Category Archives: Branded in the 80s

Alternative Movie Posters bringing the Art back to Design

I’ll be the first person to admit that I have my gaze set firmly in the past when thinking about pop culture art and design.   The packaging, ad campaigns and poster designs, all of the branding that I love to examine, catalog and collect.  I know a big part of this is because of my nostalgia, looking back to my childhood to what I consider the heyday of innovative and interesting artwork and design.  And I know that this can become a trap, where I’m blinded to great modern work because it’s doing something different than what I might prefer.  In my defense though, there are what seem like unending trends in graphic design these days that have made the landscape truly mind numbing and boring. In particular I’ve noticed this with a lot of modern poster design for films and DVDs, which I’ve mentioned before bugs me to no end.  I mean seriously, is it just me or do the following posters all blend into one giant mess of bland, sad, white noise?

Movie Posters the same more

I would certainly not lay this at the feet of the films themselves as there are some really great movies in this bunch (as well as some truly horrible films.)  All I know is that if I walked into a theater with a wall of these posters all lined up and had to pick a movie based only on this imagery I’d be confounded as to which one to pick.  They’re all the same.  Even when the campaigns are a little more successful in terms of good design, you quickly see so many other designers jump on the bandwagon, diluting interesting concepts and bringing it all back down into the pool of white noise, boring static…

same

Obviously this isn’t always the case.  There is still some great poster design out there in the mainstream, for instance the campaign that was recently run for the 2013 release of The Wolverine

the wolverine poster good

Simple, beautiful and tied into the story of the film (what little coherent story there was in that very horrible movie), the artwork in the above poster is a breath of fresh air even though it was the cream in an ad campaign that was rife with other horrible designs like this argument for banning the “brightness/contrast” function in Photoshop…

the wolverine sucks

So, does this mean that the art of design died sometime in the late 80s?  Of course not, it’s all about trust for creative vision and the lack of which exists in the large movie studio system.  These companies have millions of dollars riding on marketing and design campaigns and when attempting to sell their product to as large an audience as possible they can so very easily lose sight of the merits true art, favoring instead to stay the course of design by committee honed by market research and focus groups.

But there is a fascinating response to this bland design in film art, and in his new book Matthew Chojnacki explores this phenomena.  Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground dives into the limited run screen prints, glycees and digital prints created for revival and festival screenings of movies that have been cropping up over the last decade.  There’s been a movement to bring the intimacy and limited edition of band gig posters to the film world where thousands of artists celebrate screenings with interesting conceptual designs.

Film Art

For those of us that don’t want to do battle with the shopping cart at Mondo (trying to land a copy of their popular, insanely fast selling screen prints), or who can’t afford to keep up with all of the amazing artwork with these alternative posters, Chojnacki’s book is a great archive highlighting the work of over a hundred different artists from all over the world.  Much like he did with his previous book, Put the Needle on the Record, he really does an amazing job curating this collection of independent artwork.  Whether it’s double page spreads highlighting a specific artist or using these opposing pages to compare and contrast between artists, focusing on a particular style, medium, or similar concepts, there was a lot of care put in the arrangement of the designs.

Goonies Gremlins

There are over 200 posters spanning the gamut of the past 80 years of film, from stark expressionistic takes on M through to unbelievably creative spatial collages for The Dark Knight Rises.  For lovers of film and design Chojnacki’s Alternative Movie Posters is a welcome raft in the sea of uninspired corporate design.  Not every piece of artwork in the book will win you over, but all of them go a long way to recapturing a time when studios actually seemed to care about producing and commissioning true works of film inspired art.

alternative-movie-posters-web-sample-10

Each work is accompanied by artist commentary including poster specific inspiration, the art, films and other artists that influence their work, as well as what they use to create and their thoughts on film.  The book also annotates each piece with biographical info and how to contact the artists to find further work or commission some of your own.  Though the book doesn’t focus on any specific genre or era of film, for children of the 80s there is a lot of work focusing on the films we grew up loving.  Tron, Robocop, The Dark Crystal, Gremlins, Goonies, Labyrinth, The Burbs, The Lost Boys, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Big and a ton more…

alternative-movie-posters-web-sample-3

I also love that Chojnacki didn’t limit himself to work being released in America, the roster of artists is truly international and an interesting mix of well known and up and coming designers.  I was just as excited to spot artwork from folks I recognize like Joe Simko, Tim Doyle and  Jason Edmiston, as I was to be introduced to folks like Gary Pullin (contributing outstanding Teen Wolf and Street Trash posters), Laurie Shipley (with a great Revenge of the Cheerleaders piece), Rocco Malatesta (with a great eye for minimalism and spacial conceptualization in his Raging Bull piece) , and Ryan Luckoo (who did a phenomenal job with the Dark Knight Rises.)

alternative-movie-posters-web-sample-16

If you have a film buff, artist, or designer on your Christmas list this year, do yourself a favor and pick up Matthew Chojnacki’s Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art From the Underground (and while you’re at it, pick up a copy of Put the Needle on the Record too.)  You won’t be sorry you did!

