Monthly Archives: September 2011
The 90’s was the decade when recycling became a more common habit than in the 80s. Not to mention money you inherit from recycling cans, glass, and bottles. I get atleast $13 with three bags full. The character that influenced me to recycle is none other than Recycle Rex! Rex is a blue T-Rex who was looking forward in using a field as the new baseball arena for him and his friends to play on. Unfortunately a Garbage Truck Dinosaur starts dumping on their field, where Rex tries to stop him from ruining the field with waste. The Garbage Dinosaur was sorry for dumping on the field, but he couldn’t find any other place to dump the garbage cause every other land fill is full. Rex and his friends decide to find a way to get rid of their own garbage, however none of their ideas work out as planned until Rex discovered a solution. He noticed the end of his empty bottle has three arrows in the form of a triangle, while the building he’s glancing at has the same symbol with the sign “recycle” on the front entrance. Rex looks up the word recycle from one of his friend’s books and learns the meaning of the word. To make something old into something new again, Rex was thrilled and so were his friends that they were able to get rid of their garbage by turning all of it into new merchandise. The short concludes with all of the characters playing baseball on the field that is now garbage free.
Recycle Rex was created by both David Cutler & Irene Mecchi. Irene wrote for such films like Lion King, Hunchback of Norte Dame, Hercules, & Fantasia 2000. While David was an animator for Little Mermaid, Nightmare Before Christmas, & Fantasia 2000. The short was produced by Disney hinting it was created by two prolific Disney staff members. While the animation was animated by Klasky-Csupo(Makers of Duckman, Real Monsters, Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald, & The Tracey Ullman Simpson shorts/First 61 episodes of the Simpsons. Note how the way the characters are drawn in the same style as the earlier Simpson episodes(back when the show had less details on the backgrounds and micellaneous characters). The short was funded by McDonalds which is a corporation that’s all in for recycling like any other big company. These big name companies came together to put together this short film that was used for various schools around California. I never saw this short at my school for some reason, if all of the other schools in the State of California got to watch this short then why not mine? All we had to watch that is related to the enviroment was Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. Which was more entertaining than the Once Upon a Forest movie.
Let’s now talk about the characters and the voice actors. Rex is the basketball obcess t-rex and star of the short film. We never hear him being called Recycle Rex in the short, but we’ll think of it as a nickname so that way we don’t get him confused with the Rex from We’re Back a Dinosaur Story or Rex from Toy Story. Edsel is a purple stagosarus who is larger than the other dinosaur kids and might be a big eater as implied in one scene where they went to get some free samples at a department store. Edsel also reminds me of Spike from Land Before Time except he’s more talkative. Ethel is a triceratops who basically is a complete opposite of Cera from Land Before Time who was knwon to be arrogant while Ethel is a little nicer. Turbo is a yellow petradon who is a fast talker and really hyper. Imagine Petrie from Land Before Time as a girl except most confident about himself and not a slow speaker. Turbo’s speech pattern is similar to that of Eddie the Pulverizer from CatDog & Bing the lizard from Angry Beavers. Butson is a green Agilisaurus who never once spoke in the short. His propellar hat seems to spin whenever his mood is different. There’s always a character like this in school related cartoons, such as Duncan Bubble from Detention(Kids WB cartoon). Knock & Ping are identical twins who are refer to by Rex and the others as the Stomper twins due to them stomping their feet. These two were voiced by Christine Cavanaugh who you all might know best as the original Chuckie Finster, Marty Sherman from The Critic, Oblina from Real Monsters, and Birdie the Early Bird in Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald. Knock & Ping are what it would of been like if Christine Cavanaugh voiced Phil & Lil instead of Kath Soucie. Unlike Christine Cavanaugh, Kath Soucie is still an active voice actress today. As Christine retired from voice acting back in 2002 for personal reasons and to this day nobody knows why she quit when there were so many roles she could of inherit. But boy hard to believe it was almost 10 years ago since the last time she did something. Other than the Garbage Truck Dinosaur, the red dinosaur of Rex’s group is the only one who had no name. So let’s call Smart Red Dinosaur for now who uses his “Book on Everything” to look up a word. Since the iPad and smartphones weren’t invented yet kids had to use dictionaries to look up definitions. The last character is Rose the talking wise flower who advises litters about the results we’ll get if we don’t stop using up natural resources that aren’t renewable. The funny thing about Rose is she is a daisy yet not an actual rose, while she was voiced by Eileen Brennan who played the Crazy Cat Woman from Jeepers Creepers(and no I’m not really a fan of that movie).
