FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (Ken Films Double Super 8 Master Copy!)

In the days before "home video" was a thing, Ken Films was one of the leading distributors of films in 8-millimeter, Super 8, and later, sound versions of popular films.  Through licensure deals, they were able to offer movies from several different studios.  For more information, here is a very good forum discussion with the most information on the company that I could find.  The last major release that the company did was 1981's THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, after which, they began to decline, with the company folding somewhere in the mid-1980's (not coincidentally, the time period that video cassette recorders began to become more affordable).

At some point after closing down, someone "rescued" the master copies of 125 of their films, and offered them for sale.  One of these is what we are looking at today:  Ken Films' master copy of Baragon's debut, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD.  It's important to point out here that Ken Films' masters were kept on a unique format called Double Super-8.  For users, Double Super-8 allowed for twice as much film to be shot (by a special Double Super-8 camera) from one roll of film, and then, during processing, the film was split down the middle, and spliced together.  This photo gives you a good example:

At first glance, it looks like a strip of 16mm film...which is the correct width, only those are Super 8 sprocket holes.  What you are really seeing is two prints of the same film, back-to-back if you will (red line added by me).  This allowed for the production of two copies at a time, which was a clever move by Ken.

You will notice in the Certificate of Authenticity, they refer to this as a negative (probably because the film is black-and-white anyway), but it's my understanding that it is indeed Ken's master copy here instead.  This, along with the spelling errors, make me think that an outsider organization offered these reels for sale after Ken's demise.

If you want to see what this print looked like, here's a YouTube video...it's a little wonky at first, but it gets better once the guy moves the camera...besides, it's got Baragon in it! That should be enough for anybody.


LEGO Fantastic Four & The Baxter Building!

Recently, I started working on a project to create a Lego version of the old "Marvel World" cardboard playset from the mid-1970's...and the first thing I wanted to do was give the Fantastic Four something to live in.  Astute observers will note that Lego hasn't produced any minifigures of the team, but Chinese ("bootlego") figures are available, that try to reproduce their likenesses from the first Marvel Lego Super Heroes video game!

I wanted a building that opens, and after looking at some classic depictions of the building, such as this:
...I started to plan the layout.  The left side of the opened building is divided into four rooms.  First, a gymnasium for the Thing:

Next, a lab for Reed Richards (pardon the glare):

Third, a kitchen and rest area:

Lastly, the first floor would be a lobby and reception area, complete with receptionist...

The right side of the opened building is a launch bay for their rocket (later, Pogo Plane).  The great thing about the rocket is that each segment allows for storage, specifically alternate versions of the characters you are displaying! If Sue is invisible at the moment (and a clear one is available, and currently on the way to my house), you can put the non-invisible one in a stage of the rocket, and the same for the Human Torch, which is handy.

Lastly, I built them a Fantasticar.  If you remember your comic history correctly, the car was able to split into four smaller pieces, and still fly around:

It was also important that the Fantasticar be able to park on the rooftop:

By the way, H.E.R.B.I.E. is simply a physical representation of the design used for the first Lego Marvel Super Heroes game...well, except his arms are supposed to be white, and that part is really rare in white, so I used dark gray.  No big deal.

My other projects are:  an apartment building for Peter Parker, a taller Avengers Tower (I added an extra bottom floor to give it height), and a building version of Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, which I haven't gotten around to yet...but I am probably most proud of this Baxter Building!


FAIL Friday: The Things That I See (continued)

Okay, so here's a toy "Airbus" from Asia somewhere...take a look at the mascot for this toy line:

"Hey look, boss! I Photoshopped us a brand new mascot!"
"Wait, wait, wait...you think you can just remove his mustache and call him a new character?!...........at least put some white spots on his hat, or something! That's better!"
I don't get the "holding the key aloft" thing, as if he was Mickey from Kingdom Hearts or something.  Oh, and you want to know something even weirder? The "A380" designation on the airplane is upside down beside Not-Mario, and it looks like it has a hidden message:

OBEY! Now that's creepy.

I guess before I go home today, I would be remiss if I didn't design some brand new mascots that I can sell to some fledgling companies! I mean, I could end up rich by noon:


Two Foreign Words for Hasbro: QUALITY. CONTROL.

I am to the point where I can't quite count the number of times that I've fallen victim to Hasbro's lack of quality...click on the FAIL tag and you will see some other examples on this blog, from recent years.

