February '08 News
2/25/08 - Dukes -
I love having a package waiting for me
when I get home from work. This time it was Johnny Lightning's The
Dukes of Hazzard - Release 4 from my sponsor Movie Car Mania.
Making up this series is, from top left:
- General Lee
from The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning - the ill-advised 2007
DVD/TV movie prequel to the ill-advised 2005 movie. Identical to the
car from Release 3 except the tires now sport BF Goodrich Radial T/A
- Daisy's Plymouth Road Runner Zinger - for those of you who like
- State Police (Georgia) '77 Dodge Monaco - first seen in the episode
"Baa Baa White Sheep"
- #44 Buick Grand National Race Car - seen in the episode "Undercover
Dukes" as Bo drives for Mary Beth Carver's NASCAR race team.
- Black Tillie II '67 Ford Mustang - my favorite of this release,
Uncle Jesse races Boss Hogg's Grey Ghost, Jr. in the episode "Days of Shine
- "Carnival of Thrills" '71 Chevy Vega - from the two-hour-long episode
"Carnival of Thrills" that kicked off season three.
The Dukes of Hazzard gallery has been updated with the new pics.
2/24/08 - Indiana Jones
and the Quest for Photos
After searching and searching and
searching the internet, I finally stumbled onto these photos. What you
see pictured above are some of the die-cast vehicles slated for Hasbro's
Titanium line. Above left is the motorcycle and sidecar from The
Last Crusade, above middle is the truck from Raiders of the Lost Ark,
and above right is the rocket sled from The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
I can't wait to see what else will be included in this line.
2/23/08 - Hey, Hey!
It's the Monkeemobile!
I grew up watching The Monkees
in reruns after school. I thought Davy, Mickey, Mike & Peter were
hysterical. I loved the music, and of course, I loved the car.
According to various sources, legendary car customizer Dean Jeffries was
given two 1966 Pontiac GTO convertibles and created two Monkeemobiles within
the span of a month. Both cars were eventually used on the TV series.
HERE to see a clip on YouTube from the episode The Monkees Race Again,
featuring the #2
car. After the series ended, the #2 car was sold to George Barris.
I got to see the car with my own eyes when I had the chance to visit Barris'
shop in North Hollywood in 2005 (right.) In 2006, the #2 car was
restored in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of the car's creation.
In January of 2008, Barris put the car up for auction at the annual
Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. It sold for $360,000!!!
HERE to see the auction on YouTube. A few days later, I was
STUNNED to find out the winning bidder lives here in the Metro Detroit area.
I couldn't believe The Monkeemobile was coming to the Motor City. I
was able to contact the new owner, Mel, through the MSN Group dedicated to
The Monkeemobile. It took a couple of weeks for the car to travel
to Michigan from Arizona. After exchanging e-mails with Mel, and a
short phone call, I was invited to come visit the car at its current
Upon my arrival, I got to meet Mel, a
local businessman, and his two sons. All three were eager to show off
their new acquisition. Mel got inside the car and the engine rumbled
to life. He slowly and carefully backed it out of its carpeted room
and out into the open where I could photograph it. It was beautiful
from every angle. Familiar Monkees tunes played from the impressive
sound system. It was such a huge thrill to examine this car up close.
For me, seeing a museum-quality car like this is as exciting as meeting any
celebrity. I really enjoyed chatting with Mel and his sons about the
car. Here is a brief e-mail interview I did with Mel before meeting
him in person:
Can you give me a brief history of the car you purchased?
It's a 1966 Pontiac GTO. It was originally used (briefly) on I Dream
of Jeannie. Then, Screen Gems hired Dean Jeffries to customize it for
a TV show called The Monkees. Dean Jeffries, with the assistance
of Dick Dean, actually created 2 cars inside 4 weeks. There is a little
controversy about which one was created first. George Barris (the
former owner) and Mike Gray (the man who did the recent restoration) are
convinced that my car was the first built. The other car was the first to
be shown on the TV. During the recent restoration the car was turned into
a "100 point car". It is a masterpiece. It has been altered from the
original show car. Now it has a huge stereo system that takes up some
space - but sounds great.
Tell me about yourself. Age? Married?
I'm 48, Married, 3 kids. I have been a
workaholic since my early 20's.
Describe your level of obsession with
The Monkees. Did you grow up watching the TV show?
I loved watching their shows as reruns -
probably after school. The first record album I bought was The Birds,
The Bees, and The Monkees. I really thought their car was cool. And
their music was generally upbeat. I used to go to used record stores and
shows looking to expand my collection.
you go to their concerts? Have you ever met any of them in person?
went to two reunion concerts. One was at Pine Knob in Clarkston,
Michigan. The other was in Toronto.
