Saturday Morning Cartoon memories

It’s been a few years since the major networks ceased doing their Saturday Morning Cartoons blocks on TV. As a child in the 80’s and into the 90’s the whole ritual of getting up early on Saturday morning and being glued to the TV wasn’t just something we did, it was pretty much all we did.

Everyone has different memories of the Saturday Morning cartoons. For me it was often fighting my three sisters for control over what we watched next. Fortunately we did have 2 TV sets, although the smaller one was in black and white and was mostly used for video games, it still caused many fights that often ended with someone getting hurt. My oldest sister is 3 years my senior so she always wanted to watch stuff like Soul Train and in later years MTV. My immediately younger sister was barely a year and a half younger than I was so she typically had similar tastes in cartoons as I did, except she had this weird obsession with puppets so he gravitated towards stuff like Eureka’s Castle, Fraggle Rock and things of the like. I could get her into Pound Puppies, Snorks and Muppet Babies just fine, but she protested watching Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Transformers, G.I. Joe or even Scooby Doo. I never could figure out what she didn’t like about Scooby and friends. Then there was my baby sister. She had no say, all she wanted to watch was Rugrats and Nicktoons, didn’t matter what day of the week. When they moved Doug and Recess and all that Nickelodeon crap over to my network TV slots I sort of moved on and let her have it.

Of course not all the cartoons we watched aired first on Saturday mornings. Often times they were re-runs of syndicated shows and shows that ran earlier in the week. To that end we never really knew what we were going to get. My earliest memories were watching the Heroic Autobots battle the Evil Decepticons for control of the world’s energy sources. You could argue that watching this show about robots running out of energy contributed to my interest in alternative energy sources, but let’s not give too much credit to the animators of a Japanese cartoon. Save some of the blame for Captain Planet and his Planeteers that would come much later.

Another thing I liked to do during the week was record episodes of cartoons, commercials, and other shows that interested me and play them back on the weekend. I didn’t do this often but it was something I would dabble in. Normally I would end up erasing one of my sisters’ boy band concert videos so when they found out I taped over their boy crush for a bunch of random commercials and crap they would usually go ballistic. Most of my memories were fighting my sisters over what to watch more than enjoying the actual program. Because of this what we typically did was landed on one channel, watched it until commercials then flipped as fast as we could to the next and so on and so forth. This meant we were only getting bits and pieces of each show, but it was better than sitting through an entire episode of that lame New Kids on the Block cartoon that, in my opinion, never should have existed. Those brief moments in between when I got a glimpse of M.A.S.K., or C.O.P.S (why did so many cartoons back then use acronyms?), that’s when I would get excited.

I did eventually get crafty in my ability to turn my sisters on each other. I found ways to get the baby to play with her toys while I would get my younger sister and older sister fighting over a hair brush or article of clothing or something sisters cared about then I would sit on the floor way too close to the tube and claim it for my own. Once my parents would see I was firmly engrossed in a show if one of my sisters tried to change the channel they would get scolded with a firm “You weren’t even watching it, he was let him finish his show.” This strategy worked more often than not. I can’t be sure if they ever caught on because the oldest sister moved on to chasing boys and the youngest sister was easy to manipulate leaving the one opponent, the middle child. Even at the tender age of 8 I quickly learned how to negotiate with the middle child. I would usually agree let me watch this show and the next one and you can have it after that while I play Super Mario Bros. Since I tended to hog the Nintendo and always force my sister to be Luigi, it was easy for me to casually hint that she could play as Mario while I watched my shows. Then all I had to do was enjoy my programs while she romped through the Mushroom Kingdom with player 1 controller in hand for a change. This strategy didn’t always work as my parents were slow to increase our catalog of Nintendo games and my sister was quick to lose interest in the three games we did own for the longest time.

Manipulating my sisters was only half the battle. I also had to find crafty ways to get my parents out of the house in order to prolong the part where dad would kick me out of the house to play outside while he napped on the couch with the TV tuned to some fishing show or NASCAR or whatever else it was adults watched to fall asleep. Normally by the time the parents told us to play outside I would casually, sometimes sneakily, make my way into whichever side room had the video games and try to get in as many rounds of Atari or Nintendo as I could. We still had both systems well into the 90’s so this usually worked out until my parents just decided to give me my own TV set and I ended up winning the war for the TV after all was said and done.

