Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Pick N' Grab Christmas

It's Christmas time in Bel Air and the stuck-up attitude of most of it's residents is making Will and Ashley loose their Christmas spirit. That's the premise behind the first season Christmas special from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. All the grown ups seem to have forgotten what the season is all about so it's up to Will to help spread some good old fashioned Christmas cheer. After a quick visit to the Pick N' Grab, Will and Ashley load up on cheapo Christmas decorations and enough lights to make the Banks' residence noticeable from the closest highway. As a result a mob of outraged neighbors shows up at their door in protest against Will and Ashley's festive decor. The episode features a cameo appearance by Evander Hollyfield (year's before Tyson bit off a chunk of his ear), who drops by to put Will in his place after the Prince insults him over the the phone. The episode originally aired on NBC the night of December 10, 1990.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of my all-time favorite sitcoms. The show still holds up and that's probably why we can still catch it multiple times a day on various cable networks.
During the show's run the writers were able to put together some really good Christmas episodes which ranged from the extremely jokey (such as this episode) to the more touching ones such as the episode in which little Nicky is set to have his christening during Christmas time and Will is determined to give him the perfect gift by convincing Boyz II Men to sing at the ceremony.

In the coming days we'll be taking a look back at some of the top Christmas episodes from our favorite sitcoms, but let's Kick things off with The Fresh Prince of Bel Air's episode # 15: "Deck the Halls".

If you'd like to catch this episode on T.V. tune in to Nick at Nite Friday December 19 @ 3:00 A.M. or TBS on Tuesday December 23 @ 9:00 A.M.

Siskel & Ebert review A Christmas Story...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Yule Log with a twist...

The Yule log is a traditional TV program in which audiences are treated to holiday music along with the image of a burning log in a fireplace. It has become a Christmas tradition and its origins date back to 1967 when it was first broadcast on New York's WPIX. The idea was originated by station CEO Fred M. Thrower, who was inspired by an animated Coca-Cola commercial a year earlier which featured Santa Claus at a fireplace. Thrower considered the idea of the yule log as a televised Christmas gift to those residents of New York city who lived in apartments and homes without fireplaces. In 1994 we got a special variety on the Yule Log tradition thanks to Mtv and its lovable slackers. Here it is for all to enjoy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas in Hollis

Originally released back in 1987, RUN DMC's Christmas in Hollis is one of the greatest Christmas music videos ever. The song was included on the 1987 A Very Special Christmas album, the first in a series of compilations to benefit the Special Olympics. The video is a great example of what made music videos in the 80's so much fun, it actually has a story and it plays like a short film. Plus the performers don't take themselves too seriously, unlike the over the top performance music videos we get nowadays which have no story elements to them and are nothing more than self gratifying junk. I love the look of the video, even the cheesy FX work for Santa's sleigh flying across the sky. Santa's control room with the Simon game used as a naughty or nice switch is awesome. The old school video composites and the colorful production design instantly take you back in time to the late 80s. Here it is in all its glory.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Christmas Story Gift Guide

It wouldn't be Christmas time without Ralphie Parker and company. "A Christmas Story" has truly become a classic over the past quarter of a century, gaining in stature and fame with each succeeding year. To celebrate the film's 25th anniversary tons of licensees have put out a wide assortment of toys, collectibles, and memorabilia featuring the film's memorable characters. Here's a run down of some of the best gifts you'll find this season for the "Christmas Story" fan on your gift list.

Here's where it all began, in the writings of Jean Sheperd. This edition of "A Christmas Story" gathers together the gems of autobiographical humor that Jean Shepherd drew upon to create this enduring film. You'll find young Ralphie Parker’s shocking discovery that his decoder ring is really a device to promote Ovaltine; his mother and father’s pitched battle over the fate of a lascivious leg lamp; the unleashed and unnerving savagery of Ralphie’s duel in the snow with the odious bullies Scut Farkas and Grover Dill; and, most crucially, Ralphie’s unstoppable campaign to get Santa—or anyone else—to give him a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle. Even if the whole adult world is telling him, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid”?

