Latex wuff

Here's the Turn-Tale Wolf!

Hey, does anybody who still reads my blog here remember over eight years ago when I talked about the 1952 Merrie Melodies cartoon "The Turn-Tale Wolf", directed by Robert McKimson?

Well, here he is in cosplay form!

The head is a vintage vinyl rubber "Bad Wolf" mask made by French mask company Cesar from the 80s to the 2000s. Cesar made some of the best vinyl masks in the industry; back then they were like a decent bridge between the cheap plastic Halloween face masks for kids (the kind often included in those Ben Cooper/Collegeville-style costumes) and the more upscale full-head latex masks (as while Cesar's vinyl masks cover the entire head, vinyl is somewhat inferior to latex, but it DOES last much longer!) The derby is a costume hat I bought off eBay, and the turtleneck sweater is from Amazon. (Classic cartoon tough guy wardrobe!) The cigar is a fake plastic one, left over from my dad's Groucho Marx Halloween costume he often wore every year. The blue pants are a spare pair of sweatpants I had planned to use for my Zak Wolf half-suit, but decided against it amongst learning they had no pockets. I gotta say, I'm REALLY impressed with how my costume came out! Maybe I will save it for a future Halloween or convention (as this year I'm going to be wearing Zak Wolf once again, now that the Halloween festivities are going back into swing!)


"Does THIS look like malarkey?!"  ...
"Of course, uh, WE know I lost it (my tail) in a swingin' door!" (Sound advice for fursuiters everywhere!)
Son of the Masked Clock

No more worded pedestrian signals in Brockton...

Well, for the past couple of months, they have really been working on Phase 2 of the Belmont St. construction project, the section of the street near the high school, the Brockton Rox baseball stadium, the Shaw's supermarket (where my mom currently works) and a fast food district. And as part of this, three intersections have been getting their traffic lights redone, including the last one in the city to have old pedestrian crossing signals that spell out the words "WALK" and "DONT WALK"...

This is a fiber-optic bimodal pedestrian signal unit that was once fairly common around Brockton, made in the 1980s and early 1990s. Both the "DONT WALK" and "WALK" indications would be illuminated by halogen bulbs, and fitting in a single 12" housing made them nice and compact. In 2003, all but this intersection had the fiber-optic pedestrian signal units replaced with LED bimodal hand/man signal inserts during a citywide LED traffic light upgrade. But because this intersection is owned by the state, it was exempt from the upgrade. (One of the intersections being upgraded currently is one the city used to own but is now state property.)
A problem was that the halogen bulbs could burn out, and so in most cases "DONT WALK" would be blank. "WALK" would still work, but it would be inconvenient not knowing how long the flashing/clearance phase was supposed to last.

Well, around 2013, they solved that problem by using LED units to illuminate "DONT WALK," which is why it flashes in the typical LED fashion instead of the fading normally associated with fiber-optic signals (and this is why my iPhone had a bit of trouble picking up the light at times; a common issue with LED pedestrian signals being recorded). "WALK" was still lit by a halogen bulb, so it wasn't as bright.

This week, the new traffic signal equipment was turned on and the old signals were removed.

The intersection now has countdown pedestrian signals, with Campbell Guardian accessible pushbuttons that vibrate and call out the street names for the visually impaired!

The other three intersections getting redone also had these installed. Not too surprising, given how busy and dangerous Belmont St. always was for pedestrians, and I always figured countdown signals would be perfect for here. Normally in Brockton, the trend is to put regular hand/man pedestrian signals at smaller intersections with light-to-moderate traffic, and countdown pedestrian signals at large busy intersections. This recent Belmont St. project has resulted in Brockton now having twelve intersections with countdown signals in place! (And seven of the intersections alone are on Belmont St!) It amazes me how it's almost been a year now since Brockton got its' first countdown pedestrian signals at the intersection of Main and Plain St., and they've slowly been spreading across the city since then, as they have gotten pretty popular and common, to the point where you'll find them practically everywhere in huge cities like Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, etc.