For me it was mostly fought on Saturday mornings. Everyone remembers those blocks. I didn’t have much preference either. I would sit through an episode of the Alf or Teen Wolf cartoon, flip it over to an episode of Care Bears or even sit through an episode of Rainbow Brite if that’s what it took to keep the cartoons going and the old westerns my parents enjoyed off the TV. The battle continued Monday through Friday as I would get up at 5 in the morning, turn the TV to a minimum volume and sit through episodes of The Odd Couple, Perfect Strangers, Mork and Mindy, even Kate and Allie, just so I could stake my claim to the TV set before school.

I had a set list of shows I couldn’t miss. Transformers was TOP priority. It didn’t matter if it was Saturday morning, before school, after school or a random tape I rented from the video store, if there was a chance I could get my buddy Optimus Prime on the TV set I was going to do whatever it took. Priority number 2 was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I would also watch this regularly whenever it aired as well as rent tapes from the video store. Priority 3 was X-Men the Animated series. This came alter but once I discovered it this show became a must watch. Fortunately for me both of my younger sisters developed an equally strong interest in X-Men characters (they each also collected the comics and trading cards as did I) so it was much easier to get them to call a truce when that show came on. Then down the list the priority was, shows with robots, shows with magic, shows with mutants, shows with cute girls that had purple or pink hair (yeah I was weird sue me) then at the bottom of the list was shows with talking animals. This, of course, only applied to cartoons.

Live-action shows was much different. I prioritized shows with a cute girl I crushed on, Saved by the Bell it was Kelly, Sabrina the Teenage Witch/Clarissa Explains it All it was, you guessed, the awesome Melissa Joan Heart, and okay well there wasn’t a cute girl on Boy Meets World, I just found that show funny as hell. And in case you are wondering, it was the red head with glasses on any show that had a red head with glasses. Or any girl with glasses. For some reason I was into chicks with glasses… Okay moving on…

By the time the 90’s rolled around I was shifting into more live-action stuff like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Super Human Samurai Cyber Squad, and CGI animated shows like Reboot and Beast Wars. I only gave Beast Wars casually passing as I was a die-hard TRUKK NOT MONKEE type. Still I eventually came around and became more interested in that show. The 90’s also saw my tastes briefly shift to anime. I got into Sailor Moon, Ronin Warriors, Dragon Ball Z, The Slayers, Patlabor, and even Digimon for a while. By the time my anime watching friends were getting into Powerpuff Girls I had snapped out of it and the anime spell was broken. I haven’t hardly looked back either. I do remember though, the Saturday Anime block that came on the Sci-Fi channel. We didn’t have cable when we were very young, so we didn’t have the Sci-Fi channel (as it was called back then) until mid-95. By that time I was pretty much over the Saturday Morning cartoon craze.

Those are some of my memories, please comment your thoughts, memories and stories plus favorite cartoons from the 80s and 90s, anime excluded if you can.

Contemplating the Netflix purchase of comic book imprint Millarworld

The Spiders Lair is not a news site first and foremost. Obviously nobody is learning about this news by coming here. Still this is big enough I wanted to get something down before the dust settles.

According to reports Netflix is purchasing an indie comics company called Millarworld. Apparently it’s the publishing house that does Kick-Ass and Kingsmen, among other comics I never heard of. At first that sounds like a pretty big deal. Especially when you take into account their current deals with Marvel. Netflix could soon become the premiere streaming service for quality, comic book content.

Of course the only two comics they make I know about are the very two not included in the purchase. What does this mean in the grand scheme of things? On the surface, very little. Netflix has never out right purchased another company before. By picking up a comic book imprint the idea sounds good. If they can develop enough titles into quality movies and shows for their service, combined with the already fantastic Marvel shows they have, other publishers could come on board. I think the far reaching implication would be for more indie developers to bring their titles to Netflix for production. This could mean we could start seeing shows based on comics that aren’t as mainstream as Marvel and DC without having to go through the Hollywood studios. This could be a game changer depending on how things work out.

