Tag Archives: the goonies

Pop Culture Cartography Revisited

Almost two years ago I dug through my books and piles of ephemera to gather together my collection of pop culture maps from all sorts of different fantasy and movie worlds including cartography from the Thundercats, Willow, Fraggle Rock, The Princess Bride, The Smurfs, Dark Crystal and of course my favorite, The Goonies.  Well, this past month I discovered that there are two different versions of the map from the Goonies.  Not only is there an actual map in the film that leads the way to One-Eyed Willie’s pirate treasure (which I have a pretty darn cool replica of hanging in Branded HQ), but there was also a rather rare piece of mail-away, ephemera that was offered by Hi-C back in 1985.

Scan courtesy of Dan Goodsell (the rad artist behind Mr. Toast!)

Called the Goonies Story Card Adventure Map, this mail-away freebie was a giant fold-out map that had a very unique way of presenting the various locations from the film as well as illustrating the plot at the same time.  This thing was gargantuan at almost 4 feet long and almost a foot high.

But before I dig into that I want to thank the gracious Dan Goodsell of the World of Mr. Toast for allowing me to showcase his scan of the above Hi-C can label.  I’m sure I’ve talked about this before, but there are a handful of seriously awesome folks like Dan who have spent considerable amounts of time and money procuring, collecting, and archiving rare ephemera.  On the face of it these digitized collections provide an unbelievable insight into packaging that is a priceless archive for graphic artists, not to mention acting as a visual connection that generations of people can connect over via our cultural shared nostalgia.  But these collections often hold clues and keys that unlock all sorts of other mysteries for fans of pop culture. When I first stumbled upon the Goonies Story Card Adventure Map I didn’t realize that there was more to the map.  But after doing some research and finding the awesome Hi-C scan of Dan’s I was able to fill in some of the gaps that I was looking for. Without these archives, or blogs and sites that freely share their collections of vintage scans it would be impossible to put the pieces of the past back together.  So again, I want to thank Dan for being a super cool dude and letting me share this piece from his collection.

So what is this Story Card Adventure Map that I’m so excited about?  Well, as part of the Goonies merchandising push back in 1985 Warner Bros. partnered with the Coca Cola Company to offer these free map and card sets either via a mail-away promotions on the cans of Hi-C, or from in-store displays.  If you snagged one of the foldout maps in the store you had to collect the story cards that were printed on the Hi-C juice can labels (see above), whereas if you mailed away for the map it was shipped complete with the 24 card set included.


Between the cards and the flavor text on the map you can relive the plot of the film scene by scene, and location by location.  But even without the card set that map is really cool because it addresses one of the weird spatial mysteries presented in the film, which is where exactly these underground tunnels and caves are located in relation to the above ground landmarks in Astoria (or at least the Astoria presented in the film…)


Unfortunately this map wasn’t designed to answer those spatial questions specifically, but because of the way that it’s laid out it hints at how a lot of the films locations are laid out and how they connect to each other.  Also, as a bonus bit of interesting area layout imagine all that space from the country club on the top left out to the Goondocks on the top right being covered in a newly constructed golf course. I’m guessing the 9th and 10th holes would have been located along the shore right where that neighborhood stands.  Stupid Troy and his dumb dad…


Not only did this map generally reveal the location and proximity of landmarks in the film the included story cards and character bios on the back of the map also revealed other obscure details of the film like all of the characters full names.  Did you know that Data’s real name is Ricky Roper?  That Chunk’s last name was Cohen (which was also the actor’s actual last name, Jeff Cohen.)  That Andy was short for Andrea?  There’s also some more backstory revealed such as confirmation that Stef and Mouth dated for a bit before the film.  Or that at 13, Mikey is the youngest Goonie which puts the other three at, at least 14 and places all of them in the 8th grade most likely.

Do these details actually matter?  No, but they’re still cool bits of trivia for any diehard fan for sure.  As far as pop culture cartography goes, this map may have just taken the number spot as my favorite ever…


The Seedy Adult Underworld of 80s Family Entertainment

I know every generation says this about the decades when they came of age, but growing up in the 80s was seriously a whole different world; like living on another planet at times.  There was a lot more going on when it came to entertainment aimed at kids in terms of adult themes and material that surely went over the head of most of the viewing audience.  Looking back I love this and really appreciate that the creators and writers didn’t dumb down the content, even if some of it might stray a little further towards “adult” than many people might realize. You definitely saw this in a cartoon like Ren & Stimpy (which granted was the early 90s, but was the culmination of the freedom the previous decade expressed), which constantly toed the line of what was considered decent for a kid’s show.  Heck, I’ve mentioned before that I think John Kricfalusi is very probably the guy responsible for animating anthropomorphic penis aliens into the background sequences in the Saturday morning cartoon Galaxy High (particularly in the first and second episodes)…

