I have driven past a few steakhouses in my day that used the name “The Sirloiner”, but I have never been into one. The Sirloiner featured in this mid-eighties commercial looks like a pretty happening place. With its cheap surf and turf and live entertainment (that I hope was a real thing), how can you go wrong for a mere $7.99. We went to a few steak and chop houses when I was a kid, but none of them had anything in the way of rowdy floor show style live entertainment. It makes me wonder if I would find it entertaining or if I would get annoyed with the whole situation? Probably both.
My family had a “Christmas Train”. It was a train set that we kept with our Xmas decorations and we would run it around the tree every year. I am not sure where it came from, but it was a simple round circle at HO gauge. I fixated on it and insisted on being in charge of it every holiday.
It soon became obvious to my Mother that I could use a train set of my own, and one year, the very set you see above was given to me. I was ecstatic and spent months working on setting it up and trying to pick up accessories to fill out my little town which grew to considerable size on a large piece of particle board in our basement.
Eventually, as a I got older, the little town got less attention and eventually I disassembled it, returning what I could to its original box. That box stayed with me until just a few years ago, when I was trying to reduce the volume of what I owned, and sold it online.
I try not to regret the things I let go of on purpose, but when I spotted this ad in an old magazine this morning, it triggered a decent amount of emotion. I miss my train set and want it back. I try to tell myself that it is in the hands of someone who can appreciate it more than me, but that doesn’t always help and I find myself looking on eBay and dreaming of a reunion. Which gets me wondering what it would be like to open up the box again and try to rebuild that little town. Could I do it better? Would it be as satisfying?
I guess there is only one way to really no for sure…
This piece, “Father Figures” was done as a commission by artist Kevin Wada and features a group of wonderful male role models from the seventies and eighties. How many of the these characters/entertainers can you name and do any of them resonate with you? Who would you have in your Pop Culture Father Figures Mt. Rushmore?
There is a moment in Frogs when Ray Milland announces, “I still believe man is master of the world” to which Sam Elliot responds, “Does that mean he can’t live in harmony with the rest of it?”
That exchange sums up the message in the new Scream! Factory double Blu-ray, side by side releases of Food Of The Gods / Frogs and Empire Of The Ants / Jaws Of Satan. The stories take place in a world where humans believe they have outsmarted the laws of nature, but the truth is we have no control over mother nature when she decides to strike back. And when she does rise up, it ain’t pretty.
Each film has a similar premise, an isolated group of strangers fight for their lives because some strange event – either man made or God made – turns the local animals into deadly enemies. In Food Of The Gods and Empire Of The Ants, the enemies are mutant and giant. In Frogs, the reptiles and bugs have just had enough of people poisoning them and strike back. Jaws Of Satan (original release title was King Cobra) is a departure from the others with it’s “devil possession” story, but still delivers the animal-on-people action.
No surprise, all four films have incredible HD transfers from Scream! Factory. Bert Gordon, director of Food Of The Gods provides audio commentary and he has a pretty good memory of how he pulled off a few of the gags in the film. I was particularly amused and upset to hear how he got those rats to look like they were getting shot. I imagine that the American Humane Society was not present during the making of these.
These are great movies for your Saturday night, microwave popcorn viewing. The low budget, exploitation style mixed with the overwrought delivery of the message gives the films the perfect balance of camp, gore, and melodrama. The filmmakers make no apologies for these movies – just stick around for the end of the credits during Frogs to see the ultimate wink and nod to the audience. The productions boast some great cast – noted earlier was Ray Milland and Sam Elliot – but you’ll also find Joan Collins, Pamela Franklin and even a young Christina Applegate. It’s fun to note that Jaws Of Satan was photographed by Dean Cundi (Halloween, Jurassic Park) and he gives this low budget flick a very polished look.
So, before you pull out that bug spray, read the passage from Genesis or dump that barrel of toxic waste into the your local swamp, I suggest you take a look at these films. You might just change your mind.
Did you know… just before he got his gig presenting Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson was a video game journalist/reviewer? Well this episode of GYCW, I take a look at his short lived career in the world of vidya.
Our celebration of the art of this wonderful book continues. Over the last few weeks we have looked at the Babylonian Mythos, American Mythos, the Arthurian Heroes and the Celtic Mythos, today I would like to show you the art from the amazing section, Central American Mythos.
I ran an adventure as a DM that borrowed heavily from this section with a group of elf, dwarf and gnome adventurers finding themselves in a human dominated Central American mythos-based world. I didn’t know a ton about the history or even the mythology outside of “Deities and Demigods”, but I used my imagination and popular culture to fill in the blanks. It would become a very memorable set of adventures and one that the survivors would talk about for years afterwards.
So now, lets take a look at the art that inspired these adventures…
When I picture Magnum, P.I. as an animated series, which I do a lot more often than you might expect, I tend to visualize a lush style with vivid colors and details actions. That being said, I kind of like this sparser look that Pat McMullen has used in his ode to one of the greatest shows in TV history. His take on Higgens, with his tiny downturned mouth is PERFECT and I loved how toy-like the cart and helicopter look.