Saturday, March 30, 2013
Aliens and candy go together like E.T. and Reese's Pieces. So the Mars, Inc. Candy company introduced "Mission From Mars" in 1991.
The Mission From Mars crew visits Earth because their natural candy resources have been depleted by a Marsquake.
It is well known that aliens love candy, soft drinks and brand name products. This is documented in "E.T." (1982) and in the 1988 movie "Mac and Me" (a film about an alien race that enjoys drinking Coca-Cola, dancing at McDonald's and shopping at Sears).
When the Mission From Mars crew is not busy working, they enjoy watching "The Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour" on TV (their alien friends Kang and Kodos from "The Simpsons" told them all about that show).
Mission From Mars stars Captain Romtu (the helmeted alien), Gleep (an orange blob with long arms and legs), Scoota (a reptilian creature) and Bing (a springy cyborg).
Artist John Blair Moore (well known for his work on the "Darkwing Duck" comic book and "Invaders From Home") wrote and illustrated the Mission From Mars comic.
The Mission From Mars comic is a "mini comic book" found inside the 1991 Disney Comics Darkwing Duck Issue #2, which was also drawn by John Blair Moore.
The aliens landed on Earth on Halloween, the perfect time to easily promote delicious and healthy candy (hey, there's peanuts in a lot of these items, and that is sort of healthy).
M&M/Mars sponsored the "Star Wars" Star Tours attractions at Walt Disney World and Disneyland for years.
Be on the lookout for cameo appearances by Mars Candy Brands.
You'll find Milky Way, M&Ms and Snickers. Gleep holds a bowl containing two brands of candy that I can't identify.
Bing snacks on a Twix bar (which side will he choose?) and Kudos. Romtu enjoys a Mars Bounty bar, which I've never heard of before.
Gleep has a bunch of candy, including Starburst and 3 Musketeers. He also has a Mars Almond Bar and PB Max, both of which have been discontinued.
Mission From Mars appeared at about the same time that Disney announced "The Disney Decade" expansion plans for Walt Disney World in Florida. This was to include a New Tomorrowland described as "an intergalactic spaceport for arriving aliens."
I thought these characters would have fit in well at Tomorrowland's "Mission to Mars." The "Alien Encounter" attraction ended up replacing that in 1994 (which was later replaced by "Stitch's Great Escape" in 2004).
In September 1991, Disney Adventures Magazine had a special Mission From Mars Contest. The Grand Prize was a Mission From Mars Halloween Party, complete with alien costumes and candy (so you could re-enact the Mission From Mars comic, I suppose). The First Prize was a cassette tape of the Mickey Mouse Club's band, "The Party." Second Prize was a box of candy.
The Mission From Mars characters appeared as CGI characters for this ad (and probably the commercials, though I can't remember them), which were very new and very rare in 1991. My, how times have changed. These days it is the hand drawn characters that are rare!
Keep your eyes open for the return of the alien characters in "Mission From Mars 2: Attack of the Russell Stoverlords."
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Don't let Loo-Kee fool you. Most of the time, this colorful woodland creature stayed hidden in the animated TV show "She-Ra" and revealed his hiding place (and the moral of the day's story) at the end of each episode. However, Loo-Kee was also brave enough to take on Skeletor and Beast Man. Yep!
By the Power of Grayskull, Loo-Kee matched wits with He-Man's rivals in a cross-over episode of the He-Man spin-off show "She-Ra" in an episode called "Loo-Kee Lends a Hand."
He-Man and Battle Cat (a green tiger) have been fighting off Skeletor since the early 1980s.
When I was a kid, I think my neighbor had every He-Man action figure. I only had one, and it was Battle Cat (a hard plastic toy with no moving parts, so I guess it was really just an accessory and not an action figure).
Put down those entertaining Mattel products, because it's time to watch He-Man on TV!
Mattel had been toying with the idea of a He-Man show, and turned to animation producer Filmation to create a series in 1983.
Mattel was thrilled with the success of He-Man, since their "Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour" did not do so well (as noted on an episode of "The Simpsons").
Marvel produced a Star Comics title for "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe."
Here we see He-Man fighting The Price Increase with R2-D2 and C-3PO from the Star Wars "Droids" series. Notice Spider-Ham (Marvel's own Spider-Man spoof, Peter Porker) is in combat mode here as well. Seeing one of the Care Bears joining them in the battle is especially hilarious.
Yes, Orko was friends with Snarf from "ThunderCats" and the Transformers, too.
Marvel's Star Comics made many different titles, including "Muppet Babies," "Alf," and "Silverhawks."
