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Creature Feature

1980’s Topps Creature Feature Cards

#GhoulMourningManiacs!

Let’s look at some trading cards. 1980 brought us the wonderful trading card series known as Creature Feature or You’ll Die Laughing and there’s one card in particular that holds a special meaning and moment for me. This series was first produced in the early seventies and Topps decided to resurrect the series with some packaging, design and content changes.
Creature Feature

What was better than riding a bike to the corner store to get milk and cigarettes for your stepmother and maybe using some of the change on candy or comics? (Yes it’s true, she wrote me a note in case of any trouble. I’m certain I wasn’t the only kid to have that as a chore?) Anyway, while at the store, getting a pack of Creature Feature cards was worth the effort!

The cards had great still photography of movie monsters in black and white, from the thirties on up to the modern era. Giant radioactive creatures, human monsters, aliens, oh my! The photos (let’s pick the Mummy carrying a damsel) had goofy captions, like “Gee kid, you weigh a ton!” Each pack of cards came with a sticker. The backs of those stickers each had a section of a larger photo. Once you assembled them, they made a photo of a movie monster. On the back of the cards, were jokes and rhymes.
Creature Feature - The Mummy

Which card , even now, has a hold on me and is one of many influences on my writing as the Man of a Thousand Bad Monster Jokes? Any guesses? How about you, the freaky thing lurking in the corner? Ok, I’ll let the black cat out of the bag. It’s number 79. It Came From Outer Space.
Creature Feature - It Came From Outer Space

I’m not a huge fan of the alien on the front, but the rhyme on the back still has me! I can recite it without looking , even now.

“A thought inside my cranium.
This prophecy that I make-
If a monster eats uranium.
He’ll get atomic ache.”

It’s weirdly wonderful and I thought, if I were ever to write a poem, I’d try to write something like that. I understood the mix of monsters and humor from Mad Magazine and Famous Monsters and these cards, but I didn’t have the writing bug or the mechanics of it. Not a lot of eleven year old boys did. Little did I know that I’d have a writing assignment for school that year, that required poetry.
Creature Feature

I chose a limerick for my style and I had card number 79 as my guide or template. I tried to fuse the words with the imagery and I didn’t have it. I wrote the card’s rhyme on a sheet of paper and left it in my desk. I was out sick for a few days and when I got back, the paper was gone. I thought I had to makeup the work, as my limerick was nowhere near complete. But, nothing was said until a month or two later. I was told that my poem was selected for a school anthology of poetry. I was a little confused because I couldn’t recall what I submitted. When I saw what was in my copy of the anthology, I wanted to barf! It was the contents of my sheet of paper- the copied limerick from the card!

When I got home, I tried to explain what happened to my parents and maybe I was so intimidated by them that it didn’t come out right, maybe it would, but it didn’t. They thought I willfully turned in that paper. I got so verbally chastised that I felt like a monster, myself! Oh, I was told that as a plagiarizer,(yeah they jumped that far) I could go to juvenile hall or get fined by the government. Add to that, they let it be known that I couldn’t have possibly come up something so well done as that! My eleven year old brain, writing and vocabulary were simply that of a filthy chimpanzee. Well, that was a fun month. I knew that one day, I would write something of equal value. Ok, it took awhile, but I think I have. In fact, one of my books, “Ha-Ha! Horror,” won an award for humor. A gold medal.

My next book, “Bride of Ha-Ha! Horror,” was nominated for a Rondo Classic Horror award. I’m working on the upcoming book, “Son of Ha-Ha! Horror.” Each book has over 500 Bad Monster Jokes, rhymes, cartoons, song parody lyrics, etc.

Rhymes and jokes like…

Why was Wolfman mad at his health care provider?

They won’t pay for his FLEA DIPS!

What’s the Phantom of the Opera’s favorite coffee drink?

“La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-LATTE!”

It’s raining, it’s pouring.

The old Vampire Bat is soaring,

Across the lake to flee the stakes,

That Van Helsing is carving and scoring.

After all of that, do I love or loathe the Creature Feature cards? LOVE! It’s the only answer. The cards are a form of monster fun and entertainment as well as a reminder of what it’s like to see a path and follow it, no matter how long it takes . To get there and take those steps. Knowing in your heart, that you have what it takes to do it.

If you’re interested in hunting down these cards, they are relatively easy to find, not too expensive. They are a blast! If you need a note from your stepmother for cigarettes, you’re on your own.

