Knott’s Berry Farm Thanksgiving Weekend Promo (1979)

Thanksgiving 1979

Scott Baio and “special guest stars”? Did they do a variety act? Hurricane was a uniquely atrocious heavy metal band that you should experience at least once.

* * *

Happy Thanksgiving, all. I’ll be back on Monday to kick off my annual Christmas morning series. If you have a photo that you’d like me to feature, send it over!

Disneyland Space Mountain Hat (1977)

Disney Hat 1977-1

Disney Hat 1977-2

DASA stands for Disney Aeronautics and Space Administration. As I’ve said elsewhere, Space Mountain (Disneyland) opened two days after Star Wars premiered.

The Sony 500U Personal Television (1968)

Sony 1968

Sony 1968-2

“But it’s the earplug that makes being alone and together, at the same time, possible…” It’s a very hollow definition of “together” that becomes hollower as the gadgets proliferate.

You see, the “smart” phone was inevitable.

 

Board Games: Chess II (Ungame, 1978)

Chess II 1978-1

Chess II 1978-2

Chess II 1978-3

What is Chess II?

You follow the rules of standard chess, devise your strategy, develop your tactics and make your move. But your playing piece attacks like a space craft, changing trajectory as it travels.

Here’s how I think it happened. The president of Ungame Corporation was smoking a joint in “the office” (a beanbag-sized section of his studio apartment demarcated by a bead curtain) and said to himself, “Like, hey man, how can I make some money on Star Wars without actually doing anything? I got no money to spend on development, no money for licenses—wait, man, wait, I’ll just make a kind of trippy chess board, call the pieces spaceships, and give one of my buddies some drugs to paint a far-out chess game in outer space…”

Was there a Checkers II? Not as far as I can tell. But there was a Space Checkers (1965), which was used as a prop in several episodes of the original Star Trek. A Space Chess game followed in 1969, hence the folks at Ungame settling on the decidedly unimaginative name of Chess II. Something wrong with Intergalactic Chess?

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Color & Build Castle (A.R.C., 1983)

AD&D Castle 1983-1

AD&D Castle 1983-2

AD&D Castle 1983-3

AD&D Castle 1983-6

AD&D Castle 1983-7

AD&D Castle 1983-8

AD&D Castle 1983-9

AD&D Castle 1983-4

AD&D Castle 1983-5

It’s not this incredibly amazing paper model of Prague Castle from the 1970s, but what is? At least it took some imagination to devise (paper craft combined with poster art), and a lot of effort to complete (you’ll see that our first owner did not get very far). And it’s versatile enough to be gaming-relevant, especially for younger players.

Warduke and friends are here, of course, prime for catapulting. There’s even a page of torture devices!

Battlestar Galactica Poster Art Set (Craft Master, 1978)

BSG Poster Art 1978-1

BSG Poster Art 1978-2

I had this one. Note the coloring hints, especially “These pens contain more than enough ink to complete all the posters in your set.” I call bullshit.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Poster Pen Set (Craft House, 1978)

Close Encounters Poster Pen 1978

Close Encounters Poster Pen 1978-2

Poster pen sets and poster art became popular during the latter half of the 1970s, part of a general arts and crafts surge that included everything from latch hook rugs to paintable figurines. (The oversized, “fine art” coloring books innovated by Troubador Press were an obvious inspiration.) There were poster sets before Star Wars, but Star Wars kicked the format into overdrive, making it relevant and exciting to the emerging geek generation.

(Images via eBay)

Star Wars Screen Print (Pattern Rights, 1978)

SW Fab 1978-2

SW Fab 1978-1

What the holy hell? Luke and Leia are identifiable, if absurd, but everything else is madness. Is that Manhattan blowing up? Is that a red stretch limousine? And why the holy hell are flying saucers sucking humanoids off of the planet with a tractor beam? I want to see this movie.

I don’t see Star Wars written anywhere on the pattern, so it has to be a knock-off. And it’s a brilliant one.

(Images via eBay)

 

The Hardy Boys Mysteries Lunchbox (1977)

HB 1977-1

HB 1977-2

HB 1977-3

HB 1977-4

HB 1977-5

HB 1977-6

Nice colors. I want that van.

(Images via eBay)

Klipsch Promotional T-Shirt Featuring Frodo (Circa 1978)

LOTR Klipsch 1978

LOTR Klipsch 1978-2

A very peculiar item produced and sold (and/or given away) by Klipsch, a loudspeaker company based in the Midwest. We see front and back views of Frodo holding the (fiery?) ring, straddling a Lascala model speaker. `Bullshit’ is written on the back of the shirt—in Dwarven runes!—an apparent reference to the outlandish claims of Klipsch’s overpriced competitors.

The shirt was even modeled in Klipsch promotional materials at the time, as seen below. Wear one of these while driving a Honda Hobbit and I’ll give you a Lord of the Rings key ring to round out the trilogy.

LOTR Klipsch 1978-4

(Images via eBay and the Klipsch forums)


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