Imagine as more comic book fans start to discover all the good shows and movies they want to watch are coming to Netflix. This could snowball where all the content creators scramble to get their indie comic characters turned into a Netflix series. I would LOVE to see a Gen 13 show or even a revived Buffy with a new lead. Oh, I guess if they wanted to they could go the animated route too. I just wish they would use their licensing deals to pick up a few more classic animated comics based shows like the original TMNT cartoon or even some X-Men the Animated series. When I first discovered Netflix they had a ton of those types of shows. Now they have a few here and there. I don’t think the quality has declined much. I just don’t think they need to abandon old shows entirely to make room for new content. I would prefer they found a better balance between the two.

AS of right now this is more akin to when Hasbro bought the rights to Atari back in the 90’s. They are getting some new properties but are they really going to have the impact Netflix desires? A real game changing deal would have been if they picked up Image, Malibu, or even Dreamwave, at least then you are getting a solid blend of well known and indie comics. Here you are basically getting 4th tier comics from a very small specialty publisher. Not a bad deal, it’s still new content but seriously if you have to Google what their titles are it’s not like they are making waves. I mean I read comics, I go to Free Comic Book Day. And I wasn’t that familiar with this company. I loved Kingsmen and Kick-Ass but since those two aren’t a part of this deal I am not even sure how much of an impact this will truly make. All in all I will just take a wait and see approach. Since I haven’t really even been paying attention to Netflix in quite a while I am certain this won’t really affect me all that much anyways.

My comic book memories: X-Men

A couple of days ago I went onto Amazon to purchase some Dawn comics. For those that don’t know Dawn is a character created by Joseph Michael Linsner in the late 1980’s. I discovered Dawn in my early pre-teen years when I was just starting to really get into comic books. Before I could commit to buying any more issues or trade paperbacks I had to dig out my comic vault to see what I had to make sure I wasn’t buying something I already bought previously. I started going through my X-Men graphic novels and TPB’s and realized I didn’t have all of the ones I thought I did. I also confirmed I didn’t have any of the Dawn TPB’s so I was good to order them on Amazon.

How I got into X-Men is a little more interesting than how I discovered Dawn. I always preferred comics with more of a mythology feel or fantasy/swords and sorcery stuff. I enjoyed Conan, and the D&D comics especially. That is how I found myself getting into X-Men. My first experience with Marvel’s famous mutants was not even through comic books. Since I was mostly into indie comics, horror comics, and less mainstream stuff I didn’t see a lot of advertisements for X-Men or other mainstream stuff. If I did, I ignored it or dismissed it as a bunch of spandex wearing clowns. My first exposure was walking into a video arcade and playing the 6-player behemoth X-Men arcade machine. I had no clue who these characters were. Since I discovered TMNT through an arcade game I decided to check out X-Men since I really loved the Ninja Turtles at that time. Turns out the Ninja Turtles were mutants, and the X-Men were also mutants so I thought cool I can get into this. Even if I didn’t really know what a ‘mutant’ was at that time.

I didn’t really pick up any X-Men comics right away though. Instead my next exposure came from renting the abysmal NES game. Now I had rented my share of terrible games on the NES but this was by far one of my least favorite. I couldn’t believe this was how they ported that awesome 6-player game to the NES. I didn’t discover until years later the weren’t even connected outside of the name.

From here I was in 3rd grade and I had a teacher that new I was into reading fantasy and science fiction stuff so she lent me a few of her issues of X-Men comics. They were all mostly current stuff from the late 80’s. Nothing special but I had no idea what was even going on. They were about 3 unconnected issues that had totally different characters in each one. The only character that I recognized from the video game was the guy in the yellow and brown jump suit with the claws. My first impression was I hated that guy. I learned his name was Wolverine and I thought, what a stupid name. His power is he has claws, yawn. Oh he has unbreakable claws, so what.

