Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror-My 5 Favorites

I used to love Halloween. Back when I was a kid, I used to dress up as either Spider-Man, Batman, Darth Vader and other favorites as I either went to Halloween parties or trick or treating in the Pelham Parkway section of The Bronx. That's were the best loot was in the Bronx. The houses were always decorated with all sorts of scary things from bats to monsters to pictures of Jimmy Carter. Man, it was great to be a kid in the late 70's/early 80's.

But since I have grown up (in size, not maturity), I can no longer do the trick or treating thing. My friends don't really have Halloween parties and I'm usually working on Halloween. So, my tradition is now going home, popping in my Simpson DVDs and watching the Treehouse of Horror episodes. I'm a huge Simpsons fan. Have been since they were on the Tracey Ulman Show and have watched just about every episode of the show. My favorites are the Halloween specials called The Treehouse Of Horror. They have been doing them since season 2 and, for the most part, are some of the funniest episodes they put out all year.

Today, I wanted to share my 5 favorite Treehouse episodes. As always, these are my favorites and it doesn't mean they are the best ones put out. It was a hard list to put together. I had to leave out some other favorites episodes. I also did not put them in any order as I love these bits equally.

So, without further ado, I give to you, my list starting with:

A Clown Without Pity

This episode is from Treehouse Of Horror III from season 4. In this one, Homer forgets to buy Bart a birthday present and runs out to your local store, which happens to sell trinkets of pure evil and frozen yogurt. Homer buys a Talking Krusty The Clown doll, which tries to kill Homer because he doesn't like Homer. Krusty tries to stab Homer while he's watching TV and harpoon him while he's taking a bath. Eventually, Marge calls the KrustyCo toy company for help and has a repairman come over. The repairman sees the doll was set to evil and resets it to good. Homer and the doll become friends, but Homer now uses it as a slave and has Krusty doing chores like getting his snacks, walking the dog and sponge bathing Homer. The end sees Krusty returning home to his Malibu Stacey and snuggling with her.

King Homer

Some of my favorite Treehouse episodes are their parodies of other horror movies. In this one, they parody King Kong and turn him into King Homer, which was also from Treehouse Of Horror III. In it, Marge joins Mr. Burns and Mr. Smithers on an expedition to Ape Island to find King Homer. The natives, see Marge and agree the blue haired woman would make a good sacrifice and tie her up as an offering. We first see Homer fighting a T-Rex and is distracted by the drums summoning him. The T-Rex takes the opportunity to bite Homer who responds in a loud D'oh which echoes across the island. Homer is smitten by Marge who sees the good in Homer in return. Smithers knocks out Homer with gas, but is eaten by a sleeping Homer as Mr. Burns is congratulating him. Homer is then taken to Downtown Springfield and is displayed in front of an audience and newspaper photographers. The flash of the camera's enrage Homer who breaks loose and runs amok in Downtown Springfield managing to eat Shirley Temple in the process. Homer then captures Marge and tries to climb the Empire State Building, but grows tried by the second floor and falls down. Marge agrees to take care of Homer and marries him. Homer eats Marge's dad at the wedding, yet Marge is not angry.

Citizen Kang

This episode is from Treehouse of Horrors VII, season 8. This episode involves 2 of my favorite Simpsons Characters, Kang and Kodos, the aliens who always try to enslave humanity. In this episodes, Homer is abducted by the aliens as he is fishing and is told to take them to his leader. Homer explains that there is an election coming up and while President Clinton is in charge for now, it can change with Bob Dole taking over should he win. The aliens decide to capture both Clinton and Dole, place them in suspended animation tubes and disguise themselves as Clinton and Dole, so they are ensured that one of them will be in power after the election. They douse Homer with rum, so no one would believe his story and throw him off the spaceship. The aliens go out on the campaign trail seeking votes while Homer looks for the ship. Once he finds it, he flies off and turns off the suspended animation tubes that Dole and Clinton were in. They agree to team up and get rid of the aliens, but Homer accidentally releases them into outer space, thus killing the President and his opponent. On the day before the election, Homer crashes the ship into the Capitol and reveals to Amercia the aliens. Since they deem it too late to find replacements, the Americans hold the election as is with Kang winning. The Americans are enslaved and is forced to build a ray gun aimed at another planet.