 

Now this is a film about Garbage Pail Kids!!!

For those of us who have sat through the beloved train wreck that is 1987′s Garbage Pail Kids: The Movie, all I have to say is, cheer up, because there is a much better GPK film in the works!  As much as I love that cheesy original flick (well, hate…yeah…no, love, well, love/hate) the idea of trying to bring a fictionalized version of these rad sticker cards to the screen was sort of doomed conceptually.  Maybe it could have worked as an animated feature, though as an owner of the unreleased cartoon series on DVD, yeah, maybe not.  Either way, the bottom line is that for those of us who love and collect Garbage Pail Kids it’s not about seeing these cards brought to life in another incarnation, it’s about, well, collecting the darn cards and loving the artwork and jokey concepts.  It’s as simple as that, which is what I want to see out of a film, a documentary that chronicles these gross out stickers from their origins in the 60s era Topps Nutty Awards, through the Ugly stickers, Wacky Packs and on through the phenomenon of the original 15 sets and beyond.  The Abrams book featuring the art of the first few sets was a great start, but a film would be really awesome.  Well guess what?  Some really dedicated artists are trying to do just that with the 30 Years of Garbage project!

30 years of garbage

Spearheaded by director Sean Tiedeman and co-produced by Krystle-Dawn Willing, Jeff Zapata (artist and Topps GPK art director 2003-2011), and artist Joe Simko and partner June Gonzales, the film is looking to dig into the world of GPK with interviews with the original Topps artists, writers, and designers, as well as a bevy of current artists both inspired by the original stickers and working on the newer sets today.  They’ve already lined up folks like Art Spiegelman, Tom Bunk, Len Brown, Jay Lynch, Mark Newgarden and one of the most important for me, John Pound!  They’re also going to showcase rabid collectors and the next generation of artists like Brent Engstrom and Joe Simko…

Garbage Pail Kids Artists Brent Engstrom and Joe Simko(Brent Engstrom and Joe Simko posing on set)

The crew has created a kickstarter campaign to help fund this film, and I really want to see it reach it’s funding goal because I kind of NEED to see this film.  Seriously, just take a look at the great work being put into the set design…

941858_1481069485451846_1630540512_n

Simko has donated a lot of of personal work as varying rewards (including cereal box packs of Cereal Killers sticker cards series 2 and his amazing kid’s book The Sweet Rot), and there is even a series of GPK artist cards featuring parodies of themselves!  So if you’re as much of a fan and collector as me head on over and make a pledge today and let’s get this flick funded pronto.  Here’s a look at some of the rewards…

0a33232ac58d55c5fa91e7dec4c9ca63_large

There’s also a facebook page for the flick where you can keep up with news and talk to other fans.  So what are you waiting for?  Go like that page, pledge in the kickstarter and help make this thing a reality.

The Return of Robo Force!!

As a kid growing up in the 80s I felt pretty lucky when it came to be exposed to all sorts of different toy lines.  I was pretty obsessed with a lot of the usual suspects, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Masters of the Universe and Transformers of course, but also got into some of the smaller or more obscure stuff like Dungeons and Dragons, Blackstar, Go Bots, ThunderCats, Silverhawks, Air Raiders, Starcom, etc.  In this more obscure subset, one of the toys I had that I’ve developed an amazing appreciation for over the past decade of reveling in nostalgia is Robo Force.  I only had one figure as a kid, Wrecker, the black and yellow muscle of the heroic robots.  In fact, I ended up finding Wrecker in the woods behind my house, caked in mud with his chest sticker half torn off.  I wiped him down and added him to my collection, fascinated by the intense hugging crushing action of his bendy straw arms, and his huge suction cup feet (foot?)  I’m pretty sure he acted as a stand-in for one of Skeletor’s minion robots when I played with my Masters of the Universe figures, but I never dug into the line enough to really realize what he was or that there were other toys in the line.  If I had to guess it’s because the line was never merchandized well, not like practically every other property in the 80s.

5759359184_acf5d8a334_o

Sure, there were bedsheets, baseball caps, watches, stickers, a lunchbox and even a magazine, but the line failed to really penetrate the marketplace with the absence of a syndicated cartoon.  There was a single episode produced by Sunbow that aired only once in the evening back in the winter of 1984, but it was never picked up for a full 65 episode run and thus the toy line sort of died on the vine.  A few years ago, when guesting on the early episodes of the Saturday Supercast, the little under-appreciated robots came up in conversation with Jerzy Drozd and our pal HooveR.  Ever since I’ve been really been addicted to the toys and have been picking up mint figures here and there whenever I can find them in the wild, like this Enemy figure I found at a local flea market.

