Category Archives: Movies & TV Shows

“Welcome to Marwen”—First Cast Interviews!

There was an official Hollywood premiere of the upcoming film, “Welcome to Marwen” Monday night, and for the first time, the film’s director, stars, and others were allowed to speak publicly about the the various parts they played in in its production. Most of the questions asked were pure “fluff,” but look for brief moments of clarity from director Robert Zemeckis and star, Steve Carell. Interestingly, Carell reveals he felt the “doll” representing him was TOO good looking, stating—

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Can a headsculpt be TOO handsome? 1:6 scale recreation of actor Steve Carell (Photo: Universal)

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“It’s crazy! Because it’s just so much better looking than me. They roll it out, I’m like, all right, yeah! I can dream. Pretty cool!” —Steve Carell

Bottom Line: We’re getting excited! Only nine (9) more days until the film’s official release date of December 21st. If you can’t wait, we recommend checking out Patches of Pride’s exciting “Ten Prizes to Marwen” contest giveaway (exclusively on Facebook) HERE as they continue to celebrate an unofficial “countdown” to the premiere by giving away 1 prize-a-day—for 10 days straight! HOOyeah!

 

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The Coolest of the Cool— Hasbro’s James Bond UK Secret Agent 007 Figures From the ’90s Now Highly Sought-After by GIjOE and Action Man Collectors

Holy, WOW! The play-value of this Goldeneye Action Man figure is simply through the ROOF. Seriously, what kid wouldn’t want to untie this super-spy and then immediately begin playing with it and creating some super-secret adventures? So COOL! (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Today’s Top-Secret Intel comes to us from The Joe Report’s highly respected and well-reknowned ace field reporter, “Wild” Bill Underwood, who generously provides us with the following text and superb(!) color photographs. In this article, Bill takes us on a nostalgic look back at Hasbro’s James Bond 007 Action Man figure sets from the 1990s. We weren’t even aware some of these existed until Bill brought them to our attention. And their packaging BLOWS US AWAY! —Enjoy! (The Editor)

“Wild” Bill Underwood, GIjOE and Action Man fan and collector (Photo courtesy: Bill Underwood)

By Bill Underwood 

“In 1993, Hasbro re-launched Palitoy’s Action Man (AM) brand (the UK version of GI Joe) with a new body design that featured less articulation than the original figures from the vintage 1960s-70s era. Not surprisingly, many vintage 12” collectors were unimpressed by AM’s new heavily muscled body, oversized head and undersized feet. But kids seemed to like him and (those shortcomings aside) AM “soldiered on” nicely until 2006 – when the line was finally discontinued (again).

One of the more interesting chapters in this resurrected AM story was a limited-edition run of six James Bond AM figures inspired by the blockbuster films, including Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, GoldenEye, The World is Not Enough, and Tomorrow Never DiesEach figure set features an Action Man suited up as 007 from one of the films—and Hasbro did a pretty decent job recreating the outfits.”

007s Out-of-the-Box Lineup— All six of the Action Man 007 figures proudly protect the fireplace mantle in Bill’s home from dastardly super-villains. Hot stuff! (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

“My favorite is Bond’s Royal Navy (Blue # 1) dress uniform from You Only Live Twice. For the record, Commander Bond also donned this uniform for The Spy Who Loved Me and Tomorrow Never DiesHasbro also recreated some of the gear from these films—like Bond’s spear gun from Thunderball and the GoldenEye apparatus from the Pierce Brosnan film. The most impressive all-around set (for both outfit and gear) is The Spy Who Loved Me, with its near-perfect recreation of 007’s snow ski suit (and gear) from the film’s exciting opening sequence.” (see below)

He Must Ski to Live— In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond struggles to evade a passel of pursuing bad guys by out-skiing them down a treacherous mountain slope. Look at the fit, the color and the coordinated details of this outfit. We’d buy this RIGHT NOW! (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

“The strongest feature of these sets is the packaging – which is simply OUTSTANDING. Each box features beautiful original art work with extras goodies inside, like scene storyboard cards and 35mm film cells taken from the movie. My greatest ‘complaint’ with these sets is the size of Bond’s Walther PPK. It’s just too big. Even for AM’s already meaty mitts. Fortunately, two of the Pierce Brosnan sets feature a different Walther model that fits more comfortably in his hands.”

