Sunday, 31 July 2022

GOODBYE TO GOOD (AND SOMETIMES NOT-SO-GOOD) NEIGHBOURS...


Well, as we all know, Neighbours shuffled off this mortal coil on Friday 29th, and it struck me that the soap had been broadcast in Britain for around half my life plus 5 years before disappearing from our screens.  I'm not really a watcher of soaps, but when it started, I was still a freelancer working from home and had the TV on as I worked.  BBC 1 was the default channel that flickered into life when I turned on my telly in the mornings, so along with Going For Gold with Matthew Kelly and a show (the name of which I forget) hosted by Tom O'Connor, I also half-watched Neighbours (as in lifted my head to look at the TV screen every so often).  Back then, television remote controls weren't so common and I was far too lazy to get up off my chair at my desk to change channels, so it was no surprise that I gradually got sucked into the 'social cliff-hangers' which usually ended each episode.

I must've watched it for a few years until most of the original cast departed, at which time I lost interest and departed with them, but I occasionally dipped into it every so often, until I abandoned it entirely as I found many new cast members about as charismatic as a group of stamp collectors or train spotters (or comics collectors).  It's ironic that characters Scott and Charlene gave the ratings a boost, because they were probably mainly responsible for killing my interest in it.  You see, until their romance and wedding became the main focus of the show, it seems to me that plotlines were built mostly around older members of the cast, but Scott and Charlene, due to the interest from teenagers, prompted producers to shift the emphasis to newer, younger members, with older ones slightly side-lined to that of supporting characters.

Anyway, I watched the extended last episode (as well as the afternoon one earlier in the day), and it was good to see the return of actor Paul Keane as Des Clarke, as he was always an amiable, likeable character and his performance when his wife Daphne died back in the late '80s was a good piece of acting, not something TV soaps are usually known for (with exceptions of course).  Funny how soaps can affect people, as, despite myself, I somehow feel I've lost some friends and acquaintances, and the ability to visit a Melbourne cul-de-sac, which was as familiar to me via the TV screen as the view outside my house is via my window.  (And that's what a TV is - a window to another world.)  Like so many other things I thought would be around forever, I felt I'd be able to drop into the Ramsay Street whenever the fancy took me, but I was misguided in that belief.

Having said that, though, I didn't realise there was quite so much (any in fact) same-sex kissing (and touching and fondling) nowadays, so had I known, and had Neighbours continued, it's unlikely I'd have felt inclined to renew my acquaintance with the show as it had transformed into quite a different kind of programme to what I knew.  Therefore, maybe it's a good thing it's finally ended, lest my memories of it in its heyday became sullied by its pc embrace of a lifestyle for which I have no empathy.  Better to remember the glory days of its early years, before it descended into 'woke'-ism.  So here's to Neighbours  - everybody needs good ones, and I hope all you Crivvies are lucky in that respect.

Did you watch Neighbours?  Will you miss the show, and are you saddened by its demise?  Feel free to comment in the relevant section.  It might take me a while to respond, but you can chat amongst yourselves 'til I join the party.  (I'll endeavour to publish your comments - if any - as soon as I can.)

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

THE BATMAN - HERE WE GO (OR SHOULD THAT BE 'ME GO'?) AGAIN...


If you thought I'd exhausted the topic of Mego (and Mego-type) 8 inch superhero action figures, then think again, Charlie.  As revealed in a previous post, I recently purchased (on a whim) an FTC (Figures Toy Company) reissue of the '70s Mego Batman to complement my 'original' figure.  Well, the head, hands, and leotard are original, but the body itself is a contemporary Mego articulated figure from when the company started trading again in 2018.  I bought replacement cape, boots, gloves, bat emblem and belt from diverse sources, but the boots and gloves weren't the correct shade of blue (as I previously showed you), and the emblem shed its image with the merest handling, requiring me to make my own.

But back to the FTC reissue.  The emblem wasn't printed properly on the costume (it was a sticker on the original Mego leotard), and the toe of one boot was a solid blob of plastic so wouldn't accommodate the foot properly, which is why I didn't immediately show it on the blog - one leg appeared longer than the other.  I contacted the manufacturer and requested a replacement boot, as well as the spare emblem shown in their eBay listing, but absent when the package arrived.  The spare emblem was ever so slightly different, presumably because it was modified in later Mego releases, so I assume the FTC spare was to give buyers a choice of whichever version they preferred (or might've originally owned back in the day).

