Dinosaur Dracula!

So Many McNuggets Commercials!

If what we ate had no consequences, I’d live on Chicken McNuggets. Yeah, I’ve seen the photo of that pinkish, chemical-soaked goo they’re made from. I don’t care. In this fantasy, there are no consequences.

Chicken McNuggets debuted in 1983. By the time I was consciously aware of what I was eating and not just chewing whatever someone put in front of me, they were already on the market. Like most of you, I never knew a world without McNuggets.

Delicious as they were, it’s not like my loyalty wasn’t coaxed. I’ve lost count of the McDonald’s commercials I’ve covered over the years, but I do know that Chicken McNuggets had some of the best ads of all. Appetizing, mesmerizing! Below are examinations of six ancient McNugget commercials, all wildly appealing in their own special ways.

Doodlin’! (1987)

You might remember this ad (and some of the others to come) from X-E. It’s probably my favorite McNugget commercial ever.

A kid named Brian is in class, simultaneously bored and starving. As he doodles away his troubles, what he puts to paper magically transforms into full color animation. In the big moment, his caricature hands him a cartoon McNugget, which then morphs into the real world version, letting Brian satisfy his cravings by eating in class.

This was not an unfamiliar conceit in old food commercials. I could easily name ten others that featured random junk food eerily materializing in a kid’s classroom. What makes this particular ad so special is Brian’s art. Those doodles were so colorful and erratic, and I very often tried to replicate his style in my own weird drawings.

So this commercial was as much an art lesson as a reminder that Chicken McNuggets were delicious. A PSA with benefits. Read More…

Carnival Glories, 2013 Edition!

Back when Dino Drac was still a baby, I wrote about a traveling carnival that’s made my city one of its annual stops.

Well, it’s back this week, and better than ever! Or at least better than it’s been during certain years. Maybe it’s just as okay as ever. I don’t know. They had cotton candy.

The carnival sets up in the parking lot of the Staten Island Mall, guaranteeing both lots of foot traffic and the high probability that I’ll run into some forgotten enemy from fifteen years ago. There are pretty lights, interesting noises, and barkers who will insist that I’m not a man until I win Ms. X a Rastafarian banana doll. It’s no Wildwood boardwalk, but I enjoy it.

Here are some of this year’s highlights!

The Haunted Mansion:

I was happy to see the return of this dark ride, which you may remember from last year’s post. I thought they’d added some new decorations to the front, but comparing this year and last year’s photos proves that they did nothing of the sort. I think I just told myself that so I’d have an excuse to take 20 more pictures of the thing.

Remember, this carnival isn’t “ours.” It travels from town to town, crossing an unknown number of state borders. It’s fun to imagine what the Haunted Mansion might have endured since I last saw it. Dark rides bring out the weirdest in people, right? Has anyone like, done it in there? God, if only this Haunted Mansion could talk. Read More…

Goodies from Goodwill!

What should have been a routine trip home from Philly turned into an absolute nightmare, with the kind of demoralizing traffic normally reserved for setup montages during coffee commercials.

This was yesterday afternoon, and as hellish at it was, the experience came with a major bright side. A desperate attempt to cross bodies of water using only local streets went about as well as you’d suspect, but it did place us squarely in front of this incredible Goodwill store:

Many illegal and dangerous maneuvers were made to get us into that parking lot, because I saw this for what it was. A chance to turn a negative into a positive.

We don’t have Goodwill stores around here. Is this what I’ve been missing? I must have seen over a hundred thrift shops in my life, but never one like this. Never one that was as big as a supermarket. Never one where the customers use shopping carts.

The store was enormous and had everything. Clothes, toys, games, books, movies, glassware, paintings – you name it. That’s not unusual for thrift stores, but the difference here was the sheer volume. I’m used to going to thrift stores where finding even one reasonably priced “cool thing” is like discovering the Ark of the Covenant.

When we first walked in, I chuckled at the sight of everyone using shopping carts, because who needs a shopping cart in a thrift store? Well, ten minutes later, there I was, pushing a cart around and wondering if one was even enough. Read More…


Just a note! Dino Drac’s Luxury Apartments is now open for business!

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Awesome Toys in Flight of the Navigator!

Released in 1986, I must have seen Flight of the Navigator at least a hundred times. Admittedly, none of those hundred times were recent. If I get any facts wrong in this post, blame a combination of faded memories and the fact that I wrote it at 3:30 in the morning.

The synopsis, as I remember it: A sentient alien ship kidnaps a kid named David, and drops him back on Earth several years in the future. He hasn’t aged a day, leading his grateful but confused family (and everyone else) to wonder where he was and what might have happened to him. We later learn that the ship (“Max”) had good intentions, and was only helping David realize his destiny to become some kind of outer space pet collector. (That’s not quite it, but it’s close enough.)

My memories of the film are scattered but strong. Sarah Jessica Parker with a tuft of pink hair. Cherry Coke. The guy from Shock Treatment playing “Dad.” An alien that was pretty much a big pile of breathing snot. And I think some kind of robot mailman?

I realize that I’m doing a terrible job of pitching this movie, but that’s not why I’m here.

I’m here to gush about David’s toys.

NASA takes an interest in David, because he’s obviously had a funky experience deserving of their prodding. Unfortunately, at the behest of a scientist played by Howard Hesseman (!!!), NASA treats David more like a lab monkey than a special guest.

That’s neither here nor here, but now we’re getting to the point. To make David feel more comfortable (and less imprisoned) in his new NASA “apartment,” they stuffed it with everything a boy from 1986 could have possibly wanted.

See that giant spaceship doll up there? That was only the beginning! Read More…

Jaws: The Revenge items, from eBay!

Released in 1987, Jaws: The Revenge was the final and least-liked of the four Jaws films. And that’s a major understatement. The movie’s legendary stupidity transcended mere comparisons with the previous chapters, and it’s in fact regarded as one of the worst movies of all time.

See it once and you’ll understand why. The story is just absurd, changing Jaws from a natural predator to an almost supernatural killer. Among other feats, the shark could roar, not to mention travel from Massachusetts to the Bahamas just as fast as an airplane.

Set completely within the previous films’ universe, Jaws: The Revenge basically treats the “new” shark like it’s the same one from the original. During key moments, star Lorraine Gary has flashbacks to Roy Schneider scenes that her character wasn’t even present for.

I love the film, but I can’t be a contrarian. By any objective measure, it’s really, really bad.

Thing is, I saw it as a kid, and my critical brain wasn’t mature enough to catch (or care about) the goofs and oversights. I spent too many years loving this film to ever hate it now.

It may have set a “zero star” review record, but bad movies can be fun. Drink once whenever the shark does something a real shark never could! Drink twice whenever Lorraine Gary makes fun of her sex appeal, which for some reason happens every ten minutes!

And now, apropos of nothing, here are the five best Jaws: The Revenge items currently on eBay! Read More…