Planet of the Apes Revelations

War For The Planet Of The Apes Revelations

With War for the Planet of the Apes set to debut tomorrow. It is the perfect time to head out and pick up the prequel from Titan Books. Written by Greg Keyes War for the Planet of the Apes Revelations picks up shortly after the events of the 2014 film. I certainly hope this won’t come as a spoiler but Caesar’s clan of apes isn’t so exactly sure that what Koba attempted to pull off was the wrong thing.
Planet of the Apes Revelations - Koba

So of course with some apes feeling that Caesar might in fact be a little too forgiving of the Humans. I feel it’s more than safe to tell you that Koba’s revolution isn’t quite finished. Or at the very least in Planet of the Apes Revelations there is still the very real threat of dissent.
Planet of the Apes Revelations

In addition if you remember at the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The community of humans was able to send a signal to a military group. With the end of the film painting a rather and the unevitable war between apes and humans. This is in fact exactly where Planet of the Apes Revelations picks up, just moments after the end of the film.

Keyes does a wonderful job with not just the cast of characters we’ve met through the films but also introducing new ones. Case in point, Ray, an oranguatan who is both friend and companion to the Son of Caesar, Blue Eyes. Much like in the films with Maurice, Ray kind of steals the show in the book, providing wisdom beyond his years and counsel.
Planet of the Apes Revelations

As I said, Caesar has his hands full with possible treachery and dissension within his ranks. Which is why of course Blue Eyes and Ray get the majority of attention in the book. However it also introduces us to a main protagonist from the upcoming film. Colonel McCullough who is of course played by Woody Harrelson and at least in Planet of the Apes Revelations you can’t help but kind of understand where he is coming from. While some elements of his personality are very much like Caesar – he is obviously the dark side of that.
Planet of the Apes Revelations

So do you need to read Planet of the Apes Revelations before seeing War for the Planet of the Apes? Having not seen the film for myself yet I am still confident in saying that the answer is a negative. But Keyes really does a great job expanding the cinematic world we’ve been introduced to in the first two films. I’ve read his previous prequel novel for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes entitled Firestorm. He won’t let you Apes fans down and the best part is you can head out right this minute and pick up the book for yourself!

Now you know about Planet of the Apes Revelations why not check out Jason Edmiston’s “Trophies”?


Image courtesy of Jason Edmiston’s deviantART Page.

Caring For Cricket Doll With This Instructional Tape!

But first, I’ll demonstrate how to take care of a whole other kind of cricket!

It has nothing to do with doll care.

There’s a Point In Here Somewhere…

If you grew up during the magical decade of the 1980s, and you were my age, you may have had at least one talking doll-type toy. Either that, or you saw a commercial for a talking doll. The latter probably applies if you were an older kid, and dolls were so “not your age.” And that’s ok, I was you ten years later, explaining that I was “too old” for The Baby-Sitters Club.

“I’m almost thirteen! I can’t read these books anymore, and I’m NOT seeing that movie!”

(Likely my actual words)

Anyway, the actual subject…

Talking Dolls

Talking dolls are not new ground for me in my Retroist writings (Related: Do You Know the Answer…Box? and Live Action Teddy Ruxpin…Now With More Night Terrors!). I still have a working Teddy Ruxpin (ultra creepy because his eyes don’t work, so he’s sorta catatonic). And at one time, I had a Cricket Doll. Teddy stayed in my brother’s room, Cricket in mine. Both were equally fun, played with, and loved (but not to the point of damage or disrepair).

I remember wanting Cricket as a four-year-old in 1986. In fact, I think it was this commercial that did it for me…

Uploaded by Westerleb

I’m still convinced there is a commercial where she walks.

Seriously, if anyone knows what I’m talking about, please help me find that commercial! I know it exists!

False advertising aside, I got her as a Christmas present from my that year (I have to check with my mom – I think she came from my grandparents). I also have pictures from Christmas Day. Perhaps I’ll scan it, as long as my mom can easily be cropped out (or is ok with you seeing her in the background!)

Anyway…

Instruction Manuals for Kids Who Can’t Read

An Instruction manual is required/common practice for any complex-to-operate toy. However, the real struggle when marketing these toys to the younger set is that they likely don’t read or comprehend written instructions. So someone at Playmates Toys (perhaps the creators themselves?) had the right idea in creating an instruction manual that didn’t have to be read AND spoke on the level that a child would understand.

Operating and Caring For Cricket

In addition to the story/song tape (the “Unnamed/No Theme Blue Label Tape”) included with Cricket, she came with a beige label tape called Operating & Caring for Cricket, featuring Cricket’s voice, and speaking on a child’s level to explain how to care for her.

Uploaded by BB182000

Fun fact: My Cricket had the outfit in this video (Indoor Playtime).

The care tape covers the basics – battery types, inserting batteries and cassettes, auto shut off (in play mode only), the types of buttons (“The green one turns me on, and the red one turns me off!”), proper cleaning and hair care, and two things that are REALLY bad for Cricket (“Water and DIRT!”).