The Raven

From Treehouse of Horror I, season 2. This episode parodies the classic tale by Edgar Allan Poe and is narrated by James Earl Jones. Lisa reads the story, which finds Homer as the lead character. He dreams of his dear Lenore, which is played by Marge. Lisa and Maggie play the seraphim. Homer argues with a raven which has a spike head and sounds like Bart. The episode is done straight from the book with added humor.

The Shinning

If I had to pick one of the Treehouse of Horrors episodes, I think this one would be my favorite. From Treehouse of Horror, season 6,  this episode parodies Stanley Kubrick's 1980 movie, The Shining. The episode opens with the Simpsons driving to Mr. Burn's mansion to become the winter caretakers. Homer has to turn back twice because he forgot to lock the front and back doors of their home. Mr. Smithers removes all beer and shuts off the cable to ensure an honest winter's work from Homer. When Mr. Smithers questions the move, Mr. Burns tells him that if the Simpsons are all dead when they get back, he will owe him a Coke. Groundskeeper Willie discovers that Bart can read his thoughts and tells him to call him if Homer goes insane. Because there is no beer or TV, Homer starts to go insane. A Ghostly Moe tells him he has to kill his family in order to get a beer. Marge discovers that Homer wrote "No TV and No Beer Make Homer Go Crazy". Homer attacks and Marge has to defend herself with a bat. Homer, while stalking Marge up the stairs, sees his reflection, gets scared and falls down the stairs, knocking himself out. Marge locks Homer in the pantry, where Homer is gorging himself silly. Moe returns to remind Homer of their deal. Homer refuses to stop eating and has to be dragged out by Moe and his gang of monsters. Homer chops down multiple doors and recites different TV openings until he finds the family eating dinner and chases them. Bart calls Willie for help. As soon as Willie arrives, Homer kills him with the axe and chases the family out into the snow. Lisa finds Willie's portable TV and shows it to Homer who's urge to kill fades. He invites the family to sit in the snow and watch TV with them. They freeze and are unable to change the channel when the Tony Awards begin. Homer's urge to kill then returns.

This episode has one of my favorite bits in all of the Treehouse episodes:

Well, those are my favorites. Not all of them. I narrowed it down to 5, but a few others could have made this list like Hungry Are The Damned, The Devil and Homer Simpson, Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace and Desperately Xeeking Xena which were all great episodes. Would love to hear what your favorite Treehouse of Horror episodes are.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making An Announcement

First of all, I want to extend my prayers to those who were effected by Hurricane Sandy, which touched down here on the East Coast. NYC was hit hard as well as Long Island, Westchester and Rockland Counties. Non was hit as hard as New Jersey, which was in the direct path of the hurricane. I saw the devistation New Jersey is in on the news. Families losing their homes in the floods. Some were damaged by winds, fires or trees falling on their homes. I consider myself pretty fortunate that I didn't lose power and still have a place to call home. If you can send a prayer out to the less fortunate, I'm sure they would appreciate it.

Now, on to the announcement. When I first started The House Of Swag, it was a sports collectors blog and was under a different name. Then, I started to write about pop culture and collectables, mixing it up with the sports stuff. Now, the blog has become more pop culture than sports and for the House Of Swag, it will become a pop culture, comics blog only. So, what about the sport enteries?

Simple, I'm creating a blog just for that.

So, from here on, The Sexy Geek's Sports Room will be where I post about anything sports related. Be it a card pick up, an autograph score, a bobblehead add or just my thoughts on a particular subject, The Sports Room is the place I will have all my sports related content. I wanted to keep my two hobbies seperate as I have readers who just read the pop culture stuff and readers who just read the sports stuff. Now, I can satisfy both.

Can I make this a success? Am I biting off more than I can chew? I don't think I am. If I thought this was a bad idea, I wouldn't have created the seperate blog. I just hope I can make The Sports Room into an enjoyable blog for the sports fan and one that they will come back to read over and over again. I will probably post my first blog there tonight so please look for that.

