Archive for August 31, 2017


Tonight is that Black Friday prequel known to Star Wars toy fans as early Christmas.  Only last year it was labeled Force Friday, so this time around it’s called Force Friday II.  Force Friday II is that off-hour store raid where you have the chance to be the first on your block to say that you own the umpteenth variant of a Boba Fett action figure (seriously, another classic Boba Fett is hitting toy stores tonight, and no, that doesn’t mean he is going to be in the new movie).  The first Force Friday was September 4, 2015, with new toys for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but for whatever reason we didn’t have a Force Friday last year for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  Those toys were first widely released September 30, 2016.  The same kind of thing happened earlier, including way back with the prequels, and to a less coordinated extent with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  Only back then you had to know someone who knew someone who was in the local distribution chain who would sell you (under the table) the only three Yodas (with the orange, not the brown snake) that shipped to your town for what was then a steep upcharge of $3.50 apiece (flash forward a year later when Target had an entire wall of the exact same action figure on clearance for fifty cents apiece).  These days retailers are required to stick to schedules or they risk losing future opportunities.

If you thought George Lucas had the tie-in marketing game perfected, you haven’t met Disney.

Force Friday II weekend” kicks off tonight at midnight local time.  Disney marketing refers to it as the launch of new products “inspired by Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”  It’s the variety of stores that makes this year’s early toy store raid so unusual.  Bed, Bath and Beyond, Staples, Kohl’s, JC Penney, Hot Topic, Brookstone, are involved.  For Star Wars?  Yes, and Target, Toys ‘R’ Us, and Wal-Mart, and other stores like you’d expect.  Disney actually issued a pdf file listing all the stores having events early Friday morning.  Star Wars: The Last Jedi tie-ins are serious business.  And they will be everywhere.  Campbells’ soup labels?  Yes, even grocery stores are heavily involved in marketing the December 2017 film release.

So maybe your best bet is to gather up the gang in the car and go for a drive around town and just look for store lights.  If it’s midnight and they are turned on, the store is probably selling some kind of Star Wars exclusive, and store-by-store you can try to amass a small portion of the giant haul that will be what stores are carrying in plentiful supply by Christmas.  Or just go to StarWars.com for an extensive list of what is available, and where.  Note:  All stores in all locations may not be open tonight.

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JAWS–It’s the reigning king of summer blockbusters–the movie that even prompted the term blockbuster throughout most of the U.S.A. in 1975 because of its crazy long theater lines.  It’s still a favorite of those lucky enough to see it in the theater that summer (drive-in, in my case), and absolutely re-watchable like no other film.  Steven Spielberg directing the toughest shoot of his career, special effects that had to be ditched, a stunning score by John Williams, Richard Dreyfuss at his dramatic funniest, Robert Shaw at his finest.  And coolest.  Robert Shaw.  The Oscar-nominated actor from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Force 10 from Navarone, and From Russia With Love, turned 86 this month.  To celebrate, Narragansett, the brand of beer that Shaw drinks on-screen and the can that he crushes in that famous Jaws scene, re-released its famous 1975 commemorative beer can this summer.  Don’t remember the scene?  Check it out below.

Narragansett timed its release with Shaw’s birthday August 9 and Shark Week.  Unforeseeable to the beer company, Quint was brought back into the limelight later in the month with the discovery by Paul Allen and his research team of the actual USS Indianapolis shipwreck some 18,000 feet below sea level on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.  Shaw and Spielberg have been praised by survivors for the realism provided in the movie.  It’s a dose of reality in what was otherwise a summer action movie.  Yet we surmise the story of the tragedy might not have received the prominence in history it deserved, and maybe Paul Allen might not have learned of the ship to seek it out, without the pervasiveness of the film today, and the lore it perpetuates.  Fortunately 22 of the original sailors that survived that fated voyage are still with us.

Narragansett is the beer Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss created ads for.  Unlike Morley cigarettes (which we discussed back in 2011 at borg.com here), Hank Hill’s Alamo Beer, Thomas Magnum’s Old Dusseldorf longnecks, Al Bundy’s Girlie Girl Beer, Homer Simpson’s Duff Beer, Laverne & Shirley’s Shotz Beer, or Drew Carey’s Buzz Beer, Quint was downing and crushing a can of real Narragansett.  Still brewed today, it’s the preferred beer of many in the Northeast and Eastern U.S, where it is distributed.  The iconic movie scene solidified the brand’s reputation as the beer of choice for everyday New Englanders and continues to captivate viewers to this day.  The company offers many great fan products, so make sure you check out its website store for items like its throwback can Christmas ornament, a great two-sided throwback T-shirt, and “Crush it like Quint” full-sized poster.

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