The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #365: Reading from Dragon Fall, by Lee J. Hindle, Part 1 (1984)

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #365: Reading from Dragon Fall, by Lee J. Hindle, Part 1 (1984)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-365/Podcast%20365.mp3

This week, we’re starting to read from a short fantasy novel from 1984, Dragon Fall.  When I was reading some reviews of it, people mentioned they liked it, though there were plenty of 80s references that might get annoying if you weren’t into things that might date a book (not a negative in my mind).  It seems like the sort of thing that would come right out the era of Dungeons and Dragons, heavy metal, and the Satanic panic. 

More coming in subsequent weeks!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #364: Musical Interlude – Creating “I’m Here, You’re Not”

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #34: Musical Interlude – Creating “I’m Here, You’re Not”

https://archive.org/download/podcast-364/Podcast%20364.mp3

This week, I’m making one last track for the next Thirteenth Hour soundtrack album.  Just when I think it’s done, I think of another track I want to make.  I think that’s because I really do think of all these tracks as accompaniments to various sections in the books.  The nice thing about that is once you find a central theme (e.g. elements of The Thirteenth Hour theme is one), you can repeat and vary it throughout depending on the needs of the scene.  This one goes along with a short segment from The Thirteenth Hour where Logan meets his crewmates again in a dream:

For awhile, all was dark, and I could hear nothing. Then the familiar elements of my recurring nightmare aboard the ship came into focus. But this time, I wasn’t afraid.

And there before me, were all seven members of my crew, smiling, looking down as I lay in my bed. It was like I was in the hospital, recovering from an injury, and they’d stopped by, flowers and get–well cards in hand, to wish me well.

“Guys?” I ventured. “You’re … okay?”

“We are now,” Jake said softly, laying a hand on my arm. The other men nodded. I looked for traces of resentment or anger in their faces, but I saw none.

“I’m sorry, guys, I don’t know what to say … I …”

“It’s okay,” they said.

“You’re not mad?”

“Why would we be mad?” Ben asked.

“I … I dunno. I’m here, you’re not … it just seemed like it should have been the other way around.”

“But it wasn’t,” said Phil, shrugging. “We’ve been watching, the whole time, and in some ways, we’re glad it’s you, and not us,” he said, laughing. The others nodded.

“We’re … we’re really proud of you,” Jake said. “The cards were stacked against us from the beginning. That asshole, Darian.” Other nodded vigorously. “We’ve been amazed you’ve made it this far. I certainly don’t think I could have, not alone.” More head nods.

I wasn’t sure what to say. “Thanks,” I said finally. “I’m glad we could meet again.”

“Well, we’ve been trying to get in contact with you as soon as we could, but … it never quite worked until now.”

The nightmares. “I’ve been having the same nightmare over and over since the ship went down. It always ends the same way.”

“Well, now you know how it ended. Here. Today. Now.”

It felt as if a weight had begun to be lifted from my chest.

The track we’re making today is basically a slow reworking of The Thirteenth Hour theme, similar to what I did with Empty Hands and the meditative theme that became the music video of pixelated Logan flying through the clouds.  This track is most similar to the latter but won’t have the angelic accents that that track ended up with.  I’d like to give it a more somber tone to fit with the nature of the passage above so will be thinking about which sounds would best pair with the base layer I made this week.  I was thinking of something haunting, kind of like the sounds of a Theremin, but am not sure I can make that with my midi keyboard.  But I may be able to find something close.  We shall see!  Stay tuned!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #363: Starting to Make Video Games Again!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #363: Starting to Make Video Games Again!

https://archive.org/download/podcast-363/Podcast%20363.mp3

This week, I talk a bit about two upcoming projects – starting to make video games again after a few decades of not doing it!  Though I’ve used a number of the animations and sprites I made in various things, most recently the music video of Logan using the music Jeff Finley and I made, for the most part most of the work I did making games using engines like Klik ‘N Play and The Games Factory sat mostly unused all these years.  But every now and then, I’d take a look at the games making software out there, since the dream of making a Thirteenth Hour game in some capacity has never really gone away.  Fast forward to now, and I discovered a freeware games making program called GDevelop, which seems to have the abilities of the programs I used before with more user-friendliness.   So, I decided to learn how to use the program by making a simple, one level game of the Rocketeer where he runs, shoots, and flies to escape from a facility where he’s (almost) been taken captive.  Turns out, I’ve been able to reuse some of the animations I did in the past, which has saved a lot of work of creating everything from scratch.

rocketeer idlerocketeer run

So, more updates to come as I learn the program and advance the game!  

Speaking of games, the second project I’m working on is learning more about becoming a DM to be able to host DnD games set in the Thirteenth Hour universe for Patreon members.  So far, I’m looking at modifying some of the existing systems out there to fit the world and the ideas I have.  So stay tuned!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #362: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Lionheart (1987)

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #362: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Lionheart (1987)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-362/Podcast%20362.mp3

This week, my brother and I are watching the 1987 fantasy film, Lionheart starring Eric Stoltz and Gabriel Bryne.  Not one I’d seen as a kid but I have a feeling that if I had seen it, I would have liked it and watched it over and over despite it being kind of dark and understated in parts.  It has some very cool, unrepresentative-of-the-film box art, but despite that, if you’re interested in something a bit different than the usual hack and slash, give it a go if you can find it.