I didn’t give X-Men another serious thought until the animated series came on Fox a couple of years later. I watched a few episodes and it was entertaining, but I still didn’t know much about the characters, and I still couldn’t stand that blasted Wolverine who just happened to basically be the star of the show. By this time i was really heavy into the Conan the Adventurer cartoon and the new Aladdin animated series. Like I said I was more into horror and fantasy stuff than actual sci-fi. Well I saw a commercial for the Phoenix Saga mini series of X-Men cartoons coming soon. There was a Phoenix character on Conan so that connected the mutants to the mythology stuff I was more into. I was also getting really heavy into Dungeons and Dragons right about this same time.

Finally I gave the cartoon a second chance. I had seen a few random episodes here and there. While the action was always good, the characters didn’t really mean much to me as I had no connection to them. So when I started watching the Phoenix Saga and Dark Phoenix Saga unfold as a dramatic event over several weeks, I became hooked. Suddenly I picked out the characters I did care for and wanted to follow them. I immediately ran out and began buying all the Cyclops and Jean Grey stuff I could. I fell in love with that couple and wanted to get everything I could. By this time I was also getting into collecting trading cards so I had picked up a few sets of Marvel Universe series cards. There were always X-Men characters within those sets so I started reading the backs of the cards, trying to learn more about the lore of these characters. By this time I was really getting fascinated with the Cyclops character and Marvel Girl especially. I started buying X-Men trading cards, action figures, that super fantastic Sega Genesis game and it’s pretty amazing sequel, too. By the mid-1990’s I had gone from not caring or knowing much about the X-Men to being completely dedicated. Before long I was less excited for Conan and found myself looking forward to X-Men episodes even more. As the series dragged on my disdain for Wolverine continued so I quickly lost interest again as the characters I liked took a backseat to his temper-tantrums.

Then it all culminated with me picking up the Wedding of Cyclops and Phoenix issue. Seeing Scott and Jean get hitched was the perfect end to the fairy tale. The mess that was the Spider-clone saga had completely turned me away from Spidey comics by this time. I had sat through the majority of the Age of Apocalypse with intense interest and curiosity. Then just as things were starting to ‘recover’ they started they whole Onslought stuff and I finally lost interest in the comics for good. I kept paying attention to the characters through buying action figures, picking up back issues of the comics that were void of Logan as much as possible. Then they dropped the bombshell of a movie on the world. Wow, for the first time I didn’t care for the Cyclops character and was actually rooting for Logan. Part of this was the movie made Logan a much more likeable character than the whiny little bitch he was in the comics. He was still a selfish asshole in the movies sure, but not as bad as he was in the comics.

This allowed me to warm up to the character so I went back and tried to get into the Wolverine comics too. Needless to say the movies altered my perception of the characters quite a bit. Before long I was stating to lose interest in the characters and their mythos entirely. Still, every once in a while I go back and remember what it was I liked about them in the first place. At one time I was collecting everything X-Men related from New Mutants comics to Cable and Deadpool spin off stuff. Eventually the movies would start to really spend too much time focusing on Logan again, giving him solo movie after solo movie while continuing to treat my beloved Scott and Jean like second, or even third class characters.  Today I have a pretty decent X-Men comics collection I can go back to and revisit. I have all but one of the films and that’s just because I just haven’t been looking for a copy. All in all I discovered I really loved the X-Men and I am very glad I took the time to get to know them.

My experiences with Harry Potter and Pokemon

These two pop-culture phenomenons came out around the same time. I was probably 14 or 15 when they were first starting to get popular. Looking back I can see why I never really became that interested in either of these two properties. They just came out at the wrong time.

Still, I have seen movies and video games come out later in life that I was able to enjoy. For example, I am really loving ARMS and I was really into Splatoon, too.

When Harry Potter first came out I was just disinterested. I already was really into Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, so it’s not like these books weren’t in my wheel house. I just never found them that appealing. Maybe it was because the characters on Buffy and Sabrina were closer to my age and I was growing up. This was around the time I was getting out of Power Rangers and Transformers, plus I was also slowly losing interest in comic books. By the time I was 16 I was so involved with wanting to make music that I almost completely got out of video games entirely. Now I still read books around this time, mostly Star Wars books but also other stuff on rare occasions. I just never could bring myself to get into Harry.

