Hollywood Die-Cast. Within this website you will find the most
definitive gallery of die-cast toys based on cars and vehicles from TV and
movies. The focus of this website is
1:64 scale, though there are some exceptions. My
collection is NOT for sale. The site is meant to be purely informational for
collectors like myself.
8/26/15 - That's
I came home today to find a package
on my doorstep. The box contained the newest wave of Mattel's Hot Wheels
Entertainment line (Case "H".) Let's take a look, shall we?
||Let's start with the best. Although Mattel has already
released the "Hover Mode" version of the Back to the Future
Time Machine in its mainline, this is a much-improved version. It has a
glossy, metallic finish and great detail. This just might rank as one of
the best from the entire Entertainment line. My Grade: A+ + +
||Also in this wave is another version of the BTTF Time
Machine, this time with Mr. Fusion. I'm a little surprised Mattel put
TWO versions of the Time Machine in the same wave, but I'm not
complaining. This one also has a glossy, metallic finish and nice
detail. The only knock against it is the generic wheels. I really wish
Mattel would do screen-accurate wheels. My Grade: B
||Case H give us yet another entry from the James Bond
world. Here we have 007's Toyota 2000GT Roadster from You Only Live
Twice. Although it's not the most memorable of 007's vehicles,
Mattel did a very nice job on it, right down to the screen-accurate
license plate. My Grade: B
||If you like smashing your cars together, you now have a
'67 Camaro to do battle with Christine (from the previous wave.)
I guess it's kind of cool, although the wheels seem a little large. My
||Okay, now this one is a bit of a head-scratcher. The '70
Dodge Charger R/T from The Fast and The Furious was already
released in 2014. I compared both versions and there doesn't seem to be
any difference at all between the two cars. That's very odd. Brian's
Toyota Supra might have been nice, or just about ANY OTHER CAR from the
movie. My Grade: D
8/26/15 - Today's
Today is my birthday so I took the
day off to cruise around and have dinner with family. I hit several stores
while I was out and about and discovered two new Hot Wheels Bat-Items at
Toys R Us. Pictured above, left, is a new variation of the Batmobile from
The Brave & The Bold animated series. This is the third variation of
this particular casting and has a unique red & black deco with black &
chrome wheels. Then, as I got to the end of the aisle and spotted a new
Batman 5-Pack on the end cap. The 5-Pack includes the Batcopter, which is
slightly different than previous releases. This makes it the sixth variation
of the Batcopter casting. The Batmobile that's included in the 5-Pack is
similar to the "Affinity" Batmobile, only this time it has black wheels.
This casting was first released in 2003, soon after Mattel obtained the
Batman license. It now has been released 11 different times, if you
include the "Zamac" version. The rest of the set includes a Gotham City
Police car, and Joker and Penguin vehicles.
8/23/15 - "Holy Atomic
While visiting an out-of-the-way
Walmart store I discovered a dump-bin full of Hot Wheels. Mixed in with
mainline vehicles was a complete set of Walmart-Exclusive Hot Wheels
Bat-Vehicles. Although I was happy to find them, upon closer inspection,
there isn't anything to get too excited about. These are mostly re-releases
in new packaging.
1/6 - The beloved TV Batmobile is back, with pretty
cool card art, and this particular version of the Batmobile is flat
black, as opposed to gloss black finish on previous releases. Taking
everything into account, this version can hang on your wall as
art. My grade: A
2/6 - Ugh. Here we go again. Once again, someone over
at Mattel INSISTS on using the silly Hardnoze Batmobile to represent the
1989 Batman movie. I suspect some dastardly fiend like the Joker
or the Riddler is behind this! It's gloss black this time, but who
cares? My grade: F
3/6 - And again, Mattel dusts off this terrible
version of the Tumbler to represent Batman Begins. For the love
of God, why can't they retool this to make it look more like that
Batmobile in the movie? If they destroyed the dies for this casting, the
world would be a better place. My grade: F
4/6 - Mattel chose the Bat-Pod to represent The
Dark Knight, which, surprisingly, has never appeared in previous
Walmart-Exclusive sets. This particular version has some metallic
highlights to make it slightly different than previous releases. A
Batman figure would have been a nice touch. My grade: B+
5/6 - The Bat from The Dark Knight Rises
returns to the lineup, despite having been included in the previous
lineup. There doesn't seem to be any significant changes from the
mainline version. The only reason to buy this one is if you're into
packaging variations. My grade: B
6/6 - And, finally, we have the Batmobile from the
Arkham Asylum video game. This is the first time it's been part of
the Walmart-Exclusive series, but it doesn't seem to be any different
than its recent mainline release. My grade: B+
8/19/15 - RIP: Yvonne
My heart broke this morning when I
read the news that Yvonne Craig, TV's Batgirl, had passed away on August
17th at the age of 78, after a long battle with breast cancer. Batgirl was
quite possibly my first crush. As a child I watched the Batman TV
series in reruns, and noticed that Yvonne Craig was incredibly beautiful. I
got to actually meet her at the Motor City Comic Con in 2006, but instead of
talking about Batman, we talked about Elvis Presley. Yvonne
co-starred with Elvis in two of his films: It Happened at the World's
Fair (1963) and Kissin' Cousins (1964.)
Oddly, there hasn't been a lot of Batgirl
merchandise over the years. In 2008, Batgirl's Batcycle was offered for the
first time when it was included in Mattel's San Diego Comic Con Exclusive
3-vehicle set (above, left.) Then, just last year, I found the Eaglemoss
version of Batgirl's bike while visiting a comic book store in New York. The
first Yvonne Craig Batgirl figure from the new Batman line was
offered at this year's San Diego Comic Con as an exclusive, and a three-pack
that includes Batman & Robin is currently available from Toys R Us (above,
My condolences go out to the family and friends
of Yvonne Craig. She will be missed.
8/18/15 - "I never joke
about my work, 007."
