Thursday, October 28, 2021

Haunted Memories

 I'm doing this post a little early because I want it to be up a couple of days before Halloween. Today I (sort of) have a couple of items from my youth. I say "sort of" because I actually found examples online and made my own. You can do that with printed paper stuff, if you don't mind tol much that it isn't original.

The first item is a poster released by Scholastic Books in the early 1970s. You could order books from a newsprint flyer that the teacher would pass out ever so often. I LOVED ordering books, and actually still have a couple of them. The poster, however, is long gone. So, I finally found an example online and:

There it is, in all it's purple glory! I have it hanging on the wall in my office. It's actually much smaller than the original, being the size of a regular piece of copy paper, but it works for me. 

Why do I like it so much? I think it catches a feel for that time when I was a kid when haunted houses were very possible. The whole country had gone through the Monster Madness of the 60s, and this was a great combination of funky poster and chilling subject.

Interestingly, if the photo was printed normally, it would be actually charming. It's the purple and black that push it into the Twilight Zone. 

Next, we have something that I looked for for years and could never find. I actually started to think I had dreamed it. A little backstory (cue wavy lines across the screen).

When I was in third grade, I had just moved from Denison, Tx to Garland, Tx. In my new town they had a Jack in the Box fast food place. It was actually in the shape of a big box, and yes, you talked into a clown to order.

It was near Halloween (1972) and they were giving away a picture of a haunted house printed on heavy card stock. It had strips that fed through the sides that would make ghost, ghouls, (and, strangely, fast food). move past the windows. I really wanted one for some reason, and one night when we were going through the drive-thru, by golly I got one! It looks like this:

Note the scary fries in the bottom right window. Spooooooooky! Actually, all of the windows and doors open, so it's easy to see how these would get worn out pretty quickly. 

I found this one on a blog called andeverythingelsetoo.blogspot. I looked it up when I was writing this and was surprised to see that it's still going strong. There seems to be a ton of posts on horror comic books, Halloween decorations, and even monster models. I'm pretty sure I could get lost down that rabbit hole pretty easily. 

Anyway, I remember taking my Jack in the Box Haunted House to school and being the coolest kid there! (Or so I thought). 

As far as my new one, I printed it out on card stock and used an exacto knife to cut everything out. I'm happy with it.

So there you go! Sometimes the treasure you seek ends up being digitized...which makes things easier. 

Happy Halloween!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Attack of the Gremlins!

 In 1970, AMC launched one of their most controversial cars ever; the Gremlin! It was a car you either loved or hated. It looked as if someone had taken a rather plain mid-sized sedan, and lopped the back off of it. To heal the wound, a hatchback was grafted on. In actuality, that was pretty close to the truth.

As a kid, I tended to love them. They were quirky and, if equipped with the optional V8 engine, quite fast. They are often seen as AMC's version of the Ford Pinto or the Chevy Vega, but I think they hold their own.

Of course, Hot wheels wanted to get into the fray. In the decade of the 1970s, they released three models based on the quirky Gremlin. Here they are...

In the front, we have a spectra-flame yellow "Open Fire" from 1972. Mattel made the Gremlin even stranger by adding a second set of front wheels, I suppose to support that massive engine. This car was only around for one year, and can be pricey. I honestly think if they had stayed closer to the actual car, it would be worth more.

Next, we have a green enamel Gremlin Grinder. It was released in 1975. This is one I had as a child, and it's my favorite of the three. It is, in reality, a rather accurate representation of the high performance Gremlin X. Of course, the engine is wonderfully oversized and fun! The whole thing has a good bit of heft to it, so it's a fast runner. 

In the back, we have the red enameled Greased Gremlin from 1978. By this time, the poor little Gremlin had been chopped and modified into a dirt track racer. It's probably my least favorite of the three, but it's still fun. 

It's important to note that the Open Fire and Gremlin Grinder are Redline cars, while the Greased Gremlin is a Blackwall car. The 70s were the last decade of Redline wheels (although many have been rereleased). 

If given the chance, would I actually drive a real AMC Gremlin? I think I would be proud to! Especially the X!

By the way, there was even a Levi's Jeans Gremlin. The seats and interior where all Levi-s branded denim. They don't seem to demand much more money than typical cars, so arguably the promotion value wasn't very lasting. 

But, for now, I will be satisfied with my little Gremlins. They live proudly in my display case where I can see them any time I like.

Until next time keep searching for treasure!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Tale of a Film Star

This past Thursday my wife and I went on a walk around the neighborhood. We happened to come upon a garage sale, and, being good neighbors, took a look around. 

The home owners were a very young couple who were selling the type of general brick-a-brack that one finds at these types of sales

 And then I spotted a white box with some camera equipment. I asked how much they wanted and after a brief discussion between them as to whose grandfather had owned it (they both thought it was the other's grandfather. They never really agreed on where it came from) they came up with the priestly price of 25.00. 

I have a couple of Yashica cameras already and I've always been impressed by their quality. The lenses are particularly good. I own an SLR FX 3, and a TLR Yashica Mat 124 mid format camera. This new camera would complete my trio!

I had no cash on me, but I walked home and soon returned and traded for the box. The box contained more than I thought! Here is the tour...

