Tag Archives: a-team

Fine art from the fine folks at Cricket Press

The land of Branded has basically been an empty field populated only by the sound of crickets chirping over the summer, but behind the scenes I’ve been gearing up for the coming Fall and my yearly Countdown to Halloween.  I have a fun month worth of posts planned for this season that I’ll be kicking off towards the end of September, but until then (and speaking of crickets) I thought I’d point to some work by a couple of my favorite artists, Sara & Brian Turner the supremely rad Cricket Press.  The duo have been producing some amazing illustrations and screen prints for over a decade and I’ve had the opportunity to meet, hang out and work with them during my tenure at Branded.  Could ask to meet nicer, more creative folks for sure.  Lately Cricket Press has been dipping into the 80s nostalgic well for inspiration in some of their prints that I thought readers here might really dig.  Specifically Sara has been illustration and designing a series of prints based on kid adventure flicks like The Goonies, Stand By Me, The Outsiders and E.T.

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I love her eye for composition and the perspective she uses with her subjects.  There’s a storybook quality to the illustrations that nail the tone of the inspiration while still filtering the pieces through her style that is just awesome.  I love way she frames the stand off between the Goonies and the Fratellis in the above print for instance, or the way she condenses the story of the gang from Stand By Me into the one image below.  I can feel the vibrations of the train I know is coming, and it illustrates the adventure that’s ahead of Vern, Teddy, Chris and Gordy…

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Cricket Press has also recently finished a series of 80s era iconic vehicle prints that are done in a very minimalist style that I absolutely love.  I have these hanging in Branded HQ right now…

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The image above doesn’t do justice to the prints as they used metallic inks on the Delorean, KITT, and BA’s Van from the A-Team that really make these pop.

You can find all of these and more over at their Etsy shop, so head on over and check out their work.  You won’t be sorry!

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My Pop Culture Parking Lot…

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about my love for tiny pop culture vehicles here at Branded so I decided to gather up all of my little die-cast beauties and go outside for a little photo-shoot this past weekend.  I can’t even begin to say how happy I am that companies like Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning are putting out so many 1:64 scale toys to feed my obsession with 80s era cars, trucks, and other rad modes of transportation from all the films and TV that I loved as a kid…

Pop Culture Parking Lot

I don’t have everything that I’d like to have in the collection, but it’s getting to the point where the tiny valets are having a hard time finding a place to park these babies!  I shared the handful of vehicles I managed to procure a couple years ago on the site a while back, like the Back to the Future DeLorean and Tron: Legacy Lightcycle in the picture above.  Since then I’ve managed to track down a bunch of new releases, as well as a couple of older pieces that I’m really excited about.  For instance, right behind the DeLorean you can spot Cooter’s Mustang from the Dukes of Hazzard.  Speaking of the DoH, I finally managed to track down an ERTL General Lee!

General Lee

That’s been a huge hole in my collection for years, but now I can start jumping over all sorts of 1:64 scale lakes and ravines.  Of course, what fun is having Bo & Luke’s sweet ride without Roscoe’s Sheriff Cruiser to chase it?

Roscoes Car DoH

I didn’t have that many little toy cars as a kid (though I distinctly remember playing with the yellow Incredible Hulk Hot Wheels Scene Machine), but I always wanted these Dukes of Hazzard cars.  I had a friend named Timmy who had a bunch of them as well as a large fold up plastic floor mat that had all of Hazzard county on it that he received for his birthday.  I have some vivid memories of laying down near that mat tracing the various roads with my finger while munching on some novelty bologna bubble gum slices that Timmy also got for his birthday…

One of the rad aspects of 80s era TV was all of the shows that either featured some cool cars or were dedicated to an awesome vehicle like Street Hawk, Riptide, Magnum P.I., Airwolf or the ridiculously awesome Knightrider!  Thanks to the recent Hot Wheels releases I now have K.I.T.T. and even K.A.R.R.!

KITT and KARR

I was just reading that there should be a third Knightrider release in the 2014 Retro Entertainment series from Hot Wheels, so I’m curious whether we’ll be getting one of the two cool Semis, either the Knight Foundations mobile command 16-wheeler or the evil Goliath!

Of course any collection of neat TV vehicles wouldn’t be complete without B.A. Baracus’ van and Face’s cool white Vette from the A-Team

BAB Van A-Team

Face Vett A-TEam

But not all of my favorite TV vehicles hail from the 80s as there were some other shows that I adored as a kid which I caught in reruns on Nickelodeon (either during weekdays or on Nick at Night.)  I was so excited when I realized that Johnny Lightning released the Monkees’ Monkee-Mobile back in 1998…

Monkees

Similarly Johnny Lightning put out the Munsters’ Koach in the early 2000s…

Munsters Koach

I decided that I wouldn’t limit my acquisitions to just real vehicles either and was super stoked when Hot Wheels started putting out cartoon-accurate stuff this past year as well.  I had to have the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine…

Mystery Machine

Hot Wheels has also begun releasing some other Hanna Barbera vehicles like the Flintstones family car and the Jetsons spaceship.  It’s kind of blurry in the background of that first parking lot photo, but if you squint you can make out the Flintstones car on the back right.  I decided not to feature it as there’s a better version hitting store shelves soon that has more accurate colors that I’d like to pick up.

