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Batman Return of the Caped Crusaders - Warner Bros.

New Trailer For Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders Is Simply Fantastic!

Starting digitally on October 11, there will be many Bat-fans like myself shouting at their television sets “To the Batmobile!” as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders – a return to the rather brighter and fun Batman 1966 universe.

Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.


Of course as I mentioned when Warner Bros. released the teaser trailer for the upcoming animated film a couple of weeks back, the real treat is getting to hear Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar return to those characters they made so famous on TV.

From the Press Release:
“Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment take Batman fans on a journey into the iconic past with the full-length animated Batman feature film – Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. The film features the vocal performances of Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin) and Julie Newmar (Catwoman). Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders will be available November 1, 2016 on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD. Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders will be available to own on Digital HD starting October 11, 2016.

It’s back to the 1960s as Batman and Robin spring into action when Gotham City is threatened by a quartet of Batman’s most fiendish foes – Penguin, The Joker, Riddler and Catwoman. The four Super-Villains have combined their wicked talents to hatch a plot so nefarious that the Dynamic Duo will need to go to outer space (and back) to foil their arch enemies and restore order in Gotham City. It’s a truly fantastic adventure that will pit good against evil, good against good, evil against evil…and feature two words that exponentially raise the stakes for both sides: Replicator Ray. Holy Multiplication Tables!

Adam West steps behind the microphone to bring Batman to fully animated fruition. Burt Ward joins the fun as Batman’s sidekick, Robin, giving The Boy Wonder his voice in animated form. And Julie Newmar, star of stage (Tony Award winner for The Marriage-Go-Round) and screen (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), dons her feline ears to bring Catwoman to life.

Rick Morales (LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes – Justice League: Cosmic Clash) directs from a script by Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go!) and James Tucker (Justice League vs. Teen Titans).. Tucker and Jelenic also serve as Supervising Producer and Producer, respectively, on the film. Sam Register is Executive Producer. Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan are Executive Producers.”

There is no word yet however if the animated version of Cesar Romero’s Joker will have his “hidden” mustache…

[Videos Via] Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

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“M.U.S.C.L.E. Things: How Many Did You Capture?”

I spent a good portion of this afternoon playing Pokemon Go with my daughter. A game that inspires young (and old…er) to go out searching for thousands of strange, little creatures that appear anywhere, and “catch them all”. As we played, I was reminded of a time when I was inspired to capture Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere. Or M.U.S.C.L.E. Things as we called them 30 years ago. Except they weren’t virtual nor did they appear in augmented reality. They were real. (Well…physically speaking, of course.) So we didn’t need smart phones, or any kind of technology to get them. We just needed a really, REALLY good sales pitch, an open-minded parent with a little bit of spare cash and a long-winded “Pleeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeee…..!!!!!?????!!!!!” at the end. It was an acquired art to say the least, but I had a few good years of practice under my belt already and the toy collection to prove it.

It all started on a typical weekday afternoon, as I was glued to the TV, unwinding from school. A tradition which included (but not limited to) Transformers, He-Man, Thundercats, She-Ra, Heathcliff and Inspector Gadget, depending on the day’s programming schedule, and usually accompanied with a few bags of fruit snacks. Sometime in early 1986 and right after a Lucky Charms commercial, it happened. This…

BAM! Just like that. INSTANTLY hooked! For me, it was the was the sci-fi aspect that grabbed my 10-year old mind. More specifically, the one pictured in the video at the 21 second mark. Yeah…the infamous Hand. Now officially referred to by collectors as “The Claw”.
Jim Carrey-The Claw!
NO, not THAT Claw! THIS Claw…
The Claw
I wanted it. NO….I NEEDED it! But not just that one. I needed more! Perhaps….ALL of them…??? They were like trading cards….but FIGURES!! These were amazing!! I’m usually no slave to marketing *sips Coke, adjusts Nike hat and grabs a handful of Doritos* but I hadn’t seen advertising like this since the last Star Wars cardback commanded me to “Collect all 92”!! The announcer in the commercial asked me how many could I capture. Well, you better believe that I was gonna answer that call!!!
Sealed 4-Pack
Sealed 10-Pack
A week later, on a routine prescription drug pick-up with my dad to a local Sav-On (before it became a Walgreen’s), I saw them. First, I saw the 4-packs hanging from pegs. Then, I saw the 10-pack trashcans on the shelf.

