Tuesday, February 21, 2017

1970 NEWSWEEK ARTICLE ABOUT NOSTALGIA


A couple of weeks ago, I found this great Forry Ackerman photo that I'd never seen before. It was originally part of an article on nostalgia in the December 28, 1970 issue. I posted it on Twitter and had a request to post the complete article. Now you can see what your parents or grandparents were nostalgic about. This article is still relevant to any generation. Just switch out the pop culture nostalgia with your own era's pop nostalgia and then it will apply to you. Be sure to read the last page. The author, Disney historian John Culhane, could have easily been talking about today. (Btw, I want to go back in time and visit that End of An Era store in San Francisco and buy some props from the famous MGM prop auction!)











Tuesday, January 10, 2017

REMEMBERING CARRIE FISHER


It's still hard to believe Carrie Fisher is gone. Really, I'm not too keen on writing these RIP tributes because they make me sad. But as a fan, I thought I would share some of my thoughts. 

Thanks to that space fantasy movie she starred in back in '77, Carrie became a true icon of my generation. Someone posted a pic of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford and titled it, "Our Beatles." I never thought of it that way, but yes that's sort of true. It was all things Star Wars for us, the first generation of fans. Our love of Star Wars inspired many of us to follow the careers of these actors and filmmakers.

I was no different and kept up with the "Star Wars people" through magazine articles, TV interviews and of course their non-SW work. I only watched Hollywood Vice Squad because Carrie was in it. 

Seeing Carrie show up in movies and TV was fun, but the real treat was seeing her in interviews. The real Carrie Fisher with the quick wit and sharp tongue was so much more entertaining than any character she portrayed. She was brutally truthful and seemed to have no fear when sharing stories of past experiences. She helped a lot of people coping with mental issues and addiction problems by sharing her own struggles. She was truly a one-of-a-kind and will be missed in many different ways. 

Back in the early 90's, I sent a fan letter to Carrie requesting an autograph. This is what came back to me and it always makes me chuckle each time I look at it.        


As you can see, she joked that she was signing an autograph for her brother, Todd Fisher. It was erased but originally Todd F. was penciled on the bottom corner. I'm guessing the assistant who prepared the autograph request jotted down my name for her to personalize. History sort of repeated when I finally met her for the first time in 2006. 


It was a big thrill at the San Diego Comic convention to finally meet Carrie Fisher. She had a long line of fans and of course, I was one of them. I had to write my first name on a post-it note on the photo I picked out for her to sign. A common thing to speed up the line and make it easier for guests signing autographs. She started to sign my photo before I stepped in front of her table. When she looked up, she joked, "I thought I was signing an autograph for my brother, but you're not my brother. Are you?" I can't remember what else she said but she had us laughing and left us feeling a bit starstruck.


It's always sad when anyone passes away with years left on the table. She definitely squeezed a lot of life in the years she was here and shared most of that life with the world.

I close with a pic of my well-played-with Princess Leia action figure from childhood. The condition of this figure tells how much I adored the character she played and eventually the real person. My condolences to the family (and all fans) for the loss of Carrie and her mother.

Monday, October 31, 2016

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM CASTLE VLAD


Neato Coolville might've missed the Halloween countdown but our pal Vlad was working feverishly to bring to life some new episodes of Castle Vlad. As a Halloween treat...or trick, (you be the judge), here are all the October episodes in one place. Let's start with the annual Halloween outtakes first!











Wednesday, October 05, 2016

AT LAST! THE LONG LOST MONSTER VITAMINS COMMERCIAL STARRING VINCENT PRICE

Come a little closer madam—I want you to watch this 30 second commercial for Monster Vitamins!



The credits for this commercial.
Advertising Agency - SSC&B. Art Direction by Warren Godfrey. Written by Nancy Richmond

Wow! Now that was neato cool!!! I've been wanting to see this "lost" commercial forever and I'm thrilled for the opportunity to share this amazing artifact relating to TV, "kids food" and monsters. Anyone remember seeing this when it first aired in 1974? Of course, I remember taking my Monster Vitamins every morning with breakfast, but unfortunately I have no memory of this commercial.