This is a Yashica Electro 35 GSN. It's a rangefinder camera that was made from the mid 60s to the mid 70s. This one is a later one that was purchased new in 1980.

A closer shot shows the UV filter. The camera is dead mint and looks as if it was hardly used. When I first looked at it I wound it and discovered it had film in it. I rewound it and gave it to the sellers.

Interestingly, it came with this close-up attachment. This is a pretty rare piece and typically sells for more than I paid for the whole box. Everything came with the original boxes and instructions.

This is the leather pouch the close up attachment is stored in.

It came with this Vivitar flash unit. Interestingly, this unit is no longer recommended for electronic cameras because the hot shoe attachment draws so much current that there is a chance it can damage the camera. I have other flashes I can use, however, and other non electronic cameras that can use this flash. By the way, the batteries were removed from everything before they were stored. 

Again, everything came with its original manual.

This is the box for the UV filter that is on the camera. It has the plastic storage disc inside.

Even though this is an automatic camera, it never hurts to know what your light conditions are. This light meter was included.

As was the box and manual, of course.

Speaking of manuals, here is the camera manual. Everything, even the paper manuals, is in mint condition.

Here we have a cable release and a photography book. Again, perfect condition.

These are the misc. manuals and receipts.

Here is the other side of the baggie.

I added up the prices the original owner paid and it came out to over 260.00. That was a chunk of change in 1980. It makes me a bit sad that everything looks like it was never really used. This was really wonderful equipment.

But, you know what? It still is! And I'm going to make sure it gets used and appreciated! After the next 40 years it might not look in as great a condition, but it will have stories to tell!

Heck, I'm even thinking about buying an enlarger...

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!


Monday, October 11, 2021

Discs in the Attic: Classic Fan DVDs

 As I was rearranging my DVDs (yes, I still have and love my DVDs) I ran across a couple of titles that I enjoyed quite a bit, but that are now "vintage" in that they were each produced over 10 years ago. So, I dusted them off (literally) and snapped some pics. 

The first is the disc that leads off the post; The Secret Tour of Disneyland. This was a father/ daughter project that grew out of a school assignment into something really special. So special, in fact, that I've watched it quite a few times. 

Even though now some things are out of date, it's still a very fun trip around Disneyland. Lauren (the MC) does a great job and thanks to her dad's video editing skills, pops into attractions and places she normally couldn't.

It's totally fun and they came out with a second edition a year later, with pretty much the same content but with 16:9 screen ratio. There are a few updates in the facts, I hear, but I don't have that edition so I can't speak to that. 

I'd like to get the second edition, but Amazon shows just one 199.99. As much as I like this DVD, I don't like it that much. 

Oh, here's the back of the case:

Here is my next re-discovery:

Disneyland Dream is a completely charming story of the Barstow family's trip in 1956. They won the trip through a Scotch Tape contest. It really was a dream come true!

The original film was shot and narrarated by the father, Robbins Barstow. It is as campy and wonderful as any home movie ever made, with silly effects and random memories of the adventure. You can tell this family was beside themselves with excitement, and Disney rolled out the red carpet for them!

Full disclosure: you can see the home movie on YouTube, but I don't think you can see the 20 minute special feature "The Making of Disneyland Dream." In it, the family adds memories from 53 years later. 

The film was inducted into the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress, so it really does have historic merit. But, mainly it's fun. By the end you feel like a lucky Barstow yourself!

Oh, here's the back of that DVD:

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't have any copies left. You might check on eBay for either of these titles. I could have, I guess, but I was already a day late on the post...

So, hop on those interwebs and keep searching for treasure!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Snoopy Time!

 This week I have an item that I picked up fairly recently. I like watches, and I like Peanuts (and Disney). Probably the coolest Peanuts charscter is Snoopy. And the coolest Snoopy is, of course, the World War I Flying Ace!

Charles Schultz said that the idea came to him when he saw his son playing with some toy bi-planes. Adding a flight cap and scarf to America's favorite beagle completed the transformation. 

Of course every hero needs a foe, and obviously Baron von Richthofen was the right choice. "Snoopy and the Red Baron" instantly became a national sensation. They were featured as models kits, board games on albums, on shirts, and on watches.

One such watch was the Timex Snoopy and the Red Baron watch. It looks something like this:

The watch is smallish, being a kid's watch. Probably the most distinctive feature is that instead of a sweep hand, it uses a clear disk with two clouds and the Baron himself circling our hero! Ok, they're circling pretty slowly,  but the idea is there.

The back reveals that the watch was made in the same country as Snoopy's trusted (and usually bullet-riddled) Sopwith Camel. There is no "Timex" logo, but a quick check on the ol' interwebs shows they made it. It has 1965 on it, but I'm pretty sure "late '60s" is more accurate. 

The watch is a mechanical wind up model, which apparently confuses sellers, as I have seen mutiple listings saying that it may need a new battery. Mine winds, runs and keeps perfect time.  A pretty good deal for eight bucks!

Speaking of price, a quick search shows prices all over the place, but usually in the 20-30 dollar range. If you want one, be sure to shop around. 

Since I work in an elementary school, I can wear silly watches. I haven't worn this one yet, but I'm sure I will soon. Sadly, though, today's kids may not know who it is. Still, I will!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!