Monday, January 30, 2012


First posted on January 29th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

I don’t eat at McDonald’s. Not anymore. Sure I drive around and see fast food restaurants that call themselves McDonald’s but it’s a lie. That place is gone. I know because I’ve been there. To the real McDonald’s. The McDonald’s of the 1980’s.

McDonald’s never really did much in the way of food variety but what it did, it did well. Their menu was so simple and elegant that it could have been poetry…or a song. In fact, it was a song!

You had burgers, fish and chicken all served on buns. Then your finger foods: fries and Chicken McNuggets. (Chicken McNuggets were so ingrained into my childhood brain, that for much of my young life, I didn’t understand the concept of a nugget not being “Mc”. In my life all nuggets were McNuggets.) Adults ate strange and mysterious foods. Sandwiches with special sauce…Sandwiches so sophisticated, that the components had to be kept in separate compartments to prevent cross contamination and a huge upset in the balance of cool to hot sides.

The meals I enjoyed didn’t have special packages or special sauces. They had something really special…a prize. A prize that was a toy to whatever quality cartoon franchise had the deal at the time. There is a reason people still collect with McDonald toys from the 1980s and it reason is they were fantastic. Of all those wondrous Happy Meal Toys, my favorites were the ones that weren’t licensed at all. They had McDonald land toys, Denier monsters and space robots and yes, my friends, the legends you heard are true…at one time McDonald’s had transforming toys. But not just any old vehicle to robot “transformer”. No! These intergalactic warriors transformed from robot to McDonald food! And though these toys eventually led to the cancellation of both The GoBots and the Transformers; there was a bright side. Finally we could answer that age old question; could an Egg McMuffin defeat a Quarter-Pounder in hand to hand combat?

I would hurry through my Happy Meal which was usually a cheeseburger, fries and an Orange Drink! A beverage that, to this day, I still don’t know if it was Hi-C Orange or an honest to goodness menu item called Orange Drink. (If you know the answer to this, please don’t tell me whether that was the official name or not. It was and will always be orange drink to me!) The dessert to round-out your dinner were the always delicious McDonald Land Cookies…not apple slices. In the 1980s if any Mickey-D’s clerk would have attempted to sell a kid apple slices they would have been slapped right across the face and then relieved of duty. McDonald’s had NO time for any of that hippie crap.

After eating, the usual routine was to leave the boring confines of a 1980’s fast food restaurant and step through the doors into an amazing world. McDonald Land! And let me be clear, by McDonald Land, I don’t just mean the playground, I mean McDonald Land.

Created in the same wonderful acid-induced, costume-puppet madhouse that brought HR Puffinstuff into the world. This was a place that a kid felt like he could really become a part of…at least, I always did. It was a world with armless fry-loving monsters. And a clown who wasn’t some hipster playing soccer or rollerblading (with full padding). Our Ronald McDonald was to busy for that noise. Battling Captain Crook, keeping the Fry Guys in line and monitoring the ever changing worldview of the sometimes evil / sometimes not evil milkshake loving purple blob creature known (to those who survived) as Grimmace.

There was Big Mac Cop, trying to bring some justice into that crazy mixed-up world and maybe stop the Hamburgalar’s rein of terror. It wasn’t easy. The streets of McDonald Land were not always a friendly place and sometimes you had to bend the rules and teach that scum a lesson out of their own playbook. After all, with Mayor McCheese constantly breathing down his neck, looking for results and both his badge and ass on the line; sometimes he had to do what he had to do.

But now all those things are gone. The mini live-action cartoons that used to be the commercials have been replaced with overproduced nonsense that makes you think McDonald’s is a place where kids go to grab some carrot-sticks in between tennis and ballet practice.

The awe-inspiring playground with their larger than life depictions of those wonderful characters have been removed and sold. What passes as a kids play area at the “new” McDonald’s is a terrible place. A labyrinth of futuristic brightly colored tubes that looks more like a giant nightmarish hamster track than anything that a normal red blooded American child would play on.

A lot of suckers out there will tell you that “You can’t go home again.” I’m here to tell you, that’s just hogwash. I can go home; all damn day!

McDonald’s, on the other hand, that my friends is a place to which you can never really go back.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Avoid the Noid

First posted on January 23th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself. Hi, my name is Claymation Werewolf, and my areas of “expertise” are cartoons, puppets and horror! In 2011 I was able to slip through the cracks and hide amongst the elite in the retro blogging community.

Happily, I now find myself out of my league, posting my insane ramblings at the Cold Slither Podcast. I’ve seen the stranger side of nostalgia and I know the truth about the pop culture you think you remember. Prepare yourself…things are going to get weird!

It’s 1986. The sound of your alarm clock wakes you and you quickly cast off the safety and warmth of your He-Man blankets. Bleary-eyed you make your way down the steps. Pausing only once to gather some essential equipment, in the form of a bowl of Applejacks and a tall glass of Sunny Delight. These supplies will give you the strength you need for this morning’s adventures. The strength to face…EVIL!