The Right Gun for any Odd-Job— Fans of 007 know that Bond prefers certain weapons over others, so it’s important to nail those details. We DIG this headsculpt! (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

“I understand that these sets weren’t highly coveted by vintage Action Man (VAM) collectors, and that’s a shame, because they’re really quite cool. Yes, we also know that in recent years, other companies have produced more impressive 1:6 Bond-inspired action figures (i.e. Sideshow and Big Chief); but while those sets are ultra-realistic, they’re also ultra-pricey. I have a warm spot for these AM Bonds by Hasbro. Maybe it’s the hybrid aspect that appeals to me—in that they’re not exclusively Action Man—or Bond. They’re both. Then again, maybe I just can’t resist anything that combines two of my favorite hobbies—collecting AM figures and watching Bond films!”

Mind-Blowing Boxes— Many GIjOE and AM collectors would love to pick up these 007 sets just for their unique and outstanding packaging. This superb one from Thunderball combines vintage ’60s artwork from the original movie poster (and soundtrack album) with all-new artwork from the ’90s, and it does it flawlessly. GIMME! GIMME! GIMME! (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

“If you’re interested in picking up any of these bad boys (and who isn’t?), I would recommend lurking on eBay. Prices there have generally ranged from $35 to $60. One caveat though—if you purchase the Thunderball set (shown above and below) make sure that the rubber skindiving jacket is intact—BEFORE finalizing your purchase. The first set I picked up looked fine from the front, but (sadly) it was deteriorating in the back. Good luck AM and Bond fans—and Happy Hunting!” —Bill Underwood

Rubber Suit Awareness— Look out for dreaded “rubber rot” when picking up one of the Thunderball figure sets on eBay. This suit looks fine from the front, but… (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Movie Minutiae— Back panels of the boxes are crammed with movie trivia regarding each of the six sets, souvenir film clips, scene and figure pics, etc. (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Box Me Up, Baby! This box gets our blood burnin’ for Bond! (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

The skiing Bond figure out of the box and all set up. WOW! (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Bond’s a Bad-A**!— And this Goldeneye box deserves a Gold medal for package design. And look— Hasbro added a GIjOE/Action Man scar to his cheek! (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Lead will FLYTomorrow Never Dies was just one big shoot-out. Notice how in the artwork, Bond’s tuxedo is MUCH more form-fitting than its AM toy-version? We suggest  you get out your needle and thread and get to work. Baggy jackets are NOT allowed. (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Dressed to Impress (and to KILL)— Regardless of how he’s dressed, 007 is always ready to mete out justice to his enemies. Yes, by 2018 we’ve seen better suits, but this tuxedo is actually pretty nice and can always be “tailored” to improve its fit and appearance. (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Nyet! Window Boxes are NOT Better, Comrade— Some of the AM Bond’s packages were relegated to less-collectible, standard window boxes that featured far less artwork and thus had far less shelf appeal. The unique Russian blue uniform on this Action Man has OODLES of customization potential, but this set’s plastic window box is boring and “toss-able.” (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Da!— The Russian-uniformed Bond inside the window-box package. Check out the highly detailed star patch and ID cards. VERY nice. (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Bill’s Favorite Bond Figure— is the one from You Only Live Twice where 007 is dressed in his Royal Navy uniform as “Commander Bond.” Out-STANDING! Where else are you going to find a RN dress cap with all that detail? Sadly, Hasbro went with a window-box for this figure, cramming all the cool artwork off to the sides, making the package less exciting overall. But—the cap, uniform and figure, all make this unique set a definite “keeper” for your AM/Bond collection. (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Welcome aboard, Commander Bond— This closeup of the AM Bond figure in his Royal Navy dress uniform and cap looks VERY cool. That cap is an EXCELLENT miniature replica of the real thing (note the crown above the anchor). A few minor tailoring adjustments to his uniform and this figure will soon be ready for a full-dress inspection. All hands on deck! (Photo: Bill Underwood) Click to enlarge.