Lionheart - Rotten Tomatoes

Amazon.com: Lionheart [VHS] : Eric Stoltz, Gabriel Byrne, Nicola Cowper,  Dexter Fletcher, Deborah Moore, Nicholas Clay, Bruce Purchase, Neil  Dickson, Penny Downie, Nadim Sawalha, John Franklyn-Robbins, Chris Pitt,  Alec Mills, Franklin J.

Lionheart (1987) – Military Gogglebox

This film has a really nice score done by Jerry Goldsmith:

Jeremy and I will be back next month to discuss the 80s medieval film, Ladyhawke!  

Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #361: Making a Retrowave Music Video, Night of the Comet, Toys, and Being a Kid Again

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #361: Making a Retrowave Music Video, Night of the Comet, Toys, and Being a Kid Again

https://archive.org/download/podcast-361/Podcast%20361.mp3

This week, I finished the music video I started recently using the two synth – handpan tracks Jeff Finely and I worked on together.  I finally figured out enough of Adobe Premiere to accomplish pretty much what I was going for in the video – i.e. flying through fantasy landscapes with a trail of smoke coming out of Lightning.  Now, in the book, it’s actually three rainbow smoke trails, but sometimes, I will just draw it as one large rainbow that trails afterwards.  I couldn’t quite get the rainbow effect but did get the smoke trail to change to the colors of the rainbow, which is good enough for now.  Here’s a short clip of what I started with (pixelart Logan superimposed over stock fantasy landscape animations I purchased off pond5.com):

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And here is the full video:

 

This was the last collaboration Jeff and I did, by the way, based on some ideas originally conceived by Brent Simon:

You can find out more about Jeff on his previous appearances on the show (episode 101, 102, and 176).

I also recently rewatched the 1984 film Night of the Comet to prep for a conversation with one of the leads from the film, Catherine Mary Stewart about the movie.  This is a little addition to the Lego Friends minifigure package I made of Sam and Reg from NOTC, but if you’re on the Patreon, you will be able to find the interview there.  If you’re a regular podcast listener, you will also be able to unlock the interview to listen to it.  Yes, that’s right, gameification!  Since Regina Belmont was an avid arcade gamer in the movie, it only seems right.  Stay tuned for details.  The Night of the Comet figures will be auctioned off starting in August, most likely, all proceeds to benefit the nonprofit Alliance4girls.org

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I also recently went back to my parents’ house and brought back a few things from my childhood for my own children and took pictures of some of the things I wanted to remember:

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A collection of some of my and my brother’s old figures to share now with my kids.

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Remember some of these guys?

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 We saved a bunch of the boxes from the computer games we had as kids.  Little did we know that ot only would most games not comes with big boxes anymore but people would collect these things for exorbitant prices on eBay! 🙂

More on Patreon … but in the meantime, let it be known that 7/8/22 is “Be a kid again day!”

In other words, a great excuse to play with some toys!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #360: Flash Gordon (1980) with Obi, Joe, and Adam

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #360: Flash Gordon (1980) with Obi, Joe, and Adam

https://archive.org/download/podcast-360/Podcast%20360.mp3

Today, I’m joined by my friends Joseph Esch, Adam Crohn, and Obi as we talk about the 1980 film, Flash Gordon. This film was a blast, and it was a hoot to record as well.  The show goes off the rails within the first few minutes, but I think that makes it all the better.  I’m not sure I would have entirely gotten the humor had I seen this as a kid, but as a adult seeing it for the first time, I thought it was great fun.  If you haven’t seen it before or even if you have, here are a few clips of scenes from the film:

This is a fun compilation set to the theme song by Queen (warning – the theme song may get stuck in your head!)

If you enjoyed this outing, just know the four of us will be back soon.  In the meantime, you can find Adam, Joe, and Obi all together on Adam’s Star Wars podcast, I Have Spoken, episode 19 (thought on the Boba Fett series).  You can find more Adam and Joe on our first joint collaboration on The Lost Boys parts 1 and 2 as well as on Rambo: First Blood Parts 1 and 2 as well as their epic collaboration on Steakuums:

We will return on Patreon for more discussion on Flash Gordon cartoons, serials, comics, and toys!

Last but not least, if you’re in the US, happy 4th, and belated happy Canada Day to our Northern friends 🙂

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #359: Musical Interlude – Adding to a C#m Chord Progression on Synth with Jeff Finley

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #359: Musical Interlude – Adding to a C#m Chord Progression on Synth with Jeff Finley

https://archive.org/download/podcast-359/Podcast%20359.mp3

This week, I’d adding to the second repeating chord progression in C#m that I did with with past show guest Jeff Finley on the handpan.  We started this track in episode 354.  This track ended up having the repeating chord progression C#m B C#m B C#m B / C#m B C#m B A B at 100 bpm.   In this episode, I’m adding to Jeff’s arrangement with a little synth layer to hopefully complement what is already there.