While it's a little sad to see another part of my childhood going (the worded "DONT Walk" signals), the new countdown pedestrian signals taking their place are a much-needed improvement!

50 years of the Monster Cereals!

With the Halloween season approaching, General Mills has been promoting the 50th anniversary of when they released first Monster Cereals back in 1971. It was originally just Count Chocula and Frankenberry. Here is their first TV commercial from that year!

Does the kid appearing at the 0:23 look "Peanuts"-esque to you? That's because Bill Melendez Productions, the company famous for doing many "Peanuts" animated specials and movies, animated the early Monster Cereals commercials! And as I've mentioned before, in many of Bill Melendez Productions's non-"Peanuts" works, kids still had a "Peanuts"-esque design to them.

1972 saw the addition of Boo Berry cereal, with a ghost mascot. From 1974 to 1982, they had Fruit Brute cereal with a neat werewolf mascot, and from 1988 to 1992 they had Fruity Yummy Mummy cereal. General Mills has a keen blog post that goes into further depth of their history.
And for this milestone celebration, they've come out with "Monster Mash" cereal, combining all five cereals in one!

I figured I'd give Monster Cereals a shot for this special occasion (usually my cereal of choice is Kellogg's Special K Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crunch, but this calls for a celebration, plus some holidays can call for special exceptions to my eating habits!), and I even decided to have Zak Wolf pose for a photo with the cereal here, being a brute wolf himself! And it was pretty tasty, too!
But I'm still designating it as a "sometimes" cereal this season (a term I picked up from an infamous "Sesame Street" song), like to eat when watching Saturday morning cartoons and a few other days I'm not working or on the morning of something Halloween-related coming up. And with things slowly returning to normal, even with that pesky Delta variant of COVID-19, this Halloween season should be more fun than it was last year!
  • Current Music
    "Monster Mash (8-bit version)" by 8-Bit Universe
Son of the Masked Clock

"Five Nights at Freddy's" goes Hanna-Barbera!

Last week, as part of promoting the new "Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach" game, Steel Wool Studios produced and released a new animated short as a tie-in...

"Freddy & Friends On Tour!" It's done in the style of a late 1960s-early 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, combining the band aspect from "The Banana Splits", "The Cattanooga Cats" and "Josie and the Pussycats" with the classic "Scooby-Doo" mystery formula! I love how they even mimic Ted Nichols's old Scooby-Doo background music cues, and parodying the "Scooby Dooby Doors" and unmasking devices (very nice animation of Foxy getting unmasked to reveal his bare robot form, too!) I'm surprised it didn't use any real Hanna-Barbera sound effects though; most Scooby-Doo parodies I see use them, including any parodies I may make.
The band part brings to mind the early Scooby-Doo concept, "Mysteries Five," where the mystery-solving teen gang would also play in a band, and Scooby-Doo himself was originally going to be a bongo-playing sheepdog named "Too Much." But this idea was scrapped as it was fairly obvious that H-B was trying to copy rival Filmation's success with the Archies (and Jughead's own sheepdog Hot Dog would also be part of the band, pretending to conduct their performances.)
And yes, I am posting this due to today being the 52nd anniversary of when "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" premiered on CBS's Saturday morning block, on September 13, 1969.

Here's MY take on the "Scooby Dooby Doors" gag, complete with using the original music and sound effects!

And as for combining "Five Nights at Freddy's" with the "Cattanooga Cats," I mentioned a while back that the new WBA/HBO Max series "Jellystone!" did just that, in the episode "Cattanooga Cheese Explosion!"

The titular Chuck E. Cheese's-esque family pizza restaurant has the Cattanooga Cats as its' animatronic mascots. And of course, it turns into a spoof of F.N.A.F. when the robots notice Yogi Bear and Shag Rugg are not happy and attack them! (At least it's a lot more fitting when Warner Bros. retooled the Banana Splits into killer robots for that horror TV movie a couple of years ago.)

