Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Watch Out Cobra, The Fridge is Coming Through!

I'm a Chicago Bears fan. I'm also a lifetime G.I. Joe fan. So, how does one combine both interest into one great, beacon of light that will entertain children for years to come? Well, it's your lucky day, pal!

Time to Super Bowl Shuffle all over Cobra!
Yep, that's right! In 1987, Hasbro offered an exclusive mail-away offer that shook the world to it's very core. Chicago Bears mega-star William "The Fridge" Perry was now available as a GI Joe action figure, thanks to sending in just a couple proofs of purchase and a slip that featured the lovable Monster of the Midway. By 1987, Perry's star was at a peak. He'd appear on tv shows, advertisements, and even Wrestlemania 2. But since then, he hasn't really done much other than sadly suffer from problems due to his large frame and get inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame. But his legacy of winning Super Bowl 20 lives on in plastic form. Let's take a gander, shall we?

Ok, so if I had a mint sample to photograph and goof around with, it may be better to look at, but oh well. Dem's da breaks. Standing at 3 3/4, Fridge is one of the Joes Special Training Instructors which is a rather dubious rank for the Fridge, considering his weight was over 400 at this point. I'm not saying I'm a perfect specimen, but taking special training from a 400 pounder who is known for his eating hotwings in KFC commercials isn't really the best use of Military time. However, the Fridge is an imposing figure. You can tell how serious he is about this new career, despite his penchant for greasy fast food. He abandoned his Bears stripes for a sleeveless tee with his number "72" and a GI Joe belt buckle with strange green pants and white boots. He also completes the ensemble with tasteful red, white and blue wristbands. That's dedication right there, people.

The sculpt of the figure had to be a fun project for the sculptors at Hasbro. "Just make him as basic as you can, but remember to include the number 72 on his shirt" is what I imagine the orders given. And to be fair, there's not much you could do with the Fridge. He's a giant with a gap in his teeth who runs around with a football. He's not exactly GI Joe material, but let's pretend he is for a moment. The Fridge could be seen rolling like a bowling ball through the end zone at Super Bowl 20, so just imagine him bursting through the doors of the Terrordrome and knocking over a bunch of Cobra Vipers who were just sitting around playing cards. Call me crazy, but that makes sense to me why'd the Joe's recruit him. Much better than using Bazooka, I'd say.

Much like any Joe figure, he came with an accessory that suits him well. But since I only have a loose, beaten up figure, I don't have his accessory. So, thanks to YoJoe.com, here's a picture of him with his Football on a Stick.
Credit: YoJoe.com

I'm not sure the weapon is the most imposing way to battle Cobra, but like I said, it suits him and kind of makes sense. Despite looking like a boom-mic, I can actually see why it would work in battle. Especially if it's like that giant steel football from Flash Gordon. Now, a modernized mace with a football at the end of a chain being swung by a giant football player is pretty scary sounding after all?

The figure apparently came with a belt buckle and wristbands variants, but my figure is so worn out, I just don't see how it matters. I'd imagine whoever had this as a kid decided that the Fridge was better used as a tag team partner with Sgt. Slaughter as they beat up Raptor and Dr. Mindbender and Fridge taking the brunt of the beating. I don't know. I picked this figure up at Chiller Theatre 2004 for two bucks. I wasn't expecting a piece I could display in a China cabinet.  However, the thought I could have Fridge teach the rest of the Joes the Super Bowl Shuffle and share his stories of defeating the evil Big John Studd at Wrestlemania 2, was the only thought in my mind.

In the 1980s, it seemed every big celebrity had an action figure. Chuck Norris, Mr. T, Sylvester Stallone, and now the Fridge. It was a time to be a child who played with action figures. If you were around for the Fridge's heyday or just a Chicago Bears fan, it's a pretty fun figure to own. Definitely not a figure that would be produced today. Which is a shame. I'm sure someone like Brian Urlacher would've been a popular mail-away. Until that day comes, a Salvo figure will have to be the base for your custom.


