, having lived with a parakeet, I am aware of what they sound like (I thought), but, well, see the comments below!  Peter could surely talk; his counting was a little wonky, but hey, he's just repeating what he hears.  (Also, I wish I had a record of my grandmother.  How lucky is that?)
There is a second side to this record, but unfortunately, it's the "teaching" side, which means it's just a woman repeating a few phrases over and over (one of which, oddly enough, is "take a bite." I don't know why you would want your bird to say that.)  If all of this sounds familiar to you, it's because we have visited an entire LP of bird-training before, a couple of years ago.  You may still bear the scars.  
Here, for your listening torture, are both records, in one convenient place! Another funny thing is that, originally, I set out to merely find unusual records and post them, but I realized later that some could actually be helpful to somebody...and it's not like you can just buy these things in a store like you could years ago, so enjoy--even use them if you need!

LINK:  Double-dose of Bird Training 45's


Boris Karloff - Tales of Mystery & Imagination (Cricket, 1959)

It has been a long time since we offered any audio around here, and I've had a pile of vinyl on my desk at home for some time.  I am glad to report, I addressed the entire thing this past weekend, and we have several surprises coming up in the next five or so posts!
First up, this.  An entire album where Boris Karloff reads Poe? Wait, though...it's not Poe.  It's actually two stories by Washington Irving.  But, it uses a Poe title, even though the two Washington Irving stories are often published together...okay.  It's a bit confusing.  So: an entire album where Boris Karloff reads Washington Irving? Yes, but there is still a downside.  He is constantly interrupted by kitchy 1959-ish songs by "The Cricketone Chorus & Orchestra."  (Cricket, by the way, actually being Pickwick, who would go on to crank out an endless supply of children's records for years.)  Just so you know what you are getting!
The good news is, this is the most "normal" item that is going to appear in our upcoming audio offerings!

LINK:  Karloff


Shin Godzilla Atomic Blast (NECA, 2018)

It's been a long while since there has been a new NECA Godzilla figure, but this year's Toy Fair (or was it ComicCon? Does it matter? There's one every other week now) showed that there would be two in the near future, the second of which is much more interesting than this one:  KING KONG vs GODZILLA 1962 G!

I'm not anti-SHIN.  I was completely in the middle about the film; it was enjoyable--at its best interesting, at its worst, talky and stilted--but I'm not entirely sure it merits two action figures.  I haven't compared, but I'm assuming most of the sculpt has been re-used here.  There are two beams packed behind the figure, looking like a complimentary pair of chopsticks: one for his mouth, and the other for his tail (if you just did a double-take, then you haven't seen the film, apparently).  Since mine isn't open, here is a better look at what you get:

I know, I know.

My main problem with this figure was the bizarre way that it was offered.  Here is the course of events:
1) Two new Godzilla figures are revealed at some convention somewhere.
2) Soon after that, the 1962 Godzilla is available for pre-order (which I quickly did).
3) About a month ago, news hit some major toy sites that NECA had released the "Shin Godzilla Atomic Blast" figure, and that there were two ways to get it.  Either you could order it directly from their "NECA Ebay Store," or from Amazon (where the shipping was lumped into the price, if you were a Prime member...which is supposed to be the whole point of being a Prime member).  

Now, they never said explicitly that these two ways were the only choices, but they sure acted like it, and the way the chain of events played out made it look that way (no pre-orders).  With TRU gone, it definitely made me think this was the distribution plan for a figure whose sales would probably be brisk at best.

I say all that to tell you, I was extremely surprised to see this figure at Target on Friday night!  I knew they were carrying NECA products (also because of the TRU thing), but certainly not this one.  He will probably end up on clearance, but to be honest, I didn't want to pay the $11 shipping for this weighty figure, so I picked him up. Also, I have read several reviews mentioning terrible paint problems, so that's another vote for buying in person.


The Things That I See (Continued)

You can't make this stuff up....I wouldn't!

Also from the same thrift store:

Just because you have items you no longer need, it doesn't mean that
somebody still can't enjoy them!

And, in the "Seen on E-bay" category:

I kid you not, if you Google the old "Kung Fu" TV show, you will see that this is, in reality, David Carradine.

Here is an "expensive IP Phone FAIL":
The clock on our conference room phone was all wrong. I'd better reboot it...
....that's better! According to this, I've been dead for years.

Have you seen the new LEGO "Betrayal at Cloud City"?
I did some cheesy photoshops to a couple of scenes:

This one was set up by my youngest...
...plus, I custom built an "Ice Cream Maker Guy." What is Cloud City without him?

Finally, from a trip to Canada I took last month:

Firstly, Canada has candy that we don't have here, at least not in quite the same form...
Secondly, Canada still has Toys R Us, which I made a point to take a taxi, just to be reunited with!
Thirdly, Canada made sure that I did NOT drink any toilet water, the whole time I was there!
Congratulations, Canada, you are doing it right.

BONUS: Did you hear Pepsi has a new Michael Jackson can, that 
commemorates his famous TV commercial?
I thought that was nice!