Sunday, December 23, 2012

Classified Christmas Cover-Up

A couple of days ago I met a mysterious one-armed stranger through the friend of a friend cousin's half-sister (twice removed) at midnight on a Chinese junk in the middle of the Adriatic Sea.  The stranger handed me, using his one good arm of course, a brown paper package tied up with string which just happens to be one of my favorite things.

I took the package, and quickly made it back to my awaiting dirigible where my robot pilot flew me home.  When I opened the package I was startled to find a classified government video recording from the early 1970's.  I was even more startled once I watched it, and knew I needed to share it with the world.

But first there was that wacky Mayan end-of-the-world thing on Friday.  I spent that day wrapped in aluminum foil, and curled up in the fetal position under my basement stairs. Some apocalypse that was. What a jip! Talk about being dressed up with no place to go.

Anyways, with that nuttiness all behind us it's time to finally share this video with the world.  This tape blows the pants off anything that WikiLeaks punk has ever posted...

Merry Christmas folks, and have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Rubber Uglies

I intended to run this post back in October as part of my Halloween celebration, but personally, this post works just as well for Christmas.  These rubber monsters weren't as fancy as the stuff Santa would bring, but they were still some of my favorite childhood toys.

My Grandfather bought these creatures for me when we'd visit the novelty store at the local mall.  At least I think it was a novelty store, these were purchased when I was preschool age, and therefor it was before I could read.  If it was a toy store I think I would remember it a lot better.  All I can remember is the box of rubber monsters that sat on the counter near the register at the front of the store.  I'd pick one, my Grandfather paid for it, and we left the store. 

About a year ago I learned these monsters were officially called Rubber Uglies, and was spun off of Topps' Ugly Stickers which were mostly illustrated by Norman Saunders.  Although sometimes the display box called them Teacher's Pets (supposedly in the UK from what I've read)... 

Each of the "Uglies" has a name taken from the original Topps sticker.  For example  this is Al, and his twin Al...

As you can see the Al on the right has lost an arm.  One thing I don't understand are the different sculpts of the same creature.  Did the molds become worn, and entirely new molds were created from a new sculpture?  Or is one a knockoff?

Through the magic of Photshop I've fixed "Al #2's" missing arm.  Here's the rest of my collection...

The "Melvin" above is missing its two front pincher arms.  The arms of these rubber  monsters were easily torn during vigorous play.  I think when one arm came off this creature I intentionally removed the other to keep its symmetry. 

I once had a few other Rubber Uglies, but I think they've been permanently lost.  I'm kinda impressed I was able to scrounge up this many actually.  I'm very impressed with this collection and how it's displayed.  It's classy...

Rubber Uglies

If you wish to lean more about Rubber Uglies you can visit the Rubber Uglies & Jigglers Forum.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Those 70's Dolls

Here's a quick look at a couple iconic 70's dolls, and when I say "iconic 70's" I mean something distinctly 1970's, not necessarily famous.

First it's the vaguely hippy-ish Sunshine Family from Mattel in 1976...

The Sunshine Family supposedly ran a craft store, and the ad copy says the dolls come with "its own things-to-make Idea Book" so you too could become a craftier just like the dolls.  This crafting spirit is still alive in Sunshine Family owners.  For example while searching for a Sunshine Family commercial I stumbled across YouTuber Marianna Mitchek  and her snappily crafted video "Childhood friends."  Check it out...

Mattel strikes again in 1976 with what might be the most contrversal doll of the 70's - the anatomically correct baby doll Baby Brother Tender Love...  

Although there was another anatomically correct baby doll released in 1976 called Archie Bunker’s Grandson - Joey Stivic from Ideal.  This doll was billed as the "first anatomically correct male doll."  Since it was based the popular All In The Family TV show it most certainly got more publicity, and probably took most of the heat off Baby Brother Tender Love.

Wow, two anatomically correct baby dolls are released by two major toy manufactures in 1976.  Is this just a coincidence, or was one company attempting to cash in on the others idea?  I can't believe there was ever a great demand for such a anatomically correct doll to begin with.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Charge

Hey it's Christmas time again, and that means a month of yuletide blogging at its finest.  Well, what passes for "finest" around here at least.  Always remember it's the thought that counts.

