Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Celebrating Halloween with some Mexican lobby cards

About a dozen or so years ago, there was a guy on eBay who had bought a massive collection of Mexican lobby cards and was systematically selling them off via auctions and also through his storefront.

I didn't have a lot of play money back then, but I still managed to acquire around fifty of them over a two-year period, with close to half being of horror variety. After having been packed up for almost the last three years, I have recently un-boxed them in the hopes of finally figuring out the cheapest way to frame them (which will probably be to make them myself). With their recent unearthing coming so close to Halloween, I figured I might as well celebrate the holiday by tossing all these south of the border scaries in to one post and call it good.

I have a terrible habit of assuming that everyone always knows what I'm talking about, so in case anyone out there isn't familiar with what a lobby card is, the simplest way to explain them is that they were used in theatres to advertise whatever was currently playing.

Most lobby cards from around the world usually measure 11" x 14", while in Mexico they were usually at least 13" x 17", with it being not uncommon for them to be a little bigger than that.

The biggest difference between the cards produced in Mexico, and those that were used everywhere else, is the colorful and often lurid original artwork (created by some of Mexico's top graphic artists) that was used to attract moviegoers.

There are some lobby card/poster collectors out there who don't particularly care for the offerings from Mexico, some of their reasons seem valid, while others just seem asinine. Personally speaking, I prefer Mexican lobby cards to everywhere else's, simply because of the wonderful artwork. I also like that even though they are more scarce (less theatres) than, say their U.S. counterparts, they can still be had for much cheaper prices thanks to the lack of collectability.

In an effort to save some time, most of the cards shown in this post will be done so with very little to no commentary, otherwise this one would have taken me forever to put together. Also, a quick note regarding the pictures -- being the size that they are, they obviously can not be scanned, so I did the best I could with a cell phone camera (my only option). Unfortunately some of the colors came out a bit muted, and there is some occasional blurring, but overall the images did turn out a little bit better than I had expected.

Alas de Noche aka Nightwing

El Germen de las Bestias aka Children of the Damned

La Isla del Gran Caiman aka The Great Alligator

La Maldicion del Monasterio aka The Bloody Monks

PiraΓ±a aka Piranha
When I bought this card, the seller neglected to mention that this...
... was on the back. So after I sent him a message about it, he ended up sending me another one...

... which worked out alright, as the still contained on this card was much more to my liking anyway.

La Pavorosa Casa de Usher aka House of Usher

Cocodrilo Asesino aka Killer Crocodile

La Novia del Gorila aka Bride of the Gorilla

El Mundo de los Vampiros
To my knowledge, this is the only card in the bunch from a film that was actually made in Mexico.

El Lobo Ataca
Since it's been a while since I had seen these, I forgot that I had two which were, and apparently still are, a mystery to me. This is one of them, as I have no idea what movie this is. I suspect that the "Rex Leason" mentioned on the card is actually Rex Lease, but it doesn't appear that he ever made any such picture, so I just don't know. If anyone happens to know of the film, please let me know in the comment section.

Exorcista de Almas aka Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls

El Monstruo de la Laguna Negra
This card has continually stymied me for over a decade now. Every attempt to figure out what picture this is from, has failed miserably. The title of this card is for The Creature from the Black Lagoon, when it was shown in Spanish speaking countries. The problem is, the artwork, even if sensationalized, wouldn't have been used for The Creature. And even more glaring, the still that was used, doesn't come from The Creature. If there were any actors listed on the card, this wouldn't be hard to look up, but there aren't... so at this point I don't really know what else can be done to try and find out what this mystery movie is.

La Noche del Asesino aka El Retorno de Walpurgis  aka Curse of the Devil

El Regreso del Conde Yorga aka The Return of Count Yorga

La Estatua Viviente aka It!

La Maldicion del Vampiro aka El Vampiro de la Autopista aka The Horrible Sexy Vampire

El Reino de las Aranas aka Kingdom of the Spiders

El Exterminio de los Dracula aka The Dracula Saga

La Momia aka The Mummy
Since this was kind of a fun post for me to do, I will probably show off all the rest of my non-horror Mexican lobby cards at some point, as well as my still packed-up considerably smaller collection of U.S. cards.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

TTM Triumph: Jamaal Wilkes

Today's success came on the second attempt, but a player of "Silk's" caliber was certainly worth trying twice.

