Computer Garage

Do You Remember 1972’s Sears Computer Garage?

You would think that in my youth I would have been attracted to more car toys. Especially a playset advertising itself as a Computer Garage. When you add in the fact that my Family had their own garage and auto dealership, it would obviously make sense that I wanted Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars to play with, right?

That was sadly not the case when I was growing up. Furthermore I would possibly have rather had dental work than receive toy cars. In the light of what I just said however there were a few “car” toys that I was happy to get. Like the Batmobile, or the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard as well as Ideal’s Evel Knievel’s Stunt Cycle!

[Via] Vintage TV Commercials

Consequently when my Cousin, Brandon, and I received that stunt cycle set on the same Christmas. There were EPIC charges of those toy daredevil’s at each other across the kitchen floor. How we managed to not trip any of our relatives while tiny Evel Knievel’s were darting everywhere I will never know.

Eventually I managed to amass a small but stylized collection of Hot Wheels and Matchbox vehicles. Thanks to various family members giving me their hand-me-down toys. In truth some of those fit my overall love of science-fiction toys at the time, fueled by 1977’s Star Wars naturally.

Which is in fact why when back in the day one Summer when I was with my Grandmother at a garage sale. I didn’t just pass by a rather odd looking playset – The Sears Computer Garage. Now even at that age, which was around eight I was very interested in all things related to computers. Thanks to brief encounters with the Commodore Vic-20 and the TRS-80.

I was intrigued by the playset which was basically a motorized gondola. When a kid would use the plastic numbers – a “coded” computer card. It would rotate to the number of the stall that had been selected. With the aid of a lever at the base of the Sears Computer Garage – the car would be ejected.
Computer Garage

Now in all honesty, there were two other reasons I wanted to buy it. It was only a mere fifty cents and worked to boot. But most importantly, inside one of the stalls I could see Captain America’s van!

Image courtesy of the Hot Wheels Wikia.

I was actually able to talk my Grandmother into giving me the money and took the Sears Computer Garage home. It basically acted as a storage unit for my tiny toy car collection. Until a couple of years later I in turn sold it at my Grandmother’s garage sale.

Thanks to MootSooToo’s YouTube channel you can see the Sears Computer Garage in action!

Retro Records: Man-Thing – Power Records (1974)

Take it from me, friends. The 1970s were a different time. One only have to look at this 1974 Man-Thing Power Record offering for proof of that statement. I mean taking the May 1974 issue Man-Thing and adapting it for a kids record label is a bold choice.

Why? Well I would direct you to the image below of a clown contemplating suicide.
man-thing-clown

That really is kind of just the tip of the iceberg on the mature subject matters in this particular Power Record. Like when we see the abuse towards Ayla Prentiss, the girlfriend of that sad clown.
man-thing-slap

Why did Man-Thing get his own Power Record?


I can tell you the easy answer. Because it is the freaking Man-Thing is why!
man-thing 011

For those of you that might not be in the know, Man-Thing debuted in 1971. In Savage Tales #1, which was an anthology magazine printed in black and white. The character was created by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, with the art chores handled by Gray Morrow.

It was in December of 1973 that after a few attempts the character received a solo title. Appropriately entitled The Man-Thing. Stever Gerber became the writer for the series with artwork provided by Mike Ploog, Val Mayerik, Jim Mooney, and John Buscema. Artwork by Mike Ploog is seen throughout this Power Records presentation.

The character’s backstory is that of Dr. Theodore Sallis, a biochemist attempting to recreate the Super-Soldier Serum. Yes, indeed. The same serum that created the likes of Captain America. Sallis is betrayed by his lover who is working for A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) and tries to flee with the serum. Injecting himself with the serum he crashes his vehicle into the swamp…and thanks to the serum and magical properties of the water rises as the Man-Thing.

A mute plant man now – it can read emotions. Truly feeling the pain of those that are hurting, etc. Fear though…“Whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch!”. A type of acid is secreted when the strange hero encounters ‘fear’ and will horribly burn or destroy whatever it might touch.

So join us on Retro Records as we watch and listen to 1974’s Man-Thing: Night of the Laughing Dead!

[Via] Secret Cavern

The 1944 Captain America Serial

Captain America 1944

I recently posted about the 1979 Captain America TV movies and it was rightly pointed out in the comments that an earlier live action serial was produced in 1944 starring Dick Purcell. The 15-part serial is a far cry from the current Captain America and for that reason I never made it past the first chapter. Watch the first chapter, The Purple Death, below to see what I mean.

The 1979 Captain America movies

Captain America in 1979

I’ve known for a long time that the current film version of Marvel’s First Avenger is far from the first screen version of the character to be thrust in front of eager fans. However, I was surprised to learn that the 1979 film starring Reb Brown was successful enough to warrant a sequel, subtitled Death Too Soon and featuring Christopher Lee!

The first film of the year is terrible. I can’t think of any good reason to watch it, even if you are a completist. I watched it for that very reason and I was hoping for some cheesy heroics but, short of the brief fun to be had in seeing Cap’s van and motorbike, it’s just too silly.

The sequel however, which I’ve just finished watching, is quite good. I’m not going to say it’s brilliant, it really isn’t, but it is exactly the kind of fun I was expecting to find of the earlier film. The story, visuals and acting are typical B-Movie fare but the pace is quite brisk, the humour is better judged and Mr Lee’s evil Miguel is a worthy challenger to this version of Steve Rogers.

I enjoyed it so much that I started to question my sanity – surely others had thought like me, others had appreciated the quirks? Apparently not, most reviews are quite damning of both films, possibly due to comparisons with modern superhero outings.

So this is me going on record to say that I did like Death Too Soon, I think the costume looked great, and I think if you enjoy shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man, you too would likely find some fun here!

Hulk It for Halloween! Camp it up as Captain America???

These are some great Marvel Halloween costumes for very squat and very muscular kids, but what’s with the “Camp it up as Captain America”? C’mon have some respect for the man! He gave his life for his country. Oh well. Disrespect aside, this is a great ad and it got me thinking.

I would like to suggest this Halloween that you: “Dance around as Daredevil”, “Mince it up like the Mighty Thor”, “Wobble like the Green Goblin” and “Do the worm like Wolverine”.