RIP: PETER BENCHLEY
ONE OF AMERICA'S GREATEST HORROR WRITERS DIES AT
THE AGE OF 65
Jaws author Peter Benchley passed away this weekend.  His 1974 book and co-writing duties on the film are among the most well known and terrifying works of horror captured in both written and motion picture mediums.  Along with The Exorcist and a couple Stephen King books, Jaws is certainly one of the most important works of modern horror ever written.  About 10 years ago I went to The Monterey Bay Aquarium and there was a film about sharks that was narrated by Benchley.  I got a chuckle when he said that its unfortunate that sharks have got such a bad rap and that so many people are afraid of them.  Ha!  Who's fault is that?  There's probably not a writer in history that has demonized a species more than Benchley has.  How many people are still afraid to go in the water after experiencing Jaws?  Benchley spent the latter years of his life fervently involved in many marine conservation efforts in ways that made me wonder if he was trying to atone for it all.  Much like Little Richard's eternal struggle between God and Rock and Roll.  Ultimately Benchley's legacy is one that has made the great white shark one of the scariest monsters of all time, and has driven interest to increase understanding of these incredible beasts.  I've seen Jaws more times than I can count, but I haven't actually read the book since I was a kid.  I'm going to buy some rum and curl up with it tonight.

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com

POLISH MOVIE POSTERS
EAST EUROPE TAKES ON CLASSIC FILMS ARE MINDBLOWING

While most movie posters in the United States pretty much showcase the standard corporate style imagery to hawk the film, the fine folks in Poland have a brilliant dramatic license when marketing Hollywood's finest in their country, resulting in some of the most brilliantly surreal and amazing pieces of movie artwork ever created.  Some of them are obvious, some seem to be crazy nonsequiters that have nothing to do with the original picture, while others seem to change the focus of the movie altogether.  Weekend At Bernies now looks more like a horror film, and Polish poster for The Terror of Mechagodzilla looks as if it was animated by the folks that made Yellow Submarine.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE GALLERY & and a link TO THE SALE SITE


AL LEWIS: MONSTER, COP, and GOOD GHOST

Last week I re-watched a double-bill of TV films, The Night Stalker and the sequel called The Night Strangler, in anticipation of finally viewing the whole first season of "The Night Stalker" on DVD. Good movies—and written by no less than Richard Matheson. Check 'em out. But the reason I mention them here is because of an odd coincidence that occurred in time traveling back to 1972 and 1973 respectively for those films. When going back in time like that you never know who else you might bump into besides the people you’re actually looking for. You enter into a landscape full of ghosts (even if they’re alive in present time, you’re still viewing them as the specters of what they were) and one of the really neat things is the surprise spirits that pop up.

In The Night Strangler, our man Kolchak is hunting for a blood drinking ghoul who’s hiding somewhere underneath Seattle in a part of the city that was somehow buried but preserved, and while wandering around in the dark down there he bumps into a tramp.

Enter Al Lewis into the time machine.

CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE


STEVE URKEL VOTED MOST ANNOYING TV KID

With over 3,800 votes in our Most Annoying TV Kid Poll, Steve Urkel was the top vote getter, with 25% of the vote.  It was a close race, with Vicki The Robot from "Small Wonder" and Cousin Oliver from the final few episodes of "The Brady Bunch" falling closely behind.  While Jaleel White's portrayal of the dorky Urkel on "Family Matters" was designed to be annoying, Oliver and Vicki's characters were merely badly designed characters that made you want to shove forks into your eyeballs.  Screech from "Saved By The Bell" was the only other double digit vote getter in the batch.


ASK THE DUST REVIEWED
ROBERT TOWNE'S 1930s LOS ANGELES
ROMANCE IS BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING

Based on a 1939 book of the same title by John Fante, it reminded me of a Charles Bukowski story.  I got quite a laugh when looking at the editor review on Amazon which states that Bukowski was actually quite a fan of the man's work and wrote as a preface to a later edition of ADT, "Then one day I pulled a book down and opened it, and there it was. I stood for a moment, reading. Then like a man who had found gold in the city dump, I carried the book to a table. The lines rolled easily across the page, there was a flow. Each line had its own energy and was followed by another like it. The very substance of each line gave the page a form, a feeling of something carved into it. And here, at last, was a man who was not afraid of emotion. The humour and the pain were intermixed with a superb simplicity ... that book was a wild and enormous miracle to me."

