Flea Market Adventures: July 20-21 2013 Edition

It was a very long and tiring week. Plain and simple. Working outside all day in the 90 degree weather takes a lot out of you. And this past weekend, I had just planned on just laying in bed and doing next to nothing aside from watching Saved By The Bell and eating ice cream. I don't know how to explain it, but falling into an ice cream coma while the Buddy Bands episode plays is a feeling that you simply can't miss. Well, it didn't really work out that way. Apparently plans for shaking my head at Screech's awful shenanigans had to be saved for another time. Which kinda sucks, but if I knew what was ahead of me, I wouldn't have complained.  I was up by 8 and something was telling me to go to the flea market up in Buffalo (a good hour and a half drive). I couldn't shake this feeling and something was pulling me away from my bed, so I decided to go with it. I filled up my Ninja Turtles water bottle and hit the road shortly after.

An hour and a half later, I was here. The SuperFlea is indeed where it's at. This area of Buffalo isn't the fanciest or even photogenic area. No. In fact it's nothing but gaudy looking stores and potholes. But this is the only reason for me to drive up. I drive up at least once a year just to get it out of my system, and today was the day. The last two times I've made the trek were littered with treasures and rare finds including an old WWF Undertaker foam Urn for just a buck. I had the confidence that I was going to snare a victory that would no doubt make my recent dryspells a distant memory. 

First things first, I had to make a quick bathroom break. I'd never regret going to the bathroom as much as I did when I walked into this sinister restroom...

The only way I can describe the smell, is that it's something that would frighten even Satan. I'm sure the Prince of Darkness would be terribly offended by the mixture of meatloaf, sweat, cheese and urine. I can't say I've ever seen such a terrifying bathroom in my entire life. I was downright scared that the toilet would recreate that scene in Nightmare on Elm Street where blood flies out of Johnny Depp's bed. What would fly out of this toilet? I wasn't really willing to stick around and find out. I also felt that perhaps Pinhead was ready to start throwing chains and spouting out his gibberish about suffering and whatever else he read in an RL Stine book. This was a true test of my patience, I could tell I was stronger than ever by walking out alive. I had travelled too far and couldn't let this stop me. But it was a close call. 

It didn't take a long time for me to find a rare and awesome item. Although not for me, but for my friend Terry Callen of Screaming Brain Studio, this was still rather impressive...

Day of the Dead vinyl singles. And not just one record but TWO. Now, my knowledge of any of the Romero-Zombie movies are extremely limited but this was just too awesome. I came up here last time and these were available and i thought nothing of it. But, my pal Terry loves dem records, so I had to pick them up. And while I know the picture shows TWO records, I asked the guy to hold them and he actually lost one. So, he sold one for $2. Considering the rarity and the fact that they were Fangoria mail away exclusives, I'd say this was a more than generous deal...

But the true victory was a mere few steps away. This is the kind of haul that only the most bravest of the vhs collectors would dream of. It's not stuff that would drive people into rabid maniacs willing to cause complete riots, but it's a fantastic haul that you won't be able to walk out of a thrift store with. 6 beautiful vhs that should be a part of everyone's collection. And it took a lot of effort, too. The vendor selling them may have been hip to my shenanigans. I get the sense my eagerness over what I found was shining through despite my efforts to remain cool. But I had to accept the consequences for my excitement and after spending an hour and a half looking for tapes and actually making him work by moving and rearranging boxes, this aging hippy wanted me out of this life forever.

I really wish I could describe this vendors booth space in proper words, because it was quite the sight to see. His space of business resembled more like an episode of Hoarders. Nothing but boxes, cobwebs and dust littered this guy's vendor space. Just imagine your grandmother's basement filled with newspaper and old books just piled up to the ceiling and a constant fear of being caught in an avalanche of garbage, that's how I felt. It was hazardous enough walking through this place, let alone having to climb over and on top of boxes looking for tapes. And while it could have ended in a decent lawsuit (actually, the amount of vhs I could've gotten in a settlement may have been worth it) but the prizes at the end of this journey were no doubt worth the risk. And with that said, let's take a quick look at the precious goods I walked away with.

Tape 1: Child's Play 2

My favorite of entire Child's Play/Chucky series. For the past few weeks, I've been wanting to watch this and it's neither on Netflix or at my local used movie store. So, I decided to just go for it and buy the vhs. Where's the harm? From what I've been able to tell, no special features are on the dvd beyond the trailer and the cast notes and stuff no one really cares about. Instead the Universal Studios Orlando commercial we all remember. And that's better than just a barebones dvd edition. Aside from that, seeing Christine Elise in her rebellious-hotness all over again, was totally worth it.

