Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Rare Alien Toys That Could Make You Rich (If You Own One)


With Alien: Covenant ready to hit American theaters tomorrow I've been having a flashback of sorts to the first or second grade, which was shortly after the 1979 movie Alien was released. One of the class bullies had brought his 18" Kenner Alien action figure to school (I don't remember if it was for show-and-tell or just to show off) and he proceeded to give away the movie's plot, in graphic detail, pumping his arm to emulate the baby xenomorph bursting from John Hurt's chest. I remember some of my female classmates actually gasping and shrieking and as terrified as I was myself to finally learn what this movie was about, I knew that I would HAVE to watch it eventually, which I did a few years later (on ABC as a matter of fact, gory chest bursting scene remarkably intact and unedited.)

Our bully didn't know it at the time, but his Kenner figure -- if he does indeed still own it and if it's still in good working condition, which is doubtful -- is now worth a small fortune. In fact, Kenner released a few toys in 1979 in conjunction with 20th Century Fox to promote the sci-fi horror thriller. The problem was obvious, however: Alien was a R rated film and most kids weren't going to see it (that, and the alien itself has a pretty phallic-shaped head.) The xenomorph figure was yanked from store shelves, making it a now rare collectible...and it wasn't the only one. So let's take a look at four Alien themed toys that could make you a pretty penny, provided you still have one in good condition in the original packaging. Keep in mind I'm only mentioning a few items released in conjunction with the first movie; the sequel, Aliens, spawned (no pun intended) several more toys.

1. The Aforementioned Xenomorph Action Figure



If you happen to have one of these awe-inspiring bad boys at your disposal and he's still intact, he could fetch you between $750 and $1,000 on eBay. The 18" xenomorph featured a trigger at the back of his head that opened his mouth and shot out the teeth-lined tongue and there was another mechanism that made his arms clench around unsuspecting victims. His skull's features also glowed in the dark, which was probably the only real distinction between him and his "life sized" movie version. Other than that, this figure was pretty detailed. I watched a video the other day that said he seemed too delicate for rough play and to be considered an "action" figure--more like a collector's model -- which unfortunately is a reason why some dolls that are still around today are broken or missing parts altogether (obviously decreasing its value.)

Kenner at the time wanted to release a whole series of action figures from the movie but after Big Chap (Ridley Scott's nickname for the space monster) was yanked from shelves so was the entire project. But a few years ago a company called Super7 released the lost figures -- which included Ripley, Ash, Kane, and Dallas and a proportionally-sized xenomorph (but sadly, no facehugger.)

2. Alien Board Game


Also rare and released by Kenner was the Alien board game for 2 to 4 players in which the object is to make it safely to the escape shuttle while using the alien to eliminate your opponents. Online reviews say the game basically sucked, but there's currently a used one on eBay listed for over $3,000, which seems insane.

3. Alien Giant Blaster Target Set


Then there was the giant target set by HG Toys that came with a "laser" weapon and three safety balls. The 30" xenomorph would get affixed to a wall, and you'd try to hit the targets in his head and hands that would flip down when hit, but your ultimate goal was to hit the hole that looks like his belly button. That would cause a bell to go off in an "eerie ringing sound" indicating that you killed the xenomorph. Gotta love that they have a little girl playing this game in the toy's packaging. This one goes for about $850 intact.

4. Kenner Alien Movie Viewer

But here's perhaps the creepiest toy of the list. It's a hand-cranked movie viewer that basically condenses scenes from the entire movie into the span of a minute or so (no batteries needed!) I was wondering how much was included when I discovered that someone filmed it with their phone and uploaded it to YouTube. Even though the goriest parts were excluded, I still find it kind of unsettling.



There's one listed on eBay for $425.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Why I Love Bobby Darin


Happy Mother's Day to all of the retro lovin' moms out there! Not only is it Mother's Day, but it also would have been Bobby Darin's 81st birthday today. Rather then share the love for my favorite retro idol of all time in a written blog post, I thought I'd make a video for the seemingly abandoned Go Retro YouTube channel instead. Honestly, I could take all day about why I idolize this man and I even forgot to mention a few other points in the video, but you'll get my drift. (Keep in mind if you're reading this post on your email because you subscribed to receive updates that the video will not be embedded below; you'll have to visit the blog or the YouTube channel directly.)

