Monday, July 26, 2010

Mission to Mars-my first film

Here's a link to my first-ever attampt to make a cheezy 50's sci-fi film. It was strung together with random memories of half-a-dozen actual films, including Rocketship XM and Missile to the Moon. AGF supplied the voice of all the women, and I popped the corn for the meteor storm. Here we go and please's supposed to look cheezy!

Here's that link:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rediscovered! Elmer the Safety Elephant!

I just returned from a trip to one of my favorite stores of all time, "United Unlimited", the "King Solomon's Mine" of the surplus, off-price, factory second and just plain bizzare. Want some of those "Spice World" or "Backstreet Boys" trading cards? Looking for a set of furry handcuffs? Need ten bras but only have a dollar? "United Unlimited" is the place for you!

Today I was lucky enough to find two vintage school workbooks (the "Mammoth Practice Book"...only 10 cents!!), and on the back I found an old friend...Elmer the Safety Elephant. To those too young to remember, Elmer was a perky little elephant with a "Lord Fauntleroy" collar and tie and, if that didn't make him "cool" enough to us school kids, displayed his name on a sailor cap on his head! To me he always looked like an image you'd find on a popcorn box, but I guess Elmer was capable of multi-tasking.

Elmer was found in every school, decorating walls with safety-first-type posters reminding us to "look both ways before crossing streets" and when there was no sidewalk (a real problem in those days) to walk on the left-hand side....FACING traffic. I clearly remember this being stressed....FACE the TRAFFIC. A few wags suggested is was so you could see who was about to run you down, but those negative nellies didn't discourage the rest of us. The safety tips from the back of this work-book were typical of the art and tone of those posters. I especially like # 2-KEEP OUT from between parked cars. It looks like the poor bloke in the plaid cap is ignoring the threat of parking in front of an Edsel. I also like #4-Play games in SAFE places away from traffic. It kind of looks like this SAFE place is in front of a plate-glass window, but at least it was away from traffic.

I remember that schools who demonstrated excellence in traffic safety were awarded by flying Elmer's flag above it, the safety elephant himself looking down joyfully at all the kiddies WALKING when they left curbs, and riding their bikes SAFELY. I don't think our school ever got to fly Elmer's flag, but that's OK. If only he would have left us some popcorn.

Friday, July 2, 2010

ROAD TRIP! My odd-yssy to Monster Bash 2010

Well another Monster Bash has come and gone. In case you hadn't heard of it, Monster Bash is an annual classic Horror/Science Fiction movie convention that takes place in Bulter Pennsylvania each year. This was my fourth year attending but my first a) with my brother and b) driving there and back again. Here are just a few thoughts and observations of the trip:

Day 1-Minneapolis-perhaps appropriately, there is a thick fog on the highway for the first 45 minutes out of town, and not just in our heads. There was a classic late 40's-early 50's Mercury pick-up truck parked on my street when I left. I took this to be a good omen, as it lokked just like the truck used by the linemen in "It Came From Outer Space", just before they are absorbed by the one-eyed alien. Did I say a good sign?

The trip itself was uneventful, but there were delays around Minneapolis due to construction on their speedways, er , freeways. The motel was Ok, but the staff was surley and the phone in the room didn't work. I won't rat them out by saying their name, needless to say it is a motel chain numbered somewhere between 5 and 7.

Day 1-Chicago-I like to call this "hell day". Actually it was more like "hell afternoon" as the morning was quite nice. Drove through Wisconsin, a refugium for cheese and fireworks stores (we actually used this as an exclamation..."cheese and fireworks!!"...we hope it will catch on better than "gee whiz"). Also plently of big-box porn stores along the highway. Played "what's that smell" several times. The cow, pictured above, was from a cheese store in said state. I love Wisconsin.

Afternoon, approached the Chicago freeway system with well-deserved dread. It seems like construction and detours are the name of the game this year, and we wound up getting lost TWICE before we actually reached our motel. Saw endless signs for "Krazy Klein" the firework king, offering "buy one get SIX free"! The sign directing us to our motel was about 4 feet high and approxmately the size of a shoe box (again, the motel chain number between 5 and 7). The TV in the room didn't work, the staff was again surley, and we were caught in a torrential downpour after walking next-door to have dinner. After we reached our TV-less room, the power went off briefly, leaving us laughing a lot like Lionel Atwill in one of the movies we love to watch.

Day 3-back-tracked through a toll-gate to get out of Chicago, but otherwise a nice smooth trip across Indiana and Ohio to get to Pennsylvania. Saw the best road name ever: Fangboner Road. I would LOVE to live on "Fangboner Road"

Day 4-5-6: MONTER BASH Always a great time, but the Bash seemed a little subdued this year. Got to meet Julie Adams from "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and Ann Robinson from "War of the Worlds". Watched the Mexican schlock classic "Little Read Riding Hood Meets the Monsters" and listened to UFO researcher Stan Gordon talk for what seemed like 6 hours on the "kecksburg" incident and how UFO's and Bigfoot (Bigfoots? Bigfeet?) seem to be related. Mused at the irony that EVRY ONE of his slides seemd to be blurry. Didn't sleep much, but had a great time!

Day 7-END RUN AROUND CHICAGO-we REALLY didn't want to be trapped in Chicago and environs so we booted it across the border back into Wisconsin. Stayed at a larger-numbered motel chain (between 7 and 9) and watched public-access political opinion panels from Kenowsha (should smoking be banned in restaurants and bars? Didn't we go through this about 10 years ago?) Saw a sign for the greatest recreational facility in the world: the "Bong Recreational park". Oh yeah.

Day 8-END RUN AROUND MINNEAPOLIS-again, trying to avoid the freeway experience. I think I understand why some people go "postal" if they have to deal with that every day of their lives. Stayed in St. Cloud for the night, home of the St. Cloud River Bats (great logo, a baseball bat with little bat wings. I thought I could hear people singing " tra-lah-tra-lee-hocus pocus")

Day 9-home again home again. The border crossings were acually quite civilized going both ways. Driving at 60kph in the city felt like I was walking slowly. Home safe and ready for next year!