Aug 31, 2011

Star Wars Wednesday - Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

As I'm writing this, the internets and Twitter are blowing up with the news of even more changes Lucas has made to the Original Trilogy on BluRay. And if these leaked changes are real, it wont' take a Jedi master to foresee they're going to be met with much fan outrage.

But that is the big question right now. The videos of these changes did not come from LucasFilm and were uploaded to a YouTube channel and the audio seems to be lacking in quality. Is this just someone pranking the rabid fanbase? Only time will tell.

All the drama queens crying "Lucas raped my childhood" are just that, drama queens. Lucas can't take away the movies I already own or my childhood memories. He can do what he wants because no matter what we like or dislike, he's making these changes so the movies fit his vision. Although it seems like that vision keeps needing a new prescription every few years....ahem.

Since this dust won't fully settle for some time, these toy ads from Famous Monsters of Filmland should make you feel a little better. Go ahead and click on them to view larger versions.

Aug 29, 2011

Mail Order Monday - KISS Wants You!

1978 ad (Click to enlarge)
Wow, lucky you! Out of thousands of fans, KISS wants YOU to wear their pendant. But wait, why did they put two order forms in the ad?! They don't just want you, they want one of your friends to have one too. They must think you're pretty cool if they trust the people you hang out with!

The mail order address is "Jewelry of the Stars." I'm curious what other things they may have offered...


Aug 26, 2011

Famous Last Words Friday - Walk in the Woods

Sometimes you just want to go for a walk in the woods alone...and never be seen again.

Aug 25, 2011

A Certain Point of View

I had a fun fan experience at Target yesterday. I was browsing the end cap of Star Wars toys and in the aisle was a young boy around 10, who was a dead ringer for a young Harry Potter, and his younger sister. He was checking out the SW figures and counting some cash from his pocket. His sister went off to look at girly things. I'm not being sexist here in assuming that was where she was headed, she actually said she was going to look at girl toys.

I moved from the end cap into the aisle to look at the figures there and heard him say something. Not thinking he was talking to me, I didn't pay it much attention. After a few seconds, he repeated his question, "Do you have a son?" I kept browsing and told him that no, I did not. He followed up with "Oh, are you looking for a present for someone?" Not wanting to be rude to a fellow fan, I stopped my browsing and turned to him. Seeing where his logic was going, I answered with a slight smile, "Nope."

This seemed to confuse him. I let it hang in the air for a moment and told him I'd been into Star Wars since I was younger than him. After a couple seconds more he replied, "Oh, you mean the old movies." With an emphasis on old similar to the disdain many people my age would use when talking about Jar Jar or the prequel movies.  "I don't like those that much," he said, "the new ones are better." He then continued on for a minute or two about how awesome the new Clone Wars show is, as if I couldn't possibly be aware of it, much less watch it. There was also a gripe about how the Stormtrooper blasters were in front of the Clone Trooper blasters on the shelf.

Having finished my browsing,  I said goodbye and decided to leave before his mom came back to find her son talking to a 40 year old man in the toy aisle.

Everyone likes what they like. But maybe when he gets older, he'll recognize the significance of those "old" movies in the overall saga of Anakin Skywalker.

Aug 24, 2011

Star Wars Wednesday - Happy 5th Birthday

No, I'm not talking about my 5th birthday because Star Wars wasn't even out yet...feel old much?

Anyway, here's a couple pages from Bantha Tracks #16 from May 1982 celebrating 5 years of Star Wars. When you read things like this from when the movies were still being made and compare it to the current day geek zeitgeist, it's easy to forget that there was a time when Star Wars wasn't everywhere.

From the end of Kenner making Star Wars toys in 1986 until the release of Heir to the Empire in 1991, Star Wars went to the backest of back burners culturally. At least that's how it felt to me because it had vanished from the public eye. My friends and I still held a love for it and watched the movies on VHS (and sometimes laser disc) over and over. But aside from West End Games turning out RPG books and the occasional video game during that time, there was precious little going on in the GFFA. It's worth noting that these RPG books established a lot of the EU lore about people, places and things from the original movies.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Aug 22, 2011

Mail Order Monday - Write Thrilling Love Letters

Ad from 1954. Click to enlarge
There's no way these ad writers could have imagined in almost 60 years that letter writing would pretty much go the way of the dodo. And they would probably be horrified to know that we tend to convey our messages in 140 characters or less using our mobile phones. Devices that you can use to actually talk to someone instead of sending abbreviated messages which use a language all their own. Heck, sexting just recently made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary.
A lot of the things they mention don't even sound like things you'd do in a letter. Make a date? Propose? I can't imagine any girl would want to be proposed to by letter. Of course, the extent of my love letter knowledge is from grade school: "Do you like me? yes  no"

Aug 19, 2011

Famous Last Words Friday - Grave Robbin USA

No matter what, native cemeteries are bad news. But poor Paul here is doing a little grave robbing to add insult to injury. Maybe it would be more accurate to say it's adding insult to impending horrific death.
Astute readers will notice this is just the first page of the story, so Paul's got a fun ride ahead of him!


Aug 17, 2011

Star Wars Wednesday - Remembrance of the Jedi

Last week I featured a some Revenge of the Jedi merchandise that was available through the Star Wars Fan Club. This week, I thought I'd try (do or do not!) do something to stretch my writing a little bit more, be entertaining and possibly get more personal than necessary.

