Gremlins Arcade Game - Atarigames.Com

Check Out 1985’s Unreleased Gremlins Arcade Game!

For those of you that listened to the Crystal Castles episode of the Diary of an Arcade Employee podcast in March. You will recall I was going to share with you, actual proof that Atari was working on a Gremlins arcade game! I said of course that I was going to include a link to the video but in all honesty, I forgot. So naturally I felt it was time to make a post about it. Because it certainly looks like the Gremlins arcade game would have been a blast to play!

There isn’t actually a whole lot of information to go on. However, here is what we do know. The game was being developed by Atari in 1985. With Franz Lanzinger of Crystal Castles, Millipede, and Toobin’ (NES port) fame in charge of development.

[Via] NES Guide

Only a prototype exists for the Gremlins arcade game. Other classic arcade sites have mentioned it isn’t even known if the video represents an actual physical prototype. Quite possibly of course, the gameplay we see is merely from the ROM file. Thanks to Atarigames.com – which seems to be down at the moment, we do have some neat artwork. Artwork I might add from what could have been the marquee for the game itself. Back in 1985 that would totally have drawn me to the cabinet like a siren’s song!
Gremlins Arcade Game - Arcade Cabinet - Atarigames.Com

Naturally we do not know why Atari decided to pull the plug. As you will see in the video below, it looks like the game was pretty much complete. Obviously in 1985, the legendary company was suffering from the Video Game Crash of ’83. So even though a year previously, Gremlins was tearing up the box office… perhaps the company felt it better to just pull the plug?

In the Gremlins arcade game, there are three separate levels. With the first level representing Lynn Peltzer’s valiant attempt at defending her kitchen. By way of what appears to be an endless supply of kitchen knives to hurl at her attackers!
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 1

In the next screen, you are playing Billy Peltzer, attempting to traverse the streets of Kingston Falls. Obviously being assaulted by the toothy little Gremlins, using a flashlight to ‘melt’ them. I would assume the arcade game was designed with twin joysticks or perhaps you would become stationary when holding down the flashlight button?
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 2

Last but not least, the third level would have let you play Gizmo. Driving in your Barbie Car through the aisles of Montgomery Ward, avoiding obstacles and a tank in hot pursuit. I am willing to bet that in the game it is supposed to be Stripe chasing you in that toy tank.
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 3

One more thing to pay attention to while watching the video. How incredible the music is that Franz Lanzinger used in the game. It is quite frankly portions of the actual Gremlins soundtrack from the 1984 film by Jerry Goldsmith.

Now then, you know a little about the Gremlins arcade game. So why not watch it in action?

[via] Frank Cifaldi

You probably have Gremlins on your mind now, right? I think this would certainly be the time to revisit the Retroist Podcast on the 1984 film!
Retroist Gremlins Podcast

Mr Skinny Bones - Marx Toys

Step Up And Shake Hands With Mr Skinny Bones!

For a couple of minutes I was tempted to publish this as a Saturday Frights post. As I have mentioned once or twice, I suffer from Pediophobia. The fear of dolls. Mr Skinny Bones from Marx Toys might not be an actual doll but it is close enough. However, I believe that if you look closely at the image of the Mr Skinny Bones box. Even the kids know this is full of Grade A nightmare juice!

Mr Skinny Bones was supposedly released by Marx Toys in 1970. You may not know the Marx brand off the top of your head but I guarantee you know some of their products. First of all the company was hugely successful in the 50’s. One of those reasons of course has to do with how many licenses they secured. The Long Ranger, Zorro, Robin Hood, and The Untouchables were just a few toy sets they produced. Not to mention the likes of trains sets, doll houses, as well as Rock’em Sock’em Robots!

[Via] Vintage TV Commercials

Marx was a toy company that early on saw the advantages of plastics. You know, like Dustin Hoffman was told in 1967’s The Graduate.

[Via] Zahh Man

As you can plainly see from Mr Skinny Bones… the character is very much into plastics. It was a type of construction kit, to create ‘A real posin’ pal’. As a matter of fact looking at the toy itself, I cannot help but think this would be an amazing thing for stop-motion animation.
Mr Skinny Bones - Instructions

Of course you might be wondering what Mr Skinny Bones could be useful for. Besides the obvious ability to induce nightmares in children and middle-aged writers for the Retroist. The simple answer is of course… anything you want to use it for. As I think is demonstrated quite well on the packaging for the toy.
Mr Skinny Bones - Toy Use 1

Mr Skinny Bones - Toy Use 2

By the way, our constructable pal wasn’t the only toy created by Marx for the Bones Family. There was one for girls known as Ginny Bones too. Furthermore they had pets as well, Trom Bones the horse and Ham Bones the dog.
Mr Skinny Bones - Bones Family

I have never heard of the show Thrift Hunters before, although there is this clip of them coming upon Mr Skinny Bones.

