Popeye Met The Defenders Of The Earth In 1972?!

Back in 1985 one of my favorite animated series was Defenders of the Earth. Numerous times on The Retroist I’ve mentioned my fondness for pulp characters. Of heroes of the Golden Age – like The Shadow, The Phantom and others.

Thanks in fact to the 1980 Flash Gordon film. I came across an old collection of comic strips from King Features Syndicate at my local library. Which is of course how I was introduced to the likes of Mandrake the Magician and Lothar. Which like The Phantom was a creation of Lee Falk as well. They even had old Popeye collections from the E.C. Segar strip days!
Popeye

So you can easily imagine my joy when the Defenders of the Earth series debuted one morning. Bear in mind that if you didn’t have access to a TV Guide you were generally caught unawares about a new animated weekday show.

Themecstasy

Until last night however I wasn’t aware that the Defenders of the Earth had grouped together before 1985. Back in 1972 in fact for Popeye Meets The Man Who Hated Laughter – which was part of ABC’s Saturday Superstar Movie!

[Via] Muttley 16

When I stumbled on this I felt for a moment like I was reading an issue of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Moreover these early Defenders were joined by another King Features Syndicate hero – Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon.

That is not even the most interesting part of it. The group that we would come to know as the Defenders of the Earth were brought together for a very special mission.

The Defenders of the Earth circa 1972.

In Popeye Meets The Man Who Hated Laughter, the US government asked the team to locate missing comic strip characters. Such as Blondie and Dagwood.

Beetle Bailey and Sarge.

As well as Popeye and Olive Oyl of course!

To say nothing of characters from Henry, Hi and Lois, Tiger and Prince Valiant. In addition to Bringing Up Father, Little Iodine, Snuffy Smith, and more.

Popeye Meets the Man Who Hated Laughter concerns itself with the villainous Professor Morbid Grimsby. A wretch who plans on banishing all laughter in the world – aided by a super computer as well as Popeye’s nemesis, Brutus. Inviting the cast of comic strip superstars aboard a yacht – the S.S. Hilarious. Taking them to the island hideaway of Professor Grimsby, where they will be his prisoners.

It’s up to the proto-Defenders of the Earth to locate the missing characters. Now in view of just how awesome this TV special really is, I should warn you about something. The sound isn’t that good. But in all honesty we are all incredibly lucky that Stupid Dim Bulb was able to upload this rare 1972 movie.

While it would take the Defenders of the Earth 13 years in fact to return to animation. Popeye was back in action in 1978 with The All New Popeye Hour!

[Via] Cartoons Intro

Alien - Board Game

Did You Play 1979’s Alien Board Game?

When it comes to merchandise for 1979’s masterpiece Alien. I feel the epitome of surprise comes from the fact that Kenner released an action figure. While Star Wars showed that kids loved science fiction toys – Alien was a horror film set in space. To say nothing that it was rated R, so it was kind of crazy that Kenner made an 18-inch figure in the first place.

[Via] Hitmon Tom

That is kind of a well known product. I certainly recall a bit of outrage from parent groups. As well as Siskel and Ebert showing off the figure – they too were dismayed and a little upset that Kenner made them. Of course now days those figures are highly sought after and demand a pretty penny from collectors.

As I’ve already said – I knew about the 18-inch action figure. What I didn’t know was just how far Kenner went with the marketing of the film. Releasing an Alien board game designed for children ages 7 and up?!
Alien - Board Game Objective

Players pick their favorite color, collecting three astronauts and one Xenomorph matching their color.

The Player of course is trying to lead their astronauts to the Nostromo’s escape shuttle – the Narcissus. Which is located in the center of the game board.

Fun fact. In the late great Dan O’Bannon’s original screenplay, the shuttle went by an entirely different name. It was simply called the Snark 2. The shuttle being christened Narcissus was thanks to the rewrite by David Giler and Walter Hill. Make sure to check out the really nicely painted images – scenes from Ridley Scott’s masterpiece.