I Hope you will support The Sports Room just as you have supported The House Of Swag.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

League Of Extraordinary Bloggers Assignment: Back To The Batcave

Pardon the interuption on the Beatle Blogs, but the League calls with an intresting assignment. This weeks assignment is:

Take a trip to anywhere in pop culturedom. What fictional town, time, or world would you want to visit?

This was too easy for me. Or was it. I could have visited Hill Valley and watched Marty McFly twart Biff Tannen or I could have gone to a California beach house and hung out with The Monkees or even visited a galaxy far, far away. But for me, where I wanted to go was pretty simple. It's a place I've wanted to visit ever since I was a kid.

I want to travel back to 1966 and visit the Batcave.

Ever since I was a kid, watching Batman on reruns, usually on Channel 5, although I believe it was on Channel 11 here in NYC later on. I remember watching with fascination as Batman and Robin would work on a riddler or look for clues on a particular object or punch some information into the Bat-Computer (I'm sure that they would have a Mac or at least the latest version of Windows on their PC).

I would behave myself. I would stay away from the Batmobiles nucular powers source. I wouldn't answer the Batphone saying, "Mr. Wayne's residence". Nor will I take a joy ride in the Batmobile, although I cannot promise I wouldn't sleep in it at least once. One thing I will do, above all objections is slide down the Bat-Poles. I have to see how one minute they are Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson and the next Batman and Robin. I mean, that bugged me as a kid. I need to know, dammit!

I'm sure I will be more pesty than Bat-Mite in the 1977 New Adventures Of Batman show. I'd ask such dumb questions as how did you get being out at sea as C for Catwoman? Maybe break a test tube or two. Eat too many of Aunt Harriet's delicous cookies. I'm sure the last straw will be hen I put on the Batman suit, look through the utility belt, find something intresting and ultimately knocking myself out with Bat-Gas. Then waking up on a beach somewhere, not knowing how I got there. Wow, I just got kicked out the Batcave. I'm on par with Penguin, King Tut and others who has broken into Batman's sanctuary. I'd say I was like Molly, but I didn't take a header into the Batmobile's nucluer power source.

As Batman once said, "What a way to Go-Go.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Showing Off The Beatles Swag-McFarlane Yellow Submarine Series 2

Back in 2000, McFarlane Toys released Series 2 of The Beatles Yellow Submarine figures. Series 1 was one of McFarlane's best selling series so it made sense to release a second series from this beloved Beatles movie. This set features the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper outfits from the movie. The series again had other characters from the movie released with the Beatles.

Enough chit chat. On with the pics.

Here's Ringo with an Apple Bonker. What I thought was funny in the film was when The Beatles played Sgt. Pepper's Lonley Hearts Band, when the part where they introduced Billy Sheers, they introduced Paul as Billy Sheer. Everyone knows that Billy Sheers was Ringo on the Album. I wonder if that was intentional or a mistake.

Ok, the flash on this pic is pretty bad. My apologies. Under the glare, is George released with a Snapping Turk. One of my major complaint about this set was with George and John, I couldn't fit the instraments on them, which is why George's is hanging on his arm. I might have to lie the instraments at the figure's feet or figure out how to get it on them.

Here's Paul with the Sucking Monster. I think I dated a few of these.

Finally, here's John with The Bulldog. One of my favorite songs in the movie is "Hey Bulldog". The original version didn't have the song in the movie. It's a great song and I cannot understand to this day why it wasn't included in the original version. It has been since been put into the movie in the restored versions. If you don't know the song or haven't seen the bit in the movie, your in luck:

Instrament issues aside, McFarlane did a terrific job with these figures. Like the first set, Series 2 has some amazing sculpts. The figures look like they lept from the screen and onto your shelf. The articulation on these figures are slim and none, but who cares? These babies look great on a shelf and would make great additions to any Beatles collection.

Showing Off The Beatles Swag-Yellow Submarine Figures Series 1

Today, I wanted to show off my collection of Beatles McFarlanes. What better place to start then the very first set that McFarlane released-The Yellow Submarine figures.

Back in 1999, McFarlane Toys comemerated the 30th anniversery of the release of Yellow Submarine with a set of figures. These figures are georgous and look great in any Beatles collection. If you can find them, I highly recomend that you do.