Drawing from the 60s (and another show I caught in reruns) as well as the 80s are a couple of my favorite variations of the Batmobile…

Batmobiles 66 and 89

I used to have an ERTL Burton Batmobile, but lost it along the way over the years so I was really happy to replace it with the newer Hot Wheels release.  I was also happy to finally pick up the ’66 version from the old Adam West show recently as well.  Segueing into films, I wanted to share the first pop culture vehicle that sparked off this current trend in Hot Wheels retro cars, the 2010 release of the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters

Ecto-1

According to that 2014 release article I linked to above we’re in store for a second Ghostbusters vehicle release this year which I’m assuming is the Ecto-2 from the sequel (with the digital marquee and the checker tape siderunners.)  It would be kind of cool to get the beat-up original version of the hearse before it was pimped out by Ray though.

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Even though Hot Wheels has ramped up their production of these pop culture cars they’re still pretty difficult to find on store pegs.  I’m sure it’s a mix of scalpers snatching up all the product and the popularity of these coveted 1/64th scale cars, but it can be a real headache for collectors.  For instance I’ve been looking everywhere for the recent release of the Muppet’s converted school bus from the first flick.  I have yet to see one in the wild, but I was super lucky when gentleman and scholar CT over at Nerd Lunch very graciously gifted me with one this past Christmas!

Electric Mayhem Muppets

In fact that’s also how I managed to procure the Knightrider K.A.R.R. above, when the super cool William Bruce West sent me one he found.  I’ve been trying to spread the tiny car karma around whenever I find stuff that are hard to track down (like the Kroger grocery store Halloween Hot Wheels exclusive Slimer redeco Ecto-1 above…)

The most recent car I’ve tracked down for my collection isn’t an official pop culture car release, but close enough for me, this 1958 Plymouth Fury, AKA Christine from the Stephen King novel and John Carpenter movie…

Christine

Even though my pop culture parking lot is getting pretty full there are still some wishlist items that I’d love to hunt down, both releases I know are coming and some that I’m hopeful for (but not holding my breath.  So I’ll end this with my wishlist, but I’m curious, what vehicles do you have in your collection and what are you looking to procure?

Branded 1:64 scale vehicle wishlist….

1). Airwolf (Released by ETRL in the 80s, but also a Japanese Hot Wheels exclusive)

2). 1948 yellow Ford Super DeLuxe Club convertible from Karate Kid (potentially this year!)

3). 250 GT California model Ferrari from Ferris Bueller (Available from Hot Wheels)

4). Ecto-2 from Ghostbusters II (There is a Johnny Lightning release)

5). Buckaroo Banzai Jetcar (no chance in hell, sigh)

6). Porkchop Express from Big Trouble in Little China

7). Mad Max’s Interceptor (maybe with the new flick?)

8). Street Hawk motorcycle

9). Megaforce Dune Buggy & Motorcycle (Hot Wheels 80s)

10). Flight of the Navigator Spaceship

11). Thunder Road from the Explorers

12). Dracula’s Hearse from The Monster Squad

13). Mama Fatelli’s 4×4 from The Goonies

14). Light up VW Bug from The Money Pit

15). Harry’s Mutt Cutts Van from Dumb & Dumber

16). Wagon Queen Family Truckster from National Lampoon’s Vacation

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!)

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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…

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1). Tasco Deluxe Microscope Set

Turquoise Tasco Deluxe high-quality microscope set

2). Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm

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3). ERTL/AMT 1959 Corvette model

ertl amt 59 Corvette

4). Wooden Brontosaurus Puzzle

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5). Coleco Table Top Pac-Man Arcade Game

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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.

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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…

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8). 1978 Dukes of Hazzard General Lee toy

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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…

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

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11). Felix the Cat plush

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

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13). Space Turbo game by Tomy

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14). Radio Shack Constellation Finder

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15). Bachmann/Taiyo Porsche 935 Radio Control Car

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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

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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?

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

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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…

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21). G.I. Joe Sleeping Bag

Joe-Sleeping-Bag

Last, but not least…

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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 Ript Contest and a bunch of 80s pop culture vehicles merge to form 8DTron!

So I was recently indoctrinated into the whole 24-hour T-Shirt a day phenomenon when friend of the site Slick McFavorite (of the Open Your Toys podcast) pointed me to an awesome Universal monster mash-up design that I had to have.  Honestly, as much as I’m into pop culture, my wardrobe of cool shirts is pretty damn limited and I’ve been trying to change that over the last six months.  One of my favorite recent purchases was from the site Ript Apparel, a shirt called 8DTron by the artist known as Brinkerhoff

Seriously, how great is this concept?!?  Showcasing a bunch of 80s pop culture vehicles, this Devastator-esque combiner robot 8DTron hits on so many of the things I love from my childhood.  Airwolf (aka The Lady), the General Lee, Rick Hunter’s Veritech (or the Jetfire Transformers toy, you be the judge), the A-Team van, Ecto-1, Optimus Prime, the license plate from the Back To The Future Delorean, and He-Man’s power sword.  Not only is the design super cool, but the actual shirt is pretty damn nice as well, especially for $10 plus shipping.