Open Wide, Mr. Bond— Another (big) advantage to full-box packaging is that its front flap opens up to provide MORE opportunities to display supporting graphics and text re: the figure and its contents. And that background behind the figure looks like a miniature diorama. VERY nice. Now THIS is the way to display a figure, NMIB. Be sure to click this pic for a closeup! (Photo: Bill Underwood)

Bottom Line: What FUN stuff. We’re big fans of Action Man and James Bond, so these figures are right up our collecting alley. Our sincerest thanks go out to Bill Underwood for all of his generous and wonderful help compiling the material for this article. You are the MAN, Bill! —The Editor

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UPDATE!— New (Extended) Trailer for “Welcome to Marwen” Released—Plus—New Close-Ups of Main Characters and More Patches of Pride “Sightings”

Okay, this just got even more “REAL”— In an all-new, extended-length trailer for the upcoming Robert Zemeckis film, “Welcome to Marwen,” numerous additional scenes clearly show products that were produced by longtime 1:6 scale patch company, Patches of Pride (PoP). As PoP remains the sole official sponsor of The Joe Report, we here in the “TJR Newsroom” are understandably excited whenever we see their work being enthusiastically embraced by esteemed customizers or—as in this case—Hollywood filmmakers—projected right up there on the big screen for all to see!

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Look fast, PoPstersIn this somewhat grainy “screen grab” from the new trailer, you can quickly see one of Patches of Pride’s full-color version Master Sergeant chevrons (found HERE) on the sleeve of one of the female figures. Note too, that the studio’s prop makers have blackened out the edges of the patch (to eliminate white fabric from showing) as recommended in the installation instructions included with every PoP patch order. Out-STANDING work prop-people! (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

While the majority of scenes in this new trailer show CGI action figures, it’s obvious the patches depicted were based on PoP’s real-life miniatures. And whenever the film cuts back to moments of reality and utilizes real actors, then the patches being shown onscreen are clearly PoP’s products. It’s truly exciting too, to see (real) actor, Steve Carell, handling the figures and to realize that PoP had a small part in their “finishing details.” Here are some Universal publicity stills provided today—

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YOU can make this Other than the custom Steve Carell headsculpt, this would be a fairly easy figure for most customizers of 1:6 scale to recreate. Most of the elements are commonly available and that Flying Tigers patch is available from Patches of Pride HERE. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Howdy, SARGEAptly named, “G.I. Julie,” this character totes a Thompson machine gun and sports one of PoP’s full-color sergeant chevron patches on her left sleeve. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Peace, Baby— Clearly more of a “flower child” peacenik than a war-monger, this “Nicol” character promises to be quite interesting. But—a Purple Heart recipient? (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Rock it, Roberta— Toting a BAR, this figure also wears an impressive bandolier around her chest and a bayonet strapped onto her right leg. Look out, you nasty Nazis! (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Muy Caliente— If you need someone to fire a .50 cal, THIS is the your woman. She’s clearly got the required ammo belt—plus one grenade. Mama-SITA! (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Tovarich in a Tutu— Looks like only half of a Russian uniform was available. But who cares? Heck, all I know is that I WANT one of these! Is that an oven mitt on her hand? (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Viva la France— Sex appeal in a slit skirt—what else do you need? (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Pain and Pleasure— The PAIN is evident in Steve Carell’s scarred, action figure face. The PLEASURE is sure to come to audiences who go to see this film, November, 2018. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Poster Perfect— With this line-up, the Nazi’s don’t stand a chance. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: The more we see of this film, the more we WANT to see. Keep it comin’, Universal!