It was hard to tell who does the voice of who beisdes the known actors I listed above. But this short does feature the voice talents of Josh Keaton, voice of Young Ocelot from Snake Eater & Portable Ops of Metal Gear Solid. Susan Blu who also did the voice of Arcee from Transformers. Edsel was voiced by Christ Allport who played one of the Singing Gallows Pirates in POTC: At The World’s End. Alex Greenwald who played a part in Donnie Darko. Raymond McLeod who was the singing voice of Flavio the Hippo from Animaniacs & the voice of an Alleycat & Bulldog in the Tom & Jerry Movie. Elisabeth Moss who did the voice of Kimmy in the “See No Evil” episode of the 1992 Batman series. And finally Megan Pryor who played a part in one episode of the 25 Season ABC Afterschool Specials(Holly crap I just discovered that show ran from 1972 to 1997!).
I didn’t officially see this short until last Monday where I received a hard to find DVD of it off of Amazon with some interesting bonus features including the option to watch it in Spanish. In the past I always remenbered the PDA to was always shown on TV, which they always played the “Recycle, Reduce, Reuse” song except it was shorten down to 30 seconds and showing editted footage of the short film as well. I never knew the PDA was originally a short film used for school purposes until very recently. So you can imagine how backwards I felt when I was watching a short film with characters I’ve always known but given a longer introduction to each of them that makes their appearances in the PDA look like a movie preview of a movie. Recycle Rex was just a small fraction of other PDAs that I grew up watching during the 90s. I’ll make other articles about them within time, but since they made so many, cartoon shows ended up making parodies of them like in the Recycle episode of Rocko’s Modern Life which is one of the fewest episodes to educate kids when they’re not realizing they are learning something new.
Recycle Rex is surprising not a known character where I live. The DVD extras implied that all schools in California know about his exsistence, but I swear I never once knew a kid at my school who even knew who the heck he was. Oh well, there were a lot of things that don’t seem to spread well to my Grade School. I also felt like the only kid who watches Reboot, and this was back when CGI wasn’t that common on TV. Anways in conclusion to this article, Recycle Rex is still around, it’s just sadly he’s not as well received as Smokey Bear. His website is still up which can be viewable via link down below this paragraph. Along with a sing a long version of the “Recycle, Reduce, Reuse”. Which doesn’t cover the entire song as they sing the rest of it during the end credit. Also without seeing the short film, some may be confused by the appearance of Rose who appears briefly at the end of the song. Since I already told you who the flower is, you won’t feel too confused when you see her shouting “Come on team!”. Otherwise it would of been like that flower from Brave Little Toaster who mistaken the Toaster’s reflection to be another flower. Which was regarded as the most meaningless scene in the whole film, if you edit that scene out you wouldn’t miss a darn thing. Anyways this should cover everything I know about Recycle Rex, if you ever do find the short film watch it cause it’s educational cartoons at best.
First off unlike most bloggers, message board users, and the Nostalgic Critic. I happen to love The Phantom Menace, I know this is the opposite of what you’d expect to hear but I loved it since I was 11 and still do today. Since this article is about the advertising of Episode 1, I don ‘t want any negative posts about the commercials, the movie, or Jar Jar Binks. Doing so will have the post deleted. I don’t want to lecture about how annoyed I was about people comparing The Phantom Menace to the same level as Battlefield Earth. With that being said, on with the article.
With the release of Star Wars on Blu-ray, I feel it be appropriate to talk about a character who’d be from the Star Wars universe but was only used for commercialism. Marphalump was exclusively created for the Pepsi campaign on Star Wars Episode 1. Other marketers that were involved were KFC, Pizza Hut, & Taco Bell. Funny thing is KFC, Pizza Hut & Taco Bell had cross over commercials which featured The Colonel, Taco Bell Dog, & a Pizza Hut Delivery Woman(An article on those commercials another time). Marphalump is an alien who is obsess with Star Wars. So obsess that he would use the collectible cans of Pepsi to reenact the whole movie with the 20 some characters that appeared on various cans of Pepsi during the movie’s release. The funny thing about that commercial is that Marphalump ad-lib two scenes and quotes that weren’t in the movie. Cause there was no scene in the movie where Anakin told Padme he loves her. That wasn’t expressed deeply until Episode 2 which featured a much more developed relationship between the two. While Darth Maul didn’t had his brains spilled out, he was just cut in half without saying a word. My guess is that Marphalump did it on purpose to deceive viewers who haven’t watch the film yet. But since it’ was a prequel it was obvious which characters survive at the end. Much similar to how it was obvious what became of Master Miller, Huey Emmerich, & Big Boss after the events in Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker.