Well, earlier in the year I caught wind that the rad John Kent and his company Toyfinity had purchased the rights to the line and was planning on relaunching it for a new generation of toy collectors.  We’ve seen all sorts of toy line relaunches by the large companies, G.I. Joe, Transformers and MOTU in particular, as well as designer toys heavily influenced by older lines (like the Weaponeers of Monkaa which riffs off of Crystar and the Trasformers), but how often do we ever see fans grab up the official lines and do an actual relaunch of the property?  Not very often, if ever.  To say that I was excited for the possibility of a Robo Force relaunch is putting it mildly, and this past October I finally managed to get my hands on one of the Genesis editions of the new figure kits!

5644c0503c3311e3953322000aeb0b99_7

The first thing you’ll notice is that these new figures are a little different than the originals.  In particular the “action” features of the originals have been dropped in lieu of a more modern modular approach to the design, taking a page from Onell Design’s Glyos system, with which these are completely compatible.   I’m fully in favor of this switch as it both plays into the robotic nature of the characters and I really love the crossover it presents with other independently created figures like the Weaponeers and Glyos.  The ability to customize Maxx, or down the line to mix ad match eventual colorways is super intriguing and opens the line up to all sorts of fun ideas.

So, what’s included in this initial Genesis Edition launch?  The kit comes geared towards making a Maxx Zero figure with the 25-piece build shown above and below…

Roboforce 1

Roboforce 2

But there are also 14 or so other pieces that will enable you to change out the tank treads for legs and switch out the hands, heads and weapons.  In fact you have enough pieces to build three other classically inspired Robo Force characters, The villain leader Hun-Dred, Enemy and the heroic Sentinel.

Roboforce 3

The additional heads are subtly crafted (much like the heads of Glyos figures) to be multipurposed by twisting them around so that in one direction the head looks like the original Enemy or twisted it becomes Sentinel.

Roboforce-5-1024x764

John and the sculptors even managed to get the effect of Hun-Dred’s raised dome to expose his laser gun eyes!

Roboforce-6-1024x764

Getting back to the launch of this new line, when I first found out about it I immediately wanted to tell a handful of other Robo Force fans that I’ve met over the years, in particular cartoonist Jerzy Drozd who I knew would be over the moon.  Secretly, what I really wanted was to see Jerzy get a chance to bring the characters to live with a comic, and lets just say that all the pieces manged to align just right and that has become a reality with the launch of an online story this past week!

MAXX PROMO IMAGE

I’m really excited to see where this line goes, and am eagerly awaiting new sculpts and colorways that I hope will be coming down the line in the near future.  If you’re looking to pick up one of these kits, they’re currently sold out at Toyfinity (a very good sign), but keep your eyes peeled as I’m sure there will be more figure drops soon.  In the meantime, Toyfinity also has a line of rad Mordles minifigs that are pretty darn cool!

 

 

I think I have a crush on Lynne Stone…

Even though I’ve seen a metric ton of flicks from the 80s, there are a lot that I’ve never seen.  One of the cool aspects of catching up with these movies is getting to see some established actors before they were huge, and in some cases seeing them in roles that give me a whole new appreciation for them.  A couple years ago I did just that when I saw Laura Dern as a young post-punk rock star in Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains.  It totally changed my outlook on Mrs. Dern and it’s sort of given me a taste for redefining my outlook on some stars that maybe I don’t give enough credit.  Well this past weekend I curled up next to my girlfriend Jaime while she introduced me to the campy 80s dance flick Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and at about four minutes in I found an entirely new appreciation for one Mrs. Helen Hunt!

girls-just-want-to-have-fun-movie-poster-1985-1020193614

Literally, Jaime and I were about five minutes into the flick when I did a spit take (well, would have had I been drinking anything at the time) and freaked out after noticing Hunt wearing a very awesome piece of jewelery that I myself sported back in the 80s.  Her character, Lynne Stone, is sort of a Cyndi Lauper lite, free spirited, takes crap from no one, and has a wickedly fun fashion sense.  Though the film focuses mainly on Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Janey, I kind of immediately fell in love with Lynne and I’m basically already writing the fan-fiction sequel flick in tandem with this article.  Also, since I’ve sort of been locked in a mode of finding all sorts of fun junk in the background of movies I thought it would be fun to point out the six aspects that make Hunt’s Lynne Stone such a rad character…

#6: Her Crush on C. Thomas Howell

3

But then again, didn’t we all have a crush on C. Thomas Howell?

