Friday, September 20, 2013

Cover Redux!

Time for another edition of Cover Redux!
And we begin with Daredevil #19 and the reprint in Marvel Super-Heroes #31... and aside from some of the background being eliminated at the top (behind the logo), the overall art enlarged, and the addition of the Iron Man burst... I think the biggest change is the crook with the hat being removed entirely!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Random Acts of Trivia #2: TV Commercials!

Time for another list of 10 bits of trivia... this time focusing on TV commercials of my youth!

  1. The pirate enemy of Cap'n Crunch's crew on the original animated commercials was called Jean LaFoote, the barefoot pirate.
  2. The original Cap'n Crunch commercials were produced by Jay Ward's people, as were the commercials for Quisp and other Quaker Oats cereals at the time.
  3. In the classic Tootsie Pop commercial, before going to Mr. Owl, the boy first went to Mr. Turtle (who said he never made it without biting, and suggested he ask Mr. Owl). This part of the commercial was cut out for later airings, so the boy goes directly to Mr. Owl.
  4. When McDonald's came out with their “McDonaldland” commercials, they'd originally considered hiring Sid & Marty Krofft, and took a tour of their studios (they were probably producing Pufnstuf at the time). They ended up not using the Kroffts, and when the Kroffts saw the finished commercials, they saw enough similarities between the McDonaldland setup and their own TV shows that they sued... successfully! This is why those commercials had such a relatively short life on TV.
  5. Speaking of McDonaldland, while most people recall Grimace, do you recall Mayor McCheese, Big Mac (the policeman), or the Hamburglar? There was also a character for the Filet O'Fish sandwich, but I can't recall his name.
  6. One of the Gorton's fishermen was played by the same actor who had the title role in Filmation's “Jason of Star Command”!
  7. Bugs Bunny was the first animated character associated with Kool-Aid, way before Kool-Aid Man first appeared! Packages of the drink mix featured Bugs with art probably done by the same artists doing the Bugs Bunny comic at Gold Key.
  8. The first TV commercial for Mego's “Planet of the Apes” action figure line used the storyline of the original movie in super-compressed form, including a version of the Statue of Liberty scene at the end!
  9. Speaking of Mego, the commercials for their “World's Greatest Super-Heroes” action figure line owed a lot to the 1966 “Batman” TV show, including the use of the theme song.
  10. Mego's most controversial commercial, as well as their most controversial product, was for a game called “Ball Buster,” which showed a family playing the game (a grid with holes at the intersections, players would put a flexible plastic piece in a hole with a two-part ball on the top, and then attempt to break the ball on someone else's piece by pulling their piece back and releasing it, causing it to spring forward). The end of the commercial shows Mom winning, with Dad saying, “Honey, you're a ball buster!” I don't know if this commercial ever aired, but it can usually be found on Mego commercial collections.

Monday, September 16, 2013

This 'N That!

As promised, my friends, it's time for a This 'N That, where I catch you guys up on various things going on in my life!

ITEM! The last time I checked in, I was on home time from truck driving, and considering making a video about what that life was like. Well, as of about two weeks ago, that possibility ended rather abruptly, and I'm no longer truck driving. I may as well be honest with you, here's what happened: I was making a delivery at a town just outside Chicago, and trying to back the truck and trailer into a space that didn't have a lot of room to maneuver in, partly due to construction going on, and partly because it was a situation where not only was I backing down a ramp to the dock, but the area I was backing into was covered, so the bright sunlight outside made visibility minimal until I got the cab of the truck under the covering. Two accidents occurred, one damaging the trailer, and one damaging the wall of the customer's building. This was enough for Swift to let me go, and I had to turn in the truck, pack whatever I could bring with me, and get on a bus back home.

Unfortunately, I probably had to leave about $200 worth of stuff behind, mostly accessories I'd picked up for the truck (such as a cooler, the CB radio, and a water heater that plugged in to an outlet, as well as a set of tools) and food, plus the sleeping bag, sheet and pillow for the sleeper compartment. I had to look at what it would cost for the extra items to be checked in versus the replacement cost, and really, the sleeping bag was the biggest regret, but at least I can pick up a second hand one fairly cheap if we go camping next summer. Honestly, I'd been ready to quit truck driving entirely, and was working at trying to find a local delivery job, because the fact of the matter was I wasn't making nearly enough to compensate me for the time away from home -- I was spending 40% of my paycheck just to eat on the road! So, after two days on a bus, I was back home to stay.

ITEM! First order of business once I was home was to look for a new job, and the first thing I got a response to was for a school bus company, who was even offering training. This seemed like it would work, as I'd be off when my kids were out of school, but then I learned what the starting pay would be, as well as how relatively few hours I'd get each week. Still, I figured it would work until a better opportunity came my way. Well, not too long after the process of applying for that got started, I got a call to come in for an interview for another job I would've really liked, where I'd be writing articles for a website providing relocation information to military personnel changing assignments. I think I would've done very well with that, and when I learned they had only picked seven people to interview, I figured my chances were high -- especially since it was articles I'd written for Random Acts of Geekery that convinced them my writing ability was sufficient for the job. But alas, it wasn't to be.