I thought hard for a while. I knew a 4-pack would be an easy “yes”, but I was feeling lucky that night. I rolled up my sleeves, grabbed that 10-pack and went in for the kill. I didn’t wait for my dad to finish what he was doing and meet me in the toy section as usual. I took that sucker out of the toy aisle, straight to him! I may have failed to mention the smaller, less expensive option, but that is neither here nor there. All 10-packs were randomized figures. There were never duplicates inside the 10-packs, nor did any 10 ever have the same mix of figures. My first 10 were the ONLY M.U.S.C.L.E. figures I had for a few months so they got quite a bit of playtime, which is probably why they are so ingrained into my memory.

                                                                  My first 10
First 10
As with most new toy purchases, these got opened up in the car, before we even got out of the parking lot. The first thing I remember (and will NEVER forget) is the amazing smell that emitted from that little plastic trashcan as soon as it popped open. It’s right up there with a fresh box of Crayola crayons, Play-Doh, and Elmer’s Glue…and equally reminiscent of my childhood. The best part is that you can STILL get that scent from them if you store them properly. I won’t lie…..I sometimes have to open up the bin I keep these in and take a good whiff. Come to think of it…maybe that was their secret all along…Maybe these things were spiked with some sort of nerve gas that…nah, nevermind. If I keep speculating down this road, I may have to give them up, and today is the wrong day to give up sniffing M.U.S.C.L.E.s.

Had I seen these in the store prior to seeing the commercial, I may not have thought much of them. I say that because they were marketed as “Weird, Wild Wrestlers”. Obviously loosely inspired by the Mexican Luchadores, with a sci-fi, Japanese anime twist. Well, even though WWF was a runaway success during this time period, I was never much into it. I had a few schoolmates that were, and I watched the Saturday morning cartoons from time to time, but I was never one for competitive sports, much less wrestling. However, my dad was into wrestling and the occasional Luchador movie that would show up on the Spanish channel on Saturday afternoons. That may be why he was the one who bought me my first set of these. He probably thought they were cool. This might sound irrelevant, but as a parent, I can tell you that this is a HUGE factor in what toys I decide to buy for my kids.

Unlike just about every other toy-line of the time, M.U.S.C.LE. didn’t initially have a corresponding cartoon, comic book, movie, video game, candy, cereal or any sort of other promotional tie-in. That’s saying a LOT for the time period, where EVERY plastic thing that was marketed towards kids had spawned from some sort of other familiar source material. Most toy/80s aficionados already know of M.U.S.C.L.E.’s Japanese (Kinnikuman) history, but at the time-for those of us in the United States-these toys were a complete surprise. Their lack of cross-promotional marketing may be why they were only popular for a few years, but here we are…30 years later still talking about (and collecting) them, which speaks volumes about their influence. A few other toy-lines tried the same tactic, but they never reached the same level of popularity. (*cough*Rocks & Bugs & Things*cough*) I’m sure the low price-point was a major factor in how they were able to compete with the major franchises of the time, and that was a bonus for those of us whose parents couldn’t afford Castle Grayskulls, Metroplexes or U.S.S. Flaggs. For less than the price of a single action figure, you could get about a dozen of these INaction figures. Sure they were smaller, not articulated, and uni-colored but they had other advantages that out-weighed their taller competition.

The BEST part about them was their sheer indestructibility! Unless you took a pocket knife or a lighter to them, these things were practically invincible. Save for a few scuffs, it’s rare to find one that is destroyed, even 30 years later. I did everything to them from freezing them, dropping them from the stairwells, stepping on them, throwing them across the playground, running them over with my bike and even giving them repeated slime baths. They survived my symphony of destruction far longer than any of my other toys. Secondly, with the exception of only 2 characters, all of these guys were nameless. In a world dominated by Lion-Os, Mermen, Megatrons and Sgt. Slaughters…these guys could be whomever you wanted them to be, good or bad! I’m not sure if every kid back then took advantage of that opportunity, but I sure did. I named my first 10 the day I brought them home like an over-joyed parent! Not only that, but I took it one step further and even assigned them special attacks/abilities, too! You can’t do that with real kids. (Trust me….I tried, but my kids STILL can’t melt bricks with their eyes or levitate objects with their minds.)

