Sunday, August 30, 2009

a.k.a.: Wheels of Death!

I'm not sure how, somewhere in the dark recesses of my late '70s television addled brain, I could have missed remembering the 1979 TV movie Death Car on the Freeway... but apparently I did! Featuring major plot points focusing on 8-tracks & vans, with A grade chase music and D grade acting, and directed by Smokey and the Bandit's Hal Needham! Starring Frank Gorshin, George Hamilton, Peter Graves, Shelly Hack, Abe Vigoda and Dina Shore (whew... my link button is getting tired!). I mean...COME ON!

It's like CHiPs meets Jaws. All wrapped up in an Airport '77 tortilla!

With an extra helping of Duel on the side.

Not available on DVD (well... legally at least), but you can, should you think it's wise, watch it here...

And read all about it here...

A big thanks to Kevin L. Wagner for turning me on to this and providing the screen shots and ad! Kev's also shared another tv movie classic, 1979's Disaster on the Coastliner (starring Lloyd Bridges, Bill Shatner and Raymond Burr) at YouTube!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mom! Mom! Look what flew over the house three weeks ago and I'm only telling you about it now that the photos are back from the drug store!

Since we're already in a Battlestar Galactica mood from that last post I thought I'd share one more image from the "70's sci-fi geek" portion of my blog picture folder with all of you, whether you like it or not!

Clearly 11 or 12 year old me felt this would be much more convincing than 40 year old me does, but in 1979 or 1980 this battle-scarred (thanks to a handy dandy magnifying glass and a sunny day) Battlestar Galactica Viper model I built a year or two earlier inspired the not so convincing "What's that in the sky?!" shot above.

I'm sure that when I showed the above instamatic photo to friends and family I held it near the top with my thumb strategically placed over the nigh-invisible thread. Of course nowadays an 11 year old could easily create what I had envisioned in my head back then with some photo editing software and 15 minutes to spare...

But despite the gains from dynamite special effects pizazz I think it loses much of its original charm and innocent fun.

At least I didn't display my Viper model at Hooters though...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Coming Soon to a theatre near you!

Opens Sept 6th! Well... Sept 6th 1978 that is.

Once again the theatre in my home town was slow to cash in on the late 70s sc-fi bandwagon. After missing the boat on Star Wars (which wouldn't show in Nanaimo until the re-release in 1980) it shrewdly passed on the theatrical version of TV's Battlestar Galactica which was shown in Canadian and European cinemas before it's premier on North American television on September 17th, and subsequent release in US theatres in May of 1979. I don't know if it was a personal dislike of the genre or simply the tight licensing that the distribution chains had on films of that time, but they only succeeded in shooting themselves in the feet as movie goers headed out of town (in this case to Duncan B.C., 45 minutes to the south) to see the films they wanted.

I clearly remember lining up for this with my dad and sister during a pleasant late summer evening. Although it was no Star Was (despite their best effort to be!) I did enjoy it, probably more for the special effects and costumes than anything else. The Sensurround system was widely used during this films release, rumbling theatre goers in their seats with low frequency (but still mono!) vibrations, but I'm not sure whether we saw it in that form or not.

Either way it set the stage for the TV series to to become a short lived staple on Sundays nights.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dan the Man!

Dan Lawler, the prolific illustrator for Parents magazine's family of publications (Humpty Dumpty, Children's Digest, Parents Magazine, etc) is once again featured over at my Flickr photostream in a number of vintage print illustrations. His brand of two-colour fun graced the covers and interiors of these magazine from the late 1950s to the 1970s (at least), but his pre-1965 work is my favourite.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tyler Hodgins @ Polychrome Fine Arts

I guess I'm in a promotional mood this week as I want to let everyone in the Victoria BC area know that my pal, talented artist Tyler Hodgins has "Tape Press - 10 Seconds" on exhibit at the Polychrome Fine Arts Gallery at 1113 Fort St. This piece (pieces actually) is made from 5" x 5" x 1" plexi-glass and contains 10 seconds of audio tape in each unit.

Check it out!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

All New Cherry Bomb - Yay!

Cherry Bomb Toys has just re-opened at their new location! It's not often I shill for businesses on this blog, but I'm happy to make an exception for my favourite used / collectible toy store. Not only are B and Candice very cool people with tons of great stuff, but they run Victoria's upcoming, twice-yearly "Ultimate Hobby & Toy Fair" that's not to be missed.

I'm on my way down this afternoon to take a look for myself, but if these preview shots are any indication I shall not be disappointed.

So be sure to stop by if you're in the area or ever visiting Victoria, BC. And tell 'em I sent you.

