steak-umm

In the Eighties, I had a serious Steak-Umm Addiction

Like many people, when I find a food I enjoy, I want to eat it all the time. Nowadays, I realize that what I am going to get in the “home” version, will never be as good as what I get out. So, I usually just stick to basics and make those foods a real treat when I go out. When I was a kid, I wanted it all. If pizza was good out, why couldn’t I find a decent pizza to make at home? Or why couldn’t I make a homemade cheese steak whenever I wanted one? Because of this, I spend a surprising amount of my childhood savings on food. Occupying a surprisingly large percentage of my discretionary spending (along side video games, comics books and toys).

Steak-Umms were a favorite of mine. While they had been around since the late sixties in some form or another, the modern Steak-Umm really took off when it was bought by H.J. Heinz in 1980. Now I could get the best part of Philadelphia without actually going there and that made me happy as all get out. Naturally my cheese steaks were nothing like what you could get at a restaurant. I usually cooked up a Steak-Umm or two, popped some american cheese on it and served it on white bread sandwich style. Because it felt like something I shouldn’t be able to eat at home, it tasted extra special.

While I don’t buy Steak-Umms all the time, I still feel the need every once in a while and will pick up a box. These days I will pick up a proper piece of bread to serve it on, but I still prefer american cheese when I steak a Steak-Umm in my mouth.

So what got me all fired up for Steak-Umms today? It was this commercial that I found online. It is not the famous jingle version that I can still sing-a-long with, but is instead a more low-key “jokey” commercial that is wonderfully eighties in tone and style. Enjoy and then go get yourself a Steak-Umm.

VHS Force Awakens

Star Wars Force Awakens Custom VHS Cover

There is something about a VHS tape. Something special. Something fun. I used to stock shelves and checkout tapes as a clerk and later manager at my Local Video Store so VHS is in my blood. I’m not the only one that feels that way and the recent upswing in the custom VHS cover game shows that to be true.

Custom VHS? What am I talking about right? I mean, what even is that? Let me hip you to it if you aren’t down already. Lots of people like tapes. They like how they look on a shelf or on the screen. They like how the tape feels, and in a statement that is more than likely the most true, they like the cover art. Dudes like the look of the old style tape sleeve art. The pics of scary monsters, the shots of buxom ladies, the drawings of things that aren’t even in the movie, things like that.

Dudes like it so much that they take it upon themselves to make their own covers of recent films, movies that are never ever going to get the VHS treatment since you know, they don’t make VHS anymore. They do it as an art project or just out of love for the style. For whatever reason it might be that they do it I dig this scene ALOT.

I don’t have the art skills to make my own covers. I’ve tried. It’s not pretty. Other dudes out there on the good old WWW are masters of the craft and sometimes they present their art on facebook groups dedicated to VHS or on other places of that sort. Places where VHS fans hang out. Anyhow, I was poking around a group that I frequent where dudes share recent tape finds and pics of their collections and one of the regular members posted some pics of a group of custom covers he made. He had Deadpool and Mad Max and most awesome of all, Star Wars The Force Awakens.

I had to have it. I don’t really buy things like this very often but man, I was geeked and had to get one of my own. I contacted dude and he was super nice and professional and whipped it out my way a few days later. When it arrived here I was just, dude, I was on Cloud 10. The sleeve it’s self is in the style of the classic CBS Fox style VHS Cover and will fit in perfect with my collection of Fox Star Wars Tapes!

Star Wars VHS Back Cover

Overall I’m really happy with the purchase. As a Star Wars fan and as a collector or VHS Awesomeness this is now one of the centerpiece of my recent buys. I have it on a shelf right now where I can see it as I’m typing this up. It’s so neat, it’s like it came from alternate universe where VHS is still in full effect. I don’t know man, that sure seems like a sweet universe to me. A nicer, kinder,more gentle place where people are kind and always remember to rewind…

Star Wars VHS Tape

If you are interested in taking a look at some of the wares my man over at Afraid Of The Basement has up for sale, that’s where I got the tape from, hop over to HERE to check it out! He has custom covers, awesome prints of spooky stuff as well as his own line of VHS Madness. It’s not to be missed.

Also, make sure to check out my weekly Podcast: The Pooptronics Media Half Hour Pop-Culture Podcast. It’s tons of fun. We talk all about fun pop culture topics, movies, TV, comics, Obscure DC Comics Characters…

(I See Robots…Did AB Silver make you change the name of your show?! – Vic)

Superman the Movie soundtrack

My History With The Superman Soundtrack

The late 70s was an interesting time for me.

I was 8 years old when Star Wars was released in 1978, but I was living in Germany as an Army Brat with my family.

Because of the way on-post film releases worked back in those days, I wasn’t able to see the film until 1979 – and even then, I had to watch it with German audio at an off-post theater.