"I told ya that I would Super Bowl Shuffle up and down yo face!"
Bonus feature! Here's a photo of me and the Fridge in real life, followed by the advertisement trumpeting the Fridge's arrival.



Monday, May 27, 2013

Holy Bat-Fanatics, Batman!




So, back in December Dave Hagan of the famous Monster Mania Convention announced that he was assembling a complete reunion of the stars of the Batman 1966 TV show. That's right! Batman, Robin and my lifelong crush Batgirl all under one roof! Adam West, Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig will be attending the Hunt Valley installment of Monster Mania in September. I cannot wait! in fact, since getting into the autograph hobby and even before, one of my dreams was to meet all the heroes of the legendary show and hopefully get a group photo. And while I met Adam West, Julie "Catwoman" Newmar and the late great Frank "The Riddler" Gorshin back at Chiller theatre 2004(which you can read about here), I now can complete my autograph collection and take on step closer to completing my dream. Now, the group photo may not be happening, but at least I will meet the heroes of one of my all time favorite shows.


Why is it one of my favorite shows? A show so silly and campy? Well,  it all goes back to being a kid and watching it with my father. My father grew up in the 60s, as did my mother. By all accounts, they had seen and lived through "Bat-Mania". But, as with all things I participated with my late father, watching Batman was always something that stuck with me. As silly, campy and ridiculous as it was, it was a kids dream! it was a living comic book. The colors, the action, the two parter-cliffhangers were what drew me in. Despite it being in reruns when I caught it as a kid, it was also my first exposure to Batman. Not too mention, as my best friend Andrew once said "it's the perfect show to watch if you're sick all day and can't find anything. It picks you up pretty quickly.".  That's some truth right there.

In between watching GI Joe and Masters of the Universe, Batman was my hero. And in 1989 when the Tim Burton-helmed Batman movie came out, I was in heaven. Batman was everywhere that year. I had everything Batman. Action figures, clothes, sheets, everything you can possibly think of. It was great. And at that time, only a big time movie could yield that much superhero merchandise, not like today where you walk in a Target and find DC Comics taking over every aisle! Since that summer, Batman 1989 has become my favorite movie of all time. And of course, Batman as a whole has stuck with me over my lifetime. Whether it's the comics, TV shows, cartoons, movies, merchandising, whatever! Batman is and always will be my favorite! I even have a Batman iPhone case!

So now, I'll be returning back to Maryland for what seems to be the only time on the 2013 calendar. And it will be so very worth it. I'll be celebrating my 30th birthday with my friends and family from Maryland that I haven't seen in a while, and my family and my friends at Monster Mania, of whom I haven't seen in two years. It's been two years since Laurie and I attended a Monster Mania. And we're gonna be coming back to where it all started. For those keeping score, the Monster Mania Hunt Valley Convention in 2010 is where I first met Laurie and it holds a special place in our hearts. Plus, it has a killer breakfast buffet that can't be missed.


So, please, check out the Monster Mania page for details on the Bat-Tacular weekend!


Artwork seen above, courtesy of Brian Mitchell of Brian Mitchell's Creative Mind! please check out his  page for some great artwork!

The Gizmo Pillow FOUND!

I'd be lying if I said my writing wasn't influenced by Matt of the pop culture web site Dinosaur Dracula. In fact, I was reading his former page X-Entertainment on a daily experience in high school during it's initial debut. I have to believe that his site has to be the one of the funniest and most entertaining sites on the web regarding geek culture.

That said, back in 2006 Matt posted a post called "The Christmas Fallout", a yearly review of the gifts he'd receive for Christmas. In this years entry he received a throw pillow in the form of the head of Gizmo from Gremlins. When I saw all 42 inches of his pillowy-goodness, I knew I had to have it. At this point, I was planning for my move into my own apartment and decided that would be an awesome piece to have. Now, let it be known that I didn't move out of my mom's basement, but I said when I got my apartment I'd have Gizmo nestled up on my couch. Imagine walking into my living room and seeing Gizmo's head just resting on the couch as to say "Come in and rest your weary head on me while you sip an Arnold Palmer and watch Tales From the Crypt." Tell me it doesn't sound comforting!

