May 2009
News Archive




5/31/09 - Respect the Van

Have you seen this new 2009 Honda Odyssey Van commercial?  There's a cameo by a certain van we all know and love.  Click play above to view. 


6/7 UPDATE:  Apparently, these are actual clips from TV shows and movies.  Bruce sent me an e-mail telling me the white van in the clip above is from Cheech & Chong's Next Movie.




5/30/09 - "Once upon a time, there were three little girls..."

Last night I got an e-mail from Jack Condon of Sherman Oaks, CA, who holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of memorabilia from the Charlie's Angels TV series.  Among his collectibles is a one-of-a-kind Chevy Van.  You may recognize the van pictured above, although it never actually appeared in the series.  According to Jack, the van was commissioned by Revell Models to resemble their popular model kit.  Later, Corgi reproduced the van in die-cast form.  The van appeared on several custom car magazine covers and traveled the car show circuit.  30 years later it is now in the private collection of Jack Condon and he has some great photos of the van, inside and out, on his website.  Impressively, Jack has met every one of the actresses who have appeared on the TV series.  Thanks for the e-mail Jack.  Check out his WEBSITE.




5/30/09 - Holy Miniature, Batman!

Patrick Mallette of Ellicott City, MD sent me an e-mail saying he found Mattel's 1:87 (HO) scale Batmobile at Toys R Us.  I searched eBay, and sure enough, a few are starting to show up.  The detail on this tiny car is amazing.  The above pic was found on eBay.  Here in Michigan, I spent the day searching several different stores looking for the Batmobile with no luck.  Thanks for the info Patrick.




5/25/09 - Terminator Salvation:  My Review

I finally got around to seeing Terminator Salvation on this Memorial Day.  The fourth movie in the series faces the mind-boggling task of being both a sequel AND a prequel.  For those of us who have enjoyed the previous three efforts, this is the movie we've all been looking forward to which finally depicts the war between humans and Skynet.  It's a prequel because the events in the movie predate the moment when the first T-800 went back in time in an attempt to terminate Sarah Connor in the 1984 film.  The movie is a sequel because the events in T2 and T3 lead up to Skynet becoming self-aware and declaring war on humans.  However, whenever the topic of time travel is attempted in movies, a few holes are bound to develop.  In this latest entry, Skynet seems to be aware of failed attempts to terminate Sarah and John Connor in the past, yet, as I said earlier, this movie predates the actual attempt at sending a terminator back in time.  So, knowing the attempts fail, will Skynet even bother to send the T-800 back in time?  If that's the case, did the events in the first three movies even take place?  Head ... hurts ... getting sleepy. 


Putting all that confusion aside, Terminator Salvation is an entertaining war movie, yet it's not quite the epic story I was hoping for.  If I were to compare the earlier Terminator movies to Alien, I was hoping this movie would be Aliens.  But we never really get to see armies of T-800s doing battle with the resistance.  Instead we get inferior T-600s or T-700s (or whatever.)  We do get the very cool Hunter Killer ships and a new entry to the terminator lineage, terminator cycles.  The T-800 does eventually show up later in the film, but being only a prototype, we get the same old one-on-one battle we've already seen in the previous movies. 


In the role normally occupied by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington stars as Marcus Wright.  I don't think I'm spoiling much when I say that Marcus Wright is a terminator that's more human than machine.  Although that particular storyline is engaging, it wasn't entirely necessary.  I would've preferred if the movie just focused on John Connor (Christian Bale) and his efforts to lead the resistance against the machines.  This could've been a great war movie like The Dirty Dozen or The Longest Day, or even Aliens.  Instead, it's a mildly entertaining popcorn flick that is sure to get lost in the onslaught of summer movies. At least there are some great action sequences and a few surprises that will be sure to put a smile on your face. 




5/22/09 - She was born in Detroit ...

For those of you who missed out on RC2's awesome red '58 Belvedere from a few years ago,  you have another chance to add Christine to your collection.  Thanks to a tip from Kevin Clark, I learned that M2 Machines will be releasing a red '58 Plymouth Belvedere as part of its Auto-Thentics line. 


