New G.I. Joseph Pre-Orders Are Up


At this point, I have more G.I. Joe figures on pre-order in the past twelve months than I've actually received in that same period. Yet Hasbro keeps churning out the promise box with more and more figures allegedly coming.

Today Hasbro dropped six more pledges to the growing roster.

What's interesting in these drops is the packages. What happened to the plastic free packages that Hasbro was rolling out? Don't get me wrong, I prefer this design. It's just curious that they're in this style based on their own announcement that cardboard was the way of the future.

Apparently Dusty, Zarana and Crimson Guard are slated for March of 2023, while the new Target exclusive Bazook (Tiger Force), Recondo (Tiger Force), and Python Patrol Officer, have no ETA. Take that March date with a grain of salt.

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Retro Spins: Whitney Houston - Whitney

When it comes to album titles, Whitney Houston really doesn't get creative. Her debut album was entitled Whitney Houston, which okay, she gets a pass on that. Many artists self title their debuts. However, when you follow up with your second album, that's when you should pick a good title. Preferably one which is your lead track for the album. Whitney Houston thought hard about it, then went with "Whitney". Lame. I'm honestly surprised her third album wasn't entitled, "Houston".

Dumb titles aside, with Jermaine Jackson out of the way, Whitney and producers, Narada Michael Walden, Michael Masser, Jellybean Benitez and Kashif coulf focus on a more pop oriented sound suitable for the 80's. For those of you who read my post on the singers initial debut album, you may recall my dislike for its dated sound. I felt this was the fault of Jermaine Jackson, who produced the album, because musically, he couldn't seem to move past the Motown sound. Even his own solo studio albums at the time faltered from this.

The album is of course most notable for Whitney's hits, I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Didn't We Almost Have It All, So Emotional, Where Do Broken Hearts Go. However and I Know Him So Well. However, I also found myself enjoying Love Will Save The Day. I suppose what I'm trying to say is, "It's a  pretty decent album." Definitely better then her debut.

It is a little ballad heavy, which really isn't my thing. I think this is what makes it falter a bit for me. Even some of the "hits" aren't necessarily my favorite because of this fact. Still, if you're looking for a good 80's album to sit through, this one isn't a bad choice. It's not the best, but it's not a bad one.

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New House Tour


February 15 was moving day, and since then, I've been slowly, but surely, unpacking the house. Though I still have a handful of boxes left to go, the loft area, or as I call it, my sky palace, is all set up, and boy oh boy, is it THE place to be!

Every good man cave needs a computer. This is my space to work from home, rip CD's, and work on The Toy Box. To the right is a selection of PC games stored in a three tier wooden holder. Most of them are classic Sierra adventure games.

To the left of my desk sits my mini shelf of Star Wars Burger King glasses, and plastic "coffee" cups. It also works well for holding my printer, which has seen a fair amount of comics come across it.

Directly behind the desk is my first shelf of 80's CD's, and my stereo.

My small homage to Freddie Mercury sits on top of this shelf, and the shelves themself house "A" through "K". It took me a long time to wise up to leaving space on each shelf for new acquisitions. Man, does it get tiring moving everything down for one or two new additions.

The stereo sits on top of it partnering stand, which houses my select collection of vinyls, cassettes, and a few box sets.

Moving down the wall to the right are my six cabinets of action figures. I've downsized considerably since moving, parting with all of my large G.I. Joe playsets, a ton of action figures, and all of my boxed NES games.

Cabinet number one houses the majority of my original Masters of the Universe figures, which finish off on the top shelf of cabinet number two. This second cabinet also houses my Remco Karate Kid, and my Batman figures from the Tim Burton films, as well as a select few DC Super Heroes.

Cabinet three contains my entire original Star Wars series from 1979 through 1985. I also have the new Retro Collection figures featured alongside them. Cabinet four and five are my G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero figures, which are complete from 1983 through 1987, and then very generous from there. I passed on the straight arm 1982 figures, and have no regrets.

The last cabinet contains my G.I. Joe Classified series, and on top of all the cabinets are a variety of other toys. Most of these are the select "big" items I kept during my purge.

Before continuing down the wall, turning around is my shelf of 1990's and beyond CD's.

I have way more of these than I thought, and had to have the builder who made these shelves make two more. I'll have these soon, and can properly store the soundtracks sitting along the top shelf. I'll probably move all my soundtracks to one of the new shelves when I get them, and keep the last as a back up for my ever growing 80's collection.

