Bottom Line: Please take a moment to remember the Americans who died in on this day in 1941.
Bottom Line: Please take a moment to remember the Americans who died in on this day in 1941.
The Truth is Already Out There—But Will its Inclusion Hurt Box Office Receipts?
This is all public knowledge, but please stick with us. If you’ve seen 2010’s fantasy-documentary, Marwencol, or read the 2016 hardcover book, Welcome to Marwencol, then you undoubtedly already know that real-life artist-photographer, Mark Hogancamp—the lead character depicted in Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming motion picture, Welcome to Marwen (played by actor Steve Carell)—enjoys wearing women’s high-heel shoes and stockings. There. We’ve said it. Hogancamp’s “most shocking” true-life personality “spoiler” has now been re-revealed.
What isn’t known to many however, is whether Zemeckis feels that Hogancamp’s cross-dressing is “script-worthy” enough to be included in his latest release. Would such intimate insight detract from the film’s main storyline—a man struggles with PTSD after a brutal beating by creating fantasy photo-stories with 1:6 scale action figures and dolls—or enhance it? Is cross-dressing simply too “racy” a topic for the holidays, only to end up on the cutting room floor? Time—as they say, will tell.
For those who are unaware of the differences between “cross-dressing” and the better known term, “transvestism,” we consulted that oracle of all knowledge and things online—Wikipedia—which (rightly or wrongly) defines the two (oft-misunderstood) terms thusly:
“Transvestism is the practice of dressing and acting in a style or manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex. In some cultures, transvestism is practiced for religious, traditional or ceremonial reasons.”
“Cross–dressing is the act of wearing items of clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society. Cross-dressing has been used for purposes of disguise, comfort, and self-expression in modern times and throughout history.”
Okay, that cleared it up (right?)— Regardless, questions with serious financial implications remain— Will audiences harbor negative feelings about Hogancamp’s cross-dressing? And IF the topic is included in the film (we still don’t know if it will be) and “word gets out,” will that affect ticket-buying, movie-going audiences who DO harbor negative feelings about the subject and thereby cause them to stay home? You can bet the entire entertainment industry will be paying VERY close attention to this film when it premieres in theaters across the country on December 21st.
Fortunately for Zemeckis and his film—
A cross-dressing dance act dubbed Junior New System (JNS) has just come to the rescue. This all-male, high-heeled dance troupe from the Philippines, recently broke onto the U.S. national scene during a series of high-energy (and high-heeled) appearances on NBC TV’s ratings-smash hit, America’s Got Talent. Their success appears to have made men-wearing-women’s-shoes a little less “offensive” in many viewer’s eyes, and much more “publicly palatable” as well. During their aggressive, athletic performances, the JNS men routinely and effortlessly switch between wearing traditional high-top sneakers to high-heel stilettos. Then, to everyone’s surprise, they proceed to perform powerful BACK-FLIPS, landing solidly on their traditionally unsteady and pointy “pumps,” without suffering any apparent missteps or twisted ankles. It has to be SEEN to be believed!
As we stated at the outset, the subject of Hogancamp’s cross-dressing is largely “old news” to (most) 1:6 scalers, and has had little—to ZERO—bearing on the 1:6 community’s admiration and regard for the man’s artistic talents. His skills as an artist, photographer and customizer are obvious and beyond question. But how will non-hobbyist ticket-buyers react? That remains to be seen.
Finally, other media outlets are also discussing this subject, largely reflecting the opinion that Hogancamp’s cross-dressing SHOULD be included in the film’s final script. The New York Times discussed it in an article HERE, and we found an overseas article about it in the UK’s The Telegraph, HERE. Clear “rumblings” of social expectation could be heard. Here’s one such quote:
“The real truth behind Mark’s near-fatal attack is not something you’ll find in the trailer – he was set upon after admitting in the bar that he was a cross-dresser. When the film’s first American trailer landed, there was enough social-media kerfuffle to suggest that eliding this part of the story may well cause significant controversy.” —The Telegraph, UK
Bottom Line: If the official Welcome to Marwen trailers are any indication of its final content, then it appears Mr. Hogancamp’s propensity for feminine footwear will NOT be made into much of an issue for the film. But, if you search the ‘net for further clues provided by Zemeckis himself, you CAN find short, inconclusive snippets about its inclusion (or exclusion) from the script. Make of the following quote what you will (especially the last line), but here’s his most telling —yet noncommittal—comment so far:
“We can’t give everything away. There’s a lot more story than we were able to include. You’ve got to let the audience see something that they don’t know about.” —Robert Zemeckis, director, Welcome to Marwen
Is it time to jump up and down on a piano keyboard and celebrate? Maybe.
