July 30, 2005

Star Wars iron-ons

Here we have The Star Wars Iron-On Transfer Book, uh....book, copyright 1977. It is in near mint condition, as I never actually used any of the iron-ons. I was aware, even in 5th grade, that there was something sort of uncool about wearing such a t-shirt. I would have been way too self-conscious. Nonetheless, I did wear a "May the Force be with you" shirt in 5th grade, so I'm not sure why I would have been embarrassed to wear one of them. God knows, some of these images were on an awful lot of shirts once the merchandising maelstrom was unleashed about a year after the film's original release!

(Most of the following comments are tongue-in-cheek.)I love how the droids were called "See Threepio and Artoo Detoo", thus completely missing the point that "C-3PO/R2-D2" were model numbers for two machines. Maybe it's just me... It's just me, isn't it?

Of course, we now know from Revenge of the Sith that Chewie is most likely pining for Yoda in this picture, since they had already met and were close buds...

I thought these guys were robots, or something. Little did we know, they were actually clones of Boba Fett's father!....Yeah, Boba Fett's father!

This iron-on depicts the obvious confusion and disorientation C-3PO, I mean See Threepio, must have been experiencing after having his memory wiped clean so he wouldn't remember Attack of the Clones. He's so lucky! I guess R2, oops, Artoo forgot how to fly and shoot motor oil...

Ah yes, Vader, looking dapper and elegant, ready for a night of ballroom dancing and general swishing about. He sort of killed his wife because he couldn't save her from something.

See-3-Pee-Oh is pointing out the grave marker for someone named "Shimi Skywalker" right next to the Skywalker home onTatooine. I guess Luke never wondered about that.

One of Ralph McQuarrie's interpretations of Lucas's original vision. It's a beautiful thing. And here's an image burned into many a young mind that far, far away summer of 1977:

I got this in the mail today ($40, eBay):

Pure, unmolested, as it was...
After I read rumours that more tweaking is to be done to the original trilogy (for example, "The Imperial March" may be added to the first appearance of Vader, and "Anakin's Theme" could be added to the scene where Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father's "death") to coincide with the thirtieth, yes, thirtieth anniversary of Star Wars, I sort of panicked. Luckily, copies of the 1995 VHS release are still fairly easy to obtain. 8/06 addendum: I've finally watched Star Wars. It holds up in lieu of the prequels. Some of it is enhanced by the "alterations" resulting from the production of the prequels. Obi-Wan Kenobi's "death", in particular, has a new depth of tragedy (Shakespearean) it didn't have in 1977. I don't think Lucas needed to make nearly as many changes as he has made (in the recent "overhauls" of the original film). Most of it still looks pretty good! The scene where Luke stares forlornly up at Tatooine's two setting suns may be the greatest moment in movie history.
This is despite the fact Lucas shamefully humped it in the last two prequels. He was lucky in getting John Williams to do the score. Pure magic. It gives me goosebumps. Also, beyond a doubt, the prequels suffered from a lack of Han Solo.

You can't say they didn't warn us! They weren't messing around.

July 26, 2005

What, me bored?

Between 1954 and 1993,
Mad released 220 paperbacks books. Ninety-four contained previously published material. A history of their publication can be found here

When I was around 11 or 12, the
K-Mart a mile from my house (which was closed a few years ago) had an impressive collection of them, and I had to have them all (I have 40). I realize now this was an early sign of obsessive-compulsive tendencies (this has manifested today in many ways, one being my need to read and own every single one of John Sanford's Prey series
). As soon as I'd accumulated enough lose change or allowance money, or both, I'd get on my bike and make that ride to K-Mart to get my fix.

I generally chose them based on cover, and here are some of my favorites:

The folks at Mad were certainly twisted and a little sick, but that's why we loved it! My favorite of the above collection is "Sucks". I love the colors, and the juxtaposition of Dracula with the idiotic/manic visage of Alfred E. Neuman (the eyes seem particularly vacant).

The back covers were usually demented, as well. You've got to love the use of the word "clod". That's a word we should all work on bringing back.