CLICK HERE FOR THE REVIEW

THE GREATEST SUPERMAN OF THEM ALL?

I just got the second season of The Adventures of Superman, and forgot what a totally entertaining show it is.  My 9 year old daughter was excited to hear we were going to watch Superman but was discouraged to see this strange black and white version she knew nothing about.  Even though she said, "This looks crummy!" during the opening sequence, she was quickly won over and eagerly watched several more.  Of course, it's the incredibly studly and charming George Reeves that makes this show so fun to watch.  His natural athletic build and dashing good looks make him a great Man of Steel, and he's certainly the coolest Clark Kent of them all.  He had a promising film career that was put on hold after he served in World War 2.  After he returned he ended up taking the Superman role, which was a blessing and a curse, as he had trouble escaping typecast once the series was canceled.  He later died of a gunshot wound that was ruled a suicide, but many people still believe there was foul play behind it. 

Regardless the 2 seasons available on DVD are fantastic adventures that perfectly capture the wonderment of the early 50s.  Though the villains he faced were hardly more threatening than common thugs and bank robbers, there's a charm in each episode that's hard to resist.  We'll have a more detailed review and tribute up shortly.  In the meantime, you can CLICK HERE to pick them up at Amazon if you can't wait.  We'll also be having a giveaway, and a poll with every version of Superman to see who's really the all time favorite, so keep your eyes open.


I AM CURIOUS, GEORGE!
A SURPRISINGLY GOOD KIDS FILM THAT DOESN'T SCREW UP

Curious George was one of those last remaining great children's books that had not been screwed up as a movie.  Granted, it works from time to time, but with garbage like The Polar Express, both Dr. Seuss debacles, and Disney's sickeningly cute Winnie The Pooh travesties, its hard to get your hopes up when a film adaptation is announced.  Curious George has been in planning stages for quite sometime, with rumors ranging from a live action version with a CGI monkey, to a completely computer animated version ala Pixar.  I'm happy to say that they did the ol' monkey proud.  Boasting good old fashioned ink animation, and a G rating that it wears without shame, it's like a classic from the 50s was locked in a time vault and opened up to show today's audiences that good characters, funny stories, and slapstick comedy can still go a long way.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE REVIEW


BIG TROUBLE'S SUZEE PAI

We got a request from Chris in New Mexico to showcase the incredible Suzee Pai, former Penthouse Pet and underrated beauty from Big Trouble In Little China.  We found, as did he, that there's a disturbing lack of Pai photos out there.  So please, won't you contribute a picture or two to rberry@retrocrush.com and we'll start putting our gallery together?  One picture may not be much to you, but it can feed a family of four on retroCRUSH for a whole month!  For the good of mankind, please help us out.  Here's the paltry few we've scraped up so far.

YEAR OF THE DOG!

This Chinese New Year (which according to ancient tradition, adds a lot of extra years and is 29 days late), is The Year of The Dog.  And aside from the chance to tell outdated Linda McCartney jokes from the '70s, we figured it'd be nice to showcase The 100 Greatest Dogs of Pop Culture History.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TOP 100 DOGS!

COMIC BOOK HOE-DOWN

"TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE" #1 BY MICHAEL KUPPERMAN

I picked this up last July and loved the hell out of it, but neglected to write a review cause I was too busy putting naughty Barbarella photo galleries together.  Sadly my delay is so long that Fantagraphics is no longer featuring it on their site, but Atomic City still has it for sale for $4.50

The comic by Michael Kupperman is a surreal and highly funny mix of pop culture, dramatic artwork, and freakish delights.  As pictured you can thrill to Mayor McCheese narrating the story of Picasso, and gasp in amazement at Mickey Rourke plugging high-fashion pubic hair stencils. 