With the next James Bond installment
slated to hit theaters in November, Mattel will be releasing a 5-car set to
coincide with the release of SPECTRE. I just happened to receive a
set on my doorstep today! The card art is so awesome, I have to assume this
set is meant to be displayed in-package. Available only at Walmart, this set
||1 of 5: The Aston Martin DBS from Casino Royale
has already been released as part of the Hot Wheels Retro Entertainment
line, but it's the card art that makes this particular release worth
||2 of 5: Like the Aston Martin DBS, we've already seen
this one in Retro Entertainment packaging. Unfortunately, the casting is
slightly inaccurate with that rear spoiler. (The Mustang Mach I in
Diamonds are Forever didn't have one.) Still, you need to have this
to complete the set.
||3 of 5: Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time EVER,
we have the '64 Lincoln Continental from Goldfinger. I believe
Johnny Lightning was going to produce it but then pulled the plug on the
James Bond line. The wheels are generic, but still, this is a great new
addition to my collection!
||4 of 5: Okay, this is repackaged release of the main
line Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me, so again, the only
reason to buy this one is to complete the set, and for the awesome card
||5 of 5: Although this is another re-release, I'm pretty
excited about this one. Yes, it's the main line Aston Martin DB5, but
this time, it's in Skyfall packaging! Skyfall was
outstanding, and in my opinion, one of the greatest 007 movies ever
made. It's hard to believe this is the first time we've gotten a
die-cast vehicle from that film!
8/16/15 - The Man from
U.N.C.L.E.: My Review
2015 may be remembered as the year
of terrific spy movies. So far, we've had three really great ones:
Kingsman, Mission: Impossible 5 and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., with
James Bond hitting theaters on November 6th in SPECTRE.
You read that correctly, The Man from
U.N.C.L.E. is GREAT! It seems all the recent spy thrillers are set in
modern times, which is fine. But occasionally I like watching the early
James Bond movies, with the coolness factor that only the 60's can provide.
Somehow, Director Guy Ritchie managed to authentically recreate that cool
retro atmosphere with its fashions, locations, music, and cars (lots and
lots of cool cars!) This movie has the look and feel of having actually been
made in the 60's!
Right from the start, I was drawn to the main
characters. Henry Cavill was charming and funny as Napoleon Solo. Armie
Hammer's Illya had emotional depth. And Alicia Vikander was tough, yet funny
and adorable. The actors had great chemistry as they bonded throughout the
story. Okay, the story was simple. Yet another villain with an atom bomb
threatens the world. But that's what I liked about it. It was simple and not
overly complicated, but the movie was action-packed and funny and very
Unfortunately, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
was overshadowed by Straight Outta Compton, but I'm hoping the movie
will find an audience thanks to word-of-mouth. I really encourage you to see
this movie! And hopefully, there will be a sequel, because I want to see the
Piranha resurrected on the big screen!
- "Where we're going, we don't need roads!"
Mattel keeps cranking out cool Hollywood
cars as part of their Hot Wheels mainline. Although I haven't seen them in
stores yet, I did manage to snag these online for a fairly decent price.
Pictured above, left, is
The Simpsons Family Car. It's a nice attempt, but I feel Johnny
Lightning's version is superior. We'll see if Mattel makes major
improvements for the Retro Entertainment line.
Pictured above, right, is
the hovering version of the Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine.
This has GOT to be one of the coolest main line Hot Wheels ever made! Mattel
even included rolling wheels concealed in the base of the car. Great Scott!
- "What did you expect, an exploding pen?"
Exciting news is coming from overseas!
Mattel is releasing a set of James Bond cars similar to the sets released
from The Fast & The Furious movies. Some of them are re-releases, but
there are plenty of reasons to be excited. The re-releases are the Aston
Martin DBS from Casino Royale, Mustang Mach I from Diamonds Are
Forever Mustang and Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me. Now,
the Aston Martin DB5 is a re-release, BUT it's released under the Skyfall
title, which is pretty awesome. A vehicle from Goldfinger is
included, but it's not what you would expect. For the first time EVER, we
are getting the Lincoln Continental that gets crushed into a cube by Oddjob.
I'm pretty excited about this set and look forward to more in the future!
- "I found them! Repeat...I found them!"
Three new vehicles are now hitting
stores as part of the Hot Wheels Star Wars line. Pictured above, from
left, is Luke's Red 5 X-Wing Fighter, TIE Fighter and Vulture Droid. This
brings the total to 8 vehicles released so far. I found the three new
vehicles at my local Toys R Us store.
- "That's how it starts..."
One of the many perks of attending the
San Diego Comic Con is getting first crack at the many incredible exclusives
available to attendees. Unfortunately, many people (like me) can't make it
to San Diego, so we have to resort to paying inflated prices on eBay. I
won't say how much I paid, but after receiving this in the mail today, I
have to say it was totally worth it. What we have here is the very first
die-cast version of the Batmobile that will be featured in the upcoming
Superman VS Batman and Suicide Squad movies. It's the first NEW
movie Batmobile since the introduction of the Tumbler in 2005's Batman
Begins. (Wow! Has it been 10 years already?) The Batmobile is contained
in a cleverly engineered package. As you open it, the car rises into view.
As a Batmobile collector, this is a must-have and I was willing to pay the
price to add this to my collection. Judging by the trailer that was revealed
at Comic Con, the movie looks like it's going to be EPIC!
- Holy Hot Wheels, Batman!
Mattel has been releasing so many cool
additions to their Hot Wheels line it's been difficult to keep up! I walked
into a Toys R Us store and was surprised to find a blue variation of the
Batman Live Batmobile. I didn't even know this existed, but it looks
Not only that, but keep your
eyes peeled for the HOVER version of the Back to the Future DeLorean
Time Machine, and Homer Simpson's car, all part of the Hot Wheels main line!
It's a great time to be a collector!
- That's Entertainment!
