Monday, October 30, 2017

Remembering The Last Halloween!


We all seem to have that one holiday special that we remember watching as a kid but only about 3 other people in the world remember. It could be a variety reasons but the one thing I always try to remember is not everyone shares the same nostalgia and as time goes on, a lot of the specials fall through the sands of time and go forgotten. Which stinks if you're one of those people constantly looking for more info and can find nothing. I know that because I was one of those people. Until a few years ago that is.


Today's subject is about one of those specials. From 1991 "The Last Halloween" was a special that aired on CBS and from what I can tell, created exclusively as a one shot for the network by Hanna Barbera and Mars Candy and directed by Savage Steve Holland. Now, remembering this particular movie was a bit of struggle for years. I had seen it on it's airing in 1991 and quickly loved it but for some reason, when I'd try to bring it up in discussions with fellow Halloween geeks (pre-Youtube of course) my description would always lead to a response of "nah, don't remember it" or "Oh, you mean the Mars candy commercials". Which, the commercials aren't too far off and I'll touch on those in a second but it's not exactly what I'd remember. Since the special aired once or twice and not to much fanfare, the name of the special always escaped me. Until one day I saw a discussion on Tumblr where someone described the special in great detail. So, at last I had someone else who knew about it. I emailed the person who posted about it and sure enough, they lead me to the YouTube video. After about 20 years of going insane, trying to prove to people that I wasn't making this up and it wasn't the Mars commercials, I finally found it. Closure had finally come and now every year, I add it to my Halloween viewing playlist!



 So let's discuss the story. A fun little special about 4 adorable aliens who visit Earth on Halloween night from another planet to find candy. Apparently on their planet, candy is known as "Coobi" and is one of the most rare and precious resources. Thanks to two local children, Michael and Jeanie, the aliens mission goes into high gear and candy is sought out. But that's where the fun ends for our heroes. However, it begins lot of wacky hi-jinks as Rhea Pearlman plays Mrs Gizbourne, an evil, almost witch like character(minus the powers) who is obsessed with finding the secret to eternal youth running multiple experiments and draining the nearby lake, Crystal Lake. And who is her bodyguard/driver, Hans in the special? Oh, none other than Richard "Bull" Moll, who looks like he was having a lot of fun in the role. He's definitely a highlight of the special.


 
Hmm...Crystal Lake...why does that sound familiar...?

So as they drain the lake, it's also revealed the lake is also the power source of the local candy factory which could lead to a factory meltdown. Now of course, that means no Halloween for anybody. But how are those adorable aliens gonna be able to find candy if the factory is kaput? If I were the aliens, who are a lot more trusting that you'd expect aliens to be especially after that V nonsense, I'd fly to like England or Scotland or something. Just seems like America was a bad spot to fly to at this point.

After Mrs Gizbourne kidnaps the children and one of the goofier looking aliens. Apparently they needed to find a bug big enough to survive a meltdown but Hans mistaken the alien for said bug. Thankfully, the evil villains diabolical plans are foiled by the kids father and in return, the candy in the factory is restored and taken by these aliens. But as a token of their appreciation, these lovable aliens give the kids a special skipping stone that will grant them one wish. Let's think. It's the early 90s. What could these kids possibly ask for?

 A robot made out of a tv and a VHS?




Roller blades?



Lifetime supply of Pizzarias?


 No, but that would've been my choice.



The kids could make any goofy and selfish choice, but instead they just make the right decision and make the lake fill back up and restoring the candy factory back to it's fully functioning state.



Which, in theory is pretty cool, but if the whole town depends on a candy factory, wouldn't that encourage obesity and gluttony? I don't know. I feel like that town would just turn against the all powerful candy factory and destroy it and build a Whole Foods over it some day. Eww.





Sadly, Last Halloween aired only about 2 or 3 times afterward. It never received a vhs or dvd release and doesn't seem to be a high priority on the "must make a bluray" list.