Galaxy High penis creature 2

I was having a conversation with a co-worker the other day about catching up with some 80s flicks that they hadn’t seen in over 20 years, in particular Ghostbusters and the Goonies.  The topic turned to the awkward dream sequence featuring a sex scene between Dan Aykroyd’s Ray Stanz and spectral “presence”.  I guess you could call it oral innuendo, but the background behind that sequence is pretty plain.  Ray banged a ghost.  It’s one of the interesting aspects of reading the original Richard Mueller novelization

Ghostbusters Novelization

In the book (which is based on the Aykroyd/Ramis screenplay) we learn that, that dream sequence was actually from a real sequence planned for later in the film.  Right after Ray and Winston are driving through the city talking about the end of the world, when the two go to Fort Detmerring looking for a spook. They split up and Ray stumbles upon a room that is a replica of a revolutionary war officer’s barracks. He finds a uniform and puts it on, lays on a bed and promptly falls asleep. When he wakes, the ghost they were looking for is about to go to town on his junk. Apparently this sequence was largely cut, but I’m betting none of them wanted to ditch the blowjob joke, so they sandwiched it into the montage (and it also explains the old war uniform Ray is wearing beyond the fact that they morphed the scene into a dream.)  What’s even weirder is that this is actually the culmination of a plot thread in the book where Ray is both lonely and changing his feelings about catching the ghosts. Since Peter is courting Dana and (in the book) Egon and Janine are becoming an item, Ray is looking to blow off some steam, and the experience with the ghost is just what he was looking for. Also, there’s a bit with Ray thinking about how it might be wrong to catch these ghosts just to jail them in the containment unit, and when he awakes to his spectral date-night he wonders if maybe some ghosts are good.

The author, Mueller, actually expands the sexuality in the novel here and there. For instance, everyone thinks about sex to one degree or another, but if I’m used to dealing with a character where this is never brought up, say the Librarian in the opening sequence of Ghostbusters, then when she starts “thinking” about how she feels guilty for seeking out all kinds of ancient kinky woodcuts featuring taboo sexual practices in the library’s non-public collection, well, I get a little weirded out. As far as I can tell, the librarian character in the script is slightly different; she’s written to be rotund and in her mid to late twenties, but for all intents and purposes the scene in the script is almost shot for shot what we’ve come to know and love in the final film. Mueller, though, felt the need to paint her as a bit more sad and depraved, which for an incidental character is pretty weird. This sort of thing pops up here and there in the novel, including in the scene where we’re first introduced to Dana as she gets out of a cab and goes into her building. The narrative is fractured into a bunch of perspectives as a handful of people on the street take notice of her and give their two cents. One of these includes an elderly man walking his dog who glances at her and thinks, “…how long (has) it been since it’s been long…

This is actually a trend in 80s era novelizations, and for some movies that might be surprising, like say, the Goonies book

Goonies Novelization

Now you may be asking what could possibly be sexualized in the Goonies, I mean it’s not like there’s a secret love scene between Chunk and Sloth right?!?  Well, Sloth love Chunk, but that’s actually (and thankfully) not explored in the novel, but that didn’t stop author James Kahn from evoking electricity-induced orgasms.  Say what?!  Um yeah.  So in the wishing well sequence, at the end, after Andy has sent up the bucket empty, all the kids realize that they’re covered in leeches. Data has a bright idea and end up strapping two wires to a 20-volt battery. He sticks the wires in the water by his feet sending a light electrical charge through his body that’s lethal enough to kill the leeches. He does this for the rest of them, and afterwards, James Kahn tags on a small scene that is, well, almost obscene. After getting the shock, Andy and Stef are standing off to the side, and Kahn describes them as having “…limp smile(s) and small sigh(s)…” Then Stef says to Andy, “I got all tingly – just my luck, I’m in love with a pond!” After which the following passage appears: ‘It annoyed Andy, for some reason, I don’t know, like someone had made her feel good and she didn’t want to…’ Then Andy hauls off and slaps Data saying “Don’t-you-ever-try-that-again-with-me-Buster!” What the hell! Did Kahn actually suggest that Andy and Stef had orgasms from the electric shock!?!  Yeah, yeas he did.

