Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries - "Death Surf"

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries

"Death Surf"
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries - Season 2, Episode 20
Original Airdate: March 12, 1978

Death Surf

In the classic 1940s film noir "Laura," a detective investigates the murder of a woman and finds himself becoming obsessed with and falling in love with her after she is dead.  "Death Surf" is The Hardy Boys version of that, with Frank hardy becoming obsessed with a dead girl that he failed to save from drowning while on a trip to Hawaii.  Except instead of Vincent Price in a supporting role, we've got a chubby dude from Texas in a Hawaiian shirt named "Hubba."

"Hubba"
The "Laura" in this version is Maren Jensen (Athena from Battlestar Galactica fame) as Maryann Dalton (aka Teri Turner), a champion swimmer who has run away from home for a new life as a singer/songwriter in Hawaii.   There is a bit of a missed oppurtunity here to have Shaun Cassidy sing a duet with Maren Jensen... basically anytime there are musical numbers on this show and Joe Hardy isn't performing in them, I get frustrated.  Even though they are usually super cheesy, that's part of the fun.

Maren Jensen rocks the beach bar, but loses a golden opportunity to duet with Shaun Cassidy.  So sad.
One weird thing in this episode is underage Joe Hardy is getting constantly hit on by an adult woman bartender who is into teenage boys, and it's meant to be funny, not creepy.  Joe even ends up dating her at the end of the episode.  Times sure have changed since the 1970s.

Teenage Joe Hardy and his New Adult Girlfriend
Also be on the lookout for the hotel the Boys are staying in, as it's the same one seen in "Acapulco Skies" and "The Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom."





On the top: "The Hawaiian Surf Hotel." Bottom left: Unnamed Hotel in Acapulco, Mexico.  Bottom right: "The Towers" in Universal City, California.

The Cramps - Surfin' Dead


More screencaps after the break...

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries - "Mystery on the Avalanche Express"

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysterie
"Mystery on the Avalanche Express"
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries - Season 2, Episode 19
Original Airdate: February 26, 1978

Mystery on the Avalanche Express
Snow skiing!  Avalanches!  Trains!  Nancy Drew!  Spies!  Hardy Boys!  Other stuff!  And... More!  In "Mystery on the Avalanche Express!" The plot is some nonsense about a group of international snow skiers getting caught up with smuggled coins and communist defectors aboard a train crossing Europe to Austria.  Nancy drew gets mixed up in it when a girl switches bags with her, and then the Hardy Boys have to come to the rescue, or something.

Shaun Cassidy shows off his mad "pretending to ski in front of a rear screen projector" skills,.


In an odd bit of "stunt casting" this episode had lots of weird guest stars who kind of blended together into a musty stew of old white guys with bad hair and ugly suits, but were all played by "teen idols" from the 1940s, '50s, and '60s.  Perhaps this gave stars Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy a frightening glimpse of what the future held for them. The guest stars included 77 Sunset strip star Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, Bing Crosby's son Gary Crosby, teen idol actor Troy Donahue, and pop singers Vic Damone, Fabian and Tommy Sands.

The Bad Hair Club for Men

"Are you trying to seduce me, Mr. Robinson?"


Leonard Cohen - Avalanche


More screencaps after the break...

Monday, November 19, 2018

Alice from "The Brady Bunch" 8 Inch Retro Action Figure - Mego Corporation (2018)

Alice from "The Brady Bunch" 8 Inch Retro Action Figure - Mego Corporation (2018)

Alice from "The Brady Bunch" was released by Mego as part of their first wave of new action figures in September 2018.  It's currently available on Target.com and in many Target retail locations. Target's assortment of Mego figures varies quite a bit from store to store, but Alice doesn't seem to be selling out and still looks to be pretty widely available.  I guess there isn't a big demand for Brady Bunch action figures in 2018.  Yeah, it's a goofy show, but I watched so many episodes of it when I was a kid that I think it might be imprinted on my DNA.  So even if no one else wants Alice, I do, gosh darn it.

"If you think we're alive, you ought to speak."
So this figure, like all of the Mego figures, is more of a doll than an action figure, by modern standards.  But by the standards of the 1970s, when Mego was king, this was what action figures were all about.  Back in the day, "action figures" were created as a way for toy companies to replicate the success of the girls' Barbie dolls with boys.  It began with G.I. Joe, which was basically a Ken doll in military drag, and continued with other cloth outfit figures like The Six Million Dollar Man, Big Jim, and Pulsar: The Ultimate Man of Adventure!  But topping them all in the 1970s was Mego!  Mego made figures from Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and more.  Smaller plastic figures, like Kenner's Star Wars figures, eventually came to dominate this category in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but if you were a boy in the early to mid '70s, Mego was where it was at.

