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!

Mad Magazine

1979 Mad Magazine Board Game Commercial

Mad Magazine is pretty much a cultural icon in publishing. From it’s first issue in 1952 until today, Mad Magazine still stands as a wonderful satirical publication. Whether the subject matter be popular movies, sports, and public figures of course nothing is too sacred. Naturally everything is fair game. It should probably come as no surprise though the first issue I picked up was the Star Wars one.
star-wars-mad-magazine

As a matter of fact, the popularity of Mad Magazine had reached over two million subscribers by 1974. So in hindsight it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Parker Brothers in 1979 decided to produce a board game. With this in mind you must expect some different win conditions. Furthermore the rules stated that not only did you have to roll the dice with your left hand. But also pass the turns counter-clockwise and the ultimate goal was to rid yourself of all your money. It featured as well a board chock full of the late, great Jack Davis’ artwork.

[Via] Mr. Classic Ads 1970

Try to imagine a group of children sitting down to win this game. To say nothing of having to suddenly switch chairs during the game play. Which could have disastrous consequences for you if were almost out of money!
Mad Magazine

In that commercial for the Mad Magazine board game did you notice a future celebrity?


You will have to look closely past the mustache and glasses but the Father is played by Richard Kind.
mad-magazine-game-richard-kind

Perhaps his name doesn’t ring a bell. Although it most certainly should as he has 198 acting credits. Here is the actor discussing his first summer job.

The White House

ewok-gospel-billy-dee-williams

Can I Have An Amen For The Star Wars Ewok Gospel?

The Ewoks from Return of the Jedi seemed to have gotten more than their fair shair of grief over the years. Surely I am not the only soul on the internet that can see that these admittedly cuddly looking pint-sized warriors are important to the outcome of the story, right?
Ewok Costume - Gaston LeBoux

Why the Ewoks are Important to the story of Return of the Jedi!

Join me as I take a quick look at how some things would have turned out differently for the Rebel Alliance in the third chapter of the original Star Wars trilogy without the Ewoks:

  • The Empire would have captured Princess Leia after she crashed her speeder bike – if not for Wicket leading her to the rest of his Ewok tribe.
  • Without the aid of the Ewok scouts leading the Rebel forces through the forests our heroes wouldn’t have located the alternative entrance to the shield generator bunker…and the Rebel Fleet would have either been utterly destroyed or at least been forced to retreat.
  • Han and his troops would have been imprisoned by the Empire during their assault on the bunker – or worse – if not for the last minute rescue of the combined might of the Ewok tribes, who I think you will agree were instrumental in defeating the Empire on the forest moon of Endor.

But couldn’t Lucas have come up with something better than teddy bears?

Now I will meet you halfway with that argument but I must also remind you that just because something appears “cute” at first glance it doesn’t mean there isn’t something scary about it when you look at it properly…
ewok-stormtrooper-lunch
…I mean if you think about it, when the Ewoks capture Luke, Chewbacca, Han, and R2-D2 as well as C-3PO – those little fuzzballs are flat out going to eat our heroes – well the flesh and blood ones at least!
ewok-barbecue-han-solo
Look, I totally understand if the way I see it doesn’t mesh with your views on Return of the Jedi and the Ewoks…but perhaps none other than Andrew Zilch and Billy Dee Williams might change your mind with the Star Wars Ewok Gospel?

Now can I have an Amen for the Ewoks?

Custom Atari 2600 LEGO Set - PowerPig

The Custom Atari 2600 LEGO Set You’ve Always Wanted!

Custom LEGO sets are popular for a very good reason, not only does it give fans a chance to add that one item they desperately want to their collection, perhaps something that LEGO itself hasn’t gotten around to as of ye. Of course another reason is that it also allows builders to show off their considerable talent – like with this particular Atari 2600 Lego set that you know you’ve always wanted.

What is the story behind this LEGO Atari 2600?


Well this Atari 2600 set was created by one Chris McVeigh aka PowerPig and is actually entitled “This Old Basement” and is part of his pixel bundle. After taking a quick moment to hop on over to his little spot on the internet it is readily apparent that Chris has a lot of skill at creating such custom LEGO sets. It’s not just the Atari 2600 set you can pick up, yep, you can totally buy these – but there is also a set for the Intellivision and Colecovision. All of that is before you start scratching the surface of his other categories like arcade cabinets, cameras, radios, food, and even Bonsai trees!

Images courtesy of PowerPig's Builds.

Images courtesy of PowerPig’s Builds.

What is so special about this custom LEGO set?


I think that answer is plainly obvious but how about we take a moment to check out the detail that Chris has added in this LEGO set? First of all that television set should look very familiar to those of you who grew up in the 80s or perhaps just might be a fan of Stranger Things. Not only does it have those rabbit ears – but check out the control knobs…offering thirteen channels and a volume control – and a dark ‘wood’ colored finish.

As for the game that is playing on the television – to me it looks like a cross between 1981’s Lock ‘n’ Chase by Data East and Atari’s Slot Racers from 1978.

Image courtesy of AtariAge.

Image courtesy of AtariAge.

This table/cabinet looks to me like the type I remember seeing in the late 70s – a perfect place to store your opened Atari 2600 game boxes but it also marks the perfect location to place your rug. I love that this LEGO set has a trusty Luke Skywalker figure in his X-Wing pilot gear close at hand with a cold can of cola within easy reach as well – hey, gamer fuel was important then as it is today!

Custom Atari 2600 LEGO Set - table - PowerPig

Last but certainly not least in this Atari 2600 LEGO set is…the Atari 2600! While Chris brilliantly constructed it’s intentional ‘simple’ design doesn’t let us fans of the system know if this is a Heavy/Light Sixer from 1977 or the 1980 CX2600-A model. Although I have to say I love the detail McVeigh put into it all – what with the cords that attach to the the joysticks and 2600 plus that ‘wood veneer’ front.

