Tuesday, December 31, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM DESDINOVA!

No matter what language you speak, I want to wish you a very Happy New Year! May 2014 be your best year ever!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

KGBX AM COMMERCIAL FROM 1983


This is a commercial for Springfield, Missouri radio station KGBX from 1983. At that time the radio station was on AM. They are now at 105.9 FM. I remembered this commercial after watching it again for one single image: the baby with headphones on and James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face" playing in the background. The only thing that could have made this commercial more exciting would have been Deborah Shelton.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

BEST OF DESDINOVA: MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS STUFF

This is from 2007, the first year of the original blog. The bottom two items were related to movies released in December of that year.

It mentions my favorite Christmas movies, Christmas songs (and least favorite songs) and Christmas episodes of classic TV shows. I might add to the last one, the Christmas episode of Just Shoot Me entitled "How Finch Stole Christmas." It pokes fun at several retro Christmas TV specials.

I might also add to my least favorite Christmas songs Newsong's "Christmas Shoes." I think it may have came around post-2007 but has actually climbed all the way to Number One on the list, as Casey Kasem would say.

My Favorite Christmas Stuff

Monday, December 23, 2013

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS GIFTS

1. Mighty Men and Monster Maker
2. Merlin
3. Quiz Wiz (Spawned my life long fascination with trivia)
4. Playskool McDonalds
5. A Hot Wheels Loop to Loop track (I think that is what was called)
6. Speak and Spell
7. Playskool Bristle Blocks
8. Pocket Flix (with Scooby Doo, Spiderman and Star Trek cartridges) and the GAF knock off (Can't remember what it was called - can't remember the cartridges)
9. A bicycle
10. 12 inch Cornelius figure from Planet of the Apes

Saturday, December 21, 2013

ELF ON THE SHELF - DISCO ERA


The "Elf On The Shelf" has never been a stranger to me or at least the image of the elf has never been a stranger. The "Elf" was a part of my childhood before there was a story or name. My sister has an "Elf" from her childhood that looks identicle to the one in the The Elf On the Shelf book.

My mother bought this one and a whole box of smaller ones in the early 70s. They either came from the Ace Hardware or Matinglys in Lebanon, MO (We can't remember which one it was). This one is obviously wearing his disco clothes. Silver lame suit trimmed in fur and a gold foil bow-tie with a gigantic bell on his cap. Nothing says Christmas like a styling 70s elf. He doesn't move around like the one in the story, but I did prop him up to take this photo with my phone (I may try to retake this with a real camera). Note: the "Elf" is sitting on a DVD of the Filmation The New Adventures of the Lone Ranger cartoons from the 80s.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tom Laughlin, star of 'Billy Jack,' dead at 82

'Lawrence of Arabia' star Peter O'Toole dead at 81

Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine passes away

Audrey Totter dies at 95

1940s film noir actress Audrey Totter dies at 95

She also played Nurse Wilcox on Medical Center.

Dragnet's Jack Webb Christmas Seals Movie Trailer


My name is Friday. I carry Christmas Seals. DUM-DA-DUM-DUM! DUM-DA-DUM-DUM-DDAA!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

CAPTAIN ACTION: THE FIRST SUPERHERO ACTION FIGURE

CLICK TO ENLARGE
This post was inspired by several incidents. First off, this classic toy from the 60s is back again. I bought one for my great-nephew Carson (named after Johnny Carson), because I was born to late to have one of the originals. I bought it  and a Spider Man costume back in January of this year. last month, Retrospace featured a comic book ad for Captain Action toys. Yesterday, Pam of Go Retro posted a clip she found on You Tube of a family's Christmas home movies from 1966. She mentioned that in her post on Facebook, that a little boy in clip received Superman and Lone Ranger action figures as presents. Before even watching the the footage, the boy had received a Captain Action with a Superman outfit and a Lone Ranger outfit, because in 1966, Captain Action was the only superhero action figure.


The history of Captain Action is interesting. Most people saw Captain Action as Ideal Toys' oddball knock off of Hasbro's G.I. Joe. The truth is both were the creation of the same guy, Stan Winston. He took the money he earned from G.I. Joe and created a company to licence famous characters for toys. He pitched an idea to ideal called Captain Magic, a soldier who could change into various comic book superheroes. He would go the "accessories sold separately" route, but with the emphasis that had made Mattel's Barbie a success: clothes.

The backlash against "war toys" and the sudden success of the Batman TV series, as well as Saturday morning cartoons about Superman, Lone Ranger, Captain America and Aquaman, Ideal ran with Captain Action. Besides outfits of the five superheroes mentioned above, Captain Action could also dress as The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Steve Canyon and Sgt. Nick Fury.

Now, The Phantom and Flash Gordon still make perfect sense to us in 2013, because they are still in newspapers as well as  having been the subject of movies with the last thirty years. Sgt. Nick Fury and Steve Canyon may not seem like good choices. Sgt. Nick Fury and Steve Canyon were obviously included for the G. I. Joe fans. The Sgt. Fury outfit was basically camo fatigues, a helmet and guns. Steve Canyon's outfit was a pilot jumpsuit, helmet with oxygen mask and parachute. Ideal had been successful with Steve Canyon toys during the height of the character's popularity in the 50s, when it was in newspapers, comic books and a TV series. About the time Captain Action was introduced, Marvel Comics changed Sgt. Nick Fury into Secret Agent Nick Fury of SHIELD. Steve Canyon shifted from adventure strip about a jet pilot to soap opera strip about an aging jet pilot with a mild case post-traumatic stress disorder.