The second commercial shows Marphalump living in his parent’s basement which is filled with Star Wars merchandise. He didn’t feel like being at home so he goes into his escape pod and is blasted off to the planet Couresaunt for the premiere of Episode 1. Since the planet is one gigantic city, it’s bound to have a million theaters playing the movie. He flies right into the theater lobby, grabs a Pepsi and is just in time to watch the scrolling prologue of the film. He keeps chanting I’m not worthy only to be hush by Jake Loyd who happens to be sitting right next to him. The interesting thing about this commercial is revealing Marphalump’s parents to be humans and not aliens. I’m guessing he was adopted and his real parents are either dead or weren’t able to keep him so they abandon him at an orphanage. Which ever the case maybe, I found this commercial to be interesting despite the fact that his parents aren’t four armed aliens.
The final commercial depicts a couple trying to find a taxi only to hitch a ride in Marphalump’s pod racer taxi. Marphalump puts his taxi in full throttle and the couple find themselves flying through the New York sky. Marphalump keeps ranting on how cool the pod racing scene is in the movie. Which I do agree that it was my most favorite scene of the whole film. When they meet their destination the man and woman are wiped out from the ride while Marphalump tells them they at least got a review of the movie. The commercial ends with a Gran yelling at Marphalump for being a crazy alien. Which is ironic for him to say that outburst when he’s a Gran(an orange skin three eyed alien).
Marphalump wasn’t used for the advertising of Episodes 2 or 3, but I found it to be cool for Pepsi using a one time idea of the concept of an alien worshipping Star Wars like it was a religion. In closing here’s three commercials and a rare making of featurette. The featurette has a split second of the Coke logo being destroyed, just a heads up for those who didn’t notice the first time viewing it. I didn’t bother to read any of the posts for any of the videos cause they’re bound to be spam and hatred. So just watch them off of this page without any posts that contain nothing but neglect.
The Pog Man was the mascot used for the Pog series, what are Pogs you might ask? Well if you were born after the 90s ended, then it’s understandable for you to not know what a Pog is. Those who remenber what Pogs were likely to have bought atleast one set of them. Come on, I’m sure any of you out there did had a collection of Pogs. Even I once had a collection of them in two different containers. One being a plastic lunch box with a skate boarding dinosaur(I’m not sure what company made such a thing) and the other was a pencil box that I was going to use in the 1st Grade, except my teacher forbid me. Why she forbid it is a mystery to me to this day. It only had images of the U.S.A. & carribean islands on it, it wasn’t like it had images of Playboy on it or anything that would be inappropriate for school. I’m sure all of you are saying to yourselves “What kind of teacher would list North American countries as inappropriate?” But yeah, she was an old fashion teacher who doesn’t approve of students who aren’t above average in her own class. Plus she resembles Mrs. Doubtfire, and no I have no evidence if she is a woman or a man pretending to be an old woman to get a job at a school.
Anyways sorry for that brief moment about about my First Grade era. Now for the real topic which is pogs, and don’t worry I’ll explain what the heck these things are and why were they a popular game in the 90s. Pogs were small cardboard discs that originated in Maui, Hawaii in 1927. There are some sources that claim the game evolved from a Japanese game called Menko which dates back to the 17th Century. The game later got it’s name from a fruit drink baring the same name in 1971. The other name for Pogs were “Milkcaps” since the discs are the same size as a cap. The game didn’t officially became popular until the World POG Federation and the Canada Games Company reintroduced them to the public in the mid-90s. It was a multi-million dollar idea until the game faded out of exsistence before the 90s ended.
The rules of the gameplay may vary among players, but the game variants generally have common gameplay features. Each player has their own collection of pogs and a slammer, a heavier game piece often made of metal or a thick plastic.However, metal pogs were not allowed in some games because they were too heavy and knocked too many pogs over too quickly, thus giving the player with the first turn an unfair advantage. Before the game, players decide whether to play ‘for keeps’, or not. ‘For keeps’ implies that the players keep the POGs that they win and forfeit those that have been won by other players. The game can then begin as follows:
-The players each contribute an equal number of pogs to build a stack with the pieces facing down, which will be used during the game.
