Dinosaur Dracula!

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…

Video Store Adventure #6: Pepe’s Video!

After our successful trip to Heights-Terrace Video in Hazleton, we drove another 40 minutes into the bowels of Pennsylvania, looking for more old video stores.

That led us to the city of Wyoming. If the little we saw was indicative of its totality, Wyoming is a mix of a sleepy college town and a place where affluent couples go to buy antique rocking chairs. We liked it.

Finally, we hit our target. Pepe’s Avenue Video. I was only half-sure that Pepe’s was still in business, but the few photos I’d seen suggested that it was worth the risk.

We had to kill an hour before we could go inside, because apparently the only things that open in Wyoming before 3PM are wineries and Dollar Generals. Read More…

Video Store Adventure #5: Heights-Terrace!

We took a trip to Pennsylvania on Saturday, hunting for more old video stores. My heavy foot shaved an hour from what should’ve been a 3+ hour drive, but it was still a long day on the road.

The itinerary led us through parts of Pennsylvania that were only suburban in a borderline way. As someone who previously only knew the state for whatever was in Philly, it was so cool to see the smaller, quirkier towns, which felt trapped in the past in all the best ways.

Our first stop was Heights-Terrace Video, in Hazleton.

I don’t know when it opened, but it’s obviously been around for longer than some of you have. Read More…

Five Random Action Figures, Part 39!

Welcome to the 39th edition of Five Random Action Figures.

Just one more to go before I’ll have reviewed 200 different figures in this series, which I’ll of course use as an excuse to buy fancy old toys that aren’t already collecting dust in the unsightly bins stacked exactly four feet behind me.

Casey Jones
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989)

During the original TMNT boom years, Casey Jones was the man. In the cartoon, he came off like Jason Voorhees mixed with the Toxic Avenger mixed with Wolverine. In the live action movies, he was more like Captain Lone Starr mixed with a friendlier CM Punk. Both medleys worked. Crazy worked.

Naturally, the action figure was based on Casey’s appearance in the cartoon. I don’t know how to describe his outfit, other than to say that it looks like something you can only wear if you live on boiled chicken and Bowflex Max Trainers. I only live near them.

The mask is decidedly more “Jason” than “random goalie,” while the sneakers look like some special edition pair that were only on sale for one day at select boutiques. We all have our vices. Read More…