Sunday, December 3, 2017

SNES Omnibus Update - What Industry Insiders are Saying

A few industry insiders have had an advance look at my forthcoming book, The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. (A-M). Here's what they've had to say, and down below you can check out just a few of the more than 2,000 images that will be in the book. You can pre-order the The SNES Omnibus Vol. 1 WITH FREE BONUSES by clicking HERE.

* “This book is not only a reference volume, but it keeps alive the spirit of Nintendo's legacy.” - Walter Day, industry icon and founder of Twin Galaxies.

* "I read the whole thing and loved it! My favorite chapters were the more intimate ones, where the contributing writers talked about how the games affected them from a personal standpoint...I kept turning the pages looking to connect with the writers, and it happened a lot...The quotes and factoids are great...Grammatically, it's spotless...There's a plethora of balance, knowledge, and fun here...This is the best book Weiss has written so far." – Patrick Hickey, Jr., author of The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers

* “This book has a great collection of game-related stories that really take me back to the ’90s, when I had so much fun playing the heck out of the Super Nintendo.” - Steve Woita, game designer/programmer of Atari 2600 TazGarfieldAsterix and Quadrun.

* “Each one of Brett's books is painstakingly researched, very well written and extremely polished. This Super Nintendo book is no exception and should definitely find a place in the library of every retro-gaming enthusiast.” - Dr. Roberto Dillon, author of The Golden Age of Video Games and Ready: A Commodore 64 Retrospective.

* “Brett Weiss has captured an essential part of what made the SNES indelible and one of the classic video game systems. The personal stories and memories wrapped up in each game are a welcome time warp back to those halcyon days." - Tim Lapetino, author of Art of Atari.

* “Brett Weiss proves again that he is the master of game directories” - Leonard Herman, author of Phoenix IV: The History of the Videogame Industry.

* “Weiss puts a heartwarming and personal spin on all that is still great with the Super Nintendo.”  - Michael Thomasson, author of Downright Bizarre Games: Video Games that Crossed the Line!

Friday, November 24, 2017

ColecoVisions Podcast #31 - New Episode!

In this new episode of The ColecoVisions Podcast, Willie Culver, John "Gamestar81" Lester and I discuss ColecoVision controllers. Plus, we catch up on what we've been up to lately, such as the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. You can listen HERE.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Justice League Movie Primer

The big budget, highly anticipated “Justice League” film has finally arrived.

Following in the wake of the apparent death of the Man of Steel in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016), “Justice League” finds Batman and his new ally Wonder Woman facing a sinister threat: Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons, who are searching Earth for a trio of ultra-powerful Mother Boxes.

To deal with the fiendish, otherworldly foes, the iconic duo forms a new super team, recruiting The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. Thus, the Justice League is born.

To prepare for the movie (or if you want to see it again), which is the fifth installment in the DC Extended Universe (after “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad” and “Wonder Woman,”), check out my primer on the movie’s primary heroes:

Alter Ego: Bruce Wayne
First Appearance: Detective Comics #27 (1939)
Played in the movie by Ben Affleck

When it was announced in 2013 that Ben Affleck would play Batman in the then-untitled Batman/Superman movie (2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”), the internet couldn’t handle it, and the haters starting hating, despite Affleck being a perfectly reasonable choice, with his square jaw, tall stature, solid acting abilities, and classic good looks. Although it wasn’t as controversial as casting Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight Detective in 1989’s “Batman” (and 1992’s “Batman Returns”), social media wasn’t a thing during the 1980s, so the Affleck flack was more immediate.

Batman is the leader of the Justice League in the movie, a role he has taken on in certain modern comic book incarnations of the super group. With his “wonderful toys” and largely serious demeanor, he’s a good, classic, manly take on the character, but without Affleck resorting to the growling and grumbling of Christian Bale’s somewhat depressing (if still effective) portrayal in Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy.