-The players take turns throwing their slammer (heavy rubber, metal or plastic cylinder shaped piece, with different textures and colors) down onto the top of the stack, causing it to spring up and the pogs to scatter. Each player keeps any pogs that land ‘face up’ after their throw.
-After each throw, the pogs which have landed ‘face down’ are then re-stacked for the next player.
-When no pogs remain in the stack, the player with the most pogs is the ‘winner’.
I never once played a game of Pogs in my whole life since I’m more of a Pog collector than a Pog player.
Throughout the 90s, there were many themes to Pogs including collections with images of tv shows, movies, etc. Those include Alf, Animaniacs, Batman, Dragonball, Disney’s Gargoyles, R.L. Stines’ Goosebumps, Hot Wheels, 1994 Little Rascals, Matchbox, MAD Magazine, Power Rangers, Disney’s Pocahontas, Reboot, Sailor Moon, Spawn, Star Trek, DC Heroes & Villians, Marvel Heroes & Villians, The Tick(Animated), & 1992 X-Men. While in Mexico there were Spongebob & Simpsons editions. Various marketers were getting involved with this game including McDonalds, Burger King, Del Taco, Carl’s Jr.(or Hardee’s if you live East coast), Checkers & Rally’s. I only recalled getting pogs at a Del Taco once. While the biggest collection I had was the 1994 Knott’s Berry Farm limited edition, which was back when the place hardly had any roller costers. With every kid in the neighborhood owning a set of pogs this lead to a new school activity during recess. However because the winner of the game gets to keep the pogs it was viewed as a form of gambling and cause fights and distractions at various schools. So every school in America banned Pogs just like what they did to Pokemon cards, Chinese jump rope, & Tamagachi. It wasn’t long until the game was banned in schools in UK, Germany, Sweden, & Australia.
Let’s talk about the Pogman. Just what is he? To me I always called him a caveman due to his resemblence to Captain Caveman. Funny thing is as a kid the only Captain Caveman I watched was “Captain Caveman & Son” segments of “Flintstone Kids” which was Hanna Barbara’s attempt to make something as successful as Muppet Babies except without the stock footage. Which they attempted three more times with “A Pup Named Scooby Doo”, “Yo Yogi”, & “Tom & Jerry Kids”. While years later I discovered Captain Caveman has been around much longer than the 80s. Other than Captain Caveman the Pogman has a similar personality towards the Tazmanian Devil. Ah “Taz-Mania” such a classic spin-off for a Looney Tune.
In closing, Pogs today are either an underground activity or a hot ebay item. The game is no longer that big any more, but you’re likely to hear about them from time to time depending who you talk to. Such as people like me who knew what it was like when the game was as big as Pokemon cards. The Pogman is still being used for the mid 2000s editions of pogs sometimes in his classic look or in a new art style. I manage to find some archive commericals on pogs including a pog making device which I was deprived of never owning. Imagine the Metal Gear pogs I could of created if I own one today? Anyways the first one is a little staticy but the other commercial I found is better quality.
Since this guy had no given name in the commercial let us just call him the Washington Dollar Face. Which is pretty much what this commercial is about, a guy with the face of the one dollar bill Washington. Throughout the commercial he expresses what he thinks about the new dollar coin which has the face of the famous Lemhi Shoshone woman Sacagawea carrying her infant son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, instead of the first president himself. This decision doesn’t bother him one bit as he comments he has places to go and places to be. Then we see him at a night club, scuba diving, and paying a toll at a freeway toll. Which of course he uses the golden dollar for the toll as well as a vending machine as depicted above. He ends the commercial by commenting he looks good on paper. Considering the fact you get to see his whole face on a bill instead of a profile as depicted on the quarter. There was only one commercial made for this character(from what I know). And it just disappeared less than a less back in the year 2000 when the golden dollar was introduced. I never hear anyone talk about it to my surprise, which is why it’s a forgotten advertisement since Washington Dollar Face hasn’t been seen for the past 11 years.