Bottom Line: We didn’t see this one coming— It appears that the (mostly) dormant FAO Schwarz brand has actually found a serious financial backer and plans are now underway for its imminent reintroduction in the form of 2 to 3 all-new brick-n-mortor stores. In this day and age of burgeoning online sales, the idea of actually building new toy stores is a much riskier financial undertaking. Therefore, we wish FAO and its new backers all the very best of luck. Watch the NTN video HERE for the most up-to-date information on this unexpected—yet encouraging—development.
Bottom Line: Mark at Patches of Pride spreads out the contents of the club’s final 12″ exclusive set for a close-up “look-see.” What does he find inside? Some good and some not-so-good. Enjoy!
Bottom Line: For some fans, this is about as close as they’ll ever get to witnessing the “earliest hours” of the JoeCon 2018 dealer room—ESPECIALLY now that JoeCons themselves are forever HISTORY. Gone. Poof. They’re EXTINCT. This video was shot very casually and was originally aired LIVE on Facebook, so the footage is nothing special. It’s bumpy, and I had no particular goals in mind other than to shoot some “raw footage” of the event. At various points, the narrator (me) speaks to people off-camera who were viewing online, so those moments will not make sense to those of you NOT watching it live. I was actually about to delete this, but then I realized that it is now sort of a “time capsule” of precious Joe-moments gone by. This was the last JoeCon EVER and I felt it deserved to be remembered (as well as it could be). This video is but a short segment of those 4 days-o-fun, but I think you’ll get a small kick out of it, nonetheless. Were you there? If so, look carefully—you may see yourself somewhere in the background. Enjoy!
Bottom Line: When all hope seems to be lost, a forlorn Action Man jumps on his vintage motorcycle and rides off on a search to discover exactly WHY he and his mates appear to have been “abandoned.” Thankfully, instead of finding answers of misery, he discovers HOPE—hope that UK Action Man fans are not ready to give up on their indomitable childhood hero. Quite the contrary. This wonderful video contains a superb storyline, professional stop-action animation and surprisingly convincing voice characterizations from UK’s Rob Charles. Out-STANDING. Enjoy!
In yet another superb “sighting” of GIjOE and Action Man in the “mainstream media,” UK’s “MoneySuperMarket” website has just aired a brand-new TV commercial for its business—starring—the many and varied heroes of the vintage Action Man toy line-up. There’s even a ’60s Barbie “Action Girl” thrown in for good measure. According to an article over on the Campaign website:
“The latest ad in MoneySuperMarket.com’s epic campaign stars Action Man. The Hasbro action figure is so overcome by his savings from Moneysupermarket that he rallies the troops to dance in the desert, even stripping down to his blue underpants. The ad is set to ‘90s classic ‘Finally’ by CeCe Peniston. It was created by Mother, the brand’s outgoing agency – and the joyful creativity of the spot makes it even more bittersweet that the two are parting ways.”
Bottom Line: This new commercial is without a doubt the most advanced combination of stop-motion and computer animation since GIjOE’s last appearance in a superb (2016) TV commercial for Subaru (see HERE). Who knew Action Man was so good at dance choreography? It’s time to get out some of your figures and “Pump up the JAMS!” Enjoy!
