Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Surprise From Our Pals at Auto World: A New Black 1/18 General Lee


I love surprises.  I am no-spoilers kind of guy.  I really love Dukes of Hazzard surprises.  Our good friend Gregg over at Auto World laid a nice Dukes surprise on me recently and I very happy I can share it with the world.  AW has a new black 1/18 General Lee on the way, and it looks to be the best one yet.  Here is AW's info:

"AutoWorld is taking Dukes fans back to where it all began before the General Lee was the General Lee with this 1/18-scale Authentics 1969 Dodge Charger in black with newly tooled steel wheels as seen in the season 7 premiere episode "Happy Birthday General Lee". The party starts March 2015."



We all know from Auto World's General Lee that they don't skimp on details.  This thing will have all kinds of goodies.  Maybe we can convince Gregg and AW to hide a 1/18 bag of gold dust behind the panel just like the crooks, Rick and Ginny, did in the episode.  It will be nice to have the ability to open the doors this time and get a better look at the detail.


This thing is going to be awesome.


The Gen'ral has been released in black several times before in 1/18 and other scales.  Every time it has been released in the past, it has come with standard General Lee Vector wheels.  We all know that the black Charger driven by Rick and Ginny at the beginning of the flashback episode didn't have the iconic wheels yet.  They weren't added until after Cooter got a hold of the wreck and worked his magic.  AW's new version will have the correct steel wheels.  This will be the most accurate version of the "Happy Birthday General Lee" Charger released.  Gregg said that these photos are of the prototype and there will be some changes made.  The dash panel, engine coloring, and removal of the front plate will all be addressed.  In AW's quote, it is mentioned that it will be released in March.  I'll be sure to have a cake ready!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Mythical Dukes of Hazzard Swimming Pool!!!


There are a few items in the Dukes of Hazzard world that I qualify as Holy Grails.  I've even made claims the these other items are the holiest of Holy Grails.  These items include the tennis shoes and pencil cup.  But this item, my friends, is the rarest, hardest to find commercially produced Dukes of Hazzard item out there.  I have had many discussions with fellow collectors over the existence of this item.  First there was a debate over if it ever existed.  Then the debate turned to a discussion of whether any remained.  All of the debate can be laid to rest.  I have now added a Dukes of Hazzard Children's Swimming Pool to my collection!


The reason for the question of whether any survived the early 80's is because it's huge and incredibly flimsy. This thing could brake at any moment.  It would be especially susceptible to breakage if, say, you were to fill it up with water and let some toddlers splash around in it.  I bet 90% of these things were in the trash after about three outings.  This is a product that certainly was not made to last.  How this one survived is nearly a mystery.  It came from a farm in mid-Iowa.  The former owner, Nate, said it was in the barn, forgotten since the Golden Era of the Dukes.  Barn finds aren't just for collector cars. It took quite the effort to get this prized item here.  Nate really helped out.


Nate constructed a very sturdy crate to ensure safe travel for the relic.  The size and weight made it nearly financially impossible to ship using a standard carrier like the post office or UPS.  With some help from my pal Mark, I was able to track down a local shipper that was very helpful and brought this behemoth to me without breaking the bank.

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I needed a little more than the standard box cutter to open this package.


This was my first glimpse of my new collection centerpiece.


Remember that moment when they opened the Lost Ark in Indiana Jones?  It was kinda like that, but without all the flying ghosts and with a little less face melting.  I swear I heard the same dramatic music though.


I feel like a big game fisherman with his prized catch.  All I need is to clean it up a little.


Once wiped down, the pool really shines.  The printing is only on the inside.  The outside is a solid yellow.


The pool was made by Coleco.  Coleco also made a number of other Dukes items from the plastic pedal car to the video game for their ColecoVision system.  Ride-on toys, pools, and video games: that is a broad range of toys.  Colceo was everywhere.  Their logo is in the middle of the pool.


There are five repeated designs throughout the printed surface of the pool.  The main color used was blue and their is slight shading with some brown.  My first thought was that it was faded, but upon proper inspection, they didn't use orange or any other color.  The pool is not faded at all, which is surprising for its age.  That makes me very happy.  None of these designs are unique to the pool; they have all been used on other products.  The first is a logo shot with our three favorite cousins.  They made a minor faux pas by giving Bo a blue shirt and Luke a yellow one.  At least they have their hair color correct, which some items don't.  For a swimming pool, the likeness is really good.