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Official “Welcome to Marwen” Trailer Released

Bottom Line: They say “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Well, a day after we “complained” here on The Joe Report about the lack of any studio trailer or promotional materials for Universal Picture’s upcoming 1:6 scale film, “Welcome to Marwen,” wouldn’t you know it—an official trailer was almost immediately posted over on YouTube—and it looks simply AMAZING. Of course we’ll analyze it frame-by-frame and in super slow-mo for any signs of the aforementioned Patches of Pride products, but until we’ve had sufficient time to do that, take a look yourself—and ENJOY!


UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take us long. After reviewing the trailer, only 2 scenes appears to clearly shows PoP’s patches. All of the rest of the closeup shots were CGI (i.e. special effects) renderings. It appears the filmmakers used PoP’s patches for some of the “live-action” scenes and also utilized them as “models” for the CGI’d versions as well. Still…all in all, VERY cool!

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Tiny patches on a BIG SCREEN— Two of the tiny patches on the pilot figure’s bomber jacket were created by 1:6 scale patch creator Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride. The nametag appears to be hand-lettered and is not a PoP product. (Screenshot: Universal Pictures) Click to enlarge.

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PoP’s Patches— This closeup reveals a great look at the 1:6 scale “Flying Tigers” patch created for Universal’s costumers by Patches of Pride. The studio’s costumers were VERY specific about this patch, requesting that it be created to an EXACT size so that it would fit within a tiny leather circle (as shown in the photo). What a PERFECT FIT! (Photo: Universal Pictures) Click to enlarge.

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Hollywood’s Name Change Game— “Untitled Robert Zemeckis Film Project” Titled “Women of Marwen” Retitled Again to “Welcome to Marwen”

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Actress Eiza González prepares to film a scene during 2017’s shooting of the recently retitled “Welcome to Marwen;” scheduled to debut in theaters November 2018. (Photo: Universal Pictures) Click to enlarge.

Security is still tight around the tiny town of Marwen.

What’s the hold-up? Universal Pictures has yet to release an official video trailer or ANY official press photos promoting its upcoming film, “Welcome to Marwen.” Indeed, intel is SO scarce that the ONLY nugget of additional information we’ve been able to gather is that the title of the movie had been changed—again. Mark Otnes, owner of Patches of Pride and supplier of 1:6 miniatures to the film project, confirmed that security has always been extremely tight, stating:

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“While we were working on the orders we’d received from the film’s costumers for miniature patches, armbands, etc., they repeatedly referred to the film only as ‘The Untitled Robert Zemeckis Project. ‘Nothing else. Then, a couple of months later, the working title of ‘Women of Marwen’ was widely spread across the internet. We thought that was that. But just recently (in June 2018), the film was retitled—this time to ‘Welcome to Marwen.’ I don’t know the reasons for all of that subtle wordplay, but I expect it was due to some sort of Hollywood focus group testing, perhaps influenced by ‘brilliant’ participant responses such as, ‘I like the word WELCOME. It seems very friendly.’ But who knows? Nobody’s talking!”

So what else do we know? Not much. In fact, only the scantest of details about the film project can be found (as of today) over on Wikipedia HERE:

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“On April 28, 2017, it was announced that Robert Zemeckis would next direct an untitled fantasy-drama film that would star Steve Carell. On May 19, 2017, it was announced that Leslie Mann and Janelle Monae had joined the cast. On May 23, 2017, Eiza Gonzalez joined the cast. In June 2017, it was reported that Diane Kruger had joined the cast to portray the villain while Gwendoline Christie also joined the cast. In July 2017, Merritt Wever and Neil Jackson joined the cast of the film. On August 6, 2017, the studio hired a German actor Falk Hentschel to play the role of a villain, as Hauptsturmsfuhrer Ludwig Topf, a Nazi captain to a squad of SS Storm Troopers who terrify the people of Belgium. On August 21, 2017, the director’s wife Leslie Zemeckis was cast in the film for an unspecified role. Principal photography on the film began in Vancouver, Canada on August 14, 2017. The filming was completed around October 19, 2017. In June 2018, the film was officially titled Welcome to Marwen.”