A few years ago I was living with a friend of mine who was one of those child at heart men who remained constantly stuck in his childhood. He loved the Harry Potter books, films, games, everything. He was a few years younger than I was so it made sense it would appeal more to him. During the time I was living with him he had a full Harry Potter marathon. I can’t remember for certain but I think the final film in the series had just came out or was about to get released so he was either catching up or watching a full run, either way all I remember were bits and pieces. I didn’t sit and watch them with him, I was stuck on my computer working on my then latest music project. From what I did see, however, I found somewhat curious at the very least. The thing is, I also was not that strongly into the Lord of the Rings movies either, so it seemed to me Harry Potter was just a kids version of that. Maybe not exactly but that was my impression.

As far as Pokemon goes, I don’t have a good excuse for not getting into it to be honest. I discovered other “children’s” targeted Nintendo franchises following it’s release so maybe the whole concept just never appealed to me. I was mildly interested in Digimon and so I know there was also precedent for me to get into Pokemon, plus I am still a huge Kirby fan so I know I can’t really lean on Pokemon was too “cutesy” for me. To be fair, I have tried to get into Pokemon, I have played several of the games, seen a few random episodes of the cartoon, I even helped my younger sister build a collection of the trading cards, and yes I even tried Pokemon Go, so I am familiar enough with the franchise. I still never developed any liking for it, so even to this day I remain disinterested in Pokemon. I also don’t get into Animal Crossing or Pikmin so maybe there is something to it just being too many characters to keep track of at once?

Looking back on it all, I still have no strong desire to invest any significant amount of my time to watching a movie series about a young kid and his magic friends. I guess the time for me to get into Harry Potter has passed and that’s all there is to it.

My G.I. Joe memories

In 2009 Paramount Pictures teamed up with Hasbro to make a live-action G.I. Joe film. It was loosely tied into the Michael Bay live-action Transformers film series. I personally enjoyed the film. I went into is expecting a science fiction action movie based on a cartoon, based on a toy, based on a generic Vietnam War soldier. Yeah, it was a complicated mess. I was never a big G.I. Joe collector. I was, however, very into the Transformers, Hasbro’s other popular action figure line.

This is just going to be me looking back on all of my memories of the G.I. Joe franchise.

As far as I can tell my earliest memories are sometime around 1987. I vaguely remember having a couple of random Joe action figures, to this day I couldn’t tell you any more about them, honestly even if I saw them in a catalog or on a collectors shelf I don’t think I could pick them out. What I do remember is the cartoon. Mostly because, at least where I lived, it aired immediately following the Transformers cartoon. I was such a huge Transformers nut that I didn’t want the show to end. I would keep watching G.I.Joe because it was close enough it almost had that Transformers feel to it. It had a good vs. evil plot, diabolical robots, a futuristic science fiction technology, and most importantly, many of the same voice actors. Even as a kid before IMDb or Wikipedia, I know that Starscream and Cobra Commander were voiced by the same guy. In a lot of ways the two shows were connected.

I continued watching G.I. Joe even after Transformers went off the air. My earliest memories, I think, were around 1987, I would have been 5 years old. I am not talking life memories, just these two shows. I do very distinctly remember watching Transformers episodes with a giant Optimus Prime robot and a little boy, I later learned this would have been the 1987-88 season, around the time the show was cancelled. I used to tune in to he same channel I thought Transformers had come on, never finding it but always looking. I kept watching the Joes in vain hoping that some day the Autobots would return to their war against the Decepticons. I remember watching the 3rd and 4th seasons of the cartoon with Cobra Commander becoming a real snake, then turning back into a man, and them introducing Serpentor, then the show got too weird for me, I didn’t recognize enough of the characters to stay interested, plus this was around the time I discovered the TMNT cartoon. This distracted me from the lack of Transformers, and was a satisfying alternative to G.I Joe: A Real American Hero, to the point I was able to finally stop tuning in. This was also around the time the Disney Afternoon cartoon block became popular so my interests had shifted. At this time I no longer had any connection to the Joes or Cobra. I would continue to pick up random action figures at flea markets, thrift stores and yard sales, always frantically looking for Transformers, or even Go-Bots figures, but I would pick up a Joe or a Cobra from time to time, if I came across them.