It was not unusual to see characters from different studios mingling together in comic book ads.
For publicity photos for Star Comics, Heathcliff defended his turf from Lion-O (from ThunderCats). An Ewok and a Care Bare fought over who was more cuddly. The Flintstone Kids were rocking with laughter because He-Man slayed 'em.
She-Ra was introduced in "He-Man and She-Ra In The Secret Of The Sword" in movie theaters in 1985.
This was not a big budget film. It was like a big episode of the TV show. Look at Mer-Man! Lots of fun villains in the He-Man universe.
There were two big things that made She-Ra so popular: Her personality and her courage. What did you think I was going to say?
She-Ra also had a big, pink flying unicorn. Those seem to be really popular these days. Maybe this post will show up in a lot of Google searches.
Here's a different poster for the He-Man and She-Ra Sword movie. This one has Hordak and Mantenna, two of She-Ra's foes. I watched an episode of She-Ra on hulu.com, and it reminded me of Hanna-Barbera's "Space Ghost." Very limited animation, but nice drawings.
Skeletor is standing next to another cool villain named Leech.
She-Ra also had a toy line. This is priceless. Meet Starburst She-Ra and Crystal Swift Wind. Meet their friends, Sweetbee, Perfuma, Peekablue, Frosta, Flutterina, Mermista, Entrapta and Angella. Meet their enemy, Scratchin' Sound Catra.
Dolls not shown: Lipglossia, Nailpolisha, Pillowfightina, Ticklefightina and Tamponica.
Would you like to see the She-Ra origin story? Here it is.
When there's trouble, you call Luke Skywalker, I mean, He-Man.
When She-Ra isn't a superhero, her name is Adora.
Instead of "By the Power of Grayskull" She-Ra says "By the Honor of Grayskull." Because she's a classy gal.
Catra clearly idolizes Eartha Kitt.
He-Man saves the day, but interrupts an entertaining catfight.
Spoiler Alert: She-Ra is He-Man's sister from the same mister!
This comic included an ad for a She-Ra Princess of Power Poster. It looks like one of the characters drove a glittery swan vehicle of some sort. I don't remember that in the TV show.
She-Ra and He-Man fought all sorts of kooky villains, including King Hiss and the Snake Men.
All the She-Ra and He-Man material here is from issues of Muppet Magazine and Marvel Comics published in the Eighties.
In 1987, Dolph Lundgren (as He-Man) starred in the live action movie, "Masters of the Universe." The film was directed by Gary Goddard, creator of theme park attractions all over the world, including The Monster Plantation (now called "The Monster Mansion") at Six Flags Over Georgia.
Fans of the TV series "Friends" can see Monica (Courtney Cox) and her Mom (Christina Pickles) along with Skeletor in "Masters of the Universe."
By the Power of Grayswamp, Kermit is He-Frog in a Muppet Magazine parody.
Forget Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Here, Miss Piggy connects Disney, Marvel, Warner Brothers, Six Flags, Hanna-Barbera, Alf, Star Wars, Transformers, Friends, Heathcliff, Courtney Cox, ThunderCats and He-Man and She-Ra.
Loo-Kee enjoys hiding in the forest so he can spy on She-Ra and her muscular friend.
Loo-Kee can get away with lurking in the background because he is a cute little woodland creature.
If you ever see Loo-Kee when you are in the woods, there are a few rules you need to follow. Don't shine bright light on him and don't feed him after midnight. But there is one rule that is the most important, and for Grayskull's sake, you'd better not break the rule. Never, EVER confuse Loo-Kee with "Loki" from "Thor."
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Do you have what it takes to fight monsters with the original (well, original American) Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? Don't be scared, because the creatures were already defeated by masked Japanese actors on a show that had previously been shown on TV in Asia.
The first Stateside Power Rangers were Austin St. John (Jason, the leader), Amy Jo Johnson (Kimberly), Thuy Trang (Trini), Walter Jones (Zack) and David Yost (Billy).
Actor Jason David Frank (Tommy) was added to the group a little bit later.
Saban's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers debuted on the Fox Kid's Network in 1993 and quickly became a smash hit. Entertainment Weekly had a big story on the phenomenon (and explains the premise of the show better than I could).
TV sets and McDonald's restaurants were invaded by the Power Rangers. Even if you did not watch the show, you could not escape the characters, since they appeared in countless commercials and public service announcements.
The friendly United States-based Power Rangers actors were no doubt a big reason why so many American kids tuned in to watch the show.