And yes, I have some new posts coming your way soon!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Stay Tuned (Go Retro and Life in General Updates)


You've probably noticed (or at least I've noticed) that I haven't been posting on here as much...not as much as ideally I'd like to, anyway. To be honest, I've kind of just not felt like writing about retro topics as much these days. Traffic has taken a dip (and not surprising, ad revenue has, too.) As you know I haven't done much with the YouTube channel lately, either. Just haven't had the motivation nor the time (for my other blog, the subject matter is completely different, and making a video post for that site is just a lot easier; I just speak about whatever's on my mind...so maybe I should just do the same for GR.)

But the other reason is, I've just been busy with other forms of writing. I got laid off in August and I recently decided (after much soul searching, meditation, and letting go of fear) that I really want to make a career out of it. (It only took the universe five times to get the message through to me that marketing is not where my heart truly belongs.) I still don't know where this will ultimately lead me...perhaps working for a local magazine. I do know one thing: I am so happy right now.

I realized that last year at this time, I was working in that new marketing job...and I was not happy. I was reporting to the CEO, who turned out to be the biggest a-hole and egomaniac I've ever worked for in my entire career. I was also still getting over a broken heart, and there were many afternoons I cried while driving home. I remember thinking that profound saying, "is this all there is?" more than once. After saying to myself so many times during last summer, "this isn't the job I had in mind" the universe did me another favor, and booted it from my existence. I actually think now it was one of the best things to happen to me.

These days I'm still working the freelance gig I had before getting the full-time job, but I've also been doing work for a woman that I actually met through that last company (she got shafted by them, too.) She runs her own business and gave me a nice chunk of online content to work on, and recently reached out to me again for some additional work. A reader that reads both my blogs also told me about a travel website that needed new writers; I'm still waiting to hear back to find out if the test assignment I submitted has been accepted (if it is, they'll pay me for it and will give me more)...more good fodder for a portfolio.

I'm in the middle of an online course I bought after being laid off, on how to break into freelance writing. I have so many topic ideas for magazines and content websites and really need to get my rear into gear in that area.

Long story short, I'm back in the same "happy place" that I was two years ago. Yes, it took me two years to get through some personal setbacks and find my center again, but I'm back, baby! And I'm grateful.

Back to Go Retro...it's not going away. I'd never do that, to my readers or to myself! But it IS going to have to get a new layout soon and I really think I need to take a brief break from posting just to recharge the inspiration in this area. The current template is a big improvement over the last one, but it's getting stale now and the bug that keeps posting an entire post on the home page is getting on my nerves. The site needs a new logo, too. Ideally I want to see it look like a real site with a nice image slider up top to highlight the most recent posts.

So if you come on here and some things look jumbled/out of place, I'll be tweaking and moving things around, I'm sure.

Stay tuned...thank you as always for reading....and I hope everyone enjoys their Easter or Passover!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Sharing Some Much Overdue Love for the Bobby Darin Biopic "Beyond the Sea"


Recently I was visiting the Facebook page of a Bobby Darin fan group I follow and was surprised to see some negative comments being tossed around about the only movie made about Darin's life, Beyond the Sea. The guy that started the thread asked if Kevin Spacey (who starred in, directed, and produced the film) was drunk when he wrote the script (his fury was aimed at a scene where Darin is giving a radio interview about his support for Bobby Kennedy and drops the f-bomb, which he claimed never would have happened on AM radio in the 1960s.) Others chimed in by saying they knew other Darin fans that were infuriated by the film and were personally glad they never saw it.

To all of these Debbie downers, I have one thing to say: please remove the stick out of your anus.

Friday, March 24, 2017

America's Most Dangerous Amusement Park: Action Park


If you were a kid growing up in New Jersey in the '70s, '80s, or '90s, there's a good chance you visited Action Park in Vernon, just over the New York line. In fact, many former patrons claim it was a right of passage to survive a visit to "Class Action Park"--a fitting nickname given its notorious reputation.

Just how dangerous was this place? It was so treacherous that while researching it I came across commenters on various sites that sustained broken noses, broken bones, skin burns, concussions, near drownings, and more. One said his mother worked at a nearby hospital, where she helped tend to a never-ending stream of kids coming into the ER with injuries from the amusement park. And they were the lucky ones. The place eventually became responsible for six deaths including an electrocution.

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