Cheap Knock Off? Charlton Comics’ Konga!!

As a kid I loved all kinds of monster movies, even the bad ones. Konga and Gorgo were knockoffs of King Kong and Godzilla, both released in 1961. In the mid 70’s I saw both on TV, then ran across an issue of Charlton comics’ Konga in a second hand store. I saw an ad in it for Gorgo and the race was on to find back issues of both. Even though they were very hard to find, issues were usually very cheap and I had a decent run of them at one time. The primary artist was Steve Ditko, I loved his work, but it is not for everyone, and the writing was bland. Even so, I thought they were fun , considering they were a cheap adaptation of a knock-off. Read a story or two at the Charlton Library site:


[via] Charlton Library

Topps Planet of the Apes TV Series Cards

Well, seeing as how the President has proclaimed this Planet of the Apes day, I thought I would get in the spirit and point out my favorite POTA memory, trading the Topps trading cards based on the TV series with my friends. We had a small group that was dedicated to the show and cards for a short, feverish period of time. Hunter’s Planet of the Apes Archives has done a great jobs of displaying all the cards and the completed puzzles they make. If only we could get the series on DVD or streaming…


Retro Ralston Rocket – Stand by to raise ship!

Flack’s recent post on the Futuro Homes reminded me of another awesome historical space-themed construct, the “Ralston Rocket”. The fun juvenile radio serial “Space Patrol” sponsored by Ralston cereals, put on a contest in 1953 to provide a name for the mysterious “Planet X” discovered in the show. The prizes were pretty amazing, culminating in a grand prize of a 35 foot long steel playhouse modeled after the Space Patrol ship “Terra IV”. To take it a step further, the lucky winning kid would not be bound to playing with this 10,000 pound behemoth in their own back yard, because it came with a custom flatbed truck and trailer!

The Solar Guard website has tons of details on the contest, all of the great prizes and the whereabouts of this and other cool rockets. The site is a bit difficult to navigate, but well worth the effort!

TV Holiday Classics helps to keep a broke Retroist occupied

A few weeks back my wife came home from black friday shopping with a peace offering for me. She had bought me the DVD set featured above, “Holiday TV Classics” and also the “Holiday Family Classics” set. She said, “they were only $5 each. Why dont you go sit down and check them out and I will unload this stuff?”

49 classic holiday TV shows

Great DVD set from Millcreek Entertainment has 49 holiday episodes

I knew that this meant that she had spent every dime I had to my name and that I could not afford to leave the house, so thank goodness I had 42 hours worth of new retro entertainment in my hands. I am almost through the TV classics set and enjoying it a lot. A lot of the shows even have the original commercials intact.

Some of the highlights of this set are three episodes of the Jack Benny show, five Ozzie and Harriet shows, along with a few Dragnets, Red Skeltons, and lots of more obscure titles. Video quality varies throughout the set, but some shows are old enough that kinescopes are the only way they have survived.

As with many “holiday compilations”, some of these are New Years themed episodes and a few are Thanksgiving related. The set is avilable at Amazon for just over $5.

The other set, Holiday Family Classics, has 12 mostly public-domain movies and 27 Christmas cartoons. Notable among the movies are “The Littlest Angel”, “Miracle on 34th Street” (the 1955 TV version), and “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”. The rest I am not familiar with, but will comment here after viewing.

Needless to say I was more excited for the TV compilation, which I can highly recommend!

The Transistor Radio and Polaroid Film … Perfect Together

I love it when two totally unassociated retro icons come together! I am talking about transistor radios and Polaroid film………..

Not only do two worlds collide like chocolate and peanut butter in this cool unit; there is a twist……………………..

Yes, this radio is powered by the leftover battery juice from your empty Polaroid film cartridge. As a kid, I loved to take the empty film cartridge, put it back in the camera and run around pretending to take pictures of sisters in bathrooms and dads sneaking a smoke. Unfortunately I was fresh out of spent Polaroid film when I got this so I had to tape some wires onto the contact of the dead battery / cart that was in it to test it. It worked fine, but alas did not seem to tune in any Abba or Captain and Tennille. Thanks for looking and, yes, I will be getting a new camera. Sorry.