Ironically, the foundation of the series (masked characters swapped out for a different country) reduced the power of the actors, no matter how popular they were.
Merchandise for the show focused on the masked Power Rangers. The unmasked characters did appear in a video game.
Jason and the rest of the Power Rangers seem to be game for a cameo appearance in "Wreck It Ralph 2."
Power Rangers appeared in many different video games for SEGA, Nintendo and Tiger Electronics.
Prehistoric animal masks were worn by the original Power Rangers. They represented the T-Rex (Red Ranger), Pterodactyl (Pink Ranger), Mastodon (Black Ranger), Triceratops (Blue Ranger) and Sabre-Toothed Tiger (Yellow Ranger).
Tommy, the Green Ranger, had a Dragon mask.
The Green Ranger's mask sort of looks like Godzilla.
Jason David Frank's character later became the White Ranger, represented by a Tiger.
The White Ranger was a natural choice to represent the latest Power Rangers Tiger Electronics game you needed to buy.
Hand-drawn Power Rangers strike a Japanese action pose in an ad for a Tiger Electronics hand held game. The world was quite different before smart phones and mobile devices.
I think the Black Ranger has my favorite mask (the Mastodon) though it looks like the trunk might obstruct his vision a bit.
Troopers. Three. Virtual Reality! So said the theme song for VR Troopers, which was created by the same folks who brought us Power Rangers.
Hanna Barbera did the same sort of thing when Scooby Doo was popular. They churned out dozens of shows with a bumbling dog (or some other animal) who was joined by a group of mystery-solving (or music-making) teenagers. As was the case with VR Troopers, they never matched the popularity of the original.
The VR Troopers were Brad Hawkins (as Ryan Steele), Sarah Brown (Kaitlin Star) and Michael Bacon (J.B. Reese).
In 1996, Brad Hawkins and Sarah Brown appeared in "Power Rangers Zeo," one of many, many Power Rangers spin-offs.
By 2004, the Power Rangers had settled into their new home at Disney in the form of Power Rangers DinoThunder.
Disney inherited the Power Rangers with the purchase of the Fox Family Channel (now ABC Family) in 2001.
Power Rangers started appearing in the Disney Catalog in 2003.
The Disney Catalog and Disney Store had previously focused on Buzz Lightyear and Stitch for merchandise aimed at boys.
In many ways, Power Rangers set the stage for Disney's purchase of Marvel and Star Wars characters.
Did you ever wonder what would happen if one of the Transformers mated with a Triceratops? Well, wonder no more!
Hollywood is obsessed with youth, so DinoThunder's cast featured the youngest Power Rangers ever.
Somehow, Disney never thought of Power Rangers: DinoThunder Babies. What a missed opportunity!
Smelly feet won't scare DinoThunder slippers.
Don't be shocked if your bunny slippers vanish if DinoThunder slippers are in your house.
Before DinoThunder, there was NinjaStorm in 2003.
Notice the mask on the Red Ranger. Is this the son of Red Ranger Jason (T-Rex) and Yellow Ranger Trini (Sabre Tooth Tiger)?
Power Rangers SPD (Space Patrol Delta) was the new franchise for 2005.
SPD was so popular that it inspired titles like "Power Rangers: CSI Chicago" and "Power Rangers: SVU." Well, it inspired me to come up with them.
In 2006, there was a proposal for "Power Rangers: Space Cowboys." The leader was named Maurice, and he called himself "the gangster of love."
Not really. But there was a Power Rangers: Mystic Force. And one of the Rangers had a cow on his mask.
This may be the most rare Disney snow globe ever. It is a Power Rangers DinoThunder globe.
I imagine anyone interested in Power Rangers who received the DinoThunder snow globe as a gift probably smashed it to bits quickly (by accident or on purpose).
The Power Rangers appeared in the Disney Parks and the Disney Stores for a number of years (the Red Ranger was even a character in the die-cast Disney Racers car line), then the characters were sold back to Power Rangers guru Haim Saban in 2010.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
I don't want you hanging around Chris Hiss. In fact, I forbid you to associate with that hooligan. He is a mysterious juvenile delinquent in a black leather jacket. People are probably more familiar with his twin, Greaser Greg.
|Garbage Pail Kids Wall Plaque|
In the Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987), Greaser Greg was voiced by Jim Cummings (well known to animation fans as the voice of Darkwing Duck, Taz, Winnie the Pooh, Bad Pete, and countless other famous characters).
Marshy Marshall's twin, Ali Gator, also starred in the live action Garbage Pail Kids Movie. In the film, the Garbage Pail Kids were played by actors in costumes with puppet faces.