Naturally a Player attempts to guide their Alien towards the opposing Player’s astronauts. Hunting them down one by one – obviously a Xenomorph can’t harm an astronaut of the same color. Thankfully there are some safe spots located on the board where one can hide from the intergalactic menace. Bear in mind the opposing Players are attempting the very same action.

Now that you’ve seen a bit of the Alien board game – why not check out this review by Think Bolt?


In addition you will get a close-up view of some of the fantastic artwork on the game board. Moreover I should add this looks in fact to be a pristine version of the game!

Transporter

Transporter Goes Wrong In This UK National Power Ad!

Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise have faced many grave dangers. Quite a few of them avoided thanks to the transporter. As well as the talents of Lieutenant commander Montgomery Scott. As I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion on The Retroist – Mr. Scott was always one of my favorites.

Equally at ease on an away mission as keeping the engine room running at peak performance.
Transporter - Mr. Scott

Or even taking command of the USS Enterprise when need be.

On the other hand Scotty could take care of himself when action was called for as well. In particular with uppity Klingons mouthing off about the Enterprise.

Mr. Scott was honest and hardworking as well as loyal. These traits sum up what James Doohan brought to the character. Throughout the original series and perhaps even more so in the films – we had a chance to see the more humorous side of Scotty. Although perhaps none more so than with this 1990 TV commercial for the UK’s now defunct National Power. Check it out for yourself and see what shenanigans occur when Kirk presses Scotty for more power.

[Via] Captain Simpson

That is seriously one of the more humorous commercials I’ve had the pleasure of watching. In particular I enjoyed the reactions of the two away team members that are stranded. I would also add that it appears that both William Shatner and James Doohan had fun while shooting the ad.

Don’t you think that Kirk might behave himself better though if this transporter body mix-up were to take place…yeah…probably not.

Now that you’ve enjoyed the comedy of a transporter mishap. This is the part where I remind you…it wouldn’t be that funny in real life.

[Via] Cole

Wow. That was something of a downer, huh? So to lift our spirits – here is Mr. Scott with a special message.

Tom Wopat And John Schneider Sing “Good Ol’ Boys”!

“Good Ol’ Boys”, which was the name of the theme song for The Dukes of Hazzard . Might possibly be in my top ten favorithe television theme songs of all time. In addition to being rather catchy – it didn’t hurt that Waylon Jennings wrote and performed it.
Good Ol' Boys - Waylon Jennings

In fact that very theme really kind of told a new viewer everything they needed to know about the show.

While my Family was a huge fan of the TV series – we never obtained the single. Furthermore I don’t believe I actually knew their was a single released for it all. I certainly would have expected to see it carried at our local Walmart back in the day.

“Good Ol’ Boys” actually hit #1 on the American Country charts in 1980. As well as reaching #21 on Billboard’s Hot 100 according to The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn.

In addition I feel I should add that I never knew that Bo (Schneider) and Luke(Wopat) Duke were singers and musicians themselves. That appears to be the case however thanks to this vintage performance from TNN. Sobchakvideos who uploaded this video on YouTube states this took place in 1993.

So the question is…are Wopat and Schneider any good? By all means they certainly are. The duo start “Good Ol’ Boys” slow and perhaps even reverently. But after about a minute they kick into high gear to an appreciative and packed house!

Now that you’ve heard Tom and John sing “Good Ol’ Boys” why not check out when Roy Orbison visited The Dukes of Hazzard?

Roy Orbison

Retro New Year's Eve

Vic Sage’s Retro New Year’s Eve 2016!

When you work at an arcade in this day and age, a retro New Year’s Eve is to be expected, right? Over the last couple of years I have been glad to share with you the Holiday event at the Arkadia Retrocade. What better way to celebrate a retro New Year’s Eve than being surrounded by vintage games.
Retro New Year's Eve - 2016

For the many fans of the Golden Age of arcade games, this is most certainly the place to be. Especially on a New Year’s Eve. From my previous posts for the Holiday you might recall that I try to bring something special as well. I am referring of course to the vintage Kool-Aid, nay, that sweet nectar of the Gods. The Great Bluedini!