Whenever I get a new batch of Hot Wheels
Entertainment cars in my hand, I'm a happy guy. The latest wave arrived at
my doorstep today and I'm pretty excited, although it's a tad disappointing
there are only 4 cars in this set. If I remember correctly, a convertible
from 48 Hrs. was originally announced, but apparently has gotten
canceled. Here's my take on this wave:
Last year, Auto World gave us a spectacular 1:64
scale version of Christine. Now, Mattel has taken its red '58
Plymouth Belvedere from its Hot Wheels Boulevard line and put it in
Christine packaging. I'm not complaining. It's pretty darn great,
too. It even has screen-accurate front and rear license plates. My
grade: A +
Mattel last gave us the Rapid Responder from the TV
series Emergency! back in 1999. It looks like they used the same
casting to include it in the Hot Wheels Entertainment line, which is
fine by me, since it's a pretty good likeness of the Dodge truck used on
the TV series. I was hoping Mattel would get around to including this in
the Entertainment line. My grade: A+
Normally, I sneer at obscure cars from TV and film,
but this one really makes me smile. Close Encounters of the Third
Kind is one of my all-time favorite movies and this Ford F-250 was
driven by Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) in the film, and Mattel announced
it was a brand new casting. I hope you like this one as much as I do. My
Unfortunately, I've never seen an episode of
Friday Night Lights, and according to IMCDB.ORG, the Chevy Silverado
only rates 2 stars. This one is a bit of a disappointment and destined
to become a peg-warmer. My grade: D-
- Hooray for Hollywood?
I received the latest wave of
GreenLight's Hollywood series in the mail today, and I have to stay, it's a
real disappointment. It's become painfully obvious that GreenLight is just
trying to pair up existing castings to even the most obscure car that comes
up while searching IMCDB.ORG. Instead of doing my usual car-by-car
review, I'm just going to quickly run through the list:
The '73 VW Type 2 from
The Field of Dreams stands out for me. The vehicle is featured fairly
heavily in a pretty great film. It even has a screen-accurate rear license
As for the '67 Ford Custom
Taxi, does anyone really remember this car from Bullitt? Ugh. Rolling
Browsing IMCDB.ORG, I
couldn't find any evidence of a yellow VW Bug in the first Friday the
13th movie...or the second. It wasn't until I got to the page for
Friday the 13th Part III when I found a photo of a beat up yellow VW
Bug. Really GreenLight? Come on.
Although I've never seen an
episode, I'm aware that Supernatural has a pretty loyal following,
but GreenLight is really milking this license. Enough already.
Breaking Bad will be
fondly remembered as one of the greatest television dramas of all time, but
the TV series wasn't exactly known for its cars. I applaud GreenLight for
producing the RV meth lab (see below.) That's pretty freakin' cool. But
collectors don't really need a bunch of cars from Breaking Bad. There
are plenty of OTHER movies and TV shows that are deserving of a die-cast car
license. Let's move on.
6/27/15 - "Tread Lightly."
Whenever I visit my local mall I
usually visit a store called FYE. They sell music, movies and collectibles.
I was surprised to find THIS hanging on the pegs: Greenlight's 1:64 scale
1986 Fleetwood Bounder RV from the critically acclaimed AMC series
Breaking Bad. I read somewhere it's a hobby exclusive, so you won't find
it at any of the major retail stores. This thing is incredibly detailed and
I'm sure it'll be huge with collectors and fans of the TV show. I also found
a 2012 Chrysler 300C SRT8 hanging beneath it, also from Breaking Bad.
- "We talkin' or we racin'?"
I stopped into my local Meijer store and
discovered Greenlight's latest wave of 1:43 scale Fast & Furious
cars. I had to snag all three pictured above. The blue 2001 Porsche 911
Carrera GT3 RS was driven by Brian in Fast Five. The Honda S2000 was
driven by Johnny Tran in the original The Fast and The Furious
(2001), and Dominic Toretto drives the red 1970 Chevelle SS at the very end
of The Fast and The Furious, and again in Fast & Furious
(2009.) These are all must-haves in my opinion!
- RIP: General Lee
In the 12 years I've been maintaining
this website, I've always tried to avoid politics, but now politics have
encroached on the world of Hollywood cars and I feel like I need to voice my
In the wake of the horrific
tragedy that took place in Charleston, SC, the response of our politicians
and media is to go after a piece of fabric, a symbol. Apparently, the
rationale is, if the Confederate Flag goes away, so will rampant racism.
As more and more retail outlets announce they will no longer sell products
that bear the Confederate Flag symbol, the inevitable has happened...it was
announced that Warner Bros. will no longer license replicas of General Lee
from The Dukes of Hazzard. WHAT?
Now, I'm just a white guy from the north, so my opinion on this issue really
doesn't matter. I've never hung the flag in my home, and I've never been the
victim of racism, but to suggest that EVERYONE who flies the Confederate
Flag, wears Stars & Bars apparel, or drives a General Lee replica is a
racist is just plain IGNORANT. You just can't make these kinds of broad
accusations about the entire population of the southern United States!
I'm fairly confident there are plenty of people in the south who are
wonderful, loving, and caring individuals who only view the Confederate Flag
as a symbol of Southern pride.
As for The Dukes of Hazzard, I recall gathering around the television
with my family to watch good, clean, wholesome family fun. I'm sure there
are many families of various ethnicities and skin colors that will agree
with me. I've never witnessed anything even REMOTELY resembling racism
throughout the show's entire run. Note the image in the top left corner of
this website, which has been there since 2005.
It's not my place to offer a solution to addressing the problems the country
faces in regards to racism. I can only say that to go after a piece of red,
white and blue fabric is a misguided effort. I can guarantee that even if
you fold up every Confederate Flag, place it in a box, and bury it in your
backyard, racism will continue to run rampant in this country, north and
south, in all 50 states, until we, as human beings, evolve beyond the
capability to hate.