The pieces that comprise A Christmas Story, previously published in the larger collections In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories, come together perfectly to become an irresistible piece of Americana, quite the equal of the film in its ability to warm the heart and make us laugh.

Warner has released a new ultimate edition of the film on both DVD and Blu-Ray. The discs themselves are the same as previous releases. No new special features here, but what you do get is a tin chock full of goodies including a recipe book inspired by the film, cookie cutters, and an apron with the film's logo.

The Blu-Ray edition comes with a strand of the infamous leg lamps from the film.
If you don't yet own the film this is the perfect edition to bring home.

The Parker family is probably one of the most memorable families we have ever met in the history of cinema. Now you can recreate your favorite scenes from the film this Holiday season with these highly detailed and beautifully sculpted figures from the collectibles toys experts at NECA. Available as a set including the entire family or as individual pieces.

You can also find a figure of Flick with his tongue attached to the tree just like in the movie.

The notorious piece of home decor that almost tore apart the Parker family is now available to own as a 20 " desk lamp. Made by the folks at NECA with a great deal of attention to detail. This lamp is the closest to having the real deal without putting down hundreds of dollars for the specialty limited edition full sized replicas.

What better stocking stuffer than this tin full A Christmas Story band-aids? Three different designs are included.

It seems like there is a monopoly game for every popular film or TV franchise that has ever existed so it makes total sense for Ralphie and the Parkers to join in the fun. If you still don't own any version of Monopoly this is the ideal one to get for this holiday season.

Available by the truck load at your local K-Mart is this wonderful gigantic tin chock full of delicious cheap pop corn. The tin is very durable and you can definitively keep it after eating all the corn to store your favorite "A Christmas Story" collectibles. Includes butter, cheddar, and caramel pop corn.

Playing cards are always fun and if they feature Ralphie and company then they are probably the perfect stocking stuffer. 2 decks are included inside the tin featuring black and white images straight from the film as well as Parker family portraits.

Why wait for Christmas every year to spend time with the Parkers? Now you can have them on your wall all year long with this 2009 wall calendar featuring multiple stills from the film. Available now at your local bookseller.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Christmas Story: 25th Anniversary Celebration

"Only one thing in the world could've dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window..."
-Ralphie Parker

It's been 25 years since Ralphie and the Parker family first made their way into theaters and moviegoers hearts. Curiously enough "A Christmas Story" was not a financial hit during its initial theatrical release. Far from it actually. Over the past two decades multiple broadcasts of the film during the holiday season have turned it into a Holiday tradition, just like it happened with "It's a Wonderful Life" many decades earlier. This weekend, about 4,000 people are expected to visit a convention celebrating the film's 25th anniversary in Tremont, Cleveland -- where the Parker family house still stands. The event will feature actors who starred in the movie, screenings of three documentaries about the film and the original 1938 fire truck that drove to the rescue in the tongue-frozen-to-the-flagpole scene.

The original fire truck used in "A Christmas Story," a 1938 Ford La France pump truck, gives movie fans a ride around the Tremont neighborhood Friday.

The story of Ralphie and his longing for the perfect gift (an official Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock) has become a staple of the Holiday season for countless families. It wouldn't be Christmas time without at least one viewing of the film. Many of us love watching the film so much we leave the TV tuned to TBS all day long during Christmas day when the cable network plays the film for 24 hours non stop. To celebrate the 25th anniversary TNT will be airing the film this coming Wednesday and Warner home video has released a DVD box set filled with goodies like a recipe book and cookie cutters, as well as a Blu-Ray edition with a bonus string of lights in the shape of the notorious Leg lamp.

A Christmas Story House, now restored to its movie splendor, is open year round to the public for tours. Directly across the street from the house is the official A Christmas Story House Museum, which features original props, costumes and memorabilia from the film.

Also this holiday season a lucky fan and his, or her family can spend Christmas eve and morning at the Parker home thanks to a special auction through Ebay Giving Works, with all the proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Charity Project. Be sure to visit us later this weekend for our complete guide to the best gifts for the "A Christmas Story" fan on your list this holiday season.

