Ben Cooper Costumes - Title

These Vintage Ben Cooper Costumes Were A Surprise

Friends, of course those of us of a certain age remember the Ben Cooper line of Halloween costumes well. Perhaps best known for just how wide Ben Cooper threw its net in regards to merchandising. Finding one of these delightful costumes in the wild never fails to bring a smile to my face. Especially when I dropped by my local Vintage Stock and discovered they not only had three Ben Cooper costumes for sale – but they also were still in their boxes.

Ben Cooper actually got his start designing sets as well as costumes for the legendary Cotton Club. With the Great Depression however, the entrepreneur noticed that Halloween was still popular. So he decided to go for the licensing of Walt Disney characters beginning in 1937. Thanks to partnering up with Fishbach’s Spotlight in 1942, Ben Cooper costumes became super popular. Sears, J.C. Penney, and Woolworth’s carried the easily affordable costumes and helped cement the company as a household name.

[Via] Cool Old Videos

Now as soon as I stepped through the doors of my local Vintage Stock. It was indeed like my eyes were magnetically drawn to the display of vintage costumes. Thankfully the staff as always were kind enough to let me start snapping photos of them all. Almost as if they are used to me doing such a thing, right? First up is Gary Gnu from 1981’s The Great Space Coaster.
Ben Cooper Costumes - Gary Gnu

[Via] TGS Coaster

Next up is an icon I am pretty sure doesn’t really require any introduction. In the early 80’s it isn’t like Pac-Man wasn’t a worldwide phenomenon!
Ben Cooper Costumes - Pac Man - Mask

However that does not mean of course I won’t remind you of the Diary podcast. Although in this case the featured game was 1982’s Pac-Man Plus.

What of the third Ben Cooper costume though? Do you recognize this charming adventurer?
Ben Cooper Costumes - Frank Buck - Mask - Bring 'Em Back Alive

Frank Buck. The world famous big game trapper and collector of wild animals?
Ben Cooper Costumes - Frank Buck - Bottom of Box

You will recall I mentioned that Ben Cooper was known for licensing pretty much any pop culture icon. In this case that does include the main character from 1982’s Bring ‘Em Back Alive.

[Via] Ran 5900

Which I should add if you don’t check out that intro to the short lived series is none other than Bruce Boxleitner. Also appearing in the show was his co-star from TRON, the beautiful Cindy Morgan. I am not sure if her character was available as an costume option for Halloween that year, but it wouldn’t shock me if one was available.

How about we close this out with this vintage 1978 Woolworth’s TV commercial? Featuring quite a few of Ben Cooper costumes I might add.

[Via] William Presley

LEGO TRON - LEGO box

Finish The Game With The LEGO TRON: Legacy Set!

It certainly isn’t every day you find out that a LEGO TRON: Legacy set is being released, right? That is exactly what happened though when I got to work yesterday and checked my messages. As you surely could expect, everyone here at the arcade equally lost their minds. On an average day we probably bring up TRON or TRON: Legacy multiple times a day. I suppose we are just of that age where the dream of working at an arcade really seemed like the most magical job ever.
LEGO TRON - Arkadia Retrocade

If you’ve listened to any of my Diary of an Arcade Employee podcasts, you know that it truly is. Even when I’m down on my hands and knees scrubbing bathroom floors. The truth of the matter is I am in fact living the dream. Not that securing this LEGO TRON: Legacy set wouldn’t make it just a bit better.
LEGO TRON - Legacy

You can hop on over to the official LEGO site and get a better look at the set. It looks like it is being released on March 31st. This official LEGO TRON: Legacy set is from LEGO Ideas, which began in 2008, as well as giving 1% of royalties to the designers. In this case the original designers were the BrickBros UK after getting 10,000 votes that is. Thankfully Disney and LEGO were able to come together and now we totally have an TRON set about to be released.
LEGO TRON - BrickBros UK

LEGO TRON - Rinzler - Identity Disc
Contents of the LEGO TRON: Legacy set include:

  • Includes 3 LEGO minifigures: Sam Flynn, Quorra and Rinzler.
  • Features 2 buildable Light Cycles for Sam Flynn and Rinzler, and a TRON grid/display base.
  • Sam Flynn’s Light Cycle features a minifigure seat, authentic features and assorted translucent-blue light-style elements, including power stream effects.
  • Rinzler’s Light Cycle features a minifigure seat, authentic features and assorted translucent-orange light-style elements, including power stream effects.
  • TRON grid/display base features 2 detachable parts, attachment points for the 2 Light Cycles and translucent-blue elements.
  • Divide the grid to recreate the Light Cycle chase scene from Disney’s TRON: Legacy movie, or use it to role-play the disc battle scene with the minifigures.
  • Includes Quorra’s sword.
  • Accessory elements include Sam Flynn and Quorra’s blue Identity Discs, and Rinzler’s 2 orange Identity Discs.
  • Attach the discs to the back of each minifigure.
  • This construction toy includes a booklet with building instructions, information about the set’s fan creator and LEGO designers, and the lowdown on Disney’s TRON: Legacy movie and its main characters.
  • Each Light Cycle measures over 1″ (5cm) high, 6″ (17cm) long and 1″ (4cm) wide.
  • TRON grid/display base measures over 8″ (22cm) wide and 3″ (9cm) deep.

LEGO TRON - Lightcycle Wall

Now the real question is if we are getting more LEGO TRON products in the future?

[Via] Disney Movie Trailers

I’m not talking about just TRON: Legacy of course. Perhaps this is the first step in opening up the Grid to products from both the original movie…

[Via] Tate Smith

…and even the underappreciated but amazing TRON: Uprising?

