Friday, May 29, 2009

Cool Find: May 29-30

Tin Litho the box too!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Television

Television turns 70 years old this year, and after all it's given me, I should at least give it a big "thank you". I wouldn't be who I am today without it. I really am part of the TV generation, being born in the '60s I've watched it go from tiny black and white, to huge HD flatscreen, and from man landing on the moon (I really did watch it as it happened, cool), to the twin towers falling down (unfortunately, I saw that live too, horrible). That photo above is really of a young me doing what I do best...I wish I knew what I was watching there.

Broadcast Television started at the 1939 New York Worlds Fair. People must have really thought they were at the dawn of a futuristic age. The fair was all streamline, art deco, and world of tomorrow. Television was fittingly introduced, and it certainly has become everything they thought it would be.

It's been called the "boob-tube" or the "idiot-box"...but I don't believe it makes a person less intelligent. I think it helps with creativity, linear thought, and objectivity. We've all yelled at commercials we hate, cheered during sporting events, and gotten wrapped up in scripted dramas. I think I've turned out ok, considering my young life revolved around Saturday morning cartoons and after school Gilligan's Island and Brady Bunch. These were all enjoyed with a bowl of sugar cereal, of course. Cartoons, sitcoms, dramas, commercials, re-runs...I was there, and still am.

Sure TV has its dark side, and certain programs are merely junk-food for the mind, but that's ok. If you're not smart enough to know the difference, you have bigger problems than the influence of bad television. "I think I'll do what them fellers on Jackass are doin!" The world has a way of correcting itself.


Thanks Television! I've watched your shows and purchased your products. You helped in raising me, gotten me through some tough times, and you put me to sleep each night. I'd ask you to take the day off, but I know you won't. That's so you...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Atomic Clowns

I hate clowns. Those are really the only three words I need to write and most people understand, we all hate clowns. Maybe it's because as children we're told to avoid strangers, but when a clown is around...parental hands push us toward him/her/it to watch us react. "Oh honey look, he's deathly frightened of the creepy painted face jester, precious. Get a picture!" I hate clowns.

Clowns have been pushed on us in advertising, on television, in toys, everywhere. If kids are involved, clowns are there. That in itself should be a red flag, but no...push us closer. The movies are the only place that depict clowns for who/what they really are, evil, soul eating, white faced killers.

I bring up this clown thing because I was digging up in a cupboard and found these old "Scoopy" packages. Scoopy made ice cream cones, fun straws, all that fun kid party stuff back in the '50s and '60s. His face adorns the packages, he looks so nice. I found out how he got the name Scoopy, it's because that's what he did to children's innards...scooped them out, all while laughing, laughing, laughing! Scoopy is in a mental hospital now thinking about drinking out of your head with a straw.

These are pictures from an old Mattel tin litho jack-in-the-box. They are greasy haired, shifty eyed, and thinking about popping out and eating your eyes and windpipe...pop goes your life! Have you ever noticed a common clown theme is "hobo". Hobo!? Who thinks hobos are funny?

Hobo Clown Encounter: Ohhhhh, great, what a great costume. Get a shot of Billy next to him. He's so sad, he has to eat baked beans out of a can and carry his stuff in a bindle. That's great!

Real Hobo Encounter: Oh great, why'd we come this way. Billy! Don't look at him, he'll come over. Oh God, he's coming over...walk faster!

My last little bit of clown bashing is perhaps the most telling. These are from my collection of plastic figures. They appear to be '50s, maybe '60s vintage. They are circus clowns, but they seem to have an atomic rocket theme going. It really makes you wonder. I think they're mocking us and flaunting their nuclear prowess. They've launched satellites from kite strings and umbrellas, they're even drinking booze and riding missiles. They laughingly shoot warheads from their groin area in an almost sexual nature. We're talking atomic clowns here. They've been hiding their evil plans behind painted smiles and pointy hats.

They need to be stopped. A funny keystone cop is what we need right now. I heard clown's heads are filled with candy...grab a stick!

