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Christmas Oddities: A Visit to Santa

It’s early in December, but surely you’re getting pumped for the coming holiday and Santa’s arrival, aren’t you?

Well…?

Last week, I went to a one-night only showing of a double feature of two previous RiffTrax Live specials – 2013’s Santa Conquers the Martians, and the 2009 show Christmas Shorts-stravaganza. Both shows tripped on the bizarre nature of what Christmas looks like when viewed through an askew lens, but there was this one particular short that just absolutely tripped to the point where that lens was not only askew, but also covered in filters that can’t even make this short look halfway presentable. It screams public access (but it isn’t), low budget (which is clearly is), and contains the worst use of organ music ever.

I’m referring to A Visit to Santa!

Santa

This 1963 (Really? It isn’t older than that?!) short film was shot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Clem Williams Films. According to IMDb, this was their only short film. And with production values such as these, it is easy to see why they didn’t make anything else.

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This horribly acted (and difficult to understand) short film is about two kids, Dick and Ann, who write a letter to Santa asking if they could visit the North Pole.

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Based on how these kids speak, I find it hard to believe that these kids wrote this.

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Because Santa is all of us, this is where he lives.

Santa, from his home at the “North Pole” (which looks like an ugly living room), obliges. He sends one of his minidress-clad elves to claim the two children.

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What happens next sounds more like a hostage situation than a Christmas dream come true.

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If you ever want to see your parents again, you’ll come with me and learn all about parades and weird toy shops.

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There is no way that living room is inside this “castle.”

I could tell you all about the joys of disturbing elf wear, kids taken in the night from their safe bedroom to go meet some guy claiming to be Santa, and the jolly old fat man sitting in some living room somewhere, as well as footage of parades, fireworks, fake crash landings, and overuse of narration, but I’d rather you guys witness it all yourselves.

Uploaded by ChristmasToonFuntime

Unfortunately, this is only the unriffed version. If you’d like to see the riffed version (done by the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax – Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett), there is the version as shown during the Christmas Shorts-stravaganza, and there is also a studio version, but it is the same riffing as the version done in the live show. If you enjoy RiffTrax, consider making one or both of these a part of your collection. They’re a small business and every little bit helps, especially when they put on fantastic live shows such as the one audiences were lucky to see last week. Every penny is worth it!

And I’m not above admitting that I snorted during this short.

Allison is a lover of bad films (especially educational shorts) and funny people who riff them mercilessly. If you like what Allison has to say, check out her blog (you know the name), and follow it on Facebook for some randomness on your newsfeed. She’s also on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. 

Now, get dressed and hurry up! Don’t keep Allison waiting!

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Mario Paint

Watch The TMNT Intro Via Mario Paint!

While it is certainly fair to say that the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series was aimed at children. It nevertheless helped make the previously underground comic book characters into media superstars. To say nothing of the merchandising empire it would create with toys, clothing, and a new comic series based on the animated series. Having said that though I don’t believe anyone ever expected to see the intro rendered by way of the Super Nintendo’s Mario Paint program!
Mario Paint - Mike Matei

This was done by Mike Matei of Cinemassacre. Furthermore it is not as if he digitized the opening intro of the animated show. He drew each frame by hand – starting in July of this year and just finishing in December. Each Mario Paint animation cell took him generally a half hour or more.
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What I’m saying is, Mike delivered something very special. In addition to his hard work, throw in the cover of the TMNT series song by James Ronald. You then have a bit of animation that reaches EPIC levels of awesomeness!

Enough of my jabbering. Sit down and watch how you use Mario Paint to bring the TMNT intro to life!

[Via] Cinemassacre

I really want to thank Daniel XIII for the heads up on this!
Turtle Power

Parker Brothers video games movie theater commercial

Parker Brothers video games movie theater commercial

When commercials started showing up in movie theaters, people started freaking out. It really didn’t bother me all that much. As long as the commercial was well-made and short, I didn’t mind extending my time in the theater. Although, when a commercial was well-made and featured something I was interested in, then you could show me a dozen commercials. Sadly that rarely happened. For example, I saw this Parker Brothers video games movie theater commercial only once as a kid. Yet, I remember seeing this jeans commercial of people jumping up and down about a dozen times.

This commercial started running in 1982. I don’t think it survived 1983. By that time the games would have been outdated and the video game crash was in full swing. Still this is an amazing snapshot of the height of video game mania. It is also super-high quality. Shot in 35mm it looks great in HD, even at 1080p.

The premise for the ad is simple. The Parker Bros. games for Atari are so hot, they cause fires. So you get footage of people playing games, with smoke in the background. Pretty standard stuff. But the real magic happens when they cut to the footage of the games. Instead of the real game footage, you get animation. Here you see games like you will never see them in any other context. Some are just minor improvements over the original. Others though are MASSIVE leaps. For example, the character work on their version of Popeye is downright beautiful.

Parker Brothers video games movie theater commercial popeye

A lot of great advertising was created for that first wave of video game culture. We tend to focus on the TV and print material. But with its unique animation for the games and its cinematic release, I would say this one ranks up there with the best of them.

Watch the Parker Brothers video games movie theater commercial

Assassin's Creed: Heresy

Want To Win A Copy Of Assassin’s Creed: Heresy?

You might recall a few weeks back when I posted my review of Assassin’s Creed: Heresy. The entertaining new novel by the talented Christie Golden. As well as share my love of the Assassin’s Creed series of games, I also pointed out that history – real events are what keep me coming back again and again.