#5: Her Transforming Catholic School Uniform

1

The scene where Lynne rips off her school outfit and flips it to form an entirely new outfit is pretty cool, as is her line: “Velcro.  Next to the Walkman and Tab it’s the coolest invention of the 20th century!”

#4: Her Awesome Headgear

4

Giant grasshoppers, 50′s coonskin caps, and Dinosaur barrettes are just a smattering of the awesome things you’ll see on Lynne’s head throughout the flick.

#3: Her Babysitting Technique

2

Get to job, put on Dance TV, place baby in pizza box, take absolutely no messages for her employer.  That’s the way to do it.

#2: Her Taste in Lunchboxes

5

I have to say that the 8 year-old me who was carrying a Masters of the Universe lunchbox to school, if he’d crossed paths with a teenaged Helen Hunt with the same lunchbox, well, he (I) would have fallen in love and then fainted.  Seriously, I love that she’s carrying that lunchbox!

il_fullxfull.376638078_bz4g

#1: Her Amazing Taste in Kronoform Watches!

6

Not only did I have the same lunchbox as Lynne, I also had that same knockoff red Kronoform transforming robot watch!!!  (Also, note the rad dinosaur headgear…)

1

Seriously, I might have to consider knocking one of my 80s crushes off my list because I think Lynne Stone/Helen Hunt deserves to be on it…

 

Awesome 80s Bedrooms: Flight of the Navigator Edition

I wish I could finagle a way to like, make a living writing articles obsessing over all the small details in the backgrounds of flicks ’cause I think I’ve found a calling.  I mean, there has to be a college degree program based around this, a Bachelors in the Fine Art of Identifying Pop Culture Junk in 80s Kid’s Movies.  The prestigious BFA:IPCJ80sKM.  Right?  No?  Whatever.  Anyway, for today’s Awesome Bedroom article on Flight of the Navigator I prepared by falling into a murky gulley after which I awoke in Miami circa 1978 (and later after another nap in the magic gulley, 1986.)  I ran straight to David Freeman’s house, barged past his questioning parents and proceeded to document his room (and then later, like 8 years later, I stowed away in the R.A.L.F. unit and made my way into NASA to check out David’s secondary bedroom too!)

flight navigator 2

Initially I’d skipped over this flick when considering bedrooms to document because I had a brain fart and completely forgot about some of the rad stuff in the 80s era NASA bedroom.  I figured his main bedroom from the late seventies wouldn’t have enough stuff worth looking at, but I was seriously mistaken.  Both bedrooms are pretty epic and deserve a second look.  So let’s start with David’s 1978 room…

1

1). Tasco Deluxe Microscope Set

Turquoise Tasco Deluxe high-quality microscope set

2). Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm

vintage-ant-farm

3). ERTL/AMT 1959 Corvette model

ertl amt 59 Corvette

4). Wooden Brontosaurus Puzzle

image_18698

5). Coleco Table Top Pac-Man Arcade Game

coleco-tabletop-pac-man-system

Checking around David’s room it’s pretty evident that he was way into both science and every sport known to man (with a slight emphasis on Football).  Science wise he has that sweet turquoise Tasco microscope set as well as a pretty nifty telescope.  Maybe it’s just me but I never knew any kids that had their own telescope let alone a microscope!  Granted you do tend to see telescopes in kid’s rooms in flicks.  As for the sporty side of his personality, David’s room is littered with all sorts of equipment.  Boxing gloves, tennis rackets, roller skates, footballs, and in a later screenshot some baseball gear too.  He also has a boomerang, but I’m not sure if that falls into the rudimentary weapons category.  Lastly, there’s a slinky on the sill right near the open window.

2

6). Mr. Potato Head (the box is here on the shelf, but the master of potato disguise is actually out on the dresser located directly across the room.)

7). A pack of 1985 Topps Football cards

1986 Topps Football

Probably my favorite find in this room is this pack of Topps football cards laying up against some sort of Miami Dolphin’s plaque. I know the set designers were just looking to stick some fun stuff in the room and I’m sure they thought no one would ever pay attention to the wrapper close enough to discern the date and thus the anachronistic error, but they were totally wrong.  Granted, I was only 8 when they filmed this movie so they had no way of knowing my dumb ass would be scrutinizing this room almost 30 years later, but still.

So, I tried to identify both of the other Miami Dolphins items on this shelf, the 1973 book/binder and the plush toy, but couldn’t nail either of them down.  Anyone out there familiar with these?

