Monthly Archives: October 2011

We briefly interrupt the 31 Days of Halloween to get you started thinking about another holiday tradition…

You may remember last year I spearheaded Infinite Toys For Tots and it WILL be coming back this year, albeit modified thanks to many folks suggestions last year. Look for details on the new and improved Infinite Toys for Tots starting in November. However, if you really like the concept of donating toys and possibly winning some yourself, Geeks for Tots has you covered. I fully endorse this project, it’s reputable and Paul works really hard at it. He gave me lots of great pointers last year with our campaign. Check out the full press release below:

There are far too many kids that won’t get gifts this holiday season and the Toys for Tots program is here to help. Toys for Tots takes new toys and distributes them to kids in need. To encourage donations to the Toys For Tots program, the Geeks For Tots contest is offering prizes to those who send in proof of donations to Toys for Tots.

The Prizes up for grabs are:
– Premium Format Clone Trooper from Sideshow Toys
– Gift cards to Big Bad Toy Store
– Star Wars figures from Brian’s Toy Store
– Gift cards from 80s Tees
– Spider-Man themed Mini-Mates from Luke’s Toy Store
– Necklaces from Bling Squared
– Geeky soap from Yeung Moxey

All that is required to participate in the contest is a picture of the contestant donating at a Toys For Tots drop off box or a forwarded copy of a receipt from an online cash donation at the Toys For Tots website.

More details like where to send the photos and receipts, please visit (Link: Geeks For Tots)

About Geeks for Tots:

Geeks for Tots is a grassroots contest started with the simple goal of encouraging donations to Toys for Tots via a contest. This is the third year that the contest has been run. Previously it was known as “Joes for Tots.

Geeks For Tots

Sideshow Universal Monsters
12 Inch Scale
By: Sideshow Toys
$20 (originally) $40-$90 (secondary market)

It’s hard to believe that Universal’s depiction of Frankenstein (or more specifically the monster) was created in 1931 and yet 80 years later, is instantly recognizable to everyone. It’s so recognizable that when you see him you say Frankenstein, even though he’s not actually named that. I have to imagine that it would be interesting to hop into a time machine and see what people thought of as Frankenstein prior to the James Whale feature film. Anyone who draws Frankenstein today either takes inspiration from this character or is instantly compared to it.

Thankfully, it’s a truly unique character creation, with menacing neck bolts, ghastly green skin and of course a flat head. Jack Pierce really hit a homerun with his creature makeup. Originally the design of the monster was said to be much different when the film had a different star and director attached. It’s been recreated time and time again in various forms, but perhaps the best action figures come in the form of Sideshow’s Frankenstein. It was a big hit for Sideshow, who cranked out a version for every major Universal Frankenstein film and actor. This figure was their first Frankenstein and also their first foray into this type of figure.

The most famous actor to portray Frank’s infamous monster and easily his most iconic role, is that of Boris Karloff. Supposedly Bela Lugosi was actually offered the role first, but turned it down because he didn’t feel there was enough depth and romance in the character. Having just re-watched the film Ed Wood this week, I can’t help but wonder how things might have turned out different for everyone had he taken the part. Karloff’s first make-up tests had a much different look for the monster with horn like protrusions on his scalp.

Interestingly, Bela did eventually give in and take the role in the much later Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man film. At first Lon Chaney Jr. was going to do both roles, as the Wolf Man and as Frankenstein, but that proved to be a bad idea considering Chaney would also have to play Larry Talbot. Bela stepped in and it’s actually Lugosi’s performance that is most often what people think of when they think of Frankenstein. Bela’s Frank was blind and due to his thick accent, forced to only grumble. Hence the Frankenstein walk and noises that most associate with the monster.

