2/27/10 - Mater Just Keeps
I popped into a Toys R Us this Saturday
afternoon and was surprised to find a couple of new Mater the Greater
boxed sets. I only bought one set, pictured above, that includes
Rocket Mater and Mia & Tia. The second set, which I passed on,
includes Buck the Tooth Vendor and yet another version of Daredevil McQueen.
I did, however, find an image on eBay so you can see it for yourself
2/26/10 - Oh Happy Days!
I spent the entire day at the 2010 Detroit
Autorama and I had a great time. The highlight of my day is pictured
above. I had the chance to meet Henry Winkler, one of my boyhood
idols. The Fonz never sat down and greeted each of his fans with a
handshake and said, "Hi, I'm Henry." I had him sign Johnny Lightning's
Fonzie Motorcycle which I can now add to my
"Auto-Graph" collection. I gotta tell you, he was polite and
courteous to every single person in line. I was very impressed.
Earlier in the day, I wandered around the floor shooting
video and interviews. One of the cars I stumbled across was the very
same Batmobile replica I saw getting restored back in January. It
looked absolutely fantastic with flashing lights and working dashboard
displays. It got an awful lot of attention. I talked to the
owner who told me he hopes to have it on the road for the Woodward Dream
Cruise in August.
I also saw a beautiful replica of the Batmobile as seen in
Batman Forever (above, left.) I was told it was lovingly
handcrafted from the ground up. This was a thing of beauty. When
I asked to see the interior, a guy said, "Canopy Open" and the ...um...
canopy opened. Yes. It was voice-activated! Incredible.
I also had a nice chat with a father/son team who created a beautiful
replica of Herbie the Love Bug (above, center.) It was awesome
to see a father and son bond working on such a project and the father told
me it was worth it just to see the reactions from Herbie fans.
And finally, I also got to see the unveiling of the Fire Breather, a custom
car to be featured in the upcoming movie Jinn. The movie will
be filmed here in Michigan and will star Ray Park (who played Darth Maul in
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.) Ray was on hand to unveil the
custom car which began its life as a Camaro (above, right.) I shot
video of the unveiling and got to interview Ray Park. I'll post the
video in a week or so.
Oh, and one more thing. The Autorama also features a
HUGE area of die-cast car vendors. I didn't buy much, but my jaw hung
open when I saw these Corgi Jr. cars pictured below. I'm glad I didn't
bring more money or I would've spent WAY too much on some of the things I
saw. Check it out:
- There's Gold in Them Thar Wheels
Having no luck finding this in stores, I went
the eBay route and got this Chase Bling Bling McQueen. Not only does
it come with the Piston Cup, but it also has gold rims unlike the previous
releases. The only downside is that it has lenticular eyes, but oh
2/22/10 - Batman Returns
Christian Bale has his Bat-Pod, Michael Keaton
had his Batmissile. In Batman Returns, when Batman approaches a
narrow alley, he sheds parts of his Batmobile so the Batmissile can squeeze
through. This 1:50 scale version is the latest release in Mattel's
Bat-Vehicles line. I found it hanging on a peg at a Meijer store
today. Oddly, it was the only Bat-Vehicle on the pegs.
2/20/10 - "Drives a $5000
car and wears a $100 suit!"
Late last year a little-known independent movie
was in theaters and got great reviews, but because of its limited
distribution, I couldn't find a theater near me that was showing it.
So I had to wait for it to arrive on DVD, which it did last Tuesday. I
picked up a copy of Black Dynamite and watched it, hoping it would
live up to its hype. About 5 minutes into the movie, I proclaimed
Black Dynamite one of my favorite movies EVER! The movie is
a loving, faithful and AUTHENTIC recreation of the blaxploitation films of
the 70's with so many quotable lines I wouldn't even know where to start.
Michael Jai White doesn't so much portray Black Dynamite as much as he
portrays the ACTOR playing Black Dynamite. As a matter of fact, the
movie's trailer mentions that he's "Baltimore Colts All-Star Running Back
Ferrante Jones." The character comes across as a man who's given an
opportunity to star in this message film and tries SO hard to deliver the
biggest, baddest, coolest character EVER seen on screen, but unfortunately
for him, he's working with a script full of clichès & stereotypes, lousy
production values, jarring jump cuts, and lots and lots of stock footage.
