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)

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Opening Theme (1977 – 1978)

The theme was written by Glen A. Larson, the creator and executive producer of the show. It’s one of the very best in the medium—haunting, mysterious, and catchy as hell. He also co-wrote the themes for Knight Rider and Battlestar Galactica, among others. (Larson got his show business start in the 1950s as a singer and composer in the Four Preps.) For the third and final season, the format changed (Nancy Drew was dropped and the Boys found themselves working for the Justice Department) and the theme was very unfortunately jazzed up.

I’ve been making my way through Magnum P.I. (another Larson hit) and the The Hardy Boys for the last few months. The shows may be silly at times, and “uncomplicated” compared to today’s supposed “golden age of television,” but I find them cozy, fun, and deeply, refreshingly hopeful.

Battlestar Galactica Prismatic Belt Buckles, 1978

BSG Belt 1978

Galactica Buckle 1978-2

Thanks for the memories, Glen A. Larson.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Flyer (Larami, 1983)

AD&D Flyers 1983

Early in 1984 a group of Wisconsin nerds dressed up in homemade ring mail took several fantasy flyers to the steam tunnels and played “Dungeon Frolf” for two consecutive days and nights. One of the nerds never came back, and it’s Larry Elmore’s fault!

Dungeons & Dragons in Games Workshop’s Owl and Weasel (1975)

Owl & Weasel #5 June 1975-1

Owl and Weasel (February 1975 to April 1977) was the first Games Workshop newsletter, eventually becoming White Dwarf in 1977. The snippet above, from Owl and Weasel #5 (June, 1975), is probably the first time GW co-founder Steve Jackson mentions D&D in print. He hasn’t even played the game yet, but “watched one in progress the other week at the City University Games Club…”

The very next issue, Owl and Weasel #6 (July, 1975), is a “Special Issue” dedicated to Dungeons & Dragons, described as “a sort of free-form fantasy game.” Jackson delves into the game mechanics as he outlines his party’s adventure, and touches on the novelties of the game: “It is non-competitive in that each player is simply trying to further the development of his own character…”; “The beauty of the game is that any decisions made by any of the players can be incorporated…”

Owl & Weasel #6 July 1975-1

Owl & Weasel #6 July 1975-2

Owl & Weasel #6 July 1975-3

The last page advertises TSR products that GW hasn’t even received yet. The board game Dungeon! hasn’t been released, and it costs more than the D&D set. $10.00 in 1974/1975 is the equivalent of $50.00 today—a lot of money, as Jackson notes in the article. And that’s not including shipping and handling. After meeting Jackson and Ian Livingstone at Gen Con IX (1976), Gary Gygax granted Games Workshop exclusive rights to distribute D&D products in the UK. (Jackson talks about the early days of GW at a 2013 interview at The Register.)

We have Timothy Brannan at The Other Side to thank for the scans, and he has lots more selections from Owl and Weasel to peruse. Brannan is a RPG writer who specializes in the horror genre. Check out his books here.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Sheet Set (1985)

G.I. Joe 1985

G.I. Joe Sheet 1985-2

G.I. Joe Sheet 1985-3


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