Bottom Line: Let’s hope the good folks in the PR department at Universal Pictures are hard at work on promotional materials for this VERY promising movie featuring 1:6 scale action figures, vehicles and other such miniature products. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for any further information and promise to pass it on to you HERE on The Joe Report as soon as it becomes available.

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Clint Walker, Television & Film Star, Dead at 90

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“The Big Man”— Actor Clint Walker as he appeared in The Dirty Dozen (1967) (Photo: MGM)

At Ease, Private Posey— For fans of GIjOEs, vintage ’50s-’60s TV cowboys, and the WWII action movie genre, the recent announcement of the death of Hollywood’s “Big Man,” actor Clint Walker, was truly sad news. According to his obituary in yesterday’s New York Times (edited for length):malecomment

“Clint Walker died on Monday in Grass Valley, CA. He was 90. His death, at a hospital, was confirmed by his daughter, Valerie Walker, who said the cause was congestive heart failure. Mr. Walker appeared in the ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and other movies, but he was best known for ‘Cheyenne,’ seen on ABC from 1955 to 1963.

‘Cheyenne’ was among the first television series produced by Warner Bros., and it had the lavish look of a big-screen movie. As shooting of the show’s first season began, Mr. Walker confessed to the crew that he did not have a great deal of experience on horseback. He later recalled the response: ‘You’ll either be a good rider, or a dead one.’ ‘There were a few times I wondered which one it was going to be,’ he said.

Many episodes of ‘Cheyenne’ called for Walker to be shirtless, revealing a bodybuilder’s 48-inch chest and a 32-inch waist in onscreen moments that, while maybe not essential to the plot, helped make the handsome, blue-eyed Mr. Walker a star. At 6 feet 6 inches, he was tall not only in the saddle; one reporter joked that ‘he has snow on his shoulders six months of the year.’ 

His size forced him to restrict his movements to stay within camera range, which could be a challenge during onscreen fistfights. But he pressed for more of those. ‘I feel action is what I owe the public,’ he once told an interviewer. ‘When I see a hero yak-yak-yakkin’ I lose all interest.’

He was appearing on ‘Cheyenne’ when he began making films, including ‘Fort Dobbs’ (1958), with Virginia Mayo. Howard Thompson, reviewing that movie for The New York Times, called him ‘about the biggest, finest-looking western hero ever to sag a horse, with a pair of shoulders rivaling King Kong’s.’

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In ‘The Dirty Dozen,’ released in 1967, he played the meek Samson Posey alongside a crew of hardened military convicts — played by Jim Brown, Charles Bronson, Donald Sutherland and others — who were recruited for an assassination mission behind German lines during World War II. His last film was Joe Dante’s ‘Small Soldiers’ (1998), about high-tech toy soldiers that go on a rampage, in which he had a voice role along with some of his ‘Dirty Dozen’ co-stars. 

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Don’t Push Me!— Walker’s tense face-off with tough-guy Lee Marvin in this scene from The Dirty Dozen was one of the most memorable moments in the film. As Marvin continued to push and taunt the gentle giant, Clint’s mounting rage was palpable. He had a knife. Marvin was unarmed. What would happen next? Audiences were transfixed. This was EXCITING STUFF! (Photo: MGM)

Mr. Walker came close to dying in a freak accident on a ski trip in 1973 when he stumbled and a ski pole pierced his heart. He survived and recovered quickly. He worked as a port security guard and a nightclub bouncer, and then as a deputy sheriff providing security at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. It was there that the actor Van Johnson suggested that he explore acting. Mr. Walker would later recall thinking: ‘I’m not going to get that far carrying a gun and a badge. It doesn’t pay that well. If you make movies, you make some pretty good money — plus, the bullets aren’t real!'”

