Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Why Don't Cereals Have Toys Inside Anymore?

Man, I remember I got one of these toy Starbots in a Kellogg's cereal back in the day. It was the helicopter one. So amazing! Check out the commercial for it!



So when I had kids, and finally got back into sugary cereals, I was completely bummed to find out that there weren’t prizes in any of them—at all! Now, full disclosure: I think I have found a couple cereals with toys in it in the past nine years. And of course I make a big deal about it. I’m like, “Miles, Haley, come! Gather around the cereal box! Let us did for treasure!”

So where my toys at?

As legend tells us, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was the first cereal to offer free stuff around the turn of the century. Oh, wait, not this last century turn, the one before that. Let’s say 1909. That’s when, if you bought two boxes of Corn Flakes, you got The Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures Book. Check it out, the 1909 copy is going for around $80.

Kellogg's Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures

But then Kellogg’s got greedy. I mean smart, and they made it a mail on offer for a dime. A dime, remember those? Like the song “Here’s a dime, call someone who cares.” Updated to “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares.” And now there’s no pay phones. So now it can be like, “Here, borrow my cell phone and call someone who cares.” Actually don’t borrow my cell phone because I don’t care about you. Find your own darn cell phone!

Anyway, this trend really caught on. Check out some of these awesome prizes RealClear.com found:

A record in Ghostbusters 2 cereal. By the way, Ghostbuster cereal was great. But I’m really not sure about the sequel cereal though.

Ghostbusters 2 Cereal with free record

I’m pretty sure I snagged one of these Cap’n Crunch glow-in-the dark circus acrobats. And yes, captains wear four bars on their sleeves, but Crunch doggy dog only has three. So technically he’s just a commander.

Captain Crunch Circus Acrobat free toy

Kellogg’s Muscle cars. Good luck racing those.

Kellogg's Muscle car free toy inside

If this crazy chain in Rainbow Brite doesn’t say 80s. We’ll you get it…

Rainbow Brite cereal free crazy chain

Here’s something for the kids. You can assemble this gun out of a Cheerios box.



And I’m going to end with Mr. T here and his sticker inside. Just because he’s Mr. T. You ever hear the Mr. T GPS. It was great. “Don’t make a right on Elm Street foo!. Stop with the gibber jabber and make a left instead.”

Mr. T cereal

So I says to myself, “Self, what did happen to the toys in the boxes?” Everything I’ve read pretty much points to the fact that the cereal makers got cheap. And giving away free swag can get costly. Adding to the reasons for the demise of toys in cereal is a post on the website ExtraCrispy.com, where I do all my research.

It’s interesting. They say that in 1988 there was a recall of 30 million flutes and binoculars that were in boxes of Kellogg’s cereal because they were a choking hazard. Hey, a 45 record is a choking hazard too if you do it right.

The post also says that back in 1974 the FTC actually banned the TV advertising of so called “premiums” to kids.

But we’re not going to end on a sad note. This is Instantly Dated, baby! Check out this ad from 2013.



That’s right, FTC. Put that minion toy in your mouth and choke on it!

I remember making such a big deal out of pulling this toy out for my son, Miles. It was like we found ark of the lost covenant. Except neither of our faces melted.


Hey, if you're looking for a show where Gen Xers can geek out on retro stuff, obscure content and video production check out the Instantly Dated show on Facebook or YouTube.

And if you're interested in finding out how the sausage is made when it comes to producing TV and online news, check out my book.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Next Game to be Released on Sega Forever: Girl's Garden

You either love or have the new Sega Forever game service that serves up old games to iOS and Android. There’s word on a new upcoming game for the service. So far we’ve gotten Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Kid Chameleon, Comix Zone and Phantasy Star II.

Now, EUROGAMER.net is reporting that Girl’s Garden is set to be released on the service. The game was only released in Japan. The 1984 game’s premise is that your character has to keep her boyfriend straying. So, she’s gotta collect ten different flowers and return them to her boyfriend's house. I’d really love to play this game. Especially since that’s how my wife kept me from straying when we were dating.
I tried to play a couple of these games, but I can’t deal with controlling an old school game on a phone. Luckily, if you’re into this type of thing, you can Bluetooth it. The Star Online has instructions on how you can use Nintendo Switch joy-cons with Sega Forever. Just google “How to play Sega Forever games with Switch Joy-Con controllers” and the world will be your oyster. Or at least some type of seafood.

