PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2015

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The PopCult Toybox: Toy Fair 2015 Report

You're going to get a full report on The Turtles, too.

Last week your PopCulteer made the trek to New York City to cover The 2015 International Toy Fair, and in the coming days and weeks you can expect many special editions of The PopCult Toybox to cover all the cool things he saw.

One of the hottest action figures in toy stores now is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures and playsets. The folks at Playmates Toys gave us a quick tour of the Turtles booth, and we have all the details in print below the video, along with a ton of photos, to share this part of the Toy Fair experience with you.

Fresh off a wildly successful 2014 in which the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures were ranked the #1 selling toy to the NPD Group, Playmates Toys, the company behind the popular toy line, is thrilled to its all-new 2015 offerings during North American International Toy Fair.by season 4 of Nickelodeon’s hit TV series, Playmates Toys will introduce its biggest extension to date in the line called Mutations, extensions to the successful Half Shell Heroes preschool line and a new die-cast segment called T-Machines; in addition to new action figures, vehicles, role play and playsets.

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RFC Flashback: Episode 48

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rfc48randy01Radio Free Charleston 48 was our tribute to the Randy Lee Walden, the lead singer and bass player for Quick And Dirty, who appeared on RFC 44 in June, 2008.  This was a pretty somber show, the first time that RFC had to deal with death. Sadly it was not the last.

Randy was found dead in Quick And Dirty’s rehearsal space before a scheduled show by the band on June 30.  It was an apparent cardiac arrest.  Randy was only 30. This tribute show originally ran in July, 2008. The original production notes are HERE.

Photo02180945_1The PopCulteer
February 27, 2015

Though he’s been back more than a week, your PopCulteer is still reeling from the whirlwind trip to New York City last week. We went up to attend The International Toy Fair (and you’ll be seeing coverage of that event in this blog for weeks), but we also hit the Big Apple to see “A Delicate Balance,” the revival of Edward Albee’s 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. This production starred John Lithgow, Glenn Close, Bob Balaban, Martha Plympton, Lindsay Duncan and Clare Higgins, and it was a incredible as you’d expect.

You may remember that a couple of years ago Mrs. PopCulteer, Melanie Larch, was in a local production of this, alongside Mark Felton, Susan Minnerly and Rob Boone, and except for the Gazette reviewer, it was pretty universally-acclaimed thanks to a great local cast and director Patrick Felton. It is such a striking play that we couldn’t pass up the chance to see it produced with a world-class cast and a Tony-winning director.

While we were on Broadway, we indulged in taking some theatre-geek photos around the show we were seeing. It’s amazing how much theatre they can cram into such a small area. So today we’re taking a break from the toys and instead are strolling the Great White Way by way of photos taken by Mel and Rudy. And after that we run down stuff to do in town. That’s the Herald Square Hotel at the head of this post.

1509748_10153137607551974_352620889498355759_nAs we prepared to post this, word came down that Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed the iconic Mr. Spock on Star Trek in television and movies, had passed away. It was not unexpected, he’d been hospitalized with severe chest pains in recent days, but it’s still an emotional gut-punch for those of us who grew up in the thrall of the Vulcan.

Nimoy was also a strong supporter of the craft of acting and live theater, so we dedicate this photo essay to the man for whom the former Thalia movie house in Manhatten was renamed, “The Leonard Nimoy Thalia,” Leonard Nimoy. He lived long, and prospered.

On with the photo tour…

Mel outside the theater
Mel outside the theater

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Get The Creeps

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The PopCult Bookshelf

preview2 (1)The Creeps Magazine
Written and Drawn by Various
Published by Warrant Publishing Company
$4.95

What we have here is a lovely and affectionate homage to Creepy and Eerie Magazine. Folks of a certain age probably remember these magazine-sized black and white horror anthologies that featured intelligent stories and high class art. You could find them on almost any newsstand. Warren Publishing, the folks who gave us Famous Monsters of Filmland, published Creepy and Eerie (and Vampirella and others) from the mid 1960’s into the mid 1980’s.

They evenb nailed the fonts for the contents page!
They even nailed the fonts for the contents page!

Warren Publishing was noted for featuring spectacular writing and art, including creators such as Frank Frazetta, Archie Goodwin, Bruce Jones, Richard Corbin, Al Williamson, Steve Ditko, Bernie Wrightson, and many of the other top names in comic books among their roster. Warren ceased publishing in the eighties, but in recent years, other publishers have started publishing new versions of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. However, Creepy and Eerie, which are currently being published by Dark Horse Comics, are now comic book-sized and printed on slick paper. While they’re both fine books, they just aren’t the same.

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The Walking Dead Toys For 2015

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The PopCult Toybox: Toy Fair 2015 Report

Last week your PopCulteer made the trek to New York City to cover The 2015 International Toy Fair, and in the coming days and weeks you can expect many special editions of The PopCult Toybox to cover all the cool things he saw.