Mego's Alice figure comes with an action-packed "SLICE OF CAKE" accessory!
Alice here has 14 points of articulation, and her legs and arms are held in place by elastic bands, just like the original figures from the 1970s.  Yeah, those elastic bands aren't as nice as modern day action figures ball joints, and as a result, even with 14 points of articulation, the figure doesn't really have as good of a range of movement as a modern figures... but it does have 40 years of kid-tested playability behind it, so there's that.  Yeah, that's the ticket!  Personally, I love these things, because I played with figures like this when I was a little kid, like 3-5 years old, and I still have vivid memories of my Mego Spider-Man and Batman figures, so any time I pick one of these up, it puts a smile on my face.  Would modern day kids like these things?  Who knows.  Maybe.  I mean they aren't that different from modern toy lines like Monster High or DC Super Hero Girls, right?  And of course Barbie is still going strong.  But those are all girls toys... would boys be into these?  Well probably not Alice, but, like, Dracula or something?  I'm guessing probably not, but who knows.  I suppose these are really aimed at grown folks like me who had the original Megos as a kid, anyway.

Alice with Greg Brady from Wave 2 and Marcia Brady from Wave 3
So yeah, um, here's some pictures of Alice... inspired by "Alice in Wonderland" and the Jefferson Airplane song "White Rabbit," because those also have someone named "Alice," even though it's a completely different Alice!  Or is she?  Seriously, did you ever notice that Alice from "Alice in Wonderland" and Alice from "The Brady Bunch" wear almost identical blue dresses with white aprons?  Seriously, maybe they are the same person!  Like, Alice from Wonderland grew up and became the maid to the Bradys!  Stranger things have happened.

Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit


Jan Brady is the Queen of Hearts

Alice and the Bradys begin a Sackus Race

"...after waiting till she fancied she heard the Rabbit just under the window, she suddenly spread out her hand, and made a snatch in the air. She did not get hold of anything, but she heard a little shriek and a fall, and a crash of broken glass, from which she concluded that it was just possible it had fallen into a cucumber-frame, or something of the sort."

Front and back of the card

Alice and Greg try on each other's clothes

Go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Knight Rider - Knight of the Phoenix

Knight Rider
Knight Rider - Knight of the Phoenix
Original Airdate: September 26, 1982

 Hoff Behind the Wheel
Episode Description:
When police officer Michael Long is shot and left for dead, his dying body is found by the Foundation for Law and Government.  Rather than take him to a hospital, they abduct him to the mansion of weirdo billionaire Wilton Knight, who has his own team of doctors perform plastic surgery on Long without his consent, in order to make him look identical to Wilton's evil criminal son Garthe Knight.  To make up for this horrible violation, they give a Michael a new identity as Michael Knight, and a talking car with super powers.  Michael is then able to use his new face and super-car to bring his own "murderers" to justice, and then teams up with the Foundation to fight crime as "Knight Rider."
Wait, what?  They brought in OSCAR GOLDMAN to perform Michael's reconstructive surgery!  Does that mean Michael is BIONIC?  If so, does that mean that Michael is performing all of the Turbo Boosts and stuff himself, and his car is just a regular Trans Am?  That would make the talking KITT just a hallucination of his brain, which can't cope with the idea that he has a different face AND super powers!  Hopefully I just blew your mind, readers.

So, this is the first episode of Knight Rider, and it's some fun, but strange, stuff.  First off, they did a great job of casting the actor who plays Michael Long, before he gets plastic surger-fied into David Hassellhoff.  The resemblance is close enough that you can believe it's the same guy just looking a little different.  The whole plastic surgery thing is weird, though.  The part where he is made to look exactly like Wilton Knight's evil son Garthe is not actually mentioned in the episode, I think that's actually a retcon that they added in season 2.  Instead, they claim they didn't know what he looked like and the surgeons had to reconstruct his face taking a best guess as to how he should look.  But that is nonsense, they knew he was police officer Michael Long, certainly there must be drivers license photos, other photos, fellow police officers who knew him and could describe him... it just doesn't make any sense.