But I knew quite a bit by then about “A galaxy far, far away…” because of a bootleg copy of “The Story of Star Wars” my father had recorded to cassette from an 8-track tape. This meant I had to endure an insane amount of track changes interrupting my listening time.

Story-of-Star-Wars

Unfortunately, this post isn’t about The Story of Star Wars, but it was important to mention it because that tale sets the stage for the real story – the soundtrack to Superman: The Movie.

While in Germany, we had to drive almost two hours on the Autobahn to find an American shopping center, so our trips were limited to just a few times a year. Gasoline rationing also kept those trips to a minimum. But once we arrived, I was always amazed at the stuff that had been going on in popular culture back in the United States.

By late 1978, I had seen the movie trailer for Superman, but my friends and I had already asked the theater manager about it and were told it wasn’t going to be shown locally for at least two years after it premiered in the states. If you remember watching the trailer for the first time yourself, you really could believe a man could fly…

[Via] The Trailer Gal

A few weeks after seeing the trailer, we took one of our shopping trips to the center of our American universe at the time – Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart. It was there that I saw the album cover for the Superman soundtrack and was struck silent by the cover.

Superman the Movie soundtrack

“Mom..! I have GOT to have this record..!” I begged. It was a double album and came with a hefty price tag to match. My weekly allowance at the time was $1 and this record would blow my future income to pieces.

“You don’t need it,” she said.

I tried to explain to her how the film wasn’t coming to our theater for a million years and I just HAD to get the record because that’s how I would know all about the movie – just like my Story of Star Wars recording had enlightened me in the past.

This conversation lasted the better part of the morning and spilled over into lunch. I even offered to forgo my usual toy gift that my brother and I normally received on these trips in exchange for a copy of this vinyl masterpiece.

I also agreed to never, ever ask for anything else again. I know for a fact that I uttered these exact words because almost 40 years later, my father constantly reminds me of them.

I guess I finally wore my parents down because I rode home with a copy of the Superman soundtrack in my hands and read every name and description found inside.

Somewhere between Stuttgart and home, I began to have a panic attack. Detailed reading of the record jacket and back cover had me silently gasping for air in the back seat of my father’s red Impala. I had just realized that I purchased two records of the movie’s symphonic score led by composer John Williams – not the scripted audio drama I had experienced with my Story of Star Wars cassette.

Superman Soundtrack Liner

I think I listened to that soundtrack twice. Once because I thought it might have some spoken script hidden inside. And once again just to be sure of my failure.

Years later, I purchased the CD re-mastered version of the soundtrack and fell in love with it. My younger self may have overlooked the work of John Williams, but as an adult, it became a constant addition to my driving playlist.

If you have only heard the film’s score while watching Superman, I highly recommend giving it a try.

[Via] Disco Channel

Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre - Scream Factory

Scream Factory Presents: Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre

Scream Factory
In 1974 when Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws was released it made a huge splash, the hardback edition actually stayed on the bestseller list for 44 weeks. That popularity exploded of course when it was released to paperback although critics of the time seemed to have plenty of beef with Benchley’s writing style.

Jaws - Paperback

Then in 1975 Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation arrived on June 20th and took it’s 9 million dollar budget and amassed 470 million in it’s theatrical run. That isn’t including all of the money made from things like t-shirts, posters, and one of the greatest children’s games of all time.

The Game of Jaws

Spielberg’s movie had a lasting impression on me as I still refuse to go into the ocean…the few times I’ve been near it on vacation. I figure as long as I’m not attacked on land by sharks they are more than welcome to have free reign in the other 71% of the Earth. But now this gentleman’s agreement seems to be threatened as our friends from Scream Factory are unleashing…

SHARKANSAS WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE!

Jim Wynorski of Chopping Mall and Beastmaster II fame began this film in 2013 as a Kickstarter. The story for this VERY intentional B-Movie concerns a collection of female prisoners that are tasked to wade out in the swampy forests as part of a work detail crew in the Arkansas bayou. Which I guess means they are working somewhere in the stretch of Bayou Bartholomew which is 359 miles long and even flows into Lousinana. Living in Northwest Arkansas my entire life I find these kind of facts interesting…the film was shot in Florida by the way.

Anyway. This motley group of miscreants are played by the likes of Amy Holt (2014’s Here She Is), Christine Nyguen (The Devil Wears Prada), Tabitha Marie (This film is her first role), Cindy Lucas (Shark Babes), and Skye McDonald (The Bet). These prisoners can’t be faulted for not wanting to do all of this work in their tight t-shirts and shorts and decide to break free when the prison truck they are in is ambushed, thanks to Dominique Swain (Lolita). The real problem with this escape plan is that thanks to a local fracking operation accident…the Earth’s crust is broken through exposing an underground grotto releasing prehistoric sharks into the Arkansas bayou!

