Dinosaur Dracula!

Classic Creepy Commercials, Volume 8!

I adore the Halloween Countdown for a thousand reasons, but here’s one of the big ones: I get to bring back my Classic Creepy Commercials feature. Yay!

If you’re new to the site, know this: I love old TV commercials, but I especially love old HALLOWEEN commercials. Growing up in a time when our preferred forms of entertainment weren’t always at our fingertips, spooky commercials were absolutely essential parts of the Halloween season.

After all, without that ad where Ronald McDonald and the sentient Chicken McNuggets goofed off in Dracula’s castle, late September afternoons may have only felt like late September afternoons. See, we needed these commercials. They turned one night into a whole season.

Each volume of Classic Creepy Commercials collects (at least) five scary commercials from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Some will be directly Halloweeny, while others may only have the barest possible link. Either way, all are excellent mood-setters.

Some of these are from my collection; the rest come from our pal Larry P., who scraped the barrel one last time to give us this year’s ammunition.

Coca-Cola “Thirst Buster” Commercial! (1985)

This isn’t a Halloween commercial, per se, but since it features a Cokeized version of the Ghostbusters theme, I think you’ll give it a pass.

In 1985, Coca-Cola introduced its three-liter bottle. Since Ghostbusters was still majorly hot, they gave it the nickname of “Thirst Buster.” Afraid that customers wouldn’t make the mental leaps necessary to connect that to Slimer, they hired Ray Parker, Jr. to sing a special version of his magnum opus.

“When you come in first… with a real big thirst… who ya gonna call? THIRST BUSTER!”

If you ignore the fact that Bill Cosby pops up for a last-second cameo, it’s pretty much the perfect television commercial, filled with neon colors, erratic dancing, and the vague notion that three-liter bottles of Coke were in fact quantum tunneling spirits. (more…)

Yes, Slimer Toothpaste was a real thing.

The lasting appeal of The Real Ghostbusters owes to many things. Sure, “people still really like Ghostbusters” is the easiest explanation, but it’s also one that robs the cartoon series of its due praise. That was a plainly fantastic show, with themes, jokes and pure imagination that was — as it turns out — decades before its time.

As I’ve mentioned in prior articles, The Real Ghostbusters may have been the only truly teflon cartoon of the ‘80s. Everything else had its lovers and haters, but everyone loved RGB — at least for the first several seasons. Other cartoons just felt like cartoons, but this one maintained “event status” for the bulk of its run. No matter how many times you saw it, your serotonin spiked two seconds into the opening credits.

So popular was the adaptation that the merchandise push went far beyond action figures and mere “toys.” There was a Real Ghostbusters version of everything, from dinner trays to play tents to a mofriggin’ Hi-C flavor.

Hell, it even scored a toothpaste!

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Seriously!

Slimer Toothpaste, from Perio, was the rare “character toothpaste” that truly let our imaginations run wild. Think about it. Toothpaste is a sort of slime, and Slimer was all about slime. It’s hard to position “brushing your teeth with Ecto-Plazm” as a positive, but if you’re a second grader in 1986, IT IS. (more…)

Dino Drac’s August 2015 Funpack!

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It’s here, it’s here! Dinosaur Dracula’s August 2015 Funpack is available now!

The scoop, if you’re new: Every month, I mail out boxes of goodies — “Funpacks” — to everyone who subscribes. The cost is $25 per month — including shipping — and you’ll continue to receive Funpacks for as long as you remain subscribed. Also, you can cancel at anytime. (Heck you could subscribe today and cancel today, if you’re only interested in this month’s box!)

Selling these Funpacks is what enables me to continue running Dino Drac, and as we head into the site’s most expensive months — the Halloween Countdown is coming, after all — every subscription counts!

You can skip to the bottom of this post for more subscription information. First, let’s see what’s in store for August!

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The theme for this month is “Summer into Autumn.” Every box includes some bright and sunny things… and then some things from the dark side.

There are over a dozen items in each Funpack, including… (more…)

Dino Drac’s July Funpack is available now!

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($25 / MONTH SUBSCRIPTION. AVAILABLE IN THE U.S. ONLY!)

Dino Drac’s July 2015 Funpack is available now!

This is the twelfth Funpack, which means I’ve been at this for a full year. (It also means that subscribers who’ve stuck with this from the start have also been at this for a full year. WOW.)