**Update** Patrick over at Nerd Out With Me identified the book as the 1973 Miami Dolphins Yearbook!  What a weird concept, but also sorta neat…

$T2eC16VHJHgFFmKcrKZ5BSMiFLEKHg~~60_57

3

8). 1978 Dukes of Hazzard General Lee toy

$(KGrHqJ,!ngFH5s2(sKWBSE7j2YI)g~~60_57

4

9). Jacques Cousteau poster.

I loved spotting this poster.  It’s a nice way that the set designers tied in the sense of adventure and discovery subtly into the background of the film.

Alright, so now we’re going to jump forward 8 years to 1986 and David’s “prison” room at the NASA complex.  Granted, he was more or less being held against his will, subjected to a bunch of annoying pokes, prods, tests and 24 hour surveillance, but at least they treated him like the winner of Bozo’s Grand Prize Game with a ton of free toys.  Fair tradeoff?  At twelve I might have said yes…

5

10). Ertl die-cast Space Shuttle with Booster Rockets

925774752_L

11). Felix the Cat plush

12). Cobra Water Moccasin from the G.I. Joe toy line

cobra_water_moccasin_afa_80_11666337

13). Space Turbo game by Tomy

1940_1254454414914_Tomy_Space_Turbo

14). Radio Shack Constellation Finder

$(KGrHqZ,!ooFG4,dVYhYBR0PJ45e)Q~~60_3

15). Bachmann/Taiyo Porsche 935 Radio Control Car

$(KGrHqV,!i0FB1m47oRcBQwtTEDggw~~60_57

16). Panasonic RQ-44A Portable Cassette Player/Recorder

70s Panasonic Mod Red RQ-44A Portable Cassette Player  Recorder

17). Transformers Decepticon Shrapnel (leader of the Insecticons)

Shrapnel

18). Franklin Glo-Brite Orange Mike Schmidt Baseball

wpe18

Wow, the mother-load!  So much fun stuff here.  Also, as far as identifying that Glo-Brite baseball, it was all thanks to Mike Schmidt’s sweet mustache.  Starring at the packaging I knew it had to be officially branded by one of baseball’s great mustached pitchers, so it was either Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley or Mike Schmidt.  P.S. I totally had a Rollie Fingers glove as a kid…

There are a few things I wasn’t able to identify, in particular there is a carded yellow helicopter toy on the bed between the baseball mitt and the Porsche car.  But there’s also a book on space shuttles on the nightstand that I couldn’t figure out as well as a larger shuttle toy (model) on the opposite nightstand (shuttle toys are sort of generic and without any recognizable packaging it’s hard to tell who manufactured it without having it right in front of me.)  Also, maybe it’s just me, but in the film David seems shocked that the scientists are trying to keep him locked up for more than a couple of days.  You’d think all these toys would have been his first tip-off, considering the quantity and the fact that there are baseballs and gloves and junk.  I mean, when was he going to find the time to go out and play catch with Howard Hessman if he was just staying the night?

6

19). LJN Rough Riders Tri-Ex K.I.T.T. from Knightrider

$(KGrHqJ,!jYE-dhyoBTiBPok2BVbYw~~60_12

20). LJN Rough Riders Tri-Ex Faceman’s Corvette from the A-Team

ljn ateam rough rider

Man, I love the card art on these Rough Riders batter powered cars.  They’re kind of fugly, but also endearingly cute at the same time.  Also note the second Shrapnel figure (or maybe the same toy just placed here as well.)

Anyway, as the camera very quickly panned across the room I noticed this gem out of the corner of my eye…

7

21). G.I. Joe Sleeping Bag

Joe-Sleeping-Bag

Last, but not least…

8

22). Radio Shack Electronic Space Voice (vocal changer.)

radio shack space voice

23). Blancmange “Lose Your Love” Music Video

Alright, the music video isn’t really a “thing” in the room per-se, but how could I not mention it?  That music video is sort of what my nightmares look like, complete with roasted turkeys and stretchy legs…

As far as the Space Voice goes, there were a ton of these electronic voice changers on the market branded for different toy lines in the 80s, but man, this Radio Shack model is rad.  I love the idea of walking around with a headset mic and a strap-on robot.  You’d never get the crap pummeled out of you for sporting this toy, never.

So, anything I missed?  Any ideas on the Miami Dolphin gear or that yellow helicopter I couldn’t identify?

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

Mikey’s room from the Goonies

Robbie’s room from Poltergeist

Ben’s room from The Explorers

Pee Wee’s room from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride

Josh’s room from Big

Awesome 80s Bedrooms continues: Explorers edition!