Wonder Woman
Alter Ego: Diana Prince
First Appearance: All Star Comics #8 (1941)
Played in the movie by Gal Gadot

Wonder Woman was the brainchild of Dr. William Moulton Marston (writing as Charles Moulton), a psychologist known for creating a systolic blood pressure measuring device that would play a significant role in the development of the polygraph machine. Unlike most intellectuals of the era, Marston embraced the comic book medium, and his creation became a feminist icon, as evidenced by her cover appearance on the cover of Gloria Steinem’s “Ms.” magazine #1 (1971). .

Sadly, it took more than 75 years for the Amazon Princess to get her own live feature film—this past summer’s “Wonder Woman” starring Gal Gadot. The Israeli actress and model absolutely nailed the part, making the wait worthwhile. Gadot Wonder Woman, who tantalized audiences with a supporting role in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” doesn’t appear to be able to fly like the comic book character (giving her something in common with Lynda Carter from the 1970s TV show), but neither does she pilot in an invisible jet. She’s super strong and beautiful, though, and wields a mean sword, shield and magic lasso, a.k.a. the Lasso of Truth. In short, she’s wonderful.

The Flash
Alter Ego: Barry Allen
First Appearance: Showcase #4 (1956)
Played in the movie by Ezra Miller

The creation of the Barry Allen version of The Flash kick-started the Silver Age of comic books (Jay Garrick was the original Golden Age Flash, debuting in 1940). The Scarlet Speedster of 1956 and decades after was a blond-haired, blue-eyed, supernaturally fast, near-perfect hero whose only fault was, ironically enough, running late. Like many superheroes, he has a convoluted history. He died, was replaced, came back, etc. He was approximately the same age as Superman and Batman.

In the “Justice League” movie, Barry is more like the Wally West Flash from the “Justice League” cartoon of the early 2000s. He’s young, impressionable and hyper, providing comic relief in contrast with the other, more stoic heroes of the group. The dark-haired Ezra Miller is a curious choice for the role, and many fans have complained that Grant Gustin, who plays Barry/Flash on the current Flash TV series, wasn’t brought onboard to play the character. Regardless, Miller Flash remains the fastest man alive, but, like most incarnations of the hero, he’s slower than the Silver Age version.

Alter Ego: Arthur Curry
First Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (1941)
Played in the movie by Jason Momoa

Poor Aquaman. Even though he’s been dubbed King of the Seven Seas, and even though he’s extremely powerful (super strength, super swimming speed, the ability to breathe under water and communicate with sea life), he’s been the butt of jokes for decades, from people making fun of his orange and green costume to his oceanic powers being deemed largely useless on “Family Guy” to Raj on “The Big Bang Theory” saying he doesn’t want to be Aquaman for Halloween because “He sucks.”

In the “Justice League” movie, Aquaman, a.k.a. Arthur Curry, has yet to become king (he’s heir to the throne of Atlantis), but he’s leagues above the campy character many of us old timers remember from the classic cartoon, “The Super Friends,” and he’s even more imposing than some of his more impressive comic book incarnations. Covered in tattoos and muscles, clad in a regal, but tough looking battle suit and wielding a long trident, Momoa’s Aquaman is no fish out of water.

Alter Ego: Victor Stone
First Appearance: DC Comics Presents #26 (1980)
Played in the movie by Ray Fisher

Although he’s appeared in various live action and animated shows, including “Green Arrow,” “Teen Titans,” “Smallville,” and “The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians,” Cyborg is easily the least famous of the six featured superheroes in the “Justice League” movie. The character was created as a member of the Teen Titans, but was made a founding member of the Justice League during a pair of modern DC Comics reboots (2011’s “The New 52” and 2016’s “DC Rebirth”).

Fisher Cyborg appears fairly faithful to his comic book counterpart, wearing a hoodie to obscure his half-man, half-machine appearance and using his bionic powers to fly, manipulate technology, perform feats of super strength and turn his arms into cannons. Cyborg looks smashing in action, despite his relative obscurity. Some argue that Cyborg was only included in the film strictly for racial diversity, but the John Stewart version of Green Lantern, a more well-known character, could have filled that role.