Speaking of M2 Machines, I've been noticing their spectacular cars hanging on the pegs of various stores lately.  One particular casting that caught my eye is the 1955 Pontiac Star Chief.  Why is it special?  Well, that's the make and model the Ricardos drove to California on I Love Lucy. However, the car seen on I Love Lucy was a convertible, so I contacted M2 Machines to see if they plan on releasing this casting as a convertible.  Here is their response:


"We have already picked all the castings for the next 2 years and 1955 Pontiac Star Chief is not included as a convertible.  The M2 team has talked about it and it may happen in the future."


How cool would it be to release it in a "gray-scale" color scheme as seen below?   Who knows, maybe in a couple of years.  For now, maybe it's worth tackling as a custom project.  Hmmmm.




The cousin they don't talk about: Cousin Joe


5/15/09 - Just a Good Ol' Boy

Today, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting John Schneider and Catherine Bach at the Motor City Comic Con. Unlike Dukes Fest, I didn't have to compete with 10,000 other fans for their attention.  I pretty much had them all to myself.  I met John first and not only was he kind enough to sign my online-exclusive General Lee (right) but he also gave me an on-camera interview.  Catherine arrived later and posed for the above photo.  I just felt incredibly lucky to be able to spend time chatting with these two icons.  To view the EXCLUSIVE Hollywood Die-Cast interview, just click play below!  The Motor City Comic Con continues through the weekend.






5/15/09 - "Would it kill you to buy American?"

Thanks to a tip from fellow collector Fernando da Nobrega Ubarana, I visited Toys R Us and found Johnny Lightning's '72 Ford Torino Sport.  This is the very same make and model that appears in the Clint Eastwood film Gran Torino.  The similarities are uncanny.  The car in the film has a yellow stripe that fades to green as it runs along the car, otherwise, the cars are almost identical.  For now, I'll classify this under "unofficial" movie car.





5/13/09 - That New Car Smell!

I popped in to a nearby WalMart at lunchtime to discover the pegs overflowing with Cars characters from the newest case that's shipping.  I nabbed Todd the Pizza Planet truck and Patti (Mario's Assistant.)  Having Todd in-hand and examining it up close, it instantly becomes one of my personal favorites.  I've read that the Pizza Planet truck has appeared in every Pixar film, so keeps your eyes peeled if you plan to see the newest film Up.  The above pics have been added to the Cars Gallery.



5/8/09 - Welcome:  Volo Auto Museum!

I'm so pleased to announce the latest sponsor to join the Hollywood Die-Cast family!  Please help me welcome the Volo Auto Museum, located about 50 miles north of Chicago in Volo, Illinois.  In it's 48th year, the museum has over 300 classic cars on display, including cars from film and television, such as cars from the George Barris collection.  Click HERE for a sneak peek at some of the Hollywood cars on display.  I've been meaning to visit the museum for some time now and I hope to make it there on my next road trip.  I'll be sure to bring back plenty of pics and video to share with you.  In the meantime, there will be a permanent link to the museum's website in the right column of every page.  Check it out!




5/8/09 - Star Trek:  My Review

I can't recall the last time I've seen a movie where the cast seemed to be having so much fun. Because of that, I found myself sitting in the theater having a great time, too.  Star Trek reinvigorates this long-running franchise.  Watching the origin story of these much-beloved characters had me wondering why someone hadn't tried this angle years ago.  Chris Pine puts his stamp on the James T. Kirk character.  Although he doesn't physically resemble William Shatner, it was fun to see him evoke a few Shatnerisms throughout the film, especially during a battle simulation scene early in the movie.  I loved how they played up the womanizing aspect of his character, checking out every woman who passed him by and showing him in bed with an incredibly sexy green woman.  However, surprisingly, this isn't Captain Kirk's movie.  This is Spock's movie.  And I have to say, Zachary Quinto turns in an absolutely brilliant performance as Spock.  His resemblance to a young Leonard Nimoy is uncanny, but Quinto's take on Spock showed tremendous depth in a character that is known for concealing displays of emotion.  Zachary Quinto is the star of this movie.  The rest of the cast was enjoyable, too.  The character of Uhura (Zoe Saldana) is given more personality than the Uhura from the TV series.  It was fun to see Sulu (John Cho) get a chance to kick some butt on screen.  Karl Urban nailed the role of Dr. McCoy. And Simon Pegg, who shows up later in the film, just seemed to be having an absolute blast in his role as Scotty.  There was a surprising amount of humor in this film and I found myself laughing out loud many times.