Anyway, I'm told that they're on their way, but I'm an impatient chappie so decided to take matters into my own hands.  I'd already ordered a second set of boots and gloves from another source for the Mego Batman after being told they more or less matched the originals, but although the boots were more of a match, the gloves were an even lighter hue than the first, so I 'mixed 'n' matched'.  By that I mean I used the first set of gloves with the second set of boots for the Mego-head Batman, and decided to use the second set of gloves with the first set of boots (I'm talking about the replacement sets in each case) on the FTC reissue.  They were too light of course, so I dug out a pot of Humbrol enamel paint and gave them two coats of number 14 blue.  You can see the result in the above photo on the Batman on the left of the pic.

I've also included a photo of the FTC boots and gloves (above), and, as you can see, there's a difference not only between the blue of both pairs of items, but also between the gloves, one of which seems to be made of a different kind of vinyl than the other.  It would seem that consistency is not the order of the day when it comes to these figures, though I'm informed that there was often a slight disparity in the hue of blue on different parts of the costume in the original Mego issues.

I'm not sure if it's obvious in the top photo, but the FTC Batman head is a slightly darker blue than the Mego one (though the lower face is a lighter flesh), and in 'real life', the painted boots and gloves are a closer match to the FTC head, so I might decide just to keep them in place even when/if the replacement boot arrives.  I've also included the earlier photo I took of Mego Batman in his replacement light blue boots and gloves (below), to provide an easier comparison with how the boots look now after my excellent paint job on them.  (The gloves are the same ones as in the top pic.)  Once again, feel free to tell me how multi-talented I am when it comes to improving things that haven't been done right in the first place (after you wake up of course).  Okay, I think I'm done with Mego posts - for the moment at least, but I wouldn't get too comfy if I were you.

One final thing: the bat emblem in the photo below is one I made myself and covered in clear tape to protect it before cutting to shape.  Because the tape was glossy, there was a refection of the camera flash on the emblem, which I digitally removed for better effect.  In the top photo, the emblems are again made by me, but this time covered in a matt tape, hence the bat not looking so black as in the original one I made.  They're actually a darker black than they seem, but the light reflecting off the protective tape makes the black look lighter than it is.  Maybe I'll go back to glossier ones - what do you Crivvies think?

Friday, 1 July 2022

THE YOGI HAS LANDED...


One thing I recall a number of friends saying to me over the years about various toys in my collection which they'd likewise owned as kids is - "It's smaller than I remember it".  It's understandable I suppose, as they're probably comparing it to how it looked in their child-hands against their adult-hands, but this is something that's never really happened in my case.  An Action Man (for example) looks the same size to me today as it did back when I was a child (though I never actually owned one until the fad had passed, when I got a couple second-hand from a neighbour).  Perhaps because I often used to place my toys on the floor (or on a table) and just look at them, and not see the scale of them in relation to myself is what accounts for the size of newly-acquired old toys not seeming smaller to me than they were when I first owned them.

My pic - interior of 6th photo (seller's) after repair

However, there's always an exception, isn't there, and my freshly arrived cardboard Yogi Bear mask is an instance of such a thing.  I do seem to remember it being larger and the collar being thicker (from top to bottom), but that may be because my memory has been influenced by other (plastic) Yogi Bear masks from subsequent decades that I bought as stand-ins until I could find an example of the original shaped-cardboard one I got from Woolworth's back in the '60s.  I've been having a think, by the way, as to exactly what years I bought the two masks I had (separately), and I've now got a clearer idea in my mind.

My pic - exterior of 6th photo (seller's) after repair

I'm pretty sure I was living in our first house in the new town, so if I got it for Hallowe'en, it must've been 1963 at the latest, as the next All Hallow's Eve was spent in a new house just down the road, which we moved to around halfway through 1964.  We were only there for about 15 or 16 months though, before flitting to yet another home in a different neighbourhood of the town in 1965.  It was there I obtained my second Yogi mask (same as the first), again from Woolworth's, and as my first Hallowe'en in that house was in 1966, that's most likely the year I got it.  But what do you care about such trivial, self-indulgent details?  "Nothing!" you say?  Fair enough.