Sharkansas Womens Prison Massacre - Scream Factory

Hot on the heels of our escaped prisoners is Detective Kendra Patterson (Played by Traci Lords) and her partner Detective Adam Levine (Corey Landis). Once the prehistoric monsters start picking off people the survivors have to put aside their differences in an effort to survive the attacks of the sharks when they hole up in a deserted cabin. I totally forgot to mention that not only can these beasts traverse the bayou but they are strong enough to burrow through the ground making them…Land Sharks to boot!

Being a Scream Factory release as always you can expect there to be tasty special features which in this case includes:
Audio Commentary With Director Jim Wynorski And Actresses Cindy Lucas And Amy Holt
Still Gallery

The Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD tomorrow but you can still pre-order your copy on the Official Site!

Ghosbusters On The Set

“Cleanin’ Up The Town” The Ghostbusters Documentary

With the reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise scheduled to debut in just a couple of months on July 16th, I feel it’s safe to say that the fever for bustin’ ghosts is starting to ramp up. Honestly I was most excited about the fact that we are FREAKING getting Ecto-Cooler back on store shelves…it doesn’t matter if this reboot is good or not, we have to thank them for getting this delicious beverage back into our hands.

Ecto Cooler - Hi C

Anyway. There is actually another thing to get excited about in regards to Ghostbusters because I was just made aware of the upcoming release of a documentary that has been eight years in the making entitled “Cleanin’ Up The Town”: Remembering Ghostbusters which will feature over 70 interviews that shows us a behind the scenes look at the making of both 1984’s Ghostbusters and 1989’s Ghostbusters II.

Cleanin' Up The Town

Library Ghost

Ghostbusters Cast

Ghostbusters Documentary

While seeing the clips in the documentary featuring the late great Harold Ramis is something I feel bittersweet about I can’t wait until this is released so I can pick it up. You can check out the Facebook Page for the documentary by clicking here.

Oh. For what it’s worth Hi-C’s Ecto-Cooler has an Official Page and it looks like that delicious dose of nostalgia will be on store shelves starting May 30th.

Shatner and Nimoy

Captain Kirk Stole My Bike!

I have always been a big fan of Star Trek. One of my favorites is Star Trek: The Original Series. I really like the chemistry between Captain Kirk, Spock, and Bones. (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley.)

Behind the Scenes - Star Trek -1966

Recently I listened to William Shatner’s biography about Leonard Nimoy called Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man. It was great listening to William Shatner read the book.

Leonard - William Shatner

One of the funniest parts of the book is when William Shatner talks about the time that he took Leonard Nimoy’s bike when they were filming the early episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series.

The Star Trek sound stage was quite a ways from the commissary where lunch was served. The lunch period was only 30 minutes. The cast had to run to get lunch because the lines were long. Leonard Nimoy did not run very fast and usually was one of the last people to get there and sometimes even missed lunch.. Because of this, he decided to bring his bike and ride it to lunch.

Here’s a great video of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner telling the bike story at a Star Trek Convention.

[Via] I Love The Oldies

This looks very spontaneous and not rehearsed. This perfectly illustrates the chemistry between the two actors and one of the main reasons why Star Trek: The Original Series was such a great show.

In the last few days, I’ve been posting a lot of great Star Trek cakes on my blog, Between The Pages. Follow this link to boldly go where no cake has gone before.

Kermit the Frog - Jim Henson - The Hollywood Palace

Kermit The Frog’s Appearance On The Hollywood Palace (1966)

Jim Henson was already making a name for himself by 1966 not just thanks to his numerous television appearances with the Muppets on the likes of the Ed Sullivan Show and the Jack Paar Program but that same year he was nominated for an Oscar with his short film Time Piece. Sadly he lost out to Chicken by Claude Berri but he kept busy with two popular appearances on the hour long variety show The Hollywood Palace, one that featured a new celebrity host each week.

Muppets - The Hollywood Palace

The first appearance was with host Robert Goulet where Jim had Kermit playing a piano when a monster makes an appearance, our favorite frog is forced to perform to an ever larger variety of creatures. The video below is not the greatest quality but you won’t have any issues making out what is going on and you also have the bonus of some awesome vintage TV ads.

[Via] DentelTV2

The second appearance of the Muppets on the Hollywood Palace was aired on April 30th, 1966 and had the legendary Fred Astaire acting as host. This performance finds Kermit being interrupted by a group of glow worms and ends with the tried and true early Muppet performances…things gets eaten!

[Via] DisneyPhilip

That last monster was named Big V and you can see Jim and Frank Oz as well as Jerry Juhl clowning around in this 1965 photo thanks to the always amazing Jim Henson’s Red Book.

Image courtesy of Jim Henson's Red Book.

Image courtesy of Jim Henson’s Red Book.