Have You Seen the ACTUAL Version of “The Devil’s Gift”?

Spoiler Alert: “The Devil’s Gift” is terrible regardless of the version.

But first, on a semi-related note…

It’s my BIRTHDAY!!!!

I’ll give you all the pertinents:

  1. I’m thirty-five.
  2. I’m aware I don’t look it.
  3. This post is relevant to birthdays.

All of that said…

The Devil’s Gift…Is A Hell Of A Birthday Present!

Let’s face it, we all get that one gift we don’t like. We suck it up and thank the giver for their efforts…then focus our time and undivided attention on something else. I’ve never had that experience (honest!), as rumor has it I’m easy to shop for.

However…

Someone needs to tell the kid in this movie that he should have played with his other birthday gifts. Because this movie would have been over faster!

The Devil’s Gift is a 1984 feature film directed by Kenneth J. Berton, he of the stinker Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders, which is only watchable with riffing and Ernest Borgnine.

For me, that’s probably because my Uncle Sam looked just like him. This is actually Borgnine, not my Uncle Sam.

The Devil’s Gift is infamously known in its heavily-edited, child-friendly form (as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000), and until recently, this was the only version I knew about. I figured, “oh, it’s a short film and it was needed to pad out the runtime of this longer film.” It was version I saw as a sixteen-year-old MSTie in 1999, and several times years later.

Nope.

…and the DVD cover that makes me scream B.S.!

The Devil’s Gift is an actual living, breathing representation of what a truly terrible movie one can make (that doesn’t involve Tommy Wiseau), and how it can absolutely feel disjointed even without heavy editing. Again, not involving Tommy Wiseau.

The original version is darker and more “violent,” but just as cheap, ugly, poorly-plotted and clunky as the version seen on MST3K.

Again, I’m absolutely certain Tommy Wiseau’s name does not appear anywhere in the credits.

Oh, the “Plot…”

Michael Andrews receives a cymbal-banging monkey as a birthday present, purchased by his father David’s girlfriend, Susan. The toy monkey was found among the ruins of a burned-down house, untouched by the damage surrounding it, and brought to an antiques shop, where Susan later decides this monkey is a Great Gift Idea.

And that’s where the fun begins!

*Cymbals Banging*

Each time the monkey bangs his cymbals of his own accord (the first clue this “toy” could not possibly be safe to play with), something happens. And by “something,” I mean death. Houseplants, the family dog, a housefly. And if it isn’t death, it is near-misses involving Michael: a near hit-and-run, attempting smothering, and attempted drowning. The monkey wants this kid dead, and two out of three times, it wants Susan to be the killer. The other time, it wants a car to kill him.

This is a terrible, horrible, ugly, schlock-filled, low-rent film that tries to be horror/thriller, and comes up comedy/Not Thriller. And the ending…let’s just say Merlin doesn’t arrive to retrieve his monkey.

The plot of the film is similar to Stephen King’s short story The Monkey, which is obviously an insult to King’s genius, since this movie is far from the caliber of Stephen King’s genius (it is alleged that the movie is plagiarized from that story). I’ve used “clunky,” “ugly,” “cheap,” and “poorly-plotted” to describe this movie, all of which is accurate. The acting is ugly, the people are ugly, the general look of the film is ugly, and I swear that 1970s couch every grandparent had is prominent in this house. I recall laughing at the riff “Hello, 1970s house” hysterically as a teenager, acting like I totally got why it was so funny.  As an adult, I get the joke…this is a 1970s house. This is 1976 trying to masquerade as 1984.

The runner up for laughs? This scene with riffing…

Upload via WhiteBimboMan

If the guys from RiffTrax ever get their hands on it, I will be proudly claim firsties forking over the cost to see it in the theater. I have no shame.

The Devil’s Gift

Behold, the gift you don’t want, in its original form, complete with home video logos and trailers at the end.