Seller's pic - interior of 2nd photo (mine) before repair.

Anyway, Yogi required a bit of repair and restoration, so I've included three photos I took, which you can compare against the seller's.  I had to replace a missing piece from the base under the collar and I think I did a pretty good job.  If you'd like to swell my already inflated opinion of myself and my abilities, then don't let me stop you.  If you weren't going to, I have only this to say... what's wrong with you?  A little insincere flattery on your part isn't going to hurt anyone - especially not me.  Right, that's you told; start composing those paeans of praise immediately.  And if you have any thoughts about the seeming disparity in the size of old toys when you see them today compared to how you remember them, feel free to share.


Seller's pic - interior of 2nd and 3rd photos (mine) before repair

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

BATMAN AND, ER... WHO'S THE OTHER GUY? I DON'T KNOW HIM FROM ADAM... (RELAX, OF COURSE I DO!)



It's amazing how you can forget what you own, isn't it?  (Frightening too, sometimes.)  The Batman on the left of the picture is one I'd completely 'disremembered' until digging it out of a box recently.  It's in the Mego style (size-wise), but I can't recall who the manufacturer is (Kid Biz/Toy Biz, according to eBay).  I've probably had it for at least 20 years (maybe even 30), and should never have forgotten it as it was on display in my bedroom for a good stretch of that time.

The Adam West figure is by Figures Toy Company, who've reissued a lot of the DC Comics heroes first produced by Mego back in the '70s, though this wasn't one of them.  Nice to see Adam being recognised as Batman, because even back in the '60s, most items of merchandise (with a few exceptions) were of the comicbook Batman, even though it was the TV show that inspired them.  In fact, there seems to have been more Adam West (specifically) Batman collectables over the last few years than there ever was at the time of the show.

My reissue of the '70s Mego Batman arrived at the same time as AW, but the toe of one boot has a big blob of moulded plastic in it and won't fit over the foot, so I can't display it to good effect.  I've contacted the manufacturers about it, but they haven't responded as yet.  I'll give it a day or so, then 'let loose the dogs of war' if they don't send a replacement boot.  They seem difficult to deal with when it comes to rectifying a problem, but I'll give them a chance to put things right.

I'll keep you posted, 'cos I know none of you will be able to sleep until you find out what happens. (Cough!)  Any comments?  Go on, you can at least pretend to be interested.

Monday, 27 June 2022

THE 'BEAR'-FACED MASK OF YOGI...


Fellow Crivvies, rejoice with me.  Remember the cardboard/papier-mache Yogi Bear mask I've previously mentioned owning back in my childhood?  (Had it twice, on two separate occasions: first time in 1963 or '64, second in '65 or '66 - both bought from the same Woolworth's store in my local shopping centre.)  I've just acquired one on eBay after the seller kindly contacted me to say he had one.  Because it was such a fragile item all those years ago, I was resigned to the distinct possibility that few, if any, would've survived and I was unlikely ever to see one again, so I've never been more happy to find my pessimism was misplaced.  That's one of the seller's photos above, I'll show my own photos once it arrives.  Hey, I'm happier than the average eBay buyer.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

THE FOUR FRANKIES...



Pop sensation The Four Frankies are on tour at the moment and, last night, they played The Olympia Ballroom in my hometown.  From the moment they took to the stage, there wasn't a person in the venue who wasn't comatose with delight as the fab four grunted their back catalogue of hits.  True, when their songs are played on the radio, it's usually during the 'graveyard shift', but the group is immensely popular with 'coffin dodgers' throughout the country who are too afraid to go to sleep in case they don't wake up again.

The hits stuttered slowly-but-surely, with a fair share of (tweaked) cover versions; Dangers In The Night, Monster Mash, Thriller, Mack The Knife, I've Got Glue Under My Skin, Is It Really Over?, and many more.  True, the choreography appeared just a little stilted and uncoordinated, but if you had as much lead in your boots as these guys, you'd be lucky to be able to move at all.  Should they come to a concert hall near you, be sure to drag yourself out of your bed and go and see them perform - they're dead good.