Alter Ego: Clark Kent
First Appearance: Action Comics #1 (1938)
Played in the movie by Henry Cavill

Ah, Superman. The Man of Steel. The Man of Tomorrow. The Last Son of Krypton. The Metropolis Marvel. Whatever you call him, Superman is the prototypical superhero, fighting for truth, justice and the American way. He’s super strong and nigh-invulnerable (among many other powers), and he’s as willing to rescue a cat from a tree as he is to die saving the world from doom (and Doomsday). He died (sort of) in the comics in 1992, sparking a media frenzy, and he apparently died in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

However, as Bruce Wayne says in the “Justice League” movie, “The world needs Superman,” so he does return. Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Superman, which debuted in 2013’s “Man of Steel” (the first installment in DC’s shared movie universe), is darker and more conflicted than most versions of the character, but he certainly looks the part and does a more than serviceable job. For longtime fans, no one will ever replace Christopher Reeve as the definitive live action Superman, a sentiment Cavill himself would probably understand.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Old School Gamer Magazine #1 - FREE

There's a great new publication called Old School Gamer Magazine, featuring an all-star cast of writers, including Leonard Herman, Michael Thomasson, Walter Day, and yours truly, plus art by Thor Thorvaldson. Features in #1 include the National Videogame Museum, Classic Game Fest, Galloping Ghost Arcade, Qix, Q*bert, arcade gaming in the 1970s, text adventures, an interview with Ed Averett (K.C Munchkin!). and more. You can read the first issue for FREE by clicking HERE. 

(click on the images below for a closer look at my column in the mag)

A Quick Look at Super Mario Odyssey

My Nintendo Switch wouldn't go online, so I called customer service, and they changed a setting on my computer, and now it works. They were very friendly and fast in helping me. I had to be online because I have a code for Super Mario Odyssey instead of a physical copy.

Unsurprisingly, the game looks and sounds great. There are plenty of cool new moves and characters to control/inhabit, including a dinosaur and a frog (not the frog suit from Super Mario Bros. 3). The much-lauded cap maneuvers work great (the variety of uses shows typical Nintendo inventiveness), and the 2D scenes are a nice blast from the past. The game is a little on the easy side, though, at least so far, but I’m having a blast.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

KISS Article in PIZZAZZ Magazine #1

I was researching for an article and ran across this vintage KISS feature in the first issue of PIZZAZZ magazine, published by Marvel Comics. Click on each image for a closer look and enjoy!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

SNES Omnibus Vol. 1 (A-M) -- Now Available for Pre-Order!

My forthcoming book, The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-M), is now available for pre-order.

You can go the Amazon route, or you can pre-order directly from me (U.S. only) and get some COOL FREE BONUSES, including:

*My autograph in the book (I can personalize it if you’d like)
*YOUR NAME listed/immortalized in the patron section of my next book (THIS A LIMITED TIME OFFER), The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 2 (N-Z)
*A set of “Classic Home Video Games” book marks
*One of my signed Twin Galaxies trading cards (issue will vary)
*A digital copy of my book, Retro Pop Culture A to Z: From Atari 2600 to Zombie Films (sent through Facebook)

In addition, 1 out of every 10 people (chosen at random) who pre-order the book directly from me will receive a free download code for a digital copy of a game for a current console or handheld (my choice—if you don’t have the system or already have the game, feel free to pay it forward).

The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-M) features detailed write-ups on more than 350 games (every U.S. release from A to M) and more than 2,000 full-color images, including box art, cartridges, screenshots, and vintage gaming ads. This is a beautifully illustrated, massive (9x12), professionally published (by Schiffer Publishing), full color, hardcover book—416 pages of Super Nintendo goodness, written by an author (me) who has been gaming since the mid-1970s and writing about video games professionally since the mid-1990s.