For me, the real “gift” is that it is the 1985 Vestron Video print, complete with that screeching logo.

Anyway, celebrate my birthday with me over a movie about a possessed toy, and that toy’s determination to kill. It’s a helluva gift that you might just say the devil had something to do with…

Admit it, you giggled a little.

Anyway, here’s the ugly truth of a film…

Upload via m1lkm4n

But, if you prefer the equally awkward, heavily edited, family-friendly B-story of a Z-grade film, then by all means, watch the original, if only for Ernest Borgnine.

Come for the laughs, stay for the Borgnine!

Dig Dug -Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Dig Dug (1982)

Friends, feast your eyes on Christopher Tupa‘s Dig Dug illustration! Not only is it CTupa’s pick for this weeks Retro Arcade Art. Obviously. But it also happens to be one of my favorite video games as well. Much like Pac-Man, there are elements of Dig Dug that match maze games. However in this case you are pretty much making your own maze as you dig through a treacherous underground setting.
Dig Dug - Marquee

Dig Dug was released by Atari in the arcades of North America in May of 1982. However it was actually developed and published by an equally legendary game company – Namco.

Dig Dug -Arcade Flyer Archive

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive

Certainly most of you that frequent the Retroist or enjoy classic gaming will know how this game works. Players are tasked with guiding Dig Dug, as he was known in the first game, as you tunnel through the stratum that makes up each level. The character’s goal is clearing out a collection of motley monsters below the surface of the Earth. With only the aid of an air pump to help him dispatch the beasties as well as boulders scattered about the stage.

Using the air pump, a Player will hit the pump button three or four times, which inflates a foe until it expands so much it pops. If you do not pump the enemy until they explode they will slowly deflate and come after you again. The problem is the Pookas and Fygars rarely come at the Player one at a time beyond the first few rounds. The enemy can even travel through the dirt for a sneak attack, trying to catch you from the left and right as well as up and down. This of course requires a great deal of juggling in the later stages!

Oh, the amount of Pookas and Fygars that met their grim fates over dozens of Saturday afternoons at the Showbiz Pizza of my youth. In truth if we counted them all I would probably be brought up on charges by a video game court.
Dig Dug - Characters

Dig Dug was certainly a hit for both companies. Game cabinets being produced for upright, cocktail and even cabaret units. For those of you that might not have seen a cabaret version. It basically was a smaller upright, designed of course for arcades and other locations where space might be a premium.
Dig Dug - Cabaret

Dig Dug didn’t find success in just the arcades. It had brisk sales for the popular consoles and home computers of the day as well. Ports could be found on the Atari 2600, 5200, and 7800 systems. Besides the Atari computers the VIC-20 and Commodore 64 received ports as did IBM PC and TI-99/4A.
Dig Dug - Atari 2600

Besides the awesome artwork that CTupa provides for his Retro Art Blog entries. I am glad to constantly find out facts I hadn’t known. Case in point that the Intellivision DID receive a home port of the game. It was in 1987 though, programmed by Mark Kennedy…when he was working for Atarisoft I should add.
Dig Dug - Intellivision

Apparently Mark added two Easter eggs to his port. One of them allows you to experience a different title screen. The second though lets you play an entirely second game entitled Deadly Dogs. Which is TRON Deadly Discs but instead of TRON and the warriors of the MCP. You are the hot dogs from Burger Time!

That is pretty crazy, right? Now remember that with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s official site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Now that you know a bit about Dig Dug. Why not enjoy this commercial that was originally shown in move theaters?

[Via] Scottith Games

Make sure to also enjoy the earlier entries for the Retro Arcade Art By CTupa!
(Beezer)
(Bomb Jack)
(Devil Fish)

“Found Footage” Gameplay – “Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour”

Of course, this is if you consider gameplay footage you made in 2007 “found footage.”

