Muppet Baby Dolls

Production Quality Muppet Baby Dolls

In 1984, I saw the Muppets Take Manhattan in theaters. The film included a fantasy sequence in which Miss Piggy imagined what growing up with Kermit would have been like. While Piggy sang, baby versions of Rowlf, Fozzie, Scooter, and Gonzo acted as backup singers. For a young Muppet fan, this was mind-blowing. It was all new and I wanted more. Unsurprisingly, I was not alone. This live-action sequence was so popular that The Jim Henson Company turned the idea into a half-hour cartoon program, aptly called Muppet Babies.

While leaving the theater, I noticed they were selling Muppets Take Manhattan programs and begged my sister to buy me one. Much to my surprise she did! In the program was a recreation of the Muppet Babies scene from the film. The photograph was beautiful and it used what I assumed were the muppets from the film.

I have been looking all around my house for the program. Unfortunately it appears to be buried deep in some box. When I stumble upon it, I will share the photo. In the meantime I have something much better to share.

While visiting the Museum of Pop Culture here in Seattle, I decided to try their new Jim Henson exhibit. It is filled with all sorts of Muppet treasures. Two of those treasures are the production quality Muppet Baby Dolls that were used in the photo-shoot for that program. They were in amazing shape. It almost looked like they had never been touched.

While the exhibit has a lot of great items, these two really stuck with me. Only because I would have never expected to see these Muppet Baby Dolls that I stared at in a movie program from 1984 actually show up in front of me. Heck, I didn’t even realize they were dolls at the time. And doll or puppet, I would have expected they were lost to time, but no, here they were in amazing condition.

Gallery of Production Quality Muppet Baby Dolls


See the non-animated Muppet Babies in Action

Paul Naschy Collection

Scream Factory: The Paul Naschy Collection!

Our friends at Scream Factory are on a roll this week. First it was The Lawnmower Man and now they’ve unleashed the Paul Naschy Collection on Blu-Ray! Much like the bang up job they did with their Vincent Price Collections. The Paul Naschy Collection will make fright film fans certainly sit up and take notice!
Paul Naschy

Paul Naschy in fact has been called the Spanish Lon Chaney. In addition I think that is rather fitting as one of his favorite films from his youth was 1943’s Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. A film of course that featured Lon Chaney Jr. in the titular role of the Wolf Man!

[Via] Movieclips Trailer Vault

I bring that up because not only did Paul Naschy also portray a victim of Lycanthropy in 12 different films. But Naschy also was also able to make the acquaintance of the legendary Boris Karloff as well. Naturally Karloff wasn’t in the 1943 film but he obviously helped to make the Frankenstein Monster a cultural icon. The meeting between the two was thanks to the classic TV show I Spy, which was in Spain shooting on location. Paul has mentioned that it was an incredible thrill to meet the actor.
Paul Naschy - Boris Karloff

However the icon was apparently suffering from poor health and rather depressed. Furthermore this would lead to an 2010 documentary about Naschy entitled The Man Who Saw Frankenstein Cry. A posthumous documentary where many filmmakers share their respect such as Joe Dante, John Landis, Mick Garris, and Javier Botet to name a few.

I think you can see why Scream Factory’s The Paul Naschy Collection is so important. They have chosen 5 films from his long career of over 121 roles, playing characters from Jack the Ripper to The Mummy! A sampling of some of his best work and of course as always they have added worthwhile extras.


VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES

  • Complete Uncut Version
  • In Castilian with English Subtitles and English Dub
  • Theatrical Trailers (Spanish and English)
  • Spanish Credit Sequence
  • Alternate Clothed Sequences
  • Still Gallery


HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB

  • Complete Uncut Version
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn of the podcast, NaschyCast
  • In Castilian with English Subtitles and English Dub
  • Theatrical Trailers (Spanish and English)
  • Alternate Clothed Sequences
  • Still Gallery


BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL

  • Complete Uncut Version
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn of the podcast, NaschyCast
  • In Castilian with English Subtitles and English Dub
  • Theatrical Trailers (Spanish and English)
  • Spanish Credit Sequence
  • Still Gallery


NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF

  • Complete Uncut Version
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn of the podcast, NaschyCast
  • In Castilian with English Subtitles and English Dub
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailers (Spanish and English)
  • Spanish Credit Sequence
  • Still Gallery


HUMAN BEASTS

  • Complete Uncut Version
  • In Castilian with English Subtitles and English Dub
  • Spanish Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

The Paul Naschy Collection offers all of these movies in high definition 1080p. You can head out to your better blu-ray dealer today and pick up a copy for your collection. Of course you can also jump on over to Scream Factory and order from them as well.

Lawnmower Man - Scream Factory

Scream Factory: The Lawnmower Man Collector’s Edition

The Lawnmower Man had an interesting cinematic journey. When it was first being advertised back in 1992 it in fact had Stephen King’s name attached to the film. Based on his short story from 1975. Problems arose however when King began to realize the movie had very little to do with his version of The Lawnmower Man.
Lawnmower Man - 1992 Poster

King’s The Lawnmower Man was first published in the May 1975 issue of Cavalier. Although I first read it in a copy of his 1978 Night Shift, a collection of his short stories. The King tales concerns a man who had a rather bad incident while mowing his lawn the previous Summer. Moreover this incident involved a neighbor’s dog chasing another neighbor’s cat under his lawnmower!