David Hasselhoff summons every ounce of emotion from his actors' toolbox to show the confusion and dismay his character feels to wake up with a new face.
Second, Michael Long drove a Trans Am, and when he sees KITT, he is convinced that it is his Trans Am.  But it's clearly not the same car.  Long's car did not have a glowing red Cylon eye on the front, or a crazy high-tech dash board.  Does he just assume that every black Trans Am he sees is his?  This also doesn't make sense.

In a darkened room, KITT's Cylon eye stares at Michael... framed between his legs.  This seems oddly eroticized.  Are we sure that Michael and KITT are just friends?
Of course, I'm complaining abou logic in a "buddy cop" show where one of the buddies is a magical* talking car with super powers, so I'm clearly missing the point.  It's just a bunch of fun, 1980s nonsense, and on that score the show is a great success.

* Yes, I know, it's not "magic," it's science fiction.  But it's not really SCIENCE science-fiction, now is it?  The car basically does whatever nonsense they need it to do from episode to episode.

DEVO - SPEED RACER


More screencaps after the break...

Friday, November 2, 2018

Star Trek Mirror Universe Kirk and Spock 8 Inch Retro Action Figures - Mego Corporation (2018)

Star Trek Mirror Universe Kirk and Spock 8 Inch Retro Action Figures - Mego Corporation (2018)
After 35 years, Mego is back, and they are making new figures for one of their all-time classic figure lines: Star Trek!  This action figure two-pack is part of Wave 1 of the new Mego figures, and features the "Mirror Universe" version of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.

The window box

The figures come packed in a triangular window box with a diorama background of the transporter room of the ISS Enterprise (the Mirror Universe version of the USS Enterprise).  Both Kirk and Spock come equipped with a dagger, a phaser, and a communicator.

Spock and Kirk in front of the diorama backdrop.

This is basically an updated version of the Mirror Universe Kirk and Spock figures released by Diamond Select and Emce Toys in 2012.  There are two main differences.  The new Mego figures have faces that are molded in flesh colored plastic, whereas the DST/Emce versions had their skin painted on their faces.  These newer versions look a little nicer as a result, and match up better with the other Star Trek figures from the 1970s and 2000s which also were molded in flesh colored plastic.  One slight downgrade however, is that Spock's beard is just painted on with the new version, but on the 2012 version it was actually sculpted.  I think the faces being molded the correct color is a nice enough upgrade that I prefer these new versions to the old ones.

Spock


These figures were released in September 2018 as part of Mego's exclusive distribution deal with Target stores.  They are available now in Target retail stores, and at Target.com.  Wave 1 also featured new Star Trek figures of Chekov and Sulu.  Wave 2 from October had Mr. Spock and The Gorn.  And Wave 3, which should be hitting stores right now, has another "Mirror Universe" two-pack with Sulu and Uhura, plus the Romulan Commander, and a new "Green Shirt" version of Captain Kirk.  So if you are a fan Star Trek Mego figures, this is a really great time, with rereleases of classic figures, as well as all new figures.

Commander Spock

Spock's Beard

Blue Plastic Phaser and Communicator

Kirk!

The Diorama Backdrop - Unfortunately it's full of holes where the figures were attached to it.
Star Trek


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

CHiPs - "Trick or Trick"

CHiPs

"Trick or Trick"
CHiPs - Season 2, Episode 6
Original Airdate: October 21, 1978

Trick or Trick

It's Halloween, and Ponch and Jon are on patrol in the suburbs, looking to keep the trick-or-treating kiddies safe on the streets.  During the night the duo hunt down a liquor store robbing ghost, search for a runaway boy, nab a candy-snatcher, and explore a haunted house.  Kind of amusing, but maybe somewhat less "action-packed" than a typical episode of CHiPs, but it could be fun to watch if you need a dose of 1970s Halloween nostalgia.

"Put your hands where we can see them, and step away from the candy!"
Ponch Walks Under a Ladder

Grossman's Jack-O'-Lantern

Ponch Breaks a Mirror

Officer Jack

Pumpkin Problems

Ghost Makeup

I totally wore that same Batman costume for Halloween in the 1970s!  Heck, I had that kid's haircut, too!

Haunted Patrol

"Pink elephants!"

'70s Costumes in All Their Glory

Ponch and Jon Explore a Haunted House

Ghost Robber

Run-DMC - It;s Tricky