Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Arthur to Young Sherlock Holmes – 2011’s miscellaneous GeekDad stuff

In addition to the reviews and interviews I did for GeekDad this year, I also wrote a half-dozen posts about things like discovering the TV show Eureka, spooky Ray Bradbury stories, and attending the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 with my daughter. I loved writing these.

Eureka – I Have (Finally) Found It!

Young Sherlock Holmes Revisited

Pick A Doctor, Any Doctor, on Netflix

Harry Potter and the Nostalgic GeekDad (Probably my favorite GeekDad contribution this year.)

Ten Tales by Ray Bradbury to Get You in the Halloween Spirit

The 15 Geekiest Episodes of PBS’s Arthur

The Fellowship of the Ring and a Decade of Family Geekdom

GeekDad also featured my Delving Into Dungeons & Dragons As A Family post – originally from summer 2010 – as a “wayback machine” post this July. Since this is one of my other favorites, I was glad to see it up there again.

December 31, 2011 Posted by | Film, geek, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shadow of the Past, part 2: The Lord of the Rings Paperback Flashbacks

I’m happy to finally complete a trilogy of posts born a month ago out of an afternoon spent hanging out at a local comic show with Adam, at which I bought a Starlog magazine featuring a cover piece on The Star Wars Holiday Special, and this Ralph Bakshi interview about his Lord of the Rings movie.

I also couldn’t resist this paperback boxed set of The Lord of the Rings:

Lord of the Rings boxed set

Adam remembered these editions with their colorful triptych of covers as the ones his family had owned when he was growing up –

Lord of the Rings paperback covers

Click the photo to see a bigger version.

– but I’d never seen them before and loved them instantly, both in color (although I can’t stand the dead-center placement of the Houghton Mifflin logo on The Fellowship of the Ring) and as the black-and-white wraparound art to the slipcase.

I still have the boxed set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings which my Uncle Rob gave me when I was in first grade:

Lord of the Rings gold Ballantine boxed set

There are are three different kinds of tape holding these together. Two of the covers (which, as I had completely forgotten until working on this post,  featured the paintings of J.R.R. Tolkien himself) are missing, replaced by sturdy black posterboard. The pages (and while a very few of the introductory pages and maps are missing, all the actual story pages are still here) are worn soft like a child’s blanket at the corners and edges.

Hobbit and Fellowship covers

Two Towers and Return of the King covers

The slipcase to these books was covered in shiny gold paper and decorated on the sides and top with symbols associated with LOTR figures and civilizations:

Ballantine gold Lord of the Rings slipcase

Click the photo to see the entire set of scans and pictures.

And I loved these books.

Not just the stories within, but these actual objects: I loved having this relatively massive set of books that looked so different from anything else on my bookshelves when I first got it. I loved feeling like reading these books was, by nature of the number of pages and the small type and the lack of pictures, something of an epic quest in itself.

(Digression: When I was a fourth-grader, as part of a reading awareness week, our entire class at Lake Elementary School participated in a vote to rename our school for one week in honor of a favorite author. No one seconded my nomination of Tolkien, and it was really no surprise when we wound up as students of Judy Blume Elementary after the balloting.)

When I got the books out to scan them for this entry, I found two things I had forgotten. First, a bookmark which I kept in this set of paperbacks, and second, this artwork inside the slipcase:

My preciousssss.

Though I got through The Hobbit pretty easily, it was a couple years before I really buckled down and got through The Lord of the Rings, and I vividly remember finally reading that last page, sitting in the den of our house – the room which had been my youngest brother’s room as an infant, and which had once been decorated with blue shag carpet and wallpapered with cartoon caricatures of old fighter planes and pilots.

Finishing The Return of the King marked the first time I remember completing a book into which I had been so thoroughly drawn that I felt off-kilter for awhile, like I had to re-adjust to the world around me, akin to the feeling you get returning home after a long trip. I still get that feeling from time to time, and when I do, it also takes me back to that afternoon in the den of the house where I grew up.

July 24, 2011 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, Books, eighties, Fiction, geek, Uncategorized, writing | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Shadow of the Past, part 1: Ralph Bakshi in Starlog

In addition to the heaping helping of Star Wars Holiday Special goodness that comic show served up a couple weeks back, I was also treated to some Lord of the Rings memory-triggers.