"HEE!" AND "HAW!" BY IVAN BRUNETTI

I'm a big fan of 1 panel gag comics, and this 3x3 inch mini by legendary sicko Ivan Brunetti is full of 33 pages of guilty laughs that will surely make you feel like a sick bastard every step of the way.  Psycho Ivan Brunetti showcases priceless gags like a crowd noticing Superman's taint, and St. Peter astonished to read Hitler's entry in The Book of Life.  Buy a handful and switch them out with the Jack Chick comics that are normally left at your bus-stop. You can CLICK HERE to purchase this for a paltry $2.50, as well as the rest of Ivan Brunetti's work at Fantagraphics.  Also back in print is Brunetti's original "HAW!" book, which is a larger sized 96 page book with more of the same way out offensive shit.

"CHIMERA" #1 BY LORENZO MATTTOTTI

Fantagraphics is collecting a series of comics from international creators with their Ignatz line.  "Chimera" is the 6th book in this series, and it's a difficult to understand but hard to stop looking at piece that can best be described as a nightmare of ink.  The cover, which features a sinister rabbit creature emerging from a lake is almost worth the price alone.  From what I can gather, the book is divided into two sections that feature daydreams and nightmares.  The first part showcasing wispy cloud figures rolling around in an erotic dance, until some evil creature belches darkness everywhere raining soot and an all-consuming evil.  I think this story was lifted straight from an issue of Archie's Pals and Gals.  Definitely not your traditional comic book, per se, but a super high quality example of how the medium can thrill without word balloons and sound effects.  CLICK HERE to check out the entire IGNATZ line.  We'll be reviewing the rest, soon.

LISA PELIKAN

THE retroCRUSH INTERVIEW

The talented Lisa Pelikan has appeared in a variety of different stage, film, and TV roles. Her first feature film, Julia, was nominated for 11 Oscars. She’s also co-starred with Jean-Claude Van Damme in Lionheart, battled Ghoulies, and made snakes kill people in the cult classic Jennifer. We caught up with Lisa and she had a lot of great stories to tell.

CLICK HERE FOR THE INTERVIEW

BEST OF THE ELECTRIC COMPANY COMES OUT ON DVD FEBRUARY 7TH

At long last, one of the hippest kid's shows every made is coming out in a gorgeous 4 disc set on February 7th.  The Electric Company was a great treat for kids that wanted something entertaining and educational to watch, but outgrew Sesame Street. With a cast that included Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman, and Rita Moreno, and segments like Letterman and often hilarious live-action Spider-Man skts, the show was always great.  We'll have a review (and hopefully giveaway copies) up shortly, but in the meantime, you can CLICK HERE to see a Quicktime trailer full of highlights.

SUPER HAPPY COMMERCIALS WITH AMERICAN STARS ULTRA FUN-TIME!

Many of America's biggest celebrities avoid advertising to preserve their perfectly marketed Hollywood image, but apparently when they visit Japan, all bets are off!  Japander is a wonderfully cool website that has a video archive of some truly amazing ads featuring celebs that you'd think you'd never see.  Give 'em a look and make sure you see some truly inspired examples featuring Nicolas Cage extolling the virtues of Pachinko, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in some truly batshit insane works of art.  CLICK HERE and see for yourself.


THE 100 MOST ANNOYING THINGS OF 2005

2005 is over and not a moment too soon. We've been doing this since 2000 and  I can't think of a year where the bad outweighed the good to this extent in quite a while.  And of course, that's great news for putting together a list of annoying things!  Let's hope that 2006 will live up to this banner year of annoyingness.

CLICK HERE TO COMMENCE THE ANNOYINGNESS!