The "director" of Black Dynamite has an almost Ed Wood-type quality,
with boom mics getting into frame and actors dropping out of character at
the end of scenes. You can almost hear the director saying, "CUT..
good enough!" Of course, this is all done deliberately to
deliver some of the biggest laughs I've had watching a movie in a long time.
Michael Jai White is so incredibly good in this role. He delivers his
lines and kicks butt with such intensity it's easy to forget the movie is a
comedy and completely buy into the character. He's also surrounded by
a cast that seems to be having an absolute blast, including Arsenio Hall and
Tommy Davidson (and a cameo by an unrecognizable John Salley.)
There wasn't much in the realm
of car chases, since the movie uses mostly rear screen projection and
archival stock footage in many of the action scenes, such as a car going
over a cliff and exploding into flames, but the 70's era cars featured in
the film were great. I loved this movie so much, I can only hope and
pray that Michael Jai White returns for a sequel. In the meantime, I think
I'll watch the movie again! Visit the official website by clicking
2/19/10 - Easter Egg Hunt!
Over the past few days I noticed Target stores
were in the process of setting up their Easter displays. Today I
strolled down the aisle and discovered this set of Cars Easter Eggs.
This is the third time in four years Mattel has released Cars eggs.
Lightning McQueen has been included in every release, so that's no surprise,
but this year you'll find a pretty random selection of characters.
Pictured above with Lightning are Fillmore, Axle Accelerator and Snot Rod.
I have no idea what criteria is used when selecting characters for these
while at the same store, I found a new addition to the Cars Toon
line. Buck the Tooth Vendor (right) was hanging on a peg in Mega
Size packaging. Buck was featured in the Cars animated short
Mater the Greater. Daredevil Lightning McQueen has also been
released as a single, but I already have that one in a boxed set. You
can see Mater's Tall Tales at
2/17/10 - My Holy Grail!
A couple of weeks ago, someone started a thread
in the HobbyTalk Forums asking collectors to list their "Holy Grails."
My definition of a Holy Grail is that rare piece that continues to elude
you. Either it consistently sells beyond your price range, or you
rarely, if ever, see it up for sale. Well, I decided to list Susie the
Little Blue Coupe as my Holy Grail. Back in 2006, fellow collector
Jason sent me pics of a die-cast car from Tomy. He told me he found it
at a nearby hobby shop. Susie the Little Blue Coupe is a Disney
animated short that was released theatrically in 1952. I've read that
Susie was the inspiration for the look of the characters in the Disney/Pixar
movie Cars. Ever since getting that e-mail from Jason, I've
desperately searched for this die-cast version of Susie with no luck.
Over the past three years, I have not been able to locate one... until now.
After my post in the HobbyTalk Forums, I got a quick reply from Pat in
Canada. He told me he had the piece I was looking for. I sent
him a couple of bucks via PayPal... and Susie finally arrived in the mail
today! I can't tell you how excited I am to finally add this piece to
my collection. The quest has finally come to an end, even though I
would love to see this piece mint in its original packaging someday.
Thanks so much Pat. I guess it's on to my next Holy Grail, if it's
possible to have more than one Holy Grail!
If you'd like to see Susie
the Little Blue Coupe, it's been released on The Love Bug DVD and
The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad DVD.
2/16/10 - Chasing Cars
Popping into a Target store later in the day I
found the pegs restocked. It looks like the stores in my area are
finally restocking after a period of slim-pickins! I found the three
newest releases from the Cars Final Lap Collection. Pictured
above, from left, are Donna Pits, Nick Stickers and One Eye Mater.
This get me a little closer to getting caught up. I'm still missing a
couple of chase cars, including Bling Bling McQueen with Piston Cup Trophy.
UPDATE: I found a Chase Red Ramone at WalMart today (left.)