Bottom Line: Rest in Peace, Mr. Walker. Happy Trails, Cheyenne. We will miss you!

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Hollywood Came-a-Calling—Creator of 1:6 Scale Accessories Asked to Produce Miniature Props for Use in Upcoming 2018 Film, “The Women of Marwen”

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Meet Steve’s “Little Women”— Actor Steve Carell sits on a park bench in Vancouver, Canada, while taking a break from shooting his upcoming (Nov. 2018) film, “The Women of Marwen.” Alongside him sits a “Jeep-full” of miniature female co-stars, some (possibly) sporting tiny 1:6 scale patches or other accessories created by Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride, (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

Steve Carell Pic to Feature Products Produced by 1:6 Company, “Patches of Pride”

This isn’t a “big story” by any means, but here it is, nonetheless: Patches of Pride (PoP), the well-known and respected producer of 1:6 scale miniature products (typically utilized by collectors and customizers of GIjOE action figures), has recently received (and shipped out) several mass orders of patches, armbands and other related accessories to various film industry costuming businesses in both Canada and Hollywood. Normally, that would be “non-news” to the public; the sort of boring, internal sales information typically only of interest to the businesses and individuals involved.

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Actor and toy collector, Steve Carell (Photo: Universal Pictures)

But in this case— the film industry costumers in question happened to be working on a new movie project that should hold GREAT interest for fans of 1:6 scale. In fact, the Canadian and LA costumers we’re talking about have been tasked with creating miniature 1:6 scale uniforms that will be utilized in an upcoming Universal production entitled, “The Women of Marwen” (aka “TWOM” see HERE). From what we can gather online, TWOM is being directed by “Back to the Future” auteur, Robert Zemeckis and stars actor, comedian, and action figure fan, Steve Carell, of “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” fame. The products ordered from Patches of Pride would be used to accessorize miniature costumes and military uniforms worn by some of the film’s “smaller stars.” We tracked down PoP’s head honcho, Mark Otnes, and asked him how he felt about undertaking this exciting new foray into movie prop production. He replied:

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“Well, I think it’s overstating it a bit to say that Patches of Pride has moved into ‘movie prop production.’ Yes, it is exciting to think that something we’ve created may appear ‘up there on the big screen,’ but this was probably just a one-time deal for us—unless they do a sequel. I’m a HUGE fan of both Zemeckis and Carell. Just knowing that they’re working on a film project together with 1:6 scale action figures is VERY cool news. And I LOVED Carell’s take on the societal pressures and ‘trials and tribulations’ faced by action figure collectors in ‘The 40 Year-Old Virgin.’ You could FEEL his pain at the thought of selling his beloved collectibles. Hilarious!

As to my business’ involvement with this new film, ‘The Women of Marwen,’ I simply filled a number of orders that came in from new customers located in Canada and Los Angeles. That’s it. At the time, they were very nice and notified me that the patches and other products they were ordering were for something they called, ‘an untitled Robert Zemeckis project.’ I knew who Mr. Zemeckis was, but I didn’t know that this so-called ‘untitled project’ was going to be a film. I just learned that fact recently, myself! I’d thought it was going to be a TV documentary on WWII or something like that. But hey, a Steve Carell movie sounds a WHOLE lot cooler!

And keep in mind that I also don’t know if anything I made for them will actually appear on-screen in the movie, or if PoP will get any sort of credit. Most likely not. You know how unpredictable filmmaking can be. Our products may just be used in test shots or scenes that end up on the ‘cutting room floor.’ However it all works out, you can bet that I’ll be watching the movie VERY closely for any signs of my work. Everything we sell at Patches of Pride comes from original art files that I’ve created. That way, I can easily recognize my work whenever and wherever I see it. If someone uses ANY of our products on their custom figures or vehicles, I can tell. I know ALL of the (thousands) of PoP products by heart—AND by sight.”