I think you can see why the protagonist might feel like letting the yard grow. Finally of course he needs to hire a service and that is when the true terror begins. A large and overweight man comes to mow the lawn and he has a peculiar way of taking care of the grass to say the least. In fact the story was adapted into the Marvel Comics magazine title Bizarre Adventures #29. Furthermore using King’s text and the legendary Walt Simonson’s artwork.
Lawnmower Man - Bizarre Adventures
Lawnmower Man -Walt Simonson
Lawnmower Man - Walt Simonson - Bizarre Adventures #29

I apologize, I got off on a tangent there. Stephen King apparently felt the 1992 film adaptation didn’t have anything really to do with his work. So he successfully sued to have his name removed from all advertising as well as the movie. It was upheld twice in court but New Line Cinema didn’t fix the issue until the third time the author brought them to trial. I found out that King won additional damages as well when the home video release featured his name. New Line was ordered to pay King $10,000 a day for every day they didn’t strike his name from the home media. In addition they had to forfeit all profits earned from those sales.
Lawnmower Man - Laserdisc

Be that as it may, The Lawnmower Man has become a cult film. One of those reasons of course is the then impressive CGI work for the virtual reality sequences.
Lawnmower Man

The story for the film concerns Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) who is employed by Virtual Space Industries. The good Doctor is attempting to craft a software program that uses virtual reality and an experimental drug to boost a subject’s intelligence. In this case it is being tested on Chimpanzees – which of course goes wrong. Dr. Angelo is against the military aspects of his project in the first place and when things go wrong he decides to do research on his own. With the help of Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey), a gardener who is slow-witted but has a gentle heart.

Obviously the movie wouldn’t be very interesting if everything went according plan. While Jobe is becoming much smarter, I would say super-humanly so as he learns Latin in just two hours. The man who quite frankly has been abused most of his life starts gaining disturbing abilities. Such as telekinesis and even telepathy. It turns out that Dr. Angelo’s former “boss” has secretly been administering the aggressive drug into Jobe’s treaments. As you can probably imagine this certainly doesn’t bode well for those who used to mistreat the young man.
Lawnmower Man - Mower
Lawnmower Man - Jobe loses it

So it becomes up to Dr. Angelo to confront his out of control creation in the wilds of cyberspace. Up for grabs is nothing short but the fate of the world itself! You’ll have to pick up the The Lawnmower Man: Collector’s Edition to learn who is victorious.
Lawnmower Man - Virtual Reality

This marks the first time the film has been available on Blu-Ray. Scream Factory has of course packed this two disc collector’s edition with all sort of extras:

Disc One – Theatrical Cut:

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Interpositive
  • NEW Cybergod: Creating The Lawnmower Man – Featuring Interviews With Co-Writer/Director Brett Leonard, Actor Jeff Fahey, Editor Alan Baumgarten, Make-up Effects Artist Michael Deak And Special Effects Coordinator Frank Ceglia
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Brett Leonard And Writer/Producer Gimel Everett
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Original Electronic Press Kit With Cast Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Edited Animated Sequences
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot

Disc Two – Director’s Cut:

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Interpositive With Additional “Director’s Cut” Footage From The Original
  • Camera Negative
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Brett Leonard And Writer/Producer Gimel Everett
  • Conceptual Art And Design Sketches
  • Behind-The-Scenes And Production Stills
  • Storyboard Comparison

So prepare yourself for the coming of The Lawnmower Man on 6/20. In addition you can hop on over to Scream Factory and pre-order your copy today!

The Lawnmower Man demands you roll for initiative!


Lawnmower Man - D20

The Battles of Tolkien - David Day

The Battles Of Tolkien By David Day

The Battles of Tolkien was sent to me a couple of weeks back by Thunder Bay Press. I will say right up front that reviewing David Day’s book on The Battles of Tolkien has been a joy. Day is well known for his previous books on the literary works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Including Tolkien: the Illustrated Encyclopedia, Tolkien’s Ring, as well as The Hobbit Companion.

The subject of that last books is exactly how I was introduced to the works of Tolkien. All thanks to the 1977 Rankin and Bass animated adaptation in fact. The Hobbit was the perfect television special, it certainly helped to fuel my interest in fantasy. To say nothing of ingraining a love in me of all thing regarding Dwarves!

