I think it is more than fair to say that Kenner went all in with Alien in 1979. For example last month I shared the stunning revelation they had produced a board game based on the film. While Ridley Scott’s sci-/horror movie is a masterpiece it was an R rated feature as well. So you might be able to picture my confusion when I learned Kenner had in addition released the “Alien Terror” movie viewer.
In this case “Alien Terror” is an abridged version of the 1979 movie. In fact it is so short that in all honesty if you hadn’t seen the movie it wouldn’t make any sense. Of course there is only so much that Kenner could share from Alien with kids, right?
By all means, try to convince me this movie cartridge didn’t cause a few nightmares in 1979.
With this in mind – try to remember that Kenner had certainly found success with their line of movie viewers. Beginning in 1975 when they released film catridges and viewers for Snoopy, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Bionic Woman.
Especially successful for Kenner was the Star Wars movie viewer and cartridges set in 1977. On the other hand there were only four film cartridges produced for that series, plus a fifth that was included with the set.
Many fans have wondered why Kenner didn’t continue with the line. Because of this mystery some people feel that perhaps 20th Century Fox stepped in and asked Kenner to cease production. For fear of cutting into the profits of repeat viewings in the theater.
Now that we’ve taken a look at 1979’s “Alien Terror” why not check out Snoopy Meets the Red Baron?
This film cartridge comes from the Fisher Price Movie Viewer line. It did better than Kenner, lasting until the middle of the 1980s. Thanks to the many licensing agreements with the likes of Walt Disney, Marvel, Hasbro and many more.
You don’t really need me to write anything here – this comic-advert sells the idea of its Snoopy bi-plane perfectly, and had I seen this in my youth, you can bet I would have badgered my parents for a kit of my own! Perhaps the two young boys should explain…
Wow! What a great new kit from Monogram. Snoopy in his Sopwith Camel. Comes with a battery-powered propeller you flip to start like a real plane. Easy and fun to build. Just snaps together so you don’t need glue.
Meer minutes later and they have themselves a groovy pre-painted plane where they can write comments like “Curse you, Red Baron” and let’s not forget the Doghouse Display Stand! Here’s a couple more images of this great looking toy:
When I was a kid, my mother, father, and sister all enjoyed assembling jigsaw puzzles. Everybody in my family enjoyed working jigsaw puzzles but me. I found them exceedingly frustrating to solve and greatly preferred making up stories about the people in the puzzles than actually putting them together.
Even if I did enjoy solving jigsaw puzzles, I’m not sure I would buy one from a thrift store — every step of the way I would convince myself that pieces were missing. That being said, I did enjoy the artwork on this one. I’m not sure there are 1,000 versions of Snoopy in this picture, but there are more than I’ve seen in any one place.
For some reason, all these dogs are making me want to eat a Sno-Cone.
Everybody here at Retroist.com remembers and loves the animated Peanuts specials. But how many of us remember the live-action Peanuts special? There was one. It was called The Big Stuffed Dog.
Notice that it is called a “Peanuts” special on the movie art.
The Big Stuffed Dog was apparently an NBC special movie event from 1981, which is close to the boundary of my memory. I remember seeing it once. Only once. But it apparently made an impression on me. Though I can’t remember much of the plot, I do know that it involved a large Snoopy stuffed doll that got separated from its owner, a little boy. I think the climax involved the doll being fished from a river. I know, though, that I was heartbroken by the thought that the doll was lost and the boy might not get him back and rejoicing when they were finally reunited.
Unfortunately, there are only a few VHS copies of this movie floating around, and they are selling for more than I’m willing to pay. The only thing I could find on YouTube was this short promo:
So if you know where I can get this for cheap, please forward the info. I’d love to see the Snoopy doll fished from the river again.
It is quite likely that Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown is the first Peanuts special I encountered as a kid. And while I think all the early Peanuts specials had good messages, Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown has some of the most “sincere” (to borrow a term from a different Peanuts special) messages. It presents some very honest truths about love and all the other affections that go with it.
One such truth is the desperation of wanting to be loved. We get this truth close to the end, after Charlie Brown has failed to receive any valentines at all, much less a valentine from the Red-Haired Girl. He says, “I’d give anything if that Little Red-Haired Girl had sent me a valentine.” And not only does he say that, but he says it with such resignation, such a realization that it is just not going to happen.
Another is the material and other constraints of the search for love. Though Linus admires the ground upon which his teacher walks, he knows he is too young, and when he misses his opportunity to give her the valentine he had purchased, he laments the fact that he “spent all [his] money.” The loss of money, a precious and scant commodity at that age, is a further insult to the injury of the loss of love.
Yet another is the “hope springs eternal” aspect of love. After talking over his disappointments with this year’s valentine haul, Charlie Brown switches gears and starts dreaming about the loads of valentines he will get in years to come.
Fortunately, all these truths are balanced with great jokes (Snoopy and Woodstock catching and eating the chocolates Linus throws off the bridge in his anger, Violet saying that she bought a bottle of “heart-shaped shaving lotions” for a man who “wears a beard and saying it to Linus while he is in a rush to catch his teacher, the messages on the candy hearts). They are also offset by the weird way Sally, who threatened to slug Linus if he tried to hold her hand in The Great Pumpkin, now is ready and willing to kiss her “sweet baboo”. But they are still there. I learned them as a kid from this special and experienced them later in life. I’m sure we all did. And while I can’t say I’m happy I did, I can’t really say I’m sad either. Perhaps the best I can do is what Linus did, and just say, “Happy Valentine’s Day” come what may.