Dinosaur Dracula!

Cereal shopping in 1986’s Manhunter.

My friend Lauren told me to check out Manhunter, the 1986 thriller and first-ever film to feature the Hannibal Lecter character. (Okay, Lecktor, but it was the same guy.)

Many critics didn’t go gaga over Manhunter back then, but I loved it for exactly the same reasons that they hated it. Mixing Harris’s universe with Miami Vice theatrics just worked for me. Plus, I’m not sure I can dislike anything that stars both Tom Noonan and Dennis Farina. The whole movie is full of people I would love to sit next to on a transatlantic flight.

Of course, Lauren’s suggestion had nothing to do with the quality of the film…

1
2

See, late in Manhunter, there’s a scene where Will Graham (William Petersen, who rocked IMO) comes clean with his son while they’re out grocery shopping. It’s the traditional father/son chat about losing your mind over horrible murderers, but while Will’s talking about serial killers, the only thing I’m processing is plain old cereal.

This was shot in a legit supermarket — one that hadn’t been redressed to avoid any inadvertent product placement. Thank God! If you pause at just the right moments, you’ll see dozens of old school cereal and snack brands. I shouldn’t need to tell you that I live for this shit.

Below are the frame-by-frame highlights. I believe this scene was filmed in 1985. Click any product title to see its original TV commercial! Read More…

Five Random Action Figures, Part 14!

I’ve been salivating over the many reveals from this year’s Toy Fair, which collectively guarantee that I’ll have five cents to my name by the end of 2015.

To cool down, I thought I’d take a minute to appreciate what I already have… and stop worrying about how I’m going to afford seventy thousand new Decepticons. Curse my toxic plasma.

Here’s the fourteenth edition of Five Random Action Figures!

1

png-scorpRobeast Scorpious
Voltron, 1984

Through the years, I’ve been pretty quiet on the Voltron front. I had the big lion set and watched the show often enough, but my ability to retain Voltron knowledge is weirdly horrible. I’ll never understand it.

My silence has been a disservice, because aside from the giant robot toys that everyone thinks of when they hear “Voltron,” Panosh’s accompanying series of standard-sized action figures absolutely RULED.

Here we have Robeast Scorpious, a gorgeous blue demon that was equal parts Darth Vader and Ganon. If you didn’t know that he was from Voltron, you might imagine him to be from some knockoff line sold at 1980s supermarkets. Or possibly the fruit of a six-year-old’s Play-Doh project. I just love him. Read More…

Pee-wee Herman’s Gremlins Collection.

proofBack when Pee-wee was just starting to catch on, he was a frequent guest on Late Night with David Letterman, taking part in bizarre bits that only further cemented his rise to superstardom.

Since my own obsession began with Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, I missed the earliest of those appearances, featuring a version of Pee-wee that was somehow even weirder than the one I grew up loving.

As it turns out, sleeping through those Letterman spots was a huge mistake. You see, on Halloween night in 1984, Pee-Wee showed Dave his COLLECTION OF GREMLINS MEMORABILIA. WHAT!

Many thanks to my buddy Bayou Babylon, who found this video and very accurately predicted that it would change my life. The whole thing is wonderful, but if you just want to see the Gremlins stuff, skip to the six minute mark.

After a devil-costumed Pee-wee delights Dave with everything from a pumpkin mug to a Barbie magazine, he rummages through his prop box, and begins parading an absolute smorgasbord of vintage Gremlins goodies. OH. MY. GOD.

I felt a tremendous personal responsibility to catalog everything in Pee-wee’s Gremlins collection: Read More…

More Extremely Old Bubble Gum!

I had so much fun showing you old bubble gum a few weeks ago, I thought I’d do it one more time. (A few weeks from today, I’ll say the same thing. And onward goes this thing of ours.)

This time, I’m breaking out some of my heaviest hitters. If it could be argued that bubble gum collections really can have trophy pieces, there are definitely a few in this set…

2

a-game

Made by Amurol in 1993, Game Boy Bubble Gum is weep-worthy perfect. Where a lesser confectioner might’ve settled on Game Boy ripoff packaging, Amurol actually secured the rights, and thus were able to make a bubble gum container that looked almost exactly like the real thing. (Albeit around half the size, and with a sticker representing buttons rather than actual buttons.)

I can’t remember what kind of gum was inside, and I’m not unsealing this pristine antique to find out. Even so, it’s obvious that the container was the real star. I don’t care if the gum was tiny and cement flavored. GAME. BOY. CONTAINER.

To make the most of their partnership, Amurol also tossed a few Nintendo trading cards into every box, effectively guaranteeing that everyone within bubble gum’s target demo was going to want these things. Read More…

Dino Drac’s Crummy Motel!

You are on your way to a wedding. Some distant cousin you haven’t seen in fifteen years. On the list of things you’d rather do, “drown” only narrowly outranks “get eaten by bears.”

The reception is three states away. That would normally merit flying, but you’re not gonna blow 400 bucks on plane tickets just to blow another 150 bucks on people you’ll never see again.

So, you drive. Your only company is Delilah from 106.7 Lite fm. She’s not as much fun when it isn’t Christmastime.

xc-outside

Many hours later, you approach unconsciousness. The party isn’t until late tomorrow, so it’s safe to call it a night.

Poorly prepared as ever, you simply stop at the first hotel that doesn’t look like a place you’ll die in. This one seems okay. Read More…