[Via] kierst love

Of course I would have to wait a couple of more years before I actually dived into the books of Tolkien. However thanks yet again to adaptations such as 1978’s The Lord of the Ring and 1980’s Return of the King. I at the very least had a basic understanding of the highlights of the books themselves.
The Battles of Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings Poster

Naturally my love for the tales of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings grew after I had the chance to read the actual books. I dived into them headfirst and spent a month of my youth reading them cover to cover. Although I would certainly have to wait quite a bit longer before tackling The Silmarillion.
The Battles of Tolkien

What author David Day has done with The Battles of Tolkien is create a companion book. A 256 page guide to the battles between the forces of light and darkness in the Middle-Earth. Exploring the real world history as well as other mythology that influenced his writing. Through the 37,000 years of Arda, the name the author chose to represent Earth in his works. You will learn of that tactics of the armies of Middle-Earth and of course the outcomes of those famous battles.
The Battles of Tolkien - The Battle of the Five Armies

I will add these are of course divided up into their proper ages. Beginning with the Valarian Age and through the First, Second, and Third Ages. In Day’s The Battle of Tolkien you will learn of The First War, The Battle of Unnumbered Tears, The War of Sauron and the Elves, and the Disaster at Gladden Fields. To name a few. In addition to the history that Day has included are an artist’s rendition of the maps to these epic battles.

The Battles of Tolkien - Comics Grinder

Image courtesy of Comics Grinder

Furthermore throughout the book are some incredible pieces of artwork from the most memorable moments in the Tolkien books. I realize it is rather odd to point out the beauty of the book itself. But in this case I must. The Battles of Tolkien is beautifully binded in a faux-leather cover. It is much a joy to hold as it was to read.

The Battles of Tolkien is the perfect gift for any fan of the author’s work. David Day presents the useful information plainly and clearly. I would add you don’t have to worry about it being stuffy or the like. It is available for purchase right this second by following the link to Thunder Bay Press or you can as well just head over to Amazon. It would certainly make a great Father’s Day gift!

In closing I should add that in it’s favor. The Battles of Tolkien doesn’t skimp on the battles of the majestic Dwarves!

For a little more fun with Tolkien’s The Hobbit you might want to check out This 1966 animated version by Gene Deitch!

Adam West

Rest In Peace: Adam West (1928 – 2017)

It very much hurts my heart to write that Adam West passed away yesterday. I was stunned this morning when I saw the various news feeds were sharing this information. I had to stop and collect myself for a few moments. As I find it hard to imagine that Adam West, the man who was the epitome of Batman in my younger years is gone.
Adam West

Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington back in 1928. Adam West got his start as an television actor as a co-host for the The Kini Popo Show. A children’s program that aired in Hawaii.

Image courtesy of Neatorama.

It was in 1959 when William moved to Hollwood with his Wife and two children that he changed his name. Picking Adam West as he once said because of how it looked and sounded with his middle name. West would appear in supporting character roles in film as well as television for about 7 years. I would say his most notable roles included his 30 episode run on 1961’s The Detectives. Furthermore he also had a memorable performance in the 1964 science fiction film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars.
Adam West - Robinson Crusoe on Mars

In fact at the same time he was appearing in the likes of Colt .45, Maverick, and Bonanza. Adam West was also busy working in various commercials.

[Via] Shock Cinema Magazine

Including the one that would secure him the lead for the Batman TV series. That was of course as the suave Captain Q for Nestle Quik!

[Via] Jon Ganahl

It was certainly that commercial that caught Batman producer William Dozier’s attention. However there was one actor considered besides Adam West to play the part of Bruce Wayne and Gotham’s protector. That was future Wonder Woman co-star Lyle Waggoner!

[Via] Just Wondering 50

While I personally think that Waggoner would have been fine as the lead. I cannot on the other hand imagine it being as fun as what Adam West brought to the role. Having said that I think we need to share this bit of information…Adam West had to stand his ground with William Dozier on how to play the character!

[Via] PBS

While of course the popularity of the Batman TV series catapulted all the stars of the show into fame. The truth of the matter is that for West, Burt Ward, as well as Yvonne Craig – they were now typecast. Adam West and Ward managed to make appearances in character as a way to make ends meet after the show. In addition, Adam still continued to do guest roles in popular TV shows of the time like Night Gallery, Mannix, and The Love Boat to name a few.

I am sure that Adam West couldn’t help but feel a little resentment however small towards Batman. However that didn’t stop him from lending his memorable voice to the role in numerous animated series. Such as The New Adventures of Batman, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. As well as The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians!

[Via] Hewey 1972

All in all West amassed 193 acting credits. Including playing a fictionalized version of himself in Seth MacFarlane’s long running Family Guy. In addition to lending his voice alongside Burt Ward as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in SpongeBob SquarePants.
Adam West - Mermaid Man

In fact, just last year West alongside Ward and Julie Newmar appeared in the animated Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. An exceptional love letter to fans of the legacy of the Batman ’66. In addition it was also announced last year that the three would team up once again. This time for the upcoming Batman vs. Two-Face. Moreover the actor portraying the character that couldn’t appear on Batman ’66 is William Shatner!
Adam West - William Shatner

[Via] DC Entertainment

I am of course very sad that Adam West has passed on. My own sadness is relieved a little however thanks to the many hours of entertainment he has left us as his legacy. Now I plan on going back down into the Retroist Vault and pay tribute to West. By watching what is essentially a tribute episode to the actor on the 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series

Adam West as the Gray Ghost!

[Via] Tim Geraci