- Mattel "Ups the WOW Factor."
Jurassic World is one of the most
eagerly awaited movies of 2015. Until the movie hits theaters on June 12th,
we have plenty of toys to pass the time. Apparently, Mattel has released a
slew of die-cast vehicles under the Matchbox brand, including: 7 singles, 2
two-packs, 2 five-packs and a Mission Force five-vehicle set.
Unfortunatley, I don't believe any of the above vehicles actually appear in
the movie. It's just another example of Mattel slapping the Jurassic
World logo on existing castings. I'm going to have to pass on these, but
the little ones might enjoy them.
"I have you now!"
When Mattel announced that Hot Wheels
and Star Wars had joined forces, I was disappointed when the first
releases turned out to be custom cars loosely based on Star Wars
characters. Not really my thing. But now we finally, FINALLY, have Hot
Wheels vehicles based on actual ships from the franchise. The first wave
recently began showing up at Target and includes Gold Leader's Y-Wing, Rebel
Snowspeeder, Boba Fett's Slave I, the Millennium Falcon, the Ghost from the
Star Wars: Rebels animated series. I'm a little surprised that the
first wave didn't inlcude a TIE Fighter or X-Wing, but I'm sure they'll
follow soon. Good luck in your search...and may the Force Be With You!
- "...thank you for fast cars."
When this Hot Wheels '70 Ford Escort
first hit eBay, people were paying outrageous prices. I hadn't seen anything
like that in quite a while. Now that more of them are hitting stores, the
prices have come back down to Earth. Since I haven't seen any here locally,
I bought four of them on eBay for a total of $16 (including shipping.) Of
course, this car was featured in Fast & Furious 6 and driven by Paul
Walker, but that still doesn't explain the frenzy for this car. I'm just
glad I've finally been able to add this to my collection at a reasonable
- Mad Max: Fury Road - My Review
After hearing great things about the new
Mad Max movie (99% on Rotten Tomatoes) I was pretty excited when I
finally got a chance to see it in 3D on Sunday. I guess my expectations were
too high, because I came away pretty disappointed. I will say that the cars
and vehicles were awesome, but the only time I felt engaged were during the
car chase scenes. The rest of the time, I cringed at the poor acting, awful
dialogue, odd score, and over-simplified storyline, which goes something
like this: Max and the gang go from Point A to Point B, turn around and come
back to Point A. The End. Tom Hardy did not impress me as Max, although he
wasn't given a whole lot to do. None of the characters were fleshed out, and
when allegiances changed, they seemed to happen out of the blue, with no
explanation. The movie was nothing more than a series of fever-induced
nightmare images. The only good to come from this will be die-cast toys, and
maybe, JUST MAYBE, we'll see a 1:64 scale V8 Interceptor!
- Motor City Comic Con 2015
I spent all day Friday and Saturday at
the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, MI, and I had a great time. I managed to
add another piece to my Hollywood "Auto-Graphs" collection when Ralph
Macchio signed this Hot Wheels '48 Ford from The Karate Kid. There
were SO many celebrities at the event this year, including multiple cast
members from The Walking Dead. The highlight of my weekend was
meeting Steven Yeun AKA Glenn Rhee from The Walking Dead (pictured
below.) What a nice guy!
- "You think they'll have that on the tour?"
We're just weeks away from the premiere
of Jurassic World, and that means awesome toys are starting to hit
stores. While visiting Toys R Us, a big smile stretched across my face as I
picked up this Jeep Wrangler? Why? Because it's from the FIRST Jurassic
Park film. It's made by Jada and, 1:43 scale, and retails for the low,
low price of $7. The first movie never really got the decent die-cast
treatment. I sure hope we get more (HINT: Ford Explorer!)
Photo Courtesy of Anderson Drumonix
- That's Entertainment!
Apparently, the latest wave from the Hot
Wheels Retro Entertainment line has shown up in Brazil. Hopefully, these
cars will be hitting the States any day now. I'm really excited about this
wave, although I've never seen an episode of Friday Night Lights.
Christine, of course, is iconic. Emergency! was a big part of
childhood viewing habits, and although it's obscure, Close Encounters of
the Third Kind is one of my all-time favorite movies!
- "Unleash the Beast."
As Furious 7 shatters box office
records and climbs the list of highest-grossing movies EVER, I walked into
my local Target store to find several vehicles from the movie. I settled on
these two cars made by Jada. Above, left, is the off-road version of Dom's
'70 Dodge Charger R/T. Pictured above, right, is Brian's Nissan GT-R. Made
of die-cast metal, the cars seem to be slightly larger than 1:43 scale.
Possibly 1:32 scale? Shockingly, the retail price of each car is $6.99. I'm
glad I'm able to add a couple of vehicles from this blockbuster to my
- "I owe you a ten-second car."
A few days ago I read an online article
that said Mecum Auctions will be auctioning off the 1993 Toyota Supra
featured in The Fast and The Furious. I wondered if it was the same car that
currently resides here in Southeastern Michigan and after a quick text I
found out that, yes, it is the same car! I asked if I could come see it
before it gets sold to the highest bidder. It was a genuine thrill and an
honor to see this car up close and personal. It was built for the movie by
Eddie Paul in El Segundo, CA, and it was actually driven by the late star of
the franchise, Paul Walker. It's estimated the car will fetch between
$100,000 and $200,000. The auction will take place May 12-17 at the Indiana
- "This time it ain't just about being fast."
Apparently, the latest Hot Wheels
Fast & Furious 8-car set is hitting Walmart stores in decent quantities
because prices have dropped significantly on eBay. I picked up this set of 8
for $20 (free shipping) online. This set includes cars from 2 Fast 2
Furious, Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6.
My favorite of this set is the Buick Grand National from Fast & Furious,
since it has never been officially produced in die-cast form. I'm going to
hit the Walmart stores in my area this weekend to see if I can find a few
- GL Hollywood Film Reels - Take 2
While visiting Toys R Us today I
discovered two new sets from GreenLight's Hollywood Film Reels series.