And there's your retro Scooby-Doo/Hanna-Barbera -related post for tonight!
  • Current Music
    "My Group Has Too Many Cavities" by the Cattanooga Cats
Zak Wolf

Zak Wolf goes back to Boston!

I had been anticipating this for much of the later summer, as with the pandemic easing up somewhat (save for that pesky Delta variant, but if you're fully vaccinated it won't make you sick should you get it), Fan Expo Boston was able to take place this weekend! A little later due to said pandemic, and it was also a little smaller, as they were still getting back into swing after such a long hiatus. But for this comeback, I thought I'd attend the convention as Zak Wolf, bringing him into Boston again for a second time after he went over so well at Anthro New England 2020.


Here I am posing outside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center among arriving yesterday morning with my friend that moved to North Carolina three years ago and came back to visit the area for this event! A few of the congoers there even figured it was me after having seen me going from 2014 to 2019 as Disney's Big Bad Wolf! I guess you could say Zak had been bitten by the Boston bug since Anthro New England 2020 and has since wanted to go back!

From the commuter train ride in that morning, here's a neat sight I saw at South Station's railroad yard...

One of Amtrak's 50th anniversary diesel locomotives! For this milestone celebration, like they did for the 40th anniversary ten years ago they're decorating some diesels in such themed paint schemes. They had a couple of new Siemens Charger locomotives built with a couple of the special scenes, and repainted a few of their GE Genesis diesels. (For the 40th anniversary, they only repainted Genesis locomotives for this celebration, along with an NPCU that used to be an F40PH.) I'm especially looking forward to the Genesis diesel that will be painted up like Amtrak's Dash 8-32BHWs when they were first delivered in 1991 (and thus dubbed the "Pepsi Cans" due to their paint scheme.) But I only saw that particular locomotive yesterday morning; for all I know it's probably out on the west coast now!

I got in a ltitle later both mornings, arriving near 11 AM. This is because the MBTA re-arranged the weekend commuter train schedule, so there isn't an inbound train between 8 and 9 AM anymore; the one I got arrived at the Campello train station at 9:32 AM. So at least I could sleep until 8 AM both mornings!


One table selling comics and various vintage collectibles also had a bin of LP records, largely movie and TV soundtracks, and so I couldn't resist seeing what they had! I bought the "Funky Phantom" album you see in the photo, produced and released in 1972 by Peter Pan Records, it's a story album containing four radio drama-style tales of Mudsy and his human friends going on Scooby-Doo -esque adventures. Like many Peter Pan Records adaptations of Hanna-Barbera properties, the voices were all recast, and one of the substitute voice actors is Peter Fernandez, the original English voice of "Speed Racer!"


Billy West is also at this year's Fan Expo Boston, a prominent voice of my childhood (Doug Funnie and Roger Klotz, Ren and Stimpy, Rancid Rabbit of "Catdog," the Red M&M, and of course all those "Futurama" characters) who also has autism, like me and several of my friends to! (Well, with me, it's Asperger's Syndrome, but still.) This is the third time I've met him at such a con, but the first time I took my photo with him! At his Q&A panel I asked which of Doug Funnie's alter-egos was his favorite, and he said he didn't really have a specific favorite yet, but enjoyed how Doug had so many fantasies and made up one about Doug imagining he's in court for blowing up a building, and Roger is the judge! Would've made for a hilarious episode!
I also plugged to him my Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker "Ren & Stimpy" episode "Stimpy's Nickelodeon Phobia!" I hope he likes it.

I also got an autograph from Jon Lovitz! Naturally, I had him sign a picture of his character Jay Sherman, star of "The Critic!" (He's also done some great voice work on "The Simpsons," especially with Artie Ziff.)


