So last year I told you about six video stores that were somehow still in business. Me and Jay went all over Jersey and Pennsylvania to find them, and I was convinced that we’d hit every last one within reasonable driving distance.
Fortunately, I was wrong!
Welcome to California Video, star of a random strip mall located in New Holland, Pennsylvania.
We had to travel for hours to find this place. For a moment there, I wasn’t sure that we ever would. New Holland is an interesting town, where pockets of exurbia are bookended by complete and total farm country. Not ten miles from California Video, the only signs of life came from horses and tumbleweeds.
Take a close look at that second photo, and you’ll notice the outline of a long-gone sign burnt into the front of the building. Doesn’t its shape seem… familiar?
Yes indeed, California Video isn’t just a still-running video store, but one that operates out of the shell of a dead Blockbuster! Read More…
You know what solves the post-holiday blues? Retail therapy. Course, I might just be saying that because I have something to sell you. You never know with me.
LIMITED TIME ONLY! UNITED STATES ONLY!
Dino Drac’s January 2018 Funpack is finally here! I’m late-as-heck this month, so this one will only be available for a very short time!
As I’m assuming y’all know by now, these Funpacks fund the site. Without them, I would not be able to continue running Dino Drac. On top of getting cool boxes of old nonsense for as long as you stay subscribed, you’re also helping to ensure that I keep posting tributes to weird monsters. Yay!
Subscriptions are $25 per month, and that includes shipping. For as long as you remain subscribed, you’ll keep getting boxes every month! You can cancel at any time without penalty — even right after subscribing if you only want this month’s box!
The January 2018 Funpack is one of the best of ’em. There are over ten items in every box, including everything from serious collectibles to goofy novelties to a goddamned Twizzler. It pretty much guarantees that you’ll have at least one good night during this otherwise dreary month!
Scroll to the bottom for ordering info, or keep reading to learn about everything you’ll receive in this month’s box! Read More…
Here are five tiny tributes to five minor monsters:
Drakulon, Creature of Doom!
Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot (1968)
It blows my mind that Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot — the American edit of Japan’s Giant Robo — never became big-on-the-internet.
In the series, Johnny Sokko calls upon Giant Robot — who looks like a friendlier King Sphinx — to stop the alien Gargoyle gang from taking over Earth. Led by Emperor Guillotine, the gang includes huge monsters based on everything from limpet mines to eyeballs.
Every moment of the series was jubilantly odd, but its penultimate episode — Drakulon, Creature of Doom — was out there even by Johnny Sokko standards.
Sokko and his do-gooder pals are captured by Drakulon, a vampire in a thick blue mask who talks like an under-the-weather Count Chocula. He’s billed as one of Emperor Guillotine’s heavies, but it’s hard to imagine this guy taking orders from anyone.
After raising an army of zombie-like vampires, Drakulon magically grows tall enough to battle Giant Robot… who promptly kills him by hurling flaming crosses at his head. I love Drakulon, and I love this show. Read More…
I’ve been digging through stacks of home-recorded VHS tapes, searching for more old TV commercials. It’s seriously one of my favorite things to do. I even wear a special outfit.
Below: Another batch of retro TV commercials. This time, they’re all from the ‘90s, when grunge was big and every chip got a spinoff ranch flavor.
Batman Returns: The Batcave! (1992)
Kenner made tons of desirable Batman toys during the ‘90s. Just as importantly, they knew how to advertise them.
I’m especially fond of their TV commercials from the Batman Returns era, which perfectly captured that film’s wintry, gloomy feel. (Right down to the liberal use of fake snow, which I bet tasted sugary.)
This ad focused on the Batcave Command Center playset, which was certainly a step up from the older Batcave made by ToyBiz — even if that one was showier in a cartoony sort of way. Basically, this new Batcave was for kids who liked aggressive toys with senses of realism. The old one was for kids who wanted Batman’s secret lair to make them think about ice cream.
The commercial also highlighted some then-new action figures, including that kickass Bruce Wayne with the removable Batman costume. (Easily among the most beloved of all ‘90s action figures, in and out of the DC universe.)
More quirky was Kenner’s Penguin figure, which famously looked nothing like Danny DeVito. It was a revamp of a much older DC Super Powers figure, based on Penguin’s appearance in the comics.
(I’ve never been clear on why they didn’t make a “DeVito” Penguin. Was the character too gross? DeVito’s fees too high? Did they just want to save cash by reusing an old mold? Every time I ask, I get a different answer. You people make me so mad.) Read More…