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Category: Retro Fix


twin-peaks-lunch-box

Along with Funko’s announcement earlier at London Toy Fair 2017 of a line of Kenner style ReAction figures and its famous Pops! bobbleheads, even more Twin Peaks tie-ins are on their way.  To help promote Showtime’s launch of the Twin Peaks sequel and reboot this year after a 25-year absence for this weekend’s New York Toy Fair, online superstore Entertainment Earth and toymaker Bif Bang Pow! have announced new Twin Peaks items every fan will be after.

Two lunch boxes will be available, inspired by classic tin versions popular in the 1950s through the 1970s.  You can get the “Welcome to Twin Peaks” style or a version featuring the famous Double ‘R’ Cafe (home of damned good coffee and cherry pie).  The “Welcome to Twin Peaks” lunch box features the wooden sign from the show introduction and images from the series.  The Double ‘R’ Cafe lunch box features the diner on the front and back, plus images of a cup of coffee, a slice of pie, and the TP emblem against a checkered tablecloth background under the handle.

A smaller tin tote will be available featuring the Black Lodge logo.  It holds a matching deck of playing cards.

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Another unique item is a 192-page hardcover writing journal based on Agent Dale Cooper’s trademark microcassette recorder–the one he used to record messages to Diane back at his office.

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jonny-quest-figures

We’ve been raving about the three and three-quarters inch scale Kenner-style action figures from Funko’s ReAction line here at borg.com for a few years now.  If style and nostalgia are your jam but not necessarily screen-accurate sculpts, it’s hard to beat the myriad of licenses that Funko has secured.  What you may not have seen is that Figures Toy Company has been producing a similar series of figures reflecting the larger, eight-inch Mego action figure line also popular in the 1970s.

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Like Funko, Figures Toy Company has secured licenses of brands, movies and TV shows you’d never think would surface again, like Evel Knievel, Dukes of Hazzard, DC Comics, KISS, Shazam, Batman TV series heroes and villains, Super Friends, Scooby Doo, Tarzan, Dallas, The Monkees, The Three Stooges, Gilligan’s Island, and most recently Jonny QuestAlso like Funko, don’t expect Sideshow Toys’ level of detail.  The appeal of these lines is pure nostalgia, and packaging is half of the value.  The company also didn’t forget accessories and playsets, like a great set of Batman weaponsthe Batbus and Batlabclassic style carrying casesGotham GCPD bus, professional wrestling accessories, the Teen Titans bus, and the classic Batcave.

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Your editor with the original Mego Robin figure, and at right the new Figures Toy Company version.

The toy company has also stepped ahead into more recent licenses, creating a line of Mego-style Harry Potter action figures.  Some of Figures Toy Company’s action figure lines are also offered in a 12-inch and 18-inch version.  Many lines were released in limited editions and exclusives, and some can only be found on Amazon and eBay, and many are still available with new figures released frequently.  Not only do many have the Mego-style retro packaging, others have the Kresge Stores-style packages your parents could pick up in the 1970s as point-of-sale purchases at checkout in local dime stores across the country.

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The next noir crime drama may come as a surprise: It’s Dynamite Entertainment’s new throwback series Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys.  Inspired by recent noir comic book series like Ed Brubaker’s Fatale and Darwyn Cooke’s Parker series, writer Anthony Del Col (Assassin’s Creed, Kill Shakespeare) and artist Werther Dell’Edera (Detective Comics, House of Mystery) are bringing the classic books and 1970s team-up television series into the 21st century.  It looks to have the vibe of CW’s new Riverdale television series update to Archie Comics, including that show’s Twin Peaks aura.

The Hardy Boys stories and Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series were first published in 1927 and 1930 respectively and continued for 75 years.  Created by Edward Stratemeyer, but ghost written by Mildred Wirt Benson and hundreds of writers over the decades, the books followed teenaged brother sleuths, Frank and Joe Hardy, and a young heroine detective, Nancy Drew, whose strong character has been cited as a personal influence by Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Sonia Sotomayor, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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In the new series, Frank and Joe Hardy are accused of murdering their father, a detective, and they enlist Nancy Drew to help prove their innocence–and find the real murderer.  The series promises a “twisting, hard-boiled tale, complete with double-crosses, deceit and dames,” keeping with the noir crime setting.

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st-2-promo-banner

We now have a Season 2 teaser trailer for Stranger Things featuring the key cast of kids minus Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven.  Check out the trailer below, which aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl game.  We now know we won’t get to binge watch Season 2 on Netflix until Halloween.  So what do we know so far about Stranger Things Season 2?

Although she’s not in this week’s first teaser, we know Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) signed on for the season, and fan favorite Sean Astin will star as a new character aptly named Bob Newby.  The other kid stars are back:  Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), sporting Ghostbusters outfits at their grade school on Halloween Day 1984–a great choice for the season opener since we’ll be watching the episode premiere on Halloween day.