Referred to as a "perfect player" by the legendary coach Wooden, Jamaal Wilkes was a winner pretty much everywhere he went.

Playing for coach Wooden at UCLA, Jamaal won two national titles, and while there was a key component in the teams record setting 88 game winning streak.

A three time All-Star during his twelve year NBA career, he would win, not only the ROY award during his first season with the Warriors, but also his first championship as well. Best known for his time with the Lakers during the Showtime era, he would win three more championships in 1980, 1982, and 1985. Jamaal is also a member of both the Basketball Hall of Fame, and the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

As always, many thanks go out to Mr. Wilkes for taking the time to sign my card.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Bats In Your Belfry

If I were to have sat down in the last ten years or so, and made a physical list of my most wanted items (that there was an actual realistic chance of obtaining), the 1964 Mattel game, Bats in your Belfry, would have been near the top of that list.

Well, after many years of failed attempts at acquiring one, I am very happy to say that I can now cross at least one item off of that non-existent list:

This is a sight I will never grow tired of, it's just so amazing to finally own one!

There are many reasons why it's taken me so long to finally get this game, not surprisingly, the biggest problem has been the price issue, as these have been know to sell for upwards of $200 -- which is a little rich for my blood. Thankfully the seller of this one, which had been listed as a Buy it Now/Best Offer, accepted my offer. After the shipping price was added to the equation, I ended up paying $75, and $10 of that was in eBay bucks, so in all actuality it only set me back $65.

Another problem has been just trying to find one without any damage, namely cracks on the sides, which is something that seems to be somewhat common (and often not described in the listings). Mine is crack free (remember kids, only dope's do dope!).

While the game is supposed to be for up to four player's, it seems more like a two-player game to me. As both sides of the castle are different, it would seem like you would just have a player on each side.

In case you haven't figured out yet, I took a lot of pictures.

The marble (more on that in a moment) goes in the opening on the left.
You will often see listings for the game without the box, or if it does have the box, it's often somewhat battered. Which isn't all that surprising for a game of this size, that is now over 50 years old. For me, with such solid artwork, I almost wanted the box more than the actual game. The above picture has one of the top flaps open so that you can see the full image.

This is on two of the sides.

One of the concessions I had to make by buying this listing, was that it didn't include the original instructions, so I still don't know exactly how to play the game. The box shows you the basic premise, but it doesn't tell you everything.

View of the top.

My box even has the original price sticker still on it. How cool is that? I know nothing of Mattingly's, I think it might have been somewhere in the Midwest though. If anyone happens to know of the store, I would love to hear about it.

Along with missing instructions, I am also missing three tokens and one marble. It's kind of interesting too that the marble(s) is made out of some kind of heavy metal, since the weight of it was needed to trigger the inner mechanism that launches the bats.

A close-up of one of the bats.

Here's where the instructions would come in handy, as I have no clue as to why the bats have three different point(?) totals on their undersides.

Had I seen these bat catchers as a child, I would have lost my s***! My absolute favorite movie growing up was The Creature From The Black Lagoon, and for anyone that doesn't know, these are molded to look like the hands of Gill-Man (AKA the Creature). I can just imagine my young self carrying one of these around with me at all times. The colors are a lot brighter in person, I just dulled them a little so everyone could see the details. They are also bigger than I thought they would be, they're almost as big as my own hands.

I really wish I would have had this game as a kid, although I probably would have drove everyone nuts trying to get them play with me. And even though I don't have anyone to play with now, I don't mind saying that I have tried the game out more than a few times since getting it, and trying to catch flying hard plastic bats with hard plastic claws isn't as easy as you would think. Plus the inner workings of the castle are set-up in such a way, that the bats don't go flying every time you drop the marble in, so you really have to be ready when it does go off.