Honestly, despite its claim of a "Metallic Finish" I really can't see a
significant difference when I compare it side by side to a regular Hydraulic
Ramone. Nevertheless, it's one more Chase car I can add to my
2/16/10 - A Dynamic Duo!
It's one thing to find new stuff at the store,
but it's another thing to find an employee opening cases! Visiting
Toys R Us at lunchtime I saw a bunch of unopened cartons in the die-cast
aisle. One of those cases was marked Monster Duo. I asked an
employee to open it up and I pulled out this cool Monster Duo, featuring a
Monster Truck Batmobile packaged with the '89 Batmobile. This
particular version of the Batmobile is unique because it features the Bat
Logo on its roof.
2/14/10 - Vote for the Car
For years Ecto-1 was on the Wish Lists of many
collectors. Yeah, Johnny Lightning produced Ecto-1A from the SECOND
movie, but fans had always wanted the car from the FIRST movie in 1:64 scale
die-cast. With Mattel FINALLY releasing the car as part of its basic
Hot Wheels line (and possibly a more highly detailed version down the road)
we can finally remove the car from our Wish Lists. Now the question
is, which car should replace it? After gathering input from my fellow
collectors, I created the poll below. The Top 10 cars on the
Hollywood Die-Cast Wish List will remain
unchanged and that's why you don't see them listed below. The top vote
getters from the poll will make up #11 through #20 on the list. So
vote for as many cars as you like and I'll post the results in a week or so.
If you feel strongly about a car that's not in the poll you can submit a
"write-in" vote by sending me an
There was only room for 20 cars.
Which of the following cars would you like to see produced in 1:64 scale?
Wayne's World - AMC Pacer "The Mirthmobile"
The Wraith - Dodge Turbo Interceptor
The Car - Custom Lincoln Mark III
Smokey & The Bandit - '79 Kenworth W-900
I, Robot - Concept Audi RSQ
Duel - '71 Plymouth Valiant & '55 Peterbilt 281
Corvette Summer - '73 Custom Corvette
Robocop - '86 Ford Taurus
Death Race 2000 - Various Custom Cars
Men in Black - '87 Ford LTD Crown Victoria
Role Models - '08 Ford F-250 Super Duty "Minotaur"
2/9/10 - The Danicar!
Danica Patrick has become the first celebrity
to co-design a Hot Wheels vehicle. The Danicar is pictured above and
will hit stores in October of 2010. On the heels of that revelation,
Danica announced she will indeed be racing this Saturday at Noon in Daytona.
Hot Wheels will be a sponsor of Danica's No. 7 Chevrolet (right) during the
NASCAR Nationwide series, including primary sponsor placement in the
August 14th race at Michigan International Speedway (at which I hope to be.)
2/9/10 - A Super
One of my favorite commercials from Super Bowl
Sunday featured Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo as they reprised their
roles from the Vacation movies. It was great to see the ol'
Family Truckster again. While looking for the commercial online, I
discovered there is an even LONGER version of the commercial that's like a
short film. And it's actually pretty funny! Check it out above.
2/8/10 - Pretty Sneaky
You may remember back in October of 2009 I
posted the images above. A fellow collector brought to my attention
that Johnny Lightning's '71 Chevelle bore a striking resemble to the
Chevelle featured on the TV series Life on Mars. Well, late
last week I sent an e-mail to JL's Tom Z. asking him about the future of
their popular Hollywood on Wheels series. He responded saying
there are no plans for a new HOW series this year. He went on to say,
however, that Johnny Lightning has been discreetly producing cars from TV
and films and told me a package was on its way to me. Well, the
package arrived and I was a little confused. Included in the package
were three loose cars: a yellow '71 Chevy Vega, a red & white '68
Plymouth Fury Cab and a brownish '59 Chevy Impala. I didn't recognize
any of them and wrote back to Tom, asking, "What gives?" Here is his
'71 Chevy Vega featured in
the 1999 Drew Barrymore movie Never Been Kissed.