Credit card use is at its peak this time of year, and in 1973 you might have used a BankAmericard to do your Christmas shopping...

Here's a bit of  trivia for the younger generations - Visa once upon a time was called BankAmericard.

I've noticed something strange in the above magazine ad.  Did Grandpa get a creepily realistic ventriloquist dummy for Christmas?

I guess that's only his curiously dressed grandson. Although this kid looks like he's up to no good, and coincidentally has the same hair style as the evil ventriloquist dummy in the classic bad horror movie Devil Doll (1964)...  

Staying with the credit card theme, here's the 1973 Christmas ad for Master Charge ...

 MasterCard was once called Master Charge just so you know.

I wonder if ad agency even considered asking TV's Brady Bunch to pose for this ad.  It was a lot cheaper, and easier to use a cartoon so I seriously doubt it.  Those Brady's got ripped off.  However I'm sure Mike Brady would have some sort of way to moralize even this situation.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Letter from Hostess

Here's one last food related post before the month ends.  With the mess that happened over at Hostess this month I thought I might as well post about something that was sent to me last month...

I regularly buy Beefsteak Pumpernickel Bread exclusively for making sandwiches. That is I use to buy Beefsteak Pumpernickel Bread since it's currently unavailable.

I like the bread just fine, but the signature domed shape of the Beefsteak Bread line can make sandwich making challenging.  The first few slices are always going to make a small sandwich, but sometimes the first slice is so small it's unusable.  Occasionally the first slice is about the size of a poker chip, and that's a problem when there's an even number of slices per bag - you're going to be a slice short went you get to the end of the loaf.

So I called the customer support number on the bread bag, and told the courteous support person my problem.  A week later I had two coupons for a free loaf of Beefsteak Bread.  At the time I didn't know they were owned by Hostess...

I hope Hostess will return soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Morton Donut Shop Frozen Donuts

Morton Donut Shop frozen donuts was a 1970's product that lasted about as long as plaid polyester bell-bottoms were fashionable.  Which is my way of saying the product wasn't around to ring in 1980.  Check out the magazine ad...

Is there a full grown adult anywhere who actually dreams about donuts?

Probably the main reason this product didn't last was the fact it was frozen.  I mean who wants wait for their donuts to thaw before eating them. For example, if you read the directions on this box of Morton Donut Shop Boston Creme Donuts (uploaded to Flickr by JasonLiebig) it took a lengthy 2 hours to thaw...

Morton Donut Shop - 6 Boston Creme Donuts - package box - 1970's

Also most everyone in the country has a real donut shop within a short driving distance of their home.  If you really wanted a freshly made donut in the 70's there was probably a Dunkin' Donuts just around the corner...

Munchkins donuts and Mason Reese go together like ham and eggs, peanut butter and jelly, or Pop Rocks and Coke

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Birth of Instant Stuffing

I don't know if you heard, but it's the 40th anniversary of instant stuffing.  Stove Top stuffing was introduced to a grateful public back in 1972.  Check out this magazine ad from 1973...

And of course, the rest is history. Soon people everywhere were quick to choose Stove Top stuffing instead of potatoes...

Seeing that old General Foods logo was one of those, "Oh, yeah I remember that thing" kinda moments.

If you're wondering what happened to General Foods, they merged with Kraft back in 1990.

Anyway, when Stove Top was introduced it didn't have the market to its self for very long.  Almost immediately there were competitors, like Uncle Ben's Stuff'n Such seen in this 1973 ad...

Uncle Ben's Stuff'n Such didn't last.  Maybe it didn't catch on since it was baked, and took longer to prepare than Stove Top.  Or maybe it failed because it was called Uncle Ben's Stuff'n Such.

Although Uncle Ben had another bold new product back in 1973 up his sleeve, Uncle Ben's 5 Minute Rice & Gravy...

Rice and gravy in the very same box was probably a product ahead of its time.  I still don't think the world is ready.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Taste the Rainbow... of Cheese

I think it's safe to say the golden age of Kraft Singles was probably the early 70's.  Today there's only a few varieties of Kraft Singles available in your grocers dairy case, but according to this magazine ad from 1973 there once was an impressive 11 varieties available...

... and if you were overwhelmed by all those choices here's the text heavy supporting page with helpful recipe ideas to guide your Singles selections.

