Welcome to the third edition of Movie Theater Memories, where I relive the experiences of seeing certain films at certain times in certain places.
I remember every movie I’ve seen in theaters. Not just the films, but where I was, who I saw them with, what candy I ate, and all of those tiny details that somehow make going to the movies feel like major life events.
If you were hoping for capsule reviews of beloved classics, I’m going to disappoint you. These articles are more about letting the mere mention of movies I saw in theaters guide me to entire days’ worth of memories…
It was supposed to be the greatest day of my life, full stop. Not only were my parents taking me to see Spaceballs, but my father impulsively announced that we’d finally be going to Kid’s World, right after the movie!
Kid’s World was a then-newish New Jersey amusement park that I was constantly begging to visit, thanks to a series of TV commercials that made it look like heaven on Earth. In my head, it was some beautiful combination of Wildwood, Toys “R” Us and Wonka’s chocolate factory. To put it mildly, I was psyched.
But first on agenda was Spaceballs, which I was just as excited about. I felt like the only kid in school who still hadn’t given up on Star Wars, and to me, Spaceballs was almost as good as getting another Star Wars movie.
I loved it, and still do. I left the theater convinced that “WE AIN’T FOUND SHIT” was the funniest line in any movie ever, and wondering if Dark Helmet’s action figures would make it to toy stores. Course, by the time we got back to the car, all I could think about was Kid’s World.
I can’t remember if they called ahead or just checked the times in a brochure, but whatever the case, my parents realized that we’d only barely make it there before closing time. I pleaded that even 20 minutes would be enough, but my father, with the tone of a doctor giving his patient extremely bad news, said that Kid’s World was off the table.
The tears were immediate, and had only just stopped by the time we parked at some dive of a diner.
Once inside, I had a decision to make: Pout over Kid’s World, or revel in the fact that I just saw Pizza the Hutt. I surprised myself by choosing the latter, and began rattling off the inspirations for every Spaceballs character. As if my parents didn’t know that Barf was Chewbacca. Read More…
It’s been nearly three years since the last edition of Vintage Comic Book Ads. Odd, considering how much I love the subject. I’d say I’ve been busy, but I haven’t left the house since Underwater was in theaters.
I’ve always been obsessed with comic ads, to the point where my main motivation in buying old books from a store’s quarter bin was a shot of seeing that blue-skinned Reese’s Pieces alien.
Some things never change: Below are five comic book ads from the ‘80s and ‘90s, rescued from books that I would not have purchased had they been ad-free.
Alf Spring Special #1 (1989)
Candilicious fruit chews were a short-lived Bubblicious spinoff. Picture Bonkers technology applied to Bubblicious flavors, and you’re in the zone. It’s one of those things that’s impossible to Google without getting a thousand unrelated matches, so I’m not surprised that I’ve been asked to ID it more than once.
Though Candilicious had a few catchy TV commercials, I think it was more famous for its comic book ads. In the late ‘80s, every comic on the spinning rack had a full-pager for Candilicious, usually starring this psychedelic snake with a wad of candy lodged in its liver.
The ads’ simplicity was deceptively clever. Full-page comic book ads didn’t come cheap, so companies generally made the most of every square inch. That there was so much empty space in Candlicious’s ads really made ‘em pop!
Mario Bros. for the Atari!
Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner (Dec. 1984)
I barely remember the Atari game, but me and my childhood pals got massive mileage out of the NES version of Mario Bros. — a title that you should never end a sentence with, because trying to figure out what to do with the period can fry brains forever.
The kids across the street had the Nintendo game, and we kept playing it even into periods where there were much fancier games at our disposal. I think it was because it was one of the still-few titles that let two people play on one team at the same time. It was camaraderie through killer crabs, though I do remember a few fights over unapproved uses of the “pow” block.
Also: While Luigi eventually stepped out of Mario’s shadow, he certainly hadn’t by this point — and so this print ad was one of the first examples of Luigi getting the lead role. Course, the cynic in me believes Mario made him do it, because the gig just involved getting chased by monsters and probably dying. Read More…
I can’t believe it’s taken us this long, but it’s finally time. The latest episode of the Purple Stuff Podcast pays tribute to UNSOLVED MYSTERIES!
…meaning the classic TV series hosted by Robert Stack, of course. For me, this show was as important and soul-shaping as any other I could name. I grew up watching it — I mean religiously watching it — and no amount of late-night jitters ever got me to stop.
Unsolved Mysteries didn’t have a monopoly on such subjects, but the fact that I spent my childhood convinced that I was surrounded by ghosts, space aliens, sea monsters and satanists was still mostly its fault. It’s weird, but the world seemed so much more interesting that way.
Jay from Sludge Central had similar experiences with the series. On our latest pod, we’re diving deep into six of our favorite segments from the show’s bazillion-season run. Covers everything from UFOs to really mean ghosts!
The classic Unsolved Mysteries episodes are currently streaming on both Prime and YouTube, though I prefer the latter since you’re not inundated with so many randomly-placed ads. If you wanna watch the segments we talk about, just follow the links below: Read More…
If you’re already a Dino Drac Funpack subscriber, congratulations, you’re part of a currently maxed-out club!
Subscriptions are closed for February’s Funpack, though I do have a few spare boxes that I can sell on an individual basis. (Scroll to the bottom if interested, and be quick!)
UNITED STATES ONLY! LIMITED SUPPLY!
February is one of the dreariest months of the year, so I designed this box with weird winter cheer in mind. Weird winter cheer, and so much Batman. Keep scrolling to learn about everything in this month’s Funpack! Read More…