Category: Pop Culture

Rebel Blockade Runner

The most expensive Star Wars prop and the most iconic single Star Trek costume sold at auction this past week.  A new record was set for the highest sale price for a television costume, the market proved yet again that even the slightest Star Wars item takes top dollar, and sci-fi again rules the private collectors’ market for screen-used costumes, props and other entertainment memorabilia.  It all happened at auction house Profiles in History’s latest Hollywood memorabilia auction, held in Calabasas, California over three days September 30 through October 2, 2015.

Profiles in History reported that it tolled $7.3 million in sales in the auction.  The biggest news came from a production model of the Rebel Blockade Runner, the first ship seen at the beginning of the original Star Wars, which set the record for the sale of any Star Wars production piece.  It sold for double the catalog estimate at $450,000.  The prior record for a Star Wars item was $402,500, TIE Fighter filming miniature from Star Wars that sold at Profiles in 2008.

George Reeves’ The Adventures of Superman television series earned its rightful place in the history of television, with his supersuit selling for $216,000, the most for any known sale of a television costume.

Superman George Reeves

Star Trek fans saw the most iconic Star Trek costume with the best provenance recorded sell for $84,000.  That was one of Leonard Nimoy’s blue tunics from the original series, accompanied by the documentation whereby a fan won the costume from a studio promotion back in the 1960s.  No other original series piece has sold with better provenance back to the studio.  Other Star Trek items sold included an original series third season McCoy standard blue uniform for $57,000, and an incomplete Class A Spock uniform for $14,000.

Everyone wants to get their hands on original Star Wars items–the most difficult of the major franchises to collect since most items remain with Lucas or Lucasfilm.  A small section of the Death Star barely seen in Return of the Jedi sold for a whopping $39,000.  And even though it wasn’t screen-used, a lot consisting of prototype pieces of the most cosplayed sci-fi outfit ever, Carrie Fisher’s “Slave Leia” outfit from Return of the Jedi, sold for $96,000.  Finally, in the top echelon of sales at the auction, a special effects camera used to film Star Wars sold for $72,000.

Then there’s Indiana Jones.  One of Harrison Ford’s screen-used bullwhips sold for $204,000, a fedora went for $90,000, and one of his shirts and leather jackets each sold for $72,000.

Jurassic Park cane

Other notable, classic, genre pieces sold, including:

From Forbidden Planet, a light-up laser rifle ($66,000), a light-up laser pistol ($27,500), and a Walter Pidgeon Dr. Morbius costume ($24,000).

From Jaws, a Robert Shaw Quint harpoon rifle ($84,000) and machete ($27,000).

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Bastard Executioner setting

Review by C.J. Bunce

Despite its gratuitous gore and overall squalid setting and circumstances, the new television series Bastard Executioner pulled off a good opener last week.  Bastard Executioner, in its two-hour pilot, pulls together every historical action drama archetype and bits of myths and legends to create a compelling drama in the midst of a struggle between the English and Welsh in not-so jolly old medieval England.

Fans of History Channel’s Vikings and Showtime’s Outlander as well as costume dramas like Braveheart, Rob Roy, and First Knight will all find something here of interest.  Not yet as exciting as Vikings but likely to be better than Outlander, it may just be another twist on Robin Hood, but episode one gave us hope this new series will keep our interest for a while.

It would seem an entire season’s worth of activity transpired in the first two-hour episode with an entire story arc begun and ended already.  A village is decimated and the avengers have sought–and gained–revenge on those that caused it.  The man we first believe to be the “bastard executioner” of the title in fact isn’t, sending the viewer’s notions of what this series will be about into a tailspin.  Instead, a mysterious Man With No Name type hero is thrust into the service of those that destroyed his wife, unborn child, and their village.  The producers’ grasp of time and place, quick plotting, and surprising twists mean we will be back for more next week.

Katey Segal Bastard Executioner

The brutality is every bit real even if it is a bit in-your-face.  Yet as bloody and violent as you could imagine, graphic and at times gory, some sense of purpose comes through for the stories’ heroes.  Loyalty, bravery, injustice, the faithful and the faithless, noble heroes and loathsome villains all can be found here.  Look for Katey Sagal (Lost, Married With Children) as the elder, mystical, witch-healer Annora, in what could prove to be an Emmy-worthy role.

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Jo Kamm 3D figures

It almost looks like a hall full of cosplayers at a comic book convention, doesn’t it?