There are also many nostalgic stories by a number of prominent gaming professionals, including Blake J. Harris (author of Console Wars), Kurt Kalata (Hardcore Gaming 101), Tim Lapetino (author of Art of Atari), Shawn Long (RGT 85 on YouTube), Brittney Brombacher (, Eric “8-Bit Eric” Perez (YouTuber), Christopher “The Old Ass Retro Gamer” Pico (YouTuber), Benjamin Reeves (senior editor for Game Informer), John Riggs (RIGG’d Games on YouTube), David Warhol (one of the original Mattel Intellivision “Blue Sky Rangers&rdquo , Steve Woita (longtime programmer for Atari 2600, Genesis, etc.), and too many others to list.

Click HERE to pre-order or for more info.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Portland Retro Gaming Expo Q&A Panel

Check out my panel with John "Gamester81" Lester at the recent Portland Retro Gaming Expo. You can watch it in full screen HERE.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2017 Report

The Portland Retro Gaming Expo is the biggest and one of the best conventions in the country focusing on vintage video games. I had heard many great things about it over the years (the first one was in 2006), but I never had a chance to go until this year.

Held at the Oregon Convention Center Oct. 20-22, the event easily lived up to its billing—I had a great time and sold a ton of stuff.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Since I had never been to the Pacific Northwest, I decided to go to Portland a couple of days early and get in some vacation time. A gamer friend of mine, Delf Meek, thought this was a good idea, so we split a hotel room across from the convention center, from Wednesday through the following Monday.

I love exploring new cities (and old cities—one of my favorite things to do is go cycling all over my home town of Fort Worth, Texas), so as soon as we checked into our hotel room, we set off on foot, hoofing our way past the Moda Center (where the Portland Trailblazers play), across the Willamette River, and into downtown, admiring the fall colors and beauty of the city in general.

In addition to sampling some craft beers, we scoped out the usual tourist spots, including Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, which whet our appetites for the big show coming up, Voodoo Doughnuts, which is as colorful and as quirky as the city itself, and Powell’s City of Books, a three-story swathe of heaven measuring 1.6 acres.

Powell’s has an amazing selection of new books (there are millions of stories within its three stories), along with vintage titles sprinkled throughout, but I didn’t find many bargains among the older used science fiction, performing arts, or movie tie-in paperbacks. The prices were certainly fair, but unlike my favorite haunt, Half-Price Books, a chain located primarily in the Midwest, none of these types of books were available for half of cover price (most were marked up considerably more). In short, I found plenty to read, but nothing to resell at shows or in my pop culture antique booth.

The next day we headed for the coast in a rental car. It rained most of the day, but we made the best of it, enjoying the winding roads, the rolling hills, the sprawling wilderness homes, the tall trees and, again, the fall colors—striking yellow, bright orange, impossible red. Our primary destination was Haystack Rock, an intertidal sea stack located on Cannon Beach, about an hour and a half from Portland.

The monolithic rock, which can be seen in such films as Sometimes a Great Notion (1971), The Goonies (1985), and Kindergarten Cop (1990), is reachable from the beach at low tide, but on this rainy, windy, chilly day, we were content to see it from afar. It was shrouded in a foggy haze, but instantly recognizable.

We spent the next couple of hours exploring Cannon Beach, as well as the equally charming town of Seaside eight miles up the road. We enjoyed steaming hot bowls of clam chowder at a local restaurant and marveled over the dusty and fading, yet highly organized stacks of VHS videos in a rental store “straight outta” the 1980s called Universal Video. Other than a small DVD section, you’d never know this was anything but a time warp. There were thousands of movies for rent, including many big box videos and movies that have never been released on DVD.

It occurred to Delf and I that since they had so many videos for rent, they might have old video games. The neon sign out front, which was obviously from the mid-late 1980s, said “Nintendo,” but we didn’t see any games in the store.  

When I asked the guy running the place if they had video games, he said they did up until about two years ago when he noticed that older games had gotten valuable. After doing a bit of research, he sold the lot of them for $40,000 to a dealer (this may seem like an exorbitant sum, but if he had hundreds of games and they included original boxes, it’s entirely feasible). He said up until then he had been renting them for $2.50 each.

