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Grab some popcorn, it’s time for the Kenner Give-a-Show Projector

As a kid in the seventies, I was obsessed with any type of projector toys. Kenner cornered the toy market with their line of GIVE-A-SHOW projectors. Many different versions were released for the over the years for the Kenner Give-a-Show Projector. And many different cartoons earned a spot on the box cover. If it was a cartoon you were a fan of, odds are that you might be able to see them on your Kenner projector.

Kenner Give-a-Show Projector

Recently I found this 1974 version featuring one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons, Valley of the Dinosaurs. This set also contains many other cartoon staples from the seventies including Speed Buggy, Hong Kong Phooey, Fat Albert, Bugs Bunny and more. Pop in some batteries, turn down the lights and start the show by projecting full color slides on a bare wall. Or hang up a white sheet if Mom will allow it. Today’s kids might be bored with something this simple, but it was pretty awesome in 1974.

Every incarnation for the projector was great. If you are familiar with the time a projector is released, you will recognize very quickly the classics on the slides. They look good here and even better when projected four feet high on a wall.

Kenner Give-a-Show Projector Hong Kong Phooey


Kenner Give-a-Show Projector Hong Kong Phooey

Kenner Give-a-Show Projector Speed Buggy


Kenner Give-a-Show Projector Speed Buggy

Watch the Kenner Give-a-Show Projector in action

Listen Long

Retroist Scoreboard: Listen Long And Prosper

Soundtrack fans, there’s one major release this week, and a couple of real retro gems, but let’s face it, the big news is a big box set that’s been eagerly awaited for years. We’ll talk about that release and then give it some context in a moment.

From Dragon’s Domain Records comes a pair of releases that’ll tickle your retro gene: the Harry Manfredini (Friday The 13th, Swamp Thing) score from 1995’s Timemaster (possibly the only film in history to feature Pat “Mr. Miyagi” Morita, Michael “Worf” Dorn, and Zelda Rubenstein of Poltergeist fame in the same movie). Not retro enough for you? Then rewind to 1979 for the soundtrack from the David Cronenberg racing movie Fast Company, a film that was so ’70s that John Saxon was required by federal law to be in the cast. (Okay, just kidding about that, but John Saxon was in it.) The music, ironically, is by Fred and Larry Mollin; you’ll remember Fred Mollin from his music for Friday The 13th: The Series. Dragon’s Domain is a very small label renowned for its deep dives into cinematic obscurity, so both releases are capped at 1,000 copies each. The first 100 copies of each title, both of which ship on March 13th but are being pre-ordered now, will be autographed by their respective composers.

Now let’s roll back to 1995 – the same year Timemaster hit theaters – and simultaneously fast-forward to the 24th century.
Listen Long

La-La Land is launching (from spacedock, no doubt) a 4-CD set of music from all seven season of Star Trek: Voyager, a release that was first announced a couple of years back. That being said, the Voyager box set isn’t really “late”, per se. This $59.98, 4-CD set includes highlights from the episodes Rise, Night, Equinox Parts I & II, Pathfinder, Spirit Folk, The Haunting Of Deck Twelve, Shattered, The Void, The 37s, Basics Parts I & II, The Q and the Gray, Concerning Flight, Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy, Workforce Parts I & II, and the complete scores from the episodes Dark Frontier Parts I & II, Lifesigns, Scorpion Parts I & II, and The Year Of Hell Parts I & II. Wondering where the action-and-Borg-packed series finale, Endgame, is? La-La Land is holding it for the second volume of Voyager music to be released next year. La-La Land rolls out its Star Trek box sets at a slow rate, both so that one property doesn’t take up their entire release schedule, and as a mercy to Star Trek music fans on a budget.

Of course, that Star Trek music fans even need a reprieve between releases is a mind-boggling thought to those of us who are old enough to remember when Trek soundtracks were exceedingly scarce.

