Fan Transforms 1958 Stereo Unit Into Derry From Stephen King’s It

1986’s It wasn’t my first brush with Stephen King’s work. That honor of course went to a few film adaptations like 1980’s The Shining as well as 1983’s The Dead Zone. Having said that however, It was one of the first books I read of Stephen King. The first two being his early short story collections Night Shift and Skeleton Crew. I recall vividly in fact my Junior High School teacher praising It and finding the paperback for sale that very afternoon, at a local supermarket.
It - Stephen King

For the next three days I could NOT put the book down. Not during class nor for that matter on the way home on the bus. Furthermore even eating dinner, you could find my nose planted firmly in the engrossing novel. While I am and always shall be a Stephen King fan – no book has captured my attention so much so like It. Until the publication of 2013’s Joyland that is!

Read: Check out my review of Joyland

When I was growing up – almost to the point of High School. We weren’t fortunate enough to have a bathroom with a shower. So for most of my young life I washed my hair in the bathroom sink. An act that I admit I was quite hesitant to do after reading King’s book…for fear of looking into the drain and finding something looking back at me!

Read: Speaking of fear – check out this vintage American Express commercial to see what scared Stephen King

Imagine my surprise and delight when the other day I stumbled across the lavish work of Kassiopeya. Who took it upon herself to craft a magnificent piece of artwork entitled Welcome to Derry. This was done by converting a 1958 stereo unit into the facade of the bright and sunlit town of Derry. As well as when the cabinet doors are opened, presenting the dark and festering domain of Pennywise.

It - Welcome to Derry

All images courtesy of Kassiopeya.


To say that Kassiopeya lovingly included scores of detail from the 1986 novel itself is an understatement. I’ve rarely seen such a work of art that has taken my very breath away as Welcome to Derry has. Don’t take my word for it – gaze on this small sampling yourself.


As I’ve already mentioned, the artist made sure to include the dangers below Derry.


Of the project itself, Kassiopeya has said of it:
“My Derry – including its underground world of the sewers – is now integrated in that furniture. The novel, with all its references to Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Fifties has merged into a whole with that furniture, and has become part of it. The surface represents the romantic sight of a Derry street bathed in the golden light of a late summer day. Only when you flip open the cabinet door you do see what is underneath: The sewage pipes way down below… in the green glowing light of the deadlights.”

I implore you fans of It to immediately follow the link to Kassiopeya’s website – there you will find so many more photos of Welcome to Derry. Now if you will excuse me I believe I must revisit Derry myself by rereading the book once again!

On the other hand I suppose I could go ahead and watch the 1990 miniseries for It

Ethel Merman

In 1979 Ethel Merman Performed Disco On Kids Are People Too?

While this post is certainly about Ethel Merman and her foray into the disco craze. It was in fact brought about thanks to finding this ad in a 1979 TV Guide. For the 1972 to 1982 Saturday Morning variety show, Kids Are People Too.

[Via] Howie Zeidman
Ethel Merman

Sadly I’ve not been lucky enough to find any of that Christopher Reeve segment online. Although at the very least we do have the Ethel Merman disco rendition of Alexander’s Ragtime Band! I am afraid however that you will have to follow the link here to see that particular TV broadcast. Having said that I am happy to say that you can see her perform the same number on this segment of Johnny Carson.

[Via] Alan Eichler

Read: Speaking of Christopher Reeve, Check Out This 1978 Behind The Scenes Photo From Superman!

I will admit that we use the term legendary a little too freely these days. However in regards to Ethel Merman there is no other way to describe the woman. Born Ethel Agnes Zimmerman in 1908 – of course she swore it was 1912. Ethel Merman ended up altering her name because of fears it wouldn’t fit on a marquee very easily. Merman found success thanks to her comedic style, bold and strong character, as well as her iconic voice.

[Via] Congobeat

Ethel Merman started making a name for herself after performing as a singer for Jimmy Durante. In fact the two would form a lifelong bond of friendship from this working experience.

Read: You Might Recall The Jimmy Durante Character From Crispy Critters Cereal

Soon she became a Broadway star after appearing in the Gershwin musical Girl Crazy in 1930. A role that audiences and critics took notice of – not to mention running for 272 performances. Although she would appear in numerous movies and TV shows throughout her life, it was most certainly Broadway where she reigned supreme.

Ethel Merman - Disco Album
In 1979, at the ripe old age of seventy-one, Ethel was naturally still going strong. Which is when of course she decided to release The Ethel Merman Disco Album. Featuring seven songs that she was well known for:

  • There’s No Business Like Show Business
  • Everything’s Coming Up Roses
  • I Get a Kick Out of You
  • Something for the Boys
  • Some People
  • Alexander’s Ragtime Band
  • I Got Rhythm

It has been said that Ethel literally recorded all seven songs for the album – in one take each. The disco arraingement was added in afterwards, which might have resulted in the rather negative reviews. I can’t speak to any of that as perhaps I just love Ethel Merman too much to care?

[Via] Thierry Alexandre

Re-Animator

Fright-Rags Gives Life To Re-Animator Trading Cards

When it comes to 1985’s Re-Animator I can say humbly that I am a fanatic. Not only did it plant the seed that would make me a lifelong fan of H.P. Lovecraft. But it also happened to be one of my first two video rentals back in the day. Furthermore Re-Animator is easily one of my favorite horror films of all time.

Read: One of My Very First Posts Was a Review of Re-Animator

There is a lot to love about Re-Animator. From Stuart Gordon’s excellent directing to the gruesome practical gore effects that abound. I would have to say though in addition to all of that what truly elevates this film to classic status is the cast. From the likes of Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott, David Gale, and Robert Sampson. Each and every one shine brightly in their role but it is however Jeffrey Combs as the disturbed Herbert West that steals the show.

