Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Video Toy Chest


In 1990 the now defunct toy store chain Child World / Children's Palace presented a "Video Toy Chest " or "A Toy Catalog on Videotape." More accurately it was basically a bunch of toy commercials with short entertainment bits performed by a mostly child cast stitched in between each ad.

If you have fond childhood memories of this rarity, and wished you could see it again you're in luck. Just in time for Christmas I've uploaded it to YouTube, and embedded it below. The whole "show" runs about 37 minutes. I don't expect many people would want to sit through the entire program, so as a courtesy I thought I should list all the commercials in the "Toy Chest" so you can try and skip to your favorite toy (or skip it all together).

Here's are a list of the commercials you'll see in part 1: Children's Palace, Dance Magic Barbie, Disney Huglight Mickey, Disney Activity Gym, Hot Wheels Sto 'N Go, Lil Miss Magic Hair, Magic Nursery Baby, McGruff the Crime Dog PSA, Lanky Doodle, Motor Mouth, Bo Jackson Electronic Baseball/Football, Double Dragon II Electronic Game, Noteability, Game Talk Tiger's Baseball All Stars, Bubble Bears

Still with me? Here's the ads in part 2: Huffy Sonic 6, Fisher-Price Magic Vac, Fisher-Price Rocker Pony, Fisher-Price Post Office, Fisher-Price Pop-Up Playhouse, Fisher-Price Kitchen, Fisher-Price Super Wagon, Fisher-Price Fire Pumper, Tyco Typhoon Hovercraft, Quints, Bongo Congo, My Pretty Ballerina, Spy Tech, Bases Loaded II Second Season Nintendo Game, Playskool Flat Folks, Playskool Express, Mall Madness

We're almost done, here are the commercials in part 3: Captain Skyhawk Nintendo Game, Cabal Nintendo Game, Matchbox Carousel Collection, Matchbox Motorcity Sounds of Service Garage, Play-Doh Dinner, Acclaim Double Player Wireless Controllers, Double Dragon II Nintendo Game, Back to the Future II & III Nintendo Game, 90 Second Shoot Out, Teddy Ruxpin, Disney Little Boppers, Hush Little Baby, Girl Talk, Crayola Kits

So without any further delay, let's take a look back at the toys of 1990...



Alright I admit it, when it comes to cool commercial collections what we have here is quantity over quality.

Although maybe you're not into the whole retro commercial deal. I can dig it. So how about that Toy Television Network? The production while a bit cheesy and dated is pretty well done don't you think? The writing could be a lot sharper, and some of the stuff the cast has to do is a little cringe worthy today (and probability back in the day too).

Speaking of the cast let's take a look at where some of them are now...

Jerry Lobozzo in 1990 and today

Besides the poor woman trapped in that storybook costume, the only other adult actor is Jerry Lobozzo. Time as been very kind to Jerry. He still looks basically the same, and still has that hair! I wonder if Jerry ever wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat with nightmares of playing Robo-T. (Robo-T? Was he supposed to be an an actual robot?) Anyway besides acting, Jerry is a very talented voice actor who has worked on many television cartoons. Jerry has an official site of his own right here.

J.D. Daniels in 1990, and in B&W today

J.D. Daniels played the part of the director who was conveniently named J.D. too. J.D. is remembered for his work in The Mighty Ducks in 1992, but you can see he already had that bossy tough guy act down pat here. I'm happy to report J.D. seems to be a well adjusted adult, who is still acting, and can take a handsome B&W headshot. Check out his FaceBook page for more on what he's been up to.

Joey Shea in 1990, and today

Thankfully at the start of "Video Toy Chest" J.D. turned to a fellow child actor and said, "Ready Joey?" This made it easy to I.D. Joey Shea. Over the years Joey has worked on a couple of soap operas, but checking the IMDb there hasn't been anything listed since 2007. Also Joey has a MySpace page that's currently looking sorta abandoned. I assume he's doing OK, and with looks like that life can't be treating Joey too badly. Actually it's interesting to note that Joey had a reoccurring role on the PBS kids show Ghostwriter because...

Sheldon Turnipseed in 1990, and on Ghostwriter in 1995

In 1995 Sheldon Turnipseed became a lead actor on Ghostwriter. Two people from this "Video Toy Chest" thing became actors on Ghostwriter - what are the chances? It looks like Sheldon left acting after working on Ghostwriter. Today he is supposedly a naval officer and has changed his name. I don't understand the name change. I think Sheldon Turnipseed was an awesome name.

A cute Lacey Chabert in 1990, and a extremely hot Lacey
on the cover of Maxim in 2007


Arguably the most famous person from the "Video Toy Chest" is Lacey Chabert. She might still be best know for her work on FOX's Party of Five, but she has kept herself very busy with an extensive list of credits on her IMDb page. Yes Lacey certainly has grown up. Good lord, has she ever grown up.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Most Disorganized Toy Store in Movie History


Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) is notorious for the uproar it caused when released. Groups like the PTA were a appalled at the notion of a killer dressed as Santa Claus.

Actually the idea of a killer Santa Claus wasn't new. More than a decade earlier a segment of Tales From The Crypt (1972) features a psycho Santa terrorizing Joan Collins, and nobody freaked out. Well maybe someone did, but it wasn't the stink that Silent Night, Deadly Night created.