2007: The Year of the “Yellow DVD”

2007 was two years before I started watching James Rolfe’s “Angry Video Game Nerd,” videos, and at least four years before I started watching any kind of gameplay-related videos. So when I did my own unintentional gameplay video in 2007, it was only because I was recording something for the sake of recording something.

Because, why not?

Last year, I was transferring recorded DVDs I made in the mid-2000s to my Passport drive, and created a file for one of my DVDs, “Yellow DVD.” I didn’t think anything of what I recorded on the DVD until I was looking for a specific commercial for one of my blog posts, and spotted a gameplay video I’d made.

Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour

Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour is the sequel to the 1999 Nintendo 64 game Mario Golf. Published by Nintendo (with development by Camelot Software Planning), Toadstool Tour was released on July 28, 2003, with a Player’s Choice label version released in 2004.

Toadstool Tour has sixteen playable characters, tournaments to obtain new features, trainings, and variations on the “traditional” golf format. There are seven different courses with varying degrees of difficulty featuring various elements common to all Super Mario games. The controls are smooth for even the casual gamer (read: they’re easy for me to master).

The only issue I’ve ever found with control is the short putt (which was a common issue among reviewers). The game was well-received, and as of December 2007, sold 1.03 million units in North America. The game also was the last Mario golf-related game to release to a home console (the most recent Mario Golf game, World Tour, was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2014).

This was a frequent rental at the video store I worked at (I started there in 2003). I got this game as a birthday present in 2006, and it is one of my favorites to this day. And since my Nintendo Wii works again (not sure how that happened, but it reads discs again!), I’m definitely going to be swinging a club sometime soon!

Of course, that brings me to the real reason you’re here.

Do you like gameplay videos? Because I’ve got gameplay for you!

Gloriously Found Footage – Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour

As I said, I found this eighteen-minute video I randomly recorded to a DVD-R in 2007. I can’t give you any reason for why I recorded this, but after working on a massive commercial archive for the last ten years, I see the appeal of finding this video.

I didn’t record any commentary for this, since it’s golf, and well, there isn’t much to say, I’m just going to let you enjoy the video. I’m aware this game isn’t overly retro, Mario and all of his cohorts are classics.

Being a classic character in a slightly more modern time qualifies as retro by association, right?

I guess?

Enough yammering, click play below and watch the glory of luscious green golf courses and video game characters come together for something awesome!

Upload via Allison Venezio / Allison’s Written Words

Do You Remember The Proposed 1984 “My Little Pony” Pilot?

I remember a whole other time in the world of My Little Pony.  It was pre-brony, but just as colorful and cheesy.

Didn’t They Make This My Little Pony Movie Already?

So there’s this movie out this weekend, you’ve probably seen at least one movie poster for it on your way to the bathroom in your local movie theater…

*Snort* I wish.

It’s more like this…

If you type in the exact title My Little Pony: The Movie, you’re going to see two very different posters.  And depending what era MLP you like, you’ll likely react with nostalgic awe toward one, and revulsion toward the other.

Can you imagine that dividing line, moms versus their daughters?

Just Like Her Aunt…

I have a 2 1/2 year old niece.  Right now, she’s not watching My Little Pony in any way, shape, or form, but she has a sippy cup (courtesy of my mom), a MLP figure (also courtesy of my mom), a Ty Beanie Plushie (courtesy of me), and a t-shirt (again, courtesy of me).  The sippy cup was kept at my parents’ house, and my niece loved it so much, she took it home.  My sister-in-law told my mom on the phone a week later that all my niece wanted to drink from was her “pony cup” and she would yell “PONY CUP!  PONY CUP!” constantly.  Kid loves that cup.

Of course, I loved my cup when I was three years old, but mine had a spinning pony attached to the straw! I’ve tried to find pictures of that cup, to no avail.

Me with my brother (my niece’s daddy) at four years old (1986). That’s also the same year I started watching and collecting My Little Pony stuff.

