Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 2009 PlaidStallions Retro Awards

Yep, I'm doing an awards show, except without the musical numbers (this is a good thing if you've met me), stilted humour and most of all, Billy Crystal. Just thought that instead of talking vintage, I'd point out my favourite nerdy retro treats of the last year.


Star Trek: Oh hot damn did I love this movie, which says a lot because I normally loathe origin stories and the furnace that powers my love for all things Star Trek ran out of coal in the early 1990s.

I don't agree with everything this movie did but it brought back elements of the classic series that I felt were missing in all of the spin offs. The scene of Spock transporting to Vulcan's surface gave me chills, it was Star Trek again.

I'm not sure if this is my favourite Star Trek movie but it's my favourite geeky movie of the year. The other runner up would be Watchmen but I think I'll watch Star Trek more.


Despite what my wife says, I do in fact, read things longer than a diner menu. While the majority of what i read is esoteric, here are two modern books I found captivating.

First is Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror by Michael Mallory. A beautiful coffee table book tribute to one of my favourite subjects, the Universal Monsters.

Lots of wonderful photographs and insight here, I was unable to put it down. If you're a casual fan you're learn a lot, even hardcore fans will enjoy the books crisp layout, strong writing and excellent imagery.

My second favourite book of the year was published in late 2008 but I didn't discover it until 2009, so I say it counts. Wham-O Super-Book: Celebrating 60 Years Inside the Fun Factory is a fun and colourful look into a toy company that I hadn't really given a lot of thought to before.

The effect Wham-o had on our popular culture is truly amazing, these were the people brought the Hula Hoop to America, not to mention super balls, the frisbee, slip n slide and the Super Elastic Plastic bubble. Whether you're a boomer or Gen X this book will bring up happy memories.


I make it a point to not buy many new toys, concentrating on the vintage but this year was hard and it looks like 2010 will be even harder to keep that mantra. The biggest thing this year for me was the Mattel Retro Action line announcement. Which has been very carefully guided by Paul "Dr. Mego" Clarke of EMCE Toys.

They may not be exact Mego replicas but I'm getting eight inch action figures of Hall of freaking Doom members, that excites me so much I'd like to call my seven year old self and tell him the good news. I'm itching for a Plastic Man something fierce.

Arg! Character options just keeps beating me over the head with stuff that my "inner whovian" needs to own. This Cyberman wave pictured here was one of those things.

As a kid I dreamt of a Doctor Who toy line that would encompass all these strange and wonderful characters, so seeing these things makes it impossible to resist.

Next year will see more Doctors (including Sylvester McCoy!), an Ice Warrior, the Master and some other assorted baddies that will be expensive for me.

Finally, the action figure I never thought I'd see also came out in 2009. I was excited and elated that BiffBangPow! chose to do action figures from the Flash Gordon movie in the first place, even happier when they chose to do characters such as Prince Barin and Dale but when they made a death scene variant Klytus, I knew these guys were hardcore.

I was nine when I saw Flash Gordon, it overwhelmed me with it's colour and score, I was instantly in love. One of the most memorable scenes in the film was Klytus's gory death scene, I'm probably a little too happy to have this.


I bought a few DVDs this year but three really stand out for me, the first being Mystery Science Theater 3000: XVI which not only features a little Tom Servo figurine (yay!) but a great selection of movies with honest to goodness extras.

The movie selection is great, the Italian Mad Max inspired "Warrior of the Lost World", the Mexican holiday classic "Santa Claus" (I've been torturing the kids with that one every December), a Bela Lugosi cheapie called "The Corpse Vanishes" and a selection from my favourite season "Night of the Blood Beast" with two versions.

I also have nothing but kind words for the former MST 3K crew's latest DVD "Cinematic Titanic Live: East meets Watts" which is a terrible 70s Kung Fu/Blacksplotation remake of the Defiant ones being riffed on by the masters.

I'll probably never get to see CT live unless they get to Canada (HA!) but I couldn't get over how fun this DVD is, IMO it's their best yet. Digital downloads are only $10 and it keeps them in business.

As I've mentioned earlier on the blog, the fun mid seventies Saturday morning series "The Monster Squad" got released on DVD this year as well.

It's a pretty bare bones edition with nothing by the way of extras. It wouldn't have been that hard to track down some of the cast for interviews but I'm not complaining, it's a dream come true just to have this.

Now if I could only get the Six Million Dollar Man, Man From Atlantis and the Logan's Run TV series on DVD....

Model Kits

While I have to admit to being excited over the Aurora Monster reissues this summer and fall, the big get for me this year was AMT's reissuing of their classic "Mr Spock" model kit from the late 1960s.

I have wanted to put one of these together since I was five and it was a joy to find this just in time to put it under the tree for my son, who prefers Jedi to Vulcans but loves putting kits together with the old man.

And that's it, I hoped you've enjoyed the first annual retro awards, hopefully 2010 will bring new things to talk about. I'll be doing some tastings for Liquor Pig this evening, so tomorrow's Friday Feature may be late and grumpy...

Happy New Year!


rob! said...

Great list! And I too have to admit Star Trek was my favorite movie of the year.

Happy New Year!

chunky B said...

Awesome list! You know I'm going to agree with you on the Star Trek elements of the list!

Hope you have a Happy New Year!

Wings said...

Great list! Awesome winners in all categories! Fun stuff. Happy 2010 to you, man!

John III said...

Hey! What's wrong with dinner menus?? ;)

Dad.. said...

I'm coveting your MST3K set!!! I saw this on Amazon a few months back, but I forgot about it.


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