Photos credit: CollectingCandy.com


So that's all the fun the TV special had to offer us but don't think for a second the fun truly ends there! No way dudes! It's the early 90s, we had to squeeze every bit of juice out of this. There's a little bit of ET regret on the part of Mars and I wonder if by 1991, they still hadn't gotten over it. Be that as it may, Jason of CollectingCandy did a little digging and found out that these lovable scamps were indeed meant to be the flag bearers for the company during the season. Introduced in commercials a year before in the previously mentioned "Mission To Mars" campaign, which was an almost prequel to the TV special. Mars kept these guys around for a few years and would get some fun mileage out of them, but sadly they've got forgotten except those who still love and cherish this special. I'm sure it's a bit of a stretch, but every Halloween I always hope for Mars to bring them back. They just look so cool! MARS ARE YOU READING? PLEASE BRING THEM BACK!


Thanks so much to my buddies Sammy Hain, DinosaurDracula.com and Jason of CollectingCandy for their assistance of this article! Truth is I have been wanting to cover this for quite sometime and I'm glad I got it out! Thanks to everyone who assisted! :)


-Chad

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Goosebumps Fan Club Kit!

I don't think there's a horror fan my age, or maybe even a bit older, that wasn't glued to a Goosebumps book in their younger years. RL Stine helped create a world of humor and horror in a kid friendly environment, which isn't always the easiest task. But he did it, and an entire generation still gets all warm and fuzzy whenever they think of these classic books. It's nostalgia, sure, but it's also just a lot of fun, carefree escapism which is kind of hard to find these days.



As Goosebumps rose to popularity the insane amount of merchandise followed. School supplies, Halloween costumes, toys, fast food premiums, pajamas and so much more. If you were a diehard Slappy fan, I'm sure you slept in a room featuring a poster of your favorite dummy. Not creepy at all, but hey, I had a poster of the Stone Temple Pilots on my wall, so I'm not judging you.

So how can you truly prove your love of Goosebumps? Where's the glass ceiling? Does owning a pair of Goosebumps sunglasses shoot you to the top of the rung of fans? Eh, impressive indeed, but not quite as impressive as what I'm going to share with you today. As revealed in my most recent article, I revealed I picked up a beautiful piece at the McDonald House Sale...I give you...THE GOOSEBUMPS FAN CLUB KIT.


 In an eye catching green and black box, everything a Goosebumps fan could ever ask for is right here. My research tells me this isn't the first edition, as 2 earlier editions version came out in 1994 and 1995, packaged in a coffin box! I like it! While the box I picked up isn't as clever as the casket, I'm still a big fan of the design! I can't help it, I love neon green!


You open the box and you're pretty much overwhelmed by the contents. I was expecting a lot of cool stuff, but not this. A treasure trove of beautiful green and black colored goodies all for me! Now it looks like a few items are missing such as a newsletter, welcome letter, note pad, a pencil topper and maybe a story tape (can someone confirm that for me, please?) so what you see is going to be a bit incomplete, but make no bones about it, this is still a fine, fine piece.



First piece in the box is a short story written by the man himself, RL Stine. The first page is stamped with the face of terror and a fake signature. While not his real autograph, it's still pretty cool. And the short story is a nice addition. Just think. If you're a Goosebumps fan and have a new story made only for the fan club, you are essentially in a level of fandom all to yourself. You can say to your fellow Goosebros and say "Hey did you read 'Don't Make Me Laugh'? Oh you didn't? Oh..." and be justified. It's ok, no one will blame you for putting your nose up at those who haven't read it. Heck, I may head to a local country club and start snubbing those in attendance all because they haven't read this. Fools!



 Next up is an item to be expected. No fan club is complete without a bookmark, and if you expected a fan club based on a book series wasn't gonna give you one, brother...you're insane. A lenticular rectangle to hold your spot, with that glorious logo and the Killer Mask? Oh my gosh, this could very well be the greatest bookmark ever!

