Bad scripts plus bad acting plus bad special effects add up to great entertainment. Okay, maybe not great entertainment, but certainly steps above watching paint dry. Yes, many of them are a real challenge to watch, but like Phil, I'm definitely attracted to them. There are a few pretty decent movies in there, but it's a stretch to call some of the titles Sci-Fi. Since all are public domain transfers, they show their age poorly which also adds "character". Also fun to see some stars you'll recognize and wonder what the hell were they thinking. That's also true about the unknowns and maybe what helped many of them stay unknowns.
I have several of the 50 title sets when they were originally put out by Mill Creek Entertainment several years ago. Some of them like Eegah which is about a giant caveman living near Palm Springs, played by Richard Kiel (Jaws from James Bond fame) were screened on MST3K.
So yes, watching many of these movies might be 70-90 minutes of your life you’ll never get back, but you’ll still be better off than the actors were.
Hardly rocket shaped, the Sonicons by Masudaya form an easily identifiable group. They are large, inflated-looking battery operated vehicles. There are acres of tinplate that need covering, and the litho of these vehicles is one of their most attractive features. There are four pieces that I am aware of, all sharing the same pressing. They can be dated reasonably accurately to the 1963 - 1968 period. The Sonicon action is a patented steering mechanism that found its way into a range of vehicles including boats and coaches. The vehicle would move steadily forward and a sharp blow on a huge blue plastic whistle (or a loud shout) would make it change direction. It must have been popular with parents on Christmas Day - not!
I eventually got to work on a dead Sonicon and discovered the complex and elegant principal behind the mechanism. When switched on the Sonicon moves off with a bump'n'go action - but a ratchet prevents the rocket turning to the right. When the whistle is blown a diaphragm at the back of the rocket vibrates. As it vibrates the centre of the diaphragm touches a delicately poised contact which completes an electrical circuit. This in turn activates a large plastic cylinder which is capable of reversing the direction of current. This activates the rear lights and makes the bump'n'go move in reverse, but this time a locking device on a wheel prevents movement to the left . Whew! Obvious, isn't it? Modern microchips can do the same, but they're not half as much fun. It is one of the most entertaining space toys that I know.
The typical Sonicon is the Sonicon Rocket. It is a designer piece from Kunishiro Designs based on a painting by Yamashita. There are at least two litho variations of this rocket: the dark blue and silver one pictured, and a patterned lighter blue version. The antennas can be either blue or grey.
I never thought anything of it, but both my gray and blue Video Robots with the word Video on them are six wheelers. Also I have two Attacking Martians - two different shades of gray or Silver with six wheels. So I have four of the sure-footed six wheelers.
Up until his retirement last year, Dave Thomas was better known as Dave Roberts, the popular weatherman for WPVI Channel 6 in Philadelphia. During the tributes to him was the first time I heard about his show in Buffalo.
It's an auction that really only "starts" after it "closes". The bidding ramps up on Friday and really takes off after the 11pm close and the countdown clock begins. That's why it takes most of the night to officially end.
I'll second the Piston Robots as my favorites at the bottom end. I especially like this guy. May not have classic looks, but the piston action and near perfect smoke rings make it hard to resist for the price.