'68 Plymouth Fury I featured
in the TV series Mission Impossible (1966-73)
'59 Chevy Impala featured in
an episode of the TV series Bewitched (1964-72)
I think it is so cool that Johnny Lightning is discreetly continuing to
release cars from TV and movies as part of its regular lines. Yes,
they're a bit obscure, but I like knowing the folks at JL are TV and movie
car buffs just like me! If you spot any others hanging on the pegs of
your local toy store, send me an e-mail.
2/7/10 - Bustin' Crime!
Over the past few days I've been following an
eBay auction for the item pictured above.
Check it out. This Crime Busters Gift Set from Corgi Juniors
includes the Batmobile and Batboat, James Bond's Aston Martin and the
Piranha from The Man from UNCLE. What an awesome set. I'm
tempted to bid on it, but at the time of this post the bid is at $255 and
climbing! The auction ends in two days. I'll post the final
tally then. Wow.
I hope this doesn't turn out to be a hoax, but when I checked on the final
total on this auction, my jaw hit my keyboard. The winning bid was a
whopping $896. I'm stunned.
- Transformers: New Wave?
I hit a couple of different stores today
looking for the new Metal Heroes line of Transformers RPMs.
I didn't find any. But, while visiting a Target store, I spotted some
unfamiliar releases from the plastic-bodied RPMs line. First,
Mixmaster caught my eye. I thought, "Is this new?" Then I
spotted the concept Corvette known as Sideswipe. Wow, new stuff!
Looking at the back of the Sideswipe, I noticed Jolt was listed, as well,
but somebody must've beaten me to it. I found a picture of Jolt and
posted it at left. The hunt for Metal Heroes continues.
2/2/10 - The Bandit Awards
The 2010 Oscar nominations were announced today
(TEN Best Picture nominations!) so it's time to get the ball rolling on the
2010 Bandit Awards. The Bandit Awards are named in honor of the Patron
Saint of Car Chase Movies, Mr. Burt Reynolds. The first thing I need
are YOUR nominations in the following categories:
Best Car Movie from 2009
Best Car Chase or Racing
Scene from a 2009 Movie
Best Movie Car of 2009
(stock or slightly modified)
Best Movie Car of 2009
(original creation or heavily customized)
Best Actor/Actress from
a 2009 Movie
Best Car from a 2009
Television Series or TV Movie
Best Individual Die-Cast
Car from 2009 (any scale)
Best Die-Cast Line from
2009 (any scale)
Send me an
e-mail with your nominations
or post in the forum. I'll create a poll in a week or so and announce
the winners on March 7, 2010. (Coincidentally, Oscar Night)
2/1/10 - No.1 with a
It's always fun to get a package in the mail,
but it's even MORE fun when the package contains Greenlight's new Bullitt
diorama. In 1:64 scale, this diorama recreates what many consider to
be one of the best car chases ever put to film. Cars from the movie
have been released before by Revell and RC2, but what sets this apart from
the rest is the packaging. The display is very dynamic and has Steve
McQueen overseeing the scene. The only gripe I have is that the
Mustang should've been placed in the foreground since it's the star of the
chase. Nevertheless, this is such a great addition to my collection.
It comes from sponsor
Movie Car Mania. The above pics have been added to the
2/1/10 - 7th Anniversary!
Today marks the 7th anniversary of the launch
of Hollywood-Diecast.com! It all started with that little display case
you see in the image above, filled with Johnny Lightnings, Matchbox, Corgi
Jr. and ERTL cars. My collection just kept growing and growing after
that, going from a 24-car display case, to 70 cars, to HUNDREDS of cars.
My buddy Dennis was inspired by my display, and his collection now numbers
in the THOUSANDS. There have been so many highlights over the past
seven years, I hardly know where to begin: Visiting George Barris'
shop in California, being interviewed for a television show that aired in
the UK, Mattel getting the rights to produce the 1966 Batmobile, meeting
celebrities, including every living cast member from The Dukes of Hazzard,
receiving a hand-made metal replica of the Pink Panther-Mobile, all the
e-mails from around the world and all the friendships I've made ... this
website has literally changed my life. Thanks so much for being a part
of it, especially my sponsors who have stuck with me despite tough economic
times. It just keeps getting better and better!