Sunday, December 31, 2017

Visiting Hyatt's Classic Video

Well, here we are. The final moments of 2017. In just a few hours, 2018 will be ushered in and everyone will be making their plans to have an even bigger and better year. I know I'm among those who have an optimistic view on everything, so 2018 is already being eyed as "best year ever". But as the calendar turns, let's not forget the moments that made 2017 so great. New friends, new events, new everything. That's the beauty of a new year. And speaking of new events...

Say hello to Hyatt's Classic Video. One of the last video rental stores in my area and one that's been a entertainment staple in the community for over 35 years. Owned by the same married couple for all those years, this store became the go to spot for an instant timewarp in recent years. A lot of my video collecting buddies told me about it and I had to check it out. I'm glad I did when I did because one step into this store, and you're 6 years old looking at GI Joe vhs all over again.

First thing you notice when you walk in was the clutter. Bob Hyatt, the owner, has amassed a LOT of movies over the years which made the movie collectors dream come true but most likely a highly organized persons biggest nightmare. I'm used to clean and organized video stores but I'm not gonna split hairs here. I'm in an actual video store that rents and sells tapes! I can't really be picky. I mean how can I...wait...what's this?!?!


As if my nostalgia meter wasn't going off the charts already, this just makes me go even crazier. Resting on the end of one many rows of VHS, I can't help but think this exact clock was produced just to hang in a video store. I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time I've seen it in a rental store. In fact, a video store I used to frequent about 13 years ago had one hanging in their kids section and it just added to the ambiance of this somewhat holy ground of movies. This was a great sign of things to come. My confidence is now at an all time high and I'm pretty convinced I'm walking away with something memorable...

Well this was a bit overwhelming. Rows of beautiful vhs tapes. The photo doesn't do the actual aisles proper justice, it was literally like being in a library meant only for tapes. I didn't dare attempt a count of how many tapes rested on each shelving unit but the rumor is Mr. Hyatt had 55,000 vhs tapes in that store. If you're a tape collector, this is the kinda spot you'd come to get quick inspiration or if you're lucky, a tape or two to fill your collection.

A lot of familiar faces and tape spines were seen including two beautiful copies of The Wizard. Plenty of common tapes but a lot of rare and in demand tapes that collectors would sell their own grandmother for.

Elvira and Mary Lou Maloney? Be-still my beating heart.

A real "cool" section, the fascinating finds and ridiculous tapes were getting a bit much for even me to handle. Plus, I had to get to work, so I scooped up a few tapes for myself. Tapes I haven't been able to find outside eBay.

Toy Soldiers, Bullies, Elvira and an episode of My Pet Monster. A nice haul with some great shelf fillers. I've been wanting to to get my hands on Toy Soldiers specifically. Loved that movie as a kid, but hadn't watched it since about 1992 or so. Thankfully, all these years later, it still holds up. Elvira and Bullies were great additions as well but let's look at that MPM tape for a second...

The "children" sticker, the sun damage box, the illustration. Man, you can't create a better vhs cover if you tried. Scientists will be studying this cover for ages simply because it's the perfect video store artifact and declare this as the ultimate pinnacle in the history of man's achievements.

It was time to go. But in order to buy tapes and possibly purchase more tapes, I had to open an account. Thankfully, Mr. Hyatt was more than happy to give me my own membership card and I was more than happy to treat it like solid gold. I want this laminated and framed. It's glorious.

Sadly, I'd only come to this store once but I *kinda* knew that would happen. It was a great place to spend an hour looking at tapes and all, as well as feel like a kid again, but after 35 years or so, Mr Hyatt and his wife shut down. This isn't the most shocking situation. Plenty of other stores have shut down after dwindling audiences and changes in technology. Even worse, I didn't find out until the day it shut down and had no chance to revisit. BUT. The good news is, every tape that wasn't scooped up by collectors were donated to a local film archive for future preservation. Even better? The Hyatt's moved down the road to a different location, so thankfully they're not out of business, just downsizing. With movies being so hot this year, there's plenty of time for the happy couple and many future generations to discover more movies! Hyatt's Classic Video may not be in the original location, but it's legacy among Rochesterians continues to live on.

Oh and you're darn right I cherish the video bag I was given alongside my purchase:



Thursday, December 28, 2017

He-Man and Skeletor Construx!

Hey folks! Hope your holiday season was a fantastic one. An annual Christmas Fallout will be coming soon, probably by Sunday or so. It's been a busy week for me, as I'm sure it has been for all of you. Good news, my friend Brian sent me something so great that I had to share it with you all. In the few days of owning them, they've become one of my new favorite things in the world.

