Dinosaur Dracula!

Dino Drac’s Video Store.

You are being proactive.

It’s a gloomy afternoon. One that will reportedly lead into a stormy night. Better prepare some evening entertainment while you still have the chance!

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You drive over to DD’s Video Store. Founded in 1985, it’s now the last rental store in town. You remember worrying about it being killed by Blockbuster, only to see it outlive the chain.

You aren’t sure how it stays in business — rumors persist that it’s a front for something less legal — but you’re so glad it does.

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With only the barest modifications to hide its bygone role as a smalltime cab depot, the place is loaded with shelves in every conceivable style.

The owner still deals chiefly in videocassettes, with only one spinning “new releases” rack to hold DVDs. Keep in mind, the newest movie on that rack is There’s Something About Mary.

You can rent video games, too. They’re exclusively for systems that haven’t been produced since the mid ‘90s. The owner will also let you buy them outright, but somehow expects the original retail prices for used SNES games with xeroxed instructions. Read More…

Nintendo games spotted in Beethoven!

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After the Nintendo Power Glove came up in the previous article, someone pointed out that it made a cameo appearance in Beethoven. Yes, the 1992 movie about a sloppy St. Bernard and the man who grows to love him. Somehow, the Power Glove was in that.

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Actually, yesterday’s anonymous commenter undersold the scene. It wasn’t just a Power Glove — it was an absolute smorgasbord of vintage Nintendo goodies. Obviously, my destiny was to dissect this madness.

The scene takes place in young Ted Newton’s bedroom, and only exists to convey that the kids are too distracted to notice the bad guy messing with their dog in the backyard.

Lasting mere seconds, they could’ve easily gotten away with just suggesting Nintendo games, with obscured controllers and untraceable music. Instead, everything’s shown onscreen, and it’s all so visible that I have to wonder if some promotional partnership wasn’t in play. (Beethoven did end up getting his own games under the Nintendo umbrella, after all.) Read More…

Five old videocassettes. No reason.

The apocalyptic snowstorm never arrived, but we still got enough to slow life to a crawl. And to make the process of shoveling feel like it should’ve ended with an awards ceremony.

It seemed like a good day to get organized, so I attacked my eighteen bins full of old videocassettes, separating everything into “keep” and “trash” piles. The Lost World in a lenticular box? KEEP. Four episodes of Swans Crossing taped off of WPIX in 1992? KEEP.

The “trash” pile was tiny, I admit.

In the process, I rediscovered a bunch of videos that mean a lot to me, for reasons as varied as their subject matter. Below are five of them. So I guess tonight’s challenge is to make an article about five old videocassettes interesting.

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a-starsCartoon All-Stars To The Rescue!
(1990)

A notorious television special, Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue definitely earned its reputation. Whether from me or elsewhere, I’m assuming that most of you have at least heard of it.

Starring oodles of the time’s hottest cartoon characters, this 27 minute anti-drug PSA was about a teenage boy overcoming the lure of drugs with the help of Garfield, Slimer and Winnie the Fucking Pooh.

An animated special that starred everyone from the Ninja Turtles to the Muppet Babies was bound to be weird, but hearing those characters speak out against drugs was downright bizarre. Ironically, with its frenetic pace and unstoppable parade of unrelated characters, the effects of watching Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue aren’t entirely dissimilar from the effects of everything it preaches against.

It’s absolutely worth seeing once, and lucky you, the whole thing’s on YouTube. Read More…

Five Random Action Figures, Part 13!

We’re in the middle of a blizzard, and it’ll be a miracle if I’m able to finish this article before the power goes out. If I sound like I’m rushing… I am!

So, onward with the thirteenth edition of Five Random Action Figures. I took these photos over the weekend, hoping to capitalize on a picturesque snow dusting. Little did I know that I’d have forty feet of it to work with just two days later.

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a-trollCornelius the Samurai
Stone Protectors, 1993

Stone Protectors was one of several toy lines made to swipe glow from the Norfin Troll craze, but it was also arguably the best of them. Boosted by an animated series and a Super Nintendo game, this was the story of a shitty rock band turned into screwy Troll superheroes by the power of five magic stones. (I’m serious. That was the concept.)

Most Troll-themed action figures were made on the cheap, relying on poofy hair to keep people from noticing a lack of articulation and other finer details. That wasn’t the case with Stone Protectors, which would’ve been right at home in Playmates’ old Ninja Turtles line. The figures were bright, detailed and poseable, and they came with plenty of accessories. Of course, no Troll is complete without funky “real” hair, so Stone Protectors had that going for ‘em, too.

Cornelius here was the team leader, and probably my favorite from the set. How can you not love a Troll with electric yellow hair who is both a rock vocalist and a goddamned samurai? Is that what they mean by a slash career?

In a neat touch, you can move Cornelius’s arm to make his chest jewel “spark.” (Picture a lighter that can’t maintain a flame. Cornelius’s sparking jewel worked something like that.)

The line wasn’t a big success in its day, and hasn’t caught on with collectors since. That’s good news for you, because Stone Protectors figures are absolutely boss, and you should have to pay three times more than you’ll actually need to. Act fast, before everyone smartens up. Read More…

Dino Drac’s Corner Store!

You are bored. There’s no one around and nothing to do.

Desperate for any sort of action — even one as silly as buying a Snapple — you hop on your bike and ride to Dino Drac’s Corner Store.

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Well, its proper name is Dino Drac’s Convenience Store, but everyone just calls it “the corner store.” It’s a few blocks away, and as far as you know, it’s been a few blocks away for the past fifty years.

You’ve been to Dino Drac’s Corner Store a million times. It’s a warm blanket and a surrogate friend. Sometimes you go there when you want a pack of gum, but most of the time it’s because going there just makes you feel good. Read More…