I've blogged about Monster Vitamins a few times before and hoped the TV commercial would eventually surface. Thanks to Clio award winning art director Warren Godfrey, my wish finally came true. In Warren's archives, he found an U-matic tape featuring a collection of his commercials including the Monster Vitamins commercial. I can't thank Warren enough for his time and generosity for sharing the MV commercial with all of us! (Click here to read my original blog post featuring Warren.)

Print ad from early 1975

Wait! There's one more Monster Vitamins treat! Inside the current issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine—you can read a Monster Vitamins article written by David Weiner, whose father Joel Weiner helped create Monster Vitamins (along with PALS) for Bristol-Myers.


Be sure to pick up a copy of Famous Monsters #288, the Forry Ackerman centennial tribute issue on newsstands now.



One last thing, as there seems to always be something else hiding in the shadows related to Monster Vitamins. The animation cel below is from my collection and a handful of these surfaced several years ago.


I'd always assumed this was the animated sequence from the Vincent Price commercial. Now after finally watching the VP commercial I now know that this animation sequence is...zoinks...from another commercial. Okay neato readers, let's go and find this second "lost" Monster Vitamins commercial!!


Big thanks to Warren Godfrey and David Weiner for their help shedding some more light on these crazy little Monster Vitamins!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY STAR TREK



Today marks the 50th anniversary of everyone's favorite TV space western! Actually, it was two days ago on September 6th that truly marked the 50th because Star Trek aired first on Canadian television. Above is an ad that ran in the Edmonton Journal newspaper on September 6, 1966, for CFRN Channel 3 TV and it aired that evening at 7:30 p.m. Viewers had a choice of Let's Sing Out, a rerun of Glynis or Star Trek. I suspect some of the first Trekkies in the world were born that night in Canada. 


In the United States, Star Trek was shown as part of NBC's sneak previews night on September 8, 1966, beginning with the episode, The Man Trap. The ad above is from the Sept. 3-9, 1966 issue of TV Guide. Understandably not realizing the cultural impact that Trek would have; TV Guide put Eva Gabor on their cover. Apparently, the folks at TV Magazine, a supplement for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a good idea of the importance of the show and featured Captain Kirk on their cover.
     
(Images from eBay)

Newspaper TV listing for the first Star Trek


Watch some early promos for Star Trek!

1967 RCA Television Ad

Trekkie, Trekker or Trek-hater; I'm sure all of us can remember our own introduction to Star Trek. I wasn't around for the original broadcasts and discovered Trek thru reruns in the 70's. My dad, brother and I watched the show most Saturday nights on KRCG-13 out of Jefferson City, MO. I don't think I ever saw a complete episode as I could never stay awake. I did much better once it aired in the afternoon after school. 

1976 KRCG-13 Ad

Of course, you can't talk about Star Trek and not list your favorite episodes. Mine have always been Arena, Mirror Mirror, The City on the Edge of Forever, Catspaw and Spectre of the Gun. I think I'll be watching these later tonight to celebrate the big anniversary. 

Happy 50th, Star Trek! You still look bright and vibrant as ever!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

R.I.P. KENNY BAKER: THE TRUE HEART OF R2-D2

I just had to photoshop together this simple tribute.

It was sad to hear the recent news that Kenny Baker had passed away. Of course, it was a collaborative group of talented people that helped bring R2 to life, but without Baker, R2 would have been a lifeless prop. In a statement soon after Baker's passing, George Lucas said, "Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2."

Anyone who discovered Star Wars in their childhood was probably amazed to learn that someone was inside of R2. I know my mind was blown when I found out at age seven. Really? R2 is not a real robot?

My very well-worn and heavily played with R2-D2 figure from childhood.