Toys for Tots

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the partnership between Toys R Us and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. New, and unwrapped toys can be donated now through December 7 at all Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores nationwide. Monetary donations will be collected at all stores and online ( through December 24. If you want to learn more about the Toys for Tots campaign or to find more drop off locations in your community please visit their site here.

Many of us are very fortunate and will have everything we need and so much more this Holiday season. There are many families that won't be able to put toys under the tree this year, but we can all help out. You can buy new toys to donate or give extra packaged items from your collection. Please help out in bringing joy to a child in need this Christmas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Nostalgia Factory Christmas 2008

Hope all of you dear readers have had a wonderful Thanksgiving day with your loved ones.
Let's make sure we don't forget the true meaning of this day and the holiday season, and let's take a moment to give thanks for the many blessings in our life. The Holiday season has officially begun and we will be posting tons of articles on our favorite Christmas movies, music, and traditions. We'll also be looking back at some of our favorite Christmas memories, and our first installment of the annual Nostalgia Factory gift giving guide. We'll also let you know about some pretty amazing organizations you can lend a helping hand to this season in true Christmas spirit. Hope you can join us in the celebration and may this season be filled with joy and peace to us all.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving airs Tonight!

The ABC Television Network will celebrate the start of the holiday season with the classic half-hour animated Thanksgiving-themed PEANUTS special, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, created by late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, airing tonight at 8:00 P.M. A special bonus cartoon from Charles M. Schulz, This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers, will air with the PEANUTS classic. In the special, history comes to animated screen life in a captivating and informative program about the Mayflower voyagers. In the 1973 special, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown wants to do something special for the gang. However the dinner he arranges is a disaster when the caterers, Snoopy and Woodstock, prepare toast and popcorn as the main dish. Humiliated, it will take all of Marcie's persuasive powers to salvage the holiday for Charlie Brown.

In This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers, the year is 1620. After 65 grueling, sea-tossed days, the Pilgrims are in view of America's shores -- and Charlie Brown and the Peanuts crew are with them as they experience firsthand the lifestyle of the early settlers and celebrate the first Thanksgiving. The specials were executive-produced by Lee Mendelson and created and written by Charles M. Schulz. Bill Melendez is the producer and director and Vince Guaraldi is the music composer.

Remember you can also get the newly remastered versions of all 3 classic Charlie Brown Holiday specials on DVD from Warner Home Video.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WKRP: Turkeys Away!

Probably the most popular episode of "W.K.R.P. in Cincinnati" was their first season Thanksgiving episode in which a publicity stunt featuring a turkey giveaway goes terribly wrong. The entire crisis stems from a little misunderstanding regarding what turkeys can and can't do. Even though they are considered birds turkeys can't fly, a fact the staff at WKRP didn't really consider.

Here's a clip of the famous Turkey catastrophe scene featuring ace reporter Les Nessman live from the scene describing the horrors of mass turkey genocide to the listening public.
A classic moment from one of the most underrated sitcoms in TV history. Mr. Carson's last line at the end of the episode is the perfect punchline -- pure comedy genius.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First Look at Leonard Nimoy's Spock in Star Trek

Paramount has just released an exclusive version of the new Star Trek trailer through Ain't it Cool News. The new edit features a brief look at Leonard Nimoy's long awaited return as Spock. To check out the new trailer head on over to AICN.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Star Trek: The Worst of Both Worlds

Feeling deeply disappointed with all the latest Trek comics from IDW I decided to spend some time revisiting some of the older DC Comics adventures from the 80s and 90s.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover how well so many of these storylines hold up. One of my favorite tales from the Star Trek The Next Generation comic series was published as a 4 part extravaganza leading up to the book's 5oth issue.

The story aptly titled "The Worst of Both Worlds", shows us what might've happened if the Federation had not been able to defeat the Borg during the battle of Wolf 359 in the TNG 2 part episode "The Best of Both Worlds". During a mission that takes Picard and company back to the scene of their past confrontation with the Borg, a mysterious anomaly sends the Enterprise to an alternate universe where the events of Wolf 359 played out differently and the crew was never able to rescue Picard from his Borg captors. Locutus and the Borg proceeded to defeat Starfleet at Wolf 359 and then made their way to earth where they have assimilated a great deal of humanity and turned Starfleet headquarters into the central hub of operations for their hive.