Suffice to say, I never expected this to go on for so long. The Funpacks began last August, out of pure need. The Halloween Countdown was approaching, and I was faced with the cold truth that I had no way of gutting through the site’s most expensive and prolific months while making zero dollars. The Funpacks were and remain a lot of extra work, but in the grand scheme of things, I felt they were the least offensive way to make a little cash from the site. I never would’ve predicted that I’d still be doing this, a year later!

It’s been a real adventure, I’ll tell you that much. Coming up with a decent mix of items for twelve months straight has taken more than a few minor miracles. Our apartment, already resigned to its eternal clutter, had to somehow make room for a constantly evolving stock of weird goodies. I’ve learned more about packing and shipping this past year than over the three previous decades.

Thanks so much to every subscriber, past and present. These have been a tremendous blessing for me. If you’ve enjoyed Dino Drac — especially Dino Drac as it’s been since last summer — know that the Funpacks are absolutely responsible for my ability to keep doing it. God knows how long I’ll be able to keep this nonsense going, but if it ever stops, it won’t be for lack of trying!

Now, what’s in store for July’s Funpack? Take a look!

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There are over twelve items in this baby, covering everything from toys to cards to Kool-Aid. If you’re new to this and haven’t paid attention to my previous Funpack pitches, here’s the short version:

Every month, I mail out boxes of goodies to all subscribers. Subscriptions are $25 a month — shipping included — and handled via automatic billing through Paypal. You can cancel at any time without penalty, and no matter when you cancel, you’ll always get what you paid for. For as long as you remain subscribed, you’ll keep getting monthly Funpacks!

I’ll walk you through the ordering process at the end of this post. First, let’s talk a closer look at July’s highlights! (more…)

In 1991, I turned our shed into a clubhouse.

Last weekend, we attempted to help my mother tidy up her shed. It turned into quite the ordeal.

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It seemed as though nobody had been in the shed since my father died, and that was close to ten years ago. Only, that’s not entirely true: A closer inspection revealed that the shed had been visited quite frequently — by birds and bugs, and probably raccoons.

If it looks a little big for a shed: It is. My father was an architect who knew how to build, and what made him successful at work made him an absolute terror at home. Every room in our house had been pummeled and rebuilt five times over, sometimes for the sake of improvements, but more often because my father just wasn’t happy unless he was remodeling something.

Eventually, our house hit a point where even he had to admit that any additional wall-smashing would’ve been excessive. So he took the show on the road. When it came time to replace our shed — one of those modest metal things that you’ve all seen a zillion times — he decided to just build one himself.

Well, sort of. What he built was less a shed and more a studio apartment. I mean, not really, because it didn’t have a bathroom or a sink. But this “shed” was certainly large enough to double as a bedroom. It even had electricity. In its day, it looked nice and was another in his long string of impressive constructional achievements, but I can say with all certainty that we didn’t NEED a shed like this.

And this recent visit was a reminder of how nicely that worked out for me. (more…)

Eight Great Trading Cards.

Today on Dino Drac: 1500 words about eight old trading cards. I’d like to say that I give people what they want, but nobody asked for this.

The eight cards are from eight entirely different sets, spanning from the late ‘70s to the mid ‘90s. If you can stand a site like Dino Drac, there’s a good chance that you collected at least one of these sets.

May this article help you remember a time when there was nothing sweeter than curling up next to a heating vent to read the backs of Batman trading cards. Fifty cents went so far!

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“Robocop… Triumphant!”
Robocop 2 (Topps, 1990)

I posted this card on Twitter yesterday, and y’all seem just as impressed as I was. I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, this card does depict the scene where Robocop tears out Cain’s brain stem. That’s a special kind of “holy shit.”

The Robocop 2 set pulled no punches — the cards were full of gore, and Topps made no effort to neutralize it for kids. With today’s checks and balances, a set like this would never get approved.

That was one of the thrills of collecting sets like this in the ‘80s and ‘90s. No matter how strict your parents were about R-rated movies and “mature” entertainment, they were unlikely to pay much attention to trading cards. We all amassed huge piles of suggested sex and outright gore, and the fact that we weren’t necessarily ready to absorb such things made the cards all the more… what’s the word… invigorating? (more…)