"THE FLASH" COMES TO  DVD ON JANUARY 10TH

It's hard to believe it was 15 years ago, but in 1990 we were treated to a single season of a high-budget TV series of The Flash.  With a near perfect and very expensive adaptation of the original costume (which reportedly cost nearly a million dollars to design, and was conceptualized by none other than pin-up art legend Dave Stevens), the show only lasted a full season, but it was full of great fun and colorful villains like Mark Hamill as The Trickster, and David Cassidy as The Mirror Master. Some of the two part episodes were even released theatrically in the UK.  Warner is taking advantage of their super hero properties and releasing a ton of cool things the next few months including more sets of Lois and Clark, animated Superman and Batman sets, and finally a complete Season 1 package of the surprisingly cool Teen Titans cartoon. In the meantime, you can pre-order The Flash on Amazon for $41.99, which is nearly $18 the suggested retail, if you CLICK HERE.

 

 
Web www.retrocrush.com

YOU DON'T KNOW JACK, VALENTI!

THE HISTORY OF THE EX-MPAA CHIEF/LORD OF DARKNESS
-BY ERIC BRADNER

Iconic ex-chief of the Motion Picture Association of America Jack Valenti may be an attack dog in thrall to his corporate copyright overlords, but at least he’s an entertaining one, always ready with a down-home Texan figure of speech. And who else do you know that was a fighter pilot in World War II, was in JFK’s motorcade when he was assassinated, tried to ban the VCR, gave Fahrenheit 9/11 an R rating, and led the fight to bust college students file-sharing? Corporate whore Jack Valenti, that’s who.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR EPIC TALE


WILL WATCH THIS MOVIE TRAILER 4 FOOD

Longtime retroCRUSH friend and contributor Keith Lowell Jensen has a trailer for his upcoming documentary Why Lie I Need A Drink that you can watch if you CLICK HERE.  Jensen explores the claim that panhandlers can make hundreds of dollars a day by trying every angle, traditional and outlandish, he can think of.  Also, for some great laughs check out episodes 10, 42, and 59 of our podcast.


PHOEBE CATES GALLERY


RETROCRUSH
T-SHIRT CLEARANCE SALE!
ALL SHIRTS $9.50 SHIPPED!

We've got limited quantities of various odds and ends of the shirts we've made through the years. I want to clear out my stock for some cash, and get on to ordering some all new designs. Please won't you buy a few?  It's a great way to support the site, and they're pretty damn good shirts! FIVE DIFFERENT STYLES AVAILABLE!

CLICK HERE TO BUY BUY BUY!

We're giving away a brand spanking new copy of The A-Team Season Three on DVD!  Just send a picture of Mr. T that you've drawn with crayon to contests@retrocrush.com and we'll give the best entry the prize!  Entry deadline is February 13th.

And we're also giving away Season 3 of Magnum PI.  Just draw a picture of Magnum and email it to contests@retrocrush.com, and the best entry will win.  Entry deadline is February 13th.

THE LATEST PODCASTS

CURRENT EPISODES

Episode 062: (02/05/06) In this episode, we discuss the cultural merits of The Spice Girls, listen to the Japanese Spider-Man theme song, hear a tribute to Herschell Gordon Lewis, some crazy voice mails, and a chance for you to win cool DVDs with TWO different contests.
LINKS: WATCH THE JAPANESE SPIDER-MAN TV SHOW INTRO, HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS

Episode 061: (01/26/06) DRINK 'TIL WE'RE RETROCRUSH!  A fun chat with Justin, Deena, and Jon from the Drink 'Til We're Funny podcast, currently celebrating its 20th episode.
LINKS: DRINK 'TIL WE'RE FUNNY

Episode 060: (01/21/06) Underoos commercials, Nicolas Cage Japanese pachinko ads, a collection of vintage insert coin sound effects from classic arcade games, reader emails, acoustic guitar covers of Bubble Bobble and Kid Icarus, and a special end of the podcast song surprise!
LINKS: JAPANDER.com (currently has bandwidth exceeded)

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL DIRECTORY OF ALL PODCASTS

retroCRUSH's official favorite comic book should be out any day now!  Fans of Johnny Ryan's one panel gags will be thrilled as this issues is packed with 48 pages of some of the best laughs money can buy.  If you buy this comic and don't like it, well, then you're just stupid.  Johnny's actually got some reasonably priced original art from this issue up for sale RIGHT HERE along with other gems.


