A long show with lots of visuals tonight, and an absolute treat for fans of robots in disguise! For those of you who joined Rob Daniels, Harrison the Mad Metal Man and myself — thank you! From the early Japanese origins, up to the present day, we took you on a guided tour of the Transformers brand. Plenty of vintage and modern toys on display, and genuine toy ads from back in the day too. (Facebook copyright strike — they killed the stream. Sorry about that, but you can still watch on YouTube.)
Show format: the first hour and 15 minutes are a history lesson. The lists begin then! Three lists, 15 picks, and no repeat!
The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike, Rob & Harrison
Episode 90 – Top Five Transformers Toys
Let’s roll out! I know this episode will alienate some of our regular viewers, but it’s been one that Harrison and I have talked about doing for at least a year now. And since it’s Christmas time, it feels like the perfect opportunity to talk about some of our favourite toys.
Transformers toys, specifically. We’ll talk about the history of the brand, and bring us up to the present day. Comics, cartoons & movies will be discussed. But the actual Top Five list this week will be our favourite toys. Expect some show & tell, and I’ll also be running some vintage TV ads!
The summer of ’85 was going swimmingly. We were on summer holidays at the lake and I was still really into Quiet Riot. With their two albums (the only two I knew of!) on my Sanyo, and with boxes full of Transformers to play with, I was having a great summer.
Earlier that year, my dad bought for me a minibike from a school kid. It had a lawnmower engine but could get moving at a pretty good clip. The cottage was the best place for it, since it was all dirt roads and trails. I had a hockey helmet and that had to be good enough for head protection. I loved that bike, but it did not love me back. The chain had a habit of coming loose, and it was always hit or miss whether it would start or not.
Sometimes I’d ride the bike all the way down to Dead Man’s River, others I’d stick to the roads where it was easier going. I enjoyed the numb feeling in my hands from the vibrating frame after an afternoon riding. I also liked cleaning and painting details on it. But mostly I liked the feeling of getting it up to speed.
I was riding up and down our little road one afternoon the summer when I tried to accelerate, but the chain came off again. Usually it just fell fell off and the bike went dead, but this time it locked up and I went right over the handlebars. Worse, the chain had taken a chunk of flesh out of my left leg on the inner knee. The soft spot where the meat is. There was an inch-long gash packed with grease from the chain. My knees, elbows and wrists were all banged up and bleeding from the landing.
I needed stitches so the next obvious thing to do would have been to go to the hospital. This is not what happened.
A neighbour helped me hobble home where my family frantically began fussing over me. The next minutes or hours are a blur. A lot of telling me I had to go to the hospital, a lot of screaming and refusing, my dad promising he would buy me a toy if I let him look at my leg. I would not let anyone near it.
Eventually, however, I conceded to remove my hands from my bleeding wound, though not to go to any damn hospital. I let my mom and dad mop up the blood and grease, and bandage my leg. I demanded my new toy, and knocked out hard to sleep.
The rest of the summer consisted of regular checking and cleaning of the wound, which didn’t fully heal for months. I was not allowed to swim for fear of infection, and I couldn’t run. I was regularly reminded that this wouldn’t have been the case of I had gone to the hospital. But I got my toy. My dad made sure, and my sister made sure I got the right one.
She returned with the Autobot named Swoop, a Dinobot that turned into a pterodactyl. He was one of the coolest toys of the entire G1 line, with plenty of accessories, die-cast parts and chromed plastic. He even had landing gear if you wanted to land him like an airplane. And he made me forget about the pain in my knee.
I can’t believe how stupidly stubborn I was. And you have to believe I was impossible if my parents couldn’t force me to go to a hospital. And that was pretty much it for me and the bike. The irony here is that I named the bike “Christine” after the car from the Stephen King novel that ultimately gets its owner killed. I regret that decision too!
The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano
Episode 62.5 – Unboxing Halford & Testing the Laptop
Went live this afternoon to test out my new laptop. I also tried out a new two-camera setup that worked really well. Introducing: ToyCam!*
We took a close look at the new Rob Halford (Judas Priest, obviously) ReAction figure by Super7. It’s a sweet figure complete with microphone, whip, and chains! I also opened up a Twilight Zone Eddie (Iron Maiden), which is a clear figure. I’ve always had a thing for clear action figures. And he looked sweet. And finally, I opened a large size Transformers Devastator which is double the height of the regular ReAction line.
These ReAction figures are inspired by the original 1977-1984 Kenner Star Wars figures. Similar scale, similar modelling, and completely backwards compatible. I can have Darth Vader vs. Jean-Luc Picard vs. Rob Halford vs. Papa Emeritus III vs. Alien vs. Andre the Giant in a battle royale if I so choose.**
Enjoy this impromptu but very successful Saturday stream.
