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Category: Pop Culture


Dont Smile

The gold old days.  Life was simpler then.  Back then we didn’t have the Internet.

Every generation looks back with a sense of nostalgia for those artifacts of a time long ago.  Yet in contemporary times you wouldn’t have thought we’d ever look back one day with any positive thoughts.  Real typewriters, not the electric ones, that gave your fingers early stage arthritis.  A pick-up truck with manual steering that gave your arms a workout every time you made a turn.  The vibrant, eye-popping scent of mimeograph machines and the purple ink that wouldn’t wash off your skin.  The sting of mercurochrome on an open wound.  Ah… the good old days.

Then there are those things that really do carry nothing but positive feelings.  Back in between 1959 and 1972, Fisher Price released toys for little kids wanting their own high-tech fun.  If you’re like us here at borg.com, you remember playing with most of these as a kid.  In reality these toys were low-tech, yet, if the gift recipient was young enough these toys really were a hit.  They have vanished for decades but are back now, and in time for your Black Friday gift buying quest.

Classic camera toy

If your kid is old enough where he has his own xBox and iPhone, don’t bother with these.  These are for kids who haven’t been tempted by those zombie toys of the adult set.  So here they all are: the 1966 High-Def television, the 1959 iPod, the 1961 smart phone, the 1969 electronic keyboard, the 1968 digital SLR, the 1972 iPad, and the 1971 CD player.  You don’t remember an iPod in 1959?  Maybe Fisher Price didn’t use these terms back then, but maybe current kids would have the same fun with the appropriate spin on what they were playing with.

Here’s your post-modern online retro toy catalog to save you some time at the holidays, with our own added updated names, available at discount prices from Amazon.com. Click on each photo for details.

The Original Smart Phone

1961 Chatter Phone

1961 Chatter Phone

Early HDTV 

1966 Two-Tune TV

1966 Two-Tune TV

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Forbidden Planet lobby card

An Ohio movie poster collector is selling his collection of posters.

No big deal?  Not if you’re talking about Morris Everett, Jr., who claims to own the largest collection of lobby cards and movie posters in the world.  Over the past few decades Everett acquired nearly 200,000 of these items reflecting nearly every movie ever made.  In December, auction house Profiles in History is auctioning the entire collection as one lot.  One private collector or institution will amass a collection that includes not only rare posters, but the only known specimens of certain movie ephemera, such as the only known remaining lobby card for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

According to the auction house, the lot of 196,000 pieces of film art reflecting 44,000 movies since 1907 is expected to fetch a minimum of $6 to $8 million.

The Day the Earth Stood Still lobby card

The history of cinema is represented in Everett’s collection, in addition to the history of fashion and design.  Advertising agencies and aspiring designers would be wise to download copies of the online catalog and galleries for a future photo reference.  A collection like this doesn’t come around often, and a chronicle so interesting is something sure to give anyone hours of mesmerized gazing and gawking.

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New metallic Alien figure   New Ripley figure Funko

Entertainment Earth is now shipping pretty much all of its gigantic, multi-franchise line of action figures inspired by the Kenner line of Star Wars action figures from the 1970s.  Many aren’t aware that Ridley Scott’s Alien had its own line of figures by Kenner, developed and ready to produce until someone realized they were marketing toys to kids based on an R-rated movie most wouldn’t get to see.  Those figures were finally remade by Funko toys and discussed here at borg.com last November.

The success of the Alien line prompted figures from nearly every great sci-fi and horror franchise you can think of except Star Wars:  Firefly, Back to the Future, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Predator, Escape from New York, and Terminator.  Blockbuster horror films including Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and even the cult classic The Crow.  And classic monster films including Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, and The Wolfman.  We previewed all of them here.and here and here.  A similar but unrelated toy line is producing its own line of Six Million Dollar Man and The Twilight Zone figures, too.

Facehugger figure   Kane chestburst figure

Make no mistake, these figures aren’t for the discerning high-end collector of photo-real sculpts.  These figures celebrate all things retro in their dated styling and five-points of articulation in a world of figures made today with far more movement and features.

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Planet Earth and Hadfield

Tuesday night Commander Chris Hadfield met with a small group of Kansas City patrons at a reception in the Linda Hall Library of science and technology, in advance of a lecture on the release of his new book You Are Here to 800 attendees at the Unity Temple on the Plaza.  Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who flew twice on the space shuttle and commanded the International Space Station last year, fielded a barrage of questions on everything from his tight fit in a Russian Soyuz space capsule to his favorite moments in outer space to his famous viral rock video.

Just feet from a 1543 first edition of Copernicus’s On the Heavenly Spheres in which Copernicus first introduced humans to an image of the Sun at the center of the universe, and a 1610 hand-notated first edition of Galileo’s treatise Starry Messenger in which Galileo first documented his discoveries via telescope, Hadfield was a living representation of mankind’s greatest achievements so far.  Confident and razor sharp, Hadfield conveyed those traits you’d expect from a test pilot and astronaut required to know how to repair every part of his spacecraft if necessary and conduct experiments in outer space as planet Earth soars in front of him at 1,000 miles per hour.