I could go on for days with the fascinating details of the Universal Monsters, particularly the stars behind the green visage of Frankenstein, but let’s take a look at this 12 inch plastic incarnation instead!
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Army of Darkness
Ash versus Deadite Scout – Collector’s Club Exclusive Bloody Variants
3 3/4 Inch Scale
By: Palisades
$20 (price varies)

Palisades was a great little company that launched into the mainstream right about the time that there was a huge boom in the “collector” market of action figures. When Palisades went out of business, it sort of served as a epitaph to the end of that era. Long before Mattel was doing exclusive Collector’s Clubs, Palisades had their online club. The premise was largely the same, join the club, buy figures that are too niche for retail, get special benefits and a bonus repaint figure for joining.

The core difference would be that with Palisades, you weren’t blind buying a subscription to figures. Palisades offered four different sets, but since we’re knee deep in the 31 Days of Halloween, we’re talking about the Army of Darkness set. If you’re curious, the other sets were two different Muppets packs and a Ren & Stimpy one.

In many ways Palisades was the antithesis of Mattel, they cared about their fan demand to a fault. There’s a reason that Mattel is still in business and Palisades isn’t and it’s not just Barbie. Palisades was also constantly plagued with QC issues, particularly in the Army of Darkness and Micronauts lines. Their Muppet stuff was largely without those same flaws, but even with QC issues, Palisades always cared about their fans. They tried to make things right and maybe someday Sam Beckett will make a leap into that forgotten era and make Palisades still in business… In the meantime we have memories. Bloody variant memories. Continue reading

Universal Monsters
The Mummy – Imhotep
12 Inch Scale
By: Kenner/Hasbro
$20 (price varies)

Boris Karloff is very famous for his role in the 1932 horror film, The Mummy. Most people actually associate the character of the Mummy with Karloff, although he only played the role once. In the film, his Mummy, Imhotep, appears only briefly in the iconic bandages outfit. Instead Imhotep ditches his wrappings and has a rather ghastly face and typical Egyptian garb for the rest of the film.

In 1997 Kenner began producing Universal Monster figures in a 12 inch format. By this point, Hasbro had already bought out Kenner and while these were originally produced under the Kenner name, they’re clearly Hasbro figures (they use GI Joe molds). Originally only three figures were released as a set, this figure of the Mummy, a Frankenstein and a Wolf man. What made these figures particularly special was the fact that for the first time ever, they were licensed by Lon Chaney Jr. and Boris Karloff.

In 1998 the figures were re-released, this time in single boxes. More figures were added to the lineup and in 1999, even more characters were released, before the license ended. A Bela Lugosi Dracula figure was not made, because Bela’s estate and Universal weren’t getting along at the time, presumably. Lugosi’s always had issues with Universal and Dracula. However, this figure is the first official Karloff Mummy figure in decades.
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Do you know my spell check says “krispie” is spelled wrong? Clearly this is not the case. And, clearly, these are not your regular rice krispie treats.

With it officially being Fall, and Halloween around the corner, stores are starting to fill their shelves with seasonal pumpkin items. I mean, really, I’m just going to be honest and say it’s slightly out of control this year. Everywhere I turn around there’s something new, and I seriously might go broke, if I tried to get them all. However, I could not resist pumpkin marshmallows. No, not just shaped like pumpkins. They taste like it, too. Pumpkin flavored marshmallows?! Excellent!

Kraft makes these little dudes.

They look like little soft pumpkins and you can smell the pumpkin scent as soon as you open the bag.

And then well, they taste like pumkins too. But you can’t just eat a whole bag of marshmallows! What’s the best thing to do with marshmallows? I mean besides just stuff your face with them. Make Rice Krispie treats. So, that’s the plan, man.

¼ cup butter
1 bag (10 ounces) pumpkin marshmallows (minus 2)
5 ½ cups krispie rice
Non-stick cooking spray

Don’t worry, if you are a visual person, look here. Here’s what you need:

You are allowed to make rice krispie treats without actually having Snap, Krackle and Pop. I used the off brand to save more money to buy more pumpkin crap.
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