Today we’re going to look at all the cool toys and other items based on The Walking Dead, currently the most-watched series on television. We’re going to bring you news and photos of really cool upcoming Walking Dead products from four different companies. Photos are by Rudy Panucci, Melanie Larch and the toy makers.

First up, we have McFarlane Toys, the folks who hold the master toy license for The Walking Dead. They produce toys based on both the comic book and the television show and they have a really exciting line-up of new products due out later this year.

UPDATED WITH VIDEO (March 1, 2015):

In about a month, collectors can expect to see a six inch action figure of Daryl with his chopper. Shortly after that, series 7 of The Walking Dead television action figures will hit stores, including figures of Carl, Michonne, Gareth, and the Flood Walker. Series 8 is due late in the year with figures of Eugene, Morgan, Rick, Dale and Bob.

Six-inch action figures and a few other goodies

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Pusheen Comes To Shove

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The PopCult Toybox: Toy Fair 2015 Report

Pusheen display from GUND 2-17-2015Last week your PopCulteer made the trek to New York City to cover The 2015 International Toy Fair, and in the coming days and weeks you can expect many special editions of The PopCult Toybox to cover all the cool things he saw.

One of the coolest booths at Toy Fair turned out to be GUND, the makers of quality plush creations. Later this week we’re going to tell you all about Grumpy Cat and their DC Comics bears, but today we’re bringing you the plush debut of the internet sensastion, Pusheen.

GUND announces a new collection that brings feline internet sensation Pusheen to life in soft, huggable plush. Pusheen — a chubby gray tabby cat known for her love of cuddles, snacks, and dress-up —originated as an animated web comic and her adorable on screen “bop” has since become a social media phenomenon. One of the original seven Facebook sticker sets, Pusheen now brings brightness and chuckles to millions of followers in her rapidly growing online fan base.

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NAR log 015RFCv3 #16

This week Radio Free Charleston’s streaming show at New Appalachian Radio features a host with a strained voice, great local and regional music and an extremely vague second-hour theme, “guitar.” We bring you music from the far Southern, Northern and Western boundaries of the Appalachain region and also blast you with a healthy dose of pure West Virginian goodness.

You can hear this episode now in the Voices of Appalachia Archives HERE.

You can listen to Radio Free Charleston’s  fun and exciting streaming radio incarnation at 10 AM and 10 PM on Tuesdays (and again at midnight Thursday) at New Appalachian Radio, part of Voices of Appalachia. If you miss it, check our the archives for previously-aired shows. You can also listen to Radio Free Charleston Saturday at Midnight. Saturday, RFC airs for six hours, starting at The Witching Hour!

3083921We kick off the show with Timothy Price, a friend from Georgia who has written a really cool book, Big In Japan, which he has turned into an audio book for which he has now released a soundtrack CD. Making it even cooler was that he got permission to include a cover of Led Zepplin’s “Kashmir.”

Timothy Price “Kashmir”
Byzantine “Purity”
Burt Reynolds Death Metal Experiment “Finding Emo”
Science of the Mind “Taste My Fist”

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Funko ReAction Figures

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The PopCult Toybox: Toy Fair 2015 Report

Img_2641Last week your PopCulteer made the trek to New York City to cover The 2015 International Toy Fair, and in the coming days and weeks you can expect many special editions of The PopCult Toybox to cover all the cool things he saw.

Today we’re looking at Funko‘s “ReAction Figures.” ReAction is a line of vintage 1970’s style minimally articulated action figures. These will be available in comic and hobby shops, as well as at bookstores and mass-market retailers in several waves througout the year. Most of them sell for ten bucks a pop, and while they’re not the best-made or sculpted action figures around by any means, they are a fun, inexpensive collectible for movie and TV fans.

The big news this year is the just-announced “Jaws” figures, including Bruce, the shark. These will hit stores in June, and Bruce will cost a bit more, since he’s an oversized figure, in scale with the other figures in the line.

One cool thing about this line is that it will allow collectors to mix all their favorite movie and TV characters together, so that you can have Walter from “Breaking Bad” meet up with Travis Bickle to visit the crew of The Starship Enterprise. Or you can have the gang from “The Fifth Element” cross paths with the folks from “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai.” The only limits are your imagination and wallet.

This is the biggie, Star Trek: The Original Series
This is the biggie, Star Trek: The Original Series

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This week’s art is a digital impressionistic painting I did based on a random glance skyward while in a taxi in New York last week. All week long you can expect lots of coverage of my trip, and my visit to The International Toy Fair. For now, you can click the image to see it bigger. Toy Fair coverage starts later today.

Sunday Evening Video: The Beatles!

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The Beatles in America – Ed Sullivan Show – First Presentation (February 9, 1964) from Lucy Zanetti on Vimeo.

beatles-02Since we’re going to be pounding our PopCult readers with reports from the 2015 Toy Fair for the next week or five, this evening it’s time for a pallette-cleanser, The Beatles’ first appearance on Ed Sullivan, from just over fifty-one years ago.

Tomorrow look for our first Toy Fair video, and later Monday you can expect the first of many, many posts about cool toys coming your way.