For the first track we did, Jeff did an amazing job with accompanying and arranging the track started in episode 352.  That track is showcased in a music video on Adobe Premiere I started this episode with  pixelart Logan superimposed over some stock fantasy landscape video I purchased off pond5.com.  Here is a preview:

premierepremiere2

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I’d like to try to figure out how to add some rainbow colored exhaust to Lighting’s tail like I envisioned in the book:

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #358: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About The Heroic Trio (東方三俠, 1993)

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #358: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About The Heroic Trio (東方三俠, 1993)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-358/Podcast%20358.mp3

The Heroic Trio in 2022 | Jackie chan movies, Martial arts movies, Action  movie poster

This week, my brother and I are watching The Heroic Trio (東方三俠 – literally – “Eastern three heroes”), a 1993 film we first saw on cable TV as kids, around the time of the British / Hong Kong handover in 1997.  Whatever network it was (TBS or TNT, I think) showed a bunch of Hong Kong films back to back during that 24 hour period (if I recall correctly).  This was one we watched, and man, or man, what a weird one we sat through.  I’m surprised that it was shown on network TV given some of the stuff that’s in it, but who knows, maybe no one had watched it beforehand.  I recall hoping we’d catch one or two kung fu flicks, and though this one does have some high flying wire-fu martial arts, it’s hard to classify this film, since it has a lot of variety – noir, superhero, action, comedy, and horror, not to mention the particular feel of Hong Kong cinema at the time.  Click on the coverart below to buy your own copy or check here where you can find it streaming.

The Heroic Trio (1993) - IMDb

If you really want to capture the spirit of Hong Kong cinema, you may want to see if you can find the film on VCD.  VCD was a format that never really took off in the States, but in many parts of the world, like in Asia, where VHS had issues (humidity / heat and thin film aren’t a great combo), VCDs were a low cost alternative that was comparable in quality to VHS, especially in the days before DVDs and DVD players were widely available.  Jeremy and I talk on the show about places in NYC where you used to be able to find tons of these discs, but they (probably) are much harder to come by now, though occasionally, you can find copies on eBay.

Here are a few clips – a trailer, another fan made one set to the intro song sung by Anita Mui, one of the leads, and a clips of one of crazy fight scenes from the film.

Jeremy and I will be back next month to discuss the 80s medieval film, Lionheart!  Perhaps in the future we’ll do more Hong Kong cinema of the era.

Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #357: Making Minifigure Packaging and Finishing Night of the Comet Minifigures

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #357: Making Minifigure Packaging and Finishing Night of the Comet Minifigures

https://archive.org/download/podcast-357/Podcast%20357.mp3

This week, I wanted to share the final product of the Night of the Comet minifigures!  They’re done!  I figured out how to make the lettering on Sam’s cheerleader uniform and do the packaging so the two figures can both nest in a protective case.

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This short video shows how I made the coverart to look like the original poster.

notc box art

This is what the Night of the Comet coverart looks like.  Like the other similar ones I’ve done, I’ve used Chinese characters for the title – in this case, a literal translation of Night of the Comet (彗星之夜).  I’ve taken to not using the English title with these toys partly since it makes it a little harder for the movie studios / eBay to flag it as objectionable for copyright reasons. However, the biggest reason for the dual language packaging is that it reminds me of the imported toys (which were mostly robots and little figurines from places like Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan) I remember seeing on the streets of Chinatown when I was a kid in the 80s.  Like the others I’ve made so far, these will be charity auctions, this time to raise money for the US nonprofit alliace4girls.  I don’t know if this was something that was done intentionally when NOTC was written, but it’s a bit unusual for the time since it’s an action movie with two female leads who not only survive but thrive by virtue of their own resources.  So I figured pairing with a nonprofit that helps support and empower girls and women would fit.

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There are now three such figures in these cases!

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Making the cases for the NOTC figures.  I used paper covered foam for these (don’t know if I will use that material much in the future, though).

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This technique for foam pieces looks promising – using a hot knife or soldering iron to essentially cut though the foam easily with little to no mess and cleaner lines than with a traditional blade.

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By the way, I had the chance this past weekend to make it to a drive in showing of a double feature of Chopping Mall and The Last Starfighter.  It was a fun time!  More coming on a Patreon exclusive episode with additional pictures, audio footage from the event, and more!

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Sam, Reg, and Cliff all approve of the drive in action.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #356: Making Night of the Comet Minifigures!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #356: Making Night of the Comet Minifigures!

https://archive.org/download/podcast-356/Podcast%20356.mp3

This week, I wanted to share a little bit of a recent project.  After finishing the Lego Rocketeer and resin Beverly Switzler figurines, I thought it be fun to do figurines of Reggie and Sam from the 1984 cult classic, Night of the Comet.

If you haven’t seen the film, it’s great! You can actually watch it for free on YouTube, that is until YouTube flags it and takes it down.  But until they do, it’s available here: 

Ever since I first saw this film over 20 years ago, I’ve been trying to get people to watch it.  It used to be only on VHS, but now you can also find it on DVD. If you can catch it, it’s a lot of fun.

Anyway, I used the model bases for the Lego friends minifigure line to create the main characters, which are more elongated and a bit more realistic looking that the traditional, squat Lego minifigure body.

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Prior to painting Sam’s cheerleader outfit …

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After painting … still working out how to do the lettering on Sam’s uniform (see below):

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This scene, by the way, is available here:

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The lettering on Samantha‘s cheerleader uniform is too small to realistically paint, but I think I should be able to edit some images on Photoshop that I can print out.  The tricky part, as always, is getting the dimensions right, but I think it should be doable. 

Like the Lego Rocketeer and Bev figures, I think I going to house them in a clamshell case and auction them off on eBay as charity auctions. 

