Thursday, May 1, 2008

Here he comes... ya' know, that guy with the car...

Well, in case you've been under a pile of moist rocks, the Wachowski Brother-fueled Speed Racer hit theaters next week. Personally, I'm giddy about it. The 9th can't get here fast enough for me. I really hope it doesn't blow...

The original Speed Racer is one of my all-time favorite cartoons. Watching reruns of it is one of my earliest tv memories. Speed Racer, Battle of the Planets, Looney Tunes and Yogi Bear are the first cartoons I can remember. As a kid, I watched and re-watched Speed everyday until it went out of syndication. Years later, during junior high, came and NOW comic books and the mail order vhs tapes, which rekindled my interest. Soon, Speed Racer was popping up on Mtv and later Cartoon Network and the Speed Channel. Speed showed up in spots on ESPN, Volkswagen and Geico commercials too. Now the entire series is on dvd and a live action film is days away. Awesome.

Speed Racer started out in Japan as a comic series called "Mach Go-Go-Go". The character and look was inspired by Elvis during the racer at the end of "Viva Las Vegas" and the Mach 5 came from James Bond's gadget-filled Aston Martin. The comic quickly made the leap to animated series and was immediately snatched up by American syndicator Trans-Lux. The redubbed show was now called Speed Racer.

Tivia: Speed's name in Japan is "GO", hence the "G" on his shirt. "Go" is also the Japanese word for the number 5, the number of the car. Clever, clever.

My standing opinion on comic, cartoon and other genre films is "Well, even if the movie sucks, at least we'll get some kick-ass new toys to collect" Thanks to the new movie, there's been a flood of new Speed Racer merchandise and promotions.

But before I do the new stuff, I want to show my first Speed Racer toy, that's not actually a Speed Racer toy at all. It's the Hot Wheels "Second Wind" race car from the 70s. From what I've read, Mattel was developing a Mach 5 Hot Wheels car but didn't get the rights, so they modified it and changed the paint apps. I never knew the difference when I was little. To me it was just the Mach 5.

Now for the newy-goodness!

First is the Big Sounds Mach 5. This big ole' badboy is a bargain and a half at $19.99 (Target). It looks like it'd fit a 6" scaled figure, though I've seen none fore sale. I might have to track down on of the Speed figures they put out a few years back. Anyway, it's huge and beautiful. My only complaint is why the 2 sound buttons couldn't have been done in white plastic instead of black, so they could blend in better?

Next up are the car and figure combos. Considering I paid $8.39 for a single Indiana Jones figure at K Mart yesterday, these are a steal at $9.99 with a vehicle and action figure.

The cars have goofy action features like the March 5 shooting saw blades. (What the standard Mach 5 gadgets didn't come to mind? Pop out saws or Spring loaded auto-jacks come to mind).

But they look great and are lots of fun. If I would have had these when I was 5 or 6, I think my brain would have melted.

If you buy one, the Speed figure's helmet has these goofy looking strap-things on the helmet. Trim those suckers off with an exacto knife. It makes the figure look 100 times better and closer to the old cartoon design.

Hot Wheels cars. a decent variety. A little pricey at $3 each, but very cool. Each comes with a plastic gadget accessory that snaps on.

The reason for my being, at least for this week. The Speed Racer helmet. I love cartoon/comic/movie props. The Sword of Omens, Light Sabers, Han Solo's blaster, He-Man's sword, etc. My top 2 dream props are Speed Racer's helmet and Mark's G-Force eagle helmet. Now I'm half way there.

There are also some classic style toys out there. This 1:32 scale classic die cast Mach 5 is the steal of the year at $4.99 at Toys R Us.

In addition to all the goodies in the stores, there are some promotions. McDonald's will have Speed Racer toys starting next week. On the cereal aisle are a couple of cool things too.

Buy 2 boxes of Cookies Crisp and send $4.95 to get this cool Mach 5 cereal bowl. I'll post pics when it arrives.

And Lucky Charms has Speed Racer Turbo Cars packaged inside marked boxes. These are plastic pull-n-go toy cars. A little smaller than a Hot Wheels car and come packaged with a sheet of decals to decorate the cars.

1 comment:

Bubbashelby said...

I grabbed me some of those 1:64 Hotwheels - I love the little accessory attachments!