I think one was a twenty year reunion. And the other may have been a 25
Do you own collectibles from The
Monkees, such as die-cast versions of the car?
bought a bunch of the 1/64 scale cars off of eBay. I have 3 or 4 of the
1/18 scale Ertl die-cast too. I built the model recently (in the past 5
years). I videotaped 2 days of their shows that were played on MTV years
ago. And probably have 20 Albums.
Had you seen The Monkeemobile in person
before? Like at the AutoRama or anywhere else?
Just on film.
Describe what is it about the car that
appeals to you?
radical! It's wild! It symbolizes a great show where people were happy
And the music was excellent. It seems to me that anyone that remembers
the car thinks it's wonderful. It's part of the history of America!
What was your reaction when you heard it
was going to be auctioned off at Barrett- Jackson?
was excited. The car of my dreams was going to be made available. For
days I tossed and turned trying to decide if it was worth the money and
effort to go there and compete with the big shooters. I figured that I
would not stand a chance. I had to determine how much I was willing to
pay and how much I could afford. Then, registering to bid is somewhat
complicated and expensive. It was a fun trip. There is plenty to do.
And, especially, if you register to bid - there are plenty of amenities
that you can enjoy. It's a great time
Describe the atmosphere and the
excitement during the bidding process?
Well, for two days I sat there and tried to
figure out how to bid. I don't think I ever really saw anyone bidding
first hand. You are facing forward and if bidding is going on behind you
it is generally out of sight and bidding in front of you is behind
bodies. It was a nervous feeling. Just before the car was going up I
walked over to the closest bidding assistant and told him I was interested
in The Monkeemobile. He came to the end of my aisle. I just moved my
head and arms in a positive fashion every time he looked at me.
What was your reaction when you realized
you won the auction?
It was fantastic. It really happened so fast
- I was surprised myself. I thought the car could have brought in much
more than it did. It still seems like a miracle. Here is a car that
was used in The Monkees TV show for a couple years and then owned
by George Barris for almost 40 years. Now I own it. Wow!
What are your plans now? Will you
display it? Will you drive it? Will you take it to car shows?
am trying to figure all that out right now. I definitely want to take it
to some shows. Yes, weather permitting I will drive it. The car doesn't
Will we see it at the Woodward Dream
Cruise? If so, are you worried about dents, dings and mileage?
I suspect it will go to the Woodward Dream Cruise. And the
Telegraph Cruise. And the Downriver Cruise. Of course I am worried about
damage. But, I am also an optimist and tell myself things will be OK.
The mileage? It only has 5061 miles on it. I think it needs to put some
miles on it.
- "That's gold, Jerry! GOLD!"
I had the day off work today, so while
out running errands I stopped into my local K-Mart. I kid you not, I
was listening to Life is a Highway from the Cars soundtrack
when I pulled up. Inside, I struck gold! Well, gold Mia & Tia to
be exact from the Dinoco Dream Gift Pack. Now all I need is Flik &
Flea and Dudley Spare to get caught up, unless something new has hit that
I'm not aware of. Gold Mia & Tia have been added to the
2/21/08 - "Atomic
batteries to power! Turbines to speed!"
Last night when I got home from work,
there was a UPS slip waiting for me. I knew what it was and I
immediately made arrangements to pick it up at Will Call today. When I
got the package into my car, I couldn't open it quickly enough! It was
Mattel's new 1:18 scale die-cast 1966 Batmobile! I got it from
Pro-Models, one of my sponsors. I grinned like an idiot as I laid my
eyes on it. This is something I've
been hoping to add to my collection for a very long time. At first
glance, the car is beautiful, with lots of detail, including a Bat Phone
(right.) The doors open and the steering wheel turns the wheels. I
don't know if the the hood and trunk opens. It looks like they might,
but I was afraid of scratching the paint job trying to pry them open.
Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, I was a little disappointed with a
lack of quality control. The red pinstriping had some chips and flaws,
there was some glue or residue on the windshield, and when I removed the car
from the box, the exhaust fell right off! I'll have to glue it back
on! I may pick up another one if I ever find a more pristine version
at a store. Until then, I'm happy to add this to my collection, right
along Mattel's other Batmobiles. I highly recommend picking this up,
especially if the upcoming Elite versions are out of your price range.
- I've just found out that the hood and trunk don't open on this version!
Don't damage your car trying to pry them open. Visit
Scooter's Custom Batcave to see an informative video.
