Dinosaur Dracula!
Dinosaur Dracula

Five Retro TV Commercials, Part 34!

It’s been nearly a full year since the last edition of Five Retro TV Commercials, which means little to you but for me is definitive proof that time moves faster when you’re an old rag.

The good news is that I spent the downtime collecting more old TV commercials than I could ever reasonably cover. If the next Dino Drac focus group demands more editions of Five Retro TV Commercials, dude, I’m so armed.

Star Tours at Disneyland! (1987)

I’ve only been to Disneyland once. It was part of a whirlwind California vacation that doubled as a business trip for my father. We hit most of the big spots, from Universal Studios to the super touristy parts of Hollywood, but it was all a mad rush that didn’t leave time to digest any one specific location.

All I remember about our trip to Disneyland is Star Tours, which had only recently opened. Needless to say, experiencing it was a life-or-death situation. The wait was beyond insane and ate up roughly 70% of our Disneyland time. To date, I think it’d still qualify as the longest line I’ve ever been on.

The ride was great, but my favorite part actually happened before it. To drum up excitement while you waited, they stationed audio-animatronic versions of 3PO and R2 somewhere near the start of the line. They were “movie quality” to the point where even a Star Wars nut like me could tell no difference. Being within spitting distance of the real actual C-3PO was such a dream come true, it wouldn’t have mattered if the ride sucked.

I returned from California with a farmer’s tan and a Star Tours poster. The tan faded in weeks, but that poster was on my bedroom wall forevaaaa.

Masters of the Universe POWER TOUR! (1987)

You know what’s weird? The “first chapter” of Masters of the Universe was inarguably on its last legs in 1987, yet that was the year when so much of its coolest shit came out. Ya gotta give He-Man credit for going down swinging.

1987 was when the toy line scored some of its biggest triumphs, like Scare Glow. 1987 was when the live action movie hit theaters, ruling extraordinarily hard no matter what the critics said.

1987 was also the year of THE POWER TOUR, a live show starring our favorite MOTU characters. Only a small percentage of He-Man fans saw it live, but we’re all pretty obsessed with it. Whenever someone posts that promo shot of the Grizzlor ballerina, we’re like fruit flies on spilt soda.

When you’re into MOTU and you hear “Skeletor,” you kind of mentally divide things into separate Skeletor categories. There’s the original animated one. The live action one. Then the live action one in gold. There’s also an outer space one, and a 2002 one, and I think there’s going to be a 2021 one next year? Oh, and don’t forget the one from the Macy’s Parade, and there are probably eighteen more from comic books.

But there’s also a Power Tour Skeletor, with a unique look and history. It’s like that for every character that turned up in the show. This broadens the franchise’s scope, adds splashes of color and intrigue, and most importantly gives us more stuff to look up on fan wikis. I’m glad the Power Tour existed. Read More…

Teddy Grahams Peanut Brittle. Yup.

There I was, paging through an old Nabisco cookbook, as one does when they’re on the 735th day of quarantine. When I spotted an entry for what Nabisco called Very Beary Peanut Brittle, I knew that everything was about to change, and change big.

It was a common (if simplified) recipe for peanut brittle, but with the glorious addition of Teddy Grahams. I thought I knew my personal buttons pretty well, but this one slid by me. As soon as I saw that photo of cute little Teddy Grahams trapped in sugary Jurassic Park amber, my brain only had space for Very Beary Peanut Brittle.


Knowing that it’d be somewhat lacking in tact to head out during a pandemic just for Teddy Grahams, I waited until we needed some truly essential items — like Mountain Dew Frost Bite, which has a bomb-ass arctic shark on the label. (I’m kidding. It was for like, food and paper towels. But I did grab the Frost Bite, too.)

The other ingredients included corn syrup, vanilla extract, baking soda, sugar, butter and cocktail peanuts. Given that lineup, I knew I’d end up with something delicious. I wasn’t sure if it’d be peanut brittle, exactly, but I was willing to try.

PS: I’m so fascinated by Teddy Grahams. They’ve managed to survive in stores for what, 32 years now? Clearly they mean something to many of you. For me, they’ve been a bit of a blind spot, I suppose because I consider graham crackers only a small step above those biscuits you feed zoo llamas. Like with the llama biscuits, I enjoy graham crackers, but I’d never pick them from an aisle full of chocolate chips and neon sprinkles. Read More…

Movie Theater Memories: Part 2!

A short while back, I wrote about some of my experiences at movie theaters. The article got a good response, and I’m a slave to good responses. Let’s do it again.

Below are five more stories about movies I saw in theaters. Like last time, they’re less about the actual films and more about the surrounding circumstances. Those are the parts that mean the most to me, anyway.

Transformers: The Movie
(August 1986)

It was me, my same-aged best friend from across the street, and his slightly older brother. My mother was driving us to see Transformers: The Movie. It wouldn’t be the first animated film we’d seen in theaters, but it was the first one that mattered more than food or oxygen.

We were HYPED UP, because the TV spots made the movie seem so much bigger and more aggressive than the cartoon series. Which, of course, it was.

One of those TV spots even hinted at Prime’s death, but I didn’t pay it much mind. Cartoon characters didn’t die! Not the important ones, anyway. Certainly not Optimus Prime!

I pleaded my case in the car, but my friend’s brother had a different theory: “I think he’s gonna die because they didn’t say anything about Megatron!” Huh, that was true. The commercials pondered a world without Optimus, but never a world without Megatron. In retrospect, it wasn’t the strongest argument, but at the time, I was very concerned.

After we got our tickets and snacks, it was time to find our seats. I remember glancing at that giant Transformers: The Movie standee one last time before we entered the theater. Optimus Prime was nowhere on it.

Oh, shit. Read More…

Dino Drac’s April Funpack Has Arrived!

A number of Funpack subscribers got in touch last month to let me know what a welcome distraction they were, and man did that make me feel good. To those of you “on the list,” I hope they let you break into an alternate reality where the only things that matter are junk food and goofy fun — even if only for an hour or two!


UNITED STATES ONLY! LIMITED TIME, LIMITED SUPPLY!

The April 2020 Funpack is a close cousin to last month’s in scope, though all of the actual items are completely different. There are over a dozen treasures in this baby, covering everything from bad/good movies to weird art to adorably teensy Cookie Monster dolls. You’re gonna love it.

Funpack subscriptions are $25 a month (including shipping), and for as long as you remain subscribed, you’ll get boxes of awesome old-and-new nonsense each and every month. (You can cancel whenever ya want without penalty, of course!)

Scroll to the bottom for ordering info, or keep reading to learn about everything in the April Funpack! Read More…