Tape 2: WWF: Bashed In The USA

This tape may be my big regret. The lone wrestling tape in a mountain of dusty Aliens copies, I really felt I stumbled upon gold. But don't let the cover fool you. Nothing exciting goes on. In fact unfunny vignettes in which Mr. Perfect goes shopping for stamps are about as exciting as the action gets. An "exclusive" look at Shawn Michaels, featuring 3 of his absolute worst matches ever, a boring 40-man Battle Royal and awful tag team matches are the selling point. And that's not all! Things take a turn for worse when Bret Hart sits down for a candid one on one with the cameras about how drawing and sketching relaxes him. And if you've ever seen a Bret Hart interview, you can only imagine how thrilling this was. A fantastic wrestler, but hearing him talk is about as exciting as giving your grandmother a spongebath. Thankfully, I got this for just a dollar. But the stigma of paying for this crap will live on forever...

Tapes 3 and 4: Nightmare on Elm Street 3 & 5

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't super excited about finding these. Elm Street 3 is considered the best sequel of the series and Elm Street 5 is my personal fave. I've got copies of Elm Street 5, but they don't have the special "uncut footage" draw that this did. And after searching for the uncut version with all that sexy goriness, I've finally got it! And to add pepper to the steak, I found the Elm Street 3 vhs with the "Dokken Music Video" sticker. Now, I know what you're thinking and maybe you're right. A sticker can't be a true draw to buy a tape. But as you can imagine, a tape of that age will have a lot of wear and that sticker is the first thing to go. So, to find an excellent copy with the sticker intact, makes it a flawless victory. And plus to watch that awesome music video is just an added extra I simply can't pass up.

Tape 5: Halloween-Media Release

Media Home Video was absolutely unstoppable in the 1980s. It released almost every horror movie to emerge from that decade. And it's top quality of picture and sound is still highly regarded as some of the greatest release in home entertainment history. They had a lot of popular releases, but no doubt, one of their most popular and sought after releases was the original Halloween. Very rarely do copies still have the lower flap intact, so when I discovered it was still attached, I was overjoyed. A very rare find that recently sold on eBay for 30 bucks, I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that after shelling out $2 bucks for this, I wasn't thinking the same thing.

Tape 6: Rollerblade

Holy cow. The tape that may have been the biggest prize of the entire lot. I've never heard of this Roller Blade, but from what I could surmise, it involves some hot chick in a leotard and skates and fights demons. Not since Miami Connection have I fallen in love with a movie so quickly. And according to urban legend, this movie was made with no script. Which...well...kinda explains it. The cover, "premise", promise of boobies and rollerskating makes a very difficult thing for me to ignore. After all, when's the next time I'm going to see this? Never. Because no one is truly stupid enough to let this go and be able to live with that very fateful decision.

After 3 hours of being in this flea market, it was time to go. I had paid my dues by suffering through swimming in a sea of trash and after shelling out only 11 bucks to the lot, I knew I had reached the top of the mountain. it was time to call it a day. Plus, I had gotten a huge headache from the lack of oxygen, the overwhelming smell of cigarettes and b.o. was downright too powerful for me. I had spent enough money on vhs and needed something to eat. After a quick meal at the local McDonalds, I decided to head back. On the way home, there's a local thrift store. So I decided to stop. And I was greeted by this beautiful vision...

I'm a Pepsi guy and this is no doubt a sign of good things to come. Success was about to continue.

Tape 7: Prophecy

Holy crap, nothing has stopped me so far. This was a true rare find. I've never even heard of this movie and the cover totally sold me. And that's something that used to sell me on movies at the video store, so this was not something I could pass up. Talia Shire stars as...well...I haven't watched it and quite frankly didn't read the back synopsis. But, c'mon! You're gonna tell me you'd pass this up? Part of the mystery of this tape is another selling point. I wanted this badly and I got it. I wasn't expecting success, but this find was a nice cherry on the top of what can be considered a flawless day.

But, wait...we're not done...

Excited about my victory, I came home and my girlfriend Laurie decided we should head out and go look at the local thrift store. Well, I'm not gonna argue with that. And despite being a little worn out from a long work week and a 7 hour stay in Buffalo, I'm glad I decided to head out again. Because success was around the corner, once again. And I wasn't even expecting or hoping for it. I just wanted a fun night with me and the lady! But, despite my guard being down, I was rewarded. Very kindly, at that.