Once these figures get painted that’s exactly what it will look like.  As we mentioned four weeks ago in our coverage of Kansas City Comic Con, the latest, greatest, newest addition to the Comic Con front is 3D photography turned into 3D printed figures.  Specifically, it’s artist Jo Kamm’s new concept called The 3D Photobooth.  The end result is an approximately 8-inch figure, the next thing every cosplayer will be clamoring for.  (Note: the sheen is in the photo, not the figure, which follows the 3D photography quite well.  Once painted, these will look like the real thing).

3D Radagast and Gimli

It starts with a turntable and the cosplayer being still for up to two minutes while the camera records every detail:

3D Photobooth Gimli Jo Kamm KCCC 2015 Kansas City Comic Con

Then the software records the images, later to be cleaned up back in the office:

3D Photobooth rendering Gimli KCCC 2015

The result is a near perfect image that can be rotated 360 degrees and viewed from any angle.

3D rendered Radagast CJ Bunce

Jo uploads his images to Sketchfab.  You can see the best gallery of cosplay anywhere here.  Make sure you click “more” to bring up hundreds of his 3D images.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Some call them guilty pleasures–those films that are more bad than good, but have some quality you can’t quite identify that cements them in your own memory.  You might not admit how much you like those films, but you do, and you’d also willingly admit the quality of the film is still bad, bad, bad.  As you watch writer/director Mark Hartley’s new film about two cousins that created one of the most well-known independent B-movie film studios, I will wager you will see at least four movies from the 1980s that you’ll admit only to yourself “hey, I loved that movie.”

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films chronicles two Israeli cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, successful filmmakers in their home country who took America by storm, taking over Cannon Group in 1980 and churning out more movies than any other studio, eventually releasing about a movie a week before it ran out of money.  The documentary highlights one of the studio’s defining, over-the-top and embarrassingly bad movies: Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.  Cannon helped the careers of names like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren and helped propel the second phase of the careers of actors like Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson, and Sylvester Stallone.  The list of surprising names showing up in their films included Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Marina Sirtis and Patrick Stewart, and Sharon Stone, but even once big names like Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing could be found in a Cannon movie.


Delta Force, Missing in Action and Missing in Action 2, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lifeforce, Hercules (with Lou Ferrigno), King Solomon’s Mines, Runaway Train, Invaders from Mars, American Ninja, Bloodsport, Cyborg, Death Warrant, Masters of the Universe, Powaqqatsi, and Superman IV, for good or bad, emerged from Golan and Globus’s years at Cannon.

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Death Star insert A

Do you remember back in the 1970s and 1980s when every new toy had its own commercial?  It seems crazy now.  How could toy sales justify the cost of time slots on national networks?  You’d think with the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens marketing push that we’d see commercials all weekend after this past week’s eagerly awaited “Force Friday.”

With all the Toys ‘R’ Us, WalMart, and Target stores (as well as other stores you wouldn’t think carried new Star Wars merchandise like Pottery Barn and Kohl’s (who is advertising Star Wars this weekend), it’s time for a flashback to the original Star Wars toy commercials.  Remember the Jawa playset, later re-designed into a cardboard AT-AT playset?

Death Star insert B

Just check out that recurring soundtrack–you won’t hear the Star Wars theme–but you will hear some funky backgrounds behind kids who can’t actually say the words Star Wars quite right.  Here are several oldies for your viewing pleasure, after the break:

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Star Wars new banner

Just go ahead and take all our money, Lucasfilm.

Force Friday has begun–the official launch of literally hundreds of toys and collectibles from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which does not open until December 18, 2015.  But if you know the Star Wars brand, you know it is probably what Star Wars will be known for decades from now:  a powerhouse of making money off its films and characters.

If you were asleep at midnight this morning, you can still get everything you missed online now.  You’ll find your best deals for more than 200 new toys available at Entertainment Earth starting today at this link.

Want to find more great deals on anything and everything from Episode VII?  Check out this link here to all the Star Wars: The Force Awakens products at

Target kicked off Force Friday with midnight openings in 207 stores nationwide and will continue into Saturday, September 5 with photo ops, giveaways and toy demos.


The coolest offering?  Probably the remote control BB-8 sphere droid by Sphero available for about $149 now for pre-order at Entertainment Earth here–that little roly-poly fella sneaking around in the theatrical previews that was based on an idea from George Lucas’s original sketches for the first movie.  Check out the YouTube video of it in action below.  It’s in the $150 range.  Don’t confuse this with the version from Hasbro that is a target exclusive for half the price–still a fun toy but without all the bells and whistles.