In what may be the clearest view yet of toy-making’s future, Hasbro has just launched its new “HasLab” crowdsourcing initiative. The goal of this particular collector-funded toy project will be to locate and sign up at least 5,000 fans who are willing to pony up $500 each for an exclusive, 4-foot long (compatible w/3.75″ figures) “Jabba’s Sail Barge” from Star Wars. A prototype shown at Toy Fair and all of the computer renderings online look absolutely GORGEOUS. If Star Wars toys are your thing, you should watch HasLab’s customer recruitment video shown below.
Bottom Line: If this approach to “high-end” toy production is successful for Hasbro, you can expect to see similar efforts forthcoming from other toy manufacturers in the future. Perhaps Hasbro would even consider creating something new, big and amazing for 12″ GIjOEs? How about an updated, more realistic version of a 1:6 scale USAF Crash Crew Truck? Joe fans can dream, too!
We’ve covered this topic before, and we’ll cover it again—because 3-D printing ROCKS! Wassamatta, Joe? Can’t you find that rare, missing, or broken piece of your classic GIjOE or other vintage toy? Well, fear NOT, my friend. Nowadays, thanks to the modern-day miracles of 3DP, you can simply MAKE ONE YOURSELF (see our previous article HERE). In further confirmation of the evolution of this exciting field of “amateur” toy creation, diehard customizer and revered TJR Field Reporter, Gary Stair, wrote in recently to describe a new 3DP project he had just completed for his beloved Captain Action “Silver Streak” vehicle. According to Mr. Stair:
“I bought the Captain Action Silver Streak vehicle many, many moons ago and have been searching for rockets and replacement launchers for it for some time. After reading about Wayne Faucher’s Bell jet pack / Shapeways article on the Joe Report HERE, it dawned on me one day—DUUHH—that I have the resources required to make all-new parts—with 3D printing!”
“I began by interviewing several designers and finally found one over in Australia who was up for the challenge. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a vintage Silver Streak rocket anywhere—and believe me I hunted. I wanted the designer to have an exact replica to work from. But in lieu of that, I emailed him a TON of photographs, and he was able to use them to figure out the (close to) exact measurements required to recreate a “non-firing” version.”
“Unlike the original versions, my new rockets do NOT fire. On the original vehicle, a spring came inserted in the rocket that would then lock onto the launcher. I wasn’t sure I wanted that level of liability yet—let me sell a few first—(LOL) so I went with a non-firing version. Regardless, overall, it is a near-perfect design and DOES fit PERFECTLY onto any original 1960s IDEAL Silver Streak Captain Action vehicle (as you can see in the photos).”
“As for the Silver Streak’s LAUNCHERS, I did manage to locate some (broken) vintage ones, and sent those off to my designer in Australia, communicating via email every step of the way. And while this was an expensive project, the new 3-D printed parts from Shapeways came out GREAT. After I sell a couple on eBay HERE, I may jump back in and work on a ‘firing version’ (with spring inserted), allowing the ‘2nd generation’ repro rockets to ‘hook’ onto their launchers.”
“Customizers can paint them silver (like the ZICA version) or blue (like the Ideal original) or ANY color to replace their missing launchers and rockets. It is amazing all of the things you can do with the 3D printing process. I’m not sure what I will create next (maybe the gear shifter?), but for now, it’s just great to know that we have the tools required to make replacement parts or create NEW parts for our 1:6 scale GI JOE, Action Man, Captain Action and other figures. What a great resource!”
“Thanks again (and hats off) to the pioneers of 1:6 scale 3DP, Wayne Faucher, Sean Huxter and David Pruitt (see HERE) for showing all the rest of us “the way.” And a great big thank you to you too, Mark Otnes, for helping us all keep our 1:6 scale dreams alive. Go, Joe Report and Go, Patches of Pride!” —Gary Stair, PA
Bottom Line: 3-D Printing is proving to be quite the boon for creative-thinking customizers and 1:6 scalers. A few years ago, “Super” Sean Huxter made some short videos demonstrating a couple of his new 3DP product ideas in prototype form (see below), proving that the potential for new GIjOE-related accessories appears to be practically limitless. Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Gary Stair for all his generous help with this article and to the other “pioneers” of this new 1:6 scale field of expertise and endeavor. You guys are all the BEST!