For the record. It’s been a long time since I held and played with an actual 2600 controller. I mean, playing Yar’s Revenge, I was trying to figure out whether to hold it from the top or the side. I think gripping it with my fist was easier when my hands were smaller.

Small hands I know you’re the one.

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Best Geek / Nerd YouTube Channels

If you like Instantly Dated’s content, then I want to suggest ten YouTube channels that I think you too will love.

Frogpants

Frogpants is the channel that Scott Johnson puts all his shows on, which he calls the Frogpants network. The flagship show is The Morning Stream that he does with co-host Brian Ibbott. These guys are masters of telling masterful stories about their everyday lives in Utah
Scott Johnson & Brian Ibbott

and Colorado, littered with geek culture references. They’re incredibly likeable and their show is kind of the anti morning radio show. That’s because it’s less like a show, and more like two good friends hanging out talking. The show started as a podcast back in 2011.

I also sometimes watch a couple of other Scott Johnson shows. Current Geek focuses on current events for geeks with co-host and trusted tech anchor Tom Merritt. I also sometimes watch Call in Live. In that show, listeners can use their smartphones for something they never use them for: actual phone calls. This program is unique because it’s co-hosted by the brilliant Justin Robert Young.

A lot of the fun of all three of these shows is watching them live and joining in on the chatroom that is called the Tadpool.

Lord Karnage

Classic Game Room's Mark Bussler
Lord Karnage is the YouTube channel name for Mark Bussler’s Classic Game Room show. Mark has probably been doing video game reviews on the Internet longer than anyone, starting back in 1999. His personal, snarky style and affection for woodgrain on gaming devices and Truxton are just a few of the reasons to watch. Watching the show has a homey feeling. And Mark’s love for his fans really shows.

MetalJesusRocks

Metal Jesus
Metal Jesus is probably one of the nicest, most personable YouTubers out there. He worked at video game publisher Sierra On-Line back in the 90s. Many times he brings his friends in to help with the video game reviews. Some of the videos I like most are the ones where he tours his game room and talks about how he produces his videos.

Night Attack

Night Attack
Night Attack is kind of like your two coolest, smartest and geekiest friends got together and decided to do a really raw show live with a chat room. This show is so big that the Diamond Club network spawned from it. Brian Brushwood and Justin Robert Young have a very close-knit community that are always on and always connected, which is called Chatrealm. On DiamondClub.TV, you can watch shows live, or in reruns, with people in the Chatrrealm watching and chatting right along with you. This model truly is the future of media.
Jon Jafari from JonTronShow


JonTronShow

I got turned onto JonTron about a year ago. But he started back in 2010. The shows of his that I’m most into involve him doing a Mystery Science Theater 3000-type commentary over video games and movies. He’s just a brilliant writer and performer.




Cine Masochist

Cine Masochist
If you like B-movies, grindhouse and the like then Cine Masochist is definitely for you. His style is very unique and his love for these movies really comes out as he gushes and hypothesizes. I hope he starts back up producing shows.









The Game Chasers

The Game Chasers
The Game Chasers are a couple of snarky, crude buddies hunting for video games. The editing and higher production value really contributes to why this show is so popular. They’re like the guys that you’ve know since high school, who when you get together with them, you can be yourself, and it’s just like old times.


ArcadeUSA

Willie Culver from ArcadeUSA
ArcadeUSA is Willie Culver’s channel where he does game reviews, playthroughs and talks about board games and toys. Man, does his sincerity and love for all these things come through on his channel. And I want to point out that a lot of what Willie talks about he actually collects and does a show and tell during the videos.


Cinemassacre

James Rolfe of Cinemassacre
You have to respect anyone who can produce a full-length motion picture based on the popularity of one of the YouTube channel’s characters. You also have to respect someone who builds an entire video store in their basement. James Rolfe may be one of the hardest working men in the business and is the star of the Cinemassacre channel. Like Willie, he does a variety of things, from live playthroughs, to B-movie reviews, to video game reviews. He is one of the biggest heavyweight in this niche. But not quite as big as the guy I’m going to talk about next.

PewDiePie

Felix Kjellberg from PewDiePie
Felix Kjellberg (shell-berg) maybe the king of YouTube, but it took him speaking out on how media reports about how much he makes and YouTube injustices for me to subscribe. Maybe I view him a little differently because the first videos I ever saw of his were not him being funny, but instead talking about the things I just mentioned. Now, that he hooked me with those well thought out videos, I’m now hooked on his hilarious monologue videos.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Toys from 1983

It was the Winter of 1983 and your parents just picked up the new Christmas catalog. That means
it was time to get down to business and figure out what toys you wanted. If you were like me, you
would probably have gravitated towards the toys whose cartoons and commercials had been burned into your brain earlier that year.