Trick Or Treat Studios was at the con, too! I have a few latex masks from this company you might have seen before. (The Scooby-Doo Big Bad Werewolf, Ghost of Mr. Hyde and "Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts" Wolfman, and Frosty the Snowman.) I attended a panel they hosted about history on movie monster makeups and the Halloween mask industry, and I even pointed out at one point how realistic expressive rubber masks used to only exist in cartoons and comics, decades before being possible in real life (though in most cases with that, it's silicone masks that are a lot more expensive.)


Already September and Zak Wolf can’t wait for Halloween! Here he is posing at the photo setup at Trick Or Treat Studios's table.


Speaking of masks, Boston still has a mask mandate in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Fan Expo Boston 2021 is includes. But an advantage of going to this con as Zak Wolf is that this does count as wearing a mask! (Though I did also bring an ordinary COVID-style face covering for my nose and mouth at times I was not wearing Zak's head, like attending a few panels and whatnot.) But I got REALLY sweaty in this, as it's been the first time in nearly 19 months since I've been going around somewhere in a fursuit!


One cosplayer dressed in a fursuit of a Nargacuga from the "Monster Hunter" video game franchise and wanted a photo with me, and so I couldn't resist!


The MBTA commuter train I rode home from Fan Expo Boston on that day was pulled by one of their recently-rebuilt F40PH locomotives! Look at that nice paint job! Last time I rode on a train powered by one of those refreshed diesels was coming home from Anthro New England 2020!
Interestingly, this weekend that was the only MBTA F40PH I saw; all the other commuter trains I saw were pulled by the newer HSP46 diesel locomotives, including the train I rode in on yesterday morning and going both ways today.


This morning when going into the big city for Fan Expo Boston 2021, I thought among arriving at South Station that I'd walk to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center instead of takind a Silver Line bus, as it was only a 15-minute walk away (if the timing on the traffic lights is good), and I figured I could use the exercise and show off my fursuit this way. (Seriously, I lost a few pounds this weekend, and I've been working on losing this quarantine weight!) I also walked from the convention center to the station yesterday evening for the same reasons.


Who needs Poké Balls to catch Grumpig when you’re a big bad wolf?
Yep, as usual there was quite a bit of Pokémon stuff going on at the con. Plenty of Pokémon-related merchandise and games being sold at tables, quite a few Pokémon cosplayers, and even Veronica Taylor (the original English voice of Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon anime) was a guest!


At Fan Expo Boston I ran into my friend Tisbury Raspberry cosplaying as Scooby-Doo, and we just had to get a photo together! Like me, she too is into Scooby-Doo and Wile E. Coyote! We're both looking forward to Anthro New England 2022!


Likewise with this fursuiter known as "nobiteman" with her fox partial. I also came across a few other furs that recognized me from Anthro New England, and other recurring Fan Expo Boston attendees that were familiar with me cosplaying as Disney's Big Bad Wolf!


There was a neat video game setup at Fan Expo Boston 2021, kind of similar to what Anthro New England has, and so when I saw there was a Nintendo 64 with Mario Kart in it, I thought I'd take it for a spin again! Just like at ANE 2020!

Then later that afternoon, I left the con and made my way to the In Your Ear! record store, as per usual, to present Zak to the shop owners there again, after having done so with Anthro New England 2020. It was a fun little visit, though I seem to be running low on records I buy there (they lately haven't had any 45s I'm keeping an eye out for.) Then I headed for home, for the most part with the costume still mostly on except for the head...

...but I'd still put the mask on for some photos and other interesting scenarios! I mean, it's not every day that you see a big bad wolf riding the subway! Even when I was at South Station, one of the conductors of the train I was about to board wanted a picture of me in my full fursuit! It's fun when I do this; I also enjoy when others barely notice or even care!