But while waiting for that job to call me back, I got an interview for a different place that was opening an office in Tacoma. I hadn't applied for this one, they found my resume on CareerBuilder or Monster. I was leery of this one, because the only places that had been contacting me because of finding my resume were all companies that were in the business of selling insurance, and I am not an in-person salesman type (at least, not of anything I don't have knowledge of, anyway... I'm sure if there was a job selling collectibles, I'd do well with that). Anyway, I went for this interview anyway, and by the end of that interview, they still weren't able to tell me what kind of job I was applying for... but I did get to see what the actual name of the company was, as well as see their logo, so I could check out the company's website. As it turned out, this company wasn't offering actual jobs, they were looking to hire "independent contractors." Well, this smelled way too much like multilevel marketing, so while they'd invited me back for a group interview on Thursday morning, I decided I'd best pass on that.

However, later the same day, I also had an interview with Walmart for a temporary overnight associate, and that interview went so well, I had a follow up that same night with the night assistant manager. The day I was expected for that group interview, I interviewed instead with the personnel manager at Walmart, and basically, I've got the job unless something goes terribly wrong with my background check and drug test, which it shouldn't, and I could be starting as early as Tuesday.

Now, I'll admit, this wasn't really the job I was hoping to get, but in this economy, I'm realistic enough to know that you can't be too picky. I accepted the job, and you know that I'll do my best at it, to boot, and at least there's a possibility that it could become permanent, and that it could lead to better opportunities.

Yes, I've heard terrible claims made about Walmart and how they supposedly treat their employees, but I have to say, the people that I talked to were very happy to be working there, and their enthusiasm was contagious. I'm looking forward to working a job where I know I'll be coming home after work every single day!

ITEM! As you may have gathered from Friday's request for feedback, I've been working hard to get things going as far ahead as possible with this blog. I was never happy about having to change to a five day a week, one post a day format, as you might have imagined, just as I wasn't happy about the temporary hiatus I'd had to do way before that. I'm happy to say that coming in December, you'll be seeing two posts a day, seven days a week for the foreseeable future, and that some of the features that had disappeared in the past will be returning, such as my reviews of Monkees episodes, the Beatles cartoon, as well as the Fleischer Popeyes. Retro-Reviews is coming back, but with a difference! This time, I'll be grabbing a comic at random from my collection and blogging while I read it. There won't be so many accompanying graphics as there were before -- I'll have a scan from the Grand Comics Database for the cover, and that will be it. I've taken as my inspiration my buddy Tony Isabella's weekly reviews of Rawhide Kid, and I hope you'll enjoy the new format for that feature. Reaching the end of the line in January will be the Give-A-Show video feature, and I'm not sure how many of you will miss that, as I've rarely received comments on those. Replacing that in the line-up will be Book and Record Videos, and I hope that I'll be able to continue creating videos of the sets I own (I'd been posting these on Facebook in a group there), so that I won't have to dip into the well of videos others have made too often. But if it's needed, it's needed. The Character Collectible Spotlight will be returning, and I'll be working my way through Hanna-Barbera character collectibles for the foreseeable future. I'm also going to be introducing a few new features, but I'm keeping most of them a secret for now, except for one: My Latest Pitch! You'll recall that I had started doing a series called "It Oughtta Be..." where I would post about stuff that I thought someone should do, like a Spirit TV series, as well as the relatively more recent plot ideas for Herculoids and Superman movies, and this revised feature will sort of be a combination of those. Occasionally, I'll post a plot for a movie idea, or it may be a concept for a TV show, or it might even just be an idea for a toy line. I hope that someday, one of these ideas will be seen by the right person, and those projects can become a reality, even if I never see a dime off of them!

ITEM! Those of you who are Facebook friends with me will know that about two weeks ago, our family grew to include two cats! They are sisters, from the same litter. One of them is all black, which my son named Olive (after black olives), although most of the time he calls her "Olives," and I don't know why. I would've preferred something a bit more obvious and appropriate, such as Inky or Shadow, but I wasn't here when they were named. The other one is pretty much pure siamese, and my daughter named her Princess Celestia, after a character on My Little Pony, although we just refer to her as simply "Princess." It doesn't really matter what we named them, of course, because the damn things never respond to their names anyway, as is the case with most cats (the last cats I had, before I moved to Wisconsin, did know their names, at least most of them did, and they at least knew that if I was calling one of them, the others figured they didn't want to miss out on anything, so they'd often come too). It's taken awhile, but they've started getting used enough to KO and Krypto that they aren't immediately hissing and spitting the second the dogs get near them... so that's something, anyway! They still don't really like the dogs, and it's probably going to be a while until they just ignore them entirely. It's amazing that neither cat has thought to use their claws yet to get the dogs to back off. Poor Krypto, he just wants to play, and he's always had a problem with relative sizes of animals to himself. He doesn't see any difference between a kitten or a Great Dane!

Comic Book Ads: Rocky Lane for Carnation Malted Milk!

Malted Milk isn't that popular an item these days, but back in the day, it was something! So it makes sense that Carnation would be advertising its malted milk mix in the comics... and they picked Rocky Lane, a famous western star of the day, for its spokesman! I believe Fawcett even published a Rocky Lane comic, so it made even more sense! Here's a parade of the relatively few ads they ran!