The Black Hole

Retro Records: The Black Hole Book and Record (1979)

It’s turning out to be a Black Hole kind of weekend. I mean – just look at Earl Green’s excellent Cygnus model post from the other day. A fan made piece of art that blew us away to say the very least. And now in addition we have this offering. The book and record adaptation of The Black Hole from 1979!
The Black Hole

Thanks to this video upload by Old Disney Records we can thrill once again to the exploits of the crew from the U.S.S. Palomino. Crossing paths in the darkness of space with the crazed Dr. Hans Reinhardt and the dangerous Maximilian. Aboard the mysterious Cygnus and the very real threat of the ravenous Black Hole.

I have an incredible amount of fond memories concerning the Walt Disney Productions’ book and records. I still have many of those I grew up with including this record. TRON, Davy Crockett, Mary Poppins, and more. Granted not all of them are in as good a condition as the one you will hear in the video below.

While the book and records were well known in their adaptations of trimming the fat for a story. Of course I will remind you they only had a small amount of time on the 33 and 1/3 records. The fact is the total running time for The Black Hole is a little over 9 minutes. To help in this process the adaptation of the Black Hole cuts loose two crew members of the Palomino.

For example Ernest Borgnine’s role of Harry Booth, the engineer, has been excised.
The Black Hole

As well as Anthony Perkins’ part as Dr. Alex Durant.

Having said that it is still a solid package. Managing to keep the main gist of the story and exciting moments intact. They even use some of John Barry’s excellent soundtrack as well as sound effects from the film.

The most interesting aspect of it is how it tackles the ending of the movie. For those of you that haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing The Black Hole the conclusion is…equal parts terrifying and subject to interpretation.

Now without further ado, joins us on Retro Records as we listen to 1979’s The Black Hole!

How To Build The Black Hole’s Cygnus

The Black Hole was one of the most heavily-promoted flicks of the late seventies’ burgeoning category of post-Star-Wars sci-fi blockbuster-wanna-bes. Back then, the Star Wars universe was not yet a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney, and so Disney – like the rest of the studios – desperately tried to play catch-up with George Lucas’ (and 20th Century Fox’s) blockbuster.

The result was a flawed, but much-loved-by-fans-of-a-certain-age, epic. With the marketing might of Disney behind it, there were puzzles, read-along storybooks, model kits, and – perhaps best of all – Mego’s line of Black Hole action figures.

[Via] Action Figure King.Com

But what the model kits of the time couldn’t hope to duplicate was the sheer intricacy of The Black Hole’s delicate spacecraft. And you can’t really fault them for that: the complicated, visible girders gave the movie’s main setting, the wayward U.S.S. Cygnus, a cathedralesque look. Trying to mass-produce a replica of that in lightweight plastic would be begging for trouble: a model too delicate to stand up under its own weight.

But we live in the future now, and enterprising fans with mad 3-D skills – and no readily apparent budget ceiling – have finally put the Cygnus within your reach…for a price. (To quote a robot from a much more recent Disney sci-fi epic, it’s high…it’s very high.)

Industrious, and quite possibly even-madder-than-Dr.-Hans-Reinhardt Black Hole fan “Primitive Dave” has made it possible, via 3-D printing service Shapeways, to accumulate and assemble the pieces necessary for an almost-filming-ready model of the Cygnus.


This is not a project for the faint of heart, the scarce of budget, or those short on skills: some assembly, to put it mildly, is required. Better assemble some funds, too: all of the pieces necessary to put together the model itself run nearly $1,200.

A Flickr album by “The Lazy Modeler”, a.k.a. Jeff Bond, shows the painstaking construction of not just a complete U.S.S. Cygnus model from the Shapeways page, but one with internal lighting and blue LEDs for the engines.
Cygnus - Jeff Bond
Cygnus - Jeff Bond

(Jeff Bond played Dr. McCoy in some of the final episodes of the incredibly well-produced fan-made series Star Trek: New Voyages, and wrote the liner notes to the long-overdue official cd release of the complete soundtrack from The Black Hole itself. If building this model – and the eye-popping selection of other models in the background – doesn’t earn Mr. Bond serious geek cred, then those credentials, and the wealth of liner notes he’s written for many other soundtrack CDs, should put him over the top.)

The other thing about this entirely 3-D printed Cygnus model? It’s huge. Clear a shelf…a shelf that runs the length of an entire wall.
By the time it’s completed, and LED-lit, the only thing missing…is an equally detailed scale model of the relatively tiny U.S.S. Palomino berthed in the docking elevator.

Maybe “Primitive Dave” will have us covered on that in due time. (By the way, I suspect that Jeff Bond is not lazy, nor is Dave really very primitive. Call it a hunch.)

If you seek a massive modeling challenge, go in(sane), through (your entire bank balance), and beyond (the available space in your living room) aboard the Cygnus! Floaty robot buddies not included.

Aint Gonna Eat My Mind

Aint Gonna Eat My Mind is all about Bronx Gangs in the 1970s

Aint Gonna Eat My Mind was a short documentary style program made for public television. It illustrates the struggles of growing up and dealing with the increasing violent world of the Bronx in the 1970s. This was a time when crime and gangs seemed out of control. But what was the cause? Did people facing it want a solution?