Captain Action was a hit, so Ideal added outfits for Buck Rogers, the Green Hornet and Spider Man. Here began more problems along the line of the Sgt. Fury and Steve Canyon dilemmas. The Green Hornet TV show was cancelled about the time the outfit hit the stores and the Buck Rogers comic strip was cancelled after the outfit was released. Spider Man had a successful cartoon on TV but didn't sell well. For one thing, it didn't look quite like Spider Man and one of his accessories was a hand saw (?). The original Spider Man outfit is highly collectible. One smart change to the original outfits was to change the Lone Ranger outfit from the red shirt and black jeans used in the newspaper comic strip to the blue jumpsuit he wore in the movies and TV shows.


Idea also added a Action Boy doll that could be dressed as Robin, Aqualad and Superboy. They also added the Silver Streak vehicle and Dr. Evil, Captain Action's creepy looking mad scientist arch-enemy. Sadly, in 1969, Ideal dropped Captain Action. The superhero craze was fizzling out and replaced by space travel toys inspired by the real life moon landings. Another problem was the cost of licensing of characters and a few missteps such as Buck Rogers and Green Hornet hurt financially. Unlike G. I. Joe, who reinvented himself as an adventurer with a fuzzy beard and kung-fu grip, Captain Action disappeared into toy history.

One thing you will notice when you see the 60s Captain Action in the uniforms, by today's standards, they don't look very good. Of course, this was the first and only superhero action figures available in the 60s. Baby Boomers had no choice. 

A company called Playing Mantis revived Captain Action in the late 90s. As with Ideal, the Playing mantis found Captain Action to be very costly. Another thing about Playing Mantis was they sold the Captain Action doll and uniform together in many cases. Playing Mantis ceased production by 2000. They only made Green Hornet, Flash Gordon, Lone Ranger and the Phantom, as well as Kato, Tonto and Ming the Merciless. No DC or Marvel characters were produced which is a shame considering the 90s uniforms were an improvement over the 60s uniforms.

In April 2012, a company called CA Enterprises released a new version of Captain Action. The new incarnation of Captain Action comes in both the classic look as well as a white and blue Arctic Adventure suit. The superhero uniforms are all Marvel characters (Captain America, Spider Man, Thor, Iron Man and Wolverine). They are well designed and great looking, unlike the original 60s uniforms.

They say things eventually come back and Captain Action is a good example.

Here is the original TV commercial.

 


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

REMEMBERING THE CHRISTMAS WISH BOOK


Hopefully this post will not sound like one of those stupid "What-has-happened-to-our-wonderful-nation" memes on Facebook that conservative people post, but I want to bring up something that has disappeared from the modern day Christmas season that today's children will unfortunately not get to experience. Most of you probably never noticed it was gone, so it more than likely has not been a detriment to the country. I'm talking about the Christmas Wish Book or Christmas catalog.


Major retail giants such as Sears, J.C. Pennys, Montgomery Ward, Aldens, Spiegel and others published a special catalog in the fall called the Christmas Wish Book, which featured special values on the same stuff that was in the regular Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter catalogs.
The main difference was this catalog featured TOYS!

When I was a kid, I would make out my list for Santa Claus by going through the Sears Christmas Wish Book and writing down everything I wanted. Usually, I had a minimum of six pages of thing I hoped Santa Claus would bring me. Sadly, I never got 95% of the stuff I asked for, but it was always a fun activity. This may explain why (As some of my critics and fans have both mentioned) my writing contain long list.

My mother always received the Sears catalog because she frequently ordered from Sears. My grandmother and my aunts got Montgomery Wards catalogs, which I felt was superior. They had great large color layouts for the action figures and toys I wanted. Sears usual had small black and white photos of the action figures and most of the toys. Sears then bombarded us with big color layouts of Winnie the Pooh crap. Examine the photos below of Star Trek action figures. One is from the Montgomery Ward's Wish Book and the one below is from Sears Wish book. See what I mean.

MONTGOMERY WARDS STAR TREK

SEARS STAR TREK
So why do nitwits like Glen Beck, Bill O'Rielly and Sarah Palin not whine and gripe about the loss of the Christmas Wish Book? Because the demise of the Christmas Wish Book was a business decision. It had to do with cutting cost. It is cheaper to display tiny photos online rather than print out several hundred copies of a catalog. Apparently stockholders and profits are more important than the simple enjoyment of children.   

I searched the Internet for scans of pages of Christmas catalogs. I found quite a few here and there. I borrowed a few from Mego Museum. You can find scans of whole Christmas Wish Books at Sherry Lou Toys website. Also this month Plaid Stallions is featuring some retro catalog pages.

SEARS did okay on the GI Joe layout. Click to enlarge
Sears also did okay on this Captain Action page. Click to enlarge.
THE NEXT TWO PAGES DEMONSTRATE WHY I BELIEVE MONTGOMERY WARD'S WISH BOOK WAS THE COOLEST CHRISTMAS WISH BOOK OF ALL TIME!

Click To Enlarge

Click to enlarge

WARDS CHARLIE'S ANGELS & DONNY & MARIE
JC PENNY'S 1980

     

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Actress Jean Kent dies at age 92

Actress Jean Kent dies at age 92

The above photo is from Please Turn Over. I mentioned it in another post this year. This from her driving lesson, which is one of the funniest scenes in any movie. 
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