Tag Archives: The League of Extraordinary Bloggers

Shiver the League’s Timbers!

So the themes for the past few weeks of League assignments have been pretty broad, and this week is no exception.  Brian opened the theme of this week up to the League members and by popular demand the assignment is all about Pirates!

By and large pirates don’t hold a huge fascination for me, though there are a few exceptions.  Of course I adore the Princess Bride and the ravishing Dread Pirate Roberts.  I enjoy the story of Peter Pan, particularly the 90s era Fox Kids incarnation, but I’m also partial to the classic Disney version as well (especially the Disney World dark ride.)  Speaking of Disney World, I have some intense nostalgia for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in the park.  I have distinct memories of riding and re-riding that adventure with my family, listening to my dad goofily and loudly singing along with the music (generally making an ass out of himself and embarrassing us all, but that’s what dads are for I suppose), and running into the shop after being discharged from the boat looking for treasure (which always came in the form of the cool wooden pistols and rifles they sold.)

There are a few other pop culture pirates that stand out in my memory.  The insanity of the Berserkers from the Thundercats cartoon…

I also spent a decent amount of time watching the animated adventures of the Pirates of Dark Water after school in the 90s…

But if I had to sum up my nostalgic love for the timber shiverers, it would have to be the second series Garbage Pail Kids cards, 61 a&b, Jolly ROGER and Pegleg PETER (painted by the amazing John Pound back in 1985…)


I typically have the various imagery from the GPK sets bouncing around in my head and when I thought of pirates, this was the first and most striking image to come to mind.

So, what about you?  What’s your favorite pirate-themed memory or nostalgia?  Also, if you enjoyed reading about these pirates, why not check out some of the other League members thoughts on the subject…

Jaime, Shezcrafti, is jamming out to some of her favorite high seas shantys

The Goodwill Geek, Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks, shares some of his thrifty treasures

Jon, The Combat Workshop, made the Joker into Jolly Roger

Jason, Rediscover the 80s, shares his top list of cartoon pirates from the 80s and 90s

Dex, AEIOU and Sometimes Why, wants to introduce you to Alestrom

Iok, Plaidstallions.com, covets some Matchbox brand Pirate figures

Getting Back in the Saddle with the League…

It’s been forever and a day since I contributed to the League, so with the new year in full swing, let’s get back up on that horse!  That cliché actually leads into this week’s League topic as well, Cowboys.  It seems as if the stars are aligning right now as everything on my pop culture radar is currently pointing me towards the western genre, whether it’s the upcoming episodes of the Cult Film Club (that I just recorded with Paxton Holley and Jaime Hood and should go live on the 23rd) and the Nerd Lunch Podcast (which should go live tomorrow), or this new League assignment, I have cowboys on the brain.  So, riffing on a topic from the upcoming Nerd Lunch episode, I wanted to take a second and post about my favorite western-influenced toy line from my childhood, the 1981 Legend of the Lone Ranger set by Gabriel

These figures hit the pegs right in between Star Wars and G.I. Joe and were unfortunately heavily overshadowed by the former.  Released as a merchandising tie-in for the movie of the same name, it’s kind of a shame that the line was never fully realized do the film failing at the box office.  Though I never saw the flick as a kid, I did watch the Filmation cartoon that was out around the same time and dearly wanted the toys.  I was lucky enough to get both the Lone Ranger and Tonto figures before they disappeared off of toy shelves, and the duo stuck around in my collection up until my parents sneakily threw away all my toys during a cross country move in the early 90s.

Looking back, what I really loved about the figures was that they were a step up in quality from your typical 3.75 inch figure at the time.  Not only did the figures have two more points of articulation than their Star Wars counterparts (bending at the knees), but they also had the nice feature of having working holsters and sheathes so you could put away Tonto’s knife or LR’s pistols.  Also, even though this line was never as popular as lines like G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K. or Star Wars, I find that the older I get the more I look back at the obscure figures with a greater fondness.  I guess sometimes you don’t need money and longevity to mark a great toy line, though I’m sure Gabriel would beg to differ…

If you’re curious about the League, and want to see what some of the other members have written on this week’s topic than do yourself a favor and head on over to either Cool & Collected or these great sites below…

Jaime, Shezcrafti.com, wants you to know that a Cowboy Needs a Horse (needs a horse, needs a horse…)

Rich, Fortune and Glory Days, wants to make sure than when you hang a man, you Hang ‘Em High!

Getting Seasonaly Traditional with The League!

I swear, this season is just whipping by at mach 2.1!  Every time I think I can get caught up on the 31 Days of Monsters countdown, something else pops up and needs to be dealt with.  I have some pto coming my way at the day job, so I’m pretty sure I’ll have all the cels I planned on sharing scanned and up on the site by the 31st, it’s probably not going to be daily though.  That being said, I did want to take a second and participate in this week’s assignment from the League as it’s in the vein of the season and doesn’t require me to break out Photoshop and a scanner.  This week’s topic is all about our personal Halloween traditions, and at Branded HQ the wife and I have been slowly building ours over the last decade or so.