What I’m really curious about is how much of this was in the original shooting script.  I know the leech sequence was in the script (as it made it’s way into both version of the book, including the leaner kid’s version) and was shot and deleted (and has sadly been lost to time), but how much of the subtly was in the actual film versus something that Kahn added for the book.  On the one hand, looking back this is so weird and out of place in the story, yet I have to remind myself that I was reading about pre-teen and teen orgasms in Judy Blume books when I was 7 years old!

There had to be flicks that were completely pure and free from blowjobs and sexual innuendo though right?  I mean you’d never see any of that in E.T. The Extra Terrestrial right?!  Wrong.  Again, taking a look at the novelization by William Kotzwinkle we get a much darker depiction of the story than what would eventually end up on film (well, I’m assuming the following sequences weren’t shot…)

ET Novelization

There’s a sequence in the novel where Elliot, Steve and Gertie’s mother Mary (played by an exasperated Dee Wallace in the film) is so lonely and lost in her own mind that she fantasizes about disappearing from life and, believe it or not, masturbation. (See page 17; the innuendo is there.) She’s also simultaneously dreading the world her children have to face, wondering if they’ll succumb to overdosing on drugs, all while listening in on them playing a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons in the kitchen.  There’s also portions of the book where E.T. becomes weirdly stalker-ish and longs to bond with Mary, starring at her from the closet, thinking about how he could fulfill her needs.  E.T. even gets pretty downright creepy in the sequel novel, E.T. The Book of the Green Planet, where he reaches out to his long lost friend from Earth, melding with the now older Elliot’s mind from across the cosmos.  It comes across very peeping Tom-like, and sort of disturbing.  Experiencing love and yearning “through” Elliot.

ET sequel

All in all, though all of this adult stuff might seem really questionable on the surface of things, again, I’m really glad that these authors and creators took the chance to expose kids to the real world.  Some of it is for the sake of comedy, some of it is important info that awkward pre-teens probably need, and some of it is just exploring deeper adult themes.  Weird, interesting and kind of neat…

I measure my years in Coreys…


Corey Feldman and I both share an interesting trait in common, we both use his filmography as a means of charting the timeline of our lives (well to a point, for, um, both of us.) Seriously, when St. Martin’s press kindly offered a review copy of Feldman’s newly published memoir, Coreyography, I figured why not, I knew I loved a bunch of his movies and was curious to read how he reflected on his life to this point. But in the preface, when he writes, “I’ve always marked the chronology of my life not by the year, but by the film…”, it really struck a chord with me. Looking back I’ve personally done the same thing, using movies to mark the years, but when I consider my childhood and adolescence, Corey Feldman stands out in so many of my favorite films. Gremlins, Goonies, Friday the 13th 4&5, Stand By Me, The Lost Boys, License to Drive, The ‘Burbs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and yes, even if not especially Rock and Roll High School Forever. These are all films I’ve watched a million times, and all of them very clearly chart my time growing up in the 80s and 90s. I was also an avid fan of the Bad News Bears sitcom when it aired in repeats on Nickelodeon, and watched my fair share of Madame as well.


When I found my copy of the book on my porch this past Thursday I was excited, but also not really sure what I was getting myself into. Sure, I love most of Feldman’s 80s era films, but I’ll be honest I’m not a devotee of his personal life. In fact I’ve sort of purposely tried to ignore the press on him dating all the way back to when my mom would clip out the articles on him and lifelong friend Corey Haim from her copies of People magazine. She thought I’d find them cool, but I really didn’t want to know about his drug busts or legendary hotel-trashing parties. So I was in the dark for the majority of his big sound bites over the past decade or so, whether it be his comments on Michael Jackson, his declaration of war on Hollywood pedophilia, or even his reunion with Haim on The Two Coreys and the bombshells about molestation and rape. Blissfully ignorant. So when I cracked the cover and dug into the preface(filling myself in on all of the personal Corey stuff I managed to miss over the years), I again asked myself, what was I getting into?

Corey 1

First and foremost, the memoir is a very quick read, light and breezy with a conversational tone that belies the fact that Feldman wrote it himself (I mean seriously, so many memoirs are ghost or “co-“ written.) It also skirts dramatic license when considering the prose. I’ve read a handful of memoirs and am consistently bugged by the way the authors chose to fill their recollections with an absurd amount of detail and massive amounts of quoted conversation. As much as I’d love to trust their writing, I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about the past and know that when you get right down to it, very few of us have the ability to remember in exacting details the events of our lives. Feldman doesn’t fall trap to this and stays true to the snippets of memory, which is both refreshing and honest.