I have my doubts that my niece will see the current (and same titled) My Little Pony: The Movie right now, but when I was slightly older than her, I saw the original 1986 movie, albeit not in the movie theater.  I know I liked it at the time, but time has made it look kinda cheesy, and well, the Cinema Snob made it look downright terrible.  I’m sure in 30 years, this new release will look just as bad.  And of course, the 1986 version will flat out look ancient.

In the Beginning…There Were Ponies!

35 years ago, My Little Pony took the toy world by storm, and it was only a matter of time before the toys became primetime specials, a movie, and then two TV series during Generation 1 (I should note that the original TV series actually came after the movie).  The toy series has gone through several generations’ worth of changes from that point to now, and my mom decided to tell me in a store that the newer generation (G4) is much cuter than the ones I played with 30 years ago (G1). I always knew that she believed they were ugly, but to say these new ones are cute…um, no.

Over on You Tube, I was looking (like my search for the cup, completely to no avail) for the 1984 special which was pre-movie and pre-orginal series, and I came across a promo for it (which was the proposed pilot)..including the special.  And as you know with anything nostalgia, I’m in my glory.

My Little Pony: Rescue at Midnight Castle Promo

This obvious end-of-another-video trailer is for the 1984 primetime special known as “Rescue from Midnight Castle,” and omits the scary part where the ponies get turned into dragons.  Good lord, that scared me when I was little!

If you need something to compare it to, I recommend that scene in The Care Bears In the Land Without Feelings where Professor Coldheart turns the little boy, Kevin, into one of his green servants.  That’s just scary now because the animation is terrible, but the dragons in this special are well-animated and terrifying.

This looks like a marketing trailer for retailers, based on the narration.  In fact, on a Vestron/Children’s Video Library video, this trailer and Rainbow Brite: Peril in the Pits (that show’s pilot) come complete with prices should you want to buy it…

Seriously?!  It’s not like Vestron was this amazing film company. People were buying these for their children – do you know how many kids watched videos until the tape eventually broke?  $29.95 USD in 1986 equals…$66.16 today.

WHAT?!

And don’t get me started on the Canadian price!

Now I understand why I didn’t own any videos that weren’t destined to become timeless classics.  Because this price!

Anyway…

My Little Specifics

Marvel (yes, THAT Marvel), Hasbro, Sunbow, and Toei produced the special, with Claster Television distributing it. The pilot originally aired on April 14, 1984, and was followed by “Escape from Catrina.” The feature film opened in theaters in the spring of 1986, was a box office disappointment, and combined with the disappointing box office returns on Transformers: The Movie (why, I have no idea), resulted in a proposed Jem movie’s cancellation, and GI Joe: The Movie releasing direct-to-video in 1987.

But don’t weep for the ponies! They had another chance when they got their own series! My Little Pony ‘n Friends. The “friends” were a B-side cartoon featuring either GloFriends, MoonDreamers, or Mr. Potato Head, his wife, and their children (the cartoon centered around the Potato Head Kids). The series ran in first-run syndication on weekdays from September 15, 1986 until September 23, 1987, spanning two seasons and 65 episodes. The GloFriends had 27 segments, Potato Head Kids 23 segments, and the MoonDreamers had 16 segments.

Fun fact: The first ten episodes of that series, “The End of Flutter Valley,” (airing September 15-26, 1986) served as the sequel of sorts to the feature film.

Of course, something had to come first, and after quite the search, I found the original special in its entirety!

I also made this. Because I can. :-)

Reaction

Um…

That’s just as freaky as I remember. And the songs are terrible! I remember this plot like I just saw it (especially that Sea Ponies song, which sounds like a commercial jingle), and it has been at least 9-10 years since I’ve seen it on You Tube. Like everything else we loved growing up, this hasn’t aged well in terms of the actual dialogue, but the animation is pretty.