Heading back to the wall, my second and third shelf of 80's CD's reside. This is what you see immediately as you come up the stair.


Shelf number two contains "L" through "V". I also have my deluxe Prince albums, and select few Retro Marvel Legends figures, all based on Spider-Man.

The last 80's shelf houses "W" through "Z", plus my 80's soundtracks, comedy albums, and various artists compilation collections. The top shelf also showcases my incredibly rare New York Toy Fair Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. These were given out to the press when Playmates Toys unveiled the line in 2012. Because each person was only given one random Turtle, finding all four can be challenging.

As you go around the corner, you run into my shelf of 70's and before albums.

Of all the eras, this is the one I have the least of, and quite frankly, much like my 90's CD's, I'm probably going to be downsizing these in the near future in lieu of focusing more exclusively on the 80's, with exception of a few artists.

Turning around, I have a work table set up, which used to house my USS Flagg, and underneath my Terror Drome and Defiant Shuttle Complex. It's odd how I "had" to have these a few years ago, and now, don't miss them at all.

This is now where I store my comic books, the majority of which are Spider-Man related titles.

Moving into the bedroom, this is where I watch my cartoons, and play my vintage NES.

Cartoons are a plenty. I love me some 80's cartoons, and really enjoy grabbing these when I can. So much so that after I took these photos, ten more sets arrived on my doorstep.

Most of these are 80's cartoons, but there's a sprinkling of 70's and 90's (and beyond) series, as well as very few select live action TV shows. These include, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Married With Children, and the three V sets, V: The Mini Series, V: The Final Battle, and V: The Television Series.

For those of you curious, these were the additional DVD's which arrived right after I initially scheduled this post.

I'm still waiting for my Mister T season one, The California Raisins Collection, and the complete five volume set of Garfield And Friends.
Turning around is one final bit of nostalgic goodness...and a lazy dog.

On top of the dresser is my complete in box NES, and Fallout Xbox One controller.

Inside the bottom two drawers are hidden a tome of NES cartridges to pop into the console sitting on the television stand. Hours of fun for everyone!

Honestly, this setup doesn't really work because the drawers are too heavy. You can't open them far before the start to groan and fall at an angle. Now that I think of it, I'll probably use that last CD shelf for these games, and put them next to my cartoon shelves.

Sure, there is an entire first floor to the house, but that place is boring. Upstairs is where you want to be!

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Retro Spins: The Buggles - Adventures In Modern Recording

All was not well for The Buggles in 1981. Despite the success of Video Killed The Radio Star, the single from their prior debut album, The Age Of Plastic, the duo split up. This was mainly driven by Geoff Downes forming the band, Asia. On his own, Trevor Horne put in place a second Buggles band, and completed Adventure In Modern Recording.

The album is very much different in sound from that of The Age Of Plastic. It's very experimental for its time, fusing synthpop and jazz together in the small doses. It somewhat works, but is also appreciated that it's doesn't dominate the album. The album delivers on a solid and straight up pop sound for the most part.

Unfortunately, as I crossed the halfway point of the album, I still hadn't heard anything necessarily memorable. The album was listenable for its uniqueness, but not at all for its catchy lyrics or memorable riffs.

Things didn't get much better beyond that point, and I started to get a little bummed out with the album. For all the critical praise it's received, I honestly expected better. Looking back on it after hearing it, I can't help but think that praise was all garnered towards the overall sound, which would have been pretty unique to 1981.

Whatever it was, that wrapped up my listening session, and overall, I'm not too enthralled with Adventures In Modern Recording. That's disappointing.

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Rambo: The Force Of Freedom (Ruby-Spears Enterprises)


Rambo: The Force Of Freedom
Ruby-Spears Enterprises

Rambo: The Force Of Freedom gets the honor of being the very first animated cartoon series for children based on a movie rated R. It was controversial at the time, and as I think about it, would probably be controversial if released today. Imagine a kids cartoon based on Squid Games. Wow, that would actually be pretty cool.

The series involved lead character, Rambo, as the head of The Force Of Freedom taking the fight to terrorist group, S.A.V.A.G.E., headed by General Warhawk. Rambo's team ultimately took their orders from Colonel Trautman, but in terms of the overall characters the teams were vastly uneven. While there were seven good guys which encompassed The Force Of Freedom, there were a whopping twenty-three bad guys who made an appearance in the show.

As was the case, a toy line was released to heavily promote and coexist in conjunction with the show. I covered that quite some time ago, "HERE".