Only a small number of Garbage Pail Kids were in the movie, and they interacted with human actors (including "Facts of Life" star Mackenzie Astin). I never saw the movie, but I understand it is legendary (not necessarily in a good way).
The Garbage Pail Kids were extremely popular in the United States during the 1980s, and decided to invade the rest of the world.
The Garbage Pail Kids were also known as "The Trashlings" (Latin America), "Snotlings" (Italy), "The Totally Broken Kids" (Germany), "The Filthies" (Belgium and France), "The Trash Gang" (Brazil), and "The Garbage Gang" (the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand).
Chris Hiss and Greaser Greg also have the name "Pepe Leador" in other countries.
Topp's Chewing Gum originally came up with Garbage Pail Kids in 1985 as part of the "Wacky Packages" line of trading card stickers.
You can find Topps Wacky Packages and Topps Perlorian Cats trading cards here at Dizmentia.
Wanted posters could be found on the backs of Garbage Pail Kids cards, where the names of school Principals or Big Sisters or Kid Brothers could be filled in to satisfy frustrations.
I never saw a wanted poster for a Convenience Store Clerk. Most of the Garbage Pail Kids I saw were sold at 7/11 or Circle K stores.
The creators of Garbage Pail Kids had to think of two different names for each character, and they were very clever.
The names were usually a play on words, or a pop culture reference or a spin on a celebrity's name.
The Imperial Toy Corporation put out quite a bit of Garbage Pail Kids merchandise, and most of it was (by their own description) cheap.
Is that Bruce Willis on that key chain? I think this is from an episode of "Moonlighting."
New Wave Dave's twin, Grafitti Petey (which I think is the better name of the two) was featured in a set of PVC Garbage Pail Kids figures.
This set was blind-bagged in tiny trash bags.
You could feel what you were getting, which is how I did not wind up with any duplicates.
I failed to get three of the figures.
Imperial also made Garbage Pail Kids Pop-Ups (plastic figures inside trash cans) and Stick-Ons (Puffy Stickers).
Kennel Kenny's twin is Mark Bark. Doug Food better stay away from them.
Large, postcard-sized stickers were also sold of some characters.
Vampire Nasty Nick's twin is named Evil Eddie.
Smart, organized children used Garbage Pail Kids folders for school.
There were at least 12 different folders to collect. Teachers loved them! Especially the fussy old lady teachers.
Stormy Heather and Live Mike were on Folder #6.
Live Mike's twin is Jolted Joel.
There was a special Garbage Pail Kids Sticker Album.
I got this at a yard sale, and it already had a few rare (to me) stickers inside.
I was too lazy to write my name or any information in this album.
Notice Ashcan Andy, the Star Wars R2D2 spoof.
Bazooka Joe had been a mascot for Topp's Chewing Gum since the 1950s, and starred in his own comic strips.
Liberty Libby's twin is Alice Island.
These are some of the stickers that had already been placed in the album when I found it at the garage sale.
Sadly, I can relate to Shorned Sean. Ouch!
There is something fantastic and outrageously absurd going on with Janet Planet.
Janet's twin is Spacey Stacy.
Many of the earlier Garbage Pail Kids are tame compared to the cards issued in later sets.
Eventually, the characters and logo were redesigned.
The inside back of the Sticker Album shows some of the earliest characters.
Disgustin' Justin is one of my favorites.
More Classic Garbage Pail Kids can be seen on the back cover of the Sticker Album. Among the famous faces like Greaser Greg, there are lesser known characters like Slimy Sam and Creepy Carol.
You'd better watch out for Kim Kong and Mad Donna!
Wacky Packages spoofed Garbage Pail Kids with Garbage Pail Geezers in 2007. The Circle of Life is complete.
The Garbage Pail Kids are still showing up on stickers after all these years. Some characters, like Greaser Greg, have returned to appear on new cards.
Chris Hiss and Greaser Greg were also spoofed (or "ripped off") as part of another series of stickers that aped the Garbage Pail Kids at the height of their popularity.
Doug Thug was part of the "Trash Kan Gang" sticker set from Steiner MFG. These stickers were sold in vending machines and restaurants to confused consumers.
What sort of person would collect these cards and save them for so many years?
What kind of twisted mind would you have if you did a blog post about them?
I used to have a huge box of Garbage Pail Kids when I was a kid. When I stopped collecting them, a certain family member took the opportunity to get rid of my collection. They thought they got rid of all of them. They were wrong.