The next design is of the General evading Rosco by "skiing" which means driving on two side wheels.  They performed this stunt a few times on the show, but not as many as you would assume by looking at the number of products that use this image.  This image was the main one used on the Dukes of Hazzard bed set and curtains.


Next we see another logo shot with the name written in the familiar font.  The Gen'ral is jumping over the words.  This is also a very commonly used image.  It was used on T-Shirts, stickers, trading cards, and other items.  There are stars all over the pool.


Next up is a General Lee text image.  For a product from the 80s where the fine details of the car like the text were often ignored, this is surprisingly accurate.  Good job Coleco.


The final shot is the General Lee doing what it does best, flying.  Again, we've seem this illustration before; it's a classic.  I always loved the way the dirt is flinging off the wheels.  This is a great picture of the General.  They chose some good ones to decorate the pool.


The pool was most likely mass produced and then certain ones were sent to be "Duked Out."  I bet they had other popular licenses like Barbie and Cabbage Patch Kids.  The pool has a molded design that includes several outlines of fish in it.  I bet there are other Coleco pools out there molded the same, but decorated differently.  Or at least there were at one time.  When I first saw these designs, I was looking at it sideways and thought it could have been a Barbie design.  I thought it was an outline of her head, but Jeff pointed out it was a fish.  Can't get much by Ol' Jeff.  It sure is a happy fish.


Here is another fish that happens to have a star around its eye.  Kinda looks like Jem, or Longshot. Those are some deep 80s references there.


There are two different fish designs in the pool.  This smaller one isn't as happy as the big guy.


The smaller fish travel in schools.


The pool measures just over a foot off the ground.


And just under 5 feet across.  It sure is big, and flimsy.  It is difficult to move around.  I have no idea how I am going to display it.  But when I do get everything out and displayed the way I envision it, this will be a centerpiece.  Maybe I can hang it from the ceiling or something.  Seems like that's the only thing I could do.

Now you may be asking, "Larry, did they make any other swimming themed Dukes of Hazzard items way back in the Golden Era?" to which I would answer "Why yes, DukesCollector Reader, they did make other Dukes items that provided poolside summer fun."  I'm sure that's exactly how the conversation would go.


Though not made by the same company, there were two Dukes of Hazzard beach towels released back then.  Some people think there were three, but I declared long ago that third towel that is printed horizontally is a bath towel and belongs in the bath set.   The first beach towel features Daisy in white Daisy Dukes above the General Lee.  It has great artwork on it.


The second shows Bo and Luke with similar font and a different shot of the Gen'rel.  Boys and girls sure were cool carrying these around the beaches in the early 80s, or around their Dukes kiddie pool.


The final item in the Dukes of Hazzard swimming collection is the incredibly rare (though not as rare as the pool) Dukes swimming trunks.  My trunks came from fellow Dukes aficionado Rush.  These trunks are definitely high on the grail list.  (I should probably write a blog post just about Holy Grail items)


Together again for the first time.  I love completing min-collections.  This is all four Dukes of Hazzard swimming items.  They look great together.  I am so excited to add the pool to the collection.  I wasn't sure I'd ever find one.  Thanks to our new pal Nate in Iowa, the pool has a new home.  Mark and Jeff also helped getting the behemoth here, thanks guys.  I love my new Dukes of Hazzard Swimming Pool!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014: A Surprise Hit: Mrs. Doubtfire


Admittedly I didn't put as much into this year's Halloween costume as I normally do, and didn't think it would get the response it did.  I was wrong.


I was a little busy this month preparing for my meeting with Hulk Hogan, and busy afterward working on the proposed project.  I didn't even decide on a costume until after the middle of October, where I'm usually working on it before the month begins.


