Underoos

1980’s The Empire Strikes Back Underoos Commercial!

You might imagine that The Empire Strikes Back was kind of a big deal when it was released in 1980. You know what was also incredibly popular at that time? Fruit of the Loom’s Underoos of course!
Underoos

It is rather a simple thing to see why those of us growing up in the 80s loved these. While the original idea for Underoos came about in 1977 thanks to Larry Weiss. The concept was sold to Fruit of the Loom – in fact they were the company Weiss hired to provide the shirts and underwear that characters would be printed on. Furthermore the company that was originally interested in the children’s line of clothing was Hanes.

Equally important are the popular properties that Fruit of the Loom went after for their Underoos. It is a rather astounding number of cartoons, toy lines, comic books, and films. The A-Team, Gremlins, Transformers, and Star Wars of course to name a few.
Underoos

This 1980’s commercial only showcases four sets of Underoos. In addition to Boba Fett, Darth Vader, R2-D2, and C-3PO. They also offered Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing pilot outfit. Princess Leia in Hoth attire, and two different colored versions of Yoda.

Star Wars TV Archive

It bears mentioning that Underoos didn’t offer anything for 1977’s Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back marked the first offerings. Although they continued with Return of the Jedi as well as The Ewoks animated series in 1985.

What was the first set of Underoos that I received?


Why none other than DC Comics’ Scarlet Speedster. The Flash!

Now I hope you will forgive me but I have to leave The Retroist Vault. I have tickets to go see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I will let you know however if while standing in line I happen to spy any fellow Star Wars fans wearing some Underoos!

Phantasm Ornament

Mondo’s Phantasm Ornament Is A Ball. Madballs Too!

I should absolutely clarify that statement. Mondo is totally offering the Sentinel Sphere as an ornament for your Christmas tree. I ask you, what is more festive than a Phantasm ornament? Who wouldn’t want to hang the deadly flying device of the Tall Man from 1979’s cult classic Phantasm on their bough? How can it get any better than that?

In this case I suppose the answer might be an ornament of the Tall Man himself. Although a strong argument could be made of course for the addition of the deadly Dwarves from the film.
phantasm-angus-scrimm-sentinels

However, it IS the time of year to be thankful. As always of course Mondo gives plenty of reasons for that.

Phantasm Ornament

All images courtesy of Mondo.


This has been given the blessing of the creator of Phantasm, Don Coscarelli. Of course. Which is why Mondo teamed up with Middle of Beyond to produce the Sentinel Sphere ornament.
Phantasm ornament
Seriously. How can you not want Phantasm’s Sentinel Sphere on your tree? Now you can hop right on over to Mondo’s Official shop site to order your very own.

Now how do you top the Phantasm ornament? With Madballs of course!

[Via] American Greetings Entertainment

Madballs was created in 1985 by American Greetings – that is totally right. The same company that dreamed up the Care Bears had a hand in this 80’s merchandising property. Why were these goofy balls so popular to kids in the mid-80s? For one thing all sorts of gross-out properties were popular at that time. I give you the Garbage Pail Kids as an prime example!
Garbage-Pail-Kids-cover

Now thanks to Mondo and Middle of Beyond you too can proudly display Horn Head, Slobulus, Dust Brain, and Skull Face on your tree! You can click here to visit Middle of the Beyond’s official site to purchase the Madballs ornaments.
madballs-christmas-ornaments-mondo

I can only presume by next year we will be able to purchase Inhumanoids and Beetlejuice ornaments!

Spaceship Earth

Witness The Firepower of Disney’s Spaceship Earth!

I believe that if you were to travel back in time to 1977. In an effort to interview the overjoyed and dazzled audiences that were leaving Star Wars. Then ask them to share what they felt was the most mind-blowing moment of the film. I am referring of course to moments that just made the audiences jaws drop.

In general I would be willing to wager that two moments from Star Wars would stand out. For the first time viewers I should add. The reveal of how large the Star Destroyer is as it chases down the Tantive IV.
star-destroyer-star-wars

Of course in the first film they went by Imperial Cruisers – it wasn’t until The Empire Strikes Back they earned the moniker of Star Destroyer. I would make the case that the second awe-inspiring moment was the introduction of the Death Star itself.
death-star-star-wars

Having said all of that and coming from someone who saw it in 1977. There was very little in Star Wars that didn’t make me want to constantly live in that universe. As a matter of fact I still love all things Star Wars and look forward to Rogue One as well.

Apparently that is a sentiment shared by the folks at Walt Disney World. As they’ve transformed Epcot’s Spaceship Earth into…the Death Star!
spaceship-earth-epcot-death-star-powering-up

An appropriate choice as the 18-story geodesic sphere naturally looks a little like that fearsome battle station. The design of course helped by the mind of Ray Bradbury, who also wrote the original storyline for the ride.
epcot-1982-06

Spaceship Earth

Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL Spaceship Earth -ahem – battle station!