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Funko is on its way to becoming one of the giant toy companies.  Did Ideal, Hasbro, Kenner, and Mattel start like this?  Just look at not only all of its licensed films and television series, but at the breadth of the types of figures it offers.  We’ve discussed at length the Funko ReAction line, but their most popular line is the Funko Pop! series of large, squat bobblehead figures, and Funko also produces a Fabrikations line, Mystery Minis, and a high-quality sculpted Legacy action figure line.  Now there is another Funko line of figures–the Vinyl Idolz–with some interesting licensed films represented.

Just as Jaws is a blockbuster genre classic, so is Young Frankenstein for fans of comedies, listed as #13 on the American Film institute’s roster of the funniest American movies.  The Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired sculpt style for Vinyl Idolz is a good fit for Young Frankenstein.  But there’s more–a Shaun of the Dead line is also simply brilliant.  Also look for the strangest combination of shows in a toy line we’ve ever seen: Back to the Future, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the original Ghostbusters trio, The Walking Dead, Dodgeball, Napoleon Dynamite, the 1960s Batman TV series, Say Anything, Hot Fuzz, and even the strange, non-lead regulars of Seinfeld.


After the break, check out images of several of the new figures.  Click on each to learn more and order or pre-order them at online superstore Entertainment Earth.

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TIE fighter

If you remember the 1970s, you may remember the first time you saw the catalog for Star Wars toys–an insert in any and all Star Wars vehicles, playsets, and large-sized action figures.  Hasbro has published the complete, first catalog for Episode VII of Star Wars, and as we expected from the preview we discussed last week here at, plenty of dollars will be spent at midnight, September 4, 2015–“Force Friday”–as the new line of toys spreads across the country.  As much as for its groundbreaking space fantasy films, Star Wars is known for its landmark toy and collectible merchandising.  Look before Star Wars and nothing compares.

Below, we reprint the new catalog so you can start making your want list.  But first, do you remember the first Star Wars catalogs?  Just compare what was offered for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back fans to what will be available to the latest generation of Star Wars moviegoers.  Not much has changed, has it?

You’ll find 3 3/4-inch action figures, even the first of the 12-inch line of figures, vehicles, lightsabers (although the new line could merit its own catalog), and then those… other items you can’t quite explain.  Like Star Wars plastic model kit vans from the past, or now… is that a Chewbacca Furby?

Here are both the catalogs from Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope, Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, and the latest–the catalog for Episode VII, The Force Awakens:

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LOTR Astin 1

So what is the point of cosplay anyway?  For some it’s costume contests, for others it’s the challenge of creating the closest look possible to the real thing, for others it’s making a new mash-up or creation no one has thought of.  For others, it’s getting garb together to meet up with the actors or creators that made the character famous in the first place.  Whatever your motivation, you know you put it all together just right when the result is all-out fun for you and everyone you encounter, whether you’re attending a local or large convention or visiting your local Renaissance Faire or other gathering.

This year at the Kansas City Comic Con, with the announcement of The Lord of the Rings’ own Samwise, actor Sean Astin as guest, it meant it was time to bring Middle-earth to Kansas City.  It’s a surprising rarity at pop culture and comic book conventions–fantasy characters.  Sure, you see plenty of superheroes, sci-fi movie and animated characters, but fantasy, via films, TV, or books, seems to just be gaining steam.

LOTR Astin 5

Your fearless editor brought out the Radagast and Gimli fatigues (see here and here for some photos) and joined up with Mimosa Bunce aka Rosie aka writer and author Elizabeth C. Bunce and her newly minted Hobbit feet and garb, and we met up with the Springfield Fellowship of The Lord of the Rings for some fun.  Astin called the Middle-earth contingent together at day’s end and Elizabeth broke away from Artists Alley to join the Fellowship for a fun photo shoot thanks to Froggy’s Photos.

Want to know what in-depth preparation, research, knowledge and sewing skills go into the creation of garb for cosplay?

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Chris Hadfield album space sessions cover songs from a tin can

International Space Station astronaut Chris Hadfield has another “first” in store for us.  You’ll know Commander Hadfield as the rock star astronaut who recorded his own version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” back in 2013.  We discussed his rock video filmed in space here back then at  Hadfield is now releasing the first ever album recorded in space.  And yes, Space Sessions: Songs From a Tin Can will include his hit “Space Oddity,” the song heard more than 26 million times by Earthlings via YouTube.

If an album was ever begging to be released in vinyl, this may be it.  Luckily it will be released on CD, digital, and vinyl.

Hadfield has recounted his missions in An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and via his photos in You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station.

Ground control to Cmdr Hadfield

Here is a trailer for the album:

And here is “Feet Up,” a single from the album:

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