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Hotel Madrid in Milwaukee, WI is becoming Dorry’s Tavern for the holiday!

A bar in Milwaukee is transforming into Dorry’s Pub for part of the season! Check it out below. I grew up in Milwaukee and may have to go see this, though not a drinker myself.
https://onmilwaukee.com/seasonal/holidays/articles/gremlins-pop-up-hotel-madrid.html

Animated Series “Secrets Of The Mogwai” Confirmed!

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Yesterday, Variety broke he news that the upcoming Gremlins animated series would be called “Gremlins: Secrets Of The Mogwai” and be a prequel series set in 1920’s Shangai.

From Variety:

The series, which Variety exclusively reported back in February, will be titled “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai.” Set in 1920s Shanghai, the series will tell the story of how 10-year-old Sam Wing (future shop owner Mr. Wing in the 1984 movie) met the young Mogwai called Gizmo. Along with a teenage street thief named Elle, Sam and Gizmo take a perilous journey through the Chinese countryside, encountering, and sometimes battling, colorful monsters and spirits from Chinese folklore. On their quest to return Gizmo to his family and uncover a legendary treasure, they are pursued by a power-hungry industrialist and his growing army of evil Gremlins.

This seems to be an interesting take on the Gremlins mythos, as diehard fans know about the long history Mr. Wing has had with the Mogwai thanks to George Gipe’s novelization. The novelization claims Mr. Wing saved the Mogwai in World War II, and had been caring for the creature since then. Obviously this is a different version of events, but likely inspired in part by the novelization.

Sadly this series, which has 10 half-hour long episodes, will likely not have any returning characters due to the timeframe when it takes place. Also due to Keye Luke passing away in 1991, we will not have the pleasure of hearing more of Mr. Wing’s sage wisdom anytime soon.

Hopefully WB sticks to canon and does not name the Mogwai “Gizmo” as we all know Rand Peltzer named the creature such due to the Mogwai’s affinity for gadgets.

The show is being headed up by Tze Chun, who is known for his work on the Gotham TV series, as well as Once Upon A Time, Little America and various other productions.

While this may not be Gremlins 3, we are certainly excited to see new developments with the brand, and hopefully this will be a fantastic addition to a beloved franchise.

While it may or may not be connected, Randy Falk of NECA has mentioned that there will soon be plenty of new Gremlins to add to our collections. It is speculated that this means NECA has the Secrets Of The Mogwai license and could be making figures for new Gremlins and possibly the mentioned mythical spirits from the series.

There is no confirmed release date for the WB streaming service or Secrets Of The Mogwai at this time. I will be sure to update everyone when more information becomes available.

 

 

{Blog Post} Mega Sale Madness

In early April, there was the first “Mega Sale” of the season at the local fairgrounds. I usually go a few times a year, typically ending up at the booth with old trading cards and spending far too much on things like packs of Dinosaurs Attack! that I plan to write about but keep putting off.

This time I am only about a month late and finally getting to tell you all about the majestic wonders of a medium-sized town’s “Mega Sale”

Here we go!

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This is new…and frightening. On the outside of the building is this sign, featuring Rummage Vintage/Collectibles and….Direct Sale Companies.
For those who don’t know, Direct Sale Companies are a fancy way of legitimizing Multi Level Marketing (MLMs) programs, also frequently known as Pyramid Schemes. You have heard of Amway, Avon and similar, but there are many many more out there and they all have the same method. Get you to buy in to more than just the products but get you to sell the products yourselves, as the person who recruited you gets more money the more you sell, and then you get to recruit people so you get more money, etc.

MLMs have been prevalent in the past at these but this was a new level.

They were everywhere. These are just the tables that didn’t mind me taking a picture of their tables. The others were very adamant that no photos were taken because they are used to spread “propaganda” or “smear their company’s names”. I get some people enjoy these products, and that is fine, but this is insanity.  3/4 of the tables were MLMs, every one of them promising free stuff if you do a free in-home demo/party/makeover/tasting with your best friends. This made hunting for rad treasures a bit harder.