I spent a few hours this weekend cracking open the cases on my 80s-centric DVDs and combing through the flicks looking for some more rad kid’s rooms to obsess over and I found some pretty neat stuff.  I really am having a blast doing this, finding things I never noticed.  Usually when I pop these movies into the DVD player I’m immediately engrossed and just watch the flicks with eyes wide and a smile on my face, but I forced myself to detach and just observe this time.  So today I’m gonna share a few things I saw in the 1985 Joe Dante movie, Explorers!

explorers_xlg

Unfortunately, so many of the shots in Ben’s room are in the dark as most of these scenes are shot when he’s sleeping and dreaming of schematics for building the inner workings of Thunder Road.  So it was sort of hard to make out some of the stuff.  There’s some interesting toys on his desk and on the shelves by the windows that I just can’t make out.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some real treasures here as well…

Explorers 6

1). Issue #9 of the original run of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe, Q-S edition! (I’m hoping Dante or one of the set designers included it because of Rom!)

Official_Handbook_of_the_Marvel_Universe_Vol_1_9

2). Carl Bark’s Uncle Scrooge comic book, issue #37

$T2eC16d,!)kE9s4,BM!tBQrQw-!R!w~~60_57

3). Robo Force mini comic (packed in with the Toys.)

200856257421_1_0_1

4). Space Camp Stickers

This next screen shot is a little frustrating.  There are a couple of things I spotted which I’ll detail in a minute, but there are a lot of other things that I just can’t nail down.  For instance, the white robot on the shelf by the window.  I’ve scoured some of the “Old Toy Robot” sites and I just can’t figure it out.  That style of toy is one of my big weaknesses when it comes to recognizing stuff from the 70s and 80s.  If it’s not Rickey’s Robot butler on Silver Spoons, the robot that Rocky buys his kid in Rocky 3, or Conky from Pee Wee’s Playhouse I’m usually stumped.  There’s also some sort of carrier toy to the right of the robot, and a weird purple and yellow bulbous robot-looking toy on the desk that I can’t figure out.  Ah well…

**UPDATE**  Thanks to the keen eye and detective skills of Las Vegas Yankee who identified the robot as a Tommy Atomic toy!

Sierra Exif JPEG

Explorers 7

5). Go Bots Super gobot Psycho

psycho

6). Starlog Issue 84 (featuring a story on the Gremlins)

Starlog

I love how Dante peppers his movies with little things from his previous flicks.  There’s a Twilight Zone the movie poster in Gremlins for instance.  So this issue of Starlog was a fun little hidden gem, though there is something way cooler coming at the end of this post!

**Update** Esteban over at the Roboplastic Apocalypse nailed down one of the toys on Ben’s desk above as the Dred Crawler from Robo Force.  Good eye Steve!  You can clearly see the little clear bubble with the red antenna…

robo49a

Continuing on…

Explorers 2

Finally, a scene where the lights were on.  Though unfortunately you only get this vantage of his room for the most part.  But there are a couple of neat things, namely…

7). Transformers Lazerbeak (or Buzzsaw, it was hard to tell if the body was red or gold…)

Comm-Series-Laserbeak_1275741317

8). Huntsville, AL poster for the Space Academy complex.

Explorers 4

9). It Came From Outer Space poster

it-came-from-outer-space-movie-poster-1953-1020197221

10). Japanese robot Halloween masks.  I can’t figure these out for the life of me.  The one at the bottom sort of looks like a green Ultraman, and the other one (as well as a couple other in another section of his room) look like Shogun Warriors, but I don’t think they are.  Again, this is a lacking bit in my pop culture knowledge… :p  Anyway, for a second I’m going to exit Ben’s room and take a quick look at Wolfgang’s kitchen which features one of my favorite childhood toys!

Explorers 3

11). The blue Tonka Hand Commander Jet!

tonka hand commander

This was one of my favorite toys.  I loved that you could hold it like a gun (there was a hand and trigger on the bottom that when squeezed would make the propellers turn.  I used to run all around my house with this jet, crashing it into the sofa, or dunking it in the bathtub for water landings.  Sigh.  This toy also pops up in an episode of Silver Spoons, the second episode I believe.

Alright, now we get to the seriously cool hidden gem in the movie Explorers.  I mentioned that Dante likes to put stuff from his previous flicks in the background of his newer movies right.  Well, how freaking cool is it that Ben Crandall has the following item on his dresser!

Explorers 5

12). Stripe’s Skull from Gremlins!

52096191-277x300

Is Ben the luckiest kid in the world?  Yeah, I think so.

So, did I miss anything?  And can anyone identify the masks or that big white robot by his window?