I'm not sure when or how I learned this amazing true fact. It was probably from the back of a Topps trading card or maybe from a kid at school. Actually, I probably learned there was a person inside of R2 from this article inside Weekly Reader Senior magazine. One of the great things about Star Wars was all the "making of" info being published. It let us kids look behind the curtain to see how the movie was made and because of this; we sort of got to know the people involved with the movie. I suppose this is why it's a bit more sad to lose a person associated with one of your favorite things, even though you don't have a personal relationship with them. 



I had the pleasure of meeting Kenny Baker at a comic convention back in the late 90's or early 2000's. (Sad I can't remember the exact year.) He was the first actor I met associated with Star Wars and it was a thrill to meet him in person.


He will be missed by many and remembered by many! Thanks Kenny for the fun memories and entertainment! Bleep! Bloop!



Monday, July 04, 2016

BICENTENNIAL FIRESIDE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES


Today as we celebrate the 4th of July and the 40th anniversary of the Bicentennial. Let's take a look at a neat box of Fireside Chocolate Chip cookies from the bicentennial year of 1976!



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY TO THE MOVIE THE ROCKETEER


It's hard to believe one of my favorite all-time movies hit theaters 25 years ago today. Some people have comfort foods; I have comfort movies and The Rocketeer is one of them. 

I was introduced to the story of The Rocketeer before the film was made thanks to my pal Tim, aka Vlad, back in the late 1980's. He showed me this really cool comic book of a 1930's movie serial type of character and that was all it took for me to become a fan. It was also my intro into the wonderful world of artist Dave Stevens, the creator of The Rocketeer. 

 (I had the honor of meeting Dave Stevens at the 2000 San Diego Comic Con.)

As we all know, Dave's artwork was amazing! One of the best comic artists to draw the female form and the way he told a story between the panels was always exciting and exhilarating! Back when I was in college my comic lovin' pals and I were excited for the movie version of the Rocketeer to premiere. It didn't disappoint and we've been talking about the film since its release. I believe it is still one of the best film adaptations made from a comic book. If only the film could have found more success at the box office. Because of this, we were all cheated out of more Rocketeer films.


I've been snooping around on YouTube looking for Rocketeer vids from back in the day and I think you'll enjoy watching these embeds. I know tonight, I have a date with the first lady of Neato Coolville and we'll be watching The Rocketeer once again, just like we did on June 21, 1991...except this time we'll be cheering on the flying hood ornament from our sofa instead of a crowded movie theater.

First up, watch Dave Stevens talk about his hopes at trying to get The Rocketeer made into a movie. (Uploaded by comic artist Greg Theakston)



A 30 second TV spot for the theatrical release of The Rocketeer. (Uploaded by IntermissionSociety)




Next, we have a fun "making of" doc that aired on the Disney Channel back in the day. (Uploaded by IntermissionSociety)




Here's clip from Entertainment Tonight that aired one week after the release of The Rocketeer. (Uploaded by IntermissionSociety)



Next up is this segment from the 1992 Discovery Channel TV show, Hollywood FX Masters hosted by Christopher Reeve. (Uploaded by ThePropKing)



An excellent interview with James Horner from 1991 about the Rocketeer soundtrack. (Uploaded by Eyes on Cinema)



Let's visit the South Seas Club and enjoy the sweet sounds of Melora Hardin sing Begin Beguine. (Uploaded by Dr.AtomicThunder)  




The prop display at Disney/MGM studios back in the summer of 1991. (Uploaded by Smithfilmproductions)



The Rocketeer blasting off from Disney/MGM Studios. Watch the video starting at the 5:00 mark. (Uploaded by Dillos Diz)




(Detail of a Rocketeer VHS video promo sweatshirt from my pal Mike who has owned it since his video store clerk days!)

Happy 25th Rocketeer and big thanks to Dave Stevens, Joe Johnston and all the amazing men and women that brought The Rocketeer to the big screen. Many fans and I will always be grateful!