In fact as I looked at my wider shot photos of the building, they are almost indistinguishable from the photos posted above.

I found a really neat pen table full of fountain pens and old inkwells. Plus these awesome Garfield Pens! I didn’t grab any but my wife did, she got some shark fountain pens because sharks are awesome and she is as well.

img_3039.jpgI found this incredible WWF PowerPenz Cyclone Pen that  has discs you can use to battle with other pen havers? But it called me a Bozo, so I had to have it. for $3, who would be able to resist? Other pens in the WWF line include such legends as Kane, HHH and Val Venis. Yep. The Big Valbowski can battle the Undertaker when you are in study hall! I don’t think I ever saw any PowerPenz back in the 90’s. Why? I would have loved them. They are the perfect match of licensed useless garbage that does weird stuff, is collectible, and I can convince myself is practical at the same time.

IMG_2554One thing I love but never understand about these sales are the junk dealers. Tons of rusted tools from a time long gone and random bits and pieces that are covered in dust older than I am. I am sure there are people that buy this stuff but every time this vendor is at the sale, nothing ever seems to change. How could this be worth lugging around, paying for the space and then packing up at the end of the day? Remember this is a one-day affair here, so these tables and bins have to be packed up after the seven hour show. At least I know if I need a funnel or a hoe I know where to go.

The usual vendor where I get my retro trading cards wasn’t there, much to my chagrin. We were making our last once-overs and I noticed the side room was open…and like a personal heaven, this is what I saw as I turned the corner.
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This vendor occasionally shows up with a corner setup, but this time he got the side room all to himself and his action figures and retro toys.
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Classic comics, book and record sets, LEGO toys and so much more. This was an incredible spread.

I never was really into GI Joe but I always loved the breadth of the playsets and vehicle lines. The Star Wars figures and WWE figures were neat but they weren’t my target. I always am looking for the usual. ALF, Ghostbusters (Real or Filmation only), Gremlins, POGs and My Pet Monster stuff.  Well those and anything funeral or hearse related for my son. He’s a weird kiddo.

Those WCW Nitro TCG cards were calling my name but I don’t really need more TCG cards cluttering up the house. I needed other clutter and finally came across a few clutter-worthy gems.

img_3038-1.jpgWolfman from the Monsters line and two fright feature Ghostbusters (Egon with the requisite broken tie) but with accessories! Winston came with his appropriate ghost, but egon for some reason came with the Ecto-1 ghost. Either way, a great deal for $8 total for all 3, even though Winston has a hard time getting his spinning, toothy head back to neutral position. I still love him anyway!

The same vendor also had a really neat Real Ghostbusters retractable vinyl sun shade that had to come home with me.
IMG_2577These were HUGE in the 80’s along with folding cardboard sun visors for your windshield. You could get them for pretty much any popular property out there including ALF and the Simpsons. This was only $6 and I was very happy to have it, even though it didn’t come with suction cups to put in my car immediately. Apparently they are pretty easily found on eBay for very fair prices, but the thrill of discovery is what made this one worth it.

We went to leave the show and my wife’s eye was caught by some necklaces with neat clasps on a table, and I was taking a few more shots for this article, when I saw a Ghostbusters something in my phone’s camera that I would have completely missed otherwise…
img_2570.jpgWhy yes, that is a $5 price tag on that Stay Puft toy. Even in the neglected condition, it was more than a steal! A bit of cleaning and it will look good as new! This was a surprisingly successful event for me, and my wife even found a set of red depression glass cups for $6.

Hopefully there are less MLMs at the next sale, and more random 20+ year old packs of cards to open!

Thanks for joining me on this adventure through the MEGA SALE!!

 

{Blog Post} Red Green and Frantic Representation.

This began as a tweet but it became super long and personal so I figured it would be better served here.
Today I discovered that Rick Green from the legendary Red Green show is also one of the co-founders of The Frantics! In my defense The Frantics is a troupe I have only listened to, and never thought “Gee I should look up videos of them”.  You may know them from such skits as Ti Kwan Leep (Boot To The Head), Last Will and Temperment, The Human Race or You Were Speeding.