Since Picard is still Locutus in this alternate universe, the Enterprise crew in this reality is led by Captain Riker and his first officer is none other than the two timing Commander Shelby, whom you might recall tried very hard to take over Riker's position in the "Best of Both Worlds". She's still up to her old ways, but she's even more aggressive since things have gotten pretty desperate for these people. Shelby is planning a mutiny behind Riker's back and could potentially jeopardize a last ditch effort by him and the crew of the prime universe Enterprise who have agreed to help him in a risky attempt to retrieve Locutus from the Borg.

This is a big plot driven epic that works so well simply because it never looses sight of its characters. Some very effective scenes feature alternate universe Geordi unable to work alongside prime universe Data since in this reality the android was destroyed in the fight against the Borg, and Geordi can't deal with the pain of seeing an alternate version of his long gone friend. Another highlight is a subplot with alternate universe Miles O' Brien who has lost both his wife Keiko, and their daughter Molly to the Borg. When he comes aboard the Enterprise from the prime universe he gets to see the family he lost alive and well. Their presence drives him to a desperate act in the final issue of the tale. Things get even more exciting when the crew infiltrates Starfleet command where we get to see a lot of Borg action. The sequence features various panels filled with Borg drones working on their human victims.

The artwork is top notch and writer Michael Jan Friedman has a pretty good understanding of these characters. This tale could've easily been filmed as another two part cliffhanger for the show. The only thing that would have made that impossible is the scale of the story, which would have been impossible to achieve on a TV budget. The great thing about the comic book format is that the writer has no budgetary limits imposed on his creativity. This tale utilizes the format perfectly and there is nothing here that makes you feel you are reading something that doesn't hold up to its source material.

If you are just as disappointed with IDW's Trek related books as I am then I highly suggest you stop spending your cash on those and instead pick up GIT's Star Trek Complete Comic Book Collection on DVD where you can find the entire DC Star Trek TNG run along with every Trek comic ever published (excluding the IDW stuff). You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Playmates toys returns to the final frontier...

One of our all time favorite toy lines here at the Nostalgia Factory is Playmates' Star Trek Universe collection which ran from the early to late 90s. This toy line was massive and it covered all the shows and most of the movies. Not only did we get some great looking action figures but we also got role playing toys, ships, and even playsets. For 2008's Star Trek relaunch Playmates toys is back as the master toy licensee for the film. Today multiple online retailers, including the fine folks at big bad toy store revealed the full lineup from Playmates and many have already started taking pre-orders. The first wave of toys should be available in late March, even before th film hits theaters, with a second wave in September to coincide with the film's DVD release.

Here's a breakdown of some of the plastic goodness we'll be getting:

3.75" Action Figure line: These are sized just like the Star Wars, G.I.JOE, and Indiana Jones action figures. They include multiple points of articulation and accessories. The first batch includes:
  • Kirk in Enterprise outfit
  • Spock in Enterprise Outfit
  • Prime Spock (Older Spock played by Leonard Nimoy)
  • McCoy in cadet outfit
  • Sulu in Enterprise outfit
  • Uhura in Enterprise outfit
  • Pike in Enterprise outfit
  • Nero
  • Chekov in cadet outfit
  • Scotty in Enterprise outfit
Ships and Playsets: The ships will feature lights and sounds and will each come with a display base while the playsets are for use with the 3.75" action figures. The initial assortment includes:

  • Starship Enterprise
  • The Narada (Nero's ship)
  • Enterprise Bridge Playset (with Kirk action figure included)
  • Transporter Room Playset (with Scotty action figure included)
Playmates will also be releasing two lines of deluxe figures. One at the 6" size and another one at 12". The role playing accesories asortment will include a communicator, tricorder, phaser, phaser tag game, communicator walkie talkies, and utility belt. We're very excited about these and can't wait to see some images soon. In the meantime let's look back at some classic commercials from Playmates earlier Trek products. Set a course for the mid 90's...Engage!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New and upcoming Trek gear...

