Sunday, April 30, 2023

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 1984 Calendar

I often try to post something for Star Wars Day which is May 4th and this year Return of the Jedi is celebrating its 40th anniversary (it's now in theaters through the 4th). As I write this I've got nothing prepared but I'm going to try and put some more posts and maybe a video or two together that relate to Return of the Jedi. There are a variety of Star Wars related posts on the blog already, though the only previous post that is only about a product from the third movie is this one: Star Wars: Jabba the Hutt Throne Room Model Kit. For this post I photographed the 1984 Return of the Jedi calendar, it was too big to scan so I had to go with photos. It's a little beat up but still in decent condition and it has some hand writing in it, especially in December where someone, likely my sister, appears to have been counting down the days until Christmas. The calendar has some pre-printed notes in it too, like holidays, though it also mentions the dates that principal photography began on each Star Wars film and the birthdays of the primary actors. In the middle of the calendar is a poster of Imperial ships and the 2nd Death Star above Endor.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Year 7: April Update

Since I last wrote an update there has been quite a bit of LEGO news, more Star Wars unveilings, and some video game movie releases. Last month I did a week of Tetris posts in relation to that movie but I didn't get a chance to do anything for the Super Mario Bros. film that is doing quite well in theaters. That was primarily because I was playing too much Horizon Forbidden West which didn't leave me a lot of time, though I also did post the Shigeru Miyamoto interviews in November for his 70th birthday which wasn't too long ago. That wasn't the only recent Mario premiere either as the Super Nintendo World attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood opened February 17th.

Star Wars Celebration took place in Japan last week and you can check out for a recap of all the announcements. There are more movies and TV shows in development, of course, but I'll just mention some toys and include Indiana Jones here. LEGO has two new Star Wars dioramas and three Indiana Jones sets arriving on May 1st. For Star Wars, there is the Emperor's Throne Room ($99.99) and Endor Speeder Chase ($79.99).

The Indiana Jones sets are: Raiders of the Lost Ark's Temple of the Golden Idol ($149.99)  The Last Crusade's Fighter Plane Chase ($34.99), and Escape From the Lost Tomb ($39.99).

Indiana Jones is getting two lines of action figures from Hasbro too. One is a retro line modeled after the Kenner toys from the '80s and the other is a larger deluxe series.

On March 31st, a Sonic the Hedgehog visual novel game was released for free on Steam. I don't have much interest in visual novels and have been busy so I haven't tried it yet but for free I probably will eventually. Sonic already had a LEGO "Ideas" set and now he'll have his own series this August. The sets are Sonic's Speed Sphere Challenge ($34.99), Tail's Workshop and Tornado Plane ($39.99), Amy's Animal Rescue Island ($49.99), and Sonic's Green Hill Zone Loop Challenge ($99.99).

This might be the most images I've posted in an update yet and possibly the most LEGO news but I'm not quite done. There was a new LEGO video game unveiled on March 23rd and it's already releasing on May 19th. LEGO 2K Drive is an open-world racer similar to Forza Horizon with transforming vehicles like those found in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Multiplayer modes include both online and local split-screen. It's being developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K Games. 

The last bit of news I'll mention is that the Electronic Entertainment Expo known as E3 has been canceled this year. Typically taking place the second week of June, E3 had often been a fun few days featuring a flood of new game announcements and trailers. While the pandemic didn't do it any favors, E3 has been shrinking over the years as many publishers opt to do separate setups in Los Angeles or online-only events. Financially it makes sense and with digital game sales increasing there isn't much need to convince retailers to order games which is what E3 originally was. Way back in the '90s the retail trade show was attended by executives from Toys "R" Us, Walmart, and others to determine what the next big game was going to be and they'd have meetings with publishers that competed with one another for shelf space. Over the years E3 became more of a spectacle to garner attention from online media outlets and bloggers, and later influencers, and in 2017 the show opened to the public as it slowly declined in relevance. I'll miss it if this is the end.

Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, April 16, 2023

[YouTube] WTXX-TV Channel 20 (1985/94)

This post is primarily myself reminiscing about my favorite television station as a kid: WTXX-TV Channel 20. Airing in Connecticut, WTXX featured the best cartoons with weekday mornings consisting of Masters of the Universe among others, and after school I was glued to the channel specifically for Transformers and G.I. Joe. During the blocks of cartoons known as "Kidstime Express," a human host along with a puppet, usually T.X. Critter but sometimes another, would introduce the upcoming episode in between each show. T.X. was created by puppeteer Paul Fusco who is best known for designing the character Alf. There was also a Sunday morning show called Kidstime hosted by Mike as seen in the 1985 flyer scan below. Sorry about the poor quality of these screencaps; my VHS tapes are not in great shape, likely because I reused them, copying over shows numerous times.

I mentioned WTXX once before on YouTube when I played the Intellivision game Sharp Shot because one of the mini-games was used for contests on the station that my sister took part in and won. The channel also aired a variety of syndicated shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as movies and some sports broadcasts, including the New York Mets, Boston Celtics, and Hartford Whalers. In 1995 WTXX became a UPN affiliate, which was best known for Star Trek: Voyager, and today Connecticut's channel 20 is a CW station.

This is the aforementioned 1985 flyer featuring the morning and afternoon cartoon lineups, plus the envelope I received it in:

Next is a 1994 contest form and jigsaw puzzle:

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

TSR Hobbies 1983 Booklet

My last toy video was about the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) cartoon board game and now I've got another D&D related post. I was going through a small stack of catalogs to scan yesterday and with the recent movie I figured this would be the best one despite the somewhat recent other D&D coverage. This booklet features of variety of products, including the pen-and-paper games, miniatures, toys, computer games, books, and board games. I do own a few of the toys that may show up here or on the YouTube channel in the future but otherwise I am not familiar with most of the things shown.