Within the same Starlog magazine (Number 19, Feb. 1979), for starters, are five pages devoted to an interview with Ralph Bakshi about the brand-new big-screen adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. I remember being excited about and loving the 1977 Rankin/Bass television adaptation of The Hobbit, and while Bakshi’s LOTR has its flaws, I have a soft spot for it – especially the visuals, which immediately turn me into an eight-year-old again, heading out to see it with my mom’s younger brother late one night. (The movie came out in November, 1978, so it’s possible he was visiting us for Thanksgiving.) In Collect All 21!, I wrote:

Uncle Rob was the youngest “grown-up” that I knew, which made him, you know, cool.
For example, he had bought me a boxed set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books when I was in first grade. (I got through “The Hobbit” pretty easily, but I’ll admit it was probably fourth or fifth or maybe even sixth grade before I got through the Ring saga itself. As a little kid, those chapters about “Many Meetings” and “The Council of Elrond” seem like they go on and onnnn.) I remember Uncle Rob being stoked about the then-new Lord of the Rings cartoon movie, and taking me to see it at the theater down by the Gold Circle store. He was going to buy me one of the Gollum posters they had for sale in the lobby, but we wound up seeing the last show of the day, and when we came out of the theater, the concession stand was closed.

I don’t remember watching this movie again until the mid-2000s, after the Peter Jackson film trilogy had made its mark. (And for what it’s worth, I was surprised at the similarities between Bakshi’s and Jackson’s interpretations, from a few visual echoes to story changes.)

The Starlog interview with Bakshi is pretty neat – digresson: the author is Ed Naha, whose name struck me as familiar, and sure enough, his book The Making of Dune has been on my shelves since the mid-1980s – and it’s laid out with a pair of gorgeous double-page art spreads. My scanner only handles a page at a time, though, so I had to break them up to post them here:

Ralph Bakshi interview by Ed Naha - Starlog, Feb. 1979

Ralph Bakshi interview by Ed Naha - Starlog, Feb. 1979

Ralph Bakshi interview by Ed Naha - Starlog, Feb. 1979

Ralph Bakshi interview by Ed Naha - Starlog, 1979

Ralph Bakshi interview by Ed Naha - Starlog, 1979

In addition to this Starlog – which has clearly already delivered its money’s worth, even before you get to its articles on Maren Jensen (Athena from the original Battlestar Galactica), Roger Corman, Buck Rogers (’80s style, of course) and Martian volcanoes – I made one other purchase at the same comic show, but it’s going to get its own post. Hint’s right there in the title.

July 10, 2011 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, Books, eighties, Fiction, Film, geek | , , , , | 1 Comment

Got Wall?

You know that mark/dent/crack on the wall where you hurled your Xbox/Wii/PS3 controller that day you suffered another Red Ring Of Death/forgot to fasten the wrist strap before bowling/couldn’t shut your friend up before he spoiled the ending of Heavy Rain ?

Yeah, well – I can help you with that. The blemish on the wall, I mean.

In the interest of cleaning & reorganizing, acknowledging that I’ll never have this much extra wall space, scraping together a few extra bucks and finding a good home for some nifty movie and promotional posters, I’ve put all these up on eBay.

We’re talking just over 16,212 square inches – 112 square feet! – of fun stuff here.

Some of what I think are the neatest pieces:

A Star Trek: First Contact double-sided theatre poster with its original mailing tube from Paramount;

A double-sided Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones overseas theatre poster (No, I don’t know what language that is.);

and this M&M’s / Revenge of the Sith advertising poster.

There are also a couple original theatre-used Disney & Pixar posters, a Lord of the Rings theatre poster, and a couple promo pieces from The X-Files: Fight the Future.

I’ve also started everything at the price of just one dollar. Seriously: A BUCK.

This link should get you to the entire listing – 21 posters in all – but if it doesn’t, you can always do an eBay search for user jrb1970.

Who needs repainting or wallpaper when you can put Darth Vader, Captain Picard, the Argonath and Heimlich “I’m a beauuuutiful butterfly” up instead?

March 14, 2010 Posted by | Fiction, Film, geek, science fiction | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So … Azrael would be, what, a warg?

If you don’t want to see Gargamel reimagined as the Dark Lord Sauron in today’s Penny Arcade comic, do not click here. Otherwise, feel free, because it’s funny. Also, the observation about “Aragorn’s Quest” in the first panel? Yeah, I can see that.

June 1, 2009 Posted by | 1980s, eighties, Film, Games, geek, video games, Weblogs | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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