Image courtesy of “Two for Flinching”

Parked in front of your television, you face the most menacing collection of villains ever assembled; the villains of cartoon! You sat helpless, watching these terrible titans commit their acts of animated aggression. There stood the mighty He-Man! His trusty steed Battle Cat, trapped in an impossible snare and our hero himself weakened to the point of collapse, and falling right into the clutches of the great and terrible magic of Skeletor.

Furiously you rushed to change the channel and find an even more terrible scene! The heroic forces of the GI Joes; scattered, stand unprepared for the onslaught of the unstoppable Military Might of Cobra. Surely if these real American heroes fall, the balance of power in the world would change forever.

Changing the channel again you stand witness to the Sword of Thundera, being knocked from the steely grip of Lion-O as a storm on the horizon spells the advance of the most ancient of evils, Mum-Ra The Ever Living and his vile horde of Mutants!

Just when it seems like there is no escape from the devastation; a beacon of hope shone through. A cheerful cartoon bumper telling you that “after these messages, we’ll be right back!” You prepared to enter what has always been a constant source of comfort to every TRUE American; the world of commercial advertising! Yet, in that place of refuge hid an even greater evil, a darkness that would bring even the proud Decepticon Warriors to their knees! It was a name that sent a chill down the spine of all those who heard it and that name was The Noid!

His mind twisted by years of sub-standard pizza, the Noid declared war on all that was good (and Italian) in this world. He lurked in the shadows of innocent pizza parlors seeking to destroy the pies that the Ninja Turtles swore to protect. Sticking cheese to the lid of the box, cooling every piping hot slice and ultimately ruining “movie night” for families everywhere. After all, not even all the soda and VHS tapes in the world could stand up to overpriced, lousy pizza.

As The Noid engaged in his claymation chaos, leaving a trail of stale sausage and peculiar pepperoni in his wake, the nation wept. Desperate for a hero. Someone, anyone who could defend them from this deep dish dilemma. That hero arose in the unlikely form of a friendly red white and blue box…and a dream. This hero, this “Dominos” stood for justice and stood to reign supreme (and sometimes Meat Lovers) above all as a symbol of eighties delivery goodness. Dominos dared to ask for change, to overcome the odds and to take its rightful place as king of all chain pizza! Most importantly Dominos declared that all who would do evil in this world would pay! (Unless it was over 30 minutes, in which case it would be free)

Dominos held off even the evil of the Noid with their superior pizza pie and current pop-culture relevance. They beat the masked menace at his own game and once again made the non-stop onslaught of advertising between cartoon segments, a safe place for all of us.

Sadly, today things have changed. We as a society no longer stand at the hopeful shores of a sea of Crystal Pepsi. We no longer live our lives by the wise and encouraging words of Max Hedroom. All of the 80’s ideals that we all held dear are gone. The arcades have gone dark and the video stores have closed. Even the mighty Dominos has become a shadow of its former self. With these institutions gone we are left with no defense against the evil around us. All the maniacal, cruel and dreadful things that wait in the shadows of this modern world, planning to destroy us all.

Unless we all turn to the lessons of retro pop-culture, all hope might be lost. There might one day be a time when we are no longer able to avoid the fate that we have created for ourselves.. When we are no longer able to avoid…the Noid.

Claymation Werewolf has an evil plan to bring about a Nostalgia Revolution for a time when cartoons were actually good. You can find more of his posts about toys, cartoons, puppets and horror on his blog at

Monday, January 23, 2012

With an iron fist and a reptile hiss...

Friends, it happened.

Like an audience member that sneaks onstage, starts playing with the band, with no one noticing; I have gone from die-hard fan to contributor on the Cold Slither Podcast Site! There you will be able to find my misguided maniacal musings on all matter of things geeks past. The Cold Slither Crew have made me feel right at home in their villainous ranks and when Cobra meets a Werewolf, world domination can’t be far behind. So be sure to check out the blog, the pod cast and my weekly posts.

We're Cold Slither. You’ll be joining us soon…

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Masters of the Ponyverse!

First posted on January 11th, 2012 on The Retroist Retro Blog and Podcast - CW post link

In those shadowy and mysterious 10 years known to some as the 1980’s cartoons ruled the day. Stockbrokers would rush away from their offices to catch the latest episode of Heathcliff, GI Joe addiction clinics sprung up in most suburban areas and some of the PSA’s at the end of Brave Star episodes actually led to the ends of multinational conflicts. Among the titans that brought these hits to television was Hasbro which found a huge cartoon hit with a successful toy-line called My Little pony. But what you must remember friends is that, believe it or not, in those dark days before Brony nation, pony fandom was girl’s territory and was watched by almost no boys Network President Timothy Hasbro, wanted to change that.

Courtesy of My Little Brony
 At this same time a young upstart show by the name of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was taking America by storm being that Masters had an almost entirely male persuasion. A strong effort was made in an attempt to woo the other fifty percent of the cartoon watching, toy demanding public. As a result, He-Man was reunited with his (improbably) long lost sister She-Ra The Princess of Power.

