Welcome to the very first podcast from the Toy Box. It’s gonna be a fun adventure as I learn more about this new and wonderful platform. I promise you though, it’ll be fun… warts and all 🙂 – Jim
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Before there was MP3 or YouTube playlists or Pandora to collect all of your favorite tunes together there was K-TEL records. The original “As seen on TV” pushers, K-Tel records had a great knack for finding just the right mix of tunes for pretty much any genre and taste. And these 24 tunes perfectly capture some great and kooky country and western and sometimes cowboy flavored tunes. Plus the cover art, which was a shrunken reproduction of the also available vinyl LP record set, was equally charming and fun.
Amazingly the acetone tape was able to pack these 24 tunes into four separate programs in the cartridge. Perfect for the car or the home Hi Fi the 8 track was the for runner to the equally convenient cassette but the faulty nature of its design led to it falling to the smaller, more compact tapes. The biggest problem however was an effect known as “print through” where songs on other programs would “bleed” through on to other songs. But still for the time it was a fascinating piece of audio technology, allowing you to take music with you where a record player simply couldn’t go.
On this week’s show I hand picked some of my favorites from the collection to share with you now. But be sure to check out all of these fantastic tunes!
The Toys – Part 1
Mego’s line of World’s Greatest Super Heroes is best known for the DCV and Marvel heroes but one would be remiss to overlook the excellent public domain characters they released including Robin Hood, the Mad Monsters and today’s featured guests; The American West assortment. You can get the full skinny on the complete assortment at the mecca of all things Mego, The Mego Museum.
My collection of these figures is limited but contain some fantastic specimens. Wild Bill Hickok, Sitting Bull and my crown Jewel, a boxed Buffalo Bill Cody.
Both Wild Bill and Sitting Bull were acquired from my great pal from across the pond, Alex. Featuring the T1 body style with metal rivets these are simply fun. Mind you they can’t hold their weapons terribly well but then again there’s no need for fighting fella’s.
Buffalo Bill was a true eBay score. I was blown away when I actually picked him up for a closing price of only $30, shipped no less! Of course the figure is amazing in and of himself the box art is completely breath taking. Painted by legendary artist, Gray Morrow one can’t help but smell the log cabin surroundings that old Bill camped out in during his time taming the wild frontier. Rustic and beautiful.
In 2004 Figures Toy Company, who have found renewed fame in the world of Mego reproduction with their new (and massively growing) line of Mego style figures, reissued the American West series. Sadly though quality issues due to the manufacturers in India really hurt the line. You can still pick some of them up at their website. I’m still holding out hope that they will take the plunge in doing another run but with the new and improved quality standards that they now have. The Mad Monsters got a second shot, why not these awesome icons too? A cowboy can dream.
Toys Part 2 – NECA’s “Hateful 8”
Being a huge fan of the cowboy / western action figures my excitement went all gaga when I heard about the new line of 8 inch figures from NECA for the latest Quentin Tarantino flick “The Hateful 8”. I gushed about it here and will be placing my pre order soon at Entertainment Earth. It’s a bit pricey for the set but considering the quality of NECA’s previous releases in the style and format I have no doubt that they will most certainly be worth it.
The Inspiration – My Dad
I try not to get too gushy about my Dad. It’s a bit of a Southern Pride thing but also if he were still with us he would give me that “look” if he were to read this post. So while male machismo may be out of fashion in our modern age I can’t help but continue to hold on to a lite bit of the old ways. He came from the old school of “cowboys don’t cry and heroes don’t die” and I appreciate that but I’ll be honest when I look at the picture of him at about 6 years old riding his pony on my great grandparents farm I can’t help but tear up a little. That little cowboy gets me every time and why these songs and toys and the mountain of old John Wayne movies he left me with make me smile. A part of my make up that will always be a part of his legacy. Even his granddaughter has a natural love of horses that we’ve yet to take to the next level with a real ride in the saddle but her simple dollar store herd really puts a twinkle in her eye. Even more so than the My Little Ponies. I know he’d be pleased with that for sure.
Well this was a fun gallop through the Toy Box is in this inaugural Podcast / multi media experience and experiment. I thank you all so very much for taking the time to stop by and I hope you enjoyed the read and the listen. And if you haven’t taken the time to listen just, by all means….