I wouldn’t come into full contact with G.I. Joe again until 1993. This was the time when Transformers Generation 2 launched on TV and just like before, Real American Hero was on immediately following. This time I watched the 5-part G.I. Joe: The Movie episodes, bought, or was gifted can’t really remember, one of those multiple puzzle murals featuring depictions of G.I Joe characters. It was one where if you had all 4 puzzles you could take off the edge piece and connect them into a large mural. I never complete the puzzle, let alone the set, but I did work on it day and night for a good couple of weeks or so. It was around this time I came across an original Sgt. Slaughter action figure for sale at a Good Will for like fifty cents or something, it was dirt cheap. I snatched it up, he was one of my favorite characters from the show, and wrestling too, which I was still sorta of into around this time.

Something else happened in 1993. I was introduced to the Mortal Kombat arcade game. I was immediately hooked and began playing that game obsessively for the next 2 decades. Yes I still re-play the original arcade games to this day. Mostly I switch back and forth between MAME and the collection on PS3, plus I also own Midways Arcade Treasures. Anyways, getting off topic. I also got into collecting comic books, trading cards and TMNT figures at this time. Plus I was just starting to get back into Transformers collecting full force with all of the G2 stuff coming out. In the summer of 1994 I started reading Wizard Magazine, and inside there were all of this kitbashed toys where someone would take one action figure and turn it into something else. I was super obsessed with Mortal Kombat. MKII was all the rage and Kung Lao was my favorite character. If you can’t guess where this is going let me assure you toy collectors, yes I kitbashed an original Sgt. Slaughter action figure to look like a Kung Lao action figure. Or at least, I tried. I ended up destroying the toy in the process. The ironic thing is, just months afterwards I was in K-Mart and there on the shelf was an actual MKII Kunk Lao toy, not surprisingly as they were made by Hasbro, they used the same style of figures as G.I.Joe toys, so needless to say I destroyed an 80’s classic trying to turn it into a $3 toy that was available for sale at K-Mart the whole damn time!

I skipped G.I. Joe Extreme or whatever it was called. I had grabbed a few Transformers comics along the way during my comic book collecting days, including some of those Transformers and G.I. Joe cross over comics. By 1997 I was pretty much done buying toys altogether. I lost interest in Transformers once Beast Wars came on the scene, TMNT had fallen into the toilet by this time, and I was never that into G.I. Joe to start off with so I was done with it for the next few years. It wouldn’t be until 2001 with the launch of the Robots in Disguise toy line before I would slowly start to get back into collecting Transformers. I was also discovering retro game collecting at this time, mostly NES, SNES, and SEGA, so my money was spread pretty thin. I 2003 my sister married a guy who told me about his G.I. Joe collecting day when he was a kid and I started to learn more about the toys from him, not much but more than I had ever known. This wasn’t enough to spark any interest in me or desire to collect but it was enough to read up on the newly popular internet about the history of the franchise and how it intersected with Transformers and Star Wars. Since I was already a huge fan of Star Wars also, this knowledge started to pique my curiosity so I began learning more about the history of the toy line.

I didn’t have any further connections or experience with the toys until sometime in 2004 or 2005. I remember buying one of my nephews one of the Joe figures for Christmas. He was kind of excited for it for a while, then, he wasn’t. I did end up picking up a copy of both Transformers: The Movie and G.I. Joe: The Movie, the original cartoons. This was around 2007 I think. This sparked some nostalgia within me and pretty soon I learned about the upcoming film. Since the Transformers movie just released that same year, and I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, in fact I bought an HD-DVD player and a copy of the movie to watch it in HD on my new HDTV in 2008. This was right around the time they announced they were discontinuing the format so I was able to get the player and movie very cheap. Actually free, because a guy bought it for me as payment, or thank you, for fixing his computer.

Then in the summer of 2009 I dragged a few of my unwilling friends to go see this new movie and, I loved it. I shouldn’t have,  didn’t have very strong ties to the series, I didn’t have much nostalgia for it, but I thought it was a fun movie. By this time I had also picked up a Blu Ray player so I was able to get the film on Blu Ray when it released. A few years later I watched the mess of a sequel, which I still can’t stand and refuse to re-watch.