First up is George with the Yellow Submarine. It's all in the mind, you know.

Next is Paul with The Glove and a Love base. There is also a Paul that was paired with Old Fred, which is the chase of the set.

Ok, maybe I should have kept the flash on the camera off. Oh well, here's John with Jeremy. At both John and Jeremy's feet are holes.

Finally, here's Ringo with a Blue Meanie. Yes, he was in this cartoon before he became a wrestler.

A couple of things. One, some of these figures are really hard to stand. I'm going to have to figure out how to display them once I finally get to put up a Beatles display. Two, I would have paired the figures differently. I would have put Ringo with Jeremy, John with the Blue Meanie, George with the Glove and Paul with the Yellow Submarine. I just may do this once I display them. I mean, it was Ringo who said "I have a hole in me pocket" in the movie, not John.

Again, I love these figures. McFarlane did a fantastic job with the sculpts. They look like they jumped out of the movie. I'm really pleased I own these, as well as Series 2, which I will show off in my next post.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm A Fan, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

I have been a huge, ginormus Beatles fan ever since I was about 6 years old. I got into them through a friend who was a little bit older than me. I remember that year I had started listening to records (google it kids), singles in fact. I wasn't listening to anything that current. Most of the records my friends and I were listening to were songs like I'm A Believer, Sunshine Superman, Cracklin' Rose and Lola. I had a friend, Mark Fioritti (Sorry if I mispelled your name Mark) who played me a record that had an apple on the label. It's funny I remember the apple. I think it was because I hadn't seen on on a record up to that point. So, the first song he played for me was Hey Jude and from that day on, I was obessed with The Beatles.

Growing up, I read every book I could get my hands on about them and listened to all their albums, repeatedly. I remember working I was working at the Fordham Public Library the day the CD's were released. I rented Please, Please Me and With The Beatles and ran home with them. I remember I was beside myself when I first heard Paul, clearly, counting up then the opening of I Saw Her Standing There followed. It was awesome. I had a poster on my wall that a friend gave me for my birthday of the Beatles through various stages of their career and I have been looking for that poster on ebay for the longest time.

As I got older, I picked up various DVD's, books and other Beatle goodies. I wanted to take this week and show off various parts of my Beatles collection. It's actually very small, a lot smaller than I care to admit. But that's the beauty of a collector, you can always add to it and grow it as large as you would like.

So today, I wanted to show off my 3 Beatles Enesco figurines. These were released back in 1993. They made figurines of all four Beatles on black lacquered stands and an album cover slotted behind the figure on the stand. I got these three figures as a gift from my buddy, George. Don't remember if they were christmas or birthday presents. Very cool pieces to have in my Beatles collection.

Sorry about the flash on some of these pictures. But here is a shot of all three figures together

Here's George with Capitol's Meet The Beatles album cover. This was the album that introduced America to the Beatles in 1964.

This one is my personal favorite for two reasons. One, John was my favorite Beatle and two, The Beatles Second Album was one of the very first Beatles albums I purchased with my own money. I remember going into Alexander's on Fordham Road as a kid with my mom. We marched into the record department and I grabbed The Beatles Second Album and Help! and bought them with my own allowance money. It was a proud day for the young sexy geek. The only non Beatles album I also bought was The Police's Zenyatta Mondatta. It was 1980. I loved De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.

Here is Paul with the Something New Album cover. This might be the only Beatles album as a kid I never got to hear. By the time I started buying my own music, Apple was releasing the british versions of The Beatles albums and I just never got to listen to this record, but hey if you heard The Beatles singing I Want To Hold Your Hand in german on one CD, it really doesn't matter right?

I never could get Ringo. At first, he was pretty hard to find. Once I did find him, he was pretty expensive. I saw a listing for him on ebay recently for $150.00 and that's not money I can spend on one thing right now.

I have been on a real Beatles kick as of late. I saw a restored version of Magical Mystery Tour on the big screen recently, watched The Ed Sullivan shows that had The Beatles on them, watched A Hard Day's Night and have been listening to their music non stop. This band is timeless and their music never sounds stale. I had the good fortune of seeing Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on their tours multiple times and will continue to see them whenever they come around.