Circling back to the “light and breezy”, well, that’s just as much of a positive as it is a negative. When you get to the content, the book reads like a Cliff’s notes edition. He scurries from topic to topic, only barely touching on any one movie or experience for a moment before flitting onto the next. For anyone who is a fan of his movies, don’t hold your breath for much in the way of behind the scenes tidbits. He devotes a decent amount of time to the filming of the Goonies, but honestly, most of that time is spent describing himself lusting after the opportunity to meet his childhood hero Michael Jackson on set. Similarly, for those hoping for a lot of behind the scenes stories with his best friend Corey Haim, well, there honestly isn’t much of that either. When it comes to Haim, Feldman spends a lot of time dancing around the rape Haim suffered on the set of Lucas, and the rest painting a portrait of a friend who seemed to annoy way, way more than ever endear. In fact, Feldman seems to be distancing himself from Haim with this memoir, down playing their friendship.

Corey 2

For those looking for the gritty details of Feldman’s days spent snorting or injecting every drug within reach or details into his sexual escapades either consensual or non, it’s all there, but written in such a flippant tone that it all ends up seeming so very inconsequential. It certainly isn’t a tell-all, as he (probably) wisely chose not to name, accuse or implicate anyone in his own or Corey Haim’s experiences with molestation and rape, though he does spend a lengthy portion of the book addressing the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother. Speaking of tone, I was also surprised how easily Feldman relates the stories of his life as if he were speaking about them as they happened. He doesn’t really look back and dig into his life, examining and offering up a perspective more wise with distance and age. He tone is in the moment, as defiant as when he was on the set of The ‘Burbs and was approached by Joe Dante and Carrie Fisher about his drug usage, or as childlike and naive when consistently pestering Stephen Spielberg for a meet and greet with Michael Jackson on the set of the Goonies. Again, this is both boon and bane, equally putting the reader in the moment, but also lacking much in the way of depth.

It’s not to say that there’s nothing to the book, or that it wasn’t and interesting and entertaining read, it’s just, well, light. There is enough here fans of his films will sure to gleam a fun detail or two about some of their favorite films, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking. All in all, the book feels like a really good outline for a much longer, more detailed look at Feldman’s life. Who knows, maybe in another ten or fifteen years he’ll use Coreyography as a guide to sit down and write it.

Coreyography hits book stores on October 29th!

It’s finally here, the 25th anniversary of the Goonies!

Well, it’s officially here, the 25th anniversary of the Goonies.  I feel kind of lucky that I was more or less at the perfect age for a flick like this (I was seven, just about to turn eight) where I could both identify perfectly with the gang.  Not only was I close in age to Data, Mikey, Chunk and Mouth, but I’d also just moved for the first time when I was old enough to be aware and to have hated the feeling of leaving behind friends and a comfortable neighborhood.  It was also the first in a string of similar movies with a group of adventuring kids that helped define my sensibilities at the time (including the Monster Squad, SpaceCamp, the Explorers, and Stand By Me.)

One of the things I’d like to point to before I get into the this last celebration post is a fan-made documentary that was created in conjunction with the 25th anniversary event that was held in Astoria, OR this past weekend.  Called The Making of a Cult Classic, this short film looks like it’s going to be an essential addition to any Goonies-centric collection.   You can watch the trailer and order a copy of the flick here.

One of the coolest aspects of the internet when it comes to nostalgia is the wealth of obscure information that gets floated around.  I can’t thank Sara Turner (of Cricket Press) enough for pointing me to a set of Drew Struzan’s Goonies poster variations…

I really dig these for a number of reasons, the main one is getting a chance to sneak a peek into Struzan’s process when it comes to illustration.  Sara mentioned this in her e-mail, that it’s really interesting to see Struzan changing up the line-up of the kids hanging off the stalactite, and it begs the question of how he approached it from a storytelling perspective.  On the one hand, he had to decide which of the kids should be front and center, not just as a main character from the movie, but in terms of the crazy situation he’s decided to draw them in.   Realistically it makes sense to have Brand as the leader in the chain because he’s the oldest, strongest and for all intents and purposes the most capable of the bunch.

But what I find kind of fascinating is how to continue the chain from there. Would it make more sense to have Mikey next seeing as they’re brothers and Mikey is the defacto leader of the Goonies?  Nope, instead he chose a theme of burgeoning relationships within the group and he added Andy next.  He also managed to keep the rest connected in a similar manner with Data and Chunk together (they’re probably the most independent in the group and would make a great duo), Mikey and Mouth connected (sort of the 1st and 2nd in command personality-wise) while also keeping Mouth and Stef together since they sort of have a “thing” in the flick.  Overall, it also makes a bit of sense to have Stef being up the rear as she’s the least connected to the overall group (since she’s Andy’s friend who is only hanging out with the group to be near Brand.)