The first Star Trek music that was available to the public was 1979’s Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrack, released alongside the movie itself as a single LP clocking in at around the traditional 40-minute mark for vinyl soundtracks. Prior to that release, the only Star Trek listening material was the 1976 spoken-word LP Inside Star Trek, and Power Records’ library of Star Trek audio stories for children, sometimes accompanied by a read-along book. It was exceedingly rare for anything on TV to get its own soundtrack album at the time; a compilation of TV theme tunes wasn’t unheard of, but an entire soundtrack? Television shows and TV movies couldn’t afford the large orchestras of feature films…who would want to listen to that?

In 1986, GNP Crescendo and a few other labels decided to find out. That year happened to be the 20th anniversary of the original Star Trek, which had been revived in movie form more successfully than anyone could have expected. A fourth movie was due in late 1986, the series began to be available commercially on VHS tapes containing two episodes each, and Trek was once again very visible. If there was a time to test the waters of the soundtrack scene to see if TV music would be welcomed, this was as safe a time as any.

Three labels released a quintet of releases tied to the music of the original series. Label X and Varese Sarabande each published two albums of re-recorded music assembling highlights of the original series’ most familiar music, now played by a far larger orchestra than the original Trek could ever afford. But small label GNP Crescendo – founded in the 1940s by Gene Norman for his own easy-listening output – took the bold step of releasing the original recordings as heard on TV in the 1960s. With tape recovery and restoration methods being in their infancy in 1986, the result was an album that presented, with somewhat tinny sound, nearly the complete scores from the two Star Trek pilot episodes, The Cage and Where No One Has Gone Before. Norman’s son, sci-fi/Star Trek fan Neil Norman, spearheaded that effort, and managed to wrest from Paramount the release rights for those episode scores in perpetuity, an almost unimaginable situation now – and a demonstration of how far low a priority TV soundtrack music was at the time. In 1988, GNP Crescendo followed this up with a CD containing roughly 2/3 of the score from the Star Trek: The Next Generation premiere, Encounter At Farpoint, which was also a brisk seller among Trek fans. Obviously, the Star Trek music library had merit.

Over the next few years, GNP Crescendo continued releasing music from classic Trek and Star Trek: TNG, along with soundtracks for the premiere episodes of Deep Space Nine and Voyager, and took over as the de facto Star Trek label for the movies as well, beginning with Star Trek: Generations. The turn of the century saw a downturn in interest in Star Trek, however: the movies featuring the TNG cast had become a poster child for diminishing box office returns, and ratings after the premiere of Star Trek: Enterprise seemed to indicate that the audience was tiring of the saga. The Enterprise soundtrack was released by Decca Records (the label of singer Russell Watson, the voice of Enterprise’s love-it-or-hate-it theme song), while Varese Sarabande released the soundtrack from 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. Enterprise was cancelled in 2005, the first Trek series in 18 years not to go to seven seasons, and the Trek franchise disappeared into a cocoon at the studio, re-emerging as a movie reboot in 2009. Varese once again released the soundtrack for the new movies.

But the re-emergence of Star Trek as a viable media entity also coincided with the appointment of a new head of Paramount Pictures’ music department, Randy Spendlove. A veteran producer who had worked in the studio with U2, Beyonce, and Linkin Park, Spendlove was in charge of licensing music from the various TV and film properties at Paramount. By this point, soundtrack boutique labels such as Film Score Monthly, Intrada and La-La Land Records had sprung up, and with them, a collectors’ market that now wanted to own the complete scores of their favorite movies and shows, not just the 40-or-so minutes that had become the industry standard (and was, in part, dictated by musicians’ union rules on re-use). Unlike his predecessors, Spendlove was more than happy to hold discussions with these labels regarding the musical gems in the Paramount vaults. The first result of this was Film Score Monthly’s releases of the complete Star Trek II and Star Trek III scores.