Merciful Marzo, these are amazing! Mini Masters of the Universe figures From Construx! Pocket sized heroes for your adventures on the road or something to put on your desk at work. If you've ever dreamed of having a He-Man or Skeletor to carry around with you but the bulk of their insanely bulging muscles prohibit them from fitting in your pocket, well good news! These tiny titans are a perfect size to even fit in your wallet! Oh happy day! I'm fully aware Construx has done other properties like Halo, Alien and Star Trek but there's something about a brick figure He-Man that makes me smile. Never did I think when I first got the internet and started searching for He-Man related info (Adam Tyner, I'm looking at you!)  a quasi-Lego-action figure hybrid would be possible of our rippling hero. This is the kind of amazing product that I'd always want and owning it as an adult just brings a smile to my face. The head sculpts aren't amazing, but when you're the size of a thumbnail, you have to make some sacrifices. If you're expecting fun but plan to disappointed that the faces don't look like the Filmation cartoon (well, they kinda do but not much!) that's on you.

The accessories are pretty awesome too. You didn't think you were gonna buy a mini He-Man and Skeletor and not get their famous implements of destruction, did you? Come on, man, wake up. He-Man comes with his shield and mighty power sword, which makes sense. But Skeletor only needed one accessory: THE HAVOC STAFF. Now, I know what you're thinking. "No purple power sword?". I get the thought but face facts here, Skeletor's known for that big battle ram head on a pole than the sword. Plus, it looks even neater in mini figure form. Even better? It's in scale.

Now the real fun comes with Modulok-like possibilities to change heads, bodies, arms, whatever. In fact, with a simple pop off of the head can create a makeshift Fakor! And for once, Skeletor can finally be the one who is the hero. He even looks a little happier now. Everyone deserves a little joy in their life, even villainous boneheads who try to destroy King Randor's royal palace.

If you're out and about this week and find these, pick them up! They're a fun addition to a MOTU collection and just a lot of fun in general.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Enter The 1989 Toy Biz Batcave!

Let's briefly go back to a time when action figures were still on kids Christmas wish lists and playsets were still somewhat a big deal. On top of that, it was 1989, so you know anything Batman related was filling up those wish lists big time. I can attest to this. I wanted everything Batman and while I got a few cool items that I'm very grateful, there was always one item that escaped me. THE TOY BIZ BATCAVE!

The Toy Biz Batman line is often regarded as one of the weakest line due to the cheap plastic used to produce the three figures (Batman, Joker and Bob The Goon) and just reusing Super Powers molds for it's DC Comics Heroes line that would consist of others(Superman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Penguin). Not the best figures but you ask anyone alive in 1989, child or adult, and they'll tell you they had a Batman figure with extending utility belt. Until Kenner took back the license for their Dark Knight Collection in 1990, this was the only Batman figure on the market and Toy Biz sold a LOT. In fact, I'm pretty sure any left over were hand delivered with your morning paper and laundry detergent samples. Have you been to the flea market? Do you know how many loose Batman figures are out there?  I've seen less copies of Frampton Comes Alive in thrift stores than I have Batman figures at toy shows and flea markets. The action figures were one thing, but the Batcave was another.

Oh that beautiful copper box. Toy Biz certainly knew how to draw a kid in with it's packaging. Kinda makes you forget about the fragile piece of cardboard and plastic inside. The box itself has some very fun illustrations featuring the Joker (how the heck did he get past that Giant Penny and Ace The BatHound?!?!) taking on the Caped Crusader. I took two things away from that image:

A: The Batcave is incredibly easy to break into.

B: One swoop and kick is gonna send Joker down that giant bottomless pit. Which, can't be a fun fall. We all saw the end of that movie. Splat.

Funny sidenote about the box, the main image on the top flap is actually using repainted Super Powers figures instead of the new molds used Toy Biz created. This image was used in other promotional pamphlets and catalogs as well which lead a lot of fans to believe we were just getting repainted figures but that wasn't the case. Take a closer look:

Enough talk about the box, now let's take a look at the toy itself:

While it's not the most sturdy playset in the world, it's still a pretty cool toy. It's nice and light, so if the mood catches you on a sunny afternoon, a kid could just carry it outside and play in the dirt with it. I don't know a lot of kids who owned this at the time, but I've never seen a dirty, beat up Batcave, so my assumption is kids didn't take it outside. But, I can almost guarantee I would've. In fact, if it had survived past summer of 1994, I would've be amazed. I played with my toys and played with them HARD. Hence why there's only two WWF Hasbro figures that survived from my childhood to this day.

There's some potential here for some serious play. If you have this, I have to assume you already had a Batmobile and obviously the man in black himself, so there wasn't a lot you need to truly enjoy this in it's purest form.What you see is what you get. The Batcave is normally pretty fancy and up to date with the most high tech gadgets and computers, and this represents a more simple 1980s era Batman when all he needed was a giant computer screen and blue platforms with red railings. I'm not making fun of the color scheme, even if Toy Biz had an apparent hard-on for red and blue in their vehicles and playsets in the coming years, mainly because it makes sense. If you're dressed in all black, wandering around a dark cave, you're gonna need something bright to hold onto from falling to your inevitable death. Railing kills were huge in the 80s, so good on Toy Biz for taking steps in preventing that. When he's done preventing serious injury or death, he'll have time to do chin-ups on his chin-up bar...

...that sits above his bottomless pit. I guess that's some darn good motivation to do the reps it takes to get a body like Batman. Maybe if I had means to my demise, I'd probably get more chin-ups done in my life.

The back of the playset is pretty cool as it gives a different look. I can't help but think the back is more of Axis Chemicals than a headquarters, but hey, I'm a little bit of a conspiracy theorist when it comes to old playsets. A door where Bruce suits up, a trick bridge to make a villain fall into a jail cell, and an open hole in the wall right next to the jail. I'm not entirely sure what Alfred was thinking when he helped constructed that cave. Who's gonna walk into that that cell when they can just dash on out? You think Joker's using the honor system? No! He'll just look around, race out and hop on the balloon float and throw out money. Batman may be the best detective in the world, but he's a crappy architect. At least we now have our answer as to how the Joker broke in. I'm assuming the same plans Bruce used for this, are the same used for Arkham.

All this craziness for only 24.99? Sold. That's 1989 price. I actually ended up paying much less, if you included the shipping and the fact that it came with about 20 JLU and bendable figures as well as some loose Hot Wheels vehicles, the box itself and a few filecards, the $39.99 "shipped free" price was a downright steal. If I may brag for a moment, I think I picked it up at the right moment in time.

Ok, it's not the most impressive piece of plastic and cardboard, and even more elaborate Batcave's have been released in the years to follow, including one popular mold featuring Wayne Manor attached, but this is just a good, straight up, pure Batcave. I'm sure, just based off the playability alone, I would've enjoyed this more as a kid than I do as an adult. But for now, it's a great piece to own and finally be able to tinker around with it for this articles sake. It's a cool display piece and even cooler piece of Batman 1989 memorabilia. Definitely worth waiting all these years for!


Friday, December 15, 2017

Horror Movie BBQ Podcast: The Wizard!

Happy Wizard Day! Ok, maybe not an official holiday, but I love this movie enough to make it one! ;) You guys have heard me blab on and on about my affection for this movie over and over, so I won't rehash what I've already said countless time before.

Well, this has been an episode I've been wanting to do for quite some time now and seeing as today is the 28th anniversary of The Wizard (you didn't think I could wait another two years to truly celebrate this movie, did you?) what better day to drop the episode?

I had the thrill to be joined by my friends from one of my favorite movie podcasts, The Cult Film Club to discuss this movie. Shawn of (Branded In The 80s), Jamie (the infamous Shez Crafti) and Pax (Calvacade of Awesome, Nerd Lunch, and more!) join me on a fun conversation about what makes this movie so charming, what makes it hilarious and just what was Christian Slater thinking about while recording certain scenes?

And while you're in the mood for more Wizard goodness, check out 8-Bit Zombie for their gnarly Loser Lucas shirt! Some of my favorite shirts come from Ross. In fact, you can check out the interview I did with him where we dish about our mutual love of this fantastic movie!

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You can check out Cult Film Club on iTunes and their website. I always enjoy their discussions and trivia tidbits they drop, so be sure to check out their back catalog of great episodes!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Meeting The King Of Rock!

A few weeks ago, DMC of the iconic rap group RUN-DMC came up to The Record Archive in Rochester, NY for an in-store signing of his new album "Back From The Dead" and discussion of the importance of vinyl.

Monday, December 11, 2017

5 Tapes To Get You In The Christmas Spirit!

2 weeks away from the big day. How are you feeling? Happy? Sad? Feeling down? Hey, I understand. This can be a stressful time of year for a lot of people and sometimes it can lead to the loss of the spirit of the season. I love creating a new tradition but to get into the Christmas spirit, sometimes you gotta rely on the classics and today I have some fine selections of classic Christmas movies and specials that will be a surefire way to get you back in the holiday mood.


Ziggy is a character that is made for one reason: to make you to smile. There's not a bad bone in that little guy and this special proves it. Ziggy becomes a Santa for the season while working with others who took up the Santa mantle for their own greed and dishonesty. Staying true to who he truly is and never losing his trademark smile, Ziggy teaches others the true spirit of Christmas. While not the most memorable or cherished holiday special, it is a very heartwarming one. I recommend it only if you wish to fall back in love with the character of Ziggy and need a cry or two.


Oh boy, another one that'll tug at your heart strings...well, maybe not. It may just make you laugh for all the wrong reasons. In this 90 minute tear jerker, an old hobo comes back to his hometown to reunite with his son who wants nothing to do with him and in the meantime learns a lot of his mistakes came back to bite him on his old smelly, hobo butt. This was a made-for-tv movie airing on CBS and it definitely shows. I don't exactly know how else to sell this movie to you other than Gerald McCraney and the grandfather from Lost Boys are in it and at their all time corniest. But that's ok because the producers of this movie knew what they were doing and the audience they were going after. It's hokey, silly, but it reminds you of watching bad Christmas movies with your family while eating Christmas cookies. So in the end, not so bad.


One of my favorite Ren and Stimpy episodes ever and not just because it's a special Christmas tape either. This was one of the funniest episodes where Stimpy let's out a nasty fart who names "Stinky" and heads out on an adventure to find him after he goes missing. What could make this tape even better, you ask? Add on two music videos featuring awesome Christmas songs sung by the gross duo that belong on everyone's Christmas playlist. It was pretty common for these Nickelodeon releases in the 90s to contain music videos and extras, all of which were made specifically for the tapes themselves, and were all pretty great. But what if I told you this tape had a reason to be even MORE amazing and gave you even more reason to drop money on a show you've seen a million times on tv and probably even recorded the episode (you dirty pirate!)?

Yup. A gift set! Featuring an awesome gift box and a fun plush Stimpy so you can cuddle up with your favorite gross cat and enjoy this fantastic tape. One last thing that you MUST know about this set...

Yup. The doll even has a fanny flap. What else would you expect?


I've said and done a lot involving my friend and star of the movie Eric Freeman, but I very rarely speak about the movie itself. If you're not aware of this ultimate cult classic, it's known for it's low budget, cheesy acting and ridiculous action. While it's easy to point to it and laugh at the production values but it does tell a fun story of Ricky (the little brother of Billy, the killer in the first movie) going through life, despite watching his older brother being killed in front of him. Is it worthy of an Oscar? Nah. But is it a fun watch and a movie that did have a charm. It may be a giant pile of...ahem...garbage...but it's infamy lives on through every viewing. Despite not ever receiving a bluray release, new fans are discovering this movie every year and falling in love with the main star and his memorable line delivery...


One of the best Christmas specials ever. Pee Wee plans a Christmas party with a lot of famous friends including Little Richard, Oprah, the lovely Del Rubio Triplets, Cher, CHARO and more! PeeWee gets a little greedy though and asks Santa for a LOT but then realizes that receiving his Christmas wishes would affect the wishes of other children across the world. Thankfully, PeeWee comes to his sense and realizes it's better to give than recieve, so demands Santa gives all his presents to other children. A beautiful ending to a magnificent Christmas special! Oh and bonus, this is where I learned the Dradel Song from!

Credit: (Check out my buddy RoG's great review of this special!)

Now, I gotta tell you guys, watching this special as a kid was HUGE. I was obsessed with Pee Wee Herman, despite my brother absolutely HATING him to the point that he would just get angry walking into the room when I was watching it. Oh well. It's not my fault he can't appreciate the greatness of Cowboy Curtis. Be that as it may, when I found out we were getting a Christmas special as a kid, I couldn't miss it. Missing it would be out of the question. The night it aired, my father had recorded it for me and I was able to watch it the next day. It was a pretty big event for me. Watching it the next day? I was in heaven. The silly songs, the over the top ridiculousness that we'd all come to love, the characters, the guest stars. I couldn't get enough. So many great skits and segments that if you were to watch today, you'd still love them. It may not be remembered in the same vain as A Charlie Brown Christmas or a movie like It's A Wonderful Life, but for me as a kid, this was bigger than any viewing of Miracle On 34th Street. Revisiting it in recent years, I've fallen in love with it all over again and continue to watch every year with as much enjoyment as I did as a child.

I don't know how to end this article any better than with the inclusion of a childhood (and adulthood) favorite. Honestly, they're all favorites and great additions to your yearly Christmas viewings. I hope you get to enjoy them just as much as I do ever year!


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Village Gate Toy December 2017 Show Pick Ups

It's time, it's time! The Village Gate Toy Show took place on Sunday December 3rd and I did not hesitate to keep my hunting eyes open for great deals and fun treasures. For the past 3 years, my goals have been more to sell my goods but I've become friends with so many of the dealers and usually that leads to great deals and trades. And this show was absolutely no different. Let's take a look at the goods:

BATMAN RETURNS CUPS ($2 for all 3)

Back in the 90's, McDonalds would offer large cups for their major promotions. Usually a movie, sports team, cartoon, whatever they could spread across both regular items and their happy meals and there was no bigger movie in the summer of 1992 than Batman Returns. One of the big hype machines behind it was McDonalds, who offered these awesome cups along with neat frisbee toppers as the lids.So not only were you getting an amazing illustration of The Penguin giving a gruesome speech, you get a sweet disc to throw around. And if you were lucky, you got the glow-in-the-dark lid.

I'm gaga over anything glow-in-the-dark, so I got very excited for it. If you think I didn't request that particular lid at age 9 from the visibly frustrated fry cook, you just don't know me well enough.


Speaking of awesome Batman items, check this out! From the glorious Dark Knight Collection by our friends at Kenner, The Joker finally has a sweet ride of his own to escape from the Batmobile. It kinda resembles the Green Goblin Truck from Maximum Overdrive in motorcyle form, but Joker's a vain guy, you can't tell me he wasn't above getting his painted puss on a purple hog. If his face on a $100 bill doesn't happen, this will suffice.


One of my vendor buddies came by to chat and told me he had a few loose Ghostbusters mini ghosts and he's also trying to eliminate all of his stock, so he was doing a "Buy 1 Get 1". Naturally I had to dig around his old, dusty boxes and found this sweet ghost along with an awesome JLU Green Lantern figure for my always growing JLU collection but the ghost is what excited me the most. Originally, I believed the ghost was the final piece to complete my Ecto 1, but I was wrong. Looks like it's the one that came with the mini GhostTrap. Which I should've known, since I had the Trap as a kid. But like I said earlier, glow-in-the-dark anything is the way to my heart, why wouldn't want to add this to my shelf?

nWo War Bonnet: ($3)

Collecting nWo merch, as discussed in previous articles, is a huge hobby of mine and this is an item I haven't seen pop up in quite sometime. The infamous "nWo War Bonnet" was a follow up to the the wildly popular Hollywood Hogan bandanna although this wasn't as well received by the nWo-ites across the world. In fact it was downright hated by many fans mainly because it looks silly and resembles an old dirty sock with the nWo logo on it. Admittedly, it's not the most visually pleasing headwear but as a addition to my nWo collection, it works. Maybe to wear in a future photo op with an nWo member or...oh heck, you know I had to try it on then and there, despite my wife hating it...

Not bad for an almost 20 year old piece of goofy headwear!

Not so bad of a haul. But it was time to pack up and leave. Laurie and I had made some nice dough and we were exhausted. So while we're taking stuff out to the car, we find someone selling some old Ninja Turtle items but I saw one piece I couldn't pass up...


My all time favorite cereal is the Ninja Turtles cereal from 1990. Oh sure, it was just Chex with marshmallows but it was so delicious. I can still smell the way the box smells as weird as it sounds. But one of the biggest reasons I loved it was the free cereal bowl you see above. Attatched to the box, this delightful small cereal bowl. I had two as a kid and used them heavily and I would love to use one again, but it looks like this is just too banged up and marked up, so I won't be using this particular bowl. But a buck for an instant flashback? Wasn't turning it down.Would you? Nah.

I had a great time at this toy show and can't wait til March. Here's hoping for even bigger successes! If you're coming by, stop by my table and say hi!

Today's Stocking Stuffer is a real winner, and you're gonna need these to get through Christmas Eve's crazy madness:

Hershey's is putting a delicious, Christmas-y kinda twist on a traditional favorite! These "Hershey Kisses Deluxe" are a great addition to that candy bowl in the dining room.

Not only do they contain a hazlenut in the middle with some delicious crispies, but they're even bigger than a normal Hershey's Kiss! Any Christmas related candy that has a mini nut reminds me of those Christmas parties as a kid where I'd sit on the couch trying to watch holiday specials and eat chocolate covered macadamia nuts while the adults bickered over politics and sports. They have a very familiar taste even though they're new to me.