Though Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, it’s really become something special over the last 12 years as I met, wooed, dated, lived with and ultimately married the lady that would become my wife.  I finally had someone to share my love of the holiday with, be it someone to stalk the seasonal aisles of stores with, or a victim to watch my horror movie marathons with.  Throughout the 2000s we started a number of Halloween traditions, and as soon as I stared up this site back in 2006 we found the inspiration to add more and more.  One of the first traditions we started was extending the holiday throughout the entire month of October.  One of the ways we do this is by trying to carve a new jack-o-lantern every weekend throughout the month.  We’ve done two so far…


We also try and take some time out to make some fun Halloween foodstuffs throughout the month.  This year we’ve made a couple batches of homemade Hi-C Ecto-Cooler (thanks largely to the Strange Kids Club for the recipe)…

The first batch was straight up to test the recipe (1.5 cups of sugar, 1 packet of orange Kool-Aid mix, 1/2 packet of Lemonade Kool-Aid mix, 3/4 cup orange juice w/no pulp, 3/4 cup of tangerine juice, 14 cups of water, and 4-5 drops green food coloring), which was pretty damn close to how I remember this wonderful concoction tasting.  The second batch was mixed with various liquors trying to find the perfect accent to flavor (FYI, vodka worked best in a one shot to 12 oz ratio.)

In addiction to Halloween-y drinks, every year for the past few years we’ve been selecting a recipe out of my favorite cookbook of all time, Vincent & Mary Price’s Treasury of Great Recipes

The book is filled with a metric ton of rich and quite unhealthy dishes scoured from the world’s finest restaurants (circa 1960), and though none of them call for bats wings or eye of newt, the calories alone will cause you to faint with fright!

Rounding out the seasonal food traditions is an unlikely craving the wife and I have during October.  For the past three years we’ve been attending the Historic Oakland Cemetery Sunday in the Park festival, as well as the Little 5 Points Annual Halloween Parade.  Both events feature local food trucks, in particular, our absolute favorite, the Pallookaville Corn Dog Truck!

Though there’s nothing spooky about these dogs (strictly speaking), Pallookaville only operates during select times of the year and this is the month when we get a chance to hit them up.  It’s not Halloween unless there’s at least one Corndogula (regular) or Fryinstein Monster (huge dog with segments of Italian sausage, kosher hot dog, and kielbasa) consumed.

Speaking of Oakland Cemetery, this past year the wife and I made the plunge and lost a crap-ton of weight.  October 20th marked the one year point in this new journey, and we celebrated by participating in the Run Like Hell 5K.  We had a blast and are pretty sure this is going to be a new Halloween tradition.  Not only was it fun to run, but a good chunk of the run takes place in the actual cemetery!  I couldn’t resist and had to take some goofy photos for the event…

Of course one of our main traditions is visiting all the Halloween displays in the stores.  Some of our favorites are the yearly Bony Bunch collections at Yankee Candle, the gourmet and retro candy displays at the Fresh Market, and of course Target (even though it gets smaller and smaller each year and the marketing gets more and more generic.)

Last, but certainly not least, is our annual horror movie and TV special marathons.  We do our best to pack in as many movies and specials as we can over the month, culminating in some all-day events over the last few days leading up to Halloween.  This year, in addition to digging into my collection of films and TV, we’ve also scored some tickets to see some really fun flicks on the big screen.  This Wednesday I’m really looking forward to a double bill of Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein thanks to TCM and Fathom events.  I’ve never seen any of the Universal flicks on the big screen and I can’t wait to see these two.  We’re also going to try and make a screening of John Carpenter’s Halloween which is returning to the big screen during the last week of the month.

So, what are some of your favorite Halloween traditions?

Also, if you enjoyed reading about my traditions, why not check out some of the other participants of the League to see what they love to do around this time of the year…

Hobgoblin, Monster Cafe, is getting back into the swing of things and starting some new traditions…

Before Branded, and hiking towards where the sidewalk ends…

I thought I’d take a quick break from this year’s Halloween countdown to try and tackle this week’s League of Extraordinary Bloggers assignment, which is all about pulling back the curtain and writing a State of the Site address (where it’s at and where I see it going in the future.)  This isn’t something I typically indulge in, but the site has been inching closer and closer to its 7th birthday which is a personal milestone I had set when I began this project.  I’m going to shamelessly steal the framing perspective of this piece from Jaime over at Shezcrafti and start at the beginning, which for me was 1996, a decade before I’d actually launch Branded in the 80s and the year that I was fully introduced to the world wide web.