So it’s kind of neat to get a glimpse into the rest of the possible variations (at least the variations of a character at the top of the chain.)  Struzan, overall, decided to keep the theme of inter-character relationships when rearranging the various chains.  With Mikey on top, Mouth comes next, followed by Stef, Brand, Andy, Data and Chunk.  Personally, I think I would have switched out Brand and Andy, showing that Andy is connected to both Brand and Stef, but that’s just me…

Even though having Mikey on top is probably the most sensible alternative to Brand in terms of story, I think the poster with Mouth on top makes a lot of sense from a business perspective.   Corey Feldman was probably the most accomplished of the Goonies when the flick came out and would probably have had the most face recognition (even though Josh Brolin did have the Brolin dynasty thing going on since his father was in the limelight with shows like Hotel and a string of popular flicks.)  It’s weird that again, Struzan kept the basic chain in order with Brand coming after Stef and before Andy.


Keeping this chain in mind, the Data variation is kind of interesting from a story stand point.  This is the one version that keeps all the core Goonies together.   I also like that Struzan played around with the rubble a bit and threw in Data’s spy peepers and possibly his compass as well…


Even though the Brand variation of the poster became the main theatrical version, all of the other made their way into print in the various newspaper announcements in the theater section.  Im not sure if these variations were handed out to the same papers so that they could choose or so that they could change it up each week of the flick’s theatrical run, but it’s neat that they all eventually made it into the public.

Well, that’s it for the Branded in the 80s week-long Goonies celebration.  There are only two more years until the 25th anniversary of the Monster Squad rolls around, so I’d better start putting something together for that!

Twitter del.icio.us Reddit Slashdot Digg Google StumbleUpon

Follow the clues to hidden treasure in the Goonies storybook…

Like most movies, what we’ve seen of the Goonies on film and in the advertising isn’t all that was written, shot, or illustrated.  Aside from variations on advertisements and movie posters, there are also some infamous deleted scenes, namely one involving a break-dancing octopus and the forgettable soundtrack entry, “Eight Arms to Hold You”, as well as the convenience store run-in the Goonies have with the douche-y Troy Perkins.  Luckily these were (for the most part) included as outtakes on the 2001 Goonies DVD release.  There are more though, that haven’t made their way to home video.  Just like the clues left behind by One-Eyed Willie, these remnants of early script drafts and possibly completed, filmed scenes have found their way into other sources.  Today I’d like to explore some of these hidden gems.  First though, I need to give a ginormous shout out once again to Vinnie Rattolle for contributing some wonderful ephemera and taking the time to share it with me.  You’re officially a Goony in my book!

Sort of like the souvenir magazines of the 80s, another great place to find some obscure odds and ends for films was in the various adapted novels.  I remember reading the novelization of the first Tim Burton Batman flick that had entire subplots that were excised from the final film including a chase on horseback and much more with Knox, the Gotham reporter played by Robert Wuhl.  Well, Vinnie sent me some scans from his storybook adaptation of the Goonies that reveals some similar gems…


First a little insight into the convenience store scene which takes place after the gang first sets off to try and track down the X on the map, but before they end up at the Fratelli’s hideout.  Basically they make a pit-stop at the Stop ‘n’ Snack for some provisions.  Mikey finds a road map of Oregon and compares it to Willie’s map and realizes that the coastline is identical, so not only is Willie’s map real, but they’re also really close to where the treasure might be buried.  Before Mikey can share this with the gang Troy comes into the store with Andy and Stef in tow and then like the douche he is, he starts picking on the Goonies.  At one point he gets a hold of the map from Mikey and he rolls it up and lights it like a cigar.  Mouth and Mikey try to take it from him, which pisses him off and he cocks his fist back to hit Mikey.  At the last second Brand comes in, catches Troys fist starts pushing him around.  Long story short, Brand saves the day and confiscates the map.  That’s where the scene cuts out and story wise it picks back up when Chunk, Data, Mouth and Mikey find the Fratelli’s hideout.


So how did the gang get the map back?  Well, according to the storybook Mouth secretly swipes it from Brand (while singing a song to distract him) and then the four Goonies make a mad dash out of the store and evade Brand for a second time.

There’s also a bit of secret foreshadowing involving the concept of Mad magazine-style paper fold-ins.  Mikey’s grabs a Mad issue at the beginning of the flick and there is also a stack of issues on display next to the Oregon map in the convenience store.  As it turns out there is a similar puzzle to Willie’s map.  When you fold it in, it creates a secondary map that more accurately points out the location of his treasure.  You get a bit of this in the outtakes on the DVD, but it’s never explained as clearly as it is in the storybook!