More updates shortly!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #355 and Like a Hood Ornament #43: Welcome Obi from Obi’s Toybox As We Talk All About the Rocketeer!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #355 and Like a Hood Ornament #43: Welcome Obi from Obi’s Toybox As We Talk All About the Rocketeer!

https://archive.org/download/podcast-355/Podcast%20355.mp3

This week, I’m joined by special guest Obi of Obi’s Toybox as we talk all about one of our mutual favorite topics – the Rocketeer!  We were introduced by our mutual friend, Adam from AC Toy DesignThe Rocketeer is a pretty hopeful, optimistic film, so I think it’s no wonder that people that like it tend to be nice people.  Yet, I seldom meet folks in day to day life that know much about the film or the comics, so aside from my family and this podcast, I mostly keep that interest to myself.  So it was a rare pleasure to be able to talk with someone else on all manner of things Rocketeer related.  A few things we touched on for reference:

The comics by Dave Stevens:

Dave Stevens The Rocketeer Signed Print (c. 1991).... Memorabilia | Lot  #13920 | Heritage Auctions

Serials that influenced Dave Stevens, e.g.:

The 1991 film:

The Rocketeer Is Getting A New Movie With A Black Lead And A Brand-New  Backstory | Cinemablend

The board game

The animated series:

Toys!

The Rocketeer Action Figure By Diamond Select Disney Toy Walgreens  Exclusive 699788835654 | eBay

The trading cards (we open a pack on the show):

I just found this wonderful looping clip of ambient sounds and music from inside the Bulldog Cafe made by Saint Ambience.

Thanks, Obi, for coming on the show!  We will be back soon for a discussion on anther pulp hero, Flash Gordon!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #354: Musical Interlude – Making a C#m Descending Chord Progression on Synth 2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #354: Musical Interlude – Making a C#m Descending Chord Progression on Synth 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast-354/Podcast%20354.mp3

This week, I’m making another repeating chord progression in C#m for a little collaboration with past show guest Jeff Finley, who recently told me about an instrument called a handpan, which is kind of like a steel drum you play with your hands, that, at least to my ears, sounds a bit like a synthesizer.  He did an amazing job with accompanying and arranging the track I started in episode 352, and this is another track that hopefully we can work on together.  

This track ended up having the chord progression C#m B C#m B C#m B / C#m B C#m B A B over and over.  Like the last one, this track was recorded at 100 bpm to make room for the handpan and allow it to breathe.   

This was our last collaboration, by the way:

You can find out more about Jeff on his previous appearances on the show (episode 101, 102, and 176).

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #353: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Mazes and Monsters (1982)

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #353: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Mazes and Monsters (1982)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-353/Podcast%20353.mp3

This week, Jeremy and I are tackling the 1982 TV movie, Mazes and Monsters!  This was a movie (based on a novel by Rona Jaffe) released in the midst of the popularity of Dungeons and Dragons as well as the public fear/backlash of the Satanic panic and all that.  Not surprisingly, it’s a bit of a shlock fest, but we have a surprisingly nuanced discussion on a variety of topics related to the film, role playing games and adjacent activities, distant parents, 80s social panics, steam tunnels, and more.  You can watch the film for free on Tubi (click on the VHS cover below to watch) 

Mazes and Monsters (TV Movie 1982) - IMDb

Ironically, the showing of this TV movie was sponsored by Proctor and Gamble, who acquired the stomach discomfort drug Pepto Bismo also in 1982!

Mazes and Monsters (TV Movie 1982) - IMDb

Mazes and Monsters (TV Movie 1982) - IMDb

The main cast of Mazes and Monsters with their characters and game paraphernalia.  Below, the article about the book the film is based on from the 7/1983 issue of Dragon magazine is below.

dragon1dragon2

There are a few things that are notably positive about the film that I think deserve some mention.  I liked the scene where two of the characters are painting their miniatures.  I liked the fact they had game notebooks.  Then there’s the interesting subject of gender, which has an interesting history in DnD.

I think it was notable that the story actually included a female character at all, and she took a more active role in the story (the fact the book was written by a woman may have had something to do with it).  Glacia (Kate Finch) was the party’s only fighter, which I think is notable since Dungeons and Dragons was still fairly overtly unbalanced in its gender roles.  At the time of the filming of this game, DnD was still in its first edition, where female characters of different races had lower stats (e.g. lower strength) and the game was generally written using only male pronouns (e.g. “fighting men”).  Although the female : male player ratio is more even today (about 60% male : 40 % female), it was apparently much more male dominated at the time (estimated around 10 % female in one source I found). 

As we talk about in the episode, DnD drew heavily from earlier (more male dominated) historical wargames, so it’s interesting to hear what female players of the time thought of it (here’s a interview with RPG pioneer Jean Wells, the first woman hired by TSR).  However, my main exposure to DnD as a kid in the 80s came not from the actual game but from TSR’s Endless Quest books, many of whom were written by a woman, Rose Estes, a TSR employee who, like many other women of the time, was frustrated at the male centric nature of the game and the play – centered around stats, dungeon crawls, and combat – which she felt took away from the telling of a cohesive story. 

So I think it is admirable that this film gave the fighter class role to a woman, who, though she does feature in a requisite love triangle, is not passive in her involvement in the main story.  She seems to be the only one for most of the film that actually owns a car, and the movie does not relegate her to passenger status in favor of having one of the male characters drive it.  Again, perhaps the film was just staying true to the original source material, but in that case, good on them for not changing it. 

Also, as mentioned in the episode, my interpretation of the film’s ending differed from most of thoughts found in the reviews I read at the time or since.  As much as the game was depicted as an experience potentially blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, I thought they also seemed to be saying that this was a way, separate from the world of distant adults, where four lonely young adults could connect with each other.  Such is the power of make believe (normally relegated to the word of children), even, in the end, cutting through psychosis.   When I saw it, the ending seemed to be saying that while aspects of day to day adult reality can be drab, disconnected, and limiting, it doesn’t have to be that way as long as there is still a human connection that binds people together.

Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  We will be back with another look at another fine piece of cinema!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #352: Musical Interlude – Making a C#m Descending Chord Progression on Synth

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #352: Musical Interlude – Making a C#m Descending Chord Progression on Synth

https://archive.org/download/podcast-352/Podcast%20352.mp3

This week, I’m making a repeating chord progression in C#m for a little collaboration with past show guest Jeff Finley, who recently told me about an instrument called a handpan, which is kind of like a steel drum you play with your hands, that, at least to my ears, sounds a bit like a synthesizer. 

He mentioned that his handpan is in the key of C#m, so we thought it’d be fun to make another piece of music together.  So this is me just starting something, and then I’ll send that over for him to add to, and we can go back and forth and see what we come up with, kind of like a remote jam session.  

After playing around with a few, I ended up liking the descending chord progression C#m A E B and thought it might be fun to see what we could come up with around that.  Though there is a bit of a melody, for the most part, I purposefully didn’t add much.  It is just those 4 chords repeated again to allow Jeff to add to it.  (Jeff – recorded this at 100 bpm with each chord held for about an 8 count.)  Looking forward to what we can make together!  

This was our last collaboration, by the way:

You can find out more about Jeff on his previous appearances on the show (episode 101, 102, and 176).

In other news, I’m almost done painting the Beverly Switzler figurines for Ernie Trinidad’s postproduction backers for his Howard the Doc film.  These were tough!  I used reading glasses to see the tiny details and am glad I chose to make her eyes closed rather than open since trying to paint eyes on a figure this small is always a headache in more ways than one.  I didn’t realize I’d made so many – nine painted ones and four glow in the dark ones.  There’s definitely more than I need, so I may auction some off for charity like I did with the Lego Rocketeers.  Speaking of which, this past week, it was Star Wars Day (5/4), which is also United Nations Anti-Bullying Day (as of 2012).  Combined those two things and the Lego Rocketeer in a little skit.  There are some stills below the ones of Bev.

And the clip:

Stay tuned to episodes on more 80s fantasy and Rocketeer content coming soon! 

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #351: Masters of the Universe (1987) with Joe and Adam

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #351: Masters of the Universe (1987) with Joe and Adam

https://archive.org/download/podcast-351/Podcast%20351.mp3

Masters of the Universe (1987) - IMDb

Today, I’m joined by my friends Joseph Esch and Adam Crohn to talk about the 1987 film, Masters of the Universe, which despite being a fan of the toys and the cartoon as a kid, I missed seeing at the time or since.  I went in with no expectations, not having watched the cartoon in decades.  I knew it was different from the source material, having read some reviews prior, though as an isolated 80s sword and sorcery movie, I think it works just fine.  As a Masters of the Universe property, I’m not so sure, but Joe and Adam, who know much more about the franchise than I do, had a lot more to say about that I could offer, so I felt like we went into a fairly balanced discussion on the film, with both positives and negatives.

I want to thank one of the concept artists on MOTU, Edward Eyth (who also helped design the silver art deco version of the Cirrus X-3 on my favorite movie of all time, The Rocketeer), for helping to provide some insights into the design of the film.  Hopefully we weren’t too harsh!

In the meantime, check out more Adam and Joe on our first joint collaboration on The Lost Boys parts 1 and 2 as well as on Rambo: First Blood Parts 1 and 2 as well as their epic collaboration on Steakuums:

In addition, check out the links below for some of Adams original MOTU designs.  We will return on Patreon for more discussion on the toys.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #350: Musical Interlude – Making a 30 Sec Synthesizer Countdown Track

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #350: Musical Interlude – Making a 30 Sec Synthesizer Countdown Track

https://archive.org/download/podcast-350/Podcast%20350.mp3

This week, I thought I’d make a little piece of music as an unsolicited surprise for my friend Jeremy over at Whistlekick, who also does a little morning show called First Cup where he and other martial artists often congregate over his livestream (weekdays at 6 AM EST) to discuss various martial arts things as well as giving each other encouragement for the day.  It’s a nice little group (check it out on Youtube, Twitter, Twitch, and FB!), and lately, I’ve been trying to get up early to work out and do other things at that time to start the day with them.  I, as a perennial night owl, have always loathed mornings, but, you know, I gotta say, it’s nice to get your workout done in the morning, since at least then it gets done.  Time tends to slip away later in the day.  First Cup has thus been a motivating factor in helping me drag myself out of bed :).

Anyway, lately, Jeremy has been using some instrumental music to accompany a screen where he shows the countdown until the livestream starts.  I think he’s had a few difficulties where Youtube will flag his intro music as being proprietary even though he used royalty free stock tracks, so I figured I’d make a ~30 sec track to accompany that bit so if he wants, he can use it.  But even if not, no music ever goes to waste here at The Thirteenth Hour podcast!  I can also use it later for something else – e.g. I sometimes use musical bits to bookend podcast tracks (like into between the intro and an interview). 

This track was made entirely on the synth and was comprised of 5 different layers mixed together.  It is also one off the few times I actually used the pitch bend effect there to simulate electric guitar note bending.  