I also can't seem to recall the last time I actually got goosebumps while watching a movie. But the first time we get a look at the Enterprise docked in space, I felt the hair on my arms stand up. I got the same feeling when the Enterprise rises from a gas cloud and is framed with Saturn in the background.  It was just one of those beautiful moments that reminds me why I love movies so much. And finally, when the Star Trek theme began playing over the closing credits, well, those goosebumps came back.  I don't want to give away too much about the film, but it was interesting how the storyline created an alternate reality, effectively allowing this group of characters to boldly go forward and experience adventures that won't necessarily mess up the existing Star Trek legend.  I, for one, am eagerly anticipating their next adventure.




5/6/09 - "Thank ya.  Thank yaverymuch."

It's been more than two months since I saw the first reports of Elvis sightings.  Since then, I've hit Target, Toys R Us, K-Mart, WalMart and any other store I came across on a regular basis only to come up empty every single time.  I've also had friends and family searching with no luck.  After months of frustration, I finally caved and went the eBay route.  Arriving on my doorstep today is the Mega Size Elvis RV from Cars.  I gotta tell you, this ranks among my favorite pieces from this entire line.  I know the character only had a brief moment on screen, but I'm such a huge Elvis fan, I HAD to add this guy to my collection.  In my searches, I also recently found Jerry Recycled Batteries semi truck (above, right.)  Now I can relax and focus on finding characters from the newest case that's shipping, which includes Patti (Mario's Assistant), Todd (The Pizza Planet Truck) and as part of the Mega Size line:  FRANK!  Let the hunt continue!



5/6/09 - Make It So!

Mattel's die-cast Star Trek line has started showing up at retail stores like Toys R Us and Target.  I've seen three different ships so far, but because of their high cost, I decided to only pick up my favorite:  USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The back of the box shows five ships, including USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A, USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (from the new Star Trek movie), USS Reliant and Klingon Bird of Prey. 




5/3/09 - X-Men Origins:  Wolverine

When I saw Hugh Jackman in the first X-Men movie, I thought, "Wow. This guy has screen presence. He's going to be a big star."  As I sat there watching him in the fourth X-Men movie, I thought, "Wow.  He hasn't aged a bit."  The man STILL has great screen presence and he fully takes advantage of that gift in X-Men Origins:  Wolverine.  First let me say Wolverine in no The Dark Knight.  But having said that, Hugh Jackman is as great in the role of Wolverine as Christian Bale is as Batman or Tobey McGuire is as Spider-Man.  While it doesn't transcend the typical summer comic book movies we've grown used to seeing, it's as entertaining as the better movies from the comic book genre.  Its biggest flaw, the same flaw its previous three movies have suffered, is the overwhelming gallery of characters that make up the X-Men universe.  Although I'm sure hardcore fans were happy to see Gambit make it into an X-Men movie, he really served no purpose other than to appease the fans.  Wolverine could've been a great movie if it was stripped of all the clutter.  The writing was a bit predictable, as I found myself mouthing lines moments before the characters spoke them on the screen, but I enjoyed the story of betrayal and revenge.  So while Wolverine isn't great movie, it was entertaining and a worthy entry into the X-Men franchise.


I wouldn't even be posting my review on this website if there wasn't some sort of vehicle chase in the film, and that there was.  Wolverine escapes serious damage on a motorcycle and is pursued by numerous military vehicles in an extended action sequence (above.)  For me, the chase scene was one of the high points in the film and it kicked the movie into high gear, so to speak.    So grab some popcorn and soda and check out X-Men Origins: Wolverine to get your summer movie experience underway.  Coming up:  Transformers 2 and Terminator 4.