Since than I’m surprised they didn’t make a series of these commercials. Cause I can totally see Washington Dollar Face work at an office space along with Jefferson, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, Grant, Franklin, McKinney, Cleveland, Madison, Chase(Civil War Treasurer), & Wilson. And throughout all of the commercials there be money jokes, puns, and arguments revolving on coins vs. bills for money. But alas those type of commercials don’t exist(from what I know). Ever since the introduction of the Sacagawea dollar coin, it was at first commonly used then within a few years you rarely see the coin any more. I have a few of the coins my self along with its predecessor the Susan B. Anthony coin, and a JFK half-dollar. Some believe the dollar coin first appeared in the late 20th Century, but after some research the dollar coin has been in existence since 1794! So our nation had dollar coins for more than two centuries, it’s just the bills are more commonly used and quarters are often mistaken for the shape of the dollar coin. In recent years the golden dollar has been revived with deceased Presidents and First Ladies. Also recent U.S. mint commercials are convincing people how more eco-friendly dollar coins are to dollar bills. Which is true cause a coin is more durable than a paper bill. Not sure if we’ll be seeing more dollar coins than dollar bills in the future, but I’ll be accepting whatever is said to be worth a dollar.
So to wrap this article up, here’s the commercial itself below. Tune in next week for an article on the Pogs mascot: Pogman!
Kane & Lynch was a fun game, if you ignore all of the flaws it had the story is really good, which is why I’m currently playing it’s sequel. No spoilers on the game please, I just barely avoided spoilers for the first game. Anyways on to the topic.
The 7Up Spot or Cool Spot as it was called first appeared in the late 80s as the mascot for 7Up. Ever since it’s debut it has been the main star of 7Up’s commercials from the late 80s to the mid 90’s. His characteristics include his shades, gloves, sneakers, and high pitch voice that’s almost like an anonymous creature. Most of these commercials either shows one or several spots turning a glass of cola into a glass of 7Up. While other commercials show these guys forming into the logo on a can of 7Up after doing either mischief or play games when no human is stirring about. Other than a large collection of commercials, this character received red carpet treatment for video game adaptions. Making him one of the fewest soda mascots to have his own video game. Or in this case a quatrilogy of games ranging from mini games to slide scroller adventures.
Keep in mind I never played these games, so I’ll only mention what I know about them from descriptions and youtube gameplay videos. In the first game it was simply titled “Spot: The Video Game” which is actually a 7Up version of the game reversi(A British strategy board game) which seems unusual for them to pick that for a theme on the 7Up Spot. I mean it be as awkward as having the game revolve on Spot playing a game of Cricket when average Americans have no idea how the sport is played. Anyways for Spot’s first game it was released for the NES & Gameboy at the time of its release in 1990. It was also released for the Amiga, Atari ST, & DOS computers. Ya, I know real old school computers right there. Reminds me of my first computer I got before getting a Windows 95, and been a Windows user since then. So for Spot’s first video game appearance, one could either say cool or weird.
In 1993, just three years after it’s predecessor, “Cool Spot” was regarded as Spot’s best video game appearance making it a legendary cult classic. This time it’s a slide scrolling game where Spot must rescue all of his other spot buddies by roaming around and kill various enemies with his soda bubble powers. Which I admit is a pretty cool idea for an advertisement game, make one wonder what the production was like for this game. That would be a great interview if I was able to get a hold with any of the staff members. The music for this game was composed by Tommy Tallarico who is famous for making music for video games. For that the game won some awards which is an achievement even for a game based off of an advertisement. This game was made for the Super NES, Sega Genesis, Master System, Game Gear, Amiga, & Game Boy.
The last two games are called “Spot: The Cool Adventure” & “Spot Goes to Hollywood”. “Spot: The Cool Adventure” was only made exclusively for the Game Boy. While the Hollywood one was made for the Sega Saturn, Sega Genesis, & PS1. For his final adventure it was decided to have him be stuck inside a film projector and go through every cliché genre and story you can think of that’s already been accomplished in the 80’s Chipmunks, Tiny Toons, Muppet Babies, and just to name a few. After the release of that game, Spot was soon fading out of 7Up’s advertising campaign. It’s a real shame cause he’s one of the fewest soda mascots to make a bigger impact on the public than any other soda mascot. Now and days 7Up seems bare without that Spot(not to be confused with the plain old red spot on their logo). I don’t drink the soda unless it’s the only thing available to drink. If 7Up considers bringing back Spot, then I might have a reason to drink 7Up again. So to wrap this article up enjoy this haul of every Spot commercial I could find on youtube.