Honestly, coming across sites like Ript is pretty cool, but it’s also sort of like opening Pandora’s Box (or more accurately, her Armoire) as I can easily see myself developing quite the shirt-a-day habit.  Well, Ript is holding an amazing contest where one lucky winner can win the cool shirt mega lottery, literally a shirt a day for an entire year!

Here’s the press release…

CHICAGO-BASED RIPT APPAREL TO GIVE AWAY ONE YEAR’S WORTH OF GRAPHIC TEES TO ONE LUCKY CONTESTANT

Don’t do laundry for a year: win the next 365 t-shirts from RIPT Apparel

This Thursday until the end of January, RIPT Apparel will be conducting it’s biggest customer giveaway ever. An entire year’s worth of tees will be awarded to one lucky contestant. Yes, that’s 365 shirts, every design printed for an entire year.

To get a grasp on just how many shirts RIPT makes in a year, check out this video displaying the entire roster of shirts from 2012

Entering is easy, just sign up via Facebook at this link.

Prizes:
Grand Prize: a year’s worth of daily RIPT Apparel tees over the course of 2013 (February 1st 2013 to January 31st 2014)
1st Prize: 1 free shirt per month for a year (12 free tee coupons)
2nd Prize: RIPT Apparel prize pack (RIPT tee, RIPT Hat, RIPT Coasters)
Runners up: 1 free tee coupon (multiple winners)

Timeline:
Accepting entries Thursday January 17th through Thursday January 31st
Winners chosen and contacted Friday February 1st.

RIPT Apparel is a Chicago-based online apparel retailer that sells one new shirt design every 24 hours. Each design is created by artists who share in the profits for each sale and retain the rights to their work after their artwork is sold.”

I know I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Brinkerhoff designs a “sequel” shirt to 8DTron featuring K.I.T.T. fom Knight Rider, a Tron Light Cycle, Magnum PI’s Ferrari, The Thunder Tank, a Cobra HISS Tank, the Buckaroo Banzai Jetcar, and Voltron’s head and sword!

Don’t Talk to Strangers, said the toughest man in the world…

So I’m a little late to the 60th birthday celebration of Mr. T, but I want to rectify that today by sharing this trade advertisement for the Mr. T’s Commandments EP record that was released back in 1984…

I came across this while flipping through back issues of Billboard and was immediately struck by the Godzilla-sized version of Mr. T standing head and shoulders above the building-tops of what I’m assuming is the south side of Chicago (I’m not great with skylines, but that’s what’s referenced in track 3, The Toughest Man in the World.)  I love flipping through these old magazine back issues because it gives me a chance to find stuff I never knew existed, like this EP, and then I get a chance to seek this stuff out and experience it with a fresh perspective (like finding the movie The Quest.)  I was able to track down a copy of the album, a collection of pseudo-rap/r&b aimed at kids and containing 7 tracks of inspirational and educational warnings and thoughts, and give it a listen.  Man, I’m pretty sure at the age of 7, the gruffness in Mr. T’s voice would have easily deterred me from thinking twice about back-talking to my parents or mainlining heroin…

The whole dichotomy between Mr. T’s brutish image and his gospel of walking the straight and narrow is interesting.  I know all the positive vibes are genuine, but the whole massive amount of bling deal and his roles as Clubber Lang and B.A. on the A-Team have always seemed a bit in opposition to his message.  It doesn’t help when he’s belting out lyrics like, “It’s a dog eat dog world, and you have to play the game…”, especially when they’re balanced by “…the toughest man in the world is the one that knows the right way to go…he’s the strongest guy, he don’t never hide…”  I’m not bashing on the T though, trust me I like my teeth just right where they are, in my head and not in a puddle of blood at my feet.  Anyway, adding to the novelty of this record is the rap-direction by the one and only Ice-T.  I have to assume that was a weird combo in the production booth…

On a personal level, I feel a rather weirdly deep connection to this album because even though I don’t remember ever owning or listening to it when I was a kid I did record myself singing a who slew of songs that are almost identical.  I guess it’s probably just a phase that some 80s kids went through.  I mean we had these sort of slogan based anti-everything-bad campaigns hammered into our heads from every direction.  I guess it’s pretty natural to make up songs about not taking drugs or talking to strangers.  Now I wish I still had the audio tapes from when I was a kid to compare them to this album, maybe I did have it and I’ve blocked it out…

There is some pretty fun backing music/beats on the album.  Hints of Parliament, though subtle, and an overall old school hip hop feel.  If you’re interested in hearing this lost gem, head on over to the Lost Turntable and give it a listen.