Tape 8: Martin
This was a nice surprise. I've always wanted to see Martin. I've always been fascinated by the stills and the plot and after hearing years of hype, I finally got it. But, I can't say I was blown away and 25 minutes in, I had to hit the old eject button. Nothing against Romero or even John Amplas, it just kinda fell flat. I feel rather bad too, since George Romero has gone on record saying this is his favorite of all the movies he's done. A good effort and story, but I just couldn't get into it. Maybe I'll revisit it and perhaps it's just a movie that I have to watch a few times to get into. Time will tell.

Tape 9: Hiding Out

Oh yes. Jackpot. JACK-FRIGGIN-POT. One of my favorite 80s teen dramas. A lot of people thought it was rathe flat and dull, but I always enjoyed it. Jon Cryer goes from Wall Street broker to rad high school teen with the name "Maxwell Hauser". C'mon. What's not to love? And Keith Coogan, in my favorite of his roles, playing his obnoxious cousin. Now, true, you couldn't make this movie today. Too many things would be considered a no-no: Showing up to a school randomly, no id check from the secretary, and Jon Cryer himself. This was definitely a product of it's time and without this, I would've never discovered my all time favorite 80s 1-Hit Wonder, Pretty Poison "Catch Me I'm Falling". It's a winning package that's gone forgotten, but I'm super happy to have found it.

So, that was Saturday. Overwhelmed by an amazing haul, it was time for bed. I had too much to do on Sunday. But little did I know, the adventure wasn't over...

Waking up on Sunday, I decided to hit the local flea market downtown. It's an outside flea market tucked away in the middle of Rochester known as the Public Market. Vendors set up at 5:30 am and hope for the best. It's a nice little 5 minutes drive from my apartment and I decided to head over for some fun and hopefully some goofy stuff to put up in an entry. But, I wasn't expecting this to be the find of the weekend...

Three items. Three items that I deemed more important than any other items in the entire flea market that I just had to take home. That's right. Out of everything, including a rare bootleg of Robocop called "Mobil Cop", THESE were the priority items. A Batman bank, an Andrew Dice Clay button, and a copy of the Wizard. Each item has their charm that contributed to the purchasing decision and quite frankly, of all my finds this weekend, this may be the best.

The Batman bank, an exclusive premium from the 1989 cereal, was an item I've wanted for a while. And not wanting a 24 year old box of cereal, this is the perfect way to keep the memory of Batman: The Cereal alive. The reason it's taken me so long is the fact that the stickers have always faded and the bank itself is always dented or banged up. But not this one. It's perfectly mint. In fact, I'd wager that the seller was keeping a vault of cereals and just tore this off of one for the hopes some sap (me) would offer him a nice, crisp one dollar bill. And this was his lucky day. Or my lucky day. I'd like to think it was me who claimed the victory.

The guy who sold me the bank, threw in the Andrew Dice Clay button for free. I was not one to refuse a fantastic freebie such as this. I've longtime been a fan of the DiceMan, even if he refused to sign a photo for me, but I'm a button collector, so I'll add this to my collection.

More vhs!!! And what a find! A tape I've been searching for a while now has now been crossed off the list. I love The Wizard. It's one of the few kid-centric movies I saw as a kid and can still enjoy. Yeah, it was nothing more than a commercial for Nintendo and Universal Studios, but it's still a fun time capsule to watch every once in a while. However, the dvd we got for this movie sucked. Sucked. Sucked. Sucked. Sucked. No special features worthy of purchasing and worth giving up your vhs over. But this makes up for it. Just like the Child's Play 2 vhs, the Universal Studios ad was a better feature than I could ask for. And while the cover to the Wizard wasn't included (no biggie, I can print that up) the fact that it contained labels from the actual video store still intact made me want it even more. At 25 cents, it's an easy "YES! YES! YES! YES!" from me. Look at those beautiful rental warnings!!! It's the closest thing to going to the video store and renting it. It's beautiful and for someone that actually went to video stores and remember these frightening warnings of a dollar every additional night, it was no doubt meant to be mine. Anyone can have the original covers, but not many people have the actual box from the store.

So that's my haul for the weekend. It was well worth the money and the long hours spent looking through other's trash for the hopes of gold. And gold is what I walked away with. The word "SUCCESS" can't be used enough in this entry. But I'm not ready to rest on my laurels. No siree. In a week and a half, I get to test my luck again at the Syracuse Horror/SciFi Garage Sale. If I can find a haul even bigger and more amazing than I did this weekend, it's gotta be at this show. Hope to see you there!

See ya at the next flea market!!! Stay away from the vhs section, you've seen what I accomplished in one weekend...imagine what I could do again...


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