******

Okay, so they're only Mego figures, but the first one is an original Frankenstein from the '70s, to which I've added a 'rope', as he's got a gold braid around the waist of the grey tunic (under his jacket), which doesn't quite look right.  The other three are more recent, having been issued in the last few years, but they're a nice little collection.  If you've got a favourite out of the four, declare your preference in our currently 'quiet as the tomb' comments section.

And if you can think of any song titles that lend themselves to the horror/monster theme, feel free to say what they are.  Minor tweaks allowed to make them more apt.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

BAT INTO SPIDER...


I know all you Crivvies just love my posts about Mego 8 inch action figures (whaddya mean "He's delusional"?) so here's another one.  I showed you the Spidey figure a little while back, given to me by a friend, though the left shoulder joint was broken.  I managed to fix it, but it was a 'fist-fighting' figure with a little lever on the back that, with the elbows bent, moved the arms and made them look like they were punching, so the repair, alas, turned out to be a temporary one as the robust action put too much strain on the shoulder joint and it broke again.  The plastic is a little waxy, so even superglue wasn't up to the task of ensuring an effective, long-lasting repair, so -  what to do?

Well, I went onto eBay and saw an old Batman fist-fighting figure, bereft of everything but his leotard.  It was going for a song so I nabbed it for the purpose of transferring Spidey's head and hands onto the body.  My local B&M store was selling Mego Star Trek figures for a mere £3 each, so I bought a few and put the Batman head onto one so that the head wouldn't go to waste.  Why not just put the Spidey head and hands onto a new Mego figure though?  Simply because Spidey's costume had a bare circle around where the lever was situated, though the Batman one didn't.  Had I given Spidey a new Mego figure, he'd have had a bare space where the lever had once been.  As Batman's didn't, his leotard would fully cover his back area, so it was no contest.

As to why Spider-Man had a hole in his costume to accommodate the lever and Batman (and maybe even other Mego heroes) didn't is beyond my ken, but it decided my course of action.  So Spidey once again had his fist-fighting figure and Batman had an 'ordinary' one, though was missing parts of his costume.  Searching the Internet, I found replica boots, gloves, utility belt, cape and bat insignia, and promptly ordered them.  They arrived last week, but I was disappointed to see that the blue of the gloves and boots was too light in hue, so I've ordered more accurate blue versions from another source.  The emblem you see here is a temporary one I made myself as the black area on the one I bought started flaking with the slightest handling, but a better one is on its way.

So Batman has a new body and costume accoutrements, and Spidey has an original '70s fist-fighting body exactly the same as the broken one I discarded.  Bat into Spider indeed!  Feel free to tell me what a talented individual I am, and confirm my own personal assessment of my undoubted genius.  (What's with the "He's delusional" bit again?)

Oh, and don't worry - I'll add a new photo when Batman's proper shade of blue boots, gloves, and bat emblem are delivered.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

THE NAME'S MARTIN - ASTON MARTIN, D.B.5...


Yup, they're mine - all oh... oh... seven of them

The first issue of the Corgi Toys James Bond Aston Martin D.B.5 (261) went on sale in 1965.  The model had been considered for release earlier, but was decided against, only for a subsequent change of heart by management necessitating it being rushed into production to be ready for the run-up to Christmas.  There was no time for new tooling, so an existing mould of Corgi's D.B.4 was modified, with three designers/engineers working separately on the trio of working features, namely the extending machine guns and over-riders, the bulletproof shield, and the opening roof-hatch and ejector seat.  (The D.B.4 rear lights gave the game away, despite what it said on the box and base.)  The toy was a huge success, with supply not being able to meet demand for Christmas '65.

Three years later, a newly-tooled more accurate model (270) of the car was issued, with two extra features along with the original three.  This time it also had revolving number plates and rear tyre slashers, and this version was around 4-5 millimetres longer with the proper silver birch colouring, as opposed to the impressive-but-inaccurate gold colour of the '65 model.  (It's said that early test-cars looked like unpainted bare metal in silver [h'mm - really?], and that the gold hue tied-in better with the name 'Goldfinger', hence the colour-change.)  Interestingly, the main vehicle in the movie (several were purportedly used) was actually a D.B.4 Mark V (5) Vantage, which was the prototype for the D.B.5, meaning that Corgi weren't too far off the mark with their toy version.