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In the teaser we see Hawkins, Indiana police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is back and encounters some kind of explosion.  In last season’s finale, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) returned from the Upside Down and now may be like Eleven, coughing up that Upside Down world goo.  Is he going to have powers like Eleven?  He’s shown in the same lab with similar equipment hooked up to him as we saw with Eleven and Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine), who was killed at the end of Season 1.  If you don’t recognize the people in the fuzzy lab video, that’s Paul Reiser as a new character named Dr. Owens and Winona Ryder returning as Will’s mom Joyce.

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We get to see a quick homage to the kid opening the door to the alien abductors in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and a great look at the new nemesis alien for Season 2.  The same great title banner is back, and the music.  For those not around in 1980, the Eggo Waffles advertisement at the beginning of the teaser is real, and it features young actor Jason Hervey who would later play the brother on The Wonder Years.

Check out the teaser for Stranger Things Season 2, the original Eggo Waffles ad, and the Close Encounters scene referred to above, after the break:
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training-day

Director Antoine Fuqua, who is pretty much an ace in the hole with great movies like Shooter, The Equalizer, and last year’s The Magnificent Seven, brings another one of his hit movies to television this month.  This time Fuqua is in the executive producer role along with Jerry Bruckheimer for Training Day, a sequel series to the film, airing Thursday nights at 9 p.m. Central on CBS, starring Bill Paxton (Aliens, Apollo 13, Edge of Tomorrow, Twister, Weird Science) and newcomer Justin Cornwell, with Julie Benz (Angel) and Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Without a Trace).  The series is directed by Danny Cannon (Gotham, CSI, Eleventh Hour).

Training Day was the 2001 surprise hit that garnered Denzel Washington an Oscar and Ethan Hawke one of his four Oscar nominations.  It’s known for its gritty realism and its view of urban street life with a rookie (Hawke) in his first day in a new role with a veteran cop of questionable motives and actions (Washington).  The series is far less gritty, fitting the modern police procedural framework with more humor and bordering a bit on the melodramatic.

For the series, which aired its first episode last night, we’re brought 15 years after the events in the movie with young do-gooder detective Kyle Craig, played by Cornwell, tasked by the squad’s deputy chief (Jean-Baptiste) to track the actions of an alleged crooked cop, Detective Frank Rourke, played by Paxton.  Training Day’s first episode reveals this is just the latest in decades of L.A.P.D. shows going back to Dragnet.  It’s plenty fun simply to watch an hour of Bill Paxton spouting those quirky words of wisdom his characters are known for.  Episode one even throws in a Western stand-off complete with some background music straight out of an old Western TV show.

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The plot of the series is swappable for any police procedural.  The hook with the series is the title, which fit the movie better since the entire movie took place in one day, but Training Day could easily be a follow-up to Martin Scorcese’s Departed, another film about a rookie trying to get the goods on a bad cop.  The change-up is in the title–who is training whom?  The TV series updated the movie’s 1979 Monte Carlo with an even earlier muscle car for the series taking place so many years later–you can envision a series 40 years from now still using 1970s cars as their street rides.  Ultimately it will be enough for Paxton fans to see him driving around in that car in a seedy L.A. doing his shtick every week.

Here is a behind the scenes look and a preview for CBS’s Training Day:

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my-pet-dinosaur

The first trailer released for the new Australian production My Pet Dinosaur at first has the look of a low-budget knockoff of E.T., the Extra Terrestrial.  Since E.T. many films have tried to capture what Steven Spielberg and John Williams brought to the screen.  Most have failed and resulted in decades of direct-to-VHS features.  But we also have had successes like Super 8.

My Pet Dinosaur comes from writer/director and visual effects supervisor Matt Drummond, who also worked on Dinosaur Island.  It stars newcomers Jordan Dulieu, Anabelle Wolfe, Harrison Saunders, Chris Gabardi, Scott Irwin, Rowley Holmes, Beth Champion, with Joanne Samuel (Mad Max), David Roberts (The Matrix), and Tiriel Mora (The Castle).

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In one sense My Pet Dinosaur may seem doomed from the start.  In light of the success of all things retro, and in particular the Netflix series Stranger Things, My Pet Dinosaur may still have a chance.  Yet, maybe the preview doesn’t do the film justice, and perhaps the special effects work wasn’t in final form.  The dinosaur looks pretty good in some of the scenes.

Check out this trailer for My Pet Dinosaur:

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witwillowshc-pr-1

The 1908 children’s book The Wind in the Willows is one of those fantastic books that belong on the shelf along with The Hobbit, Winnie the Pooh, and Huckleberry Finn.  Seven famous illustrators (and countless others) over the years have provided the visual representations of Kenneth Grahame’s famous Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger including Paul Bransom, Ernest H. Shepard, Arthur Rackham, Tasha Tudor, Michael Hague, Scott McKowen, and Robert Ingpen.  Tomorrow IDW Publishing is releasing its own hardcover edition, and we can add David Petersen to the list of great illustrators taking on this classic work.