Pictured above, left, is the Gone in 60 Seconds 4-car set. Curiously,
the set is made up of two cars from the original film, and two cars from the
2000 remake. Pictured above, right, is the 4-car set from Supernatural.
To my horror, every Gone in 60 Seconds film canister had been opened.
I assume someone was searching for Green Machines. Luckily, the set I
purchased contained all four cars. At a retail price of $24.99, the sets are
a little pricey, considering they mostly contain fairly obscure cars.
Leo Carrillo State Beach, CA, where several
famous movie scenes were filmed.
Hooray for Hollywood!
25 years after I spent a year living in
California I decided to celebrate the anniversary by spending a week in the
Los Angeles area. It was my 5th trip since moving back to Michigan in 1990,
but this one was pretty special. Here are some of the highlights:
My first full day in California was Friday, April
3rd. I decided to schedule a visit to Paramount Studios. I've been there
before and I've always had a great experience. This time was no
exception. I spotted two movie cars: the 1970 Chevy Chevelle from
Jack Reacher, and the 1962
DeVille from Dreamgirls. I also
saw a life-size promotional Bumblebee, and Optimus Prime's head from
Transformers 4. Oh yeah, and I happen to bump into Keegan-Michael
Key from Key & Peele. How cool is THAT?
Also on Friday, I tracked down the house used on the
Comedy Central series Workaholics. My nephew introduced me to the
show and now I'm hooked. The house is located at
15020 Hamlin in Los Angeles. By sheer
coincidence, I got to meet star Adam DeVine during an appearance at the
Hollywood Improv a few days later. What an incredibly funny and super
On Saturday, April 4th, I took in a matinee showing
of Furious 7 at TCL (Grauman's) Chinese Theatre. It was a pretty
emotional experience. After wiping away the tears, I took a long drive
to the scene of Paul Walker's fatal accident in Santa Clarita. Located
on Hercules St. near Kelly Johnson Parkway, the site has become a moving
memorial for the Fast & Furious star. Messages are inscribed
along the curb, and rosaries and crosses hang from a nearby tree. The
tree that the Porsche struck is no longer there, so visitors leave
tokens of affection on the remaining stump.
||As some of you may know, I enjoy tracking down famous
locations from television and film. On Monday, April 6th, I visited
Venice Beach and decided to try to locate the area shown during the
opening credits of Three's Company. Using some detective work, I
spotted some key features to positively identify a stretch of the Venice
Boardwalk near Paloma Ave. The management of a small hotel gave me
access to the rooftop to take a photo from high above the beach. As you
can see in the photos, everything matches perfectly, except the trees
have grown pretty tall in almost 40 years since the show premiered.
Just a short drive from the beach is Venice High
School, featured prominently in the 1978 movie Grease. Luckily, I
discovered an open gate that gave me access to the football field where
many scenes were filmed, including the T-Birds singing Summer Nights
in the bleachers, and the track scenes. As you can see in the photos,
the dirt track hasn't changed much since the movie was filmed there!
Later that same day, I drove to the Los Angeles River
the "Thunder Road" race was filmed. The race
starts under the 6th St. Bridge, passes the 4th St. Bridge to the 1st
St. Bridge, where the cars turn around and race back. I took photos from
the 4th St. Bridge, looking toward 6th St. in the top, left photo, and
looking toward 1st St. in the bottom, left photo.
On a rainy Tuesday, I decided to visit Barris Kustoms
where I had a nice chat with the legendary George Barris. Scroll down
for more details about my visit...
Later that same day, my friend Jason gave me the
address to the home featured in the Fast & Furious franchise.
SPOILER ALERT: Thankfully it's still standing, despite the events
depicted in Furious 7.
It's located at 722 N. East Kensington in the
Echo Park area of L.A.
On Wednesday, I got to sit in the front row for a
taping of Late Night with Conan O'Brien with my friend Miranda.
Conan's main guest was Kristen Stewart (of the Twilight movies)
and his musical guest was Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. I had an
In 2011 I visited several locations from
Back to the Future, but I was always denied access to the gymnasium
where the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance was filmed. On Thursday, I
managed to weasel my way inside the gym located at the Hollywood United
Methodist Church on Highland north of Hollywood Blvd. I can FINALLY
cross that off my bucket list!
|On Friday, I visited the Hollywood Museum for the first
time. Located on Highland, south of Hollywood Blvd., the museum blew me
away. There were four floors of props from television and film,
including Pee Wee Herman's bike (left), Indiana Jones hat and whip, and
several Hollywood cars. Next time you're in Hollywood, pay a visit to
|On my last full day in Los Angeles, Saturday, I spent
the day in Malibu. It was at the Leo Carrillo State Beach where scenes
from the original The Karate Kid were filmed. The identifying
landmark was the bumpy hill in the background. The wooden posts are no
longer there. To replicate the shot of Mr. Miyagi, I had to move to the
southern part of the beach, where I accidentally discovered ANOTHER
famous movie location...
|The rocky area at the southern end of Leo Carrillo State
Beach looked familiar to me, so I pulled out my phone and Googled
Grease. And sure enough, I discovered the location where they
filmed the beach scenes at the beginning of Grease. Pretty cool!
I also recently learned that the final scenes in Furious 7 were
filmed here, as well.
I hope you enjoyed my look back at my Hollywood vacation. Oh yeah, one
more thing, I got to wave at Will Ferrell, who was filming an episode of
Drunk History. He waved back. I was happy!