In 1978, Corgi issued a larger model (271) with only the original three working features from '65, and since then, various versions (with diverse finishes and features, as well as variable degrees of quality) have appeared over the years, but none really matched the 261 and 270 releases.  Despite claims to the contrary, the original 261 wasn't reissued until 2021/'22, when a pretty faithful replica became available via the Corgi Model Club and also their online shop (at a higher price than club members paid).  Previous models described as the 'original' were actually based on the 270, with a gold coat of paint to make it look like its predecessor, and sometimes packaged in a replica of the 261 box (or something resembling it).  In the photo above of my own cars, the middle one in the top tier is just such a model - a 270 passing itself off as a 261.

Anyway, that one car aside, the others in the photo are a mixture of originals and replicas, and don't they look impressive all grouped together?  Perhaps one day I'll find the time and energy to dig out all my 270s and 271s and share a piccie or two of them with you also.  I know, don't tell me - you're counting the seconds, eh?  Did you have a 261 or 270 as a kid?  Share your reminiscences in the comments section.

Incidentally, you can currently buy the Club model for around £35 (plus p&p) direct from their online shop, but better be quick while there's some left.  Some unscrupulous sellers are already asking for well-over £100 (approaching £200) on eBay.  Chancers, eh?

Sunday, 19 June 2022

TIME EBAY DID SOMETHING ABOUT SOME OF THEIR SELLERS... (UPDATED)

Copyright DC COMICS

Some eBay sellers continue to astound me with their attitudes and behaviour.  Case in point is one by the name of Cannhall, who was selling a copy of 80 Page Giant Issue No. 1.  It was unclear from his picture of the item as to whether a sticker and some creases were on the comic or the bag, so I messaged him to ask.  He said he'd check when he got back home.  I later received another message volunteering to send me some photos - they never came.  What did come was yet another message saying he'd taken the item off sale because it had a rip up the middle of the inside of the comic.  However, despite his claim the mag remained on eBay.

I contacted him again and he said he didn't know what had happened as he'd tried to take it off sale three times.  Still wouldn't answer my query about the sticker and creases though.  A couple or so days later, the item finally disappeared from the eBay listings, only for the same ad to reappear a few days later - with no update on the alleged rip inside.  Curiously, it was now £2 cheaper.  He isn't replying to any of my messages for clarification, apart from one in response to me saying that I'd reveal his 'curious' way of doing business on my blog, in which he belligerently said he'd benefit from the publicity.  I rather think that folk would steer clear of such a seller, who doesn't appear to know whether an item he claims to have for sale has creases on the cover or its poly bag.  Does he even have the comic?

I see he has negative feedback from a buyer saying the item he received wasn't the same one pictured (same issue number, different, lesser condition copy), so I think that says everything one needs to know about this particular seller.  Definitely dodgy and one to avoid, I'd suggest.

******

And guess what?  The seller must have more than one account, as, without realising it was the exact same copy, I purchased it from a differently-named seller a few weeks later.  The photo showed it un-bagged, which is why I never realised it was the same item (otherwise I wouldn't have bought it).  No sign of any tear in the middle of the inside of the comic as was previously stated as to why it was (eventually) withdrawn from sale.   

Sunday, 12 June 2022

WHEN THE FIRST ISSUE IS NOT NECESSARILY NUMBER ONE (AND VICE VERSA)...


Copyright DC COMICS

I recently acquired the above 1964 80 Page Giant Superman Annual Issue #1, which raises an interesting question.  You see, there was an earlier Giant Superman Annual in 1960 which is nowadays retroactively referred to as #1, though I don't know if that was stated in the indicia at the time.  What I do know is that it's listed that way in the indicia of the 1998 Replica Edition, but that may or may not have been its intended status in 1960 - it certainly wasn't numbered that way on the cover.

So the 1960 Giant is definitely the first Superman Annual, but until I can discover what it says in the indicia, it might not be '#1' and could well have been produced as a one-shot.  The 1964 Annual was obviously conceived as the first in an occasional series, hence it being numbered on the cover, but another possibility is that it was only #1 of the 80 Page Giant series, the featured star of which could be any hero, not solely Superman.  In other words, #2 could've been Batman or The Flash, for example.