[Via] Disney Parks

A very big thanks to Andrew Liszewski of io9 for the heads up on this transformation. I would very much like to be in attendance at Walt Disney World to see this demonstration myself. At the very least I can take comfort that Rogue One is only a mere week away from released to theaters!

COMET TV Movies

What COMET TV Movies will be available this December

A few weeks ago, I talked about my enjoyment of COMET TV. Since then I have started receiving email from COMET that breaks down what they will be showing for the month. December is looking pretty good for COMET TV Movies, starting with the upcoming weekend where they will be showing Buckaroo Banzai! If you would like more information about COMET TV, visit their website and sign up for their mailing list.

What COMET TV Movies can you watch this month?

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (1984)

Friday December 9 at 8/7C

Saturday December 10 at 8/7C

Monday December 12 at MIDNIGHT/11C

Friday December 16 at 4/3C

Saturday December 24 at Noon/11C

Beyond the Door III (1990)

Wednesday December 21 at 10am/9C

Saturday December 17 at 10/9C

Saturday December 31 at 6/5C

The Black Cat (1984)

Wednesday December 7 at 4/3C

Tuesday December  13 2am/1C

Tuesday December 20 Noon/11C

Blacula (1972)

Thursday December 15 MIDNIGHT/11C

Tuesday December 20 MIDNIGHT/11C

Critters (1986)

Tuesday December 13 at Noon/11C

Sunday December 18 at 4/3C

Wednesday December 21 at 6/5C

Critters 4 (1992)

Thursday December 15 at Noon/11C

Sunday December 18 at 6/5C

Monday December 19 at 4/3C

Dark Tower (1987)

Saturday December 10 at 2am/1C

Saturday December 24 at 2am/1C

Daughters of Satan (1972)

Saturday December 24 at 6/5C

Thursday December 29 at Noon/11C

Delirious (1991)

Wednesday December 7 at 10am/9C

Saturday December 10 at Midnight/11C

Friday December 16 at 6/5C

Saturday December 24 at 10am/9C

Deranged (1974)

Monday December 19 at MIDNIGHT/11C

Donovan’s Brain (1953)

Tuesday December 6 at 10am/9C

Saturday December 17 at 2am/1C

Tuesday December 27 at 2am/1C

Encounter at Raven’s Gate (1990)

Tuesday December 13 at 10am/9C

Flash Gordon (1980)

Friday December 30 at 8/7C

Saturday December 31 at 8/7C

Frogs (1972)

Saturday December 17 at 2/1C

Tuesday December 20 at 4/3C

Thursday December 22 at MIDNIGHT/11C

Friday December 30 at MIDNIGHT/11C

Gog (1954)

Monday November 21 at 4/3C

The Haunted House of Horror (1970)

Saturday December 24 at 2/1C

I.F.O. (1986)

Saturday December 31 at 2am/1C

K-9000 (1991)

Monday December 12 at 2am/1C

Tuesday December 27 at MIDNIGHT/11C

Mac and Me (1988)

Friday December 23 at 6/5C

Motel Hell (1980)

Saturday December 17 at 6/5C

New Year’s Evil (1980)

Saturday December 31 at MIDNIGHT/11C

Portrait of an Escort (1980)

Saturday December 31 at 10am/9C

Retroactive (1997)

Sunday December 18 at 2/1C

Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973)

Saturday December 10 at 4/3C

Species (1995)

Saturday December 10 at Noon/11C

Wednesday December 14 at 2am/1C

Squirm (1976)

Saturday December 17 at 4/3C

Thursday December 22 at 2am/1C

Friday December 30 at 2am/1C

Tank Girl (1995)

Friday December 23 at 8/7C

Saturday December 24 at 8/7C

Timebomb (1991)

Saturday December 10 at 10/9C

Timestalkers (1987)

Friday December 16 at 10am/9C

To All a Good Night (1983)

Saturday December 24 at 10/11C

The Twonky (1953)

Sunday December 11 at Noon/11C

Wolfen (1981)

Friday December 16 at 8/7C

Saturday December 17 at 8/7C

Lazer Tag

Yes! I Think Lazer Tag Is Still Relevant!

I am not certain about your thinking back in the day. But for myself I not only drank the Kool-Aid that was the idea of Lazer Tag as game. I also believed it was going to be THE ultimate sport of the future as well.

[Via] Mr. Classic Ads 1980s

For myself I was lucky enough to actually get my hands on a Lazer Tag game kit back in the day. That was of course the basic set a Player would need. You received the StarLyte – which was the weapon of choice in the year 3010.
Lazer Tag

Then of course you had the StarSensor, which was rather important. How else would you know you had received enough hits to be out of the game?
lazer-tag-starsensor

Last but not least you had the StarBelt. While it is true its main purpose was to keep that sensor firmly in place. It at the same time offered the opportunity for a Player of Lazer Tag to cut a sporting figure. Making a fashion statement in 3010 was just as important back in 1986. That was when the game was released by Worlds of Wonder at the very same time as Entertech’s Photon laser tag system.
lazer-tag-starbelt

Now to be absolutely honest. Lazer Tag in 3010 looks a little like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome mixed with Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone!