JACKO VS. NINTENDO

As lame as this premise sounds, and as much as Michael Jackson makes my skin crawl, this is one of the most fun and insane flash videos I've ever seen.  If you've ever wondered what it would be like if MJ's character from the Moonwalker videogame had a fight with virtually every Nintendo character ever made, now is your chance.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT! 


ODYSSEY 2 FLASH TRIBUTE

The fine folks at Something Awful never cease to impress me.  Their resident animation stud Shmorky just put together a crazy cool tribute to KC Munchkin that's both great to watch and listen to.  CLICK HERE to see for yourself!


ATTACK of the ANT-MAN!

He could shrink so small he could actually ride on the back of an ant...Ant-Man was one of those pure fantasy characters dreamed up of the best kind of science fiction, the kind that springs forward directly from the imagination and takes you for a ride.

CLICK HERE for the ENTIRE ARTICLE

GET ON OUR MAP!

Let's see how widespread retroCRUSH fans really are!  Click the map above and you can see the worldwide map of everyone that's checked in so far.  Add your own name and location with amazing ease.   

COOL FIREFLY LIGHTS!

Not too long ago, I was really missing how cool fireflies looked at night. They don't exist where I live anymore, so in desperation I turned to the internet to see if there was a way to order live fireflies, and release them in my backyard.  I figure one night of firefly magic might be worth it.  They're one of the great nostalgic things from my childhood that I wish I could have again.  Of course, fireflies can't survive a night in a glass jar, let alone UPS shipping, so I came up dry. 

What I did find, though, is a kickass company called Firefly Magic that sells sets of custom made LED lights that you can put in your yard and enjoy the same eerie firefly light effects every night of the year!  I got a solar powered set of 12 lights that I had fully installed within 30 minutes of taking them out of the box.  They're now one of my favorite things, as my friends and I love just staring at them in my backyard at night.  They have the same color and random pulsing pattern as the real thing.  I've got a short video of them in action that you can watch if you CLICK HERE. Give the fine folks at FIREFLY MAGIC a visit and check them out for yourself.  I can't think of a more unusual and rewarding gift you could give.

RETROCRUSH INTERVIEWS

Alison Arngrim TV's "Nellie Olesen" from Little House on The Prairie
Audrey Landers
Brandon Bird pop culture painter extraordinairre
Brian Cutler from TV's Isis
Bruce Campbell cult classic icon
Buckner and Garcia "Pac Man Fever" singers
The Chapman Brothers the creators of internet sensation Homestar Runner
Cindy Morgan from Tron and Caddyshack
David Teague Filmation studios animator
Dean Cameron Rockula & Summer School
Drew Curtis creator of FARK.com
Hank Garrett veteran character actor
Jack Hill exploitation film direcdtor
John Waters trash cinema god
Johnny Ryan Angry Youth Comix and Blecky Yuckeralla comic book artist
Judy Landers 80s icon and sex symbol
Keith Carradine star of stage and screen
Lana Wood Bond girl and sister of Natalie
Lance Kerwin James at 15 star
Lloyd Kaufman founder of Troma Pictures
Lydia Cornell Too Close for Comfort star
Marcia Wallace from The Simpsons and The Bob Newhart show
Nichelle Nichols Star Trek's Lt. Uhura
Paul Lekakis "Boom Boom Boom" singer
Pauly Shore 80s comedy icon
Princess Superstar bad girl rapper
Randy Johnson The Village People's cowboy
Ron Jeremy porn star god
Ruth Buzzi comedy icon
Sherwood Schwartz Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island creator
Stella Stevens actress & hostile interviewee
Susan Powter Stop The Insanity fitness icon
Tammy Faye scandal and cancer survivor
The Unknown Comic Gong Show staple
Tony Jaa Muay Thai Warrior
Tura Satana Faster Pussycat sex icon!

 


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