Re-Animator certainly earned it’s cult movie status and has through the years managed to grow beyond that. So much so that Stuart Gordon in 2011 was able to stage the very well received Re-Animator: The Musical.

Read: My Interview With Stuart Gordon And Members of the Cast of Re-Animator: The Musical

One thing that was lacking for us fans of Re-Animator back in 1985 was merchandise. While there was of course many magazines like Fangoria placing the movie on their covers – the offerings were slim. Thankfully there are more than a few companies over the past years that have decided to fix that mistake.

Read: Your Broken Toys Should Beware Monstarz’s “Re-Animator” Retro Action Figure!

Fright-Rags is another prime example. Having already offered fans of Re-Animator clothing items like socks and T-Shirts – they are now releasing trading cards and stickers!
Re-Animator

Not only that, friends. But beyond the the 60 base card, there will be an additional 23 chase cards. As well as an autographed card by none other than Barbara Crampton plus sketch cards by:

  • Brent Engstrom
  • Casey Booth
  • Christopher Franchi
  • Dan Curto
  • Jeff Zornow
  • Matt Tobin
  • Matthew Skiff
  • Nathan Milliner
  • Scarecrowoven

So hop on over to Fright-Rags and pre-order yourself these amazing cards. Heck, if you are feeling generous you might even remember your friends in the Retroist Vault when ordering.

Monster Squad

Behind The Scenes Photos Of 1987’s The Monster Squad!

I believe we have more than demonstrated our love of The Monster Squad here on The Retroist. From numerous posts featuring artwork by the likes of Traivs Falligant to epic apparel by Fright-Rags. Naturally there was also the 70th Retroist Podcast episode – all about The Monster Squad of course!
Retroist Monster Squad Podcast

However we haven’t had a lot of opportunities to share vintage behinds the scenes photos from the movie. Furthermore photos supplied by none other than the Stan Winston School of Character Arts.

Monster Squad

All Images courtesy of the Stan Winston School of Character Arts

It turns out that right after the Stan Winston Studio finished the effects work on 1986’s Aliens. The team finished up on Amazing Stories and then took on the job for The Monster Squad. A project that as you can understand caused quite a bit of excitement for the artists. A chance to play with the designs of the classic Universal Monsters. Having said that though, it seems that also initially caused some gritted teeth. As Shane Mahan explains on the Stan Winston school blog:

“The challenge was to suggest those classic creatures, without really copying them,” explained Shane Mahan, “because we didn’t have permission or the license to use those specific images. So we could do a ‘Gillman’, for example, but it couldn’t look too much like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was frustrating for us at first, because, of course, we wanted to do the original designs! But we couldn’t. We could only suggest those designs. So the Frankenstein monster looks a bit like the Karloff creature; but instead of bolts in the neck, he has bolts in the forehead. There was a certain percentage of changes we had to make to get away from any legal copyright infringement.”

Of all of the wonderful monster designs and I truly believe each and every one of them is great. The Gillman is still my favorite, hands down.

In August of this year it will mark the 30th anniversary of Monster Squad. I have no doubt that something must be in the works to celebrate this film. Having said that it would be hard to top the 20th Anniversary Blu-Ray.

Who knows though? Perhaps we might be lucky enough to get a comprehensive coffee table book? One in which even more of these great on the set photos might be shared. If I learn anything about such a special tome – I’ll be sure to share it with you all. Follow the link to the Stan Winston School up top – for additional photos and information from behind the scenes.

Did you enjoy the behind the scenes look at The Monster Squad? Don’t forget that well put together trailer!

[Via] Mr. Psycho 313

Betamax

Check Out This 1978 Tour Of A Betamax Collection!

Ah, Betamax. There have been many times when technological formats that are sort of similiar must go head to head. Like in the case of HD DVD versus the Blu-Ray format. Of course if you go back a little further there was the competition between Video High Density video discs vs LaserDisc and VHS. And if you are of a certain age you might recall when it was the VHS format versus Betamax fighting for your hard earned money.
Betamax

I wasn’t aware that Betamax actually ceased being made way back in…2016?! That is the truth though – which means it lasted for 40 years. Not to shabby a legacy for the “loser” of the videotape format war.

I was only in contact with a Betamax unit once in my youth. You have to remember this was back when both it and the VHS units were quite beautiful. In addition to being incredibly large with myriad buttons and dials as well as featuring top-loading mechanisms.

As I was saying though – I only once had any sort of experience with a Betamax. This was in 1982 and my Father rented Star Wars. I want to point out this was during the time when renting a Betamax or VCR unit was a bit of an ordeal.

First of all you needed to have the membership to the video store which required the usual identification. However you also needed to literally leave a deposit on top of the rental fee – generally a $100 dollar bill or at least a check if you were trusted by the store.

Now having said all of that, thanks to the Retroist who pointed this video out to me. We can travel back in time to 1978 to visit Ray Glasser. In the almost ten minute video he gives those of us from the future a personal tour of his Betamax collection.

The television and movies in his collection are rather staggering. Everything from Star Trek, to King Kong and the Burns and Allen show, to name a few. So without further ado let us join Ray Glasser back in 1978 and enjoy his Betamax collection tour!

[Via] Videoholic Returns

Now then. You’ve seen the tour of Glasser’s Betamax tapes. But why not watch Bill Hammack aka Engineer Guy briefly explain why the VHS format won out?