The tokens are pretty detailed as well, although again, without the instructions, I don't know how they are supposed to be used.

The backs of the tokens have to two different things written on them, I forgot to get a picture of the other phrase.

There are pegs all over both sides of the castle, that I think might be used to place a player's captured bats on, perhaps winning when all the pegs are full. I will probably have to wait until I get the instructions to find out what purpose the pegs truly serve, so until then...

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A question about Wikipedia

I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes by doing this kind of post, but I've got a question with really no place else to ask it, which is: Has anyone ever added to/edited an existing Wikipedia page?

I ask, because while doing research on a couple of recent posts, I have found multiple bits of information that aren't contained within the person and/or subject matter's Wikipedia entry.

I do have a couple of problems with the site though, so I wonder if it's even worth it for me to try and improve, even in the smallest of ways, a site that I question... not only the business practices of, but also the overall importance of.

And finally, even though it sounds terribly selfish, I also wonder if it would be in my best interest to just keep/use any of said information here on the blog -- especially if it's information that has been uncovered from my own research, information that currently can't be found anywhere else on the interwebs. Like I said, I know it sounds selfish, but it is kind of appealing to think, that this little blog of mine might be the only place to find some small piece of new information... no matter how inconsequential it may seem.

Any thoughts on this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Tales from the Thrift Store vol.2

I posted this particular "find" on Twitter earlier, but seeing as how these are so fantastic, I just had to show them here too:

It's amazing to think that this McDonald's Halloween pail pyramid represents 30 years (1986-2016) of awesomness. I already had five of the nine shown, but for 99 cents each, nobody was getting left behind.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

1948 Bowman Basketball

I've got yet another pair of cards today that had sort of been forgotten about until the recent cleaning up of all my photo/scan folders.

Fred Lewis is probably best known for his coaching stint (1962-68) at the University of Syracuse, where completely turned around the program, elevating it's status from perennial cellar dweller, to legitimate contender. Even though it's been almost fifty years since he left, the winning culture that he created (and still hasn't gotten the proper credit for) is, even now, still evident.

Prior to coaching he had a stellar college career, which started off at Long Island University, and after being interrupted by the second world war, finished at Eastern Kentucky.

Making his professional debut with the Sheboygan Redskins of the NBL (National Basketball League) in 1946, he would go on to win that season's Rookie Of The Year award. He would spend another two years in the NBL, most of it with the Indianapolis Jets, before joining the BAA (Basketball Association of America) to play a season with the Baltimore Bullets. After the BAA and the NBL merged to form the NBA in 1949, Fred signed on to play with the Philadelphia Warriors during the NBA's 1949-50 inaugural season -- which for reasons unknown to me, would also end up being his final season of professional basketball.

Andy Phillip was a standout at the University of Illinois, who like Fred Lewis (and many others), had his college career interrupted by the war. So what he did do? He became a standout in the Marine Corps as well, ultimately serving as a First Lieutenant at Iwo Jima.

After the war he returned to finish his final year of college, before joining the Chicago Stags of the BAA in 1947, for whom he would be a member of for the next three seasons. He moved on to the NBA in 1950, spending the next eight seasons playing for the Warriors, Pistons, and Celtics -- winning a championship with the latter in 1957. Considered a star in the early days of the league, he played in the first five All-Star games, led the league in assists during the 1950-51 and 1951-52 seasons. Mr. Phillip also was the first player to record 500 assists in a season. He is a member of both the Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

And if all that wasn't enough, he also played baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system during his first couple of years of professional basketball. His best season being with Winston-Salem in 1947, where after 298 at bats, he had accrued 88 hits, and 8 HR's while batting .279 (his RBI total isn't available on the Baseball Reference website.

The '48 Bowman set isn't one that I actively chase, but like a lot of other sets, if I come across them and they're cheap enough, I will buy them. Both cards shown here today were $3.50 or less, which is a price I consider too cheap to pass up, especially when using earned COMC credit to pay for them.

Thanks for taking  moment to look at my page.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Don't worry, everyone does it

Such an unfortunate card number for young Mr. Tapia :)

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I'd buy that for a dollar!

