Dinosaur Dracula!

Six Delicious Facts about Hawaiian Punch.

Hey, how ‘bout a nice Hawaiian Punch?

I love Hawaiian Punch. Everyone does. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying.

As a kid, I adored those huge canisters of the powdered mix. As I recall, Hawaiian Punch’s mixes came sugared, so while trying to eat “raw” Kool-Aid would leave you puckering, Hawaiian Punch’s powder was like naked Fun Dip. So good!

Drinking it always felt like such a big occasion. I’d savor each sip like a good wine. Sometimes I’d pretend it was energon and do my bad Soundwave impression once I finished. Life was better, then. I still had Snake Mountain.

Below are six delicious facts about Hawaiian Punch. I don’t know why I’m writing this.

Hawaiian Punch was born as an ice cream topping!

As the story goes, Hawaiian Punch was invented by three guys in a garage as an ice cream topping. Sold as Leo’s Hawaiian Punch, the syrupy goop became a popular condiment at certain 1930s ice cream parlors.

Eventually, kids realized that they liked Leo’s Hawaiian Punch even better when they mixed it with plain water. The parlor owners took note and started offering it that way, usually as a lure to get kids to buy their more expensive ice cream. (Meaning that they wouldn’t sell glasses of Hawaiian Punch directly, but would make you a glass if you ordered two scoops of vanilla first.)

Incredibly, it wasn’t until 1946 — more than ten years after Hawaiian Punch’s debut — that it was finally marketed as a beverage. Read More…

Zima is back for the summer of 2017!

Zima is back, baby.

From now through the end of summer, you can find six-packs of Zima — yes, honest-to-goodness original Zima — wherever bottles of happy juice are sold.

The “clearmalt” beverage debuted in 1993 and was immediately popular, thanks to a look and taste that were altogether novel at that time. In Zima’s heyday, there wasn’t much else like it.

I was not legally old enough to drink Zima during its best years, but that didn’t stop me. I was just entering high school when it hit stores, and the drink seemed tailor-made for kids who wanted to experiment with alcohol but hadn’t yet developed any sincere taste for it. Read More…

Dino Drac’s June 2017 Funpack!

There’s no better way to beat the heat than a Dino Drac Funpack!

Well, that’s not exactly true. I just have heat on the brain. It’s like 200 degrees out right now. I’m basically Surtur without the superpowers.

In any event, Dino Drac’s June Funpack IS HERE, but it will only be available for a few short days!

The short story, for those who don’t know: Dino Drac is a one man show that requires a great deal of time, money and effort. It would be an impossible endeavor if not for the generous peeps who subscribe to my monthly Funpacks.

It’s $25 a month (including shipping), and for as long as you stay subscribed, you’ll continue to receive awesome boxes full of retro nonsense that I personally assemble. (And of course, you can unsubscribe at any time without penalty!)

The June 2017 Funpack boasts more than 10 items in every box, including several exclusive items in custom Dino Drac packaging! There are toys, knickknacks, weird chips, things to read and more!

Jump to the bottom for ordering info, or keep scrolling to see EVERYTHING you’ll receive in this month’s box! Read More…

Vicious Videocassette Boxes, Volume VII!

I’ve been collecting VHS tapes in a pretty hardcore way as of late, spurred by my experiences at those still-running video stores.

So far, it’s been a terrific hobby. It’s as cheap as I need it to be, and it’s an excuse to turn every yard sale and thrift shop into a hunting ground. Hell, for the first time ever, I’ve even embraced Craigslist.

Some have asked how I can own so many tapes and still have room to walk, which always strikes me as an odd question. I’ve collected a hundred different things over the years, and few were more easily organizable than VHS tapes. If you stack ‘em right, even the shittiest Walmart bookcase can hold hundreds of them.

I’m mostly in this for old horror movies, because those tapes (more specifically the boxes) double as wonderful works of art. They’re like three-dimensional posters, with the tactile quality of inedible sandwiches. I can’t get enough of them.

Since my collection has bloomed over the past few months, I thought I’d dust off Dino Drac’s long-dormant Vicious Videocassette Boxes series. Below are five of my favorite recent pickups.

Spookies! (1986)

When I became a more serious collector, Spookies shot to the top of my must-get list. It’s just such a perfect example of a “video store horror movie,” what with its fetching box that promises a horde of monsters and all sorts of bloodcurdling mayhem.

What separates Spookies from other horror movies that came in similarly great boxes is that the film truly lives up to the art. Everything you see on that box is really in the movie. If anything, the art understates things!

Spookies is a hot mess and its slipshod production is now a matter of public record, but through another lens, it’s AMAZING. It’s exactly the sort of movie that I envisioned whenever I browsed the horror rentals as a kid. Just nonstop monsters of all different varieties, killing people in horrible ways under synthy nightmare music. Perfect.

(Big thanks to my buddy Craig, who traded me this tape and most definitely cut me a break.) Read More…

Five Retro TV Commercials, Part 17!

Here’s another edition of Five Retro TV Commercials, featuring everything from Bartman to steamed hams:

McDonald’s Cheddar Melt! (1989)

I have a sick fascination with discontinued McDonald’s foods, revering them more as I would extinct species of birds than old sandwiches.

Three things separated the Cheddar Melt from most McDonald’s burgers. First was the rye bun, which created a “rustic” veneer that made going to McDonald’s seem just a tiny bit fancier.

Next were the grilled onions, which according to Wikipedia were sautéed in butter and teriyaki sauce. That sounds almost unfairly good.

Most important was the cheddar cheese sauce, which looked attractive in this ad but I’m betting was iffy in reality. (I’m picturing Tostitos Salsa Con Queso run through a cheesecloth and then served at room temperature over beef. Course, now that I think about it, that sounds frickin’ great.)

First available in the late ‘80s, the Cheddar Melt has returned several times over the years, most recently in 2007.

Fire in the Sky! (1993)

When Fire in the Sky premiered, my obsession with space aliens was at its peak. I don’t remember making any sincere pushes to see it in theaters, but I was the first in line to rent it on video.

My bedroom was downstairs by that point. It was the darkest room in the house, in the darkest corner of the house. I watched Fire in the Sky alone and with the lights dimmed, confident that after spending so many hours with Robert Stack, I could handle it.

For the most part, I could. The bulk of Fire in the Sky — which was based on the allegedly true Travis Walton incident — focuses on the alien abductee’s friends, who spend the movie trying to convince their neighbors that they aren’t secret murderers.

(Those scenes weren’t badly done, but there comes a point where they feel more like an attempt to expand 30 minutes’ worth of movie into something that could sail in theaters.)

But man, when Fire in the Sky finally gets to the good stuff, it does NOT disappoint. The abductee’s generously long flashback is genuinely the most frightening “alien movie thing” I’ve ever seen, and yes I’m counting every moment from Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise.

At the time, it helped that I took Fire in the Sky at face value. (I no longer believe any alien abduction story to be true, and will at best only entertain the notion that certain people believe their stories to be true. Basically, once you hit 35, you stop being any fun at all.) Read More…