July 23, 2005

"Beat the Meatles"

In October 1977, National Lampoon devoted an entire issue to The Beatles. Chris Miller wrote a hilarious piece titled "Beat the Meatles." It gets a bit crude in places, but the "interview" reveals much about the greatest rock band of all time. The writer captured perfectly the image people had in their minds of the Fab Four, prior to John Lennon's murder. Return now to the days when a reunion was unlikely, but possible.

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July 22, 2005

Wedding Crashers

I finally succumbed to the media onslaught and went to see Wedding Crashers today. All the criticisms I've read about it, i.e., it's thirty minutes too long, kind of falls apart towards the end, etc., were accurate, BUT, I pretty much enjoyed it. I didn't go into it with very high expectations, unlike each freaking Star Wars prequel. What a sad, sad, mess...the term implosion comes to mind...but that's another story.

Basically, the movie would be nothing without Vince Vaughn. The guy is hilarious. He steals every scene he's in. I read in the current Rolling Stone he had ADD while in school, and it's pretty obvious in this film. I like Owen Wilson, but Vince is money, baby. Surprising, yet somehow not surprising, cameo towards the end.

They are set to reteam in
Outsourced. It could have potential, even if it does sound like a variation of the plot for Gung Ho.

July 13, 2005

Christopher Reeve

If I could, I'd fly around Earth in the opposite direction of its natural orbit, fast enough and long enough to cause it to begin spinning in this opposite direction. Obviously, at this point, time would also reverse (naturally), and I would be travelling back in time. I would stop off on the morning of the horse riding accident and deflate his car's tires, slip his horse a segagive, yes, segagive (see Young Frankenstein
), cut the power to his house so his alarm clock doesn't go off, do anything to prevent his tragic destiny.

If you've not seen this movie recently (I know
A & E has shown it a couple of times this summer), you ought to rent it or watch it again, somehow. It's a classic. This is one of John Williams's best films as well. Many of the songs have the great aching, romantic sweep of things he wrote for The Empire Strikes Back and then Raiders of the Lost Ark

The new Superman flick (Superman Returns), due summer 2006, looks promising, and supposedly was made as an homage/"sequel" to Superman: The Movie. The guy playing Clark Kent/Superman even looks a little bit like a young Chris Reeve.

July 12, 2005

Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry touched this piece of paper.

Why he or his secretary didn't include my last name (Adams), I'll never know. Surely I remembered to write it.

Notice the design of the Enterprise at the top of the stationary. Although this was sent in 1978, that is the Enterprise used in
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
, which would not be released until 1979.

July 11, 2005

Billy Dee

Han: Wait this is interesting, Lando...

Leia: The Lando System?

Han: Lando's not a system, he's a man. Lando Calrissian; card player, gambler, scoundrel, you'd like him.

Leia: Thanks.

Bespin. It's pretty far, but I think we can make it.

Leia: A mining colony?

Han: Yeah, a Tibanna gas mine. Lando conned somebody out of it. We go back a long way, Lando and me.

Leia: Can you trust him?

Han: No, but he's got no love for the empire, I can tell you that.

You do have your moments. Not many, but you have them.

July 9, 2005

Lord Vader...r-i-i-i-i-se

Dave Prowse, or staff, sent me this nifty publicity shot. My guess would be that when approached to appear in Revenge of the Sith, Prowse told Lucas and Co. no, or perhaps after having seen the first two prequels, it was more like noooooooooo

July 8, 2005

Harrison Ford

It's amazing someone as busy as Harrison Ford must have been in the early 1980s would have the time or energy to sign a picture which had been cut out of a magazine and mailed to them. I really appreciate(d) it.

July 7, 2005

Anthony Daniels

I got into a thing for a while when I was around 12 where I'd cut pictures out of magazines like Starlog and mail them to the person pictured with a request for an autograph. Most would respond with something like this from Anthony Daniels:

July 6, 2005

Origin of name

Until I can come up with a more creative name for this blog, I borrowed the title of a song on Pete Townshend's 1982 solo effort, All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes.

Being off for the summer, I can completely relate to "sweet ennui" at this point.