Monday, December 29, 2008

Batman Cameos

I've always loved the 1966 Batman TV show. When I was a kid, I loved the bright colors and the non stop action. It didn't occur to me that it was nothing like the comics of the time. As an adult I love the humor of it. It just cracks me up. One of the cooler things about the show were the celebrities that would appear in windows as Batman and Robin were climbing up the side of buildings. Here are a few of the better ones.

The Green Hornet and Kato surprise the Caped Crusaders in this bit.

The Addams Family's one and only Lurch shows up in this clip.

I really love this appearance by the notorious head of Stalag 13.

And finally jolly ol' Saint Nick shows up to give some holiday cheer to the fair citizens of Gotham.

It's a real shame this series isn't on DVD. Hopefully soon Fox and Warners will resolve their differences and make a ton of comic geeks happy next year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Superman Day 1940

I got the fantastic book The DC Vault for Christmas. It contains many never before seen pictures and artifacts from the history of DC Comics. One of the coolest things in there were pictures from Superman Day at the 1940 New York World's Fair. The character was only a year or two old at the time and this marked the first time an actor appeared as Superman. I had never seen a color picture from this event before so I was thrilled to see this picture. The costume's not too bad.

They also showed a sketch of a poster promoting the event that was never produced. I love the images of Superman with the Trylon and Perisphere.

The final thing was this cool sign up form for the athletic events for the kids to determine who the super-boy and super-girl of 1940 were going to be. What better way to spend time at the fair than running an obstacle course and skipping rope!

We need to have World's Fairs come back. There definitely needs to be another Superman Day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A U2 Christmas

As Christmas Day fast approaches, I thought I'd share my favorite Christmas song sung by my favorite band. Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lord Vader Meets The Wolfman

I love this cornball segment from an episode of The Midnight Special from 1977 where everybody's favorite villain Lord Darth Vader squares off against the one and only Wolfman Jack. Enjoy!

KMBC Total News 1977

I was thrilled to find this episode of Kansas City's Channel 9 news from 9/16/77. I remember watching Larry Moore, Don Fortune, and Cheryl Jones every night when I was a kid. This whole segment screams 1970's, from the wood paneled set to Moore's Ron Burgandy-esque hair. The graphics are fantastic as well. Moore is still doing the news at Channel 9, although his hair isn't quite as awesome as it is here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas 1982

The last cool Christmas picture is from 1982. My favorite board game, Stratego, is right next to me. I loved this game. We played it during indoor recess in grade school all the time and I got fairly good at it. This was one of the last years I got really cool nerdy type gifts for a while until I went to college and got back into a lot of the things I loved as a kid.

Christmas 1979

Here are me and my cousins playing with our presents in 1979. I was the only boy and was even more involved in my Star Wars presents than normal. I still have the X-Wing and it's definitely seen better days. I wish I still had my grade school jersey I'm wearing. I wore it constantly. It was my favorite shirt.

Christmas 1980

For some reason I have a ton of pictures from Christmas in 1980. We had it at my aunt's house that year because my mom had just got out of the hospital and didn't feel like having it at our house. As most Christmas morning's were at the time, it was a Star Wars Christmas. You can see some Empire figures on the floor in this shot.

I love my expression. I just wanted to play with my Snowspeeder. I was a little more content opening the presents.

My favorite non Star Wars present that year were my boxing gloves. I loved Ali and wanted to punch out anybody that made fun of my Star Trek jammies.

Christmas 1976

This is the only picture I have from my sixth Christmas in 1976. I was a big Kansas City Chiefs fan as a little kid and I was thrilled to get this way cool helmet and football. My favorite gift that year was definitely the View Master. I spent a ton of time looking through that thing. My favorite reel at the time was probably the 1966 Batman TV one. I constantly looked at it. It was my first exposure to that classic show.

Star Wars Toy Ads 1978

I thought I'd post a couple of the ads that got me going during the holidays when I was a kid. They'd show these all the time on Saturday mornings and I'd bug my mom incessantly for everything in them. This first one was the main one they did covering all their fantastic offerings from 1978.

And this one showcases perhaps my favorite Star Wars playset, the Death Star, which I got that Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Santa And Me

A big part of Christmas for any kid is seeing Santa himself at the mall. My mall of choice in the 1970's was the Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City. My mom would take me every year and I would breathlessly tell him everything I wanted in a very rapid pace. When the pictures were taken at the end, I would clam up. I must not have wanted my one on one audience with Santa interrupted. The picture at the top is from 1974 and this one is a year later.