You know, all the usual manual information, told on a child level. I’m pretty sure the actress liked saying Alkaline batteries (AL-KA-LIIIIINE!).

Oh, and the Yellow Fast Forward/Blue Rewind buttons? For the love of everything, press the Red Stop Button when she’s done. There’s nothing quiet nightmare fuel-inducing like waking up to the sound of the tape deck motor.

I know this from experience.

There’s Just One More Thing…

I found this tape (strangely) fascinating, and listened to it like its a normal part of the whole “Cricket Experience.” Further adding to that “fascination,” Side B of this tape worked properly in any cassette player.

Guess who listened to it in their Walkman?

I’m not above admitting my guilt, folks. It’s why you read my stuff – you pretty much expect it!

And now that you know all about how to operate Cricket doll (including using AL-KA-LINE batteries?!), get out there and operate her properly! Why? Because you want that sickeningly sweet/cute voice to terrify you for a long, long time.

Further Reading…

In May 2017, I wrote a post that demonstrates what a Cricket cassette sounds like in your standard tape deck (among other things).

This Happened With Our Very Nostalgic Technology!

I’m always trying to find out things about my beloved talking dolls.

Let’s just say that “I’ll be talkin’ to ya” about it again!

Too sickeningly cute?

Retroist Scoreboard: The Summer Soundtrack Smorgasbord

As a rule, the soundtrack boutique labels have a kind of gentlemen’s agreement to not step on one another’s release dates.  Most of the time, this is a great arrangement – I can have half of my paycheck deposited directly to Intrada one week and La-La Land the next.  But every once in a while, the release dates collide.  Remember how there was only one release to talk about at the end of June?  There’s a bunch of stuff to talk about this time around now that everyone’s back from their Fourth of July break.  And I kind of want one of everything on this week’s release slate.

Intrada is having a musical flashback to ‘Nam this week with a single CD release containing the complete scores from two Vietnam War-themed movies: Alex North‘s brief score from 1987’s Good Morning, Vietnam and David Newman‘s score from the 1995 comedy Operation Dumbo Drop.  Since Good Morning, Vietnam was tracked primarily with vintage rock and pop music being DJ’ed by Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer, not much score is required – and all 17-and-a-half minutes of North’s score is presented here for the first time.  Operation Dumbo Drop is the more substantial score, weighing in at just under 48 minutes, but due to how it was recorded (two analog-synched 24-track digital recorders in unison, technology which has now been phased out and is hard to find), a great deal of manual effort was expended in recombining all the tracks in perfect synchronization for this CD release.

La-La Land Records is gracing us with a glut of releases this week, and some of them are very limited editions.

Henry Mancini‘s all-time classic score from 1965’s The Great Race is arriving on CD for the first time, and by “on CD”, I mean “in the form of a 3-CD box set”.  2500 copies of this set are being pressed.  Widely regarded as one of the best comedy film scores ever, this set gives you two ways to enjoy the music – the first two discs contain Mancini’s original session tapes as heard in the movie itself, while the third contains re-recorded highlights assembled for LP release alongside the movie itself.

If you’re yearning for a return not just to the west, but to The Wild Wild West, La-La Land has you covered with a limited edition 4-CD set of music from the original TV series, including highlights from such episodes as The Night of the Inferno, The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth, The Night of the Glowing Corpse, The Night That Terror Stalked the Town, The Night of the Infernal Machine, The Night of the Samurai, and The Night of the Kraken.  Veteran composers such as Richard Markowitz, Robert Drasnin, Dave Grusin, Harry Geller, Walter Scharf, Fred Steiner, and Dimitri Tiomkin are featured…but there’ll only be 1,000 copies pressed, and then this release is moseying out of town…and out of print.

In re-issues this week, La-La Land has expanded and remastered the late James Horner‘s score from 1992’s Unlawful Entry, now including the complete score and fresh liner notes.  Unlawful Entry will be treated to a print run of 2,000 copies.

In more recent releases, La-La Land is also unleashing the 2-CD complete score from Transformers: The Last Knight, composed by Steve Jablonsky, and scarily-overworked TV composer Blake Neely‘s music from the first season of the CW’s Riverdale.

   

Is that all?  That is not all.  Quartet Records has unearthed Stephen Oliver‘s score from the 1986 film Lady Jane, which starred the likes of Helena Bonham-Carter and Patrick Stewart.  Though a soundtrack album was assembled for release in 1986, the movie barely showed up on the box office radar at the time of its release, and the album masters languished in the vaults, outliving their composer, who passed away in 1992, better known for his original operas – this was his only film score.  Quartet presents Lady Jane as a 2-CD set, with the original session masters on one disc and the unreleased 1986 soundtrack master on the other.

Varese Sarabande has announced an August 11th release, on “prairie sand” colored vinyl, of the Lennie Niehaus/Clint Eastwood score for Eastwood’s 1993 western Unforgiven.  This release will be limited to 1,000 copies, available exclusively through Barnes & Noble.

There you go, fellow soundtrack fanatics – your summer smorgasbord is laid out before you.  Where will your feast begin?