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

Mikey’s room from the Goonies

David’s room from Flight of the Navigator

Robbie’s room from Poltergeist

Pee Wee’s room from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride

Josh’s room from Big

Awesome 80s Bedrooms part 4: The Princess Bride Edition

I’ve been having a lot of fun searching through old movies for awesome kid-centric bedrooms, so I figured I’d take a look at another one this week.  This time I’m going to examine “The Grandson’s” room from The Princess Bride.  For some reason it sort of escaped me until just this second that Fred Savage’s character goes un-named in the flick.  Also, much like Robbie’s room in Poltergeist Savage’s character in The Princess Bride has some obvious favorite pop culture obsessions (well, at least the set designers did) as we’ll see as we take a look around his room.

princess_bride

I’m gonna start with the largest collection of fun stuff, the cluttered shelves behind his bed…

Princess 7

1). MOTU Battle Armor He-Man and Battle Cat

8297448042_5aef91409d_c

2). MOTU lesser known villains Leech, Grizzlor, Spikor and Webstor

Untitled-1

Untitled-2

3). Secret Wars Captain America

5430715710_f341cbcd2c_z

4). Burger King Empire Strikes Back Luke on Dagobah Glass

**UPDATE** Thanks to Esteban from the Roboplastic Apocalypse for identifying one of the comics on the shelf behond Savage as an issue of Legion of Superheroes (number 320)…

Legion_of_Super-Heroes_Vol_2_320

So, from what I can gather Savage’s character is a pretty big Masters of the Universe fan who loves the villains in particular (we’ll see more in a second) and probably watches She-Ra.  Also, I love that vintage bag of Cheetos.  Remember when you could see the actual Cheetos you were going to buy before you consumed them?

**Update**  The Red/Orange toy in the top left of the above screenshot is yet another MOTU toy, Skeletor’s Landshark!

slandshark

Princess 5

5). 1987 Quaker Chewy Granola Walter Peyton Poster

1987 Quaker Chewy Granola 11 by 17 in Payton

6). MOTU Hordak riding Spydor

motu_spydor_afa_85_13972761

hordak1_full

This might be the largest He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toy collection I’ve seen in a movie bedroom.  There are a couple of other figures hiding on the shelf behind Savage, but I can’t get a clear enough image to tell who they are.  Also, the flick is most likely set in Chicago as Savage is playing a pretty big Bears fan.  Not only does he have a Walter Payton poster in his room, but he’s also wearing a Paytoon Jersey as well as another famous Bears player on his wall…

Princess 4

7). William “The Refrigerator” Perry Poster

$(KGrHqR,!rQFIoTIDi04BSPh+hZLLw~~60_57

Princess 2

Getting back to Masters of the Universe though, check out the items in the picture above…

8). Lazer Blazers Skeletor sticker

359951851_33f4264c20_b

9). He-Man figure

There’s another figure next to Savage’s head that I can’t make out.  Anyone have any guesses?  In closing, there were only a couple of other items that I spotted, but they’re pretty darn cool.  First up, the most obvious thing featured in Savage’s room…

Princess 1

10). A copy of the baseball video game Hardball! by Accolade.

And I’m going to make an educated guess that he’s playing the game on a Commadore 64 based on on the joystick he’s using in this final screencap…

Princess 6

11). Quick Shot Joystick

quickshot

All of this stuff was cool, but my favorite discovery snooping around Savage’s room is a certain U.K. 2000 A.D. comic character t-shirt draped over a chair in the above screenshot…

12). Judge Dredd T-Shirt

Much like the Punisher poster in young Eugene’s room in The Monster Squad, this Dredd shirt seems a little out of place for the age of the character.  That being said, I still think it’s an awesome artifact to be hiding in the background of The Princess Bride!

So, did I miss anything fun?

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

Mikey’s room from the Goonies

David’s room from Flight of the Navigator

Robbie’s room from Poltergeist

Ben’s room from The Explorers

Pee Wee’s room from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Josh’s room from Big

Halloween Hangover: Robbie’s Room from Poltergeist

Well another Halloween season has come and gone, but I’m not quite ready for it to complete move on.  I’d intended to post more during the month, but like always life got in the way and blah blah blah.  You know what it’s like.  So, as a little bit of an extra Halloween-y goodie I thought it’d be fun to take a closer look at another pop culture bedroom (I examined rooms from The Monster Squad and Adventures in Babysitting earlier in the year), this time Robbie and Carol Anne’s room from Poltergeist!

936full-poltergeist-poster

Now I’m going to concentrate on Robbie’s half of the room because honestly Carol A\nne’s side was pretty darn sparse and boring.  Seriously, there’s just nothing to it, see…

Poltergeist 3

I mean there’s that cow poster, a Precious Moments poster, and that baby carriage, but I’m falling asleep just listing that stuff.  Robbie’s side of the room on the the other hand is chock full of all kinds of 80s era awesome.  I mean just check out this one screen shot!

Poltergeist 8

Alright, let’s break this room down…

1). Darth Vader Action Figure Carrying case.

8439264_1

2). Toys ‘R Us Geoffrey Sleeping Bag.