Peter Wildman, also of The Frantics, was a writer on Red Green as well! The idea that there are a few significant crossovers in The Red Green Show and The Frantics absolutely fills my mind with excitement.

Speaking of the Red Green Show, few people knew this but I wanted to grow up to be just like Harold (played by Patrick McKenna) from said show.

5878222_orig.jpgHis character was always proud of his nerddom, and though it was often played for laughs, he was loved for who he was and valued for his contributions to each episode. As a geeky kinda kid, that meant a lot to me, since I was constantly told to start acting “normal” and enjoy sports and objectifying girls, even at a young age. Nerds like Star Trek and Ghostbusters and Gremlins, Cool kids liked basketball and football and being rude to others. I liked liking things and people, which was very uncool.

I was constantly beat up and bullied because I didn’t wear the expensive shoes or harass girls. Or from their perspective and defense I was annoying. This meant I had few friends, as even being friends with me was a brand no one wanted. For example I came into school one day in 5th grade and someone wrote “Sarah M. Loves JohnPaul!” on the chalkboard. She was pulled from class and sent home shortly due to crying and being “traumatized” (as I was told later that day). Turns out the other kids got together and said they saw me do it. Joke is on them, my handwriting is and always has been basically illegible. I was of course punished by the staff for writing such horrible things on the chalkboard and later got beat up by the girls when they cornered me a few days later.

The reason I bring this up, is representation. Most kids had someone to look up to that was like them. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were at the top of their game, becoming legends in the NBA, Football players were being footballers, and the good-looking cool kids had Tom Cruise or Arnold Schwarzenegger to look up to. I gravitated toward my interests, so to escape I would pretend I was characters from movies or TV shows. Louis Tully (Ghostbusters), Harold Smith (Red Green Show), Data (Star Trek The Next Generation), Andrew (Jerry O’Connell on My Secret Identity) or Billy Peltzer (Gremlins). Notice a theme? Every one of them were socially awkward, nerdy and all “uncool” but valued for their contributions. Even Louis Tully gets his moment to be a hero in Ghostbusters 2! The thing is these characters were very few and far between at the time, and still very uncool. Everyone wanted to pretend to be Peter Venkman. I wanted to be Egon or Louis.

So that brings me to why the Frantics were important to me.
Around 4th or 5th grade (so 1992/93 maybe) We had to do occasional presentations in class and due to my anxiety, I would simply make a radio show cassette. I would find songs and skits from vinyl records and other tapes that (often barely) represented what I was supposed to be talking about and add them to this tape. I’d do interviews with myself and essentially DJ a 20 minute presentation. One that stands out was where I had tracks from Dr. Demento’s 20th Anniversary Collection on this specific report.
I still remember the ones I used: The Red Green Theme opening, Existential Blues By Tom “T-Bone” Stankus (and I remember making a joke on the tape of “Stankus, not Stanky” which didn’t land well.) Surfin’ Bird By The Trashmen, Wet Dream by Kip Adotta and of course Ti Kwan Leep (Boot To The Head) by The Frantics.

I want to say Pencil Neck Geek by “Classy” Freddie Blassie was in there somewhere because they were all close together on the album, so it made it easier for editing into another tape.
_Classy__20Freddie_20Blassie.jpgWhile I thought it was the greatest collection of tracks that somehow had some tangential relation to the report I was intending to give (I have no idea what it was supposed to be originally) it did not go well. No one thought any of it was funny, and it just served to further ostracize me from my peers. At the time, I didn’t get the memo that not every kid wanted to listen to Tom Lehrer or Ray Stevens for fun.

But for me that was comforting. The humor and good-natured attitudes of The Frantics and other “Novelty” (never cared for that term) tracks helped me get through my days. I took those skits and that music as seriously as others took rap or heavy metal.
Finding representation in music is important, so discovering popular music that was not over sexualized, vulgar or extremely aggressive was a challenge, but rewarding when it did occur.