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Bottom Line: This sounds like it’ll be a really cool flick and a wonderful opportunity for Zemeckis, Carell and Patches of Pride as well. We wish all concerned with this project the very best of luck. “The Women of Marwen” is scheduled for a November 2018 release. If any further information becomes available before that time, we’ll be sure to share it with you here on The Joe Report ASAP. Will any of Otnes’ 1:6 scale products actually end up on screen? Stay tuned!

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“Dr. Strange” Movie 1st Official Trailer Released

Bottom Line: Ol’ Doc Strange is one of our favorite Marvel characters, simply for the fact that he’s so, well—STRANGE. The story possibilities with a character like this, one that utilizes MAGIC over super-powers in Marvel’s ever-expanding movie “universe,” are practically limitless. Add to that, the undeniable acting prowess of its star, Benedict Cumberbatch, and you have what appears to be a sure-fire SMASH at the box office. The film’s first official trailer (shown above)—will blow your mind!

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Superb New (1:6 Scale Stop-Motion) “Anomalisa” Reveals the Future Potential For 1:6 Scale Films

Do you remember the regrettable tale of the world’s last major motion picture that utilized 1:6 scale “puppetry” in lieu of real, live human actors? We’re referring, of course, to 2010’s box office BOMB— Jackboots on Whitehall (JOW); a film that then, as now, was universally derided for its amateurish attempts at humor and the almost oppressive DULLNESS of its screenplay.

Well, Good News, 1:6 Scalers! Now you can take whatever money you saved by not buying a copy of Jackboots, and apply it instead, towards a ticket to see Anomalisa; a fascinating, delightful and touching 1:6 scale animated film, that is head-n-shoulders above Jackboots in every possible way.

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Decidedly Different— Unlike the abysmal 2010 1:6 scale film, Jackboots in Whitehall, in which explosions and special effects were the focus and di regueur of the film, Anomalisa, by contrast, is completely and utterly character-driven. In fact, while the film’s backgrounds and sets add superb believability and visual context to each scene, viewers will tune all that out, focusing instead, on the touching and emotional lives of its 1:6 scale humans. (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

In our 2015 review and analysis of Jackboots (see article HERE), we discussed in detail how that film’s dreadful screenplay and scattershot 1:6 scale puppet quality all contributed to its calamitous—yet predictable—failure at the box office. At that time, we acknowledged how incomprehensible it seemed (to us) that ANY film using 1:6 scale action figures (or “puppets”) and costing $6 million dollars to make, could go on to gross a mere $20,776. In fact, the financial failure of Jackboots had been SO bad, the prospects for future 1:6 scale films appeared to be slim—to none.

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Careful!— Posing (and remembering) each incremental second of action in a 1:6 scale film requires intense concentration, skill and dedication. Simply exiting an elevator in Anomalisa required MANY hours to stage and film convincingly. Note too, the filmmaker’s use of a variety of realistic (non-Barbie doll style) body types. Absolutely Out-STANDING attention to detail! (Photo: Paramount Animation)

 Thankfully… MANY lessons were learned from Jackboots tragic and utter failure. And we can happily report that the creators of Anomalisa, co-directors, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson have deftly and expertly avoided ALL of JOW’s pitfalls. Their new film is superbly character-driven, inspirational AND entertaining. Of course, for us 1:6 scalers, it’s especially exciting to see someone else pick up the mantle of 1:6 scale filmmaking and prove that stop-motion films (in this scale) can indeed be made to be both entertaining and financially successful.

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Parts, Parts, Parts— This prop room photo of the film’s collection of body parts will look VERY familiar to any collector of 1:6 scale action figures. (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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It’s all in the Details— With cameras photographing from only inches away, prop masters need to carefully check every little detail before a shot. (Photo: Paramount Animaton) Click to enlarge.

