Haha, not only am I not posting a proper Thanksgiving greeting to you guys, I’m linking to last year’s Thanksgiving message and I’m doing it 2 days late.
I am so f**king lazy. And awesome.
Well, I mentioned on Monday that this week is the Boris Karloff Blogathon over at the awesome blog, Frankensteinia. There are over 100 blogs participating in this event to celebrate Boris Karloff’s 122nd birthday.
This past October, for my Halloween celebration called AWESOME-tober-fest, my theme was Frankenstein and I reviewed the three original Boris Karloff Universal Frankenstein movies; Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein. In each of these, Karloff played the role that he made famous, the Frankenstein monster. All were fantastic movies and, to me, earned their status as classics.
However, after Son of Frankenstein, Karloff did not return to the role of the monster in any Universal motion picture. The fourth Frankenstein movie, Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) featured The Wolf Man’s Lon Chaney Jr as the monster. The fifth movie, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1944) had Dracula’s Bela Lugosi in the monster role. Interestingly, Lugosi was originally offered the Frankenstein monster role in Universal’s 1931 movie but turned it down thinking it was beneath him to play a mindless brute. This rebuttal lead the way for Karloff to take over the role. Glenn Strange would then assume the monster role in this movie, House of Frankenstein (1944) as well as Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and House of Dracula (1945).
So, House would be the third Universal Frankenstein movie to not feature Karloff in the role of the monster, but Karloff did return to star in this movie. And this is the movie I decided to review for the Boris Karloff Blogathon.
So, yes, Universal was able to get Karloff to return to the Frankenstein franchise, but not as the monster. Karloff instead plays the mad scientist, Dr Gustav Niemann. It’s also interesting to note that Universal tried to get Bela Lugosi to reprise the role of Dracula for this movie, but the actor had a last minute scheduling conflict and John Carradine was hired as Dracula instead.
Man, this year has been crazy with pop culture anniversaries. We had the 10th anniversary of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the 31st anniversary of the Star Wars Holiday Special as well as Star Trek the Original Series’ 43rd anniversary. Now, it’s time to celebrate the first sequel to one of my favorite movies of all time, Back to the Future. Yes, Back to the Future Part II turned 20 years old on November 22, 2009.
The original Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies of all time. I saw it over 12 times in the theater the year it was released (1985). The theater by my house played $1.95 movies on Monday nights (as a promotion with the local radio station I-95) and my dad would take my brother and I almost every week. And every week I’d go see Back to the Future again and again. Then when Back to the Future hit VHS, I had my dad go to Blockbuster the day it was released to rent it. I watched it that night, and you can only imagine the moment the final screen on the VHS popped up:
I nearly crapped my pants in excitement after letting out a shamefully, girlish squeal of delight. HOLY CRAP! THERE’S GOING TO BE ANOTHER BACK TO THE FUTURE MOVIE!! My 13-14 year old mind couldn’t comprehend something that awesome. It nearly shut down. What I didn’t know is that it would be another few years before the sequel would be released.
Two very important dates happened this week in pop culture.
First, Back to the Future Part II turned 20 years old. Can you believe it? Back to the Future was one of my favorite movies of all time (if not my favorite) and I loved both of the sequels. Part II was released on November 22, 1989. So happy birthday, Back to the Future Part II! I’ll be sure to have a celebratory article up this week.
The other event is Boris Karloff’s birthday. Today is Boris Karloff’s birthday (122 years old!). Having just gone through AWESOME-tober-fest where the theme was Frankenstein, I was acutely aware that Boris’ birthday was fast approaching. The Frankenstein blog, Frankensteinia, is hosting a Boris Karloff Blogathon this week. Click on over and check out all the cool articles about Frankenstein, Boris Karloff and everything having to do with Mr Karloff. It’s a ton of fun. I’ll also have a review of House of Frankenstein, Boris Karloff’s final Universal Frankenstein movie this week.
On Tuesday I discussed the 31st anniversary of the Star Wars Holiday Special. At the end of the article I promised to look at merchandise having to do with the Holiday Special. Well, that article is now going to be posted in a few weeks on Monkey Goggles instead of being posted here. However, I think I can give you a quick preview of that article right now.
In the upcoming Monkey Goggles article I’ll mostly talk about vintage Star Wars items that have a connection to the Holiday Special. In today’s article, I’ll take a look at a couple modern Star Wars items that have a definite, if not obvious, connection to the Holiday Special. Remember, Lucas hates it, and will not advertise the fact that certain toys have a connection to the special.
So let’s take a look at a few modern Star Wars toys that have their roots in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.
Lucasfilm may not want you to remember it, and many people don’t actually remember it, but Boba Fett, one of the most popular Star Wars characters, debuted in a cartoon segment featured in the Star Wars Holiday Special. That cartoon is considered the only good thing about the Holiday Special by the overwhelming majority of Star Wars fans.
Last year, during the Holiday Special’s 30th anniversary, several versions of an “animated” Boba Fett were released to celebrate Boba Fett’s 30 year anniversary (and also quietly celebrate the Holiday Special’s anniversary). Hasbro released an “Animated Debut: Boba Fett” figure (on the far left) which depicted the bounty hunter in the color scheme from the TV special. It even included the forked staff he uses in the cartoon. No mention of the Holiday Special is on the front of the packaging, but there is a small mention on the cardback about Boba’s debut on the special.
Gentle Giant released a maquette statue (in the middle) also depicting Boba in the cartoon color scheme. The maquette is in a cool, “about to collect a bounty” pose including a dramatically flapping Wookie pelt as if Boba is standing in front of a giant fan.
Finally, Kubrick released a six pack of mini-Boba Fett figures, one of which was in the animated color scheme and they all came packaged in miniature versions of the vintage Star Wars figure cards (on the far right). Those mini-figs are sooooo cute.