Over the years, their Japanese canon followed them, and we discovered that a lot of these guys DID actually have names, factions and abilities, but this was long after most of us had grown up. (Figuratively speaking.) I’m sticking with the original names and abilities I assigned to my first 10 and a handful of other notable favorites. These 25 (which includes my first 10) were my star players.

The first one that got his name, was the most peculiar one of that first 10-pack I got; the pyramid guy. Except, it was upside down, and therefore not really a pyramid. After looking at the others, I was still puzzled as to what this…thing…actually was. I asked my dad. He looked at it briefly and said, “Oh, that’s a plumb bob.” I didn’t know what the heck that was, especially at the age of 10, so I had to ask him to elaborate. Well, being a forklift operator, he had worked at construction sites before, and proceeded to explain to me what it was and what it was for.

I could explain it, but I’ll let the Great Wikipedia do it’s job here: “A plumb bob or a plummet is a weight, usually with a pointed tip on the bottom, that is suspended from a string and used as a vertical reference line, or plumb-line. It is essentially the vertical equivalent of a “water level”.

So that’s what I called him from that moment. He also served a very important role in how I played with these things. He didn’t have a special attack or ability like the others, but he was the one who decided who “won” in a battle between 2 figures or even who would choose which ones would “fight”. See…before the wrestling ring came out, I still knew these guys were fighters, and fighters needed a referee. That’s where Mr. Bob came in. I would spin him like a top (or just drop him), and when he landed, the figure that he was pointing at was the winner…or loser, depending on my mood that day. About 6 months later, I ended up getting a new figure in a different 10-pack that was an actual top (“Topspin”) that you could actually spin, so that put poor Plumb out of the referee business. Though, you’ll be happy to know that I did recruit him as a fighter and his special attack was an instant, body-piercing kill for his opponent.

Plumb Bob also became one-third of this transforming space-sled that Mr. Roboto would ride into battles on. (Yes, I even found a way to make M.U.S.C.L.E.s into Transformers!) Here is Mr. Roboto, combined with Archie, Topspin and Plumb Bob.
Mr. Roboto's Space Sled
My second set of M.U.S.C.L.E.s was a 28-pack from the shelves of a Kay-Bee toy store. This time, it was my mother who would be the unsuspecting procurer here. The set I got was #3: Mighty Maulers, and that set contained several figures that would become lifelong favorites. One of which I lost that same afternoon in the bushes of my mom’s work. I went back several times as a teenager, looking in those same bushes for it, with no luck. Sometimes, I wonder if “Trashman” is still lying there…waiting for me to return for him. *Insert sad, cliché, Toy Story-esque, musical montage here*

One of the things I wanted most, and truly regret not getting was the exclusive mail-away poster, which showcased all the available figures. It’s a beautiful piece of 80’s greatness but an original sells for hundreds of dollars these days, IF you can even find one for sale. For now, i’ve settled for a reproduction, and it adorns the backside of the door to my bedroom.
Poster
One other fun thing I used to do with these things is find clever ways to store and transport them on trips with my parents as they ran errands. Stupidly, I never saved any of the 28-pack boxes or inserts, so I was always left with way more M.U.S.C.L.E.s than I had containers for. I used to always push the limits of the 10-pack trashcans, and was once able to get 16 inside of one. However, I only had 3 of those. I tired everything from Manglor eggs to MOTU Slime containers, but I only had one of each of those too. My solution finally came in the form of a routine trip to the kitchen cabinet. My mom had recently started buying Crystal Light drink mixes. (My favorite was Caribbean Cooler.) I just happened to notice that the cylindrical containers the packets came in were perfect, and I had an endless supply of them! I was able to fit about 20 M.U.S.C.L.E.s into each one. I peeled the labels off of 6 of them and I finally had uniformed storage for my whole collection. They were also stackable AND had color-coded lids! I had some labeled as favorites, some as non-favorites, some were “Good Guys”, some were “Bad Guys”, etc. Here’s a vintage commercial for Crystal Light in all it’s 80’s glory:

[Via] Jamie Gee
About a year after their initial launch, M.U.S.C.L.E. figures started to show up in colors other than their original “pink” (AKA “flesh”) color. For some reason, those never really appealed much to me. Aesthetically, they’re pleasing to look at, but they just didn’t fit in with the others that I had already collected so many of.

