Happy Halloween, everyone!
Course, by the time most of you read this, it’ll be November. Hell, it might technically be November even by the time this gets posted. Oh well. I like November, too. Stove Top and Sunday circulars.
I hope you had a tremendous season, and I hope Dino Drac played some small part in making it just a little bit sweeter. I know I missed some time this month and didn’t get to do nearly as many articles (or videos or podcasts) as was expected, but all I can do about that now is sit on the couch and hate-eat a bunch of cake. Next year, I’ll plan better for life’s hiccups.
Here’s one more edition of Classic Creepy Commercials to close out the Countdown, because your Halloween season won’t be complete until you watch a Martin promo from 1992. Admit it!
FOX Halloween Promo! (1992)
This October ’92 promo for Fox’s Thursday night lineup featured Halloween episodes of The Simpsons and Martin, but I think the real money in its last second mention of The Heights. I never strayed far enough from 90210 to get into that show, but I’ll never forget how literally every girl in my seventh grade class spent one full month singing its theme song, as if by curse.
Fox’s actual literal pitch for this particular Heights episode: “Watch these two have sex!” There’s no coyness, no subtle hinting… they pretty much just come out and say, “this week we’re gonna show you this character and this character doooo eeeeeet.” It’s weird to see that five seconds after Toga Homer. Read More…
I did it. I took the plunge. I am now the proud owner of a vintage My Pet Monster doll, complete with break-apart handcuffs.
He’s two feet of adorable terror, with stoner eyes, shark teeth and an alien dick nose. I love him. I’ve hugged him.
Released by American Greetings in 1986, My Pet Monster was insanely popular. That might sound surprising, but given that the doll capitalized on so many different proven trends, it actually would’ve been more surprising if he flopped.
See, my pal debuted at the height of the “gross toys” fad. Right between Madballs and Boglins. It seemed like any toy that adhered to the same sensibilities was at least a little successful, but when you had one like My Pet Monster, who kinda just stormed into the summit to declare that everything was his and also that Mattel and Hasbro could go fuck themselves, it’s no shock that 95% of the global population owned one by the winter of ‘87.
There was also the fact that boy-targeted dolls had suddenly become popular, I guess because the boys from just a few years prior couldn’t keep their hands off of the dolls that were mostly marketed to girls. Toy companies eventually took the hint, and even by the time My Pet Monster debuted, those My Buddy dolls had already cut down every branch in his path.
So yeah, 1986 was made for My Pet Monster. Had he arrived just two years earlier or later, we’d only know him from some prototype photo in a dealer’s catalog, and maybe some whispers about how he didn’t wow the distributors at Toy Fair. Read More…
I wanted to do another edition of Five Random Action Figures before Halloween, lest I waste the excuse to take pictures of plastic monsters out in the freezing rain. So here we are, hours later, with me sneezing and my phone’s touchscreen on the fritz. I suffer for you.
Star Wars (1983)
The Rancor Monster was the largest of Kenner’s vintage Star Wars figures, with a price to match.
Too extravagant to talk Mom & Dad into buying during a “regular” trip to Toys “R” Us, most kids had to wait for Christmas or their birthdays, and pray that they’d remember how much they wanted one during those small windows of opportunity. It was the kid version of trying to get pregnant.
I never did get a Rancor Monster as a kid, and actually never even saw one in person until I was like, 67. It’s an impressive figure for sure, but as the legend grew in my childhood brain, I imagined the Rancor being triple this size and with rough, leathery skin.
The reality may not be the Rancor of my dreams, but it’s still a wonderful toy. It’s like they mixed DNA from a tyrannosaur and that thing from Cloverfield. Read More…
We need talk about The Wickedest Witch.
Starring Rue McClanahan as an exiled she-devil (seriously), the NBC special premiered on October 30th, 1989. It aired only that one time and has never been released on VHS or DVD. Even taped-off-television copies are incredibly hard to find. Life isn’t fair.
Thanks to a generous donation by reader Ed L., I’m happy to announce that you FINALLY have a chance to see it. ALL of it! Watch the video above to experience The Wickedest Witch in its entirety. (Well, almost its entirety. Ed cut out the commercials, and in the process lost a few seconds of the special. Whatever. He’s still my hero.)
McClanahan stars as Avarissa, a decrepit harpy desperate to escape her underground prison, where she’s cursed to rule over a horde of subservient but irritating Greevils — those being green, reptilian, Muppet-like things that are vaguely reminiscent of the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal, but by way of ALF.
It’s odd as hell, but The Wickedest Witch was a big production. McClanahan was still well within her “Blanche years,” and while I’d concede that her star hadn’t quite risen to the point of being able to open a movie, she was surely a big get for a one-off television special.
Pair that with the sheer amount of Greevil puppets (not to mention the cavernous set), and I still have no idea how The Wickedest Witch ever happened. Why go through so much trouble for a 30 minute special that would only air once? Why not release it on video? Why hasn’t it at least turned up on any of those bargain bin DVDs where you get 18 movies for the price of one?
There must have been some sort of legal snafu that led to its premature doom. Like maybe Rue’s contract didn’t allow for repeats or VHS releases, and NBC just couldn’t make the math work? The Wickedest Witch is bizarre, but the weirdest thing about the special is that it only ever got one chance to hit the ball.
If you don’t have time to endure the whole thing right now, I’ve also clipped out several of the highlights. Watch ‘em below! Read More…