A big part of Star Trek fandom is collecting memorabilia from our favorite shows and films. For some fans its comic books and action figures, for others autographs and authentic props, and for a few its pretty much anything and everything Trek related.
As we get closer to the May 8th release of the new film more and more items will be hitting the marketplace. It seems we've had a bit of a Trek merchandise drought over the past six years or so, but things are looking up. Here's a look at some of the items available now and a couple of others to keep an eye out in the coming months.

The Star Trek complete comic book collection from GTI is an amazing item and a must have for any fan. It includes every single Star Trek comic book ever published (with the exception of the current IDW series) in convenient PDF file format. There are literally hundreds of issues here covering every TV show and most of the movies. I've had this for a few days now and can't even begin to tell you how much fun I'm having revisiting some of my favorite stories as well as finally getting to read tons of issues I was never able to get my hands on. For less than 50 dollars you get over 500 complete issues. When I say complete I really mean it. These even have the original ads and letters sections from each issue. Highly recommended.

All 79 episodes of the original series remastered are now available on DVD featuring all new visual effects and a ton of clean up and audio remixing. The image quality on these episodes is stunning. Many fans have been pissed off about the new visual effects sequences, but as long as the classic episodes are still available with their original opticals I don't mind the tinkering. The first season was released on High Definition on the HD DVD format right before its demise. Paramount has not announced any plans for a Blu-Ray release, but it can't be far off. In the meantime all 3 seasons are available on standard definition DVD and they look glorious.

Remember those old Mego dolls (I mean action figures) from way back when? Well Emcee toys has brought them back. Perfect replicas of the original figures have been released featuring the crew from the USS Enterprise and some of their most dangerous foes. They come in vintage styled packaging with a resealable clam shell, so you can take them out to explore strange new worlds and then pack them up again for display. A replica of the original bridge will be released in January.

Just in time for your next away mission comes the phaser and communicator 2 pack from Diamond Select, featuring two highly detailed replicas you can play with. These are just way too much fun to keep sealed away. They feature tons of lights and sound effects straight from the show's sound effects library.

If you have a friend or family member who is just getting into Star Trek (and after the new film comes out I'm sure many of us will) then this might be the perfect gift for them this holiday season. If you are a long time fan there's nothing new here for you, but for the uninitiated this is the perfect companion as they begin to make their way through the Star Trek universe. Think if this as Star Trek for dummies. Tons of images and quotes from multiple episodes and movies accompany all the text with a very clean layout.

The Star Trek PEZ collector's set includes PEZ dispensers featuring the entire crew of the Enterprise from the original series. You also get a bonus dispenser featuring the ship itself.

Coming Soon:

Next month Round 2, will be distributing several previously released starship model kits under the AMT and Polar Lights brands. First up will be a re-issue of the classic AMT 1/650 scale model of the TOS USS Enterprise, featuring a new more accurate mold. It will be available in either a box, or metal tin.

This replica of the original series tricorder has awesome written all over it. Should be as highly detailed as the Phaser and communicator already released by Diamond Select. It will also feature lights and sounds straight from the show. Available in December.

The fine folks at Art Asylum and Diamond Select have delivered some of the best looking Trek accessories and ship replicas ever. Continuing their line of space craft from the Trek universe they will be releasing the USS Enteprise-D from Star Trek The Next Generation featuring lights and sounds straight from the show and including various lines of dialogue by the good captain himself Jean Luc Picard. Available early 2009.

Even though Star Trek 4 was one of the highest grossing Trek films ever it never saw a line of action figures produced. Art Asylum and DST will soon be filling that gap in our collection with their upcoming release of Kirk and Spock as seen during their visit to 1980s San Francisco.
Available Spring 2009.

Also in 2009 expect a full line of figures and accessories inspired by the new film courtesy of Playmates toys, as well as a 4 issue comic book prequel from IDW, a line of radio controlled flying ships from Tyco RC, Scene it and 20 Questions games from Mattel, and much more.


Related Posts with Thumbnails