However, I did pick up one colored 28-pack…and the memory I have of that final foray into M.U.S.C.L.E.dom is one of the best from my childhood. I was on a field trip with my 5th grade class in early 1987. Several classes from a few different schools in the district took a trip to Los Angeles to go see The Nutcracker at the famous Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. After the show, we all walked across the street to a mall to get lunch and do a little shopping. (My parents had given me a $20 bill to spend.) I specifically remember getting a Big Mac meal at the mall before hitting the toy store. Don’t ask me what I had for lunch yesterday unless you want to see the dumbfounded stare of a professional dufus in headlights, but I can sure as heck tell you what I ate 30 years ago!

While eating, I ended up seeing my old friend, James from my former neighborhood. About 2 years prior, my family moved to the other side of town, and I lost touch with James, who had been my partner in crime since Kindergarten. Turns out, his class was also on the same field trip! James and I were the original Beavis and Butthead, so almost 2 years of not having seen him was a long time in kid-years. Needless to say, it was a happy moment…and how did we spend it? TOY SHOPPING SPREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We raced over to Kay Bee Toys and frantically used the last 15 minutes of our field trip to spend every penny we had burning through our pockets! I remember he went straight for the G.I. Joe section, and I headed for the Transformers. Except, there weren’t any that I wanted or could afford. So…my next option was the 28-pack of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures calling to me. It was set #2: Cosmic Crunchers, and it was all of the new, colored versions. I didn’t want the colored ones, but by this time, the stores weren’t carrying the original color any longer. This was my final M.U.S.C.L.E. acquisition, but also my very first toy purchase with my own money. (OK, fine…it was still may parents’ hard-earned cash, but I paid for this at the register all by myself!) *sticks out tongue* So it was a significant life experience to say the least.

From the time I saw that first commercial until that field trip, I would acquire 2 more 28-packs, and 2 more 10-packs, leaving my childhood collection at just over 100 figures when you account for the few that I lost or traded off for other types of toys. Not bad, considering it’s close to half of the entire collection. Compared to the other toy-lines I had in my room, this was the largest collection I had. They also eventually made a wrestling ring toy, which I always wanted but never got. In addition to that, there were several other toys released (and 1 NES video game) to go with the series. M.U.S.C.L.E. inspired several other small, rubbery collectible figurine toy-lines over the next few years with varying degrees of popularity; C.U.T.I.E.S., Battle Beasts, Army Ants, etc. In fact, some toy companies are STILL making similar toys to this day! (Seriously. Look up “MOTU M.U.S.C.L.E.” They are awesome!)
MUSCLE - Masters of the Universe - Super7
For those of you still reading this, you may be wondering if I ever did capture that “Claw” figure that started me down this whole path to begin with. Well, the answer is no. Not in the wild, at least. (That’s collector lingo for finding a particular item through a random shopping trip as opposed to buying it outright on the second-hand market.) I did eventually pick one up off eBay about 15 years ago, as with a few others that I needed to replace some of the ones I had lost or traded off as a kid. I had to buy back about 20 to complete my First 10 and First 28 sets, also. I still don’t have a complete set, nor do I care to. I have far more than I had as a kid simply as a result of buying large sets in order to get the ones I really wanted. My current collection clocks in at 193 unique figures (out of 236), which is perfectly fine with me.

With all the many adventures I had with these little guys, I could write about them endlessly. However, I have kids, and they need to be trained to telekinetically melt bricks in case our planet ever gets invaded by Millions of Unusual Small Creatures who just may happen to Lurk Everywhere. So I should get going now. That…and I’m really craving a Big Mac for some strange reason.

Stranger Things A - Jorge Baeza

There Is Nothing Strange About Jorge Baeza’s Awesome “Stranger Things” Art!

I do not know about yourself but I am seriously craving some more of the Duffer Brothers hit Netflix series Stranger Things – now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want them to rush it and possible hurt what made it such a standout series in the first place…you know…capturing that feel of what it was like growing up in the 80s. All those little Easter eggs of my own youth throughout the show made it mandatory watching more than once but I’m also trying not to get burned out on it.

Which is why I have those amazing two soundtracks to listen to in the background while I’m working but I also find that it helps that there are many artists out there on the interwebs who are showing their appreciation for the show by creating works of art. Just like the talented Jorge Baeza over on Facebook – who has been so kind as to let me share his latest piece with you all.

Illustration courtesy of Jorge Baeza.

Illustration courtesy of Jorge Baeza.