Not my actual local ad
I remember when Return of the Jedi came out (although some details are foggy). It was the final chapter of an adventure I started six years previously in 1977. This was It. The Big Finale. Was Han Solo ok? And, more importantly, would the three year playground debate be put to rest...Was Vader really Luke's father?

I went to a matinee show on opening day. Even at age 12, it just had to be done. Back then, your biggest spoiler concern was the other kids at school. For whatever reason, my mom got my grandfather to drop me off and pick me up from the movie. He picked me up plenty early and off we went to one of the two nearby movie theaters.

Only, when I got there, they weren't playing Jedi.

Aug 15, 2011

Mail Order Monday - Monster Robot (1974)

Click to enlarge
For just $1 (and .15¢ S&H), you can get your very own plans to build a "Life-Size" Monster Robot!

When something is fictional, how do you determine what size "Life-Size" is?

I have "loads of fun" putting together stuff from Ikea where all the parts are professionally made from non-scrap material and you don't need to have any metal working or soldering skill. I can only imagine how much more fun this would be.

What child is going to be able to construct this 7' tall monstrosity? The only way I see this working is if the "scrap items" are actually cardboard boxes.

It says you hide inside to control it and goes on to say it acts like a creature from outer space. Transitive property would seem to indicate that you act like a creature from outer space. Just what are you trying to say Mr. Copywriter?


Aug 12, 2011

Famous Last Words Friday - UFO Woes

Click to enlarge

Oh boy, where do we begin?
  1. You're talking to yourself, not thinking, but actually talking
  2. Blatantly exclaiming UFOs are impossible
  3. While taking a shortcut
  4. Off road through a swamp
  5. All by yourself in the car
  6. In the middle of the night
Let me know how that works out for you in the end.
See what I did there? 

Aug 10, 2011

Star Wars Wednesday - I Wish I Had

Sticking with last week's Bantha Tracks newsletter theme, here's a couple scans of items that were exclusive to the Star Wars Fan Club. The scans originally came from a site called Artoo's News.

I can't tell you how badly I wanted this jacket when I saw it. I mean, how cool would it be to have Luke's jacket? What's that you say? Not as cool as having Han's vest? Well, I can't argue with that! The vest wasn't made available until after Return of the Jedi...and yes, I wanted it more!

Bantha Tracks #11, 1981 (Click to Enlarge)

This next pair are things I would get if I could hop in the Wayback Machine and order them. At the time, I had plenty of Star Wars patches and posters so these weren't must have items. Of course, no one knew just how rare and collectible these items would be when the name was changed from Revenge to Return.

Bantha Tracks #18, Feb 1983 (Click to Enlarge)
Do you have any childhood items you always wanted and never had?
Or managed to find years later?

Aug 8, 2011

Mail Order Monday - Hypnotism

If you're a comic reader from practically any decade, you've seen ads for hypnotism, whether it's a "how-to" book or the infamous hypnotic coin.

Comic book ad from 1953 (Click to enlarge)

One thing that's not hard to miss is that these ads were rarely ever about self-help. They were usually about imposing your will on others.

Aug 5, 2011

Famous Last Words Friday - What It's All About

I'm just guessing here, but I think "what it's all about" is going to involve lots of broken bones and blood. 

Aug 3, 2011

Star Wars Wednesday - Bantha Tracks

For those that may not know, Bantha Tracks was originally the name of the official Star Wars Fan Club publication which ran from 1978-1987. Today it is a column in the Star Wars Insider featuring content sent in by fans.

This post is going to take a look back at a few things from the early days of the Bantha Tracks newsletter. If you've been around the blog, you'll know I always enjoy taking a look back at Star Wars through the years. It's also to showcase these things for the younger fans as pieces of Star Wars history.

First up, a clipping from Bantha Tracks #1. As part of your Fan Club Membership, you got a full color sticker of the below image, as well as an explanation as to the origins of the artwork.

This next one is from Bantha Tracks #2, 1978 and it asks a question that many of us have asked over the years. This was the first "official" answer ever given. And it seems like it ties in the Star Wars Holiday Special as part of the answer.

The final one for this week is from Bantha Tracks #5, Summer 1979 and features a sneak peak at the galaxy's most notorious bounty hunter: Boba Fett. Interestingly, the Rocket Pack Controls (2) are not called out in the image. And what is Camel View & Finder (4)? It might have supposed to have been camera & viewfinder, maybe?

It was the piecemeal info like this that made Boba such a man of mystery. Of course, his story's been told now; a couple times! The idea of him being some kind of uber trooper was pretty interesting back then. We could never have imagined what stories were to come but no movie would ever be as cool as what we made up when we played with our toys.

Aug 2, 2011

Random SciFi - Bathroom Break

It probably wouldn't sound as threatening if he said they would be leaving after Capt Cypol came out of the bathroom...

Aug 1, 2011

Mail Order Monday - Shark Tooth

The Adventures of Sgt. Shark 1982 ad
The Adventures of Sgt. Shark 1982

This week's Mail Order Monday is in honor of Shark Week. For just $5.95 you too can have SHARK POWER! Apparently they were expecting this to be so popular they had to include two order forms in the ad.

Based on this other ad, it seems SHARK POWER is the ability to manhandle sharks in any way you see fit. Not the most useful superpower, but maybe a little more manly than telepathically talking to fish.