[Via] The CGBros

ReBoot: The Guardian Code - Title

Are You Ready For ReBoot: The Guardian Code?

ReBoot blew me away when it debuted on ABC one Saturday morning in 1994. With my love of all things video games and computer related, Mainframe Entertainment, Alliance Communications and BLT Productions certainly captured my attention. In that year I was working a full time job but I made sure I was up and watching ReBoot every week. Which is why of course the news of a…reboot… took me by surprise. As well as the fact that ReBoot: The Guardian Code is totally going live on Netflix on March 30th!
ReBoot: The Guardian Code - Mainframe

When I think about the original series, I generally recall the humor and winks to popular culture the show managed to include in almost every episode. Whether that be throwbacks to the popular video games of the day. Or even film franchises such as the James Bond series, including a fantastic song intro from the third episode of Season three. Firewall!

[Via] Reboot HD

Granted the animation might seem a little dated by today’s standards. I can assure you though it was pretty amazing stuff back in ’94. Of course it was the characters and story line that made so many fans. I think it is safe to say that the show borrowed a few elements from the likes of 1982’s TRON. A lone Guardian named Bob, whose mission was to protect the inhabitants of a city called Mainframe. Not just from the wicked deeds of Megabyte and his Sister, Hexadecimal. But from those of us playing video games, the Users.

[Via] Shout! Factory

Now then, we have a new series. Entitled Reboot: The Guardian Code. Immediately upon watching it I paused the official trailer. Some things have certainly changed in this updated version…like it has live action elements!
ReBoot: The Guardian Code - Bad guy

That took me quite but surprise. Granted this show is being aimed at an audience younger than myself. I will admit I am okay with this as it also appears to possibly have ties to the original series. At the very least it looks like Megabyte has been resurrected by the series’ mysterious villain.
ReBoot: The Guardian Code - Megabyte

Much like the first series did with borrowing elements of TRON it seems that ReBoot: The Guardian Code will do the same. Although in this case it is a mix of TRON: Legacy, Pacific Rim and even Ready Player One.
ReBoot: The Guardian Code - Guardians

ReBoot: The Guardian Code - Firewall

Which seems quite appropriate, friends. As Ready Player One of course hits theaters on March 30th. Which I am sure that Netflix is very well aware of. Will it be any good? I have no idea but I am certainly going to at least give it a chance. Things always change and I for one won’t begrudge a new generation their own joy of being introduced to ReBoot.

I’ve talked a bit about the first series, so without further ado, check out the trailer for ReBoot: The Guardian Code!

[Via] ReBoot The Guardian Code

Dig Dug -Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Dig Dug (1982)

Friends, feast your eyes on Christopher Tupa‘s Dig Dug illustration! Not only is it CTupa’s pick for this weeks Retro Arcade Art. Obviously. But it also happens to be one of my favorite video games as well. Much like Pac-Man, there are elements of Dig Dug that match maze games. However in this case you are pretty much making your own maze as you dig through a treacherous underground setting.
Dig Dug - Marquee

Dig Dug was released by Atari in the arcades of North America in May of 1982. However it was actually developed and published by an equally legendary game company – Namco.

Dig Dug -Arcade Flyer Archive

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive

Certainly most of you that frequent the Retroist or enjoy classic gaming will know how this game works. Players are tasked with guiding Dig Dug, as he was known in the first game, as you tunnel through the stratum that makes up each level. The character’s goal is clearing out a collection of motley monsters below the surface of the Earth. With only the aid of an air pump to help him dispatch the beasties as well as boulders scattered about the stage.

Using the air pump, a Player will hit the pump button three or four times, which inflates a foe until it expands so much it pops. If you do not pump the enemy until they explode they will slowly deflate and come after you again. The problem is the Pookas and Fygars rarely come at the Player one at a time beyond the first few rounds. The enemy can even travel through the dirt for a sneak attack, trying to catch you from the left and right as well as up and down. This of course requires a great deal of juggling in the later stages!

Oh, the amount of Pookas and Fygars that met their grim fates over dozens of Saturday afternoons at the Showbiz Pizza of my youth. In truth if we counted them all I would probably be brought up on charges by a video game court.
Dig Dug - Characters

Dig Dug was certainly a hit for both companies. Game cabinets being produced for upright, cocktail and even cabaret units. For those of you that might not have seen a cabaret version. It basically was a smaller upright, designed of course for arcades and other locations where space might be a premium.
Dig Dug - Cabaret

Dig Dug didn’t find success in just the arcades. It had brisk sales for the popular consoles and home computers of the day as well. Ports could be found on the Atari 2600, 5200, and 7800 systems. Besides the Atari computers the VIC-20 and Commodore 64 received ports as did IBM PC and TI-99/4A.
Dig Dug - Atari 2600

Besides the awesome artwork that CTupa provides for his Retro Art Blog entries. I am glad to constantly find out facts I hadn’t known. Case in point that the Intellivision DID receive a home port of the game. It was in 1987 though, programmed by Mark Kennedy…when he was working for Atarisoft I should add.
Dig Dug - Intellivision

Apparently Mark added two Easter eggs to his port. One of them allows you to experience a different title screen. The second though lets you play an entirely second game entitled Deadly Dogs. Which is TRON Deadly Discs but instead of TRON and the warriors of the MCP. You are the hot dogs from Burger Time!

That is pretty crazy, right? Now remember that with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s official site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Now that you know a bit about Dig Dug. Why not enjoy this commercial that was originally shown in move theaters?

[Via] Scottith Games

Make sure to also enjoy the earlier entries for the Retro Arcade Art By CTupa!
(Beezer)
(Bomb Jack)
(Devil Fish)