I remember in the original cut, an overly excited voiceover informs us that Sandy Duncan and Tony Randall are the stars of this show! And no, they didn’t make it to the actual TV series, though Randall did play the Moochick in the feature film. As an adult, this feels dark.

And Tirek the Centaur…*shudder*. As for Scorpan, you could feel his humanity trying to surface when he helps Megan and the ponies escape Tirek’s Rainbow of Darkness. And if you can last until the end, you’ll understand why.

As a plot, it works, but the uncut version is the better version. For some reason, the cut version that aired within the TV series feels disjointed when split up. Plus, one of those terrible songs was part of that cut. I hate to say it, but if that was the reason it felt disjointed, then maybe it was worth it?

And of course, there’s a happy ending. Because why not? Tirek is destroyed, his dragons are once again the innocent creatures they originally were…and Ember is allergic to butterflies. And giggling…lots of giggling to go around.

Oh, and bonus points if you remember which of the ponies you had.

Ten extra bonus points if you had the Megan and Baby Spike dolls (I did!).

Of course, if you’d like to see the special, you can! Just click play below!

My Little Pony: Rescue At Midnight Castle

From Daily Motion, Upload via Ponyrokkusu Pony

 

My Little Pony, My Little Pony…Now It’s Time To Say Goodbye

I have no doubt in my mind that today’s kids will have no clue there was originally a My Little Pony movie some ancient time 31 years ago, or how the whole animated world began with a pilot episode involving turning ponies into dragons. They were dark times indeed.

Do me a favor. If a little MLP-loving kid really needs to be shown the dark side of the Ponies, show them this special. If they question it, tell them this is all we had in the Dark Ages.

Get it? Dark cartoons, dark ages?

It sounded funnier in my head.

Burger King Table Service

Remembering Burger King Table Service

My family enjoyed going out for fast food. We liked the price and we really enjoyed the taste. It was not something we did all the time, but when we did, we made an event out of it. So when Burger King Table Service began we were drawn to it immediately.

Burger King Table Service was part of their move to go slightly upscale. It mostly revolved around their BK Dinner Baskets. It was a short-lived experiment. Starting in 1992 through 1994 and ending quickly thereafter. They really did not change the Burger Kings themselves, just the food options and how they served it.

During dinner hours, between 4pm and 8pm, you would order your food just like normal. Then things started to change. They would give you a number for your table and a basket of popcorn to munch on while you waited. Then a few minutes later a person would bring your food in baskets to your table.

Those baskets has a lot of the standard Burger King food, but with some new options on the side. You could get choice of Fries, Baked Potato AND Cole Slaw or Side Salad. I never got any of those sides and stuck to my normal cheeseburger meal. My family on the other hand were thrilled at trying their baked potato and side salads. Although in the end they would going running back to the fries option, but at least they tried.

The basket options, not counting any regional options, included:

  • Whopper Dinner Basket
  • Steak Sandwich Dinner Basket
  • Chicken Dinner Basket
  • Shrimp Dinner Basket

They might have also had a meatloaf sandwich at the time, but not sure if that was a regional offering. I recall the meatloaf sandwich being enjoyed a bit by my Grandmother. Mostly because we mocked her a bit for getting a meatloaf sandwich. For most of the meals during this offer, the rest of my family got the Whopper.

Never got to try BK Dinner baskets the accompanying Burger King Table Service, but still remember it? That is because they had some high energy commercials during their “I Love this Place” phase of advertising featuring Dan Cortese as Dan the Whopper Man. They were part of that obnoxious high-energy attempt to try figure out how to sell to Generation X.

Besides the grating tone, the commercials were good in that they did spell out the exact process and food available. Enjoy this collection of Burger King Table Service commercials.

Burger King Table Service Commercials

Since I mentioned the Meatloaf Sandwich, here is a little commercial about that short-lived gem starring Mr. Baseball, Bob Eucker.

Weird it is done in the same style at the Dan Cortese commercials, but with Euker.

dinner baskets at Burger King