All in all, I'm pleased with how successful this weekend was! And tonight I had one of the most refreshing showers I've had recently! And starting tomorrow I'm going to do some cleaning and fixing up on Zak, so he'll be in great shape for Halloween next month... that is, if I wear him for the holiday again!
  • Current Music
    "Here's To The Ears Of Love" from "Mickey's Rock Around the Mouse"
Son of the Masked Clock

30 years of Nicktoons!

Today marks the 30th anniversary of an important milestone in the history of animation: the debut of Nickelodeon's first three original "Nicktoon" animated series - "Doug," "Rugrats" and "The Ren & Stimpy Show!" They all helped to change the animation industry, and so I celebrated a bit as well! First, I uploaded a little tribute animation I made on the Microsoft 3D Movie Maker! Mods for Tommy and Chuckie have been made, but no "Doug" characters, so I had to work with what I got...

I'm pretty impressed with how it came out, regardless. And yes, that was a real scene in "Rugrats" where they met the "Aaahh! Real Monsters" characters (albeit in an imagine spot they were having).

Then, since I had the day off from work, I watched the three shows' premiere episodes on The Big Screen in our living room!

Such a big difference compared to watching them on a 20-something -inch CRT TV (later 32-inch) back in the 1990s!

This was such a big deal for Nickelodeon, they even had a custom opening and closing to accompany each Nicktoon! Here's the first one they used...


But I am more familiar with the ID they used from 1993 to 1997, animated by none other than Blue Sky Studios!

So boys laugh, dolphins chirp, and dinosaurs...  make intimidating music?

My parents were well aware of how much my brother and I loved the original Nicktoons (though they wouldn't let me us watch "Ren and Stimpy" until I was ten years old), and they even got us these TV trays!

I had this "Doug" TV tray...

...and my brother had the "Rugrats" one!

Nickelodeon has since drastically changed, to the point where the only cartoons they now care for are "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "The Loud House." But at least it's good to see they've got a nostalgia market involving those old shows, so much that on Paramount+
But Nickelodeon didn't care so much for nostalgia in 2000, when the channel REALLY began to undergo some changes, and the characters from "Ren & Stimpy," "Rocko's Modern Life" and "AAAHH! Real Monsters" that made up the Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker cast found this out when they noticed a certain bumper persuading kids to go play outside before one of their shows started, and got wise to Nickelodeon's rebranding scheme for the new millennium!

So Ren and Stimpy go to the offices at Nickelodeon to complain and learn some not-very-good surprises... and finally get a GOOD surprise 20 years later! (But now the revival is in limbo...)

And here is what's currently my most popular Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker-based animated short...

Yep, Ren and Stimpy are actually scared of two of the freakier and stranger 1990s Nickelodeon ID bumpers!


Hopefully once Anthro New England happens again next year, as part of the 1990s theme, one of the T-shirts Zak Wolf will wear to the con will be this orance 90s Nicktoons shirt, and the mixtape I'm planning to play there (on cassette) will also include the Beet's "I Need Mo' Allowance" and "Killer Tofu!"

And there's your retro animation post for tonight! Happy 30th birthday, Nicktoons!
Latex wuff

Jellystone!

The cartoon world is abuzz with the new animated series by C.H. Greenblatt, creator of "Chowder" and "Harvey Beaks". But this time, instead of featuring new original characters, it's yet another reboot from Warner Bros. Animation: "Jellystone!"

It premiered on HBO Max last Thursday. Many people seemed to criticize the art style, saying how those classic non-Flintstones/Jetsons/Scooby-Doo Hanna-Barbera characters (most of which had faded into obscurity after H-B was fully folded into Warner Bros. Animation) don't look right. But knowing this was from the creator of "Chowder," I was able to accept the designs. In a way, this show is pretty much "Chowder" with lesser-known Hanna-Barbera characters, but so far I am enjoying it.
But worth of note is all the gender-swapping that's been done! Several male characters have been retooled into females to try and be gender-neutral, due to how most of the old H-B stars were male. These include Jabberjaw (who now has the voice and mannerisms of a sassy black woman, sort of like Mammy Two-Shoes or Witch Lezah), Augie Doggie, Yakky Doodle, Squiddly Diddly, and even Loopy De Loop!