[Via] SPIKE

For more on Marx Toys, take a moment and check out this American Pickers bonus. They visited a Marx Toys museum which has sadly closed it’s doors. Some beautiful toys in the video though!

[Via] HISTORY

Mr Skinny Bones - Nightmare Juice

I’ll be seeing you in your dreams!

salton beachcomber radio

Salton Beachcomber Radio

I have encountered the Salton Beachcomber Radio many times while browsing thrift stores. This mid-eighties beauty always makes me pause and with good reason. It was a mini-boombox designed to be taken to the beach and while you get the impression of “beach radio” when you look at it. Upon further inspection you realize that it is all design and very little substance.

Which in 1985 might have been a drawback. You could buy much better radios, for the same price. Now though, the Salton Beachcomber Radio stands out like beacon and after years of passing on them, I finally picked this one up.

The price tag? A whopping $4. Which is pretty good. I often see them in the $10-$15 range in person. Online that price will double. The thing looks so darn eighties that dealers will attach a premium. So pay what you want, but know that anything above $20 is in overprice territory for now.

What do you get with your Salton Beachcomber Radio? You get a decent AM/FM radio with middling sound. But it is really the case that makes this radio shine. That brilliant yellow color, translucent plastic door storage cubby and wide shoulder strap make this a compelling piece. None of those things really please me though like one feature. The tan timer.

Salton Beachcomber Radio tan timer

Are you curious about how long you have been tanning? Well don’t be burned to a crisp. With your Tan Timer, you will know just how long you have been baking in the sun. It’s a magnificent idea that helps this radio earn its beachcomber moniker. The other is this little compartment where you can store stuff.

It is not large enough for a bottle of suntan lotion, so I assume you might put your keys or other valuable in it to keep them free from sand. The former owner of my Salton was kind enough to attach a Leroux Cordials sticker to the door. While part of me wants to try to remove it, I kind of like it as a reminder that this is a party radio.

Salton was a US-based company based in Florida which manufactured home appliances, most notably the George Foreman grill. It would eventually become Russell Hobbs, Inc. In June 2010, Russell Hobbs, Inc. was taken over by and became part of Spectrum Brands.

Epilogue
After one day of use, my Salton Beachcomber Radio stopped working. I made some attempts to fix it, but ultimately decided to put it back into the wild and donated back to goodwill. Good luck you beautiful yellow monster. May someone with better electronic skills restore you to the world.

A Quiet Place - Title

A Quiet Place Is A Wonderful Throwback To ’70s Horror!

Friends, this will absolutely be a Non-Spoiler review of A Quiet Place. Beyond that which can be readily seen in the teaser trailer from back in 2017. However, explaining my feelings on why I believe John Krasinski has delivered a throwback to ’70s horror, this might in fact unintentionally reveal something. So if you’ve not had the pleasure of catching A Quiet Place yet – you might wait to read this until then.
A Quiet Place - John Krasinski

Before I dive into my thoughts on the film, I am going to echo something that other reviewers have stated. Watching A Quite Place was possibly the best theater experience I have had in many moons. The truth of the matter is that I have begun to dread seeing a film with a large audience. I pay my hard earned money to see a movie. Not to be blinded by hundreds of cell phones at the most pivotal moment of the film. Not to have to strain to hear the actors speaking over folks talking, not whispering but having full volume conversations. Nor do I enjoy the seemingly transformation of a movie auditorium into an impromptu session of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Yet, more often than not – in particular with horror films, this is the case. Not so with A Quiet Place. Moments after the house lights had dimmed, an amazing transformation took place. It was as if the opening moments of the film itself had cast a spell on the audience. Due to the lack of speech in the film, the importance of any noise possibly bringing death to the characters. Every single person in the audience was so very, very quiet. No open mouthed chomping of popcorn or crinkling of the bag of tortilla chips to defuse the tension on screen. I even found myself, making sure to not twist the cap on my bottle of water too fast – to avoid making undue noise. It was truly an interesting theater going experience – one that I cannot help but hope you experience as well.