We also stumbled across a quaint little antique mall, where I drooled over two particularly cool pop culture artifacts: a Dragon’s Lair lunch box with thermos ($75) and a mint-in-package Mork from Ork Eggship Radio ($55) licensed from the popular TV show, Mork & Mindy (1978-1982).

Later that night, we got back to Portland in time for a tour of the Shanghai Tunnels, a group of passages located primarily underneath Chinatown. Online reviews were mixed for this tourist trap, but we decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, a trap is truly what it was. Instead of a creepy good time, we stood around in a series of three different underground rooms and listened to a man drone on an on in a voice that was barely above a whisper. I think he was telling spooky stories, but I couldn’t really hear him. Lame.

The next day, Friday, umbrellas in hand, we explored more of the city, enjoying the river, the bridges, the ships, and the beautiful homes, making sure we were at the convention center by 3:00 pm. This was when the Portland Retro Gaming Expo arcade opened. Since I would be “stuck” at my booth most all of Saturday and Sunday it was nice that only the arcade was open Friday. I had a blast playing a variety of the classics, including Donkey Kong 3, Crazy Climber, and Lady Bug, along with some new pinball machines, such as Batman based on the old television series.

Then it was show time.

I arrived at the convention center a couple of hours before PRGE, giving me plenty of time to set up my booth and look around the showroom floor before the doors opened to the general public. Vendors were selling everything from common Sega Genesis cartridges to rare and valuable boxed NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) and Super NES games to gaming consoles from a variety of eras. A couple of dealers even had old paperback books and laser discs on display.

I grabbed a few odds and ends before zeroing in on a large tub of Atari 2600 cartridges sticking out from under a table. At first glance, it appeared to be the usual common fare, including such best-selling titles as Asteroids, Berzerk, Missile Command, Moon Patrol, and Space Invaders. Great games, but only worth about a buck or two apiece, which is what the guy running the booth was selling them for ($2 each, cheaper if you buy a bunch, which I did).

After a little digging, I discovered buried treasure (relatively speaking) among the commons, including a bunch of third-party titles worth anywhere from $8 to $12 each. The highlight was a pair of Xonox Double Enders, which are hard to find games you can insert into the Atari 2600 console on both ends, each end offering a different game. I found Ghost Manor/Spike’s Peak ($12-$15) and Artillery Duel/Ghost Manor ($40-$50). Another cool thing I grabbed was K.C.'s Escape!, a new homebrew game that is the third game in the "K.C. Munchkin" trilogy. 

Even better than the video game pickups were the connections I made at the show with fellow content creators, including Seattle-area YouTubers Kinsey Burke, who’s just as perky in person as she is on her channel, John Hancock, whose passion for the hobby is obvious, Kelsey Lewin, who became an instant friend, and John Riggs, as nice a guy as you could hope to meet. I had corresponded with each of these talented folks online prior to the show, but it was great meeting them in person.

Also cool was seeing friends I’ve known for years, including fellow authors Pat Contri (Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to theNES Library), Leonard Herman (PhoenixIV: The History of the Videogame Industry), and Michael Thomasson (DOWNRIGHT BIZARRE GAMES: Video Games thatCrossed the Line). There were other gaming authors in attendance as well, including Tim Lapetino (Art of Atari) and Chris Kohler (Power-Up: How JapaneseVideo Games Gave the World an Extra Life), great guys all. This just scratches the surface of the friends and I saw and connections I made, so forgive me if your name’s not included—too many to mention them all!

Show promoter Rick Weis had me out to PRGE as a guest, so it was incumbent on me to do a panel. I’m not a gifted public speaker (to put it mildly), but I do pretty well in a Q&A format, so that’s just what I did, thanks to my buddy John “Gamester81”Lester joining me onstage. We bounced some gaming history questions off one another, then threw it open to the audience, who asked some really good questions, making for a fairly entertaining panel. Only one or two people walked out, so I call that a win.