So, last week, I finally succeeded in finding one. For only $22 and free shipping, I could finally make that promise come true. And finally...



Tell me, that doesn't look cozy. A bit frightening at first, but Gizmo's warm embrace can't be explained with simple words. Imagine coming home from a long day of work and unwinding with your favorite star of Gremlins(besides Dick Miller that is.). Even my girlfriend Laurie loves him! otherwise, ya know, it would've ended up in the dumpster. But thankfully, that's not going to happen. At 42 inches long, Gizmo's sense of awesomeness is practically lifesize. I don't know how big he was in the movie, but I've gotta imagine a 42 ounce soda from the local movie theater towering over him.  Indeed, lugging this box up to my apartment was somewhat of a pain in the butt, but it was worth it.

The pillow itself is nothing more than a giant stuffed animal. The "how to care tag" was ripped off and but I'd imagine nothing but stuffing being inside. However, I don't want to sit here and try and examine it's contents. The package itself is what sells it. IT'S GIZMO. HIS HEAD IS THE PILLOW. That's the selling point. Looking at him, you know you want it. You don't just go into a store and say "hey, look! it's Gizmo's head! As a pillow! I'll pass!". Boulderdash. This is some serious stuff right here. It's so awesome, even my pet bunny Olive loves it. See?

The colors, the design, the sleepy-eyed smirk. All trademarks of the mini-star of Gremlins are present and definitely send the point home. This is one accessory you must own. It's pretty hard to find. in fact it was pretty hard to find in 2006. It was pure luck I decided to search for it on eBay when I did. Great price for a great item, especially one I've been after for a while. I'm pretty happy with it, and the more Gremlins merchandise in my apartment, the better.

There you have it! Not much of a in depth entry about a pillow, but quite frankly, it's been something I've always wanted in my collection, as silly as it may seem. And now I have it and it looks oh-so awesome. Go find it if you can!


Bright light! Bright light!                                                               




Saturday, May 18, 2013

Finding Freeman: Found? PT. 1

At the beginning of this year, I had some goals that I set for myself. Some reasonable, some not. One of the most unreasonable goals was finding the missing actor Eric Freeman, star of Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2. As I wrote in a previous entry in December in which I vented my frustration after years of theories, searching and finally giving up, I predicted he didn't want to be found due to his privacy and the infamy due to the infamous "Garbage Day" scene and the general goofiness of the film.

Well, since writing that blog entry on my humble, small, no frills blog, I have uncovered information regarding Eric Freeman's current status. Let's begin from the absolute beginning.

For the uninitiated, a simple comment on the Silent Night Deadly Night 2 DVD commentary stating that Eric Freeman couldn't be found. The DVD's release was in 2003, so over the course of the past ten years, so many stories popped up regarding what could have happened. And over the past ten years, I've read every theory, every rumor, every post on IMDB claiming to find the man himself. A lot of them were convincing, but not convincing enough. Some sounded legit, some sounded outrageous. Either way, no matter where I read and whatever sites I visited had holes in the stories. Until I joined a Facebook group called "Finding Freeman", dedicated to finding the elusive actor. After a while, I got the vibe this group was going to be as close as one could get to finding answers. I later found out that the group was moderated by some of Eric's lifelong friends. Some of the posts from the moderators would be in the rather vague and tongue-in-cheek sense. Including current blurry photos of what we were supposed to believe is him. All this turned out to be a big game to the moderators who found it funny to play and joke around. And it kinda was for a short amount of time.

After a while little, tiny bits of information that other members, including the mods themselves, were posted including his current whereabouts, his family members, and the such. All of stuff that if you really wanted to, you could piece together and find him. Well, finally people pieced things together, but came up with the wrong conclusions. Eventually, phone numbers were found but nothing was done with it. So, shortly after more nonsense, March rolls around and I get a very...VERY interesting email that could lead to the end of the mystery...