3). Speak & Spell.

speak_and_spell_11.jpeg

4). Empire Strike Back Host Laser Turret and Imperial Probe Droid playset

Turret and Probot

5). Star Wars Tie Fighter.

tie 2

6). Poster from the movie Alien.

alien1979_poster

7). Star Wars bedsheets.

That is a whole lot of awesome for just one scene in the film, and that’s not even counting the stuff that I can’t identify (like that blue robot thing on the floor just to the right of his mom or the weird 1988 Superbowl Champion poster above his bed that makes no sense considering the movie was released in 1982!)  First off, I have to say that it’s pretty cool that Robbie was such a huge fan of Star Wars, though I guess that was pretty indicative of every other kid from the time.  I know I had a metric ton of Star Wars toys by this time including those sheets.

**Update**  Thanks to Esteban from the Roboplastic Apocalypse for identifying the blue robot as Karrio, the Micronauts carrying case!

karrio2

karriobox1

It’s also not even half of the SW stuff in his room…

Poltergeist 5

In fact, here’s some more in the above screenshot.

8). Star Wars A New Hope poster.

9). Yoda Hand Puppet.

$T2eC16VHJGYFFl!PmY1KBR,T),mzkw~~60_35

10). Taun Taun and various Star Wars action figures (including Tatooine Luke, Hoth Han Solo, FX-7 Medical Droid, and R2-D2)

VINTAGETAUNTAUN

While collecting screenshots of Robbie’s room it was kind of neat to notice that the toys on the shelf behind his bed kept moving around from scene to scene so either they were always getting knocked over or Oliver Robins was having fun playing with them between takes!

Here’s one last screenshot with yet more Star Wars stuff!

Poltergeist 9

11). C3-P0 and R2-D2 poster (it’s dark in the screenshot, but trust me, I’ve stared at it long enough to recognize them.)

12). Darth Vader poster.

13). Bert & Ernie poster.

14). Kick ass Chewbacca jacket!

So, anything I missed?

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

Mikey’s room from the Goonies

David’s room from Flight of the Navigator

Ben’s room from The Explorers

Pee Wee’s room from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride

Josh’s room from Big

Happy 2013 Halloween from Branded in the 80s!

Well, we made it though another Halloween season.  I want to personally thank everyone who follow my countdown this year via the site, facebook, instgram, and twitter, and I hope each and every one of you has a monster haul of candy this evening.  Do what you can to avoid Endless Mike and the pumpkin-smashing Hallo-Weenies, compliment Bill Haverchuck on his rad Bionic Woman costume if you see him, and remember to stop by the pumpkin patch and say “hi” to Linus (he needs the encouragement.)

So, to end this countdown of vintage ghoulish Garbage Pail Kids with a bang, here are some very seasonally appropriate sticker cards!  First up, from series four comes 153a&b, Jack O. Lantern and Duncan Pumpkin painted by David Burke!

31 - Jack O Lantern

You have to give props to a kid who can carve their own face so well!  Next up is a gross later entry in the GPK cannon, stickers 438 a&b, Hallie Ween and Trick or Tricia, which hail from series eleven and were painted by Tom Bunk!

31 - Part 2

Alright folks, everyone have a safe and awesome Halloween!

Once again, I’m also helping to organize the annual Countdown to Halloween alongside the tireless and super cool monster kid John Rozum. So if you like what I’m doing over here, you might want to head on over to the Countdown site and check out the huge list of other sites participating in this year’s spooky festivities. There’s also a like-minded sister collective called Blog-O-Ween being put together by my pal Cody, the Crooked Ninja Turtle Sensi. Be sure to check them out as well.

2013 Yummy Mummy 200

Day 30 is alive, ALIVE!

We’re up to the, uh, eve of All Hallows Eve, and have the final classic monster of the 2013 Garbage Pail Kids Halloween Countdown.  Not only is this the final last of the classic monsters, it’s also my personal favorite monster, Frankenstein’s monster to be precise…

30 - Frank N Stein

Stickers 112a&b, Frank N. Stein and Undead Jed hail from the 3rd series and feature artwork by Tom Bunk (seriously, those dimples always give it away.)  What is it about hulking monsters and pink and purple pants?  Maybe it’s why they’re always so pissed?

Once again, I’m also helping to organize the annual Countdown to Halloween alongside the tireless and super cool monster kid John Rozum. So if you like what I’m doing over here, you might want to head on over to the Countdown site and check out the huge list of other sites participating in this year’s spooky festivities. There’s also a like-minded sister collective called Blog-O-Ween being put together by my pal Cody, the Crooked Ninja Turtle Sensi. Be sure to check them out as well.

2013 Franken Berry 200