Next week, we’re going to start covering Masters of the Universe from 1987!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #349: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Highlander (1986) Part 2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #349: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About The Highlander (1986) Part 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast-349/Podcast%20349.mp3

This week, my brother, Jeremy, rejoins the show to talk about the 80s movie, Highlander.   You can listen to the first part of this episode here  and, if you have not seen the film, you can actually watch the entire film for free on Tubi as well as some sequels, like the director’s cut version of the sequel, the animated series, and the TV show, which a kind soul also uploaded to Youtube).  After the conversation with Jeremy is done, I pop back in for a bit to give a few thoughts on the sequel and the cartoon.

Amazon.com: Highlander : Movies & TV

Like last week, I thought I’d post some period specific articles on Japanese swords since the movie cites their history and borrows from the mythos even though it’s superficial.  This article comes from the June 1980 issue of Black Belt magazine and talks more about the swordmaker Masamune, who is cited in the film:

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As much as folks rag on the sequel (and for good reason – just don’t take it too seriously), I have to say, I really like this quote, the bits with Sean Connery, and the bagpipes in the background.  RIP, Sir Connery / Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez and Godspeed!

And check out the music in the intro of the animated series.  Always loved the electric guitar lead mixed with the symphonic backing track.  I think I only watched the show a few times as a kid and had no clue what was going on (since I hadn’t seen the movie yet, not that it matters; they’re only tangentially connected), but after poking around on Youtube, I found this clip of the ending theme.  I don’t remember it at all, but it sounds a bit like The Thirteenth Hour theme in a different key, which is maybe why I like it).  Love the guitar there.  Possible unconscious reference?  

It was really nice to be able to share this little slice of the 80s with my brother, since he not only did he remember a lot more than I did, but he’s one of the few people who knows the influence films like this, however obscure, had on the writing on The Thirteenth Hour books (more next week).  Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  For those on Patreon, stay tuned for a bit for you guys!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #348: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Highlander (1986) Part 1

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #348: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About The Highlander (1986) Part 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast-348/Podcast%20348.mp3

 

This week, my brother, Jeremy, rejoins the show to talk about the 80s movie, Highlander.   This was a film I watched in high school I believe for a history class report on 1980s movies, and I recall watching the cartoon series probably a few years earlier.  While there are quite a few sequels and associated properties (like a TV show), this is probably the best of them, highlighted by a great soundtrack done by Queen with a score by Michael Kamen.  (You can actually watch the entire film for free on Tubi as well as some sequels, like the director’s cut version of the sequel, the animated series, and the TV show, which a kind soul also uploaded to Youtube).

Amazon.com: Highlander : Movies & TV

The film starts in quite dramatic fashion:

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It was interesting watching this film in over 20 years.  This clip is one of the few parts I actually remember.

This week and next, I’ll post some period specific articles on Japanese swords since the movie cites their history and borrows from the mythos even though it’s superficial.  This article comes from a 1982 martial arts magazine:

img_7013img_7014img_7015img_7016img_7017img_7018img_7019

It was really nice to be able to share this little slice of the 80s with my brother, since he not only did he remember a lot more than I did, but he’s one of the few people who knows the influence films like this, however obscure, had on the writing on The Thirteenth Hour books (more next week).  Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  Look for more in part 2 next week!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #347: March/April 2022 Question and Answer Session

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #347: March/April 2022 Question and Answer Session

https://archive.org/download/podcast-347/Podcast%20347.mp3

 

This week, we have out last question and answer session!  

My brother, Jeremy, who will be on soon to discuss the film Highlander, returns this month with these questions:

1) Do you have any preference between the fantasy and sci-fi genres, and if so, why do you think that’s the case? I’m asking because some people are strictly in favor of one versus the other, and then there are those who hate traditional “elves and orcs” fantasy but really love Star Wars, which is basically “wizards in space.
 
The Last Starfighter (1984) - IMDb
 
2) The villain of The Thirteenth Hour, Klax, underwent quite a few changes in all of the novel’s drafts, moving from a fairly 2D bad guy to somewhat sympathetic in the final product. What makes a memorable villain in your opinion and who are some of your favorite bad guys?
 
klax faceplateRM
 
 
Why I'd like to be … Tim Curry in Legend | Movies | The Guardian
 
3) What are some of your favorite fantasy creatures? The Thirteenth Hour has dragons and unicorns but not too many other fantastical beasts – are there some creatures that you’re interested in featuring in later books?
 
logan with unicornWM
dragon aurora color small
 
Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!
 
These next five comes from frequent show guest Adam from @mom_gave_them_away, who was just on the show for episodes 340341 on Rambo/First Blood.
 
4.) I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk about your favorite superhero. Let hear one for Marvel, DC and an independent publisher.
 
Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider, Vol. 1: Back in the Hood by Peter David
 
Nightwing Admits He Failed as Robin (But Tim Drake Didn't)
 
59e59-01davestevens_rocketeerpromo_100
 
5.) The movie that scared you the most as a kid?
 
Ben-Hur (1959 film) - Wikipedia
Jaws (1975) - IMDb
 
6.) You have to live off of one food forever, what is it?
 
Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup Chicken Flavor, 12 ct, 8 Ounce (Pack of 12)
 
7.) Your clone, John Rambo, has to live off of one food forever. What is it?
 
GORP - Trail Mix - Snacks - Nuts.com
 
8.) What’s your favorite fictional female character?
 
