Sunday, January 10, 2010

Colouring Book Theatre: Flash Gordon

Colouring Book Theatre is back and I'm happy to announce that for the next two segments we have a guest reviewer (which means I'm still snug in my Sunday morning bed) , here to take us to the world of Mongo is a man who knows the terrain, Jason Lenzi from Bif Bang Pow! will show us the highlights from this classic colouring book:

ADVENTURES OF FLASH GORDON’ Coloring and Activity Book, by Rand McNally, 1979.

Filmation’s ‘Flash Gordon’ animated series from 1979 has a special place in my heart. It was a Saturday morning addiction, and as a kid I collected all the action figures and ships that Mattel put out, and anything else I could get my hands on. When the live action movie came out in 1980 I nearly burst with excitement, only to be profoundly disappointed there were no toys released from it. (It took over 25 years, but I’m proud to say I finally got my ‘Flash Gordon’ movie toys).

I remember walking to the drug store up the street from where I lived, thumbing through this coloring book for about 3 weeks, until I finally got the 60 cents needed to buy the thing. I treasured it, and colored every page and did every activity. Many years later I found a mint version of the book and grabbed it, along with two others I never knew existed. All the artwork is based on the Filmation series, and the ‘activities’ are super cool. Check it out:

Wow! What a Page One shot of Zarkov’s ship, right from the show opening, blasting right out of the book.

Yes, they ARE good friends. Which is why Flash and Dale can share clothes whenever they want.

A Metal Man! How cool is THIS design? I loved these guys, and was always mad they never made them as action figures. Can someone out there please make me a custom?

Look, we all know one of our formative crushes as kids was Ornella Muti as Princess Aura from the FG film. But for my money, THIS is the version of her that got my 9 year old loins burning with desire. And to be frank, isn’t that the most risque’ outfit to make it into the world of children’s animation? (Editor's Note: Just wanted to butt in and totally agree with Jason RE: Cartoon Aura, virtual high five)

Look, when you’re trapped on a strange planet being hunted by an evil despot, you want to make friends and alliances as quickly as possible. Please don’t judge, we have no idea what led up to this scene

Ok, here’s where the activities begin. A game! I mean, no one actually ever released a game for the series, so this had to do. Ok, it’s not exactly RISK, but for a nine year old, it was more challenging than Mahjong.

Ok, come on, now how wicked is this? The other side of this page had four more panels, and when put together, presto! Your very own Big Little book. (Well, with a little help from mom. I couldn’t sew as a kid, could YOU?) I must have had the collecting bug even at nine, because I remember holding off on cutting this out and making it for the longest time, thinking I should buy a SECOND coloring book to keep safe! Ha!

The Big Finish: The Make a Scene-A-Rama. Man, this was the most awesome thing ever. Again, I took my time, but dammit I made this and displayed it for ages. The background also doubled for use with the Mattel figures. This book only confirmed for me that ‘Flash Gordon’ was the greatest show on television, bar none.

I always liked the books that gave you more for your money. Punch Out and Make It books, activity books, Cut Out and Make It’s , etc…, and the ‘Adventures of FG’ didn’t disappoint. The others in the series are more standard coloring books, but this baby is the Holy Grail. And it’s as fresh to me today as it was all those years ago sitting on the rack at Payne Ivy Drug Store.

Thanks Jason for the epic review, check back next week when Jason is going to take a look at the Raiders of the Lost Ark Colouring Book!

Previously reviewed Colouring Books

If you have a colouring book you'd like to guest review, I'd like to hear from you!


JFStan said...

Did anyone else notice that the picture on the cover depicts Flash and his friends wearing what look like PLASTIC BAGS for space helmets!? It's a tragic lawsuit waiting to happen!!

Sam G said...

Wow. They are wearing plastic bags!
Loved the Flash Gordon cartoon as a kid! Never missed it. I can still hear the theme song...

Lady Jaye said...

Is it me, or is the charadesign of Aura like an early version of She-Ra? :)

rob! said...

Wow, that's a lot of entertainment crammed into one book. The cover price was probably, what, a dollar?

Retro Hound said...

I didn't realize there was a Coloring Book Theater. I had a Batman coloring book that I threw away, but I kept the cover. Of course, it'd been used by about a dozen kids.

Ultra Fem said...

This IS awesome! Wish I'd found it when I was a kid!

Arkonbey said...

I so remember that FG cartoon. I really remember seeing it in junior high and realizing that I was watching Princess Aura a lot...

wayne1252 said...

I had the inflatable rocket ship,got it for christmas back then, I loved it, but it had a small hole in it , and my parents took it back, but could not find another one.

Anonymous said...

Man I remember that 'toon AND the book - I loved the spaceship at the beginning. Dude thanks for dragging me down memory lane...


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