Brady Kids

The Lone Ranger Meets The Brady Kids


I have been a fan of the Lone Ranger for as long as I can remember. I used to watch re-runs of the TV show as a kid. I enjoyed watching Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. I’ve seen some of the Lone Ranger movies, and listened to many of the old radio shows.

Thrill to the audio adventures of The Lone Ranger in The Town With No Guns

One of the coolest things about the radio show is that occasionally the Lone Ranger and Tonto would team-up with famous figures from the days of the wild west. These team-ups featured everyone from Annie Oakley to Teddy Roosevelt.

Recently, I saw an ad on Twitter that had the Lone Ranger team-up with the characters from another TV show that I used to watch as a kid – The Brady Bunch.
Lone Ranger

This has to be one of the most unique Lone Ranger team-ups where the Lone Ranger and Tonto meet the Brady Bunch kids in this episode of The Brady Kids entitled Long Gone Silver.

[Via] Brady the Kids

Please take a look at Between the Pages to see amazing pop culture cakes and a neat Johnny Depp version of a Tonto Cake.

Home Alone…With Michael Jackson?!

What do you get when you cross the plot of a then-popular movie, Michael Jackson, and In Living Color? You get a movie parody, of course!

And not just a movie parody, but the sequel we all would have wanted!

A Little Backstory…

The thought of writing about this crossed my mind several weeks ago, when I was watching another In Living Color sketch featuring Jim Carrey as Don Rickles (which I wrote about for my blog), but I had another Great Idea to write about first.

Why Not a Movie Parody Special?

In Living Color did a great (but hard to find) episode of their music videos, they had a live Super Bowl show, and contributed many hilarious parodies, all on top of their regular lineup of characters. Why they didn’t include a movie parody compilation among their accomplishments is beyond me, but what they interspersed throughout the series is indeed worthy of notice.

I remember seeing this one parody of Home Alone involving Michael Jackson trying to “play” with Macaulay Culkin. The sketch came up at a time when allegations came to light that he was having “sleepovers” with young kids, including Macaulay Culkin. Now, we always knew MJ was a bit odd, but there was a time before his infamous trial that we were hearing about this. That time was 1991, and Home Alone Again was the sketch that made light of the allegations.

“Macaulay, Can I Come In and Play?”

Macaulay Culkin (as played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas) finds himself home alone, but he’s got someone who wants to change that…

Michael Jackson!

Oh noes! A Michael Jackson impersonator is trying to woo Randy from Home Improvement!

And he is persistent in his attempts – the parents aren’t home, he’s got naked pictures of his sister (I think this was a reference to Latoya Jackson), they can play with his monkey, and some rather risque as well as sly humor that In Living Color was famous for.

But Not Macaulay is also persistent in keeping MJ out – there’s a Webster reference, a hot door handle, and a blowtorch to the head.

As well as a reference to the Pepsi commercial. Because that happened a few years earlier, and In Living Color wasn’t around to make fun of it then.

Dated references, people. It’s funny!

“Come on, Macaulay!”

MJ finally succeeds in “coming in to play,” but decides that perhaps they can play at his house – there’s the Elephant Man, naps in the oxygen chamber…

“I wanna see you Moonwalk.”

Insert closeup of Not Macaulay doing the famous Kevin McCallister scream, and you’ve got yourself a movie parody!

And you can see for youself why topical newstories make great In Living Color parodies by clicking play!

Uploaded by sbzro

For some reason, Tommy Davidson declaring “I wanna see you Moonwalk!” is as funny now as it was in 1991.

WOOOOOOOO!

Rifling - The Rifleman

Retroist Scoreboard: Rifling through the classics

There’s been no shortage of soundtracks from classic westerns lately, but this week I have a real treat to bring to your attention, a vintage surprise from a label normally associated with audiophile classical releases rather than soundtracks. Laurel Records is releasing a 2-CD set of Herschel Burke Gilbert’s original music from the classic late ‘50s/early ‘60s TV series The Rifleman, remastered from the original session tapes. The 2-CD set includes a 24-page booklet detailing the series’ music and the career of its composer, who also happened to be the founder of the label. The track list includes such gems as a vocal version of the theme tune, which many listeners may not have realized had lyrics all along! TV soundtracks from this era, let alone soundtracks representing the golden age of TV westerns, are rare specimens indeed.

Rifling

The Esteemed Herschel Burke Gilbert.