[via] Action Figure Insider

While the She-Ra toys were purchased by girls, lets face it, the cartoon was still watched by boys. It wasn’t even unusual to find boys wanting to dress as She-Ra at Halloween. And it wasn’t weird…also it was no reason to get rid of all of your son’s Princess of Power action figures, action figures Dad! Not dolls! And it was no reason to make your son try out for football when he wanted to be a cartoonist and maybe write some funny stories. Instead he had to spend his precious after school cartoon-watching time, running laps and practicing some stupid sport that he was never even interested in, in the first place.

Ahem, so in a nutshell…but of these wildly successful examples of the animated arts had a common problem. How do they widen their audience and get the attention, and more importantly money of the opposite sex? The solution was obvious. A crossover! And why not? It had been done before and with wonderful results! The Jetsons met the Flintstones! The Scooby Doo gang met the Harlem Globetrotters (and everyone else in the world) Paula Abdul even met that weird Arseneo Hall cat guy…which now that I think about it, doesn’t have anything to do with this so never mind. This problem needed more than a crossover it needed an entirely new cartoon! After all, He-Man in Ponyville would be ridiculous, by which I mean awesome but unfortunately way ahead of it’s time. No the demanding public of the 1980’s needed something they could believe something they could really sink their teeth into. They needed a He-Man that was himself a Pony! A He-Pony…A Pony-Man…or…Masters of the PonyVerse. Yes! Masters of the PonyVerse!!

The resulting brainstorming, character design and storyboarding sessions resulted in what was described as a perfect blend of the two franchises, a sure-fire hit! Unfortunately that description was not given by the studio executives or in fact anyone in any position to purchase produce or broadcast the series. But even so, what a series it was!

The story takes place on the distant planet Barnturnia amid a time of great war. The Barnturnian Royal family faces ruin and the very real chance that their kingdom will be toppled. The Evil forces of Skeletrot have been growing in power and claiming more and more of the lands of Barnturnia for their cruel purposes. Led by wicked and powerful generals such as Trot Jaw and Beast Mane his shadowy armies thunder across the land leaving anguish in their wake. If things didn’t change soon, the shadow of Broodmare Mountain could stretch across all of Barnturnia. Fortunately change was just around the corner. Unfolding in the heart of Barnturnia was an ancient and mysterious legend. The Barnturnian Royal Prince by the name of Adam (they can’t all be Pony style names okay?) had from birth been destined for greatness. There had long been written a legend, a legend of a hero who would deliver the world of Barnturnia out of it’s darkest days. A hero by the name of He-Mane. At the age of 18, in Barnturnian pony-man years, Adam was summoned by the powerful Horseress by the name of…Horseress to the gate of the mysterious castle Grey-Stall. In an awe inspiring and far to complicated to describe here ceremony the Horseress gave to Adam the Lasso Of Barnturnia! When Adam raised the lasso above his head, swirled in around cowboy style and repeated the magic words that he apparently already knew a strange and wondrous transformation took place! Adam’s pink horse blanket disappeared and was replaced with a super butch looking harness. His coat turned from beige to dark beige and his mane became slightly darker blonde! But that wasn’t all! When he spun his lasso of power in the direction of his trust yet cowardly wagon friend, it grew and became the armor plated and much braver Battle Wagon. The best part was that no one in Barnturnia could ever figure out that Adam was He-Mane! Despite the fact that they looked almost identical to each other and they owned the only two green, tiger striped, talking wagons on the entire planet.
Spine tingling and epic adventures in which Skele-Trot and his minions would commit unspeakable acts such as ruining the party games at King Colt’s birthday party or draining the color from all of the flowers in Merry Meadow! In one especially heartbreaking episode Skele-Trot developed a “Bad Day Ray” and Zapped Man at Hooves’ Daughter Tail-la. She then spends almost a whole week in a gloomy grumpy mood. Her friends all try to combat the evil spell, by which I mean they all come up with zany ways to try and cheer her up most of which result in, you guessed it, wacky hijinks! And so it would go. Skele-Trot would come up with a moderately evil scheme using a weoponish device. He-Mane and his loyal friends would all join forces to take on his attack in friendly, safe for all ages, battle and in the end friendship sharing and happiness would win the day! In every episode. Every week!

Believe it or not the show was never aired. A pilot exists online but few aside from those of us in the retro cartoon blog illuminati have ever seen it. There were even toy prototypes created and the photos leaked to the internet. The entire concept seemed so beyond belief that those who have seen them mistook them for homebrew modified my little pony toys. Even the Retroist himself presented one of the Masters of the PonyVerse toys in this fashion. It was out of fear of getting my second verbal reprimand and finding myself on blog-probation that I didn’t question my bosses article. Now however I find myself with the need to speak the truth. For those fans out their who thought My Little Pony could use a lot more sword and sorcery or who always found Masters of the Universe a little bit to bipedal, there are options. Masters of the PonyVerse has found quite the underground following online. There are illustrations, costumes and yes there has even been talk of a PonyVerse videogame! Though that talk mostly came from me and no one seems to have bitten on the concept yet…though if any of you have gaming connections we can make this happen! Huh? Huh?

Though it is nearly impossible to find My Little Pony fan fiction online, my sources tell me that there are some fantastic He-Mane stories out there. I have yet to read any of them however because while I respect people who can spin great fictional stories, I myself try to stick with the facts.