I love other bands like KISS, The Monkees, Depeche Mode, The Cure, etc. None of these bands come close to capturing my imagination like The Beatles did and still do to this day. Whenever I hear their music, I am back at school, listening to their records on that crappy record player and pretending I'm one of the Beatles, singing to the records and playing air guitar. I have heard thier songs hundreds, if not thousands of times and never tire of hearing them. That's why I know I will be a fan for life. Now to find more stuff to add to my Beatles collection.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Summer Of Amazing

This summer was a terrific summer for superhero movies. We were treated to not one, not even two, but three major hero releases. The Avengers was the highest grossing of the three, but each movie bought something to the summer blockbuster party. The Avengers was a lot of fun; the ultimate popcorn summer movie. The Dark Knight Rises was as good as The Dark Knight. Then there was The Amazing Spider-Man, which was released between the two big guns.

It's no secret, I was nervous about this movie. Sure, I despised Spider-Man 3 and thought that Sam Rami, Toby McGuire and company took a wrong turn with that release and welcomed the news that Sony was letting everyone from that series go. Then we were told that Sony was rebooting the franchise, which I thought was too soon. Then I saw the actor, Andrew Garfield and thought to myself that Sony was trying to make Spider-Man: Twilight. Then I saw the costume and was not happy with it. Opening night, I walked into that theather with more than some trepidation. I was ready to tear this movie apart. After watching it, I realized I was wrong on all counts. Marc Webb did an amazing (no pun intended...ok, maybe a little pun) job with this movie. Andrew Garfield was spectacular as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and yes, I like the outfit now.To me, this was similar to Batman Begins and hope that the sequal does as well, if not better. I'm very happy to hear that both Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield will return for the next installment and hope to see J.K. Simmons return as J.Jonah Jameson.

Of course, what's a summer of Spider-Man without some new additions to my Spidey collection. I have previously shown off some Spider-Man goodies, but here are some more that I didn't get to show off.

I bought this cup at Spencer's at the beginning of the summer. I was anticipating a hot summer (which it was) and thought this would be a great cup to have to keep my drinks cold, but alas, I never used it. I just loved the John Romita graphics on this cup and could never bring myself to use it. maybe one day.

This is probably my favorite Spider-Man pick up of the summer. Unlike the Marvel Select Spider-Man I grabbed with tons of articulation, this Spidey has very little articulation, yet looks more like the movie Spidey than the Marvel Select figure. I found this figure at Barnes N Noble of all places and never seen it at any Toys R Us, Target or Walmart. I wonder if this was a Barnes N Nobles exclusive or something. That would be weird if it was. I mean, a bookstore figure excusive figure??

I love Spider-Man. I love bobbleheads. This was a union made for me. This is my third Spidey bobblehead and he fits nicely with my other two. I found this...wait a sec. Gotta give credit where it belongs. My buddy George found this for me. We were up in Poughkepsie at a Goodwill and he found this in a bin. The box was busted up, but the bobblehead was in pristine condition. Paid only 5 bucks for it.


Not sure if I showed this one before. I found this in a Marshalls. It's a PVC figure. It's a nice little add to the Spidey collection and I didn't really spend a lot on him. Paid 3.99 for it.

Another PVC figure I found and snagged when I saw it. Found this one in Poughkepsie as well, in a Big Lots. Paid 2.00 for this bad boy.

Another Big Lots purchase in, you guessed it, Poughkepsie! I scored some sweet pieces this summer in that Upstate NY town and can't wait to go back again for another toy hunt. This Amazing Spider-Man PVC was only 2.00. But, you already knew that from the rather large sticker on the bubble.

Last, but not least was this gift from my nephew. I love these Pop bobbleheads and this Spider-Man is gorgous. My 4th Spider-Man bobblehead and it will look great on my Spider-Man display once I get it up and running again.
This was a great summer. I got to see some awesome movies and picked up some really cool pieces for my toy collection. I'm hoping this fall will be the same. I have an idea of some flea markets I'd like to hit up and hopefully, some toy shows as well. I will be keeping an eye on new releases as well as look for some awesome vintage pieces to add to the collection.
Hopefully, your summer as great and hope you guys will add some great pieces to your collections as well this fall.