Other kids wanted to meet and get an autograph from Kimberly of Power Rangers, I wanted to sit and chat with someone like Zach Galligan or Patrick McKenna.  Maybe someday I will, and I can honestly thank them for helping me find a path navigating the treacherous waters of childhood bullies. Without things that I could identify with, even later such as Troma and “bad” movies, I don’t know if I would have made it to 37 years old, as of April 16. Maybe that’s why I am thinking of this, my birthday is in 4 days and I guess I am nostalgic.

But keep this in mind when you see things like a movie featuring strong female leads like Ghostbusters or Captain Marvel, people praising a positive nonbinary character, or cheering for women main eventing Wrestlemania. It may not be meant for you, but it is important to someone to see themselves in the media they consume. It was certainly important for me to find characters and music that made me feel less alone and less sad.  I can’t begin to fathom how important it is for marginalized individuals to find that same “home” feeling, and that is why I never knock something that isn’t “for me” since it is clearly meant for someone out there.

{Rad Chat} 4 Movie Covers That Terrified Me – Volume 2

I was thinking about some 80’s horror movies this week and it occurred to me that I have a blog where I can share my thoughts and feelings about said horror movies. What a concept!

These four covers all have a common theme – I was scared of them because they confused a young me. Browsing the video store shelves was a hobby I would engage in a few times a week and when not renting My Pet Monster, or The Gift Of Winter (Which I recently discovered has a great fansite!) I would grab a NES game like Alien Syndrome and browse while my mom looked in the section with the swinging saloon-style doors. While she browsed the not-for-kids section I would try and understand the often abstract VHS covers…and these confused and scared me the most!

1. Rawhead Rex

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Rawhead Rex was another at Nord video that always taunted me, and I think this was due to my tiny brain trying to figure out what I was looking at in the cover. At first it looks like some kind of carnival funhouse opening. Then it shifts to what looked like a church with a demon biker in the doorway. This one didn’t terrify me as much as others, but it more confused me, which was enough to send my brain into a tizzy. As for the film itself, I didn’t see the film until I was in my 20’s and had no clue what kind of film I was getting myself into. I don’t own the film these days but I plan on revisiting it sometime soon(tm).

2. Ghoulies

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Ghoulies is probably on everyone’s scary VHS cover list simply because it shows a kind of cute green monster coming out of the toilet. What makes this post interesting is the story, and I don’t think I have ever shared this one online, so why not here?

I was probably seven or so, and Tasha, a girl that lived down the block enjoyed telling me scary things for some reason. One day she told me all about GHOULIES. Of course I had seen the cover and she told me that in the movie, the Ghoulies creature comes up from the toiled while you are using it and…get this…eats your poop. This absolutely scared me to the point of tears, I have no clue why this concept caused utter terror, but after getting myself together, I told on her and she was not allowed over to my house for a period of time. Let that be a lesson to everyone reading this, I will tell my mom if you scare me.

 

3. The Fog

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The Fog had a cover that unsettled me because I somehow got this one and The Stuff confused. It looked to me that the woman was being devoured from her fridge, and that was her arm turning black from The Stuff. Not much else to say because I am not a huge fan of this film. Nothing wrong with it, just it didn’t do much for me the few times I have seen the movie.

4. Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

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This one is a plethora of awesome cover design and nightmare-inducing art. You have the eyeball popping out of metal-rocker Freddy, the rainbow girl watching you as claws attack you from a volcano? I have no clue. The back is what got me though. One photo. This one.

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In combination with the robot-bug looking “creature” in the image to the right, I kept trying to understand what I was seeing. Of course rather than actually watch the film and find out, I would go look at this image while trying to avoid Freddy’s maniacal eyes for extended periods of time. I thought it was something grabbing her, like a leech or the hand of a creature about to tear her arms out of their sockets from a strange angle.
To be fair the reality of what happens in that scene is far, far, weirder and amazing than anything I could have predicted.

Thanks for joining me on another romp through my childhood memories of scary VHS boxes! These are always a blast to write and I would love to know if you have covers that got under your skin well before actually seeing the movie.

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