In ’96 I’d been out of high school for a year, had just moved out on my own and was spending my nights working on the stock crew at a local grocery store.  A friend had just bought his first computer and after the excitement of watching the included Weezer “Buddy Holly” video ten times in a row we were hooking it up to a modem and creating our first AOL e-mail accounts within in the hour.  Of course we’d over dosed on the movie Hackers the year before, and I knew that being presented with my first opportunity to create a screen name wasn’t a task to be taken lightly.  Would it be the Master of Disaster, Ultra Laser, or Doctor Doom?  No, I wasn’t the type of guy who could live up to something like Zero Cool, Cereal Killer, Acid Burn, Lord Nikon, or The Plague.  Even with the opportunity to create ANY identity, I couldn’t help but be something that was more in line with my actual self.  Pondering the possibilities I immediately went to thoughts of my childhood (though still a teenager at the time, the irony isn’t lost on me now) and the cartoon that sort of defines the 80s Saturday Morning experience for me, the Smurfs. DualSmurf was born in my attempt to address my love of the 80s mixed with the idea that I had two lives (online and real life) that were both the same.  Yeah, doesn’t make much more sense to me now as I’m sure it sounded back then.  My next step though was trying my best to get a homepage of my own up and running asap.

Fast forward 10 years, a handful of Smurf-related handles, and one odd Angelfire site dedicated to a fictional conspiracy in which the Yoo Hoo Corporation was trying to cause widespread color-blindness in consumers, and I’m buying a new PC and finally severing my ties with dial-up internet.  It’s February of 2006 and I had still yet to create that homepage or website that I could call my own.  I’d been using Deviant Art as a sort of place-holder for an online presence, but I never really considered myself all that much of an artist so it just felt weird hanging around there all the time.  I’d just discovered the concept of podcasting and the evening after setting up the PC I decided that come hell or high water I was going to create a website and a podcast.  Inspired by Matt at X-Entertainment, Todd at Neato Coolville and Kirk at the Secret Fun Spot (and blog), I again decided that the way to go was to concentrate on my childhood and nostalgia.

Enter Branded in the 80s, which began as a podcast, but pretty soon I was writing more than recording and it’s become the site it is today.  Coming back to the 7th anniversary of the site, again, I’ve always been a pretty big fan of the number seven.  I was born in 1977, on the 17th of July and years of writing that number on applications and forms has led to a semi-obsession.  It even popped up on the initial design of the site back when it launched (and stayed that way for the first two or three years…

The initial goal was to make it to the 7-year mark.  I honestly never thought I’d still be working on Branded this many years later, but the impact running the site has had on my life is large enough that I can’t imagine not doing it after I reach that goal next March.  Over the last seven years and through contacts and friendships made through the site I’ve had a ton of amazing experiences.  I’ve published a couple zines, traveled around the country to table at conventions, heck, I even helped plan and execute an independent art event for cartoonists a couple years ago.  I’ve also had a lot of fun working on the Countdown to Halloween website with John Rozum, providing a hub for like-minded sites to find each other during one of our favorite holidays.  I’ve been a guest on numerous podcasts, was mentioned on NPR and in the Guardian, and even had the opportunity to be interviewed by the Washington Post.  Over the last year I feel like I’ve been getting pretty close to a few website milestones (just about to 1000 articles/posts and I just passed 2 million pageviews), I’ve also met a ton of new folks through activities like The League, on Twitter and in starting a Facebook page for Branded.  I contributed an article to the upcoming Strange Kids Club Anthology and I’ve also sort of jumped back into podcasting (as a guest on 6 episodes of the Nerd Lunch show, and there are a few other appearances on other podcasts in the pipeline including the 1st episode of a newly launched Top Hat Sasquatch show.)

Obviously none of this would have happened without the site and as far as where I see it going, well, I never really know.  There are a couple places I’d like to take the site in terms of making it feel a little more tangible, but I’d hate to stick my foot in my mouth and announce plans that I might not execute.  Let’s just say that I’d really like to work on writing a book, but I haven’t nailed down exactly what that would be just yet.  Besides, I’d need to find one hell of an editor to put up with the jumbled mess that tends to spew out of my keyboard.  As far as I can say though, I see myself re-aligning for a ten-year goal and I look forward to whatever the next three or so years bring.

So, did you enjoy what you read about the state of Branded in the 80s?  Well, why not head on over to some of the other League member’s sites and see where they’re at!

Tommy, Top Hat Sasquatch, is launching a new podcast and is thinking about breaking out the video camera

Jaime, Shezcrafti, is breaking out of her shell and yet still keeping it Crafty

Kev, That Figures, is coming out of a toy drought and looking to do more reviews

The Goodwill Geek, GoodWill Hunting 4 Geeks, is just starting, but having a blast

William, WillaimBruceWest.com, kind of wants to take over the world, pop culturally speaking

Coming this Fall, The Branded in the 80s Megafun Saturday!