While I do in fact still possess a precious few of those Great Bluedini packs I bought 26 years ago. Like the previous year I had to turn to e*Bay for help to make sure I had enough. And let me expain that I insist on using only the vintage Kool-Aid packets to make the delicious beverage. Although having said that…it’s getting harder and more expensive to do so every year. But it is all worth it for the Players to be able to enjoy five gallons of the greatest Kool-Aid flavor ever created!

Friends, I don’t believe I’ve ever shared this bit of info before. But back in my youth I had another name for the Great Bluedini. I called it the Pure Source – in reference to 1982’s TRON of course.

Anyway, there was a bit of a hiccup in this retro New Year’s Eve plan…I had to work at the hotel. I was not happy about this to say the least. But that is part of being an ‘adult’ I suppose. So I made sure that the Great Bluedini was dropped off at the arcade before work.

In addition I enjoyed some of the tasty beverage with some very special people at the arcade. The Retroist’s own Gary Burton with our good friend, Alex.

One of my fellow concession employees at the arcade, Jonah Bright aka The Iron Monkey. Who I think you’ll agree has the greatest glasses ever made!

As well of course – sharing a cup of the Blue with Shea Mathis. Who you might remember is the owner and manager of the Arkadia Retrocade – besides being one of my best friends.

There is one other thing I had to do differently this year, while dropping off the Great Bluedini. In the previous years I’ve made a point of always pulling off the Minus World glitch in Super Mario Bros. After the clock has struck midnight and the New Year has officialy begun. Why? Well – quite simply, the first year we had the retro New Year’s Eve party, there were Players present who had never heard of this glitch.

So in this case, I had to perform the trick to visit the Negative World a little earlier than normal.

With a bit of a heavy heart but a belly full of the Blue I had to go to work. I’m not sure how many of you work the night audit shift at a hotel. But as you can imagine – New Year’s Eve can be a handful. Thankfully the fact I was missing the fun at the arcade was lessened by the photos that were being sent to me throughout the night.

Hannah, Lisa, and Shea supervising the disbursement of the Blue!

So how did I celebrate my own retro New Year’s Eve this year?

By reading Guillermo del Toro’s At Home With Monsters and sipping my own mug of Great Bluedini!

So here is to 2017, my friends. May it be a brighter and filled with even more retro fun!

Retroist Means - Vic Sage

What The Retroist Means To Me By Vic Sage

With 2016 all but at an end. I’m sure like many of you there is a sense of fatigue – a welcoming of the closing of the year. Which is certainly why I felt it best today to avoid the negative. Embrace not the cynicism – however easy that option is but instead talk about what The Retroist means to me.

[Via] Steve Sharp

What The Retroist means to me.

You would think that for a person that can write over a thousand words on Dr. Doom it would be easier. On the contrary trying to put my feelings for The Retroist site down is proving rather taxing.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of The Retroist site is – acceptance. Moreover how I found a community that embraces the very things I cherish. Movies, video games, cartoons and more.
Retroist Means to Me - Buckaroo Banzai
An all-encompassing understanding that what I might find extremely neat. Will in addition ring true with many of you as well. I hadn’t realized I was missing this in my own life until I was allowed to join the site back in 2010. Certainly my friends would listen about my love of things past but they didn’t have the same yearning to discuss it. It was when I began sharing on this site, I learned I wasn’t quite as alone in my appreciation of things nostalgic as I thought.

One of my first articles for The Retroist was a review of the Atari 2600 port of Nintendo’s Popeye. In fact it was the wish for an Atari 2600 version of Kolchak: The Night Stalker that landed me a spot here on the site!
kolchak-atari 2600

Friends, back in 2009 I had decided to throw my hat into the blogging ring. I came up with a place on the internet entitled In my youth, victory was a power pellet. The whole point of the blog in fact was a place to avoid clogging up the e-mail of my friends. Like sharing my excitement over Brickshelf’s LEGO Predator bust!

Image courtesy of Brickshelf.