Between stores not putting out as much as they used to, and moving to a part of the country that doesn't seem to celebrate the holiday as much as everywhere else, it really seems like it's getting harder and harder to try and find new Halloween decorations that are of interest to me. Even with that being said, I still enjoy the thrill of the hunt, even if I do leave empty handed more often than not.

This season really didn't start of well, it began with trips to multiple different Dollar General's (only because they're so prevalent here), which not surprisingly, yielded absolutely nothing. A couple of them had a decent amount of stuff for sale, the problem was, it was all just crap.

I then tried Walmart, which I knew would be pointless, and it was.

Next up was Big Lots, Ha! Terrible selection.

How about K-Mart? Overpriced and uninteresting.

Hobby Lobby had an almost overwhelming selection, that is if you like glitter on everything.

Target? They're aren't any around here.

All was starting to look lost, until about two weeks ago, when I went in to one of few and far between Dollar Tree's. Aah, finally, a place that gets it! This particular location that I was at had an incredible selection, and of course being a Dollar Tree, the prices were spooktacular (sorry, I had to get that in).

So other than the masks I posted about last week, everything seen here today represents the whole of my 2017 Halloween retail purchases.

These goblets are really fantastic, although trying to find a couple that weren't all scratched up was kind of pain. After seeing these, my mom suggested putting LED tea lights in them, which I intend to try once I get some LED tea lights. I picked up a couple more of these went I back a few days later.

Try as I might, I just couldn't get a decent picture of this raven skeleton, so you'll just have to take my word when I say that it looks far better in person.

This picture of the back came out a little better. It's not uncommon to find these plastic animal skeletons for sale around Halloween time in recent years, but they always seem to be overpriced (in my mind at least), so to find this one for only $1 seemed like a real bargain. This is what you, or rather I, call a "year round decoration".

Standing around 5" tall, and made of nice thick plastic, this ghost has a lot going on for only a $1. He's got a motion sensor, that when activated, sets off not only a sound (song?) that I can't describe in writing (you'd know it though), but also a multi-colored light emanating from within.

They had three different LED paper lanterns available, I got the spider nest, and the pumpkin. I can't remember what the third one was, but it didn't look all that interesting.

Here's a better look at it once it's set up.

And the pumpkin once it was actually set-up. These things are far from perfect, construction wise, but they don't look too bad at night...

My phone doesn't like taking pictures under near dark conditions, but you can still get a general sense of how they look in the dark.

Got a graveyard you need to enclose? Try these nifty fence posts. Coming in packs of two, you've got your choice of...

... bats, or...

... or spiders.
I was bit surprised to see three different jointed cutouts among this year's offerings, as it feels like it has been a couple of years since I have seen any for sale. And of course, I had to buy all three.

And here's the mummy after he's risen from his plastic tomb. To me, he looks more like an androgynous zombie covered in bandages, which is a little disappointing, but there's always got to be at least one thing that doesn't end up looking as good as you thought it would.

The cardboard on these is a little flimsy, which means that they appear to bend/crease easily, so I had to do a bit of digging to find a couple that weren't damaged. On the plus side though, they are around five feet tall, so they do create somewhat of a presence.

At the time I took all these pictures, I hadn't opened the reaper skeleton yet, but you can still get an idea of what it looks like from the image on the package.

All three cutouts were on the same hook/rod, which meant I hat to take all 40-50 of them off when trying to find the non bent ones. This one was buried (pun?) behind the other two, and once uncovered, I could not believe my eyes when I saw Yvonne De Carlo looking back at me!  It's been two weeks, and I still can't believe the designer(s) of these cutouts would have, in 2017, used her likeness for a decoration.

After a very quick search, I believe this to be the image that was used to get this:

Stunning, absolutely stunning! I picked up four of these, one for year round display, and three as back-ups.

I don't want to take her out of the package until we get moved back to the other house, so here's another grainy picture from the package.

So all in all, this turned to be a pretty decent Halloween haul. Many thanks to Dollar Tree, as they were, at least for this year, my last hope.


Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.