This week’s assignment from the League is a really fun one (suggested by Poe Ghostal over at PG’s Points of Articulation) that invites the members to program their own dream Saturday morning cartoon line-up.  The SMC programming block is an unfortunately extinct network tradition that was a weekly bit of bliss for kids during the 60s through to the 90s.  With the advent of dedicated 24-hour kid-vid channels like Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network it became increasingly harder and harder for the big three to compete for the cartoon and kid’s programming market share and over the past 15 years or so Saturday morning has lost its association with 5-6 solid hours of cartoons.

Luckily I’ve managed to secure copies of practically every cartoon that I remember loving as a kid, and whenever I get a chance I program my own Saturday morning cartoon line-up, so this assignment is something near and dear to me.  Sort of like with last week’s Mixtape assignment, I didn’t want to just list the shows I’d want to see.  I wanted to do something a little different.  One of the aspects that I loved about each new fall season was getting a chance to see all the advertising that the networks would put together for their SMC line-up, my favorite of which was a series of CBS, NBC, and ABC comic book ads that would mash-up all the characters from the various shows.  In fact, putting together an archive of these ads was one of the first big projects I worked on for Branded.  Taking some inspiration from these I created my own fake advertisement for my personal Branded Saturday!

I tried to pick a range of stuff that I’ve been really into lately, as well as a fun mix of fantasy, sci-fi, action, comedy, and in the case of Balki’s Stories of Mepos, imaginary shows that I wished existed.  I picture the Balki show being a cross between Pryor’s Place, Reading Rainbow and Pee Wee’s Playhouse where Bronson Pinchot would play his character from the Perfect Strangers sitcom narrating all sorts of fun stories from his imaginary homeland that could be visualized as live-action skits and animated shorts.  I also wanted to include some Nickelodeon stuff like Danger Mouse, and some more obscure stuff like Galaxy High.  Also, in my dream world Robo Force graduated from the single Sunbow pilot episode to a full blown 13-episode series.

5:30 – 7:00am – The Looney Tunes
7:00 – 7:30am – Danger Mouse
7:30 – 8:00am – the Smurfs
8:00 – 8:30am – Galaxy High
8:30 – 9:00am – Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears
9:00 – 9:30am – Balki’s Stories of Mepos
9:30 – 10:00am – The Real Ghostbusters
10:00 – 10:30am – Robo Force
10:30 – 11:00am – Thundercats
11:00 – 12:00pm – Soul Train (had to do it!)
12:00 – 2:00pm – Super Scary Saturday Movie with Grandpa Munster (featuring old horror and sci-fi flicks from the 30s-70s)

As far as the inspiration I drew on for the fake SMC ad I created, here are a few that immediately spring to mind…


Last but not least, here’s a black and white variation of my ad that would have run in the Fall Preview issue of TV Guide…

Have a second? Why not check out some of the other League members to see how they weighed in on this week’s assignment!

Jaime, Shezcrafti, keeps the action amped up all morning long!

The Goodwill Geek, Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks, picks some obscure gems from the 80s!

Jason, Rediscover the 80s, is all about themed cartoon blocks!

Dan, Of Flying Monkeys and Ewoks, Oh My, picks a lot of my favorites from the 80s!

Dex, AEIOU and Sometimes Why, put a lot of thought into his themed hours!

The Branded in the 80s Mixtape, sponsored by The League…

**Update, the 15th and final Mixtape has now been sent out.  Thanks everyone who requested one!**

This week’s assignment from the League is all about the tunes we used to jam back in our high school days, and the mixtapes we made along the way.  Basically, the deal is to construct a 12-song mixtape of what we were listening to in our cars at the time.  I didn’t get my first hand-me-down car until I was 19, but between 1991 and 1995 I was the consistent co-pilot of my friend’s run down gun metal grey Chevy Caviler.  To be honest though, I don’t remember if his car stereo even worked, so I don’t have a ton of memories cursing the back roads of our town listening to anything but each other’s dumb jokes and laughter.


I did, however, spend an inordinate amount of time waiting after school (like 3 hours a day) for rides from my parents as I moved outside of the district a year into high school and didn’t want to change schools.  So I was the guy curled up in a corner of an out-of-the-way hall with my walkman on full blast trying my best not to go insane while I waited.


For this assignment, I want to do things a little different.  Instead of simply listing my twelve top tunes from that era, I’m going to make some actual mixtapes (on CD) of these songs I loved at the time.  I’ll send out copies of this Branded mixtape to the first 15 people who e-mail me!  Make sure to include your snail mail address, and put “Branded Mixtape” in the subject line.  I thought this might be a bit more fun, and a slightly more visceral way of doing the mixtape.

I will say that some of the songs should be no surprise to anyone who has read Branded for any length of time, but, especially for the time, I listened to some goofy stuff.  Anyway, lets see how this turns out.