As of 2009, there were 12 CDs in total featuring original music from the various Trek TV series – three from classic Trek, four from TNG, one each from Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, and two “multi-series” Best Of Star Trek releases from GNP Crescendo. The next two releases of Star Trek TV music more than tripled the number of CDs available from the franchise’s television entries. 2010 saw Film Score Monthly’s release of a gargantuan 14-disc box set collecting almost all of composer Ron Jones’ music from Star Trek: TNG. With the sole exception of the two-part The Best Of Both Worlds, which GNP Crescendo had released on CD in 1991, the box set gave fans of TNG’s standout composer every note that he had recorded during his four-year stint on the show. Two years later, not to be outdone, La-La Land issued a 15-CD box set that put every note ever recorded for the 1960s Star Trek series in the hands of fans, all freshly remastered from the original session tapes. (Since GNP Crescendo had rights in perpetuity to the handful of episodes whose music they had released on CD, La-La Land had to sublicense some of the music on the set from them, at no small expense.)

In three years, we’d gone from 12 CDs of Star Trek TV music to 41 CDs. Since then, La-La Land, in addition to pleasing fans by delivering a long-overdue 3-CD complete version of the 1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture score that started it all, has released two box sets each of scores from Enterprise and non-Ron-Jones music from Star Trek: TNG, as well as one box set each from Deep Space Nine and, now, Voyager (both of those spinoffs will receive a further box set release). GNP Crescendo, picking up on the hunger for Trek TV music, has reissued two of its TNG soundtracks in complete and remastered form (Encounter At Far Point and The Best Of Both Worlds), as well as complete versions of the three Trek movie soundtracks they issued in the ’90s (Generations, First Contact, Insurrection). Intrada pitched in to re-release Star Trek IV, V and VI in complete and remastered form.

Just in time for Christmas 2016, La-La Land released a 4-CD box set of highlights from classic Trek, as well as oft-requested fan favorites from TNG, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, and – for the first time – the complete reconstructed music library from Filmation’s early 1970s animated Star Trek.

Later this year, La-La Land will release another box set, rounding out the music of Deep Space Nine, with a second Voyager set due this time in 2018. 2018 will end with a final Star Trek box set featuring odds and ends from all of the series that didn’t make it into the other box sets – and at that point, according to La-La Land’s head honcho, M.V. Gerhard, the label is calling its trek through Star Trek’s music vaults done…unless, of course, their current negotiations to land the rights to release music from Star Trek: Discovery are successful.

Not counting the various movie soundtracks and their own expanded reissues, by the end of next year, there will be as many CDs’ worth of Star Trek television music as there were episodes of the original series – 79 total. Rewinding to 1986, when it was a huge roll of the dice to put out a television soundtrack at all, the thought of 79 CDs’ worth of music from any franchise, either film or television, is mind-boggling. (Add all the movie soundtracks’ multi-disc reissues to that 79, and you arrive at an even 100. 100 CDs’ worth of Star Trek music. If you can get your head around that idea.)

Furthermore, the success of the Star Trek soundtracks has emboldened the soundtrack labels who have access to the music of other television shows: The X-Files, Batman: The Animated Series, the original Mission: Impossible, 1970s Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, Jonny Quest, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Rat Patrol, 1980s Twilight Zone, Lost In Space, and even relative obscurities such as the 1960s series Then Came Bronson have all gotten box set treatment (in some cases, multiple box sets) now that the soundtrack labels know there’s a market for such a thing. You have Star Trek’s enduring appeal and ardent fan base, and risk takers like Neil Norman, Film Score Monthly’s Lukas Kendall, and even Randy Spendlove at Paramount, to thank for the current healthy ecosystem for classic TV soundtracks.

Next week: more music, and the first entries in a basic glossary for soundtrack collectors.

When he’s not keeping score at the Retroist, Earl Green is the founder, head writer and podcaster-in-chief at the LogBook.com, a site devoted in roughly equal parts to classic sci-fi, classic video games, classic soundtracks, and space history. You can catch him lining up carefully curated excerpts from TV, movie and game scores most months on the Log Book’s soundtrack mixtape podcast, In The Grand Theme Of Things.