Hadfield signing

Commander Hadfield signed copies of his new book You Are Here, and earlier work An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.

Hadfield, known for his transmission of images via Twitter during his five-month stint on the International Space Station (ISS), said he personally follows very few people on the Internet.  “I follow a few friends I know who have some humorous things to say,” he said.  On the space station Hadfield produced an unprecedented rock video sung and performed on guitar by the commander–a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” which we reported on here at borg.com back in 2013 (and referred to Hadfield as the coolest man on, or off, Earth).  He said his son, who produced the video from back home on Earth, “really wrote the book” on using social media to convey something as enormous as sharing what Hadfield was doing in outer space, including the millions re-introduced to the space program who watched his video on YouTube.  “We have something like 20 million hits,” he said proudly (actually now more than 23 million).

Librarian for history of science Bruce Bradley

Linda Hall Library history of science librarian Bruce Bradley displays rare original texts from Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton.

Before the private reception, Linda Hall Library history of science librarian Bruce Bradley showed off the facilities collection of original historic astronomy texts, and Hadfield said he was impressed by what he had seen.  The Library previously hosted Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, seen here.

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Mark Wahlberg track suit Six Billion Dollar Man running

Finally Steve Austin will make it to the big screen 42 years after Martin Caidin first created the man who was barely alive, rebuilt, better, stronger and faster than he was before in his novel Cyborg.  And it’s been 36 years since the 1970s popular TV series went off the air.

And the best part?  Mark Wahlberg has been tapped by the Weinstein Co. to play not the Six Million Dollar Man, but the Six Billion Dollar Man in The Six Billion Dollar Man.  We at borg.com couldn’t be happier with the selection of Wahlberg if we were allowed to hand pick the actor to play the Bionic Man ourselves.  Wahlberg is an actor cranking out some of the most enjoyable films around for the past 15 years, from The Italian Job to The Departed to Shooter to The Happening to Ted to the latest Transformers.

Thankfully, the parody film rumored to be “in the works” supposedly to star Jim Carrey then Robert Downey, Jr. then Leonardo DiCaprio, is now off the table.  The original Bionic Man, Lee Majors, expressed concern about a parody earlier this year at Planet Comicon.  No worries now!

Wahlberg sported a similar white track suit in Pain and Gain.  Will he don the red track suit for Steve Austin?

The Six Billion Dollar Man is expected to start production in 2015 with a 2016 release.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

 

SW teaser

So what evil lies behind that door?

Can you remember the first comic book that ever landed in your hands?  More than a decade ago I first met one of my comic book creator heroes, Howard Chaykin.  Chaykin created the very first Star Wars movie poster, a stylized, action-filled cover in his unique style:

Star Wars original Chaykin poster

Chaykin was visiting town at a local Con and luckily for me most of the visitors at the show were in line for the newest young comic artist, and didn’t realize all Mr. Chaykin had done in his long career in comics and television, so I got plenty of time to chat with him, and have him autograph my first comic book: Star Wars, Issue #8, featuring a story called “Eight for Aduba-3,” influenced by The Magnificent Seven/Seven Samurai story.  I’ve bragged up Chaykin before here at borg.com.  He’s one of the most interesting guys in the comics business.

Star Wars issue 8 Marvel Comics

“Eight for Aduba-3″ came out when Marvel Comics first had the license to create the Star Wars movie adaptation, drawn by Chaykin and written by Chaykin and the great Roy Thomas, after a quick look at materials from the film and conversation with George Lucas.  They were tapped to take the characters from the new phenomenon in a new direction following the events in Episode IV: A New Hope.  “Eight for Aduba-3″ included more than one tough recruited mercenary, much like its source material, but the big standout was Jaxxon, a giant, angry green rabbit-man.

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LTPC_Volume_3_Cover    superman_ga_sundays_2_pr

Philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and so revisiting history via its primary sources should be no less important in studying the history of comics and animation.  And with the benefit of our own personal wayback machines (spelled WABAC for you Mr. Peabody fans) sometimes our looks to the past are full of imagery and stories that make us squirm as our sensibilities have improved over time.

We visited this concept here at borg.com with our review of the even-too-sexist-for-a-Bond-novel The Spy Who Loved Me and racism-heavy Live and Let Die.  Can you still enjoy these works knowing how skewed the world view was?  I think the answer can be yes, as long as you maintain your critical eye and acknowledge the improvements we have made.  Ignoring or dismissing these works outright would be worse.

Thanks to the folks at Warner Bros. we previewed a copy of Looney Tunes–Platinum Collection, Volume 3, on Blu-ray, and courtesy of IDW Publishing we have a preview for you of Superman: The Golden Age Sundays (1946-1949), after the break.

Gossamer and Bugs

Who doesn’t remember and cherish the great Looney Tunes cartoons of the mid-20th century, recycled decades after their creation for a 1970s and 1980s cable viewing audience thanks to Saturday morning cartoons?  But, like many comic books and superhero movies today, you might use discretion before sharing with young audiences.  Even the originals were intended for adult movie audiences and it’s amazing networks thought these were once appropriate for kids each Saturday.  And where you may think you watched these cartoons and turned out fine and bigot-free, what about that guy across the street?