This is probably the only gender-swap I'm not too crazy about. I always liked Loopy De Loop as-is...

A handsome French-Canadian gentleman wolf who always tried to break the whole "wolves are mean" image, usually to minimal success. But besides that, the female Loopy doesn't seem too bad.

Gender-swapping characters in the media is nothing new. In fact, in lieu of recent female reboots of "Ghostbusters" and "Ocean's Eleven," for Season 30 the Simpsons did an episode spoofing that...

...where Itchy and Scratchy get rebooted as females! But despite the gender swap, their cartoons are still violent and gory as usual, and of course Lisa loves the idea, while Bart is initially appalled. But when he ends up laughing at a particularly violent gag in the first female Itchy and Scratchy short, Lisa decides to uncharacteristically bully Bart for it and post his reaction online!




I do like how Mildew Wolf has been hinted to be gay in this show, no doubt a clever nod to how Paul Lynde originally voiced him on "The Cattanooga Cats."
I'm also not that big on the show's bathroom humor, but then again, seeing as it's from the creator of "Chowder," this isn't too surprising.

One thing that surprised me about this show is how it doesn't have the throwback Hanna-Barbera logo at the end, the one that was used on Warner Bros. Animation's "The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania!", the "Wacky Races" reboot and "Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs!"

At first they were just not using it on the Scooby-Doo stuff made by WBA, since they usually classify Scooby-Doo as not being part of the Hanna-Barbera family anymore (even if some of the newer Scooby-Doo productions reference other H-B properties!) Instead, the show just ends with the current WB Animation logo.
I wonder if this has something to do with Warner Bros. rebranding Cartoon Network's European-production arm as Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe? (After all, Cartoon Network Studios was originally a subsidiary of Hanna-Barbera back in the 1990s.)

And there's your classic cartoon post for tonight.

8/11/21 UPDATE!
I've watched some more episodes since I posted this and came across a couple more surprises...


The Banana Splits are in this show, but now they are mobsters! They act as loan sharks and commit armed robberies... while it's not as bad as that horror movie Warner Bros. made for the Syfy channel a couple years ago (turning them into hostile "Five Nights at Freddy's"-style animatronics), what excactly does Warner Bros. have against the Banana Splits anyway?!

There's even a Chuck E. Cheese's parody in one episode, "Cattanooga Cheese Explosion!"

Of course, their animatronic mascots are the Cattanooga Cats, the hillbilly cat band from the short-lived 1969 H-B series of the same name (and they have some pretty cool songs in the original show, I will admit!) But since it's parodying Chuck E. Cheese's, they naturally take a "Five Nights at Freddy's" turn for the worse and try to kill the main characters among seeing they are not happy!
Coyote from "Aesop and Son"

The end of Vegas Movie Studio

Last week, Magix Software discontinued their Vegas Movie Studio line of video editing software, essentially a consumer/hobbyist-aimed version of their more famous Vegas Pro...

This most likely came to be due to how Magix bought the Vegas software from Sony in 2016. Magix has already had their own Movie Edit Pro line of consumer/hobbyist video-editing software designed in Germany, and I assumed it didn't make sense for Magix to offer two very similar but still different applications. So among Vegas Movie Studio's discontinuation, on the North American market Magix rebranded their Movie Edit Pro as Movie Studio 18 (as the last Vegas Movie Studio version was 17).
I did use Vegas Movie Studio for a few YTPs in the past before I got a Mac (back when Sony owned it), but I will admit this is kind of a big blow to the consumer video market. It makes starting in Vegas Pro a lot harder now, as you could start out with Vegas Movie Studio and then upgrade to Pro when ready (like I did during my Windows days.) And while Magix Movie Edit Pro/Movie Studio 18's got virtually all the same features as Vegas Movie Studio did (such as 200 video and audio tracks on the Platinum version), it has a completely different interface.
Plus, many YouTube Poopers that use Windows like to use Vegas Pro for editing their YTPs, and in a recently-revised version of my "Arthur Makes a YTP" video...