* I have summer plans for this dual-camera setup. With the new laptop and new cottagewifi ready to go this summer, picture this: SunsetCam. As we interview the stars, or run down a Nigel Tufnel Top Ten, I can have a dedicated camera just showing the changing landscape as the sun goes down. It’s going to be awesome.
** Super7 have licenses for so many properties, it’s insane. In music alone, they have ReAction figures for Lemmy (Motorhead), Slayer, the Misfits, Rancid, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Ghost, King Diamond, Venom, and Anthrax, with many variations thereof. And that’s just the music.
We’re locked down, but not knocked down as this week’s live show proved! From 1977 to 1991, stories of Christmases past were unfurled for fun discussion. From the Star Wars years, through GI Joe, Transformers, and Atari, to cassettes, CDs and VHS, the greatest years of our lives were presented. Then, special guest LeBrain’s Mom joined the latter half of this episode for her first on-screen appearance…bearing wine!
I had a great night and I hope you did too. Lots of visual aids this time. Thanks for watching!
Rob Daniels was sick last week, so we had to postpone his show to this week. Tonight at midnight, catch me LIVE on Rob’s radio program VISIONS IN SOUND. Tune in locally on your FM dial to CKWR 98.5, or even easier, just click “listen live” via their website! The show runs from midnight to 2 am (ET). My energon this evening to keep me going will consist of the sweet sweet coffee.
The subject: the 30th anniversary of THE TRANSFORMERS movie! The soundtrack was recently re-released in a deluxe Record Store Day vinyl anniversary edition. Tonight I’ll be joining Rob as we spin music from the film, discussing its impact, and I’m certain we will be able to “touch” on the controversial killing off of kiddie favourite character Optimus Prime!
Don’t “Dare to be Stupid”, join us tonight for some “Prime” music!
I’d like to dedicate this unusual review to Aaron who is the biggest Boss fan I know.
THE TRANSFORMERS – “Rock and Roll-Out!” (Marvel comics, issue #14, March 1986)
Written by Bob Budianski
Remember that one outdoor Bruce Springsteen concert back in March of ’86, when the Autobots saved the day?…No?
Well, clearly you weren’t reading Marvel’s original Transformers comic series back then. Issue #14, March 1986, featured just such a mash-up, only with a slightly different twist. While some real-life people, most notably Richard Branson, had appeared on the pages as themselves, Bruce appeared as the similar-monikered Brick Springstern (also spelled “Springhorn” on one page!), with his Tenth Avenue Band. The band came complete with an afro-sporting Max Weinberg, and Clarence Clemons himself, going by his nickname the Big Man.
Brick’s songs included the smash hits:
“Dancing in the Night”
“Born in America”
Something referencing Margarita
…and presumably many more familiar sounding tunes!
In this issue’s tale, the Autobots are replenishing their ranks after the devastating events of issue #12. Optimus Prime has revived “memory engrams” of five Autobots: Hoist, Tracks, Skids, Smokescreen, and Grapple, and puts them in new bodies. Optimus sends four of the five (holding Grapple behind, in order to build Omega Supreme, who appears in issue #19) out with Bumblebee on a training mission.
It is while getting gas on this mission that Skids discovers that he loves the music of Brick Springstern/Bruce Springsteen! “This Springstern produces a most intriguing sound,” says Skids, as he sets his radio to the correct “coordinates”. Soon, however, the Autobots discover that Decepticon commander Shockwave plans on harvesting the sound energy from that night’s Springsteen…err, Springstern concert for his own evil uses! This unlikely plot serves to bring the Autobots closer to Springstern, by attending the concert themselves, in the parking lot!
Shockwave’s “energy siphon” actually removes the sound from the concert, converting it into “energon cubes”! The audience isn’t happy! Hoist disconnects the siphon, triggering a Decepticon attack!
The autobots transform into robot mode to protect the audience from Decepticons Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker. Luckily the audience (improbably) thinks it’s all part of the show. Hoist instructs Bruce…err, Brick, to keep playing music to keep the audience from panicking! Brick and the Big Man launch into the next song, and the ploy works to keep the crowd enthralled and distracted from the missiles exploding over their heads. Even the arrival of Shockwave, in the form of a friggin’ 40 foot long laser gun, doesn’t seem to alarm the crowd. The Autobots defeat the bad ‘bots, and leave Brick to finish the concert. The show must go on…
The plot is loaded with massive holes. Earlier in the story, Autobot medic Ratchet is complaining that he doesn’t have enough spare parts, even gaskets, to keep the wounded ‘Bots from leaking to death. Then, a page or two later, there’s five brand new bodies built for the new Autobots, aka new toys that Hasbro had to sell. Then there’s the siphoning of the music from the concert to create energon, when the Decepticons could have just stolen the electricity itself.
Not a great issue, but since it introduced five new toys, as a kid I was happy with it.
The comic has been reissued several times, notably by IDW As Transformers Generations #3, and again in the collection Transformers Classics #2.