If you have a moment and would like to see what some of the other League members put together, mixtape-wise, why not visit some of these fine sites…

Reis, The Lair of the Dork Horde, bangs his head along to some choice thrash metal

Jaime, Shezcrafti, literally parties like it’s 1999

Paxton, Cavalcade of Awesome, unearth’s one of his old hip hop mixtapes

TL, Flashlights are Something to Eat, also manages to put his hands on an actual mixtape he made while visiting his brother at his radio station gig

Eric, Toyriffic, mixes up some classic rock and hair metal on his tape

Brian, Cool & Collected, wants you to know that he’ll be there for you

Dex, AEIOU and sometimes why, gets hot for teacher while doing a bunch of scissor-kicks

Cue Lyndsy Buckingham’s Holiday Road and take a trip with the League…

This week’s assignment from the League is all about capturing the last vestiges of summer and planning a dream pop culture road trip.  Honestly, I’m sort of sick of summer and am ready for it to be Halloween, but that won’t stop me from pondering what I’d do with two weeks and the whole country to see.  For me, a road trip of this magnitude would have to hit on a few of my travel goals, so real quick, aside from the pop culture shenanigans I’d also like to cross off a couple other “to do’s”, namely visiting another country and seeing the west coast.  I’ve spent my entire life up and down the east coast from Maine to Florida, but I’ve never been further west than Austin, TX, and I was less than a year old at the time.  So with those two goals in mind, I decided that the best way to really get the most out of the experience would be to make one huge circle across the country, dipping into Canada along the way…


All in all, there are six stops I’d like to make along the way that I think would knock out most of the main sites I want to hit some day.  Since I was born in Texas and haven’t been back since I was a baby, my first stop would be in the lone star state to visit a very specific house that resides in Kingsland.  This is a house that haunted my dreams years before I eventually saw the film that made it famous, a house that my mother warned me about a million times as a kid, from a film that she made me swear that I wouldn’t watch until I turned 18 (the one exception to the rule of letting me watch whatever I wanted beginning at age 10.)  The homestead from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre


Though the house and filming originally took place in Quick Hill (Austin), it was purchased and moved to Kingsland back in 1998.  It was a restaurant for a time, but I believe it now sits empty waiting for a buyer.  Anyway, when I finally turned 18 I had a hard time mustering up the nerve to watch the film, not because I was afraid of what I might see, but because my mother was so adamant about avoiding it.  She had the opportunity to see the flick in the theater when it was first released and it basically traumatized her.  In reverence to my mom I waited until I was in my late 20s to finally catch the film and somehow it managed to live up to my exceedingly high expectations and I really do consider it one of my all-time favorite horror films.  I’m sure while I’m there I’d swing past my old house in Austin as well, but this would be the star of the lone star stop on this trip for sure…

The next official stop on this whirlwind road trip across the country would be in a very picturesque town in one of the most visited film locations in the country, the Warner Brothers back lot in Burbank, California.  On the lot there’s an outdoor filming town called Midwest Street where so many of my favorite films were at least partially made including Gremlins, Back to the Future, The Lost Boys and The Monster Squad.  Specifically, there is a church on this street that was featured prominently in The Monster Squad and The Lost Boys that I would love to visit.  Maybe fill up a canteen of “holy” water, or at least stand outside and kick the door a few times, cursing it for being closed when I’d really like to go inside and hide while trying to blow a hole in Limbo…


I’m sure I’d find a bunch of awesome stuff to see on the back lot, but I think the church represents the site the most in my mind…

After yelling at myself to not kick a church (because it’s religious and stuff), I’d make my way north, up to the great costal wood of Astoria, Oregon to visit the second and final house on the trip, the Walsh family home from the Goonies


I’m sure this one, and the area as a whole, will quite possibly make a lot of these Road Trip lists, but I can’t help it.  The Goonies is probably one of the most important movies to me as a nostalgic 30-something and at some point I’d love the chance to gaze on this landmark.  I’m sure I’d also take the opportunity to break out a dirt bike and ride down to the spot where the convenience store was, as well as the jail and the beach so I could pull out my replica Spanish medallion to line up the rocks, but getting a few seconds to take a gander at the Walsh house is what would really make it feel real to me.

After misting up and wiping back some happy tears, I’d finally take the opportunity to leave this fine country and head up to Alberta, Canada, specifically Cochrane, so that I could visit another holy movie site, the high school that was used in the film Rad.


This stop would be all about finding a way to break into the school gymnasium so that I could do a little bit of solo BMX bike dancing while listing to Real Life’s Send Me an Angel on my iPod.  I’ll just need a few minutes alone, mostly because I’m no freestyler on a bike, but this would be just for me…

While in Canada I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to drive across the great country, seeing the majestic sites, eating some Tim horton’s doughnuts and eventually making my way back across the continent to Toronto so that I could take a kick ass site seeing tour of all the prominent Kids in the Hall filming locations (as well as some other historical KITH sites.)