- GL Hollywood Film Reels
GreenLight has come up with a brilliant
method of repackaging previous releases, while including a new casting
or two. While visiting Los Angeles, I finally found GreenLight's two 4-car
sets packaged in film canisters. The Blues Brothers set contains more
of the same, two versions of the Bluesmobile and two police cars. The
Smokey & The Bandit set contains the Pontiac Trans-Am from both I and
II, a police car, and an obscure green 1970 Ford Bronco that ran
interference for Bandit in the first film. Each canister retails for
- My Visit to Barris Kustoms
While visiting Los Angeles, I decided to
pay a visit to George Barris on a rainy Tuesday. (My third visit in ten
years.) George was at the shop and could not have been more friendly. He
stopped what he was doing to chat about a wide variety of topics, from the
auction of the #1 Batmobile to his plans to see Furious 7. He allowed
me to roam around the shop taking photos. There were only a few Hollywood
cars on display, including a Munsters Koach replica, and a 1966 Batmobile
replica. George was kind enough to pose for a photo with me near the
Batmobile (above, left.) Before leaving, I purchased a Hot Wheels 1:24 scale
Batmobile with George's signature on the right fin. It was great to see
- Furious 7: My Review
Furious 7 arrived in theaters
while I was vacation in Los Angeles, so I decided to take in a matinee in
Laser IMAX at TCL (Grauman's) Chinese Theatre on Saturday. Knowing that we
lost Paul Walker prior to the completion of filming this installment made it
a fairly emotional experience for those of us who have been fans of the
franchise since the very first movie in 2001. The new movie delivers on all
levels, offering all the things we have come to expect from this franchise:
candy color cars, beautiful women in short-shorts, insane physics-defying
action and stunts that, at times, had the audience howling with laughter,
and a cast that reflects every possible shade of human skin tones. When
you throw in a knock-down-drag-out fight scene between Vin Diesel and Jason
Statham, well, the movie doesn't disappoint.
But what makes this film
different than all of those installments that have come before it is the
presence of Paul Walker on the screen. Like The Crow or The
Dark Knight, there's something eerie and sad about a movie featuring an
actor that passed away before the movie's release. There's a moment that
takes place between Paul Walker's Brian and Jordana Brewster's Mia, in which
Brian urges Mia to mentally prepare for the possibility that he might not
survive this mission, and that's when my eyes started to tear up, knowing
that this movie was, is, Paul Walker's final mission. Of course, all
the silly, high-flying action takes your mind off the sadness you're
feeling, but eventually we get to the end of the film, and I applaud the
filmmakers for their classy, beautiful, sad, and respectful tribute to Paul
Walker. There wasn't a dry eye in the theatre.
Oddly, unlike the previous
films, there was no mid-credits sneak peek of the next installment.
Although Vin Diesel has hinted that the next film may be set in New York, it
won't be the same without Paul, but you better believe I'll be sitting in
the theater on opening weekend for #8.
After walking out of the theater with tears in my eyes, I
decided to pay my respect at the Paul Walker crash site. When I pulled up,
there were several people standing along the curb (above, left.) The tree
that the Porsche struck is no longer there. Instead, the stump has
become a memorial where visitors can leave flowers and momentos. Visitors
have also written messages on the curb along the road. Hanging in a nearby
tree were rosaries and crosses. It was a beautiful tribute. Later, I also
visited the Los Angeles home featured in the Fast & Furious movies,
located at 722 East Kensington Road, Echo Park, Los
- "You sunk my Battleship!"
Here's the latest addition to my
Eaglemoss 1:43 scale Bat-Vehicle collection. The Bat Boat from 1995's
Batman Forever arrived at my local comic shop. This is the 19th piece in
my collection, which features vehicles primarily from television and film,
with a few exceptions. I absolutely love this line and I'm looking forward
to adding a few more in the near future.
- Hot Wheels Retro Entertainment Checklist
I decided to sit down and create a page
dedicated exclusively to Mattel's Hot Wheels Retro Entertainment line of
die-cast cars. Since January of 2013, Mattel has released 65 Hollywood cars
(as of March 2015.) Many of them are SPECTACULAR. Some, not so much.
Surprisingly, some of the earlier releases are starting to fetch top dollar
on eBay. I've seen Ecto-1 (from the very first wave) consistently sell
for $30-50. Hopefully, THIS
CHECKLIST will help you as you try to assemble a complete set.
- Michigan's Star Cars
Although we can't quite compete with
Nate Truman and his Star Cars International group in Hollywood, you can find
quite a few impressive Star Cars right here in Michigan, and many under one
roof! Over the past several years, some of my Hollywood car friends
have amassed quite the collection of 1:1 Star Cars. Some are
screen-used, others are impressive replicas. Today, I traveled to a secret
location to check out the collection, and upon entering, I felt like I was
standing in a museum!
The main reason for the visit was to check out the recent
arrival of this beautiful replica of the '66 Batmobile. I was told a lot of
work went into applying the gloss-black paint job and red trim. The
interior still needs some work, but the car can actually shoot flames from
its rear exhaust!
Other cars on display include: The original #2
Monkeemobile (which has been featured on this website many times), the
General Lee that was used in those Auto Trader commercials featuring Bo &
Luke Duke, a Herbie replica, a Mach 5 replica, a replica of the Mutts Cutts
van from Dumb & Dumber, a replica of The A-Team Van, and a
KITT replica, among others. A spectacular replica of the Munsters Koach will
soon be joining the fleet! You'll be able to see many of these cars at the
2015 Woodward Dream Cruise event. I might even get to drive one of
- Hot Wheels Entertainment Roster
Mattel has announced the next four waves
of the popular Entertainment line, which takes us through October.
Mix 1 (June 2015):
- 58 Plymouth Christine
- 83 Chevy Silverado Friday Night Lights
- Ford F250 Close Encounters of the Third Kind
- Rapid Responder Emergency!
Mix 2 (August 2015):
- 67 Camaro Christine
- 70 Dodge Charger R/T The Fast & The Furious
- BTTF Time Machine Hover Mode Back to the
Future II New Casting!
- BTTF Time Machine Mr. Fusion Back to the
- Toyota 2000GT Roadster James Bond You Only
Live Twice New Casting!