I like to do costumes that are very recognizable.  I go with icons such as the Joker Nurse, Captain Jack Sparrow, Macho Man Randy Savage, David Hasselhoff, and of course, the Hulkster.  Last year I added to that list with the Terminator.  I was worried that I wasn't going to think of something on the level of past costumes.  When I decided to go with Mrs. Doubtfire, I still wasn't sure it was up there with the others...until I went out last night.  It sure was a hit.


The costume give-away is the burnt chest from the cooking scene in the movie.  It is that detail that differentiates my Mrs. Doubtfire from "Larry as an old lady."  I picked up the shirt, sweater, and skirt from Goodwill for eight bucks.


The wig was the most expensive part of the costume.  Considering how expensive the prosthetic light-up face was last year for the Terminator, this costume was a bargain.  I happen to find some old pot lids that were the perfect props for the costume.  It seems I made this face all night.  The final addition was the famous "Heellllooooo" that I practiced leading up to Halloween.  I also threw in a couple "Help Is On The WAAYYYY!!"s from time to time.  That was the extent of my Robin Williams quotes.


Chad and his buddies loved my costume.  When I got down to see them, I was feeling like this may be pretty good.  Chad never disappoints.  This year he pulled off a great Richard Simmons.


Some other friends were Catwoman and Wilford.


Rob throws a great Halloween party each year, and he loves this Wilford costume.


Once people started rolling in to the bar, they all liked my Mrs. Doubtfire.  Humpty Hump did a good job.  He was the first person I didn't know who said how much he liked the costume.  Thanks Shock G.


I did't take a huge number of pictures, but there were some fun costumes out.  Here is Arthur from the PBS series.


Man, I have a lot of taco pictures on this blog.


Some friends dressed as Harry and Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber, and they nailed it.


They understand that props make the costume.  They brought along their Samsonite (not Swanson!)


Inside, it was full of IOUs that included "beer" and "bar cover" ...very nice touches.


I did some wandering outside on the Southside of Pittsburgh.  It made me so happy how many people loved my costume.  I took so many pictures with people, I wish I would have had my camera out each time.  I'll probably show up on a few people's feeds.  Here I am with a Price is Right contestant.  He bid one dollar.

There was no contest at the bar where we celebrated, but if there was, I bet I would have had a good shot at it.  I was leery of the response I might get from the costume, but I was wrong.  Mrs Doubtfire was a hit.  Oddly enough, this is the third costume I've worn when the actor passed away earlier that year.  I did it before with Heath Ledger's Joker, and Macho Man Randy Savage.  It's my way of honoring their impact to pop culture.  Thanks Robin Williams, you are missed.


One costume I was really hoping I would see was Twisty from the current season of American Horror Story: Freak Show.  I've really been enjoying AHS and this clown is probably the scariest clown I've ever seen.  This Halloweener did a great job as there is no official costume available (though I'm sure there will be next year).  My only critique is that he could have been dirtier.


He played the part great too,  He wasn't there to party, he just walked around, freaking people out. He didn't talk and just bowed and performed for people.  He did a great job.  You scared a lot of people Twisty, mission accomplished.

As always, Natalie, Katie, and my mom really helped out with my costume.  Thanks guys!  Happy Halloween!



Edit:

Yep, at Rob's party, they lit me on fire!



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Home For Christmas by John Schneider and Tom Wopat: The Kickstarter Backed Album


As promised, the new Christmas album from John and Tom was delivered to my door yesterday.  Many Kickstarter projects fail to meet their release date, but Bo and Luke got theirs out right on time.


Being a project backer, I received an autographed copy.


Inside has a lot of great information about the creation process and some fun behind the scenes pictures.  I won't spoil it all, you have to get your own copy.


Tom's daughter Lindsey designed the package.  I said before how much I love the front cover art.  It adds just enough Dukes to the album.  The addition of Bo and Luke colored Christmas stockings is so cool.  The back has a Christmas Tree with the track listings on it.  Lindsey did a great job on this.


Some of the rewards I received are this autographed photo of Tom and John in Time Square...

 

And this Christmas ornament.  With the new Hallmark General Lee ornament and this one, my tree will be extra Duked out this year.  You can purchase your own copy of the CD or download on Tom's website.   I'm even more excited for the December New York concert now.  This is going to be such a very Merry Dukes Christmas!