The Kids in the Hall are for me what Monty Python was to the generation before, single-handedly warping my mind and opening my eyes to a whole comedic world that astounds me to this day.  Dave, Bruce, Kevin, Mark and Scott all qualify for sainthood in my book, and I’d love to belly up to Buddy’s bar, walk down the street where the “good looking slick dude” strolled, or see the famous Rivoli where they got their start.

Since I started the trip with some intense horror, I thought it would be only fitting to end it on the “other” landmark of the genre, the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, PA…


Easily considered horror Mecca, this mall is of course home to the filming of the great George A. Romero film, Dawn of the Dead.  What can I really say other than I’d love the opportunity to make a couple laps through this place, pantomiming zombie pie fights and pretending that there’s a living dead Hare Krishna stumbling along behind me the whole time.  My only regret would be that I wouldn’t be able to leave by helicopter from the roof.

Well, there it is.  I’m sure there are a million other places I’d like to go, but this itinerary would go a long way to knocking stuff off the bucket list and it just makes sense to me.

If you have a second, you should check out these other League members and their pop culture road trips!

Jamie, Shezcrafti, fires up the Mirth Mobile and sets out on adventure!

Mr. R, The Man Who Stares at Toys, sticks to the coasts and looking for zombies and famous California dining establishments!

Jason, Rediscover the 80s, revs up the Family Truckster and covers most of the east coast and some of the midwest!

Brian, Cool & Collected, goes on a pop culture shopping spree across the nation!

Brother Midnight, Green Plastic Squirtgun, keeps his trip small, but fully packed with sights!

All I can say about this week’s assignment from the League is, well, I Don’t Know!

It’s been a few weeks since I was on the ball enough to participate in a League Assignment, but this week’s topic was too broad to pass up.  Brian over at Cool & Collected gave us one simple word.  Green.  I wracked my brain and all I could think of was, well, I Don’t Know!

So without further to do, here are eleven of my favorite You Can’t Do That on Television cast members getting slimed!

Moose and Kevin

moose  kevin

Alasdair and Lisa

alasdair  lisa

Vanessa and Adam

vanessa  adam

Doug and Justin

doug  justin

Matthew and Stephanie

matthew  stephanie

And of course this list would never be complete without Les Lye as Ross…


I was a little bummed that I couldn’t find a screen shot of Abby (the Mom, Librarian, all the adult women, etc.), but know that she’s getting slimed in my head right now…

If you have a second, check out these other League members for their take on being Green…

Paxton, Cavalcade of Awesome, shows us his green and fizzy side!

Jaime, Shezcrafti, breaks out the Turtle Wax and gets bodacious!

TL, Flashlights are Something to Eat, puts on a record and get’s grouchy and mean about green jeans!

Reis, The Dork Horde, gets artsy with some independent zombies!

Brother Midnight, Green Plastic Squirtgun, lets the monsters out to play!

Brian, Cool & Collected, doesn’t think you’ll like him when he’s angry!

The League: The only thing that makes me feel patriotic!

The new topic for the League actually covers two weeks (with the next being a holiday and all.)  Since it’s almost July 4th, Brian decided to pose the question of what is our favorite patriotic pop culture, be it movies, TV, or what ever.  What gets us to stand up and salute Old Glory.  To be honest, I’m not typically the most patriotic guy, not even with my love of G.I. Joe.  But there are approximately three minutes and thirteen seconds of animation that open G.I. Joe the movie that will always get me on my feet and screaming “yahoo” while waving an imaginary cowboy hat and firing off a make-believe gun into the air.  For those of you not familiar, the opening title sequence of the 1986 Sunbow/Marvel G.I. Joe animated movie is probably the most exciting, the most condensed, and arguably the most artfully animated segment of G.I. Joe that the studio ever released.  It’s also the most patriotic piece of animation I’ve ever witnessed, next to some of the School House Rocks segments of course, but with a billion times more explosions and lasers that SHR ever dreamed of…

For those of you who want to watch along at home, here’s a youtube clip of the segment…


The segment opens in space where the stillness is interrupted by a streaming comet zigzagging across the screen.  Of course the comet is revealed to be the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero logo, which bursts into view with a hail of fireworks…



This leads down to New York harbor at night, I’m guessing on July 4th because the Statue of Liberty is swathed in yet more fireworks and a metric ton of floating balloons…


We all know that there is only one thing that can interrupt the festivities, the fearful cry of “Cobra!”, as their helicarrier comes crashing through the sky dispensing a multitude of Cobra paratroopers onto Ellis Island…


One of the aspects that I love so much about this opening sequence is how dynamic the animation is and how close we end up getting to the action.  Sometimes too close, as in that worms-eye-view nut-shot of the Cobra paratrooper literally tea-bagging the audience…


There are a lot of fun angles though, in particular this shot of a Crimson Guard member punching into the screen, shattering what at first seems like our collective TV screens, but instead is the lens of a camera that was filming the attack.  If this sort of stuff was in every single episode of the regular series it really would have pushed it over the top, but I’ll settle for this three minutes of glory…




Of course, there’s only one thing that can turn the tide of a flood of serpents this thick, Duke, his bazooka, and a well placed scream of “Yo Joe!”