2/21/08 - Making the Toy
I stopped at a few stores on the way
into work today. I didn't find much, but I did pick up the Cars
Pit Row Race Off Octane Gain at Toys R Us (above, left.) This is the
first time Octane Gain has been offered outside of the Target-Exclusive
Dinoco 400 Boxed Set, and since Toys R Us was having a Buy 2 Get the
Third Free sale, I picked up Lightning McQueen and Chick Hicks, too.
While at TRU, I also stumbled onto a bunch of new Titanium vehicles by
Hasbro. There were quite a few new Star Wars and Battlestar
Galactica vehicles, but the only one I picked up was the classic
Battlestar Galactica (above right) to go along with my classic Colonial
Viper and Cylon Raider.
2/20/08 - Sponsor News
I got an e-mail from sponsor Movie Car
Mania today alerting me of some new arrivals. Johnny Lightning's
The Dukes of Hazzard - Release 4 has arrived. I ordered my case
today. Check out the carded pics above. Also, I had no idea Jada
had the license for Reservoir Dogs. Movie Car Mania will be
receiving the 1:18 scale '65 Cadillac DeVille (right) from the 1992 Quentin
Tarantino film in a week or so. No word on whether or not it comes
with a cop in the trunk. Be sure to visit their website to see all the
cool TV and movie cars available for purchase and pre-order. Click on
the link at the top of the right column.
2/19/08 - Toy Fair News
Figures.com has posted pics of upcoming Cars product shown at Toy
Fair 2008. Lots of stuff to get excited about, including correct red
rims on Mario Andretti in the Movie Moments 2-pack. Click
HERE for tons of pics.
2/17/08 - Knight Rider:
The two-hour Mustang commercial known
as Knight Rider finally premiered on NBC and my feelings are mixed (I
mean, c'mon, KITT morphed into ... um ... other Mustangs.) First the
good: I liked the car. Although I missed the Pontiac Firebird
Trans-Am, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR was pretty impressive and ominous.
However, despite nano-technology and morphing capabilities, the interior of
the new KITT wasn't as fun as the KITT of the eighties. Remember all
the lights and colors of the old KITT? The new KITT's interior wasn't
much more impressive than my sister's SUV and her new talking GPS.
And, honestly, I missed the voice of William Daniels as KITT, even though I
looked at IMDB and was SHOCKED to discover that Val Kilmer is the voice of
the new KITT!!! "It's the car, right? Chicks love the car."
Now the bad: The
story was weak, the pacing was awkward, the acting was wooden and the action
sequences were mediocre. I understand that characters had to be
introduced and backstories established with corny dialogue, which didn't
really allow for a self-contained story to develop. With that behind
them, I hope we can get to the good stuff on future episodes. I do
think that giving the two main characters, Mike Traceur and Sarah, a
romantic relationship in the pilot is a big mistake. It limits
possible scenarios and situations for Mike in future episodes. I think
it would've worked better as a X-Files-Mulder-&-Scully-type-of-relationship,
with unspoken feelings and sexual tension. I also hope they kick up
the action sequences a bit. They were a little underwhelming.
And finally, it was
kind of cool to see David Hasselhoff return, albeit briefly, as Michael
Knight. I hope he occasionally appears to shake things up. I
think Knight Rider has potential and I'll be tuning in to see if the
characters find their groove. Let's hope NBC gives that time to
2/13/08 - It's almost
Ernie Renn sent me a pic he found on
website of Mattel's 1:18 scale 1966 Batmobile BOXED! I cannot
wait to hold this thing in my hands. Also, Gregg Lacarte sent me pics
of Mattel's ELITE Batmobile (below,) shown at Norimberk Toy Fair 2008.
It looks absolutely spectacular. I just hope I can afford it.
I'm sure we'll get more info and pics as the 2008 American International Toy
Fair kicks off next week!
2/13/08 - Mack VS Mack
Recently I discovered a new Disney
Store opened in my local mall. There I spotted a very nice version of
Mack from Cars. Known as Lightning McQueen Runaway Racer, the
version I saw included Mack and plastic Radiator Springs Lightning McQueen
(there's another version that also includes Dinoco McQueen.) Priced at
$29.50, it rang up at the register for $9.99. I decided to pick it up
and compare it to Mattel's version of Mack.
First of all, the
packaging on the Runaway Racer set is terrible. The clear plastic on
most of the packages was cracked and broken, producing sharp, jagged edges.
I tried to get a good one, but by the time I got home, it was cracked and
jagged. Upon opening the package and comparing both Macks, the first
noticeable difference is the size. The Runaway Racer Mack is slightly
larger than Mattel's Mack. Comparing faces, there are several
differences. Comparing the faces to a still from the film, I have to
give the edge to Runaway Racer Mack for accuracy. Overall, Runaway
Racer Mack has nice chrome touches, where Mattel's "metal" parts are flat
gray. So for appearance, Disney's Runaway Racer Mack is the winner.