That wasn't the end of the 70's Kraft cheese varieties either.  Today if you want  Kraft brand finely processed cheese loaves all you have is Velveeta, but in 1973 there were three loaves varieties to choose from...

Here's a 1970's Kraft Singles commercial (followed by a Dristan Nasal Mist, and
Purina Cat Chow commercial), and an epic 70's Kraft Cheese commercial featuring the "Ballard of J.L. Kraft."

Switching gears to ice cream topping, Kraft was all over it in 1973.  Just like the Kraft Singles this ad shows there were once 11 toppings to choose from, and a there's a coupon for 11¢ off for good measure.  Somewhere Nigel Tufnel is happy...

In case this ad has you hankering for some Kraft toppings, sadly Kraft is totally out of the ice cream topping business today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Everthing is Food Machines*

It's the month of the big turkey feast, and that means a month of food related posts here on ye olde QIPI.

I thought I'd kick things off with a look at food machines. If you ask me appliance manufactures need to really step up their game.  It's almost 2013, and I  want futuristic machines that will actually prepare and cook the food for you like the Jetson's Foodarackacycle...

I won't be happy until all my food is prepared entirely robotically, and therefore completely untouched by human hands.  I'd take that over flying cars any day.

In the meantime we'll have to make due with not-so-futuristic food processors. The built-in Ronson Foodmatic seen in this ad from 1973 looks like the Cadillac of food processors...

The internet tells me that Frank Sinatra supposedly had one of these installed in his kitchen.  That's a pretty good endorsement. I'm sure Old Blue Eyes demanded only the best.  I wonder if the rest of the Rat Pack got one too.

If the Ronson Foodmatic is too rich for your blood, there's always the Veg-O-Matic...

...or how about the Kitchen Magician...

Hmm, seems almost as impressive as one of David Blaine's stunts. Although the Kitchen Magician sure looks a lot like the Salad Queen...

* Sung to the tune of "Everything is Food" from the 1980 motion picture Popeye.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Darkride Show Scene Simulation Experiment

About a year I had an idea to create a working miniature of some of Bill Tracy's classic darkride gags.  If you don't know who Bill Tracy is, well he's "the greatest designer and builder of dark attractions the amusement industry has ever seen." I got that quote from the home page of The Bill Tracy Project were you can learn more about Bill Tracy's career if you wish too. 

Anyway I toyed with this idea, and then dropped it.  I didn't think anything new would be learned about Tracy's legacy.  And frankly, I didn't know where to start, or what I'd do with what I created when finished.
I mean, how big will this thing be, and where would I store it.  I've got enough clutter in the basement.

Then I had the idea of creating my own original darkride scene.  Obviously the appeal of this is doing something I designed, and not aping someones existing work.

I gave this some thought.  Sketched a few ideas.  Then I wondered how to do it, how much it would cost, and again, what to do with what I created when finished. 

There would certainly be a steep learning curve. I've never built anything like this before. The mechanics of getting my scene to work would take some serious R&D, and building miniature the sets and figures would take time with plenty of trial and error.  I eventually procrastinated long enough that I basically lost interest in doing it at all.

Wrapping up long winded intro, I finally came up with the idea to do something quickly, and on the cheap.  This "spooky darkride show scene simulation experiment" (it just rolls off the tongue) was built pretty much entirely with stuff I had in the house, and was constructed in about 8 hours total spread out over a few days.

Hopefully this looks like it came out of a small amusement park's haunted house...

Postmortem: Behind the Scenes...

The only real pre-planning I did for this scene was drawing one sketch for the Frankenstein Monster.

I liked the idea of doing a Son of Frankenstein costume mixed with a I Was a Teenage Frankenstein look.  I manged to get the Teenage Frankenstein, but didn't have the sewing skills or the fabric for a Son of Frankenstein costume.  I settled on the bandages look because that was something easily doable.    

I sculpted the head out some old air dry clay I bought years ago.  The clay had become pretty dry, and hard to work with but I managed.  I had some sculpting tools from a high school ceramics class that I wanted to use, but unfortunately I couldn't find them.  I ended up using toothpicks and my fingers to sculpt with.

The body is made of scrap wood, wire and duct tape.  If you notice I remade the legs. The originals were way too small. 

Once dry I gave the face a black base coat.  I thought the green florescent paint would really pop on the black, but the florescent spray paint was old and wasn't very opaque. 