Like when you are rubbing shoulders with the likes of Leonardo da Vinci. Having said that there are science fiction elements to the storyline. So you in fact won’t find yourself playing a game from the History Channel.

The folks at Ubisoft were kind enough to not send just Assassin’s Creed:Heresy for me to review. But also offer you readers a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself! Now how is that for an early gift during this Holiday Season?

You might be asking yourself what kind of feat we are going to ask you to accomplish for a chance to win?

While that would certainly be an impressive way to win. The real answer is that it is much simpler.

To be entered in the drawing for Assassin’s Creed: Heresy you must state your allegiance.


Do you choose the ways of The Assassin Brotherhood?
Assassin's Creed: Heresy

Or do you in fact feel the draw of the power offered by the Templar Order?
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State your allegiance to me by way of e-mail at VicSage@Retroist.com or Twitter or even this post on Facebook. That is all you have to do – I look forward to your answers!
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Masters of the Universe

Retro Records: Masters Of The Universe (1983)

Welcome back, friends. For this offering on Retro Records we are going with an absolutely epic LP. The 1983 Masters of the Universe record produced by Kid Stuff. Not only that but this was released in two different versions. The more common album cover you see at the top of the post in addition to a phono picture disc.

Image courtesy of the T3 Universe Blog.

Image courtesy of the T3 Universe Blog.


A very big thanks to the T3 Universe Blog for the personal images of those stunning picture discs.
Masters of the Universe - Phono Disc Side B - T3 Universe

Now bear in mind by the end of 1982, the Masters of the Universe toy line had already been hugely popular. So it naturally made sense that the merchandising arm start to spread out. I ask you, what child of the early 80s wouldn’t want to hear the adventures on Eternia? And Kid Stuff certainly ran with the early storylines of the series. In particular I mean the fantasy aspects of Masters of the Universe.

Image courtesy of He-Man.Org

Image courtesy of He-Man.Org

However this record was produced after the vintage DC Comics miniseries and classic Filmation series it seems.
Masters of the Universe - DC Comics

As He-Man is no mere barbarian in the jungles of Eternia as presented in the minicomics that came with the toys. But the alter-ego of Prince Adam. On the other hand instead of visiting the Cave of Power to transform he holds aloft the Power Sword. Having said that though you won’t hear Cringer or Battle Cat speaking or such on this record. In fact it’s like Kid Stuff combined elements of all three versions for their story.

Did I forget to mention the first record includes a five minute Masters of the Universe theme song?

So pour yourself a bowl of your favorite cereal and join us as we listen to the adventures of the Masters of the Universe!

[Videos Via] Cash Presley

Mad Magazine

1979 Mad Magazine Board Game Commercial

Mad Magazine is pretty much a cultural icon in publishing. From it’s first issue in 1952 until today, Mad Magazine still stands as a wonderful satirical publication. Whether the subject matter be popular movies, sports, and public figures of course nothing is too sacred. Naturally everything is fair game. It should probably come as no surprise though the first issue I picked up was the Star Wars one.
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As a matter of fact, the popularity of Mad Magazine had reached over two million subscribers by 1974. So in hindsight it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Parker Brothers in 1979 decided to produce a board game. With this in mind you must expect some different win conditions. Furthermore the rules stated that not only did you have to roll the dice with your left hand. But also pass the turns counter-clockwise and the ultimate goal was to rid yourself of all your money. It featured as well a board chock full of the late, great Jack Davis’ artwork.

[Via] Mr. Classic Ads 1970

Try to imagine a group of children sitting down to win this game. To say nothing of having to suddenly switch chairs during the game play. Which could have disastrous consequences for you if were almost out of money!
Mad Magazine

In that commercial for the Mad Magazine board game did you notice a future celebrity?


You will have to look closely past the mustache and glasses but the Father is played by Richard Kind.
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Perhaps his name doesn’t ring a bell. Although it most certainly should as he has 198 acting credits. Here is the actor discussing his first summer job.

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Pepsi License to Chill Card

Remember the Pepsi License to Chill Card?

As the 1990s rolled around, the Cola Wars continued to rage. Coke and Pepsi would lock horns time and again. One releasing a new product and the other firing right back. It was a great time for novelty in the industry. New flavors and talking cans abounded. This was also the time that rewards cards were really taking off and Pepsi launched its Pepsi License to Chill Card.

The Pepsi License to Chill Card was an incentive and discount card that you could use to claim prizes or discounts at select stores. I had one. Sadly, I never used it, but it still filled a very important role. It added heft to my wallet when it was sorely lacking.

As you can see from the image above, the card was pretty simple. Nice clean design with a distorted Pepsi logo attached to a number that made it look extra official.

What I remember most about the card was the ad campaign. I think they localized them for regions, but I clearly remember the beach theme. These ads remind us that it is a non-stop party in Pepsi town and everyone is invited. Just follow the cool music down to the beach to join the party. Oh, and if you want to get in, don’t forget to bring your Pepsi License to Chill Card. Membership has its privileges.

The card you see above was recently posted on Imgur. I am not sure what happened to my original Pepsi License to Chill Card. I would like to say that I lost it at some epic beach party, but sadly that is not the case. More than likely it wound up in a junk drawer in our kitchen and it went in the trash during a routine cleaning. Sadly, never to Chill again.

Watch the Pepsi License to Chill Card Commercial