Just take a good look at his illustration. He’s perfectly captured the characters of Dustin, Lucas, and Mike…and of course Eleven at the point she has had just about enough of the ‘Mouth Breathers’ – with a similar art style reminiscent of those classic Little Golden Books of our youth.

Follow that link above to check out even more of Jorge’s artwork – you will be absolutely glad you did!

Saturday Frights Ep 59

Saturday Frights Podcast Episode 059 (Happy Birthday To Me)

Welcome back friends to the Saturday Frights Podcast! Each podcast my co-host, the Projectionist and I will discuss a particular horror movie or horror themed TV episode from the Retroist Vault. On this show we discuss 1981’s cult classic Happy Birthday to Me…and this is the first podcast where we can’t find a middle ground.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in the future or comments, email them to me at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook.

The Music normally at the beginning of our show was provided by Peachy (The Bernard Herrmann of Wales), if you have musical needs why not contact him at peachy@Retroist.Com. And be sure to “Like” him on his Facebook Page before he drives across that drawbridge…

The ending music for the show is entitled “Twisted Toys” and was provided by Tony Longworth, you can visit his site by clicking that link provided or hopping over to his SoundCloud Page!

Theater Curtains
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Directly download the Saturday Frights Podcast:
Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)
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Retro Radio Memories Ep 73

Retro Radio Memories Podcast Ep. 073 (The Fat Man)

Welcome back to the Retro Radio Memories Podcast! Each week I will briefly talk about an old time radio episode before presenting it for your listening enjoyment. Today we have an episode from the popular and long running series The Fat Man entitled “Murder Plays The Horses”! This Old Time Radio show was created by the legendary Dashiell Hammett…although as I explain in the podcast there is some pretty good evidence that he didn’t do all that much on the show.

If you have any comments or feedback for the show you can e-mail them to at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also reach me on Twitter and of course on Facebook.

The music on the podcast was provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at peachy@Retroist.com. And be sure to “Like” him on his Facebook Page before he decides to head down to the track and bet on the horses….

If you would to learn more about The Fat Man make sure to check out the entry on The Thrilling Detective Website.

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Directly download the Retro Radio Memories Podcast:
Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)
Episode Mirror #2 (OGG)

The Projectionists Sinister Tales of Terror Ep 2

The Projectionist’s Sinister Tales Of Terror Episode 2 (The Lamb)

Hello, Dear Listeners! Once more I invite you down into the depths of the Retroist Vault as I choose a short story from my gruesome grimoire of ghastly tales. Each week I will do my very best to ensure you that your Saturday evenings are filled with the proper chills you’ve come to expect. So douse those infernal electrical lights and lean in closer to your radio as for this second broadcast I bring you all “The Lamb”!

Directly download the Sinister Tales of Terror:
Theater Curtains
Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)
Episode Mirror #2 (OGG)

Intellivision - Space Battle

Check Out This 1982 Intellivision Ad For Space Battle

In my youth since I was lucky enough to receive the Atari VCS back in 1979 – our household was kind of an Atari family. There were literally countless hour spent sitting on the living room floor playing the likes of Combat, Missile Command, and Asteroids to name just a few with my Grandmother and Father.

Of course that isn’t to say that I didn’t still want other gaming systems like the Vectrex, Colecovision, and Mattel Electronics’s Intellivision. Especially when television commercials and even ads at the Drive-In were really showcasing the graphical advantage of the Intellivision with their spokesman George Plimpton.

[Via] Retro Commercials Forever
But my Family wisely decided that with all of the money invested in purchasing cartridges for the Atari it didn’t make much sense to add another gaming system to the household. Thankfully those worries of 1979 were pushed aside a couple of years later when my Grandmother came across a garage sale – a college student was moving out and was selling his Intellivision and about five games. She quickly purchased it and quite cheaply and surprised me when I got home from school. The five games were Lock ‘N’ Chase, Triple Action, Utopia, Nightstalker, and last but certainly not least Space Battle.
Space Battle
Space Battle which was released in 1979 had actually began as a Battlestar Galactica game – especially since the enemy ships in the game definitely look like Cylon fighters but as Earl Green’s always fantastic Phosphor Dot Fossils site explains, Mattel Electronics had only secured the rights to produce a handheld electronic game for the popular TV series – not for home gaming systems that connected to a TV. Doh!