Freedomland U.S.A.

Do You Remember The Freedomland U.S.A. Theme Park!

Just when I thought I discovered all there is about pop culture history, a bit of information comes my way that I have to share. FREEDOMLAND U.S.A.! I have to shout, because this is something awesome, spectacular actually.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Wood wanted to make a theme park in the north east of the United States to rival that of west coast’s Disneyland. Oddly enough, he had a hand in the creation of Disneyland. He was hired by Walt Disney and is responsible for finding the site to build Disney’s theme park. A few years later, Wood split from Disney and founded Marco Engineering. He would go on to help create Magic Mountain, Pleasure Island and the big one, Freedomland U.S.A..

Freedomland U.S.A.

(Magic Mountain was a theme park Wood opened in 1958)

Wood’s idea was a theme park based on different eras & locations in United States history. He acquired about 200 acres of land in Bronx, New York. The land used to be a landfill which goes to show that cool things can come from garbage.. On a side note, Wood designed the shape of the park itself to look like the United States, without Alaska and Hawaii. On June 19th, 1960, Freedomland U.S.A. was opened for business.
Freedomland U.S.A.

The park featured seven areas of attraction. 1) Little Old New York set in the late 1800’s which had a horse-pulled trolley, a recreation of Macy’s first department store, a brewery sponsored by Schaefer, and a deli. There was 2) The Great Plains set in the 19th century with a replica of an Army stockade known as Fort Cavalry, an apartment sponsored by Borden featuring Elsie the Cow, a merry-go-round powered by mules, the Pony Express which was a ride that took you to the next area of the park, 3) The Old Southwest. There’s a recreation of a gun fight, a Mexican restaurant, an underground train ride through mines, and a herd of cows with a cowboy. Another part of the park was dedicated to 4) Chicago in the year 1871. That year is significant because of the Great Chicago Fire which is featured in this area. Guests and actors help put out a fire using 19th century equipment.
Freedomland U.S.A.

5) San Francisco in the early 1900’s featured a Chinatown, several places to eat, a simulation of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and a boat ride. There was a 6) New Orleans section of the park which allowed the visitor to go through Civil War battle grounds, a pirate-themed boat ride, a maze where the walls are mirrors, a bunch of rides one of which was through a simulated tornado. The seventh area was called Satellite Future. The focus here is on space and science from a rocket control room like what you would see at NASA, a moving sidewalk, a simulated rocket flight, and something called Moon Bowl which was a stage that many performers did their thing. Who? How about Bobby Darin!? And Bobby Rydell, the Everly Brothers, Brenda Lee and Patti Page. Whoa!
Freedomland U.S.A.

So what happened to Freedomland U.S.A.? It was simply not making a profit. Every year it was losing more money than it was making. I’m no expert, but I’m guessing that being it was a theme park in the northern part of the United States, it was a seasonal attraction. Unlike Disneyland which is in sunny California, Freedomland was only open from May to October. That’s six months of without revenue. Sadly, it stayed in business for only five seasons and in 1964 shut down.
Freedomland U.S.A.

When I hear stories about places going out of business I always ask, what happened to all the stuff. Much of it was simply destroyed, some rides were sold off to other parks, but there’s something from Freedomland U.S.A. that is still in one piece today; The Canadian which was the steamboat used in the park. According to a 2008 article in the New York Post, it’s docked in Port Chester, New York. It’s also been modernized, so while the shape remains the same, the exterior has a more modern look and it is now called The Showboat.
Freedomland U.S.A.

Check out the videos below to see what how fun Freedomland U.S.A. was to the visitors of the park.

[Via] All Classic Video

[Via] Hugo Faces

Sweethaven

1980’s Sweethaven from Popeye Is A Malta Tourist Attraction?!

I was taking a break from a Retroist video podcast that I’m working on to view some random videos on YouTube. Then I came across a video about abandoned movie sets.

[Via] Yesterworld Entertainment

In 1980, a film adaptation of the cartoon Popeye hit the theaters. It got mixed reviews from the critics, but many people, myself included, fell in love with the film. One of the interesting things about this movie was the setting; an old fishing village in Malta called Sweethaven (though the movie doesn’t say it is in Malta). Most of the film’s budget went to the construction of this unique set. Like most movie sets, Sweethaven was slated to be destroyed after filming ended. In fact, the prime minister of Malta, at the time, wanted it destroyed. Members of Malta film community convinced him to keep Sweethaven for tourism purposes. I know what you’re thinking…Popeye film set as a tourist attraction? I wrote a post a while back about this film & the character and worried that both were going to be forgotten, but I may have been wrong.

Sweethaven

Map courtesy of Bing Maps

Sweethaven

Aerial shot courtesy of Google Maps

Popeye’s movie set has become a theme park! People have weddings here! Simply put, the place is gorgeous. There are people running around in costumes as well. I don’t want to spoil it here so go on to the Popeye Village website to see the amazing photos and packages they have. I have got to convince my wife to take a trip there.
Sweethaven