The next reveal involves the Goonies oath and is a scene I’d never heard of revolving around the scene under the wishing well where Andy is torn between the idea of sticking with the Goonies or getting help from Troy.  After Andy decides to stay “down here, where it’s our time”, Mikey initiates her into the Goony-hood by having her recite the oath.  Immediately afterward the whole gang realizes that they’re covered in leeches, a good year before Corey Feldman would find himself in a similar predicament in Stand By Me.  I’m curious if the scene was ever shot?  I could see it being a bit much after the attack of the bats and the fact that it would have nothing to do with Willie’s booby traps.


It’s also interesting that in the storybook, Francis Fratelli is revealed to be somewhat of a local history buff as he knows the whole back-story of One-Eyed Willie and fills in his brother and mother after they start tracking the kids and they end up at Chester Copperpot’s body.  I guess when he wasn’t setting local police departments on fire and buying toupees, he was spending his afternoons under the tutelage of Mikey and Brand’s father at the local museum.  It’s also in the bit in the storybook that One-Eyed Willie’s real name is reveled to be William B. Pordobel…


The last cool bit involves another booby trap on the way to finding the Inferno.  The gang is confronted with three passageways and an odd rhyming clue on the map which reads:

“Three tunnels of mystery, all lead to unknown, To travel correctly, tickle the funnybone.”

One of the passages has a skeleton by it, and after Mikey tickles the dead pirate’s funny bone a second skeleton shoots out of the middle passage.  Another tickle and this new skeleton points to one of the tunnels, though it may not be the correct one.  It’s sort of an odd little puzzle, and again I have to wonder if it was shot or left in the script?

Twitter del.icio.us Reddit Slashdot Digg Google StumbleUpon

A deeper look at the Official Goonies Souvenir Magazine…

For today’s post, I wanted to share a little more of the Official Goonies Souvenir Magazine that was published to coincide with the film’s release in the summer of 1985.  All told, I’ve only posted about 50% of the magazine, but you can find the rest over at Vinnie Rattolle’s site, which has all sorts of great nostalgic odds and ends I might add.  I think a good place to start would be the Goony Oath (the magazine tends to use the “y” in the singular):

“I will never betray my Goon Dock friends, We will stick together until the whole world ends, Through Heaven and Hell and nuclear war, Good pals like us will stick like tar, In the city or the country or the forest or the boonies, I am proudly declared one of the Goonies!”

I wonder if the weak rhyme between “war” and “tar” was intentional since it’s supposed to have been written by kids?  Anyway, as I mentioned in the first part, one of the things that was so cool about these magazines was all the little bits of trivia buried inside.  For instance, Spielberg’s initial working title for the film was “The Goon Kids”, which is kind of interesting when you think about the whole Goonies/Goon Docks thing.  It probably comes from a mixture of things, but my guess is that the term stems from the boondocks, which is military slang for rural areas (coming out of the Philippines and the Tagalog word for mountain, bundok.)  My bet is that in coming up with a name for the kids he took the “boon” sound from boondock and then flashed on “goon”, because people treat the kids as if they’re dumb and poor, and it’s a nice self-deprecating moniker.  I’m also thinking he had the 1965 “Down in the Boondocks” song in the back of his mind as well:

“Down in the boondocks, Down in the boondocks, People put me down ’cause, That’s the side of town I was born in…”

There are also some hints to dropped plot points.  On the bottom of the page above there’s an insert with Sean Astin reading a copy of Mad magazine.  The author mentions how easily he solves the Al Jaffee fold-in back cover, and how this will play into the story later.  Thing is, it never does, at least not in the theatrical cut of the film.  There is a deleted scene in a convenience store where Mikey realizes that there is a similar fold-in puzzle with the map, but at the end of the day it’s a throwaway bit.  If you look closely though Mad magazines are strewn about the set though (the most notable is a copy Mikey grabs before sitting on top of Brand when he’s getting depressed about having to move before the rest of the gang comes over.)  Also, the initial design for the Rube Goldberg device that opens the Walsh’s back gate originally featured a rabbit instead of an egg-laying chicken as appeared in the film.