G.I. Joe was the first action figure entry to lead the Sears catalog that year. In 1983, GI Joe was in high gear with the Headquarters Command Center. Off all the toys I ever opened up, I think this was the memory I treasure most, opening up on Christmas morning. If you got this back in 1983, "excelsior!" For those who weren't that lucky, the epic parent fail for that year was right on the same page as the G.I. Joe toys, the Bi-Level Mountain Fortress set.

Also in full effect that year was He-Man. If you didn’t get Castle Grayskull last year, it was also a must have this year. The epic fail on the same page, Castle Zendo. This cheap castle came with rubber figures. I had this one in addition to Castle Grayskull. Obviously it didn’t get much play.

While we’re on this page of the 1983 Sears catalog, ya gotta give a shout out to Manglors, rubbery people that the manufacturer claimed could be taken apart and reassembled. Yeah, good luck with that. And Crystar, which was based on a comic book, and made by Remco. Definitely one of the coolest looking action figures out there.

This year, the Atari 2600 was still hot, and almost the only video gaming that I was focused on. But there were lots of other choices, like Atari’s new 5200, Colecovision, Intellivision and Coleco Gemini, which could play Atari 2600 games.

So, if I had to do it over again, I probably would have asked my parents to dig deep into their wallets and spring for a Colecovision because of its superior graphics, compared to the 2600.

Another toy I missed, but was always jealous of were these Coleco cabinet-looking portable games. I would drool when kids would bring them to school. I drooled again when I saw one for the first time in decades at the RetroWorld convention back in October in Wallingford, Connecticut.

Take a look at the 1983 Sears catalog and tell me what you got that year, what you forgot existed and what you would have asked for now that you know better.

Well until next time, remember, toys and stuff are great at Christmas. But what’s really important is spending time with our friends and family. To everyone out there. I hope you have a very merry Christmas this year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Star Trek's Scotty in Star Wars Ripoff: Jason of Star Command

So what was scotty from Star Trek, doing on a Star Wars ripoff show? Keeping it real on Jason of Star Command of course. I’m surprised that I never remember this show that ran on CBS from 1978 to 1981. It was actually a spinoff of Space Academy that started its run in September of 1977, about four months after Star Wars hit theaters.

As it turns out, James Doohan ditched the show so he could start filming Star Trek the Motion Picture. Good move, James. When Scotty beamed out, he was replaced by John Russel who was forced to wear blue makeup for his tenure on the show. Apparently blue makeup constitutes and alien.

And last but not least, who was the star of Jason of Star Command? It was actually Craig Litter, famous for saying, “Pardon me. Would you happen to have any Grey Poupon?”

Sunday, December 6, 2015

David Hasselhoff's Lightsaber Battle in the Movie Starcrash

David Hasselhoff, one of my childhood heroes playing the role of Michael Knight. Yes, I was one of those rabid kids who had to have a talking KITT car. I’m pretty sure my dad had beat another father down at K-Mart for it, but I digress.

Years later, I would find out that David Hasselhoff’s coolness extended further into the sci-fi world than I had previously known. The movie is called Starcrash, starring Christopher Plummer and Caroline Munro.

So you get ¾ of the way through this movie, and then all of a sudden David freakin’ Hasselhoff shows up. Hasselhoff is a mean, lean lightsaber-fighting machine in this flick, which is full of very original sets and models, and colorful lighting.

And the movie really pulls out all the stops when it comes to special effects.

On a similar note, my favorite movie is Barabarella for one reason: originality. I mean, a space girl in a universe that looks like it's in a lava lamp, who travels through the stars in a ship that looks like shag carpet! C’mon, that’s movie perfection!

And that’s what makes Starcrash so special. It tries to do everything. And it does so in a very original way. The soundtrack is also amazing. Scored by John Barry, known for the James Bond theme and the Dances with Wolves soundtrack.


And dig this, daddy-o, there’s a Starcrash 2. I didn’t know it existed until now because it was called Escape from Galaxy 3 when I passed it up on video store shelves back in the day.

I’m actually going to pass it up again though. Half the movie is a new set of main characters frolicking around in a forest. And that’s not very sci-fi if you ask me.