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mix tape

When you’re done voting for the future of your community today, come on back here and vote in our Best Rock Song.  Ever.  Poll.  Why?  What better way to celebrate the announcement that the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Lord’s own mix tape, will be released at the end of this month in its original cassette tape form.  As Star Lord would say: You’re welcome.

Back in college I remember getting harassed by a neighbor for making a mix tape.  His logic?  “An album is a work of art, meant to be heard as a whole.”  Yeah, right.  Flash forward to the 21st century.  It’s not so easy to find someone who doesn’t have all their faves on their iPod or similar digital device.

So what songs are on your mix tape?  How about a Best Rock Ever tape?  Can we all just agree on at least one song to make the cut?

gaurdians-of-the-gallexy-cassette-2014

In honor of Guardians of the Galaxy going Old School with its to-be-released cassette tape and this thing today called Election Day, we offer up this poll to find the single Best Rock Song.  Ever.  Did we include all the best songs to choose from?

Mix tapes are personal things and say as much about a person as their favorite movies or books.  I came across my own mix tape from the late 1980s this weekend.  Titled on the cassette “EVERYTHING,” it has A-ha’s “Take on Me,” Phil Collins’ “Sussudio,” Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al,” The Travelling Wilburys’ “Poor House,” George Harrison’s “I Got My Mind Set on You,” Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” Billy Joel’s “My Life,” The Beach Boys’ “Kokomo,” America’s “Horse With No Name,” Toto’s “Africa,” and the Eagles’ “Take it Easy.”

Most “best of” lists on the Web carve up their lists by decade or some other division.  For today’s Best Rock Song. Ever. Poll, we simply pulled out a few dozen of the best tunes by big singers and big bands, from Chuck Berry to Daft Punk.  We also included some songs we wouldn’t think would make the cut just to give them a shot at the prize.  So groan, wince, or roll your eyebrows as you’d like.  If you don’t like these picks, add your own in the comments.  We dare you.

Vote early and often (actually just once, please).  If our Best Bond Girl poll is any indication, we’re thinking our reader base will pick one of the classic rock tunes to take #1.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Cardboard Safari skull

The department stores have switched into the Thanksgiving and Christmas season seemingly overnight now that Halloween has passed.  If you’re thinking ahead to the latest and greatest new gift idea for model builders and other crafters for the coming holiday season, you should take a look at some creative new building kits from Cardboard Safari.  We at borg.com have tried out three of the company’s precision laser-cut project kits and found them to be easy to build and loads of fun for a variety of audiences.

Cardboard Safari designers use various types of cardboard to create everything from real office furniture to desktop art, and wall wreaths and retro toys to a human skull.  We tried out Cardboard Safari’s Human Skull, Astro Rocket, and steampunk or retro Ray Gun with display stand.  The instructions were straightforward and materials sturdy enough that when we were distracted during the World Series we could redo our work without any errors or blemishes in the final product.  They require no glue, but are carefully designed so cardboard components solidly secure the model–something like a snap-tite plastic model kit.  The photo above and first photo below show the final projects we created.

Ray Gun and Rocket Cardboard Safari

When I was a kid my first exposure to model kits was the Gayla Industries Styrofoam board gliders like the F-14 and the Space Shuttle, the West Wings simple balsa gliders, and Guillows rubber band-powered planes.  These were simple three or four step models.  Later I moved into larger styrene gliders, and more advanced balsa and plastic kits.  On a parallel track I grew up with Legos, starting with a basic house set and moving up to the remote-controlled functional car.  You can learn the same building skills with the projects at Cardboard Safari.

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Jimmy Stewart Lindbergh Spirit of St Louis

It’s the second time TCM and auction house Bonhams have teamed up to offer screen-used and production-made costumes, props, and other relics from the Golden Age of Hollywood.  A November auction, TCM Presents: There’s No Place Like Hollywood, will feature a large private collection of rare items from Casablanca, including the piano featured prominently in the film where Sam plays “As Time Goes By.”  A lesser seen piano from another scene in the film sold in 2012 for more than $600,000.

One lot features a mannequin display with costume components worn by Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, said to have been used in several scenes in the film.  Many of the costumes and props appear to be the same lots that have been featured in other auctions in the last few years, including various dresses from the Debbie Reynolds collection of items offered by auction house Profiles in History.

Casablanca piano

Costumes from several classic films are on the auction block, including a Clark Gable jacket from Gone With the Wind, Marilyn Monroe’s saloon gown from River of No Return, Jimmy Stewart’s Charles Lindbergh flight suit from The Spirit of St. Louis, Faye Dunaway’s dress from The Towering Inferno, a Jane Russell costume from The Outlaw, and a John Wayne Union Army coat from Rio Lobo and The Undefeated.  Sci-fi and fantasy fans aren’t forgotten in the TCM auction, as there will be costumes worn by Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowell in Planet of the Apes, a background crewmember astronaut jumpsuit from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a test dress for Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and a Saruman staff and Aragorn sword from The Lord of the Rings films, both from Sir Christopher Lee’s personal collection.

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