Since this time the most I have connected with the series is reading the entire Transformers cross over comics, buying a couple random action figures for nephews over the years, and watching some Angry Video Game Nerd videos where he reviewed the old games based on the cartoon.

My most current tie was about three weeks ago when I picked up a sealed 25th anniversary figure of Storm Shadow, sealed, at a yard sale, for $5. Based on preliminary research on ebay/Amazon/craigslist, this would appear to be a fairly good deal. I am not going to sell the toy, but also I am not going to start a collection either. I just thought it was an interesting piece to add to my collection.

And there you have it, my 30+ year history with the Hasbro/Marvel/Sunbow/Paramount franchise known as G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.

My DVD collection: Revisited

I have been collecting movies all my life. Up until about 2013 I had a collection of over 1200 movies. I had movies on DVD, VHS, Beta Max, CED, LaserDisc, HD-DVD, Super 8, Blu Ray, Digital (iTunes, DivX, VUDU, Amazon, Sony digital, Playstation store, etc) I even had movies on VCD. I had everything from TV shows, movies, cartoons, animated films, anime movies, Pixar/DreamWorks Animation, I had over 1200 films, not counting TV or made-for-TV stuff. Everything was good until I became desperate for money and sold my entire collection, minus the digital stuff you can’t sell, to fund a road trip to California a couple of years ago. Okay at the time it wasn’t supposed to be a road trip, my plan was to move in with my uncle in Arizona at the time and drive down to L.A. and check out the job scene. Well let’s just say once I got to Hollywood it was not what I expected and so I just turned around and went back to where I was living at the time.

One thing selling a lifetime’s worth of collecting does has taught me to be far more selective this time around. Before I had VHS, Beta Max, movies on FILM STRIPS that required projectors, I mean I had so much movie equipment my bedroom looked like a pawn shop more than a bedroom. One reason for having movies across so many formats was I was a collector. I wanted everything to me if it plays movies I wanted it. I don’t have room for all that junk anymore and now that I am on my own paying my own power bill, I don’t need all that junk either. So from now on I will be sticking just to movies accessible from my Sony Playstation 4 console.

Mostly I will be sticking to DVDs as they are so much cheaper now than ever. I think that for the most part DVDs have a slight advantage over Blu Ray in that the picture quality is fair on my size TV but also often times the special features on the DVD set are better than those on the Blu Ray release. That doesn’t mean I stopped buying Blu Ray’s though. I still do prefer the better picture and sound quality of the HD discs, I just prefer to have a shelf stocked full of movies I will enjoy rather than buying a movie just because it was on the format and I needed something. Most of the movies I had on Beta Max and CED were films I would have never owned but they were all I could find for a reasonable price on the format. I needed something to justify owning the machines. Since I won’t be buying those old players there is no need for me to bother with movies for them.

The other advantage DVD has over Blu Ray is selection. For the most part if I name any movie I can find it on DVD for a fair price, there are of course exceptions, but that is true for Blu Ray as well. I just grew tired of not owning a movie or holding off for an “HD” release when the DVD was perfectly fine. I will still get an HD release, mostly Blu Ray, of movies that are worth it or if the value is good. I picked up Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens on Blu Ray and it happened to come bundled with a DVD and a free digital copy as a bonus. This was a fair deal for me because I wanted this on Blu Ray to match my complete collection, and also because the digital copy is in HD too. I decided to migrate my digital purchases to VUDU as opposed to iTunes. I love my iPod don’t get me wrong but it sucks as a movie player and once the novelty wore off, in 2011, I realized it was more hassle than it was worth. Also with VUDU I can watch my digital purchases on my PS4 instead of streaming to the TV from the Laptop, which is a major hassle.