I did spend about $13 on fluorescent paint.  I thought I was smart when I found this Puffy Paint Neon 12 Pack...

... but I didn't look very closely and notice that "& Bright" under the "Neon."  Only 5 of the 12 colors fluoresced under black light, and I had to pick up a separate bottle of blue florescent paint. Later, I saw this company makes a glow-in-the-dark color 12 pack that I really wish I had used instead.  I'm sure that set could have worked a lot better.

Also if anyone else reading this ever thought about using "Puffy Paint" like regular paint, well, it kinda works.  As you can see above the paint is streaky and isn't very opaque when brushed around.

Now with the "work lights" on...

Show Lights On

Work Lights On
You can see how extra crappy everything looks with regular lights on. The black light hides many, many sins, and for that I'm very, very grateful.  


The lab machine are various food boxes I raided from my pantry.  I spray painted them white, glued on some plastic junk, and then dry brushed them with the florescent paint.  I was thinking the dry brush technique would make them look like old corroded metal.  Mixed results on that idea.  I put night lights in two of the boxes hoping to achieve a 
LITE-BRITE effect, but I don't think the tiny plastic "lights" I used really show up very well.

Another thing that didn't show up very well was the tree outside the window.  The tree needed its own black light, and the strobe I was using for lightning should be brighter.   

Here's a nice close-up of the Monster...

...and a side-view just for the heck of it.
Now since this thing basically didn't cost anything I can chuck the whole thing in the trash without any remorse.  Well I'll hang on to the Frankenstein Monster for now, but the rest goes.   

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monster Playing Cards

This is the Halloween post I've been most eager to write, and ironically it's something that most people probably won't care about.

To the best of my knowledge this is an Internet exclusive. I don't have the box they came in, and therefore I don't know the correct name of this children's card game. So maybe there is something lurking out there in the dark corners of cyberspace about these cards that I don't know about.

Although I think it's a very safe bet this is the only place to find these cards. I can barely find any information on the "Russell Laff 'N Learn" brand or the defunct manufacturer Russell Manufacturing Company of Leicester, Massachusetts.

Back of Cards

I don't know if this is a full deck, or how to play the game.  I think it's safe to assume you probably had to spell out the word "M-O-N-S-T-E-R"

What I do know these were made in the late 1960's or early 1970's, and the monster graphics are fun and colorful.

Lastly, a couple of wild cards.

Well I hope you liked it.  If anyone reading this knows anything about these cards please leave a comment.  I will greatly appreciate any kind of feedback.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lost In Space No One Can Hear You Scream

Irwin Allen's 1960's TV series Lost in Space doesn't get a lot of respect.  I can understand this.  It can be very silly and juvenile with episodes about space hippies and a carrot man, but it could also sometimes be scary. Well scary to a little kid, and scary in a fun way that wasn't bedtime nightmare material.

For Halloween I thought I'd take a nostalgic look back at a show I'd religiously  watch weekday afternoons on our local UHF channel, and pick my three top scariest Lost in Space episodes...

Season  Three
Space Creature 
Original Air Date: 11/15/1967

Or an alternate title might be called "A Special Trip Into the Power Core" which is a lower level of the Jupiter 2 never shown until now.

Our story starts when blueish fog envelops the Jupiter 2, and one by one the Robinson family start to mysteriously vanish. When I re-watched this episode I was stuck by how completely terrifying this situation would be, but while concerned, Space Family Robinson pretty much take this all in stride. 

At one point a there's a horrible pounding sound as if a giant it trying to smash its way in to the ship.  The sound effects in this sequence sound a lot like the loud supernatural pounding in 1963 haunted house movie The Haunting.

Will makes an attempt to find the missing members of his family by searching the power core.  It's clearly labeled "Danger Radioactive Area," but Will doesn't bother with protective gear.  It's possible his space-age purple velour provides protection against deadly radioactivity.

Will first enters a warehouse space where the Robinson's store the food and other supplies.  Hopefully their food is protected against radiation contamination by those space-age cardboard boxes.

Eventually Will climbs down a ladder to the power core...