The latter scenario is made the more likely when one considers that the indicia lists it as '80 Page Giant No. 1', with no mention of Superman.  It also says it's published 8 times a year, so it's unlikely that every issue would be described as an Annual, probably just an 80 Page Giant.  So what's the actual explanation?  Don't know, to be honest, so if anyone who owns the 1960 Annual would take a look at the indicia and let me know what it says, I'd be much obliged.

In the meantime, enjoy the piccies.


The Replica Edition has omitted the original 25c price, and, just like the original,
isn't numbered on the cover.  The Replica is thrice referred to as #1 inside though


Blowing My Own Trumpet Department: Below is the seller's photo of my recent acquisition.  Far from pristine, but I did a little remedial work on the actual mag before scanning to enhance its condition.  Look again at first pic to see how it looked at the 'after' stage.  (Tears repaired, creases less obvious, cover now far more secure.)


Oh, go on then - I'll make it easier for you.  Below, the 'before' and 'after', side-by-side.  Click on image to enlarge for a better comparison.

Saturday, 11 June 2022

HE'S MAKING A LIST, HE'S CHECKING IT TWICE...

Just to let those in my blog list know that I operate in a reciprocal way.  If I'm in your blog list, you'll be in mine.  If I'm not in your blog list, then you won't be in mine either.  However, if you currently are, but I'm not in yours, then this is just to say that unless that situation changes in the next few days, the link to your blog will disappear from my list.  Why?  I don't see why I should extend a courtesy to those who don't extend that same courtesy to me.  Simple as that.

Here's how to add a blog list with other blogs in it:  (Click each image to enlarge.)

Go into Layout...


Click on '+Add a gadget...


Scroll down until you see the Blog List option, then click on it...


Add the required info for whatever blogs you want, then press Save...


Easy-peasy.

Saturday, 4 June 2022

DETECTIVE COMICS #416...


Copyright DC COMICS

There's something about Detective Comics #416 that seems awfully familiar to me as I thumb through its pages, so I think it's highly likely that I had it way back when.  I'd forgotten it until seeing it recently on Super Stuff In The Bronze Age, whereupon I immediately bought a copy via eBay.  It arrived on the same day as Action Comics #398 (previous post), but it's only now I've found the time to scan a few pages and let you have a look at what you're missing if you don't already have this classic from yesteryear.

Interestingly, three other titles are advertised (separately, on different pages) in this mag and they're all by Jack Kirby.  The first is Mister Miracle #5, the second, Spirit World #1 (and only), and the third, Jimmy Olsen #142.  However, that's by-the-by; it's the art of Frank Robbins which is the main reason for this post.  Robbins was a controversial artist among readers, with some loving his art and others hating it in equal measure.  It's surprising, though, just how many who weren't fans back then, now say they've since grown to appreciate (and even love) his art and storytelling.

Anyway, here are a few pages to give you a taste of the contents.  Just think - only 7 and a 1/2 pence for all this.  What a bargain, eh?






Wednesday, 1 June 2022

WALLS MAY HAVE EARS, BUT THEY ALSO HAVE POSTERS... (In MY house anyway.)


Copyright DC COMICS

On one of my walls is a Superman poster which originally comprised two pages of a UK Annual, acquired in the very late '70s or very early '80s.  I no longer recall where I got the Annual from, but I don't think it was new, so I either obtained it from a jumble sale, was given it by someone, or bought it mail-order from a comics dealer because it piqued my curiosity.  This was before eBay and the like, so I know for a fact that it wasn't purchased in that manner.

It couldn't have impressed me too much, hence my decision to remove the poster pages, tape them together to hang on my wall, and then give the Annual to a pal who didn't mind the absence of the couple of story pages on the reverse side of the poster.  Thing is, I never got to adorn my wall with it until I moved to a new house in '83, and it wasn't until I moved back to my former house in '87 that the poster finally graced the wall it was intended for in the first place.

Do you care?  Of course not, but bear with me.  Two or three years back (or thereabouts) I scanned the poster and printed it out on a single sheet of card, then replaced the original with its brand-spanking new doppelganger, which still resides in the same spot today.  But guess what?  I'd always assumed that the illo had been culled and isolated from an internal comics panel for its transformation into a poster, but last week I found out that my assumption was mistaken.