The example I have for you today is especially terrible.  I have seen characters with two left hands, or two right hands...mind you, these are all characters who HAVE TWO HANDS.  Take a look at this:

This new Marvel Legends 2-pack is a TRU exclusive, which means that Hasbro's limited distribution becomes even more so, and you are lucky to even find one.  To make this situation worse, I didn't even care about the fan-service, modern, Black Panther girl (she wasn't in any classic Kirby Panther, so I'm not interested)...I only wanted Klaw.

Now take a close look at the photo, what jumps out at you?

To you, I say, FAIL !!!
Your knowledge of anatomy serves you well:  yep, he has A RIGHT HAND ON HIS LEFT ARM.  Once again, this character doesn't even own a right hand, and yet, there it is. Screwed again. (By the way, I can verify that this item is factory-sealed.  No one's messed with it!)

What would you do? Take it back to the store, only to have them put it on the shelf again, and sell it to some other sucker?  I actually put it on Ebay, for what it is...maybe somebody collects Hasbro defects...which, as I think about it, shouldn't be too hard to do.

So, to sum up:  BOOO, HASBRO.  BOOOOOO!

NoteOn a side note, this brings up an interesting point about action-figure production.  When a body (called a "buck" I believe) is produced, does that always include two hands? Even if they aren't needed? That would seem to be wasteful, but I can't quite otherwise discern why the "wrong" hand would even exist in this case.


Godzilla 1985 Press Kit - Part 3, Stills (New World Pictures)

Here are the four stills that came with the GODZILLA 1985 Press Kit.  You probably saw at least one of these in your local newspaper:


Godzilla 1985 Press Kit - Part 2, Production Notes (New World Pictures)

Continuing our look at the Press Kit for GODZILLA 1985, here are the Production Notes (click to expand):

As you would predict, the "Cybot" Godzilla is pushed pretty hard in these notes, and Toho apparently tried to make it seem as if the Cybot Godzilla was used for the entire film.  In reality, I'm not sure that it has very much screen time at all.  But, as the fortune was already spent, they decided to try to make some of it back:  in marketing!
Note the claim that 13 hours of film were spent "shot for the special effects alone."
There are several interesting word choices here, which hint that these notes did not begin in English.  "Unalloyed malevolence" is a great one, as is "mooncalf emotion!"
Somebody forgot that Godzilla finally did come to the USA in DESTROY ALL MONSTERS!
Two issues here:  1) I can only assume that by "comic books" worth thousands of dollars, they mean original Japanese manga from 1954 or something, and 2) I have searched for a song called "Waltzing Godzilla" (which I figure is a parody of "Waltzing Mathilda"), but I can find no such song anywhere. So we are down to only one song about Godzilla (just kidding).

Next time, we look at the stills included with this press kit!


Godzilla 1985 Press Kit - Part 1, The Credits (New World Pictures)

Here is the Press Kit for GODZILLA 1985.  Like Pressbooks, Press Kits can be interesting reading, because sometimes they bring up more questions than answers, as you will see in a moment.

The first few pages are "Cast" and "Credits"...(click to expand):

Then, on Page 4, we have a strange section:
Notice that two songs are highlighted here in the credits, which means they are in the film:  "Sayonara Till We Meet," (which is a Japanese song, and on my version of the soundtrack, by Futureland) which is sung by Yasuko Sawaguchi, actress in the film.  Also, something called "Godzilla," with lyrics by Linda Henrick, sung by The Star Sisters, a Dutch singing group.  As it turns out, this second song is used over the closing credits to the film in Japan (while in America, we got an edited suite of music from DEF-CON 4).  Strangely, this English one was released as a single, but apparently, in Japan only. This is also the case with the Soundtrack LP, which was released on King Records; once again, Japan only.  The English lyrics to "Godzilla" are on the back of the 45 sleeve:

So why are songs listed in the American credits that aren't in the American version of the film? It's also odd that there is a credit listed for a soundtrack album, when one wasn't available in the US, but perhaps a release was a possibility at one time, and fell through.

I point all this out because, well, of this:

There WAS an actual American single tied in with the film.  It's not widely known, and doesn't appear anywhere in the presskit, which tells you something.  Unfortunately, it sounded like this:

Yikes.  Next time, we will look at next section of the Press Kit, the Production Notes.