Though they’re featured in earlier episode of the series, this segment is a veritable advertisement for rocket-propelled human flight as every single Joe team member has their own freaking jetpack!


Another aspect of this intro that is so darn cool is that it pretty much features at least a half second segment highlighting just about every single member of the Joe team up until this point.  Even folks that really aren’t required when defending the Statue of Liberty from attack like Iceberg or Recondo, but I’m still happy to see them.  It’s also some of the best footage of the Cobra BATS, which were an awesome concept and toy, but were never utilized very well in the series…


Being just as wonderfully ludicrous as the series itself, Cobra’s master plan is to distract G.I. Joe with about a million and a half Troopers, which Cobra Commander secretly flies down to the Statue to set a timed bomb.  Overkill?  Sure, but why attack if not in style!


As far as patriotism goes, this three minutes features some of the best Statue of Liberty-based action this side of Remo Williams.  Forget that stupid battle at the end of the first X-Men movie (I’d much rather edit this sequence into that film frankly…)


Not only is the action awesome, but some of the character get a chance to be the badasses that their file-cards eluded that they were.  Case in point Snake Eyes.  Again, underutilized in the main series, in this segment he get a chance to ninja flip onto a Trouble Bubble, kicking out the pilot, and stealing the aircraft!



Not to be outdone, Alpine gets in on the action and uses his grappling hook gun to snag onto a speeding Firebat.  He then smashes his way into the cockpit, sending the vehicle plummeting to the ground, all while flinging himself off and snagging a ride on Snake Eye’s Trouble Bubble…




The best part?  Snake Eyes gives Alpine the international mute sign for “Nice Job” in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it beat before picking him up.  This three minutes is so jam packed with stuff I had to watch it like ten times to get all of these screencaps!


This is about the part where my inner eight year-old takes over and I can’t help but talk back to the screen narrating everything that I’m seeing…

“And then Duke Punches Cobra Commander off the statue!” I’m assuming he saying something like “…the lady said she didn’t want to dance!” as he did it too…


“And then Junkyard, Freedom and Scarlet pummel Torch!”



“And then Jets, firing missles!”


“And then Roadblock knocks the crap out of some Vipers!”


“And then General Hawk and Duke are shooting like Rambo!”



“And flint is beating up like 20 cobra vipers!”  Okay it’s four, but still…


(pant, wheeze, pant, pant…)

Now that I have my breath back, we’re at the crescendo of this sequence as Duke finds the bomb planted by Cobra Commander and he snags it, flying up to the helicarrier and planting it there with only seconds to spare…



Of course we get a very satisfying scream of “Retreat!” from CC before the patriotism ramps up to a fever pitch as…


…Duke grabs a flag lying on the ground and zooms it up to the top of the statue!



At this point all I can think is that G.I. Joe and America rules!


The rest of the movie is fun, but it’s nothing compared to these first three minutes.  Oh and for the record, I made sure to use exactly 50 screen captures, one for each and every state in this country.  How’s that for patriotism?  Yeah, I guess it’s not all that patriotic, but it sure did take a long time to snag and code them all…

Like what you read here?  Why not visit some of the other League members who weighed in on this week’s topic…

Reis, Lair of the Dork Horde, also talks about G.I. Joe this week!

Brother Midnight, Green Plastic Squirtgun, talks about Team America!

Adamotomy talks about Bomb Pops!

Brian, Cool & Collected, salutes along with the Hulkster and the Demon?!?

Newt, Infinite Hollywood, has three words for you, Hacksaw Jim Duggan!

Jamie, Shezcrafti, pulls out all the stops with cursing, Powers, and Fonda boobs!

Tim, Flashlights are Something to Eat, brings the music and some subliminal patriotism in the Alf cartoon!

New League assignment, my Top Ten favorite movie villains…

It’s been almost a month since I’ve turned in an assignment for the League (I took a couple off and the whole crew was on hiatus last week), but this week I’m back and ready to tackle the current topic of list making.  Since summer is upon us and for most of us that means plenty of extra trips to the movie theaters, Brian over at Cool & Collected posed the question of creating some top ten movie lists themed however we wished.  I love making lists, though I’m not sure I big on making authoritative ones, so I decided to choose a topic that is film related, but a little more specific and pretty much only applies to me.  So without further ado, here are my top ten favorite 80s era villains, my childhood league of injustice if you will…

10). Francis from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure


I knew a lot of guys like Francis growing up (minus the enormous wealth) who just had to have everything everyone else around them loved.  One kid in particular used to bug the shit out of my whenever I’d get a cool Garbage Pail Kid or baseball card, always wanting to trade for it.  There were a number of times when I’d get so frustrated that I’d rip up the requested card in front of him to shut him up.  Not only did it shut him up, but it also helped me to not get too attached to posessions.  It is after all, just stuff…