Journey Escape

Celebrate Atari Day With Journey Escape And MTV!

The 26th of the month is here once again, friends! Which of course means it is Atari Day. What better way to celebrate than by checking out Data Age’s Journey Escape?

Journey Escape

Image courtesy of Atarmania

While in fact Journey Escape was marketed as a tie-in to the band’s 1981 album of the same name. The game actually uses an original theme with the exception of a rather nice chip version of Don’t Stop Believin’.

[Via] A Personalised Insane Asylum

When Journey Escape for the 2600 was released back in 1982, it flew under my radar. However at the very least by the time I picked up the cartridge at a garage sale in 1983, I was quite familiar with the band’s arcade game. I’m not sure how in 1982 I managed to miss this rather excellent television commercial. Not only is it imaginative, capturing elements of the game itself. But moreover it has the bonus of Casey Kasem’s voice work as well!

[Via] MYSATURDAYM0RNINGS

In the light of having missed the TV ad for the game. It’s probably not too hard to imagine that I also failed to catch the MTV interview with members of Journey itself talking about the game.

[Via] ScottithGames

What was the goal of Journey Escape you ask? It would seem you are traveling with Journey and they have just finished a performance that has netted them $50,000. It is up to the Player to escort all five members of Journey with their money to the safety of their escape vehicle – the Scarab naturally!

The obstacles in your path to accomplish this are many. For one thing you have to guide the band members past “Love-Crazed Groupies”. If a Player comes in contact with one of these they lose time and $300 bucks.
Journey Escape - Love Crazed Groupies

In Journey Escape a Player must also be wary of the paparazzi. The likes of the “Sneaky Photographers” will cost you $600 dollars upon contact. Why so much you might ask? To pay for the film negatives of course!

Also while playing the game you have to beware the “Shifty-Eyed Promoters”. These slightly gangster looking hucksters will cost you a whopping $2,000 dollars on contact.

Now the Player must also do their best to avoid the Stage Barriers. While at the very least it won’t cost you money if you collide with it – it does slow you down.

Having said that though, not everything in Journey Escape is designed to hinder your game. Case in point the “Loyal Roadie”, who looks in fact like a robot. If you manage to make contact you will be granted a temporary invulnerability.

Last but certainly not least is none other than the “Mighty Manager”. This jovial character allows a Player to run all the way to the Scarab without being stopped. In addition to adding $9,900 to the band’s purse.

I certainly hope you enjoyed learning a bit about Journey Escape for Atari Day. I hope you will also remember Atari Day is celebrated every 26th of the month.


Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.

To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O’s site by following the link here!

1988 Oscars

What Won For The Best Original Song At The 1988 Oscars?

The Academy Awards have always been rather important to me. Even as a kid I would frequently be able to convince my Family that they should let me watch them. The 1988 Oscars were no exception. It did mark though the first time I had actually seen all of the nominated movies in the category for Best Original Song.

Which is why I vividly recall seeing the likes of Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli presenting the award. My Father and I were always huge fans of Dudley Moore in fact. Thanks to catching 1981’s Arthur at the 62 Drive-In of my youth.
1988 Oscars

Of course it was equally important to myself that for this particular category in the 1988 Oscars. I happened to like all of the songs that were nominated. First up you had the moving song from Cry Freedom by George Fenton and Jonas Gwangwa.

Parmenides320

After that the second nomination was I’ve Had the Time of my Life from Dirty Dancing. Music by Franke Previtte, John Denicola, and Donald Markowitz. This by the way was the song that my Grandmother felt should take the award at the 1988 Oscars!
1988 Oscars - Dirty Dancing

[Via] BillMJennWVEVO

Occasionally the Academy Awards picks something you wouldn’t have expected. Case in point Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now from Mannequin! The song was by Albert Hammond and Diane Warren, however it was Jefferson Starship that belted out the tune.