Also included, which I assume was a part of the newsletter, is a checklist of all the Goosebumps releases up to that point. Now, you can be the most organized person in the world, but a checklist will always help anyone hoarding these books.



POGS! Of course! It makes perfect sense!!!! One of the greatest 90s relics, next to Yak Backs and Hammer pants! In 1996, POGs were still a very popular item. I had a giant bucket filled with these and still collected them. the bigger the collection, the better the chances you had at beating people. I...think? I don't know, but I do know that if you had these milk caps, you'd be scaring the competition. Your opponents caps would be as a good as yours!


Oh and worry not! If you left your Slammer at your friends house last time, you get a Christmas Curly Slammer in this pack. No one stands a chance when going up against a skeleton in a Santa Hat and sunglasses. In fact, just take your buddies caps and go home now. You won the second you picked up that Slammer. Your goofball friends will never be able to compete with their lamewad 8-Ball Slammer.

Some nice postcards featuring some fan favorite covers. What better way to write Aunt Zelda and update her on your wild prep school days than with a "Say Cheese and Die!" postcard? She'll never see it coming and probably will disown you but it'll be worth it.


Well, heck son. You gotta write on those postcards with something! The Club has your back though. 6 pencils and a glow in the dark pen. I was downright amazed to find these pencils remained unsharpened. If I were the original owner, I would've definitely used all of them up by now. And I can promise that pen would be completely out of ink as well.


Along with the previously mentioned bookmark, you simply can NOT walk around saying you're a fan club member and not own a club card. Oh the egg on your face if you dare brag about being a member and going through your wallet only to find you left the card at home. You're on your own there, brah. Besides, this card declares you to be the "#1 Fan"! How could you leave it behind? The fact that you're not being buried with this is baffling.





So you don't have a wallet for your card? You do now! A velcro neon green wallet is YOURS! Not a bad idea, considering you left your membership card, sillypants! Now if you DO have your card and someone doubts your loyalty, all they need to do is see that wallet as well and they'll nod their head in acceptance.

Also include are a button and a vinyl keychain. Nice items for your backpack. I bet you'll be able to part the entire hallway at school like the Ref Sea with these hanging off your bag. Show those "cool kids" who's really in charge! They may have dad's credit card and a really good lawyer, but they don't have these! You're going places, kid!



Looking for some fun activities outside of reading a book? Well, sure! We all need to give our eyes a rest. Thankfully with these items, you'll be ok! A mini floppy frisbee and mini playing cards. If you're gonna hang out with your friends on a hot summer day and have an Ecto Cooler or two, you need some fun throwing the old frisbee around. Plus, those mini cards are great for a road trip and you got tired of hearing your friend brag about hooking up with that girl at the bar. Don't worry, Curly's got your back. He won't judge you like your goofy friends did when you wore that Kriss Kross Looney Tunes shirt.




A giant sticker, the size of a frickin' dinner plate! I gotta tell you guys, as a sticker fan and someone who likes to cover everything in stickers, it's VERY tempting to put this on my fridge or my car. Look at it! It's huge! Now a days, huge stickers are very popular but back then? Eh. This is one of my favorite pieces and the most tempting to use. You'll forgive me right?

No? Fine, I'll stick to the wallet.





Whoa dude. I'm not going anywhere near that folder! If I'm looking to cheat off my friend in class, I better think this through. He may have better grades, but his papers are cursed! I imagine it would be like in Prom Night 3 where if the teacher tried to give you an F, Curly would magically erase it and make sure you got an A, despite you totally deserving an F. You know what you did.



So thar she blows. A great fan club kit and fun items for only the most hardcore fans.Pretty sure I would've beaten up my own grandmother for this if I had to. Thankfully I didn't have to. I just had to find it laying in a pile of forgotten Halloween goodness.

-Chad

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Saying Goodbye The Tech Park McDonalds House Sale

Well, Tuesday was the final day for the legendary McDonald House Sale, a second hand sale in which people from all over come to find that one sweet item they can either use in the house or if you're like me, put on eBay and pay off those pesky bills. Normally, I get very excited and get hyped but I'm a little sad just as much I am happy with my findings. Now, you're asking yourself "Chad, you always find such cool stuff. Why would you be sad?".