Thanks to my publisher, Schiffer, I had a copy of The100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 to give away to the person who answered the question, “What and when was the last official release for the Sega Genesis?” The answer was the seemingly anachronistic Frogger in 1998, and the winner seemed genuinely excited to receive the book.

Speaking of genuinely excited and “100 Greatest,” I was super stoked when Atari 2600 programmer Garry Kitchen (Donkey Kong, Keystone Kapers) stopped by my booth to say hello and purchase a signed copy of my book. We had spoken at previous gaming events, but we discovered at PRGE that we both enjoy collecting vintage paperback books featuring cover art by the likes of Roy Krenkel, Frank Frazetta, Neal Adams, Ken Kelly, and Frank Kelly Freas, among others. I told him about Powell’s City of Books, but warned him that he might not find any bargains.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to go to any of the Atari 40th anniversary panels, but I had a fantastic time manning my booth and talking to fellow gamers and readers who were familiar with my work. Based on the awesome time I had and connections I made, not to mention all the books and games I sold, I hope to make the Portland Retro Gaming Expo an annual excursion. In fact, I’ve already signed on to appear as a guest at next year’s show.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Land of the Lost - My "Routine Expedition" with Holly Marshall

As a child of the 1970s, I was impacted by four television shows over all others: The Super Friends, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, and, most notably, Land of the Lost.

The Super Friends, a Saturday morning cartoon featuring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and other Justice Leaguers, sparked my interest in superheroes. More serious than the Adam West Batman show and more colorful and adventurous than Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves, The Super Friends lead me down the road of reading comic books, which eventually lead to my co-owning two comic book stores and writing for the Comics Buyer’s Guide, the latter of which was my introduction to getting published nationally on a regular basis.

Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, which I watched as reruns, cemented my love for science fiction, a genre that has influenced me in many ways, including my career path and outlook on life. I was introduced to science fiction via Lost in Space but fell in love it with through The Land of the Lost.

A show that sent my senses soaring, Land of the Lost ran on NBC Saturday mornings from 1974 through 1976. There were 43 episodes spread across three seasons. As the theme song goes, it’s the story of Rick Marshall and his kids, Will and Holly, who were on a “routine expedition,” river rafting in the Grand Canyon. An earthquake opens up and plunges them “a thousand feet below” to a mysterious world of stop-motion dinosaurs, furry Pakuni people, and bipedal reptilian cave dwellers called Sleestaks (including one played by future NBA superstar Bill Laimbeer). The Sleestaks’ ineffectual arrows they would shoot at Rick, Will, and Holly never hit their mark, but the creatures looked and sounded scary to young children.

A typical episode would find our heroes, who had fewer amenities than Robinson Crusoe (which is one of many things that made the original series much better than the 1991-1992 remake), gathering food, running from dinosaurs, and exploring their mysterious new world, including the spooky pylons, which held the secret to getting home.

While Land of the Lost was filled with fantasy and adventure, its literary scripts were what made it special. To give the program depth beyond typical kiddie fare, producers Sid and Marty Krofft (H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters) commissioned a number of highly respected science fiction authors to write the scripts, including Ben Bova, D.C. Fontana, Larry Niven, Norman Spinrad, Theodore Sturgeon, and David Gerrold.

Such episodes as Fontana’s “Elsewhen,” featuring Holly meeting an older version of herself, and Niven and Gerrold’s “Circle,” where the writers explored the concept of a closed universe, blew my young mind.

Just recently, I discovered that “Elsewhen” is Kathy Coleman’s favorite episode of Land of the Lost. Coleman, who began in Hollywood doing commercials, played Holly on the show. Wesley Eure, who played Will, and who was a regular on Days of Our Lives during that time, cited “Circle” as his favorite, thanks to its clever ideas and concepts.

How did I discover these bits of trivia, you may be wondering? The actors told me when I asked them, of course!