Anyway, I'm not here to talk about killer Santas, I'm here to talk about the most messed up toy store ever filmed. A major section of Silent Night, Deadly Night takes place at a quaint little store named IRA'S TOYS...

That's one depressing looking toy store

The reported budget for Silent Night, Deadly Night is well under one million dollars. It's obvious the set decorator had little money to work with, and no doubt they were on a very tight time schedule too. So under these difficult circumstances how successful were they at creating a convincing toy store? Let's take a look around, and see what we find.

As first glance I think the above pic might look like the toy store's storage room with all those random brown cardboard boxes (and throughout the store too), but it's not. Just for the record this is the stock room...

Now back to the retail space...

At Ira's they conveniently pre-inflate the inflatable pool toys for you. Also it helps to fill all that shelf space.

Although it's Christmas time, at Ira's they still have the Halloween costumes on display. Actually I assume they keep them up year-around.

There's some famous characters here. I can see Batman, Spider-Man, a couple of Mickey Mouse masks...

... and G.I. Joe - who gets a prominent shot.

It's also Easter time at Ira's Toys, or at least I always associate these insane looking inflatable rabbits with Easter.

It's Poochi! You know, for girls.

They pre-assemble the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads at Ira's. That's unique customer service.

If you're looking for Jabba the Hutt you're in luck. Ira's is well stocked on this item, but you better hurry if you want that Patrol Dewback. Hey where are the Star Wars action figures?

If you look closely, you can see the figures tucked away on the right.

Want to purchase the game Twister? Try checking behind the Smurf puzzle. Also note the partially hidden Popeye the Movie board game.

This is an interesting shot for the curious way this store is organized. There's the Mouse Trap games on the top self, assorted preschool toys below, and a Habitrail set for your pet hamster on the upper left .

Please forgive the actor's awkward pose, but this is the bottom shelf of where the Star Wars toys are located. Here you'll find the Monroe Dollhouse Kit and the Motorific Torture Track which is a toy from the 1960's...



I thought I noticed something else in that last shot, it's the Krull board game on the lower left.

For such a small and disorganized store Ira's has its own Santa Claus "meet 'n greet" that's reasonably elaborate. This is something only malls and big city department stores usually have.

Well I could go on and on, but why beat a dead reindeer. I'll conclude this post with this wide shot of Ira's Toys. See if you can spot your favorite toy among the clutter, or feel free to make your own snarky comment.

Oh wait, it's a He-Man and Battle Cat kite! And a possible spoiler, sorry if you looked.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Change of Seasons

It's that time of year again, and that means it's time for the holiday classic A Change of Seasons (1980).

A CHANGE OF SEASONS: Movie Trailer. Watch more top selected videos about: Mary Beth Hurt, Richard Lang

Man, I love it when TNT plays this movie for 24 hours straight starting on Christmas Eve... OK, I'm teasing.

I don't think anyone even thinks about this film anymore. Not even the people who made it.

In 1980 this was a "big" holiday movie for 20th Century-Fox. I'm not kidding, take a look at this pull-out poster promotion which was published in national magazines...


Oh hey, it's a naked and wet Bo Derek. Now that she's caught our eye, let's turn the page and see what else we can find...


No more Bo, but we now have Anthony Hopkins and Shirley MacLaine in bed. This is all sorta like a comic book version of the trailer.


On the third page is more of the cast, and more of the "lover" talk. Wow that word is way overused here. Do people even use that word much anymore? I think it makes everything sound rather dated.

Just to be complete here's the last page which has a short bio on the principle actors...

Finally let's open this thing up and take a look at the poster...


It's a fun poster with an all naked cast, and a cartoon-ish leering bear rug and moose head wearing a Santa hat. This movie looks like a wacky sex comedy.

The poster art is by Robert Tanenbaum, and this is one of the last movie posters he worked on before moving on to other things.

Maybe Robert just gave up working on movie posters in disgust because his poster art wasn't officially used for this film. If you visited a movie theater 30 years ago this was the poster you saw for A Change of Seasons.


It's no longer the wacky comedy, but something more sexy and sophisticated. The marketing people took a shot from the infamous "hot tub scene," and replaced the leering bear and moose with a pic of a leering Shirley MacLaine.

It's not as fun as the illustrated poster, but at least it was better then this budget tri-color poster. I don't know exactly what's going on with composition here, but they sure want you to know Bo Derek is in this film - she's pictured on this poster three times...

Here's the provocative Swedish poster which uses a more risque "hot tub scene" picture, and a pair of illustrated disembodied human legs engaged in some kind of adult activity. According to the Google Translator the title reads "talk about left-rustling" whatever that means...

A Change of Seasons is available on DVD, and the cover art is very conservative and uninspired. The hot tub pic is colorized and placed in the background, and thee photos of stars placed prominently in the foreground. Also it now looks like a very autumn-like movie to me...


Lastly here's A Change of Seasons poster from Turkey? India? I have no idea...

That artist is no Robert Tanenbaum, and that image of Bo is not from this film either. It's from one of Bo's many sexy photo shoots...

Well this concludes my most steamy blog post ever, and just in time to kick of the jolly holiday season too.

Merry Christmas fellas.

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