The cartoon itself ran for sixty-five episodes over the course of one season in 1986. There would eventually be a DVD release over six volumes between June and December 2005 by Lionsgate Home Entertainment, who also own the rights to the Rambo films.

This is where today's post lands, taking a look at the individual volumes.

Volume 1: A World Of Trouble

Volume 2: Enter The Dragon

Volume 3: S.A.V.A.G.E. Island

Each volume contains one disc, which (for the most part) features eleven episodes. The only exception is volume three, which contains ten. As a whole, this set encompasses all sixty-five episodes of the complete series.

Volume 4: Up In Arms

Volume 5: Snow Riad

Volume 6: Face Of Freedom

The DVD's have long since gone out of print, and remain relatively scarce on secondary markets. It's because of this that individual volumes can sell for as much as thirty to sixty-five dollars used. This is also the driving factor as to why the set remained on my want list for quite some time.

I was shocked when I recently found a complete set of all six discs for a buy it now price of $100.00, and five of the discs were brand new / unopened. I was not about to pass this opportunity up, despite the seller wanting an additional $25.00 for shipping. It was well worth the price in my book.

The opportunity was so great that I waited skeptically for them to arrive, wondering if the seller would relist them for a higher price, and then torture me for a long and drawn out refund process. Fortunately, this never happened.

With that said, I need to excuse myself. It's time to start watching some Rambo!

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Retro Spins: ZZ Top - Afterburner

After hearing ZZ Top's 1983 album, Eliminator, I was no more a ZZ Top fan then as I was before...Which was not much of one at all. I've personally never really understood the draw to the band. Sure, they're good at jamming, and they can certainly play their instruments. I won't deny that. It's just their sound that I don't dig all that much.

Regardless, I still feel like there's something there that I have to be missing, and I hope to find that in today's retro spin.

ZZ Top continued their success from the 70's into the 80's with the aforementioned Eliminator (1983), El Loco (1981) and Afterburner (1985). Today, I'm looking at the latter entry to get a little more exposure to the band.

The album starts with Sleeping Bag, the track I actually purchased the CD for. It then goes into Stages, a song which sounds familiar from the 80's, yet I can't pinpoint why. The song did go to number twenty-one on the charts, which could be where I got exposed to it.

I suppose since I'm mentioning the weekly top forty, I'd be remiss to not mention the band's other hits from Afterburner, which charted between 1985 and 1986. Sleeping Bag was the most successful of the bunch, reaching number eight, Rough Boy, peaked at number twenty-two and Velcro Fly made it to number thirty-five.

When it began playing, Rough Boy, I also recognized. However, I'm not a fan. I did not recognize Velcro Fly, nor any other tracks from the album.

Overall, still not a fan. ZZ Top just doesn't do it for me, and perhaps it's time I come to accept that. Not every artist is for everyone - Regardless of how popular or unpopular they are.

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The Jacksons Victory Tour


The Jackson's Victory was the first, and only album from the brother's to feature all six Jackson family boys. Some would say it was a product of the highly successful reunion showcased on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, which aired May 16, 1983.

By this time, Michael Jackson was in orbit with album sales from his November 30, 1982 released Thriller. The young singer swept the 26th Annual Grammy Awards held on February 28, 1984, and hosted by John Denver. It was this night that he would be nominated for twelve individual awards, and take home eight of them. However, with its success came great fatigue for Jackson, who to date, had opted not to tour to promote the album. Clearly, it wasn't needed anyway.

Between November 1983, and May 1984, the brothers would work on recording their Victory album, albeit, usually individually, and release it on July 2, 1984. Four days later, the highly anticipated Victory tour would kick off across the United States and Canada for a sold out fifty-five dates.

At $30.00 per ticket, the Pepsi sponsored Jackson's Victory Tour was already the most expensive venue to attend. However, the manner in which promoters, which included Don King, Joe Jackson, and Chuck and Billy Sullivan, opted to sell the tickets quickly became a topic of contention and controversy among fans.

In an effort to prevent scalping, the men implemented a lottery for the tickets. This required interested attendees to send $120.00, and a form to the mailing address. Essentially one out of ten entrants would win, but not before big money was taken in. This "scam" was ultimately a plan to invest the money into an interest baring account, wherein the seven percent interest would garner millions of dollars before non-ticket winners would receive their refundable money back.

While the brothers were on board for this plan, Michael was not. He would eventually push back on the program amidst the backlash, and held a press conference stating that all his proceeds from the shows would be donated. Regardless, the lottery remained in effect, only being disbanded for a handful of shows, which were sold through Ticketmaster.