SpaceCampUSA on Twitter: "Happy Birthday to @LeaKThompson! Or as we know  her, Kathryn Fairly. #SpaceCamp https://t.co/QoouDE1Eh5" / Twitter
 
Find more of Adam’s work on the interwebs at ACtoydesign and his shop of original resin toys.  He does a number of podcasts as well – I Have Spoken (a Star Wars podcast), Death by Podcast (a vintage horror podcast), and You like Toys (a Patreon exclusive podcast about toys and nostalgia). 

Thanks, everyone, for your contributions!  It was a good time these past three months as an experiment to how user generated questions would go.  Patreon members – stay tuned for more of these for the Patreon exclusive episodes in the future or to ask questions for the main podcast.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #346: Musical Interlude – Finishing “Homecoming” – a Slow, Introspective Synth Track

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #346: Musical Interlude – Finishing “Homecoming” – a Slow, Introspective Synth Track

https://archive.org/download/podcast-346/Podcast%20346.mp3

This week, I’m working on the last piece in the upcoming second Thirteenth Hour soundtrack.  The track, called “Homecoming” is an incidental piece of music I made back in the summer but wasn’t sure how to finish.  But today, I’m wrapping it up by adding two additional layers – a short melody for the “verses” using a xylophone sound (to invoke the feeling of nostalgia/childhood) as well as a choral vocal overlay.  The draft plays at the end of the episode.   A few pictures from part of the book that inspired this piece:

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Next week, we’re going to do another Q and A episode!  If you have questions or things you’d like to share, feel free to email me them at writejoshuablum@gmail.com.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #345: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Legend (1985/1986) Part 2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #345: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Legend (1985/1986) Part 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast-345/Podcast%20345.mp3

This week, my brother, Jeremy, rejoins the show to talk about the 80s movie, Legend in the second of a two part series (part one is here).  As mentioned, depending on which part of the world you were in, it had different release dates (1985 in Europe, 1986 in the US) and different soundtracks and cuts, making for different viewing experiences.  In this podcast, we focused on the 1986 US theatrical release with a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream and the 2002 director’s cut (more similar to the original 1985 European release) with the soundtrack done by Jerry Goldsmith.  

When I was a kid watching the US release, I wasn’t really a fan of the ending song (“Loved by the Sun”), since I just wanted to listen to the backing melody (which is mostly synth and is the “Unicorn Theme” refrain) but watching it this time, I was struck by how this ending scene really caps off the whole movie.  It’s basically a music video inside a film that’s 70% music video already (speaking for the US release), and what was running through my head was, “Now that’s how you end a movie! (especially an 80s movie).”  While the director’s cut version is probably cinematically the better ending and makes a bit more sense (well, sort of), I couldn’t help wishing for the emotional swells of the vocals, keyboards, and synthesizers of the Tangerine Dream / US version. Check it out:

Jeremy had much the same thought.  It was really nice to be able to share this little slice of the 80s with my brother, since he was not really old enough to get into it when I was into the film.  Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  Look for more in part 2 next week!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #344: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Legend (1985/1986) Part 1

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #344: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Legend (1985/1986) Part 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast-344/Podcast%20344.mp3

This week, my brother, Jeremy, rejoins the show to talk about the 80s movie, Legend.  Depending on which part of the world you were in , it had different release dates (1985 in Europe, 1986 in the US) and different soundtracks and cuts, making for different viewing experiences.  In this podcast, we focused on the 1986 US theatrical release with a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream and the 2002 director’s cut (more similar to the original 1985 European release) with the soundtrack done by Jerry Goldsmith.  

Watching this film again for the first time since I was a teenager, I was struck by how much I liked the Tangerine Dream score in the US release, something I really noticed when watching the director’s cut version of the film.  Before I was able to find the soundtrack, I recall trying to tape record parts of the soundtrack off the TV as a kid.   Unfortunately, as was often the case, not all parts of the score were included on the official release.  For example, this scene has a variation of “The Unicorn Theme” that was on the official soundtrack, if I recall.  Listening to those home-made recordings through the years helped provide inspiration for what would later become the sound behind The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack.  

It was really nice to be able to share this little slice of the 80s with my brother, since he was not really old enough to get into it when I was into the film.  Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  Look for more in part 2 next week!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #343: Musical Interlude – Making a Backing Track for “No Hero” and Playing “Loved by the Sun” from Legend

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #343: Musical Interlude – Making a Backing Track for “No Hero” and Playing “Loved by the Sun” from Legend

https://archive.org/download/podcast-343/Podcast%20343.mp3

This week, I’m working on two music pieces – one of the last tracks from the upcoming second Thirteenth Hour soundtrack.  The song, called “No Hero (The Future is Here)” is basically the equivalent of the soundtrack’s ending track (like a song that would play over the ending credits).   Some previews:

I’m working on the backing synth track today.  The version on the podcast was an early warmup.  At the time of this writing, many, many frustrating recording attempts (and hours) later, I do have a version of the backing track that is 95% done.     

Speaking of ending tracks, I’ve also been playing around with the ending song from the US release of Legend, which we’ll be talking about in the coming week.  The song playing as the movie ends is “Loved by the Sun” by Tangerine Dream and sung by Jon Anderson from the band Yes.  I’m just messing around with on the guitar with my kids in the version on the podcast, but here is a much better orchestral version of the song done by kids with the O’Keefe Music Foundation, a nonprofit that provides free music instruction to children. 