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Lighting is Crucial— You can have the best scale sets in the world, but scenes like this airport exterior would fall flat without all the tiny added details created by effective lighting. Note the glow from the streetlight, both near and far away, the car’s headlights and the building in the distance showing glowing windows with curtains and little blue roof lights. Even the airport terminal building shows the correct (i.e. less “warm”) coloring of drab, florescent lighting. WOW! (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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Posing Figures? No Problem!— With all the years of experience 1:6 scalers and Joeheads have with posing action figures, it seems that we’d be able to easily get jobs working as prop masters on some of these labor-intensive 1:6 scale animated movies. HA! (Photo: Paramount Animation)

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Build your sets up on TABLES— Utilizing a method that would benefit many 1:6 scale diorama projects, the production designers (John Joyce, pictured above) placed many of their sets on easily accessible tables. That saves a lot of wear and tear on your knees! (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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It Takes a Director’s Eye— To properly “frame a shot,” director Duke Johnson has to get down in close and imagines what the scene would look like in real life in order to recreate it convincingly at 1:6 scale. (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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Having a Drink Together— The two main characters of Anomalisa get to know each other over a quiet drink in the film’s superb 1:6 scale recreation of a hotel bar. Imagine all the scenarios you could recreate with an outstanding diorama like this. WOW! (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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Working in a World of Miniature— The creators of Anomalisa surrounded themselves with the multitude of props and specialized equipment required to create their amazing 1:6 scale film. (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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The Men to Thank— Co-Directors Charlie Kaufman (left) and Duke Johnson (right) on the set of Anomalisa. Fans of 1:6 scale owe these two gentlemen a great deal of thanks for helping to keep the unique genre of 1:6 scale filmmaking alive. (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Fans of 1:6 scale (and GIjOEs in particular) continue to dream of a special sort of 1:6 scale animated GIjOE film, possibly Adventure Team-themed, perhaps along the lines of the classic 1960s Jonny Quest cartoons. But until such a film is made (if it ever is), we highly recommend that you check your local theater listings for showings of Anomalisa so as to (financially) reward all of Kaufman and Johnson’s hard work. Finally, here’s another video that has some good shots of Anomalisa’s various body molds, head sculpts, props and costumes, which will give you a better idea of the superb artistry required to create the 1:6 scale “puppets” in this amazing film. Enjoy!

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G.I. Joe Marine “Sighting” Discovered in Un-Aired SNAFU Bloopers From R. Lee Ermey’s “Mail Call”

If you enjoy watching military documentaries, films, and television programs, and/or anything that features America’s favorite USMC senior drill instructor, R. Lee Ermey, then you’ll DEFINITELY want to see his hilarious collection of SNAFU bloopers and deleted scenes that were never aired publicly on the History Channel TV show, Mail Call. Here are some screenshots from the video:

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YOU are a disgusting Fat Body! R. Lee Ermey’s “Mini-Lee” voices his displeasure regarding the physical condition of the Pillsbury Dough Boy in a deleted scene from Mail Call. (Photo: The History Channel)

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Mini-Lee orders a vintage GIjOE Marine to hit the deck (and give him 25) in one of many scenes from the show utilizing 1:6 scale action figures. Out-STANDING. OOHrah! (Photo: The History Channel)

Bottom Line: If you’re a GIjOE or R. Lee Ermey fan (and who isn’t?), then you’ll want to skip forward to the hilarious 5-minute compilation of Ermey’s “extra-salty” Mini-Lee outtakes, beginning at the 33:57 minute-mark. From that point, you’ll be able to enjoy watching Lee’s (decidedly adult-language) action figure take part in some exciting adventures as well as putting some disgusting “fat bodies” in their place, including the Pillsbury Doughboy and a vintage GIjOE Marine. Enjoy!

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