Varese Sarabande is bringing back a classic soundtrack they first issued on vinyl in the 1980s, this time on CD for the first time: Bob Colbert’s score to the mammoth 1983 miniseries based on Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War. Colbert, a veteran of such TV fare as Dark Shadows, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Supertrain, gave the epic tale of family drama amid the turmoil of World War II a fittingly grandiose orchestral treatment that has been available on LP only for the past 30-odd years. As part of the Varese 500 series, this release is limited to a very, very short print run of 500 copies worldwide.

Even ThinkGeek is getting in on the soundtrack action this week, with an exclusive milk-white vinyl release of highlights from Ramin Djawadi’s music from season one of HBO’s Westworld. It contains only a fraction of the music available on the full-length digital download, but if you like your music for unnervingly emotional robots to have the warmth of vinyl, this is the only game in town. This title is reportedly selling fast, so muster your best robot-like reflexes on the ordering button.

Last but not least, Intrada has put a heap of back catalog titles on sale through April 26th, offering a 30% discount with the coupon code SALE30. Titles you can pick up at unhealable deep-cut discounts include 48 Hrs., The Blue Lagoon, In Like Flint, SpaceCamp, Cat’s Eye, Judge Dredd, Red Dawn, The Shadow, and vinyl releases such as Rocky IV and Clash Of The Titans. Pick up some real classics for your collection, possibly without weeping for your wallet. Hey, you needed to spend that tax refund somewhere, didn’t you?

Before we shut down this week’s Retroist Scoreboard, here are a couple of sneak previews. La-La Land Records has been delighting X-Files fans for several years with elaborate box sets containing highlights of Mark Snow’s scores from many a popular episode of the original show’s run, and now the label is bringing X-Files fans’ soundtrack collections up to date with a collection of music from the recent revival of the series, available for order next week.

Varese Sarabande is taking pre-orders for the May CD release of the score from Barbarella, the first-ever official CD pressing of this score. (There have been CDs transferred from the original LP before, but all of those prior releases have been bootlegs.) Also, the price is definitely right on this one – the music has that unmistakable flavor of the ‘60s, and it has a price tag from the ‘90s.

And finally, the official soundtrack of the human race as of 1977 is about to be made available! Last fall, Ozma Records launched a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a remastered edition of the Voyager Golden Record, the gold-plated LPs that were affixed to the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft before their launch toward interstellar space in 1977. Devised by Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan and Jon Lomberg, the Golden Record is a primer of the sights and sounds of Earth, including natural sounds from many environments, music from many cultures (including the late, great Chuck Berry and Louis Armstrong), and pictorial and pictographic representations of Earth, its location, and its dominant life forms who felt like flinging some very informative vinyl into the depths of the Milky Way galaxy. While the 3-LP vinyl box set ran nearly $100 and is still in production, those of us who, like myself, backed the project at a more budget-conscious level can expect to receive our digital downloads in the very near future. There’s no word as yet on any general, non-Kickstarter-backer release plans for the remastered Voyager Golden Record.

Now, if the Voyager Golden Record had been made about a year later, what are the odds that Earth’s Greatest Hits would’ve wound up including some John Williams tunes suitable for a galaxy far, far away?

Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener Intro

The internet is always spitting out gems. Things that in the past you would have had to stumble upon or dig up are served up to you at the click of a button. Today, I was lucky enough to see this remarkable intro to the Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener from 1990. This themed segment discusses the advantages of picking up the VHS version of the film to have at rental stores.

It is cheesy and well-themed. Featuring a guy in a shirt and tie, who has all the answers as to why Nightmare On Elm Street 5 is a great investment. His biggest issue is that he somehow has crossed paths with Freddy. While other people are easy to convince about marketing items and pay-per-view blackouts, Freddy is not. The Freddy in this video looks pretty good and does some zany Freddy-style gag, but the voice is pretty off. The best of his gags? Freddy wearing a Halloween Freddy mask at the 3 minute and 40 second mark.

Freddy Krueger Halloween Mask

Sure you think you are cool, but are you Freddy Krueger putting on a Freddy Krueger Halloween mask cool?

Having worked in a video store during this time period, I loved when we got videos like this. Not for the production values, but for the promise of posters and cardboard cutouts that we would possibly be getting. These things were valuable currency for a video store clerk. Sadly I was usually on the bottom of the list for such things, but I would occasionally get a gem that I could trade to a friend for something I might want.

I had not thought about these screeners in years, but watching this Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener makes me think it might be time to start a new collection. These screeners have to be out there somewhere, time to start hitting those flea markets.

Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener Intro