***UPDATE: It's much larger than it looks! I definitely wasn't disappointed - what a great store!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Go (To) British Co-lumbia!

Go, British Col-umbia: by Bobby Gimby, BC Centennial '71 Committee, 1971

On the off-chance that any of you devoted readers out there in internetland are mulling over, contemplating, thinking about, considering, or even ponderin' a move from your current locale to someplace like, say fer instance, the green and temperate climes of the province of British Columbia on the swellerific west coast of Canada, I thought I'd help learn youse about your new home-to-be with some groovy 7" souvenir records (culled from my soon-to-be-greatly-reduced-in-number record collection) from days gone by.

Produced by the talented Bobby Gimby, of 1967's centennial song "Canada" fame this follow up (above) follows up with the exact same winning template that made his previous single a hit, Hit, HIT! Childrens chorus, singalong lyrics, infectious (but not in a swine flu sort of way) trumpet-lead beat, and kettle drums! How could miss with that tried and true formula? (are you listening Green Day? I see a comeback from your current obscurity if you'd just follow the patented "Gimby Method").

Here's the words and music in PDF form if you're into that sort of thing.

Fortunately for the producers of this long-in-print-but-now-long-out-of-print-although-I-probably-didn't-need-to-point-that-last-part-out late 60s souvenir shop staple Victoria had only one "sound". Otherwise they would have had to have incurred the unneeded expense of producing an entire LP!

Once again hailing from 1966 this 7" wonder, (that's starting to show up in local museum exhibits which, being only a year or two older than your's truly, doesn't make me feel old at all), comes in a handy-dandy mailing envelope to send to friends and relatives far away to let Aunt Wilhelmina and Cousin Belvin know you couldn't think of anything better to buy for them.

An earlier 1960s "Follow the Birds" only recording of this 7" (with the same picture from right side of this one) had an instrumental version on the B-side. I guess the producers figured that by the mid-1970s those polyester-clad folks disco-ing into Victoria's souvenir shops were more likely to shell out $2.98 (suggested retail price not including tax) for two different songs than one.
The 25 cents I paid for my thrift store copy was my upper limit.

Jewel of the West by "The Accents", RCA Victor, 1966.

Not one, not two, not three, not four, not... oh wait, yes... FOUR different interpretations of this lovely tune to commemorate "the 100th Anniversary of the Union of Vancouver Island and the Mainland, 1966, and Canada's centennial, 1967". Apparently bossa nova, rock, folk and choral versions of the same song over and over again don't get tedious at all. Nope, not at all.

I think the back cover's awkward caption says it all... "Here is the surprise song which thrilled so many Canadians when performed on the occasion of the Royal Visit to the Capital of British Columbia in May 1971." Apparently BCers have a different opinion of what constitutes "thrilled".

Or "song".

Long before the announcement of the 2010 Winter Olympics Vancouver BC was the host to EXPO 86, or as it was known in the burgeoning hip-hop community's street slang of the time, "The 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication". As was the fashion in those days, brass-playing politicians meant BIG SALES for any musical venture.

Beautiful British Columbia: George E. Stotts, Angelus Records 1964.

And now the piece de' resistor! If the handwritten cover didn't talk you into buying this then the always enticing prospect of sticky residue on your record certainly would. In point of fact though, this 1964 (watch out British Invasion!) 7" by "Geo. E. Stotts - Star Rt. Cottonwood, Ariz", more closely resembles a vanity / song poem project. So you probably couldn't buy it at the time even if you, for some unknown reason, wanted to. It's hard to believe that 2:51 of vocals and pipe organ could last so long. I would have guessed closer to 12 to 14 minutes if I hadn't looked at the label.

So thanks for stopping by. I hope our little talk has helped ease the move for at least one person out there who is BC-bound, but needed to know that our rich musical heritage includes a fair share of shmaltzy, commercially driven local tunes NOT written by David Foster, Nelly Furtado, or the Dayglos.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Flickr Fun

Time once again for another of my increasingly infrequent vintage illustration postings over at Flickr. What do I have to do - make a deal with the devil to increase the hours in the day so I can find time to do everything I want to?

Okay, sign me up!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Laundry Helper!

We usually don't get that many exotic looking insects in these parts (at least that I see located in the middle of a downtown urban area), so this fellow that I spotted in my apartment stairwell on my way to do laundry this morning cetainly caught my eye. At 2 ½ inches longs and with at least a 4" antennae span it's about the biggest wild insect I've ever seen here next to dragonflys.

Maybe I brought him home with me from Florida?