The Wind in the Willows was a three-year project for Petersen, the artist who brought a new generation the anthropomorphic world of brave mice in his Mouse Guard series.  Petersen supplied twenty full-color illustrations and fifty pen and ink illustrations for this new edition of Grahame’s book.  Fans of Petersen’s mice will find similar themes here, including an unexpected journey, daring adventure, and humorous tales of the riverbank.  Check out a preview below courtesy of IDW Publishing.

You’ll meet Mole, tired of house cleaning and seeking adventures along the riverbank, who finds the accommodating and friendly Rat, and together they join up with the obnoxious but redeemable Toad, and the solitary Badger helps them all in the book’s exciting finale.  Content to enjoy the pastoral life of countryside England, but ready when called to protect their friends and show their bravery, these animals provide a guide for kids to be good to others, respect each other, and embrace the differences in others.  Friendship, living in a community, leaving each to his or her own activities or mixing in and having adventures together–there is room for everyone in the Wild Wood.

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As for the original story, the word choice is magnificent–each sentence of Kenneth Grahame’s narrative is pure, lavish artistry and a joy to read.  It’s no wonder President Theodore Roosevelt helped get the original edition published–he’d read the book over and over, and later said he considered the animal characters as old friends.

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kong-jackson

Every few years we cycle through a new Tarzan, a new Jungle Book, and a new King Kong.  Maybe it’s time for a new Conan?  A new Flash Gordon?  All of these classic stories will be made and remade forever.  They are timeless classics of fantasy for each generation to meet for the first time.

The latest is director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island.  After several lesser sequels to the Jurassic Park franchise, why not show us a similar idea, but let the filmmakers have some fun with it?  Samuel L. Jackson is showcased like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando or Predator.  It’s about time we saw Jackson take on a tough guy action role like this.  And John C. Reilly should make for some good comic relief.

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The monsters look great, and you’ll get the idea that cinematographer Larry Fong was given the brass ring to lay on extra layers of fun.  The man behind the camera for Super 8, Watchmen, 300, and the next Predator movie offers up explosions galore here, an Apocalypse Now riff there.  And an entire Land of the Lost full of oversized creatures.

Check out these fun new trailers for Kong: Skull Island:

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archie-riverdale

Review by C.J. Bunce

Viewers know in the first ten minutes of Riverdale that the show is going to be a winner.  Archie Comics has had 75 years to perfect its ageless story of a guy, two gals, and a bunch of friends living in Everytown, USA.  Not many comic book series are so good to successfully draw in fans year after year for so long.  With The CW’s drama Riverdale, you’ll wonder why it took so long to bring these characters to television.  The series may also give the Twin Peaks reboot some competition this year.

World building is still a requirement for a TV pilot–the writers can’t assume we all knew each character and where they fit in.  So it’s impressive most of what viewers need to know is delivered before the first commercial break.  By the end of the pilot episode, one of the age-old questions is answered, too, at least temporarily: Is Archie Andrews (played by a perfectly cast K.J. Apa) going to go after sweet and innocent Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) or seductive and fiery Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes)?

Riverdale -- "Pilot" -- Image Number: RVD101g_0002.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): KJ Apa as Archie and Lili Reinhart as Betty -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved.

Jughead (Cole Sprouse) serves as narrator for the first episode, a loner documenting the summer’s big event: death in a small town, via laptop at his table at the all-night burger joint.  But it’s new girl Veronica that we follow through town via a path similar to Buffy Summers looking to find a friend or two in the pilot to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Veronica befriends Betty and the chemistry is instantaneous.  Appropriately distracted Archie is almost a third wheel.  We’re immediately in Veronica’s corner after she punches the head cheerleader in the face with a perfectly delivered, dressing-down, and we’re equally cheering for Betty to get all the good that she deserves.

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i-am-jim-henson

Life’s like a movie… write your own ending… keep believing… keep pretending…

Throughout the past year Brad Meltzer, noted fiction and non-fiction author and television personality (and DC Comics writer for the Identity Crisis and Green Arrow series) joined former Marvel Comics artist Christopher Eliopoulos to produce the Ordinary People Change the World series of books for young readers from Dial/Penguin/Random House.  Each of these could–or should–be your child, your nephew, niece, grandchild, or other young friend’s first book.  Back in September we previewed the most recent books in the series here at borg.com, featuring Dr. Jane Goodall and President George Washington.  This month Meltzer and Eliopoulos are releasing their latest inspirational and educational book for kids, I am Jim Henson.

What is incredible about this book in the series is Eliopoulos’s success in seemingly including every Muppet you can think of one way or another, all his fuzzy and beloved characters from both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.  From Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy to Yoda and the movies Henson created, details of Henson’s life that will interest his fans are all here.  Meltzer, writing in first person as Henson, recreates Henson’s influences and youth.  Most importantly, Henson’s love of magic, imagination, and learning, and characters who taught everyone about laughter and kindness, will inspire new generations to look at his works again, and maybe even create their own.

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Meltzer and Eliopoulos know Henson’s characters like fans do–some of the most memorable lines and images of them can be found tucked into the background and corners of each page.

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