Now, as I was watching the film, it occurred to me that it felt very much like an apocalyptic ’70s film. Along the lines of Damnation Alley, No Blade of Grass, The Omega Man, and even a little like 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In addition, there is also an incredibly strong vibe similar to Richard Matheson’s 1954 masterpiece, I Am Legend.
A Quiet Place - I Am Legend

Plus an element from 1985’s Day of the Dead. You will know the moment when you see it, if you are a fan of the Romero films. It has to do with presenting information to the audience without any exposition. A Quiet Place taps into a dread of everything having spun out of control, through no fault of your own. That element helps you not just feel for the characters but fear for their safety too. Naturally it also helps that the cast knock it out of the park with their performances as well.
A Quiet Place - Hush

Director, co-writer, and co-lead John Krasinski plays Lee Abbott. With Krasinski’s real life Wife, Emily Blunt, playing his spouse, Evelyn Abbott. Along with their three children, Regan, Marcus, and Beau. Who are wonderfully played by Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, and Cade Woodward. Right from the very beginning we are thrust into a world that has moved on. Something horrible has taken place, something monstrous is afoot. Humanity as far as we can tell is gone. Vacant streets, shops, and abandoned vehicles are everywhere. Thanks to some truly wonderful directing and editing, we realize that any sound above a whisper – possibly even that can be deadly. It is a world of perpetual silence.

The film isn’t interested in the big action pieces of the ’80s. Krasinski delivers a pot boiler, a horror film to be sure, but its concern is on the Abbot family. Little touches that raise the film up, like the painting of spots on the floor. A wooden floor, so the Family knows precisely where to step to avoid a single creak. This, besides being possibly my favorite shot in the film, harkens back to elements of I Am Legend as well as The Omega Man. The mundane, the routine chores that become an absolute lifeline.
A Quiet Place - Tread Lightly

In closing, there are certainly elements of ’70s horror in the movie. Whether John Krasinski planned that or not, I cannot say. It is however a very good time to be a fan of horror movies and fantastique films in general. Get Out, It, The Shape of Water, 1922, and more. All quite exceptional in their individual ways and A Quiet Place proudly joins their ranks.

Ready to see the teaser trailer for A Quiet Place?

[Via] Paramount Pictures

Harry Anderson - Cheers - Harry the Hat

Rest In Peace: Harry Anderson (1952 – 2018)

Friends, a little earlier today the Retroist made an announcement, down here in the Vault. It appears that Harry Anderson passed away today at age 65. I have to tell you in all honesty, I sat here in the control booth and had to fight back some tears. You see, Harry Anderson was indeed a role model for me in my youth. Thanks to his role as Judge Harold T. Stone in the hit NBC series, Night Court. I became a huge fan of magic, stylish hats, and of course the crooning of Mel Torme.

[Via] Taxiiggy

I truly idolized Anderson. I attempted to adopt his sense of humor in interviews and roles on television. As well as his style of clothing, soon after entering Junior High School, I was always sporting a fedora. Even his hair style is something I attempted to copy. My Family barber was rather taken aback when I brought in a photo of Anderson, asking him to style my hair in a similar fashion.
Harry Anderson - Night Court

I suppose it was Harry Anderson’s craft in stage magic or illusion that endeared him to me the most. I was certainly surprised that I never caught any of his 8 appearances on Saturday Night Live. However I did manage to see him perform a few times on The Tonight Show. Like in this 1987 episode, where he entertains Johnny Carson and the audience with a levitation trick. One that was developed by Daniel Dunglas Home, an 19th century physical medium.

[Via] Phil Ackerly

Kudos to Johnny Carson of course in that clip for knowing how to go to commercial in style. One of the things I also appreciated about Harry Anderson was his honesty. He never shied away from talking about his days as a con man. A street magician at the tender age of 17. A fast-talker much like the character he played in Cheers. All in all, he appeared in 6 episode as Harry ‘The Hat’ Gittes between 1982 and 1993.

[Via] Scruffy Scotsman

From his roles in the 1988 remake of The Absent-Minded Professor, Tales from the Crypt, Stephen King’s It, as well as Dave’s World. I followed Anderson through them all and was always entertained. It’s hard to lose an idol but at the very least we have so many of his performances left behind to enjoy. Obviously we will dim the lights in the Vault’s auditorium in his honor.

Take a moment and enjoy Harry Anderson explaining how card tricks work. In addition while on the set of Night Court!

[Via] Northstars 007