Thanks to a post on my blog about that non-existent Kolchak: The Night Stalker Atari 2600 cartridge, the Retroist invited me to write for the site. No demands where made on what I could discuss beyond it being a family friendly site as well as having something to do with things retro. I’m not sure I can properly describe the joy I felt at being welcomed by not just the readership but my fellow writers. Many that I would quickly become friends with and still chat on Facebook to this day.

Equally important was how the Retroist treated me when I joined full time. I was absolutely naive, friends. No one had taken the time to explain that you should give credit when sharing artwork or videos. And how overwhelming it all seemed back then. I didn’t know a thing about embedding videos or adding links and such. Every single day, the Retroist would patiently explain the way a blogger should behave. Not once did he lose his temper with me nor anyone who was contributing to the site.

But what does The Retroist mean to me?
The Retroist is quite simply my extended and global online Family. Without a doubt the community here is one of the best. Appreciating the joy of simply sharing the things that are of interest from the past. I cherish it, I truly do. I’ll never be able to properly thank the Retroist for letting me experience that.

Without the Retroist paving the way with his 202 podcasts. I never would have had the guts to attempt Saturday Frights, Retro Radio Memories, Projectionist’s Sinister Tales of Terror, or the Diary of an Arcade Employee podcasts. Every step of the way…the Retroist was there to guide me. Along with others, helping to craft the podcasts so that The Retroist site had more to offer.

At last count there were 14,312 posts on The Retroist. Just between you and me, I believe the Retroist himself has been doing some pruning. As I recall a couple of months back it was in the 20,000 range. Furthermore I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute 3,001 of those posts. Not one time has the Retroist asked for help covering the costs of paying the server fees.

What The Retroist means to me!


I’m kind of rambling here. But in all honesty The Retroist feels like my home – where I belong. Thanks to the site I have found my place in the world where I can be creative…and myself. I think you will see from the earlier posts today by Allison Venezio, Gary Burton, RetroArt and the Nerdy Blogger. They all feel the same. I want to thank them for agreeing to this little tribute today to The Retroist site. As well as to all of you for visiting every day – enjoying what all of us writers have to talk about and share.

Most importantly I want to thank the Retroist. For his mentoring but more importantly for his friendship and letting me be much more than I would be if I wasn’t writing on The Retroist. Thanks for six wonderful years, my friend – I’m looking forward to what we the site holds in 2017.

Star Trek Phaser Battle

This 1976 Star Trek Phaser Battle Game Is Amazing!

The other night while digging up some information on a future post. I came across Mego’s 1976 Star Trek Phaser Battle game. An electronic ‘handheld game’ that is just stunningly amazing. Placing the Player on the bridge of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) to seek out and destroy enemy Klingon vessels.
Star Trek Phaser Battle

Of course it’s not like Mego wasn’t known in the 70s for making quality Star Trek products. Starting in 1974 they began manufacturing 8″ figures. The line of toys included characters that you would naturally assume they would release. Like Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, Mr. Scott, Lt. Uhura, and a Klingon.

Which resulted in the incredibly rare 1975 USS Enterprise Gift Set!

[Via] Trek Movie

Doing a little research this morning I was able to find some interesting facts about the Star Trek Phaser Battle game. It was rather expensive for the time. In 1976 it was being sold for $69.99 which would cost a little under $300 today. So obviously this electronic game had a hefty price tag. It was also quite large – measuring 13″ x 13″ by 16″.

Viewing the vintage television commercial below however…I have to say I think it would be worth it. Take a moment and check out all of the bells and whistles this game had to offer.

[Via] FyberOptic

Thanks to the Handheld Museum we can also scope out the front and back of the game box. While I really enjoy the back of the box – used at the top of the post, with Kirk, Chekov, and Sulu. I admit I get a chuckle out of Mr. Spock’s rather disdainful look at the child. At least that is how I read it.

Box art images courtesy of the Handheld Museum.


“Judging by your score, it is only logical to point out that a game of tic-tac-toe is more your speed.”

While the commercial for the Star Trek Phaser Battle game is impressive. How would you like to see it in action?

[Via] Sly DC