Ms. Coleman and Mr. Eure were guests at a recent science fiction convention called Infinicon, which was in Addison, a suburb of Dallas. The event was held over a three-day weekend, and I decided to go on that Friday.

I arrived at the show in time to check out the vendor’s room prior to attending the Land of the Lost panel. As a collector of old and unusual items, I was disappointed by the offerings, which consisted mostly of art prints, crafts, cosplay weapons, and those ubiquitous Funko Pop toys.

But that hardly mattered—I was there to meet two of my childhood heroes.

The guests at the show, which also included Jed Rees (Galaxy Quest), Clive Revill (The Empire Strikes Back), and Anne Lockhart (the original Battlestar Galactica), were situated along a wall in the vendor’s room, so after looking around a bit, I casually strolled over that direction, trying not to appear too excited.

As a freelance journalist, I’ve interviewed many celebrities, but I was genuinely excited and even a little nervous upon meeting the Land of the Lost actors. Luckily, they were both super friendly, immediately putting me at ease. They smiled, shook my hand, and seemed genuinely appreciative of my interest in the show.

While meeting Wesley Eure was awesome—he was energetic and enthusiastic—I was especially interested in Kathy Coleman, who I had a bit of a crush on as a kid, and who was selling her autobiography, Run, Holly, Run!, which I had promised to pick up for a friend.

Kathy was selling signed copies of her book for $50 each. Since I’m not much of an autograph collector, and since the book only goes for $14.99 on Amazon, I decided to wait on getting a copy for myself, but buying the book for my friend had fringe benefits, namely getting my picture taken with Kathy. (In the old days, celebrities would sell their book for cover price and autograph it for free, but I digress…)

The person behind me in line got a signed book as well and began chatting with Kathy. After a time he walked away, and after a few minutes it dawned on her that he had forgotten to pay for the book. She was distressed over this, so I told her I would help search for the guy. We went opposite directions, and I found him—he had made an honest mistake and was on his way back to pay for it.

While she didn’t really need my help, it was totally surreal going on a “mission” with Holly from Land of the Lost. Even more surreal was later that afternoon when I was leaving the show. I went out the side door of the hotel, and Kathy was out there by herself, having a smoke. I said hello, and we began talking for another 15 or 20 minutes. It was bizarre and exciting, but also terribly sad. She relayed a very personal and painful story, which you can read about in her book, of inappropriate behavior by an adult cast member during season three.

Luckily, the rest of the convention was upbeat and fun, including the Land of the Lost panel, which Wesley began by leading Kathy and the audience in singing the show’s theme song (which makes sense since he sang it originally), setting just the right mood for an hour of laughter and reminiscing.

Kathy and Wesley regaled the audience with interesting and amusing stories, such as the time the cast hired a masseuse for Wesley for his birthday, and when, in later years, they went searching for the elusive Spencer Milligan, who played their dad on the show. They also discussed the 2009 Land of the Lost movie, which everyone in the room agreed was a major disappointment.

Meeting Kathy and Wesley revived my interest in Land of the Lost collectibles. I don’t own very many—just the DVD sets of each season, the Little Golden Book ($15), the Dynamite magazine ($10), and a set of three View-Master reels ($15)—but I was curious to see what else was out there, so I did a little hunting online. Here’s what a search of completed eBay auctions turned up:

*Lunch box complete with thermos: $140-$160
*Magic Slate writing pad: $115
*Ben Cooper Sleestak Halloween costume in the box: $70
*Moon Spinner toys in the blister pack: $58
*Direction Finder compass with blister pack: $38
*Milton Bradley board game complete in the box: $45
*Talking View-Master Reels set in the box: $40

And, of course, there were Funko Pops, but only of a Sleestak and Enik (an intelligent predecessor to the Sleestaks). These go for $90 each because they were New York Comic-Con exclusives. I think I’ll pass on these, hop on Amazon, and go buy Kathy’s book, which I’ve been meaning to do ever since I got back from my wondrous trip to Infinicon.