Superman had actually been lifted from the cover of Action Comics #398, which I saw on eBay and bought straight away.  I was familiar with the main story (but not the back up) as it had been reprinted in Superman From The '30s To The '70s, but this was the first time I'd seen the illustration in its first published form.  It arrived yesterday, and it's good to finally have the original incarnation of a picture which has adorned a wall in my current home for 35 years.

How's that for a game of soldiers?  Anyway, not much of a tale perhaps, but I felt compelled to tell it anyway.  You can't complain - you got in here for free.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

DID YOU KNOW THAT SCOTT TRACY WENT TO SCHOOL WITH ME?


Armed and ready for action

There he stands (above), Scott Tracy, pilot of TB1 from Thunderbirds, as manufactured by Matchbox Toys in the early '90s.  There was a lot of Thunderbirds merchandise around then (and I think I bought an example of most, if not all of it), due to the show then enjoying its first national (as in simultaneous) broadcast across the country by the BBC since its original independent regional airings on different days at different times (depending on where you lived) back in the '60s.

And now a slightly embarrassing admission.  I'm sometimes in the habit of taking a small toy with me whenever I go for a walk around a former neighbourhood with which I associate the item.  It might be a replacement for an original toy I had when I lived there (it's my way of 'reconnecting' the item with the place), or it might be a contemporary retro toy that didn't exist until years after I flitted, but is based on and represents a TV show from the period of when I yet resided in the area.  Thunderbirds obviously fits those criteria.

Which is why, one pleasant evening in or around the mid '90s, Scott accompanied me and my dog Zara along to where I'd lived between 1965 and '72.  I wandered around the deserted playground of my 2nd primary school in order to relive the time when I frequented said playground in the innocent, carefree days of my childhood.  At 4 or 5 points around the school grounds there had once been wire mesh litter bins which detached from the metal frames they clipped on to; now only the frames remained, though they were eventually removed a relatively few short years later.

Taking the Scott figure from my pocket, I carefully placed him atop one of the frames so I could drink in the surrounding sights and imagine the figure as belonging to the era and area of my boyhood.  However, a slight gust of wind blew Scott from atop his perch and he landed head first on the tarmacadamed ground, leaving a very slight, practically imperceptible mark on the trim of the rear point of his hat.

Normally such a thing would have appalled me, and prompted me to attempt applying some remedial administrations to disguise any 'damage' (or buy a pristine replacement), and I certainly considered it.  However, as stated, the faint scuff was almost invisible unless examined under a loupe and was therefore scarcely worth the effort of any restoration by me.  I could always do it later, I thought, if it ever began to irk me.

I'm glad now that I didn't, for the following reasons.  The school was demolished in 2014 and houses and bungalows built on the site.  (A new educational edifice was first erected on nearby football pitches within the rather expansive grounds.)  Nowadays, whenever I look at my Scott Tracy toy (and the scuff on his hat), I'm reminded of a vanished era when my old primary was still standing, and also just about everything else from that particular period of my childhood.  (One memory leads to another, you see.)

Isn't it amazing that, as an adult, simply standing a toy figure on top of a frame for a litter bin which existed when I was a boy, can connect me to an earlier point in time when my former neighbourhood was still as it had been and not what it has since become?  Well, I think so anyway.  If you can relate to that in any way, feel free to comment.

In this old photo from around 1984, the bin can be
seen in the bottom left-hand side of the picture

Monday, 30 May 2022

BABE OF THE DAY - CAROLINE HAWLEY...



One of my favourite presenters from the various antique shows on the telly at the moment is Caroline Hawley.  So here she is making her debut as Crivens' Babe of the Day.  Wotta big darlin' she is, and no mistake.  And look - she's wearing tartan - must have a little Scottish in her.  (Nope, I'm not going anywhere with that one.)

Sunday, 29 May 2022

IS THERE A ROBOT IN THE HOUSE - WITH A DOCTOR? YES, THERE IS AS IT HAPPENS...



Being a collector who buys toys but doesn't play with them is, I suspect, a bit like having a harem and not availing oneself of the 'goods'.  That's how it seems to me anyway.  However, one can still derive pleasure from looking as opposed to 'touching', so I suppose both pastimes are not quite as pointless as they might seem.  Anyway, you didn't drop by for snippets of philosophical wisdom, so let's forge ahead.