The answer is simple: The Sale has grown so large, that it's outgrown it's current and longtime location of Tech Park (normally a giant warehouse). I've been going to the Sale since 2014, and I've explored every nook and cranny of that place. I've become so acclimated to this event that I know the first spots to hit all the way to what departments to only hit on the last days during the "75% off sales". It took a while to get turn this into a routine, which resulted in me losing great finds, but hey I like the familiarity of this place.


So it was time to take one last time down that hallway and enter the house of bargains...



Well, I must confess, I probably should've hit the infamous Halloween Room first, but last time I found a vhs copy of Rad, so my instincts took me to the movie room instead.


Sadly, nothing to be found this time. No Rad, nothing rare at all.  I took this as a sign of things to come. Now, it sounds like defeatism but I started to get a bad feeling in my gut that this last show just wouldn't have been the trip that previous shows were. Thankfully, I was able to pick up the second season of the Upright Citizens Brigade to consider this particular visit to the room a success. So I started to wander around and look at other things. Nothing was popping out at me to buy, but some cool stuff nonetheless.








I was in danger of being late for work so my usual routine of hitting the departments would have to be shortened. Now, walking around, I found some nice things but nothing cool enough to bring with me. And then I hit "The Boutique", a name the Sale gives for an area featuring more collectible and sought after items. I sometimes find a cool item or two, but for the most part I rarely find anything incredible. That is until today:




MUPPET MOVIE LUNCHBOX!!!!!


Being the hug Muppets fan I am, I refused to leave this sweet piece behind. It's not in the finest shape, plenty of rust spots and it's missing the thermos, but as a showpiece, it's a nice piece to have. And for only $5? Yeah, that's not going to be left for the last day by anyone.

So looks my gut was wrong? Sure, I've been wrong before but never have I been so happy to be wrong like I was now. And then IT happened.

STAY PUFT:


Ok, so if the lunchbox made me giddy, this find made me flip out. Funny enough, the night before, the official page for the Sale posted preview photos and in one of them was a gigantic Stay Puft plush toy in the toy section. Well, after not being available, I was a little crushed. But finding the original Kenner Real Ghostbusters figure? All is forgiven. No way I'd be sad after finding my favorite GB character!  I had written about the most recent Mattel figure and how great it was, but there's something about owning the original that makes me want to forget all about that one.

Funny enough, the woman who labeled and bagged this referred to him as a "rare Michelin Man doll". After I jokingly corrected her on who he really was, she proceeded to get a little upset and just walked away. Hey, you can't say the wrong name about to someone who has been a Stay Puft fan since about age 4. Sounds like your problem, Miss Price Lady.


Time was winding down and I decided to hit one more section and oh boy was I glad that I did...


A GOOSEBUMPS FAN CLUB KIT.


Great Caesars Ghost! It's beautiful! This would be the second time I've found a fan club kit at the Sale, last time being one from the Mickey Mouse Club , but I'd say this blows that one out of the water BIG time. I didn't even think twice about buying this. It had to be MINE. I drop all my other stuff and immediately go through everything in there and sure enough, it's a complete set. Oh you might be asking, what's in there? Come back tomorrow and we'll take a quick look!


Sadly it was time to head to work. I'm kind of ok with this being my last run. I mean, sure I hit the 90% off day later, but honestly, I didn't find anything as cool as I did this day. But that's ok, I'm ready to let go and just move on. I'm really looking forward to what we have ahead of us. Maybe we'll finally get air conditioning and indoor bathrooms.Although, I'm kind of scared. The talk was they hadn't found a new spot for the Sale just yet but I hope it's even bigger and better.

Hopefully, I'll see you again in the Spring!



-Chad

For more fun adventures and finds at the Sale, check out my previous entries:

Spring 2016
Spring 2017