Mix 3 (October 2015):
- 56 Chevy The Brady Bunch
- 74 Checker Taxi Cab/Checker Marathon Cab Taxi
- 80s Corvette James Bond A View To A Kill
- The Dark Knight Batmobile The Dark
Knight trilogy New Die-cast Chassis!
- Kawasaki GPZ 900R Top Gun
Mix 4 (October 2015 available only at select hobby
- 76 Ford Grand Torino Starsky & Hutch
- Back To The Future 1955 Back to the Future
- The Bat The Dark Knight Rises
New Die-cast Chassis!
- Ghostbusters Ecto1 Cartoon Car The Real
Ghostbusters (animated) New
- Lotus Esprit S1 James Bond The Spy Who Loved
Me New Die-cast Chassis!
I'm pretty excited about many of the cars on this list.
One that jumps out at me is the '74 Taxi Cab from the TV series Taxi.
This has been on my personal wish list for quite some time. I just hope it
has the Sunshine Cab Co. logo on it, which looks something like this:
- Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile
Arriving in the mail today is a brand
new Batmobile from the Hot Wheels line! This casting, based on the Batmobile
that appears in the Batman: Arkham Knight video game, seems to
combine elements from the 1989 Batmobile, the Tumbler from The Dark
Knight Trilogy, and a few Bat-Fans noticed similarities to the Batmobile
that will appear in the upcoming Batman VS Superman movie. I'm excited to
add this to my Batmobile collection. Below is a photo of my display case
that holds all the various versions of the Bat-Vehicles that Mattel has
released since 2003. I've updated the Hot Wheels Batmobile timeline to
include about a dozen releases that have hit stores over the past six months
or so. Click on THIS LINK.
- Happy K-Day, Everyone!
Got up early, trekked out in the snow,
and headed to my local K-Mart for its Hot Wheels Collectors Event.
Despite the snow, quite a few people showed up. At 9am, as they began
to draw tickets, we counted 12 people of all ages. Luckily, the K-Mart
people brought out 16 inner cases! As usual, I was the very last person to
be called, but I got a case and pulled out a new Batmobile with an awesome
black-metallic finish and yellow highlights. Then I pulled out a Corvette
Grand Sport Roadster from Fast & Furious. The staff began calling out
numbers for the remaining cases and my number was called again! I opened it
up and pulled out one of each of the cars above. I saw others pull out "The
Homer" but I didn't get any of those. And one guy pulled out a Super T-Hunt
of the Mooneyes Van. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. Collectors
chatted and swapped cars and everyone seemed to walk away happy. Kudos to my
local K-Mart staff for a fun event.
- Holy Hot Wheels, Batman!
It seems like whenever I think I'm all
caught up, I discover something new has been released. Pictured above, left,
is a new variation on the Batman Live Batmobile from the Hot Wheels
line. I purchased a few on eBay hoping I would be caught up. But then I
discovered a brand new casting is now hitting stores. Pictured above, right,
is the Batmobile from the Batman: Arkham Knight video game. I
purchased several on eBay and they should arrive in the mail any day now.
I'll post photos and update my Hot Wheels Batmobile timeline when it
arrives. Including the 8-car car set that came out last fall, I need
to add 12 new Batmobiles to the timeline!
- "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"
My Eaglemoss Batman collection continues
to grow. Over the past few weeks I've added several pieces to my collection.
Pictured above, left, is the Batmobile from The New Adventures of Batman
animated series, and above, right, is the Batcycle from the classic TV
series and movie. My collection now numbers 18 pieces (primarily from
television and film) and I've got my eye on a few more. When displayed
together, these vehicles demonstrate Batman's incredible legacy.
- "Chicks love the car."
Each year when I receive my tax refund,
I like to by myself something special that otherwise might be a little too
pricey. This year, I decided to splurge on Mattel's 1:18 scale Batmobile
from Batman Forever. I picked it up on eBay for $130 (free
shipping.) This thing is amazing, with so much detail, including a canopy
that slides open to reveal the cockpit. As you can see in the photos above,
it displays nicely with my other 1:18 scale Batmobiles that I've collected
over the years.
- "Whoa. This is heavy."
For the first time since Mattel started
producing the Retro Entertainment series, I decided to purchase an entire
case of the latest series. It turned out to be a great deal.
Factoring in the price plus shipping, the cost broke down to about $5 per
car. This series, "Case F", is one of the best waves of the entire
line. It's a good mix of iconic cars and in-demand cars. It will
be tough to find these on the pegs.
Let's start off with my favorte in this wave:
Biff's Ford Super De Luxe from Back to the Future. This is
one I've always wanted to see produced, but never really expected it.
Mattel not only created a fairly accurate representation of the car, but
went the extra step of filling it with "manure." I haven't opened
one yet, but I assume the manure is removable. There are a few
minor inaccuracies, but the positives (accurate license plates) outweigh
the negatives (incorrect wheels.) This just might rank as one of
my all-time favorites in my collection. My Grade: A+
Next up we have one of the most iconic movie cars of
all-time: James Bond's 1963 Aston Martin DB5 from the movie
Goldfinger. Mattel's basic line version of this car was
already impressive. The Retro Entertainment version has a few more
paint applications and much better wheels, although it seems unusually
darker compared to the basic version. Overall, due to its iconic
status, this car ranks among the best of the Entertainment line and will
sought-after by collectors. My Grade: A+
When Mattel got the Ghostbusters license their
(long-overdue) Ecto-1 was absolutely stunning. Now they've
followed it up with Ecto-1A from Ghostbusters II. The
detail on this version is mind-blowing, from the new roof rack down to
the accurate front and rear license plates. The only reason I
would deduct any points is that this car is from the inferior sequel and
bears the logo depicting the ghost holding up 2 fingers, which I detest.
But I have to admit, this is a very nice, and very logical attempt.
