Dinosaur Dracula!

Five Retro TV Commercials, Part 17!

Here’s another edition of Five Retro TV Commercials, featuring everything from Bartman to steamed hams:

McDonald’s Cheddar Melt! (1989)

I have a sick fascination with discontinued McDonald’s foods, revering them more as I would extinct species of birds than old sandwiches.

Three things separated the Cheddar Melt from most McDonald’s burgers. First was the rye bun, which created a “rustic” veneer that made going to McDonald’s seem just a tiny bit fancier.

Next were the grilled onions, which according to Wikipedia were sautéed in butter and teriyaki sauce. That sounds almost unfairly good.

Most important was the cheddar cheese sauce, which looked attractive in this ad but I’m betting was iffy in reality. (I’m picturing Tostitos Salsa Con Queso run through a cheesecloth and then served at room temperature over beef. Course, now that I think about it, that sounds frickin’ great.)

First available in the late ‘80s, the Cheddar Melt has returned several times over the years, most recently in 2007.

Fire in the Sky! (1993)

When Fire in the Sky premiered, my obsession with space aliens was at its peak. I don’t remember making any sincere pushes to see it in theaters, but I was the first in line to rent it on video.

My bedroom was downstairs by that point. It was the darkest room in the house, in the darkest corner of the house. I watched Fire in the Sky alone and with the lights dimmed, confident that after spending so many hours with Robert Stack, I could handle it.

For the most part, I could. The bulk of Fire in the Sky — which was based on the allegedly true Travis Walton incident — focuses on the alien abductee’s friends, who spend the movie trying to convince their neighbors that they aren’t secret murderers.

(Those scenes weren’t badly done, but there comes a point where they feel more like an attempt to expand 30 minutes’ worth of movie into something that could sail in theaters.)

But man, when Fire in the Sky finally gets to the good stuff, it does NOT disappoint. The abductee’s generously long flashback is genuinely the most frightening “alien movie thing” I’ve ever seen, and yes I’m counting every moment from Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise.

At the time, it helped that I took Fire in the Sky at face value. (I no longer believe any alien abduction story to be true, and will at best only entertain the notion that certain people believe their stories to be true. Basically, once you hit 35, you stop being any fun at all.) Read More…

Grocery Shopping in Old Newspapers!

Today is Dino Drac’s 5th birthday. I wrote a bit about that on the site’s Facebook page, but here’s the tl;dr version: Thanks for reading!

Below: Six mostly-forgotten junk foods from the ‘80s and ‘90s, as seen in old supermarket circulars. It’s exactly this sort of provocative content that’s kept my name in the news since 2012.

Crystal from Pepsi! (1994)

Soon after Crystal Pepsi’s original run ended, Pepsi defiantly launched Crystal, a similar yet distinct beverage that went heavier on the citrus and lighter on the Sammy Hagar.

I love the idea of some high-up Pepsi exec placing his hand on a vat of clear cola and softly promising to never give up on it. I wonder if anyone else ships hypothetical businessmen and vats of discontinued soda?

Crystal, be it in soft drink or recurring Roseanne character form, did not last long enough. Read More…

Humdrum Highlights from the Summer of ’92.

Wanna read my diary?

Shown above is my diary — sorry, JOURNAL — from the summer of 1992, when I was between the 7th and 8th grades. I was bored, weird and lonely, but also “purely me” in a way that seems almost alien now.

I didn’t have a lot going on, and boy, it shows in these pages. My narrative strategy wasn’t so much to make mountains out of molehills, but rather molehills out of minutiae. There are entire entries dedicated to nothing more than what I ate for dinner.

Below are six humdrum highlights from my 1992 summer diary.

(I’ll be cropping the pages to exclude anything too personal or revealing, because even after 25 years, so much of this shit is downright embarrassing.) Read More…

Five Retro TV Commercials, Part 16!

I’ve been absent for a week, which is exactly how long it would take for someone to steal me and leave an android in my place. Food for thought.

Below: The latest edition of Five Retro TV Commercials. These ads aired during DuckTales back in ‘88, so imagine them bookending quips from Ma Beagle.

Willow Action Figures! (1988)

I’ve still never seen Willow, but I certainly remember its corresponding toy line, since Toys “R” Us left those figures hanging on clearance racks until practically last week.

Made by Tonka, the figures were… unusual. The PVC warriors had no points of articulation, and each came wedded to a metal stand. Pair those traits with their demure sizes, and they seemed more like RPG miniatures than true “toys.”

FWIW, this commercial made the movie seem a heck of a lot cooler than the TV trailers did.

Berry Blue Kool-Aid! (1988)

Berry Blue Kool-Aid debuted in 1988, and was at the time the most shockingly vibrant of all Kool-Aid flavors. It honestly looked toxic, which of course made it all the more appealing to kids.

When you hear “blue,” you’re probably thinking of a deep color along the lines of tinted grape juice. Nope! This stuff was more like creamy windshield wiper fluid.

The strange color guaranteed that every child would try it once, but it was Berry Blue’s flavor that turned us into repeat customers. I could best describe it as a sharp lemonade mildly cut by a sweeter “berry” flavor. Sour as hell, but in a good way.

(Berry Blue has been out of production for years, but Kool-Aid’s current Blue Raspberry Lemonade flavor is a reasonable facsimile.) Read More…

Dino Drac’s May 2017 Funpack is Here!

Well, it’s debuting a bit later than I would’ve preferred, but I’m finally ready to unveil Dino Drac’s May Funpack!


The short story, for those who don’t know: Dino Drac is a one man show that requires a great deal of time, money and effort. It would be an impossible endeavor if not for the generous peeps who subscribe to my monthly Funpacks.

It’s $25 a month (including shipping), and for as long as you stay subscribed, you’ll continue to receive awesome boxes full of retro nonsense that I personally assemble. (And of course, you can unsubscribe at any time without penalty.)

I’ve been at this for almost three years and take tremendous pride in it. Even if I realize that some subscribers look at their contributions more as a donation than anything else, I work hard to make sure that every box is way cool and way worth it.

The May 2017 Funpack is unlike any of the ones I’ve done before. You’ll receive a big red bag stuffed with over 10 different items, from ancient pop culture magazines to goofy trading card packs, and even a pack of Kool-Aid.

This is one Funpack that can keep you busy for a whole night. Skip to the bottom for ordering info, or keep reading to see everything you’ll receive in this month’s Funpack! Read More…