Sadly, the Blue Ridge Mall is gone now but Santa is still going strong. Maybe he'll bring me some 70's DC comics or Star Wars figures this year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas 1973

This was probably the first Nerf ball I ever got. I went through these things very quickly and it seemed like I got a new one every year. I wish I had a picture of Nerf Man, the Nerf superhero that came out in the late 70's. Hopefully I didn't get those plaid pants that year. Thank goodness I was too little to notice the fashion disaster those pants were.

Christmas 1972

Continuing the childhood Christmas parade, here's my two year old self in 1972 enjoying one of the many Fisher Price produced objects that cluttered my room the first five years of my life. The See And Say was also quite popular if I remember correctly. This is the earliest Christmas picture of me that I have and it's one of my favorites.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Life Day!

In honor of the season, I'd thought I'd post a clip from the greatest holiday special of them all. Enjoy!

Christmas 1978

I recently found a bunch of Christmas pictures from my childhood and I thought I'd post them to get into the Christmas spirit. This one from 1978 was a special one because it was the first year (but definitely not the last) that I got Star Wars stuff. Like every other 8 year old in 1978, I was obsessed with Star Wars and wanted everything Kenner put out. The main things I got from Santa that year were the Death Star playset and the large size Luke figure which are pictured above along with a Star Bird and a Nerf ball. It seemed like I got a Nerf ball every year. I like my expression in this shot. The last thing I wanted to do after I saw that Death Star was pose for a picture.

In this shot, which I think is from 78 but it might have been 77, I'm quite excited to get The Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman figures, not to mention the Fisher Price Adventure Jeep, which I was quite fond of.

In the last picture from this great year, I'm with my Dad probably the night before opening presents. My parents were divorced by this time and I probably saw him before Santa came. You gotta love the knock off Fran Tarkenton style jersey.

I really dug that passing contraption he got me. This shot might have been after Christmas since the tree's gone. It only says Christmas 78 on the back so I'm not sure. I'll post some shots from other years as we count the days until Santa brings me more Star Wars stuff this year!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Ramones Bring Some Holiday Cheer

As only they can.

A Phil Spector Christmas

I'm not much for Christmas albums because I used to work at a record store and we had to listen to Christmas albums 24/7 during the holidays and I got real sick of Christmas music. My all time favorite Christmas by far is A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector. While that may mean something different now due to the fact that Mr. Spector is quite crazy and probably a murderer, back in the '60's it was a fantastic gift indeed. Featuring classic Christmas songs sung by great Spector produced groups like The Ronettes, The Crystals, and Darlene Love, this album is sheer Christmas bliss. The Wall Of Sound never sounded so good.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Making Of Empire

I just finished re-reading this great behind the scenes journal of the making of one of my favorite movie, The Empire Strikes Back. Written by the film's publicist, it provides an unprecendented behind the scenes look at the making of this remarkable film. The back cover provides just some of the unique features of this book.

Of course, it was being written before the movie came out so it's interesting to see some of the doubts that the filmmakers had that the movie would be as successful as Star Wars. It's also great to read about the movies before the culture really got going. It was a much simpler time and a time that was much better. In hindsight, if they had stopped after Empire, it probably would have been a good thing, movie wise. I shouldn't really say that. There were a lot of good things in Jedi but the absence of Gary Kurtz as producer really hurt the movies in my opinion. Anyway, this book's been long out of print but if you ever find one at a used bookstore or flea market, by all means pick it up. It's an outstanding look at one of the greatest movies ever made.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Forrest Ackerman R.I.P.

I'm sorry to say that Forrest J Ackerman, the founder of the great horror mag Famous Monsters Of Filmland, has passed away. He was one of the founders of science-fiction fandom and was a staple at many sci-fi, horror, and comic conventions over the years. I was fortunate to meet him a couple of times and he was incredibly nice and gracious to everybody who came up to him. He was loved by many and there are many tributes showing up on the internet. This gracious tribute by Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles sums it up pretty nicely. It's definitely a sad day in monsterland.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pizza Hut Ad 1969

This cool Pizza Hut ad appeared in a 1969 Kansas City Royals program. It featured the long lost mascot Pizza Hut Pete, one of the coolest advertising characters of all time. Most of these restaurants closed in the 1980's but I think the one in Independence lasted into the '90's.

NFL Trucker Hat Ad 1977

When I was a kid, I always wanted one of these cool NFL trucker hats. I thought they were the coolest things and a lot of my friends had them. I deseperately wanted a Steelers hat because they were my favorite team at the time. I never got one when I was a kid but my dad picked up a Denver Broncos one for me a few years later. This particular ad was from a 1977 Chiefs program.