I've always wanted a model of the K1 Robot from a 1974 Doctor Who storyline, but I didn't buy the Denys Fisher version when it was first issued in, I think, the late '70s (might've been earlier, but that was when I first became aware of it).  However, I saw the above figures (by Character Options Ltd) in my local B&M store a few days back and snapped them up.  (Mainly for the Robot it has to be said.)

Just goes to show that if you wait long enough, things will come around again.  Okay, I've waited 44  years, but it only seems like a fart from The Flash away.  Let's be honest, aside from The Daleks, most Doctor Who monsters were rubbish back during the show's original run, but I always felt the BBC hit the bullseye with the Robot's design.  What say the rest of you Crivvies, if anything?  Go on - leave a comment.

Friday, 27 May 2022

A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM...


I have a recurring dream in which myself and my family have just moved back to the house where we lived between 1965 and '72.  At first I'm overjoyed to be back in such familiar surroundings, but then the realisation that I'm no longer in my current house fills me with panic and an overwhelming sense of loss, and I appeal to my parents (both of whom are alive in this dream) to sign the place over to my name before the tenancy expires - as even though we've already moved out, it still has a little while yet to run.  (As has actually happened in real life before.)

Then, in my dream, it either turns out to be a dream, from which I awaken and am relieved to find it hasn't actually happened, or, in real life, I awaken before the dream has run its course.  I suppose this represents two things in my subconscious; firstly, my hankering to return to an earlier time in my life and, secondly, a deep-rooted fear that I might one day no longer be able to remain where I presently live, and thus be deprived of the comforting feeling of familiarity that I derive from being here.

The sense of relief I experience to find myself yet residing in the abode I've inhabited for most of my life is a welcome one, but the fear of one day not being able to lurks at the back of my mind, like a crouching demon waiting to spring.  My theory is that we tend to miss certain things we once had but no longer have, and if we re-acquire them, we then miss something else.  A new longing arises when an old one is fulfilled, and often it can be the thing we gave up in order to reclaim a past possession which we then yearn for, in a weird turnaround of events.

So I was wondering if any of you Crivvies have ever had (or still have) dreams similar to my own, whether it concerns houses, items, streets, shops, situations - or even people - that your somnambulistic selves revisit in the realms of Morpheus?  And when you awaken, are you relieved or disappointed to discover that what you dreamt isn't actually so (or perhaps even is)?  Reveal all in the comments section if you'd be so good, and may all your future dreams never turn out to be nightmares.  (Or should I just say 'pleasant dreams'?)         

Thursday, 26 May 2022

LOIS LANE COVER GALLERY, INCLUDING LAST ISSUE... (UPDATED)


Copyright DC COMICS

In an earlier post on Lois Lane covers I said that I had around half a dozen yet to show, but was waiting for a trio of better condition copies to arrive first.  Well, not only have they now arrived, but I also took the opportunity of buying another dozen issues which I never previously owned (that I recall) before.

Lois Lane's mag lasted to #137, and then - along with Jimmy Olsen and Supergirl, became part of Superman Family, at first a bi-monthly then monthly mag, which continued the numbering from Jimmy Olsen's title.  Anyway, I promised you I'd let you see some more LL covers so here they are.

Incidentally, regarding issue #54, I bought my first copy of this sometime in the '60s and obtained a replacement - h'mm, when exactly?  In the '80s I think, but could've been the '90s.  Trouble was, it had a bookseller's stamp on the cover and splash page, hence me requiring a better copy.  That's it above.










Below, the final 7 issues of Lois's own mag.  She had a far longer run than any of Jack Kirby's DC titles (combined), so she has nothing to complain about.  Of course, being a woman, that won't stop her.  (Sexist?  Me?)

So in exactly which issue do we first meet Melba?  Is it this one...

...or this one?  H'mm, looks like someone might've slipped up, eh?






Below, a 2 part mid-'80s Lois adventure, which I thought you might like to see for the sake of completeness.  Got a favourite cover from the ones on show here?  Then feel free to share it with your fellow Crivvies, effendis.




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