The answer was, of course they did, and “Aint Gonna Eat My Mind” attempted to give the young people trapped in this world the ability to speak to those outside of it. In addition to young gang members and others caught in the crossfire of this dangerous world, we also hear from the education side of things. We learn unsurprisingly, that it is difficult to get a cycle of education going when things seem hopeless due to an uncontrolled avalanche of crime, drugs and violence. And that if people want things to be different, something deeper would have to change. This is something that I imagine is still applicable over three decades later.

As a bonus you get to see New York City as it used to be. When I visit NYC now, it is hard to believe that this is even the same place.

Watch Aint Gonna Eat My Mind

If this history intrigues you, I would also suggest you check out the more modern documentary Rubble Kings. A much older Karate Charlie from Aint Gonna Eat My Mind also makes an appearance to offer insight in retrospect.

Westworld '82

Westworld ’82

Previously on the Retroist, we’ve explored the barely-even-a-guilty pleasure status of the obscure and quickly-canned 1980 TV spinoff of Westworld, Beyond Westworld.

Of course, if you’ve watched HBO’s recent (and, it has to be said, much better than Beyond Westworld) reboot of Westworld as a high-profile series, you already know that the things you thought were happening concurrently are not happening concurrently; the chronological sequence of events is not what you thought it was going in.

What if TV history was like that, too? What if HBO’s Westworld series had been made in the 1980s? While the mind boggles at the wildly different standards of what levels of language (“this is the new world, and you can do whatever the heck you want!”) and nudity would’ve been permissible, YouTube user MessyPandas can already show you what the opening titles would’ve looked like, complete with a drum-machine-drenched synth-pop rendition of Ramin Djawadi’s pleasant but slightly unnerving theme music…

The authenticity of it is such that you can easily imagine having changed channels during the end credits of Automan to catch Westworld.

In this alternate timeline, I’d imagine that HBO’s Westworld still gets a huge audience, and reruns are still on the schedule when Game Of Thrones debuts in the 1990s…

…which, if it wasn’t on HBO, seems like it’d be in syndication on your local indie station (or maybe your UPN station – you do still have one of those in your timeline, right?), wedged in between Highlander: The Series and Renegade.

Alas, we now deposit you back into reality…but the good news is, you can still rewatch Westworld until the second season lands in 2018.

Check Out This Amazing 1973 Dr. Strange Cosplay!

There is without a doubt some talented cosplay going on in this day and age. Whether it be for popular video game, anime, or comic book characters. It’s easy to do a quick search online and find all levels of talent.

[Via] Nerd Caliber

Now if we are to go by the information provided by Wikipedia, cosplay has in fact been around for quite some time!
” A.D. Condo’s science fiction comic character Mr. Skygack, from Mars was the subject of costuming in 1908 in the United States.[42] Science fiction fans Forrest J Ackerman and Myrtle R. Douglas attended the 1939 1st World Science Fiction Convention in the Caravan Hall, New York, USA dressed in “futuristicostumes”, including green cape and breeches, based on the pulp magazine artwork of Frank R. Paul, designed and created by Douglas.”

You might happen to recall my post from last year about vintage cosplay. Featuring 1963 photos from WorldCon with the Lord of the Rings‘ Gollum. As well as John Carter of Mars‘ Tars Tarkas.

Images courtesy of the Vintage Geek Culture Tumblr.

Of course of late there has been an upswing in the amount of Dr. Strange cosplay. Thanks in no small part to the success of the 2016 film starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
Dr. Strange

But the other night I was sent a photo by one of my best friends. An image from the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society site – a photo from 1973 taken by Dik Daniels. Showcasing an earlier cosplayer taking on the mantle of Marvel Comics’ Sorcerer Supreme, the one and only Dr. Strange!

Image courtesy of Dik Daniels – Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.

Really an amazing bit of cosplay, I think you will agree. Be that as it may – the identity of the cosplayer is unknown. I would highly recommend you follow that link to the LASFS page. You can in fact check out a lot more photographs by Dik Daniels including this one. That is The Time Machine‘s George Pal as well as his Wife – the name of the fan is unknown.

C-3PO

Did You Know that C-3P0 Is Licensed To Kill?

[Via] Boy B Blue
Though I’m a fan of Star Wars and the old James Bond Movies with Sean Connery and Roger Moore, I’ve never thought about mixing them together. I do think that Harrison Ford would be an interesting and rather unconventional James Bond and Sean Connery would be a great Jedi Master.
C3-PO

Plastic Ham, who sells his great mash-up action figures on Etsy, had an even cooler idea. What if everyone’s favorite Protocol Droid was really a Secret Agent? Jay came up with Agent 3-PO. Be careful, I hear he is fluent in over six millions forms of combat.
C-3PO
I really like that Jay doesn’t just create cool action figures, he also creates custom packaging for each figure.

Want more Star Wars and James Bond goodies?

Please stop by my pop culture food blog – Between The Pages. I’ve featured some absolutely amazing James Bond Cakes and Star Wars Cakes.

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!