Part of the fun of collecting anything is the chase, the hunt, tracking down that item you want to add to your collection. With so many titles I want still not on Blu Ray, or the Blu Ray version is more than I wish to pay, I have decided to stick to DVD for the time being. I will slowly upgrade the really worthy titles as I go along. But I would rather grab the 4 film Indiana Jones boxed set on DVD for $10 bucks and at least have the movies to watch than spend three times that much just for the “HD” experience. With cost being such a factor I felt it was time I scaled back anyways. I have been buying a lot more boxed sets, 4 film favorites, combo packs, and the like than before. Sure I had the occasional boxed set before where it was a good value or the packaging was really cool. I still have the Pizza Box TMNT Blu Ray set because damn it is one cool looking set. This time around I have gravitated more to the 4 film favorites and the boxed sets than before because they are cheap. Since I am buying used as buy 2 get 1 free store I can get three 4 film sets containing a total of 12 movies for $10 bucks. That is too good a deal to pass up. The best part is even with 1/4 of my collection now being multi film sets, I still have plenty of single movie sets and plenty more multi film sets that I can buy yet.

As with before I am not buying any digital copies. I will redeem the codes that accompany new discs as I purchase them, but I will not go out of my way to purchase digital copies ever again. I currently have three digital copies I purchased. Mr. Mom, Can’t Hardly Wait, and The Hunger Games. I got Mr. Mom on iTunes the day I picked up my iPod classic in 2007 just to have a movie to put on it. Same with Can’t Hardly Wait for that matter. The Hunger Games I picked up because I asked a girl on a date to see the third film and she would only go if I had seen the previous two. So yeah it was easier for me to purchase it on Amazon for $10 dollars than it was to go to the video store and rent or buy a used copy. I figured why not the movies were supposed to be good. At the time Netflix had part 2 so I only needed to purchase the first one. Well Mr. Mom and Can’t Hardly Wait are films I want on DVD but can’t talk myself into re-buying since I have $10 digital copies I can access only on my Laptop. As for that Hunger Games film, it can sit on my Amazon account collecting digital dust for all I care. I prefer the original with Arnold Schwarzenegger any day.

TV on DVD is another matter entirely. Before I would buy a TV show on DVD even if I had it in my Netflix list. There was a time when I only would buy TV shows not available on Netflix but that time passed when I was stuck at a place where internet streaming was not an option and I wasn’t going to pay for Netflix just to never be able to use it. Now that it, well sucks, I don’t see the point in justifying paying for it anymore so I will be cancelling my subscription shortly and reverting back to just buying shows on DVD. I am going to be a little more selective this time though only getting shows I know I will re-watch instead of buying DVD’s just to have them. That means no Family Matters just because they were on sale at Wal-Mart. It also means I will only be buying seasons I will watch instead of forcing myself to own complete series just because. I that means That 70’s Show is complete now that I own season 1-5, no need to get the terrible 6-8. I might get 6 if I find it for $5 at Hastings brand new never opened, but I won’t waste the shelf space on 7 or 8 this time around.

Cartoons, anime, animated films, etc. Before I was going for everything. The reason I had over 1200 films was because if I found a movie I liked, had a friend or family member liked, or as mentioned above just needed something for my new player, I bought it. I had all the Disney movies at one time, the cartoons and the musicals. The thing is I HATE musicals and I am not that into cartoons. There are three animated films I want to own, Little Nemo Adventures in Slumberland, Transformers: The Movie (1986) and G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) That is it. No Disney, no Pixar, no terrible Don Bluth garbage. I have the Shrek Films on Blu Ray but that is a relic of the past, I kept them because they were collectible and their not bad movies. I don’t need Toy Story, I never watched it I already know I won’t enjoy it. Anime, yeah give me a break I outgrew that stuff back in the 90’s right around the time I got over Power Rangers. I tried to get into it because it was supposed to be what you did but honestly I never liked that many anime movies or shows to begin with. The only reason I had so many Japanese language films before was in college I was studying Japanese and thought it would help my vocabulary and grammar. It didn’t it only confused me more and I barely passed that class anyways.

There it is, my new, revised movie collecting plan is to stick to DVD first, get Blu Ray only when it is either something really good, or the price difference is negligible. If I can get the Blu Ray for the same price, less than, or only within a dollar or two of the DVD then I will. I won’t be paying a premium just for “HD” anymore when I am watching on such a small screen to begin with.