[Via] StarshipVEVO

Yet another song that the Academy picked for the 1988 Oscars that will get your feet moving, was Beverley Hills Cop II’s Shakedown by Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey. The lyrics had a little help from Bob Seger who in fact sang the song for the film.

[Via] mugabesunny

Finally we have the song Storybook Love from The Princess Bride. Music and lyrics by Willy Deville. This is the song that I was certain was going to win the award – I just knew it.

[Via] Mark Knopfler

Now that you know who was nominated for the 1988 Oscars for Best Original Song. Let’s find out who the award goes to!

Strange - Blu Ray

Embrace The Strange With Dr. Strange On Blu-Ray!

When it comes to the many comic book heroes and villians that Marvel Comics have produced over the years. Dr. Strange is certainly one of my favorite characters. I think that is pretty evident in the light of how many Super Blog Team-Up articles I’ve written over the years.
Strange

But what makes Dr. Strange such a personal favorite of mine? My go to answer is that he is a deeply flawed character. This is evident in the works of Steve Ditko and Stan Lee back in 1963, with the origin story in issue Strange Tales #115. Which as a matter of fact was his fourth appearance in the comic series.

Before becoming the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange was a brilliant surgeon. Earning large sums of money for his skills and combined with his equally impressive egotism – frequently turned a blind eye to the needy.
Strange

Stephen Strange learns how the other shoe fits when he loses control of his car and crashes. While his life is indeed saved, his hands are ruined and his career as a surgeon is over. Strange’s ego refuses to let himself give up on the notion his hands might be fixed. Burning through his resources, chasing down any procedure that might heal him. To no avail. Which eventually leads him to travel to Tibet where he becomes the pupil to the Ancient One.
Strange - The Ancient One

All things considered while on the negative side, Stephen can’t repair his hands. On the positive side however he does replace the Ancient One, donning the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto. Becoming Dr. Strange – the Sorcerer Supreme!

This origin of course is more or less covered in the excellent 2016 film adaptation of Dr. Strange. Which is available right this second on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere. With the movie debuting on Blu-Ray this coming Tuesday the 28th.
Strange - Blu Ray

For Marvel Studios first foray into the magic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe they chose their cast wisely. I mean can you truly say that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t the perfect choice to play Dr. Strange?
Dr. Strange

Coupled with that you have the acting talents of the likes of Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity), Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes), Tilda Swinton (Adaptation.), Benedict Wong (The Martian) and of course Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale)!

Dr. Strange manages to blend humor, thrills, and more importantly – delivers on the psychedelic visuals of the original comic books. All the while opening the Marvel Cinematic Universe wider – ushering in the supernatural elements present in the comics.

Of course Dr. Strange on Blu-Ray manages to pack in the bonus extras:

  • A Strange Transformation – Open your eye to a new dimension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and see how the filmmakers brought one of comic books’ greatest characters to life.
  • Strange Company – Find out what it’s like for the cast to work on a Marvel film, and how Director Scott Derrickson engineered one of the most ambition, imaginative films ever.
  • The Fabric of Reality – Take a closer look at the movie’s extraordinary sets, meticulously crafted costumes and amazingly detailed production elements.
  • Across Time and Space – Explore the endless hours of dance and fight choreography the actors endured in preparation for their physically demanding roles.
  • The Score-cerer Supreme – Join composer Michael Giacchino and a full orchestra during live recording sessions, and experience the movie’s mind-bending music.
  • Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look – Get an early peek at Marvel’s spectacular upcoming films, including MARVEL STUDIOS’ GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, THOR: RAGNAROK, BLACK PANTHER and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.
  • Team Thor: Part 2 – See more of the hilarious partnership between Thor and his roommate Darryl in this satirical short.
  • Audio commentary with Scott Derrickson.
  • Deleted Scenes
  • And Gag Reel

[Via] Disney Movies Anywhere

So forget everything you think you know and pick up Dr. Strange on Blu-Ray this Tuesday!

[Via] Marvel Entertainment