Custom Atari 2600 LEGO Set - Atari - PowerPig

So make sure to hop on over to PowerPig’s Builds and pick up your own Custom Atari 2600 LEGO Set or see what else Chris might have to offer you for own collection!

A very big thanks to AtariAge for the use of their scanned Slot Racers box art in this post.

Carrie Fisher - Sega Center

Carrie Fisher at The Sega Center in Fox Hills Mall (1977)

Carrie Fisher in this brief 1977 interview from The Making of Star Wars, where she is seen playing 1975’s Anti-Aircraft from Atari at a Sega Center is going to be one of the coolest things you will see all day!
Sega Center - Carrie Fisher
Filmed at the Fox Hills Mall in Culver City, California – I can’t help but dig the appropriately Star Wars themed cabinets that we can see Carrie playing before the interview begins. These were obviously specially made for the Sega Center arcades as you can tell by looking at the standard edition on the arcade game flyer below – courtesy of The Arcade Flyer Archive.

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive.

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive.


In this clip Carrie Fisher discusses some of the elements of Star Wars that she enjoyed and what she didn’t care for while filming the original movie. I might have to blame this on my advanced age but I do not recall ever seeing this particular clip before from The Making of Star Wars although I believe it might have also been shown when the Fox channel did their little special to celebrate the re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy to theaters…well…the “A few new surprises” or Special Editions I mean.

[Via] Benovite
I found an article from 8 Bit Central that states they believe the Sega Center featured in that interview with Carrie Fisher was later remodeled into a Time Out Tunnel which would eventually be converted to the Time Out arcade. This brand of arcade was able to survive and thrive until around 1995 when after being sold to The Edison Brothers company, they were forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy – which was then bought by the Namco corporation which is why you can still find Time Out arcades in various malls.
Time Out - Namco - Arcades
I’m not sure what the Time Out arcades were like in your neck of the woods but the one that was in my local mall still had a few arcade games and even one or two classics titles like Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man although the younger children were brought in by the redemption games.

Star Fleet

1980’s Japanese “X-Bomber” Has Links To Star Wars And Aliens?

X-Bomber or as it was known in the UK Star Fleet was a 1980 marionette based science fiction television show, created by the legendary manga artist Devilman‘s Go Nagai (Kiyoshi Nagai). The series of course was heavily influenced by the works of Gerry Anderson’s British television series using his patented “Supermarionation” process wherein the marionettes would also include electronic moving parts to aid in giving them a more life-like appearance – seen in such as Fireball XL-5 and of course the most famous of those types of programs 1965’s Thunderbirds.

The story for X-Bomber is set in the year 2999 and revolves around the Earth Defense Force. Tasked with the protection of the Earth – which is pretty clear by the organization’s name the fragile peace is shattered with the appearance of an alien battle cruiser that proceeds to obliterate the Pluto station for the EDF.
X-Bomber
After this attack and with the threat of the Earth itself being destroyed a team is put together to launch an experimental bomber, known only as the X-Project from a secret base upon the moon to fight back this alien threat – mainly the evil commander Makara.
Star Fleet - Commander Makara
It was in 1982 that the U.K. began airing X-Bomber on Saturday mornings after renaming it Star Fleet – with the scripts for the episodes being adapted by Michael Sloan, who would later go on to be a writer on the hit CBS television series The Equalizer.

[Via] Normonnaut
Star Fleet also featured the voice work of Garrick Hagon who portrayed the character of Biggs Darklighter in 1977’s Star Wars and Jay Benedict who played Deak in the film although his part was edited out of the final print. Benedict however would also play Russ Jorden, Newt’s Father, in James Cameron’s Aliens in 1986…to only be cut out again but thankfully seen by way of the Special Edition. Another Aliens alumni whose voice work was featured in Star Fleet was Al Matthews who played the ill-fated Sergeant Apone in Cameron’s sequel to Alien.

Also of note is that Queen‘s Brian May became a fan of Star Fleet thanks to his young Son, recording a cover of the television shows’ theme song alongside Eddie Van Halen, REO Speed Wagon‘s drummer Alan Gratzer, Phil Chen, and Fred Mandel as Star Fleet Project.

[Via] Emmanuel LR
There is no way you can not listen to that cover of the Star Fleet theme and not feel your blood start to pump a little faster, I believe I have found the new song I want to wake up to every morning from now on!

Toys R Us Report Podcast ep 89 - I See Robots

The Toys R Us Report: My Top 5 Star Wars Figures Of All The Times

Download this episode (right click and save)
Hey kids! This week on The Toys R Us Report I have a topic that I feel my be right up the alley of all you Retro Readers, Star Wars Figures! Who doesn’t like the great old Kenner Figures of our youth? Maybe some weirdos but I consider them to be outliers. EVERYONE Likes Star Wars and this week on the show I do a run down of who I consider to be my Top 5 Figures Of All The Times.

Usually on the show I focus on more current Pop-Culture and Toy Stuff, Movie Reviews etc but this time around it’s all retro right from The Jumpstreet and it’s awesome.

The show starts off with me visiting my Robot Co-host Iceberg 13 in the infirmary. He’s been in a bad way emotionally after the death of his pal A.B Silver and after being clowned by his hero Johnny 5. It’s a bit complicated but brief and right after that it’s some real toy talk.
Star Wars Mini Rigs
If you have a couple of minutes why not give it a listen. It’s only 30 minutes so you won’t be sorry for long.

New episodes of The Toys R Us Report drop every Wed at IseeRobots.com

[Via] DigThatBoxTOYS