If you are here, then you no doubt remember the iconic Star Wars LP that launched Meco's career:
|At the right of the montage above, don't miss the photo of the child gazing up in admiration at the film's poster...best photo I have seen in YEARS.|
Thanks to Sean Linkenback for alerting me to the presence of this dealer's catalog from 1980 that was recently discovered! Among the many vintage sleeping bags offered inside, right between Dennis the Menace and The Pink Panther, was this one:
So now, the race is on, to actually find one! If anyone has any info, please drop us a line!
As a footnote, here is the next most interesting page of the catalog!
- This page is full of interesting concepts. Somehow, I never ran into "Super Jrs." (which is a terrible name). Wikipedia says they "first appeared" in 1982 style guide, but here they are in a 1980 catalog, with a 1978 copyright date.
- Seeing what the Doritos bag looked like when I was a kid engulfs me in a wave of nostalgia.
- Flash Gordon and Popeye are interesting to see (although it strikes me that the Flash Gordon sleeping bag could've at least used artwork from the then-current Filmation animated series, and it would've made more sense (like Mighty Mouse did, above).
- I swear I knew somebody who actually had the Tootsie Roll sleeping bag.
- Lastly, the generic "SPACECRAFT" bag, with it's Millennium Falcon and R2 ripoffs, is pretty hilarious, and showed that the Star Wars-mania was still going strong at the time.
- And we didn't even mention Benji!
Over the years, there have been a few Godzilla "resurgences" in the USA, and the time period of 1977-78 was certainly one of them. Marvel had launched a new GODZILLA title, Mattel was cranking out some show-stopping toys and games, but that wasn't all (see it all here at our chronological list of American Godzilla merchandise!), not to mention Hanna-Barbera's animated series that was about to start. This album was part of that wave of merchandise. I've said this before, but in short, it was a good time to be alive.
If you are a fan of the old Power Records/Peter Pan/etc., book-and-record type dramatic stories, you will enjoy this. It's not an easy task to produce audio stories about Godzilla, when the main character can't talk, narrate to himself, or interact directly with the cast. It would be a little easier if this were one of the products that came with a book or comic, but we don't have that luxury (or budget) here. All in all, the cast and writers do an admirable job.
Another characteristic of the 1977-78 time period was that the image used for this album cover (Herb Trimpe's cover for Marvel's GODZILLA #1) basically became Godzilla clip art, and was used in lots of places. It's an iconic piece of art. (I've always thought that the man in the lower right-hand corner looks a lot like S.H.I.E.L.D.'s "Dum Dum" Dugan, who actually made several appearances in the comic, so who knows.)
Two different, side-long adventures are presented, each less than 14 minutes: "Godzilla vs. Amphibion," and "Godzilla vs. The Alien Invasion." It would have been interesting to have included some sort of artwork showing us what some of this looked like, especially with Amphibion, an invention made just for this album.
This LP was re-released in 1998 (another "resurgence" period, because of the dumb American in-name-only movie) on CD by Golden Drive, which included some tracks of rather dull techno music to fill out the already-short disc. This disc went out of print, and may have been re-released in 2001 according to Amazon, but is once again believed to be out of print...if I'm wrong about that, the link you're about to see will disappear, and this post will become an "album review," so here goes:
Do you ever start a project, and wonder why you started it? Do you ever start a project, and wonder if it will ever end? After many, many hours of work, and a four month delay, we are pleased to reveal this new project, at last.
The question was this: How many vintage covers of the Star Wars theme exist? The song was everywhere in the late 1970's, and it seems like everybody had a go at it. The subject is covered in various books and articles, although they all seem to include different material in their lists. Like our earlier project of Star Wars rip-off songs, I wanted to stay in the original era, and go no further than the first sequel. As it turns out, the answer was "a whole lot;" in fact, about 268 minutes' worth, and 5 discs!
Thinking back, when I was a young kid, it always irritated me when I obtained a record with a cover version of a song, and the cover didn't sound exactly like the original song (which is what I was after in the first place, no doubt). I now know this was simply musical immaturity, but it makes me laugh to think about, because I later learned that a well-done cover is one where the artist puts something of themselves into it, and translates it somehow into a new-ish sort of thing. And, that is the case with the best of the tracks here...why would you want to listen to bands parroting John Williams' original theme note for note, more than 50 times?
This is a good place to explain that covers of the Star Wars theme fall into three categories. First, we have general interpretations of the theme, which are all over the map in styles (which makes for a fun listen). These tracks are contained in Discs 1 & 2. Secondly, we have what I have jokingly referred to as "Boring Orchestral Covers and Suites," because that's what they are (see above comment about listening to copies of the original track 50+ times). Luckily, these tracks only take up one disc, which is Disc 3. Lastly, we shouldn't underestimate the phenomenon that was Meco and his disco interpretation of the John Williams score, because he spawned myriads of covers himself...so many, in fact, that they take up the entirety of Discs 4 & 5! And it probably goes without saying, but lots of these tracks were specific to individual countries, and have never been re-released since their original vinyl outings, with no signs of that ever changing.
So is this collection complete? Far as I know. Are there more, somewhere? Could be. I'm always amazed at how the amount of vintage media, which should be quite finite, continues to grow...which, is pretty much a paradox.
Here are the first two discs, which give you thirty tracks displaying the original theme in just about every way it can be done. It's really not like listening to the same song over and over, and if you agree, then it means this was a successful project...that I barely lived through!