9). Biff from Back to the Future


Honestly, who doesn’t love to hate Biff?  Though most of the iconic scenes are in the first flick, I love the scenes of the young 50s era Biff in the first sequel when he’s getting ready for the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.  It’s not that he really shows any humanity per-se, but seeing him going about his day without specifically being a bully is nice.  Gave him a tad more depth…

8). Chet from Weird Science


Bill Paxton’s Chet is like Biff on steroids, twice as mean, twice as douche-y, and he has once hell of an ugly spud spirit animal inside of him.  Did I mention that Bill Paxton was born to play douchebag assholes?

7). Tie between David and his crew of Lost Boys in, well, the Lost Boys, and Jesse, Diamondback, Severn, Mae, and Homer in Near Dark



Very few times have I felt like Vampires have been nailed, cinematically speaking, but the packs of leeches in these two films pretty much define what I think immortal bloodsuckers would truly look and act like.  The Lost Boys is a bit more teen-y and flashy, but they’re certainly on the same page as the dusty, fang-less nosferatu in Near Dark.  Oh and look at that, Bill Paxton made the list twice.  Huh.

6). Hook & the Daggers from Thrashin’



Robert Rusler was brilliantly douche-y in Weird Science, but he really shines as an asshole in Thrashin’.  Picking on break-dancers, being an over protective brother to Chrissy, and starting skateboarding mace fights willy nilly is a hard and evil business.  For the two years that I skated (badly) in the 80s, I lived in constant fear of the local group of street-surfing bad asses that would skate through my neighboorhood on the weekends.  I was terrified that they’d beat me up and steal my board because I sucked.  They never beat me up, but my board was stolen…

5). Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China


This green-eye obsessed, mystic, Chinese demigod is equal parts hilarious and devious.  He also knows how to really utilize Thunder, Lightning and Rain.  I love the mythology in this flick, much like the one created for the villain to muck around in in this next flick…

4). Dr. Emilio Lizardo from Buckaroo Banzai


Batshit crazy does not even begin to describe Dr. Lizardo, and John Lithgow has truly has a field day chewing up the scenery as this insane Russian scientist turned would be ruler of the world.  “History is-a made at night.  Character is what you are in the dark.”

3). The Lone Biker of the Apocalypse from Raising Arizona


When you need to get your baby back at all costs, even if one of those costs might be decimating a small town, you call the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse.  He doesn’t need three biker friends to fill out his crew of horsemen, he’s his own quartet of evil.

2). RJ Fletcher from UHF


Evil incarnate.  He’d not only kick your puppy, but he’d bill you for having to have his shoes buffed afterwards.  Ever injustice league needs one of those megalomaniacal bastards that has an evil laugh and insanely weird evil plans.  Fletcher is the Cobra Commander of UHF

1). Johnny Lawrence and the Cobra Kai from the Karate Kid



Everyone else can have their Darth Vaders, Zuuls and General Zods, but my number one bad guy will always be super-douche Johnny.  He hates boom boxes, skinny unassuming Italian kids, and anyone who even looks funny at Elizabeth Shue.  Sweep the leg, Johnny, SWEEP IT!

There are easily a hundred other characters that could have made the cut, but after mulling it over these are the guys that at one point or another haunted my nightmares.  Coincidentally, these guys also populate, more or less, my top ten go-to films (though Thrashin’ would be switched out with Rad, and the Goonies would probably knock Raising Arizona off the list.)  So what’s the rest of the League have to say about their top ten movie lists?  Well, click on over and find out!

Jaime, Shezcrafti, puts together an awesomely obscure 80s teen flick list

TL, Flashlights are Something to Eat, talks about his go-to summer movies

Michael, Memories of Tomorrow, talks abouthis top ten films

Michael, Michael May’s Adventureblog, talks about his favorite films

Howie, Underscoopfire!, makes a great argument for his need for an 80s movie intervention

Brother Midnight, Green Plastic Squirtgun, has a rather fun eclectic list

Reis, The Dork Horde, talks about the top ten flicks that define him

Aaron, Movie Hodge Podge, talks about his favorite 80s action flicks

Lok, That Figures, lists his top ten favorite films (a lot of fun horror)

Adam, The Man Who Stares at Toys, gets Ravenous about his list

Paxton, Cavalcade of Awesome, travels back in time so much reality is becoming one big Gordian Knot

Brian, Cool & Collected, does not want a banana, but he’ll take a blonde startlet or a girl named Nova

Flywheels, Random Toy Review, counts down his top ten films

Jamie, Whatever I Think Of, lists her 10 ten flicks

Ashley, Life With Fandom, is digging up some fond movie memories from the late 80s, early 90s