Dinosaur Dracula!

Making new action figures out of broken ones.

A few weeks ago, I bought this:

It’s a bag of assorted action figure accessories, plus a few broken figures.

I found it at a toy & collectible shop that had a little bit of everything, from vintage Masters of the Universe figures to cartoon-themed lunch boxes. In stores like that, I can generally only afford the Ziploc bags full of literal garbage. Read More…

1990s Ads from Fangoria Magazine!

Whenever I find an old issue of Fangoria, I jump straight to the ads. I can read the Tom Savini interview later. First I need to see if anyone made a mask based on the demon doctor from Jacob’s Ladder. My priorities make sense to me.

That isn’t to say that the content of the magazine wasn’t great. Of course it was! At Fangoria’s peak, every issue was a visual feast, and every article nurtured excitement without devolving into puff.

Starlog (Fangoria’s sister mag) was more my speed, but there was plenty of spillover between of two, anyway. Younger Matt was unlikely to buy a copy of Fangoria with Pinhead on the cover, but I was sure as hell down with an issue featuring the Phantom Gremlin.

With both magazines, I always started with the ads. Nothing sparked my interest in something quicker than the chance to buy an overpriced trinket based on it. (Honestly, my introduction to most fandoms has been, “Well, I bought this thing, so now I guess I better learn a bit about this thing.”)

Below: Six scary advertisements pulled from various issues of Fangoria. All are from the ‘90s. Read More…

Five Retro TV Commercials, Part 14!

I wasn’t planning to go back to this well so soon, but I found a *really great* Gremlins 2 commercial, and that shit just can’t wait.

Every ad featured in this edition of Five Retro TV Commercials premiered in 1990. Most of ’em aired during the same blocks of weekday afternoon sitcom reruns. Enjoy!

Sunkist’s Gremlins 2 Promotion! (1990)

What begins only as a cheerful Sunkist commercial becomes the stuff of legend in its final moments, as no less than GIZMO HIMSELF makes an appearance.

Seems there was some Gremlins 2 sweepstakes connected to Sunkist, and I can’t believe I never knew that until this week. This ad must’ve had an extremely short flight, because I can’t even find a reference to it online, let alone another copy of the video.

Watching Gizmo go wide-eyed over a can of Diet Sunkist made my day in a way few things could. Read More…

Five Retro TV Commercials, Part 13!

It’s been months since the last edition of Five Retro TV Commercials, but have no fear: Thanks to some generous donations, I’m now armed with enough old commercials to write about nothing but old commercials from now through 2021.

Let’s get this party started, and yes this is how I party:

Nintendo Game Boy! (1989)

Given that the Game Boy would’ve moved a bazillion units no matter how Nintendo advertised it, this commercial was almost needlessly good.

For reasons I don’t understand yet still wholly accept, one of the Game Boy’s very first commercials (if not the first) starred a futuristic robot who stalked the Outworld for competitive opportunities.

Looking like a mix of RoboCop and the knight who always wins at Medieval Times, our hero summons a random Earthling to do battle with. It’s incredible. The best 30 second movie you’ll ever see.

(For the record, I myself never used the link cable to play against a friend, let alone a stranger from another planet. For me, the draw of the Game Boy was having something to do when I was by myself and away from my “real” Nintendo. Even then, a 2.5” mustard-colored Tetris game hardly seemed communal.) Read More…

1993 Good Humor Ice Cream Truck Menu!

My newest acquisition: A genuine Good Humor ice cream truck menu from 1993!

It doesn’t photograph so well, but it’s beautiful in person.

1993 would’ve been my last year to chase down ice cream trucks without secretly wondering if I was too old to do that, so I’m super familiar with 95% of the things on this menu.

In truth, the character-based pops were by that point only occasional treats. I more typically alternated between snow cones and cookie sandwiches, because even though they lacked star power, they were usually the tastiest options.

…but since those aren’t the ones you wanna hear about, I’ll stick to the pops shaped like Super Mario and weird dinosaurs. Here are the highlights:

Bubble O’ Bill and Fat Frog!

They’re crazy famous, but I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever eaten these. Bubble O’ Bill’s gumball nose was a draw, but I tended to only like frozen treats in this consistency if they tasted like tart fruit. Bubble O’ Bill was more like deconstructed neapolitan ice cream.

As for Fat Frog, the fact that I have no idea what it was supposed to taste like indicates that I’ve never had one. It’s a classic pop for sure, but since it perpetually competed against similar treats based on characters that I knew from television, movies and video games, it was hard to pick a generic frog no matter how cute he was. Read More…