Speaking of the map, there are a number of different map props that show up in the film.  The main one is severely weathered by production designer Michael Riva (who apparently stated in an interview on NPR that to get that aged look he used the natural coloring from coffee and his own blood) and appears in the scene when the kids are searching through the attic (pictured below.)  There’s another version (also pictured below) that pops up in the deleted convenience store scene that’s much cleaner and free of soot and blood.  There’s also a version that appears in the magazine (above) which seems to be somewhere in the middle of the two (weathered-wise), but the actual map itself is different.  The X (which marks the spot of the Fratelli’s hideout) varies from map to map, as do the burn holes in the middle.  Also, according to Sean Astin, he was given the map (I’m assuming the severally distressed one we typically see them with) by the crew, but his mother threw it away years later.  So we can thank Patty Duke for donating that bit of movie ephemera to a US landfill…

Another small detail that comes up in the magazine is a description of Mama Fratelli’s tattoo which is a play on the Looney Tunes stereotypical criminal tat, a heart with the word “son” inscribed across it.   First of all, I love the subtle joke of the tattoo, but it’s also an important aspect of Anne Ramsey’s character.  She loves her boys, all three of ’em, even if she is constantly barking orders at them.  I also found it interesting that some of my favorite villainous moments were actually adlibs or ideas that the actors came up with to enrich their characters.  When Mama leans against the door after she’s shooed the Goonies out of her hideout and exhaustedly delivers the line, “Kids suck…”, I can’t help but feel her pain.  Similarly, I’ve always found Robert Davi’s sudden bursts of opera singing to be one of the creepier bits in the film, especially when he catches Chunk on the road while he’s fleeing, looking for help.  Just knowing that this was Davi’s idea is cool as he was really into his role and wanted to make it that much more menacing…

Something else I find fascinating is the amazing level of detail that the production has in some instances, yet how simple and crazily effective it is in others.  To help the actors really get into the mood, production designer Michael Riva contracted a perfume company to develop a realistic musky, wet cave-like odor that was sprayed on the sets to add that extra level of realism.  On the other hand, in the scene where a billion bats come flying out of an uncovered tunnel, there were actually no bats involved.  Instead Spielberg had the genius idea to shoot crepe paper out of an air cannon which perfectly mimicked the desired effect!

By far, the most impressive set piece in the film is One-Eyed Willie’s ship, the Inferno. Not only did the production build it practically to scale, they didn’t let the actors know this before hand.  So when the kids come off the water slide bit and gain their footing in the water their reactions to the ship are genuine.  This isn’t a new directorial tactic; Buster Keaton got similar amazed expressions out of his actors when he derailed a train and sent it crashing off a bridge into a ravine during the filming of the General.  But I still think it’s pretty damn cool, and it has to be one of the group’s fondest memories growing up…

The magazine also gave a glimpse behind the make-up of Sloth so kids could get a good look at John Matuszak, the former defensive end for the Oakland Raiders.  We also get a still from another deleted scene, the picture at the top left, with Sloth eating a frozen steak out of the Fratelli’s freezer.  Seems like Sloth was always eating in the film now that I think about it…

Twitter del.icio.us Reddit Slashdot Digg Google StumbleUpon

Wax Paper Pop Art #7: Chester Copperpot, eat your heart out…

In a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Goonies, today’s Wax Paper Pop Art features two wrappers from the 1985 Topps bubblegum card set.

I talked about the stickers from this set here.

Twitter del.icio.us Reddit Slashdot Digg Google StumbleUpon

Ephemeral DVD special features…

Before DVD commentary or special features on laser discs, before the internet and imdb, there were only a few outlets to get some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits on our favorite films.  As a kid my favorite outlet for this super secret information was the one-shot souvenir magazines that littered gas station spinner racks every summer to coincide with the latest blockbusters.   One that I missed out on as a kid was the official magazine for the Goonies, but thanks to Vinnie Rattolle (there’s a lot of wonderful there) and the wonderful splendeferousness of the internets, I’ve been able to right that injustice…

Most of these magazines were pretty similar in structure.   They acted as one part story book with an extended film synopsis and lots of stills both from the finished film and some choice behind the scenes shots, but they were also a treasure trove of trivia.  They also served as an extension of the film credits providing some background on the cast and filmmakers…


Mixed in with some of the odd bits of actor trivia (I wonder if Jeff Cohen is still collecting hats), there are also some interesting little details about the characters.   I think this is the first time that fans got a chance to see these characters full names, Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen, Brand & Mikey Walsh, Andrea “Andy” Carmichael, Stephanie “Stef” Steinbrenner, and Clark “Mouth” Devereaux.  Curious though, we don’t get to know Data’s full name in these passages, though the internet psychics say it’s Richard “Data” Wang.  Similarly the intertron fact machine has also revealed that Sloth’s real name is Lotney Fratelli.