My Grade: A
According to IMCDB.org, B.J. McKay primarily drove a
1978 Kenworth K-100 Aerodyne on the B.J. and the Bear TV series.
Mattel calls their release "Thunder Roller" and it's a fairly accurate
representation of the cab featured in the TV series. I compared it
to photos on IMCDB.org and the only major difference I see are the smoke
stacks. The cab on television has the smokestacks located in the rear.
Here, they're located on the sides. Other than that, it's pretty
impressive (and heavy.) I just wish Mattel would offer the
trailers to go along with their awesome truck cabs. My Grade:
I never thought I'd say this, but the only dud in
this series is the Batmobile from Batman Returns. (Gasp!)
When Mattel first obtained the Batman license, they produced some
awesome versions of the '89 Batmobile. Unfortunately, I've been
told those dies were destroyed, and now they're forced to use their
basic line dies. I took one out of the packaging, and it seems to
be entirely made out of metal, which is nice. Unfortunately, it
just looks too much like the cheaper basic line version. My Grade:
- "Batcopter cleared for takeoff."
I popped into my local comic book store
to see if there was anything new to pick up and the owner, Mike, handed me
the newest offering from Eaglemoss. The Batcopter was featured in the
1966 Batman movie and subsequently on the TV series. The detail
on this piece is so impressive. I didn't quite know what that yellow
thing was near the landing skid, but quickly realized it's a rolled up
ladder. I am blown away by the newest addition to my Eaglemoss
collection, which now numbers 15 vehicles.
- The Droids You're Looking For?
While visiting Toys R Us today a shiny
golden object caught my eye. Two new 2-packs have hit stores as part
of Mattel's Star Wars Hot Wheels line. Pictured above are Han
Solo & Chewbacca and R2-D2 & C-3PO. Now, I don't really collect this
line, but I have to admit, R2 & C-3PO put a smile on my face, so I bought
- "You got Eleanor here?"
Greenlight is going full throttle with
the Gone in 60 Seconds license, with plans to release cars from both
the classic and modern versions of the film in a variety of scales. I
recently spotted a 1:18 scale version of Eleanor (from the 2000 film) for a
retail price of around $60. Today I found a 1:43 scale version at Toys
R Us for $19.99 (above.) The classic version of Eleanor is currently
hitting stores, too, although I haven't seen it (her?) yet.
- New Bat-Finds!
While out searching for new die-cast
cars I stumbled onto two new Bat-cars from the Hot Wheels line.
Pictured above, left, is a blue variation of the Batmobile from The Brave
& The Bold animated series, now found on a blue-striped HW City card.
Pictured above, right, was a bit of surprise. Batman Hot Rod is
part of the DC Comics line. At first glance, I wasn't too impressed,
but upon closer inspection I noticed Batman's cowl incorporated into the
design. Pretty cool. Robin and Penguin were also found on the
pegs, but I passed on them.
- "I wanna go fast!"
GreenLight has released its latest wave
from the Hollywood series and I have to say it's a bit of a yawner.
Whenever I visit a store that carries GreenLight vehicles, the pegs are
cluttered with cars that just won't sell. And when old merchandise
doesn't sell, stores don't put out NEW merchandise. You would think
GreenLight would focus on cars that collectors are demanding, but instead,
they continue to release cars that no one has asked for. I admit there
are a couple of gems in this wave, but I predict most will be peg-warmers.
Here are my grades, from best to worst:
First up, we have the '69 Chevelle from the Will
Ferrell movie Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby.
In 2006, Motorsports Authentics released a set of 5 racecars from the
movie, but never produced Reese Bobby's '69 Chevy Chevelle, which was
featured fairly prominently in the movie. GreenLight now allows me
to add this car to my collection. Not only does the car have an
accurate rear-license plate, but it also has a bumper sticker that
reads, "If you ain't first, you're last!" That is freakin'
awesome! A +
I never thought I'd ever see this in die-cast form,
but I'm absolutely blown away by the fact that GreenLight actually
produced it. What we have here is the Channel 9 News Team Dodge
Van, belonging to Ron Burgundy's hated rivals Wes Mantooth & Company.
The graphics are fantastic and it will display nicely next to the
Channel 4 News Team Van on my desk at work. A +
Okay, I have mixed feeling about this one. It
scores some cool points for being a car driven by Steve McQueen in the
1980 film The Hunter (which happened to be the first Steve
McQueen film I ever saw.) Unfortunately, GreenLight once again
uses its T-Top casting for a car that is actually a HARD TOP in the
movie. Ugh, that absolutely drives me crazy. Why won't
GreenLight just produce a hard top Trans-Am already?
I'm going to give this one a middling C+ grade.
This is where the eye-rolls begin. GreenLight
included this particular car in a pricey boxed set in 2013. I'm
not quite sure why they decided to give it a solo release. The
packaging is kind of cool, but nobody was demanding this car in the
first place. I fully expect this one to clog pegs when it hits
stores. My Grade: D
It's hard to believe the TV series Supernatural
has been on television for 10 years now, and I haven't watched a single
episode. So forgive me for not getting too excited about this
release. I thought the '67 Chevy Impala was cool, but GreenLight
seems to be going a little overboard with this license. This
project-in-progress '70 Challenger only merits 3 stars on IMCDB.org, so
I'm giving it a D.
||A Sioux Falls Sheriff's Department patrol car from
Supernatural. Two minor vehicles from the same TV series in
the same Hollywood wave? Yawn. F
- "No one's faster than Crazy Larry, except Dirty Mary!"
Today, I stopped into a nearby Meijer
store to look for new die-cast cars. This 1:64 scale beauty caught my
eye. I instantly recognized it as the '69 Charger from the 1974 cult
classic Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. Made by GreenLight, it doesn't
seem to be officially licensed, but it's unmistakable. This is a
fantastic addition to my 1:64 Hollywood car collection! Look for it where
GreenLight products are sold.