The ironic thing is, the only clown I like is Ronald McDonald...and he really is killing me, although slowly. I'm lovin it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cool Find: May 8-10

I was a happy hot rod hooligan after I found these 1965 Stanley Mouse Rat Fink, Weird-Oh style Hot Rod/Surf models. They're un-built, original, pristine in the boxes. These "Cool Find" updates aren't supposed to be very wordy (I'll sometimes upload right from my phone with little to no text) but I have to mention Stanley Mouse, and if you get a chance, check out his site over in departures. He's the psychedelic artist known for the iconic Skeleton and Roses Grateful Dead poster (I had a first run print about five years ago...sold it argggg!) and these models were meant to compete with the Roth "Fink" stuff. Pretty rare...pretty cool. There is a third I still need to complete the set.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cool Find: May 1-3

I go out each weekend in search of treasures, it's what I do. I find lots of things but each week I usually run across something that stands out, makes me smile, or really gets me excited about my love of the past. That doesn't always mean expensive or valuable, sometimes it's simply something I like. Take this weekend's offerings for instance, in all the items I found, a simple paperback book is my favorite. It's the Peter Max Paper Airplane Book

I'm not going to go on and on about Peter and his style, I dig it, that's all. It does point out something I've noticed about the late '60s and early '70s. There was this odd psychedelic interest in early 20th century vehicles, from bi-planes to automobiles. Snoopy flew his Sopwith Camel, Dr. Oldsmobile had a fictional group of characters like a turn-of-the-century race team, Daring & Magnificent Men flew and raced in the movies, and Chitty Chitty Bang, chitty chitty bang banged. These all have one thing in common, they're all from one time period, but about another time period, with a bit of a hippy twist. This Paper Airplane book by Peter is just another example of this. Oh, we can't forget the Beatles took a trip on a Submarine too. I think it was yellow.

Star Trek Babies

You've seen it a bunch of times in the movies and on TV, the nerd that gets a montage makeover and suddenly becomes a hottie. You could tell all along though that under those thick black frame glasses, under that purposely goofy slicked hairstyle, and behind that cluster of books held tightly against the chest, that person was really good looking all along. It was a common theme in '80s movies.

JJ Abrams decided to give our nerdy friend Star Trek a make-over, and just like what happens in those '80s movies, we now all stare with our mouths open in a collective "wow" as it walks into the cafeteria.

Star Trek has been given a new slick image, young, good looking, and full of the action that modern movie audiences must have to keep their attention in a world of video games and special effects. It's a prequel re-boot of what some would call a tired franchise, but I'd say it really just brings the mythos up to current standards. Of course, when you mess with canon, you might get blasted in the face (bad, I know).

Everyone can rest easy though, Star Trek satisfies the purists and makes new fans in a masterful way.

Time travel has always been a theme in science fiction and Trek has used it many times, but that has always made contextual sense with Einstein and the connection of space/time. So time travel as a story vehicle in Star Trek isn't a cheat, and JJ uses this to his advantage. He wipes the slate clean, gives us a connection to the original, and sets us up for a whole news series by twisting the whole time line. We accept the new Captain, the new Spock, Scotty, Bones...they are who they should be and they're ready for new Star Trek Babies adventures. JJ has made it so even the most rampant Trek purist has no argument, "but but but..." Sorry Nerdlinger, time travel (tap tap on wristwatch).

A person could go on and on about the fitting young actors they picked to play the iconic roles, the retro yet functional style of the new Enterprise, the realistic frantic battle scenes, and the glimpses of the original series coming through. It's all handled like you want it to be, or should I say, like it needs to be in 2009. Audiences expect a certain level when they see a movie now, and when you're given Trek to re-mold. You better do a good job, or else all fandemonium breaks out.

My hat's off to JJ Abrams, he entered the den of geeks and came out intact. It would have been safer to put on a red shirt and volunteer for an away party, but he did it anyway. Raise a glass of Romulan Ale, success!

Star Trek is fun stuff, for everyone. That's the review, seven words.

One subtle example of a nod to the original series is the updated version of Spock's home planet, Vulcan. It has angled rock formations that are reminiscent of the Vasquez Rocks outside of Los Angeles. The Vasquez rock is that photogenic angled rock you've seen in tons of movies and television shows, including the original Trek "Arena" episode where Kirk fights the Gorn. That rock formation makes an appearance on the new Vulcan, in fact Vulcan is made up of "Vasquez rocks". Trek is full of these JJ Easter Eggs, you have to watch closely.

Time travel can change more than a fictional history though. Remember that '80s movie? The make-over looked good at the time, but 20 years later...ehh not so much. We'll see what the future holds for this new JJ Abrams Trek. Maybe it was easy to make a great movie because, in reality, the nerd was always good looking underneath.

Here, look at this crap: