Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Retro Spins: El DeBarge - El DeBarge



El DeBarge
El DeBarge
1986

I feel it's premature reviewing this CD because quite honestly I should first be reviewing the DeBarge album, Rhythm of the Night, as it paints quite the picture for things to come for the band, the family and the solo career of El. But....Meh.

Despite the success of the band, Gordy Records a division of Motown, was growing increasingly annoyed with the publicized drug use of many of the family members and subsequently their unreliability as a result. Additionally, the label saw more talent and marketability in both El and his sister Bunny. As such, the decision was made to drop the group from the label and focus on solo careers of the two sibblings.

El released the song, "Who's Johnny" for the hit movie Short Circuit which hit theaters in May of 1986. However, for whatever reasoning there was behind it, the film never released a soundtrack. This paved the way for El to release his debut self titled album in 1986 which featured the song as the first track.

Unfortunately, whatever Motown saw in El didn't seem to translate over to the actual album. It's pretty boring, bland and full of ballads. Triple B! It's got a couple tracks which stand out as better, but none are as catchy as Who's Johnny nor as commercial. Overall, I found myself just needing this album to end so I could go on with my life. It was kind of torturous to have to sit through it.

Who's Johnny charted in April of 1986 and went all the way to number three by July before drifting back down the charts. The follow up single, Love Always, charted at number eighty-eight and peaked at number forty-three before disappearing. The third single, Someone, entered the charts at number ninety in December, but lasted one lone week before exiting.

Regardless of having three songs hit the charts, I'll stick with just the one, Who's Johnny, and in minimal doses. It's not exactly a mind blowing track, but it's fun 80's music.

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Batman Candy & Toy (Phoenix Candy & Toy Co.)



Batman Candy & Toy
Phoenix Candy & Toy Co.
1966

Candy, toy and utility belt all in one!

Phoenix Candy & Toy Co. covered all these bases when they released these highly coveted Batman Candy & Toy boxes in 1966. Each box featured corn starch based candy as well as a non-Batman Cracker Jack like toy inside.

Once you finished eating the candy and losing the toy, you could follow the directions on the top of the box which showed you how to string six of them together to make your own Batman utility belt. Needless to say, between getting thrown out in general and worn / destroyed by kids, not many of these boxes exist in pristine condition these days.

I was turned on to these particular boxes by Brian over at Cool and Collected when he posted about a full set being available on Hakes. As I looked into them, I quickly found these were not the collectible for the faintest of hearts. A full set of empty boxes can run you between $400.00 and $500.00. Whew! Sure they look awesome, but that's a lot of money for empty boxes.

Still, they're fun to look at as a result of all of that fantastic artwork surrounding almost each side of the box. It really captures the fun and excitement of Batman from the 60's. There are a slew of iconic, sometimes goofy villains and characters showcased on each box with of course Batman and / or Robin.

Though it may look like there are sixteen different boxes, there are actually only eight. Each consecutive even number shares the package with its prior odd number. So for example, number one is shown on the front of the box, while number two is the backside to that box. Rinse and repeat for numbers two through sixteen. 

I can understand why not many people are eager to take the plunge on something like this. After all, they are just expensive empty cardboard boxes. However, at the end of the day aren't action figures just hunks of painted plastic?

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Sunday, January 27, 2019

A Recent Snow Day



When you wake up to...



Then have to deal with...


It's a sure bet it's going to be one of those days to hunker down and stay warm. This is what I woke up to on January 12th, 2019 as it snowed, snowed and snowed some more the entire day. With so much cold outside, I decided it was the perfect day to enjoy the warmth of a good meal and fun nostalgic times.

How did I achieve this? I made Thanksgiving!


Mashed potatoes and sausage / sage stuffing (both in and out of the turkey)...


Rolls and cornbread...


Slow cooked, ten hour gravy...


And of course, the main guest of honor, the turkey.


I was going to make corn, but quite honestly forgot to. With how much food there was, it didn't matter much.

And because it takes so long to cook a turkey with all the fixings, I entertained myself with four classic 80's animated movies and one from the 90's!








Delicious eats. Fantastic cartoons. Warm heat throughout the house. What's not to love? For as much as I hate snow, I sure do love a well spent snow day!

I suppose I could have also just slept the day away...


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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Retro Spins: John Parr - John Parr



John Parr
John Parr
1984

Wow! What a solid album!

I've always liked the song Naughty Naughty from John Parr, but I was hesitant to pick up the self titled album in recent years because it hovers around $50.00! It wasn't until ebay sent me a recent promotional coupon which gave me $15.00 off of a purchase that I revisited the album and stomached the purchase - $35.00 is still quite expensive for an album you want one song off of.

Well, I'm happy to report that this turned out to be a well worth it purchase! I loved this album!

Out of the nine tracks - ten if you count that it's technically the 1985 re-issue - I nabbed seven songs from it for my iPod. I don't know what it was about this album, but it just grabbed me with pretty much every song. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately went to ebay to find Parr's follow up album, "Running the Endless Mile" which was far more reasonable in price, but which admittedly I don't know any of the songs from. Yup, it was so good it left me wanting more. I love hearing albums like that.

Let me backtrack a second here and go back to what I said above. I mentioned this particular version was the 1985 re-issue with an extra track which just so happened to be Parr's hit, St. Elmo's Fire. While I love this song, I already have it from the actual soundtrack. As such, I didn't transfer it to my iPod since it was already there.

It's unfortunate that Naughty Naughty was the real only hit for Parr off of the album and even then it didn't necessarily blow people away making it to only number twenty-three on the charts by March of 1985. Magical debuted on the charts in April, but lasted for only one week. It wouldn't be until St. Elmo's Fire that Parr would finally get the number one hit he deserved. Sure, you could technically say it was from the album since it was packed onto it and re-released when it became such a massive success.

For what it's worth, I highly recommend the album to everyone. However, the steep buy in price may be enough to deter people from wanting to track this one down - Which is a shame that it costs so much because so many people may be missing out as a result.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Freddie Mercury (Bandai / S.H. Figuarts)



Freddie Mercury
Bandai / S.H. Figuarts
2016

For those of you keeping up with my blog, you probably recognize the below Freddie Mercury figure. I actually shared images of him open in my personal collection back in March 2018. Today though, I'm sharing images I probably should have shared back then - The figure mint in the package.


Bandai released this fairly limited figure in 2016 and since then while it hasn't necessarily gotten to rare to find, the price continues to go up and up. I think, if I recall correctly, when I purchased mine I paid $60.00. These days, I'm seeing it fluctuating in price, but as high as $115.00.



One of the best aspects to this figure is the maximized articulation. You can literally get this figure in just about every single post you can think of. Additionally, he comes with multiple sets of hands and heads. Combined with the articulation, you can create a unique Freddie Mercury you want to display.


What I don't particularly like about this figure is the poor paint jobs on the heads. I don't know what method they used for painting, but it looks spotty. Literally like tiny dots. Additionally, the mustache on one of the three heads (at least on mine) seems to have been missed completely. If you're going to create an ultra collectible figure with a collector's price tag attached, then you need to put 100% effort into it.


Despite this, I would be lying if I said I didn't love this figure. As a huge fan of Queen, it's great to have this in my collection. I'd really like to see Bandai take it a step further and release the remaining band members.


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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Order Of Battle: Robocop



This will be an ongoing post of my vintage Robocop toys, as I obtain them.

Battle Damaged Robocop (Toy Island)
Obtained: August 14, 2018

Robocop (Kenner)
Obtained: August 14, 2018

ED-260 (Kenner)
Obtained: August 14, 2018

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Order Of Battle: Thundercats



This will be an ongoing post of my vintage Thundercats toys, as I obtain them.

 Lion-O
Obtained: July 1, 2017

Snarf
Obtained: July 1, 2017 

Mumm-Ra
Obtained: July 1, 2017

Ma Mutt
Obtained: July 1, 2017

Mumm-Ra (Mummy)
Obtained: July 7, 2017

Panthro
Obtained: December 8, 2018

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Order Of Battle: Bravestarr



This will be an ongoing post of my vintage Bravestarr toys, as I obtain them.

Marshall Bravestarr
Obtained: December 28, 2017

Tex Hex
Obtained: January 2, 2018 

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Zero To Three Hundred In One Accessory



These past few years of collecting G.I. Joe figures has been a lot of fun. I've enjoyed picking up all the great characters I never had as a kid while also grabbing up a fair amount of the ones I did. I set out to collect strictly within the realm of 1983 to 1987, and while I haven't obtained EVERY figure from this era (nor do I intend to), I've certainly rounded out my collection nicely with all the "priority" figures I wanted.

As I flip the page, so to speak, to a round of secondary figures I had my eye on, I thought I would share with you the first one from that list which I not only just got, but which also almost killed my desire to collect Joe's any further.

Say hello to 1985's Mauler driver, Heavy Metal.


As a character, Heavy Metal is not a forefront player in the G.I. Joe world. He appeared in only a handful of episodes, and in addition, wasn't a mainstay in the original Marvel Comics series. Yet somehow, the figure has come to be known as the rarest figure to obtain complete by collectors of the vintage Joe three and three fourths line.

Why? Because of his accessory. Take a closer look.


This itty bitty microphone attached to the side of his head was conveniently removable, making it one of the most common pieces lost in most children's toy collection.

I didn't know any of the above about this figure when I first went looking for him. My mindset was, "Meh, another relatively unknown character from a vehicle which will cost me a few bucks to get." Boy was I wrong.

First and foremost, when I went looking for him, there was only one listed with the original microphone. Fortunately, it also include his submachine gun and, while I didn't necessarily want it, the file card. The price - $295.00!

Without his microphone, this figure easily sells for $30.00 to $45.00 all day long. So yeah, the microphone was an additional $250.00!

The fact that this figure was so obscurely rare only lead to my desire to have it all the more. With the photos above, I guess it's also obvious that I ended up taking the plunge on it. However, this came with an immediate aftershock which hit me hard. It killed my desire to want to hunt down anymore G.I. Joe figures, and somewhat derailed my passion for the line.

I suppose I could say, "The damage is done. The figure is in my collection." But, at the same time I can't help but take a step back and look at the big picture. I can't keep doing this with this line. I can't keep dropping so much cash on one figure. That's just plain ridiculous. Twenty bucks here and there? Sure. Fifty plus? Probably need to rethink how badly I want it. A hundred plus? Really need to find something better to spend my money on.

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Order Of Battle: Knight 2000



This will be an ongoing post of my vintage Knight 2000 toys, as I obtain them.





Kitt
Obtained: August 16, 2018

Michael Knight
Obtained: August 16, 2018

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Order Of Battle: Michael Jackson



This will be an ongoing post of my vintage Michael Jackson toys, as I obtain them.

 Michael Jackson in Motown Outfit
Obtained: January 7, 2018

Michael Jackson in Grammy Awards Outfit
Obtained: January 7, 2018

Michael Jackson in Human Nature Outfit
Obtained: January 7, 2018

Michael Jackson in Billie Jean Outfit
Obtained: January 7, 2018

Michael Jackson in Beat It Outfit
Obtained: January 7, 2018

Michael Jackson in Thriller Outfit
Obtained: January 7, 2018

Michael Jackson in American Music Awards Outfit
Obtained: January 7, 2018

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