I used some of my effect work to make Arthur edit his own YouTube Poop on Magix Vegas Pro! (Ironically, I made the YTP on Final Cut Pro X, being a Mac user and all.)

It's the end of an era for video editing, but probably not as bad as when Apple redesigned iMovie in 2007 and Final Cut Pro in 2011...
Latex wuff

Back to the Jam!

This weekend, Warner Bros. released the latest Warner Animation Group feature film: "Space Jam: A New Legacy!" It's been concurrently released to movie theaters reopening across the country and to Warner's streaming service HBO Max. At first I was a little unsure, because I didn't enjoy the original 1996 "Space Jam" too much, and the reviews were not so good. Though I remembered the original "Space Jam" got hostile reviews as well from the critics, and I was also desparate to see anything with the Looney Tunes in their classic forms (like "Looney Tunes Cartoons," as I've been enjoying so far.)

And you know what? I watched it on HBO Max last night (while my brother saw it with a friend at the theater) and I actually enjoyed it a lot! Sure, it's not the greatest thing the Looney Tunes have done in recent years, and it was clearly made to cash in on 1990s notalgia, but I still found it to be pretty fun!
Now, in this sequel, we focus on basketball superstar LeBron James, who is of course not really connecting with his son Dom, who's really into designing games and not about playing basketball in real life as much, including creating a basketball game that LeBron ends up bugging out. Then the James family is invited to Warner Bros. Studios, where they see a presentation for their biggest project, the Warner 3000 Entertainment Serververse. Think of it as combining HBO Max's library with virtual reality gaming or whatever. The Serververse is ruled by an evil computer algorithm with the punny name Al-G Rhythm, played by Don Cheadle. When LeBron James turns down Al-G's offer to take over ruling the Serververse, he takes advantage of Dom wandering off to check out the studio's server room and virtually kidnaps Dom, hoping to steal his basketball game coding.
Of course, since I am a computer technician, a lot of this greatly interested me.


Get a load of the statuette behind Malik (LeBron James's manager and friend); it's Dot Warner!

And so, Al-G Rhythm challenges LeBron James to a game of basketball via Dom's video game. If LeBron's team wins, he and Dom are freed. If not, they stay. Al-G does not think fondly of the Looney Tunes, so he sends LeBron to the "rejects" - Tune World! Among arriving there, LeBron becomes an animated WB character and meets Bugs Bunny, the only Looney Tune left in Tune World after Al-G kidnapped the rest of the gang for the Serververse, as he thinks the Looney Tunes is a dying franchise. This is based off how after their last theatrical feature outing, "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" from 2003, bombed miserably at the box office, Warner Bros. pretty much considered the Tunes as no longer being relevant and popular (along with hand-drawn theatrical animation as a whole), and canceled the theatrical-intended shorts in production at that time (which was probably for the better, as they were not that good to begin with) and had the shorts taken off of Cartoon Network, meaning that they were no longer being rerun on mainstream television! (Oh sure, they still aired on Boomerang for a couple of years after that, but most people didn't get that channel.) Most merchandising was discontinued except for at the Six Flags parks. The Looney Tunes were in danger of becoming as obscure as the Terrytoons or the Walter Lantz characters.
So, after LeBron and Bugs exchange their stories, they go on a quest to get the Looney Tunes gang back together for the Tune Squad (though LeBron wanted bigger and stronger WB-owned characters for his team), finding them in several other worlds in the Serververse...


In DC World, Daffy Duck is acting as Super Duck in order to get into the Justice League, by intentionally setting up a runaway train that he'll attempt to stop, but ends up breaking the emergency brake while attempting to pull it...