Look for more on Legend next week and the release of Once Upon a Dream later this year!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #342: February 2022 Question and Answer Session

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #42: February 2022 Question and Answer Session

https://archive.org/download/podcast-342/Podcast%20342.mp3

This week, I’ve got a few quick updates and will be digging into the second set of questions that came in.  I really appreciate all the thoughtful questions!

Before we begin, I have finally finished the Lego Rocketeer including their boxes.  Now just need to list them and get them ready for auction for two charity organizations in Dave Stevens’ name.

My brother, Jeremy, who was just on for episode 337 to discuss The Black Cauldron and who will be on soon to discuss the film Legend, returns this month with these questions:

1) What was it about films like The Neverending Story that resonated with you as a child and served as fuel for the style of ’80s fantasy that The Thirteenth Hour represents? In your mind, what do you think is stylistically different about ’80s fantasy films as opposed to the stuff that came after? (like The Lord of the Rings movies or modern day shows like The Witcher).

2) The Thirteenth Hour straddles a lot of genres and defies classification – you could call it a fantasy/young adult book, but that doesn’t quite hit the mark. What are some of the restrictions and quirks of these genres that bothered you as a kid and still bother you as an adult? (i.e.: the tendency for fantasy series to be long multi-book affairs that get a little drunk on their own worldbuilding and politics; the fact that most YA books have to fit within the mold established by Harry Potter or The Hunger Games to survive)

3) Did you ever envision The Thirteenth Hour as a comic? In a perfect world, what would a comic adaptation of the story look like in your eyes? Would you go for a long running series that expands on the mythology that you wrote, or maybe a big one-shot a la Dave Steven’s Rocketeer work that’s self-contained?

Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!
 
These first five comes from frequent show guest Adam from @mom_gave_them_away, who was just on the show for episodes 340341 on Rambo/First Blood.

4.) Favorite Gene Wilder role, not necessarily favorite movie?

5.) Favorite toy line as a kid?
 
6.) Within that favorite toy line, what’s your favorite figure?
 
7.) Can you nail down your favorite year of the 80s?
 
8.) Did you take piano lessons, and if so, do you remember your first lesson?
 
Find more of Adam’s work on the interwebs at ACtoydesign and his shop of original resin toys.  He does a number of podcasts as well – I Have Spoken (a Star Wars podcast), Death by Podcast (a vintage horror podcast), and You like Toys (a Patreon exclusive podcast about toys and nostalgia). 

Two of my favorite GI Joe figures – Lady Jaye and Snake Eyes from the GI Joe 80s cartoon.

I don’t a lot of the toys from my youth currently with me, but have found a few in later years.  The little blue Prius from Japan is there representing Micro Machines and the Japanese import that was my first GoBot.  The blue robot is a GoBot that was my favorite as a kid, and the Air Raider pilot (which was one of the ones I had as kid), represents all the smaller size figures I liked playing with as a child. 

Thanks, everyone, for your contributions!  It was a good time.  We’ll do it again next month (for the episode to be released on 3/28/22).  If you have questions, feel free to email me them at writejoshuablum@gmail.com.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #341: First Blood and Rambo Survival Knives with Joe and Adam Part 2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #341: First Blood and Rambo Survival Knives with Joe and Adam Part 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast-341/Podcast%20341.mp3

Welcome to the 2nd part of the First Blood / Rambo miniseries.  But before I forget, as mentioned in the show intro, check out Adam’s tutorial on grey scale painting:

And!  A new podcast I recently found all about Howard the Duck – “Trapped in a World!”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/trapped-in-a-world-the-howard-the-duck-podcast/id1602849581?ls=1

Now to the feature …   Today, I’m again joined by my friends Joseph Esch and Adam Crohn to talk more about the first Rambo movie, First Blood (1982) and things like 80s hollow handle survival knives, as well as oddities like the Rambo cartoon and associated action figures.  If you haven’t caught the first part of this miniseries, you can find it here: https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2022/02/14/the-thirteenth-hour-podcast-340-first-blood-and-rambo-survival-knives-with-joe-and-adam-part-1/

Click on the picture below to find a copy of the film:

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We actually start off taking about this collection of ads, of which the survival knife is just one fine offering, coming from Boys’ Life.

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As an aside, if you look center bottom in the ad above, you’ll see one for a diver’s knife.  Adam sent along some pictures of his:

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Joe also sent along some pictures of the container he found to organize the contents of the knife handle in the Harbor Fright model we have.  If you look around, you can find little metal waterproof containers just the right size to fit in the handle.  This is the one Joe used.

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We also talk a bit about the Rambo cartoon (odd choice for an R rated movie about a vet suffering from PTSD who gets bullied by smallminded cops and wreaks a path of wanton destruction on their small town as revenge) as well as the accompanying Coleco toyline, which I vaguely remember from the shelves of Kmart, as they were bigger and had more accessories than a lot of your typical action figures of the day.

I found the first episode of the cartoon here, and here’s the trailer:

The backdrops from these 80s commercials were sometimes even better than the toys themselves.  Now, this, ladies, and gents, is a commercial …

For those of you on Patreon, there will be an accompanying exclusive episode later this week on favorite GI Joe figures, as the comic had many of the Joes originally as Vietnam vets trying to figure out what to do after the war, just like Rambo.

In the meantime, check out more Adam and Joe on our first joint collaboration on The Lost Boys parts 1 and 2 as well as on Adam’s show, I Have Spoken: A Star Wars Podcast, episodes 14, 15, and 19 talking about The Book of Boba Fett and Star Wars toys!  Thanks for coming on the show, fellas!

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