Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New U2

I'm really excited about the new U2 coming out next week. The whole album has been streaming online for about a week now and I'm pretty happy with it. It's really different from what they've done before. One of the main reasons they're my favorite band is that they rarely repeat themselves. Probably my favorite song on the record right now is Breathe, which they recently performed on French TV.



The song is much better live. The tour this summer promises to be huge. It's going to be fun following the tour through the magic of the internet and bootlegs.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Children's Palace Ads



When I was a kid in the late 70's, there was only one place to go to get my Star Wars figures. Children's Palace was the main toy retailer in Kansas City at the time and needless to say, I loved going there and I would bug my mom constantly to take me there. They were set up similar to how Toys R Us is now but I seem to remember them having an entire side of an aisle devoted to Star Wars figures and toys. It was awesome to say the least. They had a panda mascot named Peter Panda who had kind of a New York accent as you can see from this ad from 1979.



The Children's Palace in Independence closed in the mid 80's and was replaced by Toys R Us, which opened just a block or so away on 40 Hwy and Noland Rd. It was OK but it just didn't have the magic for me that Children's Palace did.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Movieland Wax Museum



This cool ad from the Summer 1965 edition of Vacationland, the magazine put out by Disneyland to promote all the Southern California attractions, is a look at what was one of my all time favorite places to go in the Los Angeles area back when my dad lived there in the late 80's/early 90's.

The Movieland Wax Museum opened in 1962 in Buena Park, which was just next door to Anaheim, not far from Disneyland. It featured wax figures from movies and TV that looked very much like their subject matter. It proved to be very popular for over 40 years until it finally closed in 2005.

They updated their offerings yearly, always taking into account the most recent popular movies and TV shows. I went there many times and I took some pictures of some of my favorite displays. Probably my favorite one was the elaborate Fortress Of Solitude set from Superman The Movie.



Another great part of the museum was the horror movie section which was downstairs if I remember correctly. The highlight of that area was this cool Karloff Frankenstein figure.



Last but not least, no wax museum would be complete without General George S. Patton.



I was really sad to see this great place close. But it will live on in the memories of the scores of people who visited there in its 43 years.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Filmation



One of my favorites cartoons as a kid was the Filmation version of Tarzan. Voiced by the one and only Bob Ridgely, who also voiced Flash Gordon for the company and was the guiding voice behind Thundarr The Barbarian, the animation and stories riveted me to my seat as a little kid. I loved pretty much everything Filmation put out, even the cheesy live action stuff like Shazam! and Isis. I had a huge crush on Joanna Cameron at the time. I finally wrote her a few years ago and got this cool autographed picture of her in her signature role.



My biggest thrill involving Filmation however was meeting co-founder Lou Scheimer at the San Diego Con in 2000. I was very fortunate to get to talk to him a long time about many of the shows he helped put together back then, like Fat Albert, Star Trek, and the aforementioned Tarzan and Flash Gordon. He was extremely friendly and gracious with his time. I'm really glad I got my picture taken with him and a signed Tarzan cel.



Fortunately, a lot of the Filmation product is available on DVD now. These great shows are must haves for children of the 70's like me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Southern California Polaroid Mania

I recently found a bunch of Polaroids from a trip I took to see my dad in Los Angeles in 1986. These shots bring back a lot of memories and makes me sad that Poloroid is going out of business. These cheap instant pictures show their subjects in a unique way that digital cameras can't duplicate. As a teenager, I was obsessed with stadiums and sports arenas (actually I still am). These first shots were of Anaheim Stadium way before it was renovated after the Rams left.







We also took a trip to see USC. A high school buddy of mine and I went thinking possibly about going there. We had our pictures taken in front of the iconic Tommy Trojan statue in the middle of campus. I forgot all about this shot and am thrilled to still have it.



My dad got lucky one night while I was there and got Lakers tickets, which were nearly impossible to get. I was on cloud 9 when we went to the Forum to see Magic and Kareem. I took a bunch of pictures but they didn't turn out very well. This blurry shot was the best of the bunch, which really disappointed me since I had always wanted to go there and get good pictures of the experience.



My favorite shot of the whole bunch was taken a few months later when I went back that summer. We went to an LA Raiders game at the Coliseum and this one shot I took before the game turned out fantastic.



I should grab some Polaroid film before it's all gone and go back to LA to see if I can reenact some of these shots. The Forum doesn't have pro basketball anymore but the Coliseum still looks pretty much the same and the Tommy Trojan statue is still there. I'm sure my wife would love that trip!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Madison Square Garden Postcards



I found a bunch of cool postcards a couple of weeks ago at an antique store. Among the cards I bought were three cards dating from the late 60's of my favorite arena, the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York. It opened in 1968 and several postcards were preduced showing the new Garden. These other two also show the classic look of the World's Most Famous Arena.





The Garden is still going strong today, 40 years later. I'm sure a new version of the arena will be talked about at some point but it's going to take a special place to make people forget the great showplace at 33rd and 7th in New York.