However, before you
run out and buy one for the little one, there are some concerns about
Runaway Racer Mack. Almost immediately upon trying the spring-loaded
launch feature, I jammed the door shut, not quite knowing exactly how it
works. I had to pry it open. Once I figured that out I inserted the
plastic McQueen, pressed the launch button on top of Mack and BAM, McQueen
shot out like a bullet! I can't imagine what would happen if a little
one was looking inside when that button was pressed. If you're going
to buy Disney's Mack, it makes a nice display piece, but don't buy it for
the little ones to play with. I'd stick to Mattel's Mack for play value.
2/12/08 - RIP: Roy
Roy Scheider passed away on February
10th. Although he will always be best remembered to his fans as Chief
Martin Brody in 1975 blockbuster Jaws, he was in quite a few OTHER
entertaining action flicks, too. Although Gene Hackman drove the car,
Roy was great in The French Connection. Roy got his chance to
drive the car in one of the greatest car chases on film in the 1973 film
The Seven-Ups. He was also in Blue Thunder and on the TV
series SeaQuest DSV. If you haven't seen any of those flicks,
check 'em out and appreciate the work of the late Roy Scheider.
2/6/08 - Coming Soon!
I got a package from Johnny Lightning
via UPS today. In it were a couple of cars from JL's 4th Series of
cars from The Dukes of Hazzard. First up, we have the General
Lee. It's the same car from Release 3, however, it's on packaging from
the 2007 TV movie/DVD The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning,
featuring the beautiful brunette April Scott as Daisy Duke.
Unfortunately, this prequel to The Dukes of Hazzard: The Movie (2005)
is a pretty awful and forgettable mess, BUT, if you missed picking up this
ultimate version of General Lee in Release 3, you have another shot at it.
Release 2 included a Zinger version of General Lee. Release 4 includes
a Zinger version of Daisy's Plymouth Roadrunner. If you're into
Zingers, here ya go. These cars, plus the other four from this series
(scroll down for a pic) should be hitting stores later this month. My
Johnny Lightning for the sneak peek.
2/5/08 - Revvin' Up the
Powerful Mach 5
I got an e-mail from Rodney at Movie
Car Mania announcing that in addition to Mattel, Jada will also be offering
1:64 scale die-cast cars from the upcoming Speed Racer movie.
Pictured above, from left to right, are Mach 5, Shooting Star, Snake Oiler
and Prince Kabala. Rodney has ordered several cases if you're
interested. Visit his site by clicking on the link at the top of the
2/5/08 - Who ya gonna
I got an e-mail today tipping me off
to this interesting eBay auction. It's a little too steep for me, but
interesting nonetheless. Click
HERE to check it out.
2/1/08 - Happy Birthday to
Today marks the 5th anniversary of the
debut of Hollywood Die-Cast. It's amazing how quickly the years fly
by. For those of you who don't know, it all started when my buddy
Dennis and I were collecting TV and movie die-cast cars and had no
definitive source for reference. eBay was a good tool to find out what
was out there but we needed more. There were a few small websites that
had little bits of info but we felt something more complete and thorough was
needed. So I took it upon myself to photograph our collections, buy a
domain name, find a host and BAM, Hollywood Die-Cast was born. I
thought the site would appeal to only a select few with similar interests,
but was I surprised to find out 1000 people were visiting the site every
day. And the visitors came from all over the world, as did the
e-mails, which I had to translate on occasion.
Since that cold
February day in 2003, it's been so much fun. I've been featured on
television and I've met some of my idols, like the legendary George Barris
and the cast of The Dukes of Hazzard. I've made a lot of
friends because of this site. My sincere thanks go out to contributors like
Tony Moe, Joe Nest, Metro Privratsky, Craig Mueller and others. I
can't express how much I appreciate my sponsors like Movie Car Mania,
Pro-Models and RPM Die-Cast. And of course my thanks go out to you,
the visitor. Whether you have an ever-expanding collection of die-cast
cars, a passing interest in TV and movie cars, or you just grew up with
Herbie the Love Bug, thanks for visiting and sending e-mails. Please
keep them coming.
Let's take a look at
some of the major milestones that have taken place over the last five years
in the world of TV and movie die-cast cars, shall we? Click
HERE for a stroll down memory lane.
2/1/08 - It's a bird!
It's a plane!
After giving up trying to find these
in stores, I went the eBay route (again) to add these to my collection.
I got them for a great price: .99 cents each plus shipping! I
really like the Daily Planet delivery truck. More pics have been added
to the Superman gallery.