It’s also interesting to note in the mini Richard Donner interview it’s revealed that Spielberg directed all the second unit work on the film.   I knew he was a hands-on producer, but this is just more evidence that he really took a hand in working on all these projects.  It also illustrates his involvement in the script writing.  The basic idea was his, and he was involved in the process with Chris Columbus to flesh out the story.  On a side note, I just realized that Columbus really has a thing for crazy contraptions and booby traps; just take a look at all of Randall Peltzer’s inventions in Gremlins, all the craziness in Home Alone, and Data’s arsenal of gadgets…

I don’t know about anyone else, but around the time that Goonies came out in 1985 the last thing in the world I would have been watching was probably MTV, and because of this I never managed to catch the crazy 12 minute, Donner-directed music video for Cyndi Lauper’s contribution to the film, Goonies ‘R Good Enough.  If I’d had a copy of the magazine I would have known about it though…

Thank the makers that Warner Brothers saw fit to include this insane bit of Goonies history on the 2001 DVD release of the flick.   Now everyone can bask in the glory of Lauper & company’s zany reinterpretation of the Goonies adventure.  The video reunited Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Sean Astin, Jeff Cohen, Martha Plimpton, and Ke Huy Quan (I’d be willing to bet that Kerri Green was either busy filming Summer Rental or Lucas at the time) as the Goonies who help Cyndi Lauper on an adventure to save her family’s gas station from a bunch of evil wrestling heels and a team of Benihana chefs.   It’s not quite on the level of say Michael Jackson’s Thriller, but it sure blows Jackson’s Moonwalker out of the water.  You can catch the video here.

I’ll take a deeper look at the magazine this weekend…

Twitter del.icio.us Reddit Slashdot Digg Google StumbleUpon

Goonies: the movie posters…

It’s day two of Branded’s week-long celebration of the Goonies.  Today I thought I’d take a look at some of the various posters for the flick.  First up is my favorite from artist Drew Struzan

If I’m not mistaken, I believe that this is the official release poster that accompanied the film in its original theatrical run.  It’s at least the version that I remember seeing in newspaper ads and on the album cover of the soundtrack release back in the 80s.  Even though Struzan’s work tends to be kind of static with its photorealism and posed layouts, this piece has always stood out as one of his more exciting concepts.  Hanging precariously off of the stalactite, this group shot really sums up of the film in a lot of ways.  Aside from a good chunk of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Goonies was the first film that really kept me on the edge of my seat where it always felt like there was never any stable ground for the characters between all the slippery log bridges, cavernous waterslides, secret fireplace escapes, faux James Bond zip-wire shenanigans, and the collapsing flooring around the creepy bone organ.  This poster really nailed that feeling for me.

Next up is a piece by the great John Alvin

Alvin, like Struzan, has a ton of memorable movie poster artwork to his credit including the posters for Bladerunner, the Gremlins, Legend, Darkman, Aracnophobia, E.T., the Lost Boys, Willow, and Young Frankenstein.  Most people probably don’t know his name, but I’d be willing to bet they gave fond memories of his work.  His take on the Goonies is a bit more whimsical and mysterious; it almost has a Peter Pan kind of vibe to the tone and characters.  One of his artistic tropes was the use of silhouette, and personally I think it went to good use with this poster.  I also enjoy the way he framed the poster with One-Eyed Willie’s treasure map, not only to being in that plot element, but also to bring in the main color palette of the film.

This last poster is probably the most well known as it’s been the basis for most if not all of the home video release covers for at least the last 15 years…

Though the Struzan poster is my favorite, I really love the vibrancy and energy in this piece.  I’m not 100% positive, but I believe that it was painted by master artist Noriyoshi Ohrai who also delivered some amazing work for the original Star Wars films.  I also love that he managed to work in Mama Fratelli and One-Eyed Willie (not to mention his ship and a heaping pile of his rich stuff.)  I have a feeling he’s also responsible for the puzzle poster painting on the back of the Topps sticker cards I posted yesterday

Twitter del.icio.us Reddit Slashdot Digg Google StumbleUpon

Celebrating 25 years of the Goonies!

This week on Branded in the 80s I’m going to feature a series of posts in celebration of the 25th anniversary of one of my all time favorite 80s flicks, the Goonies!  To start things off I thought I’d repurpose some of the content from an old Peel Here column, so without further ado I again present the sticker card subset from the 1985 Topps series of bubblegum cards…

I still love that the stills from the cut octopus scene made their way into this set.  If I’d had these back in the 90s it would have gone a long way to proving to my friends that I did see a version of the flick with an octopus attack (ala Robert Altman’s Popeye.)

Twitter del.icio.us Reddit Slashdot Digg Google StumbleUpon