Pepsi, and other distributors were quick to produce a bevy of promotional materials, which would be made available at the various venues. Though it would be difficult to identify and find every last bit of available merchandise, below is a series of my personal favorites.

Official Tour Book

Shirts, Baseball Cap, and Button


Limited Edition Digital Watch

Promotional Poster

Reprinted Autographed Pepsi Can

Further controversies plagued the show, particularly those which involved the brothers fighting. Things would ultimately come to a head, and Michael would announce that he would not continue to tour with his brothers after their last show. This led to several planned international dates being cancelled.

For those lucky enough to attend, I'm sure this monotonous occasion was a spectacular sight to behold. For the rest of us, we had the option of living through the world of imagery via the plethora of coverage across several media outlets. These in and of themselves would make for one impressive scrapbook.

The show was recorded at several venues on video cameras, and this has resulted in several transfer being made available via bootleg sources. However, no official release appears to have ever occurred. I also can't find any information on whether or not any of these were ever broadcast on television.

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Retro Spins: Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam - With Full Force

Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam was a nice eye opener when I first heard their 1987 album, Spanish Fly. It was so good that I immediately set to task to find their 1985 album With Full Force, as well as, their 1989 album, Straight To The Sky. Mind you, I haven't heard either one of these until today when I fired up With Full Force.

Will Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam be able to meet the expectation that Spanish Fly set for me? Well...

I felt like I was being subjected to some poorly written high school play. The spoken dialog between some of the tracks is corny as all get out, and really takes you out of the immersion in the album. Mind you, the songs themselves aren't all that catchy or memorable on their own. However, this additional aspect of trying to create some form of "play" really makes the whole thing silly.

So, no, this album didn't impress me as much as Spanish Fly. Not even close. In fact, I dare say it was pretty bad. Even as I type this, the album continues to drone on in an annoying background noise fashion. I'm not enjoying.

I can say without a shadow of doubt, if this was the first Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam album I ever heard, it would have been the last. It still may very well be the last. It doesn't excite me at all to hear anything further from the group. In fact, it makes me scratch my head in bewilderment how they went from this album to Spanish Fly.

I don't recommend this one...At all.

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Trivial Pursuit (Selchow and Righter / Parker Brothers / Hasbro)


Trivial Pursuit
Selchow and Righter / Parker Brothers / Hasbro

Chris Haney and Scott Abbott simply wanted to enjoy a game of Scrabble together. However, after discovering that pieces were missing, they quickly set their sites on the evening to creating their own game. The idea for the game was simple. A series of trivia questions, and a board separated by colorful categories. According to the duo, the concept was completed in all of thirty minutes.

The game was developed and released in 1981, and by 1982 was licensed to Selchow and Righter, who would distribute it to major retailers at a whopping $40.00! At the time it was considered the most expensive board game on the market, and by today's inflation rates was the equivalent of $111.71!

High price tag or not, Trivial Pursuit, or as it's known in its original format, Trivial Pursuit Master Genus Edition, quickly sold out across the country, and expanded across the globe. In an era of excess and egos, Trivial Pursuit was the ultimate party game.

It would soon also become the spotlight of a major lawsuit. Suspecting the developers behind Trivial Pursuit were taking their questions and answers from his book, The Trivia Encyclopedia, author Fred L. Worth searched through the various cards looking for proof. He found this when coming upon one particular question and answer.

The question, "What was Lt. Columbo's first name." The answer, "Philip." Worth had deliberately planted this question with the wrong answer in his book as a means to catch anyone who would attempt to plagiarize him, and it appeared to have served its purpose.

Fred sued the developers for three million dollars in 1984. However, his claim was denied when the inventors admitted openly that his books were among their sources, and that trivia could not be copyrighted. The judge agreed. Worth would eventually ask the Supreme Court to hear his case, but they declined in 1988.

A second lawsuit was filed in 1994 by David Wall, who claimed that he and his friend came up with the idea of the game, and shared their idea with Chris Haney, who picked them up while hitchhiking through Nova Scotia. The lawsuit didn't go far, as no evidence was ever produced, and Haney denied having ever met the man.

Frivolous lawsuits aside, Trivial Pursuit has expanded in spades over time, producing numerous versions based upon updates, licensed themes, and varying expansion packs. To this day, it remains an iconic game enjoyed by millions across the world, and seems to have poised itself to be enjoyed for decades and generations to come.

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