Not 3 Wills, but 3 frames stitched together

... and this panoramic shot above clearly shows how spacious the area is.  It's hard to believe the Jupiter 2 was large enough for such a sub level.  It makes me wonder if Lost in Space lasted for another season we might have seen some sort of attic-like level.  Much like Dr. Who's Tardis the Jupiter 2 is larger on the inside.

Anyways when the Robinson's disappear they end up in a kind of foggy limbo, and meet a grey sheet ghost, a.k.a. the Space Creature, and the one responsible for bringing them here.

Here's grey sheet ghost close-up. The ghost speaks in an extra deep voice provided by actor and VO artist Ron Gans.

Back on the ship Dr. Smith is possessed by the Space Creature.  Jonathan Harris gives a great evil performance here, and at one point even strikes Will.

Ultimately Will has a confrontation with the "Ghost" in the power core. Without giving too much away, there's themes from classic Sci-Fi film Forbidden Planet at play here. Will stands down the ghost who takes a tumble into the power core...

... and appropriately explodes in a nice sparkly blast.

The haunted house-like elements, and the vanishing family make this one of the creepiest LIS episodes.

Now for my favorite part of this post.  Through the courtesy of Hulu I'm able to embed the entire episode below...

Season Two
The Astral Traveler 
Original Air Date: 4/12/1967

When caught outside by an unexpected storm, Dr. Smith and Will seek refuge in a nearby cave...

... that just happens to have a dimensional portal which looks like a revolving door accented with Christmas lights.  Naturally, Will walks through the portal without any apprehension.

Will is transported to what appears to be a Scottish castle on Earth.  To this viewer, the castle appears to be stock footage.

Within minutes of arriving a horrible seaweed monster who shrieks like a banshee shambles out of the water towards Will.

Will is stupefied by the sight of this horror.

Will runs away, but the seaweed nightmare give chase.  The shrieking of this creature is non-stop, and really quite chilling.

Will is able to lock himself behind a sturdy castle door.  The creature relentlessly pounds and shrieks on the other side.  I'm sure Will now regrets walking through that revolving door.

Luckily the creature is lured away from the door Will is hiding behind. Will meets a friendly "ghostie" named Hamish, and learns the seaweed creature is his Uncle Angus who can be pacified by playing the bagpipes.

Dr. Smith caught in mid faint.

Later in the episode when Dr. Smith get an eyeful of "Uncle Angus" he promptly faints.  Dr. Smith is a notorious coward, but this is a completely reasonable reaction to the sight of this monstrosity.

Now dare to listen to the terrifying shrieking of Uncle Angus for yourself by watching the episode below....

Season One
Wish Upon A Star
Original Air Date: 11/24/1965

This episode starts with Dr. Smith at odds with most everybody for basically being a jerk.

There's an alien space shipwreck behind all those spooky trees.

Dr.Smith takes a self-imposed exile in hopes to gain sympathy.  Luckily he finds the wreck of an old alien spaceship in the middle of a haunted looking forest.  Well, the haunted forest part isn't so lucky I guess.  I'd be wary of the alien spiders that created all those webs.

Even more lucky is the discovery of an alien "thought machine" that can materialize almost anything user can wish for.

Soon Dr. Smith is living the good life with the help of his wish machine.  The set of the skeletal wrecked spaceship looks like it's made of crumpled aluminum foil and cobwebs.  This is something that would have looked awful in color, but in B&W it looks great.

There is only one flaw with the machine - it can only grant two wishes a day, and this causes problems once Dr. Smith brings the machine back to the Jupiter 2.

Penny and Will get into a tug-of-war with the machine over who gets to use it next. This is were the episode gets bogged down with a lot heavy handed moralizing courtesy of John Robinson. Lighten up John, you have an honest to goodness wish machine here.  Think how useful it would be if someone should ever need life saving medicine.

Anyways Dr. Smith finally crosses the line when he wishes for a personal servant, and the original alien owner appears to take the machine back.  The alien's entrance is great as a creaky door slows opens and he steps out of the shadows.

This alien is scary with a face that looks like a ball of oatmeal, and makes an awful muffled moaning sound.

The alien moves really freaky also.  It has a stiff legged walk, and keeps the palms of his hands facing outwards.  I know this sounds kinda hokey, but it works. It's very classic horror movie monster stuff.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Once again enjoy the full episode of Lost in Space made available by Hulu. The scary alien make its appearance near the end...


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