[Via] My Box of Old VHS Tapes

Now most of you are well aware from the Diary Podcast that I work at an arcade. The Arkadia Retrocade. Which is how last night – thanks to the generosity of a friend, I had access to the game once again.
lazer-tag-vic-instructions

Naturally I found myself suiting up once again to play some Lazer Tag. Visions of the sport of the future filled my head as I slipped on the StarVest and StarHelmet.
lazer-tag-arcade

Because of how many people were in the arcade…as well as being old. I chose to just look the part instead of running through the arcade. Maybe tonight though we can get a game going?
lazer-tag-vic-is-ready-for-action

Now to help you get those images out of your brain. Check out this promotional video for Lazer Tag

[Via] Public John

There Was A 1976 King Kong Panorama Colorform Set?!

I can tell you truthfully that in 1976 I was all about the remake of 1933’s King Kong. In fact I had seen the original film thanks to a local channel’s midnight movie. I was of course at the tender age of four blown away by Willis O’Brien’s stop-motion effects. It also made me a lifelong admirer of that craft and of primates.
king-kong-1933

I was fortunate enough to catch the Dino De Laurentiis produced film at the 62 Drive-In. Moreover the weeks before it was released, I can recall staring at the one-sheets. You know what I’m talking about. The legendary posters featuring artwork by John Berkey!
King Kong

That is to say nothing of how excited about the movie I was after watching the trailer.

[Via] Movieclips Trailer Vault

Having said that and I know I’ve stated this before on The Retroist. I really didn’t see much merchandising for King Kong. Besides some awesome drinking glasses and a few T-shirts. I do however have very fond memories of the board game by Ideal.
king-kong-board-game

There was much more than that, just none of it making it to my neck of the woods. So please try to imagine my surprise when I stumbled on the fact that Colorforms made a King Kong play set. Not just your average Colorforms set would do for something as epic as this, right?

Image courtesy of Jon's Random Acts of Geekery.

Image courtesy of Jon’s Random Acts of Geekery.

That is why they released it as the King Kong Panorama Play Set! A 32-inch play set…but that is not all. This also happened to feature a reversible second side – so that you could have adventures on Skull Island and change the fate of the misunderstood Kong atop the World Trade Center.

Image courtesy of Jon's Random Acts of Geekery.

Image courtesy of Jon’s Random Acts of Geekery.

We have Jon’s Random Acts of Geekery to thank for these last two images. Make sure to hop on over and check out more King Kong goodness. For example a 1976 belt buckle featuring some of the Berkey artwork!

Now here is a link to ebay if you decide you can’t live without a Colorforms version of Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange.
king-kong-panorama-play-set-colorforms
But I feel I better give you a slight warning. I have yet to find any for sale under the $160 mark…but on the other hand doesn’t Kong demand such a price?!

Ready for more 1976 King Kong awesomeness?


How about this 1976 interview between Dino De Laurentiis and Bill Boggs?

[Via] Bill Boggs TV

Ghostbusters - Cereal

1989 New Ghostbusters Movie Mystery Sweepstakes

The Real Ghostbusters animated series was pretty special. Not just because it helped expand the Ghostbusters universe. But furthermore produced a myriad offering of toys, coloring books, and of course tasty food products. Like Ecto-Cooler and the official cereal.
ghostbusters-cereal-ralston

I personally believe that the animated series helped to actually get Ghostbusters II made. The animated series ran from 1986 until 1991. While it originally started as a Saturday morning cartoon – it quickly became syndicated. Which in fact meant that every afternoon more and more children were itching to see more busting of ghosts!
the-real-ghostbusters-poster

The popularity of that vintage show – not to mention toy sales, must have helped the filmmakers decide to push ahead on a sequel. In particular in this case they probably saw the amount of money a sequel could make. I can remember how excited I was when I first saw that Ghostbusters II trailer.

[Via] Myx Movie

Ghostbusters II would have an impressive amount of tie-in products. You had Coca-Cola and Hardee’s. In addition to Ralston’s aforementioned Ghostbusters cereal. It was Ralston that came up with the idea of including a small 33 1/3 record in boxes.
Ghosbusters

It featured none other than Maurice Lamarche voicing his character from The Real Ghosbusters as Dr. Egon Spengler. In addition it also showcased Rob Paulson. The latter acted sort of as a host with Egon asking the listeners trivia questions about Ghostbusters II.
ghostbusters-ii

Bear in mind this was a sweepstakes however, so it meant some prizes were up for grabs. What were they? You could win a visit to the headquarters but in addition also meet a “Real” Ghostbuster!

[Via] Chris J

How would you like to listen to those Ghosbusters Movie Mystery Sweepstakes records?


There were two different sweepstakes records produced. One was white hued and the other had yellow-gold color. They had different questions on them but thanks to Vinnie Donadio we can listen to them right this minute.