...while Bugs as Batman and LeBron as Robin are stuck riding on top of the out-of-control speeding train! I love how this scene is accompanied by the 1960s Batman theme song! But of course, right before they can crash into an orphanage, the REAL Superman stops the train just in time, not amused at what Daffy did.


The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote are in the "Mad Max" world, and Wile E. looks REALLY cool here, complete with spray-painting his fangs silver! Of course, this could be a future cosplay idea...
They also find Elmer Fudd and Sylvester in the Austin Powers world, in the roles of Dr. Evil and Mr. Bigglesworth, of course. Yosemite Sam is in the Casablanca world ("Play it again, Sam!"), the Tasmanian Devil was with Rick and Morty, and Lola Bunny is training to be one of Wonder Woman's Amazons! But they manage to get the crew back together. This was the part I enjoyed the most.


In this scene where Al-G Rhythm is still convincing Dom to work with him, Al-G does a pretty fun Steve Jobs impression, and even has an Apple Genius Bar -styled setup here!


Like in the original film, Marvin the Martian plays a small role, but this time he's not the referee (and so he doesn't get brutally beaten up, due to the writing staff obviously not liking him.) Bugs had instead stolen Marvin's spaceship so he and LeBorn could travel the Serververse to get the rest of the gang, and among arriving back to Tune World, Marvin ends up trapped under the ramp! But he's not hurt so badly this time, as later on he had gotten out only to get stuck again.

Soon after some training, it's game time. Al-G Rhythm shows up with Dom and of course expresses his dislike for the Looney Tunes, treating them like washed-up has-beens like they really were in a good bulk of the 2000s. And so, like he's been doing with Dom's basketball video game, he gives the Looney Tunes an "upgrade"...


The beloved Looney Tunes characters all get translated into 3D CGI animation! I will admit, while some of it looked a bit odd, this was some really GOOD CGI, courtesy of Industrial Light and Magic. Naturally, most of the 'toons don't like it, especially Bugs...


But Daffy doesn't mind. "I look expensive!" he exclaims. This pretty much serves as a jab at how CGI has been dominating when it comes to theatrical animated features, and had a part to play in the Looney Tunes's downfall of the 2000s (when movies from Pixar, DreamWorks and Blue Sky were ruling the box offices and such).
Daffy does not play on the Tune Squad this time; he instead serves as their coach, and he's pretty funny here.

Al-G Rhythm also ends up zapping people from their electronic devices into the Serververse to watch the game, and assembles his team of Dom James and the characters from Dom's basketball video game. Al-G's deal is that if LeBron and the Tune Squad win, everyone goes back to where they belong. If Al-G and Dom's team wins, everyone remains trapped in the Serververse, and the Looney Tunes get deleted.

Al-G has also summoned practically everyone in the Serververse to come watch the game, including Scooby-Doo and Mystery inc. as they appeared in last year's "Scoob!"


The Iron Giant has even come to the game! This cameo I sure enjoyed.


Several other Hanna-Barbera characters also attend the game, including the Flintstones, Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo, the Jetsons, Frankenstein Jr. the Wacky Racers (Dick Dastardly and Muttley are also in their "Scoob!" forms) and Jabberjaw. And look: Yakko, Wakko and Dot have also come to watch the game! They get a particularly good view, sitting on Marvin's spaceship!
(The Warner siblings were going to make a cameo in "Looney Tunes: Back in Action," coming out of the WB studio water tower when it comes crashing down thanks to Daffy, but executive meddling and possible conflicting rights with Amblin Entertainment prevented this from happening._


Wile E. Coyote actually looks pretty good animated in CGI by Industrial Light and Magic, I will admit. Like in the original, the Tunes try to play the way LeBron James and the opposing team do, and are getting creamed and are soon REALLY far behind. But after an inspirational talk from Bugs and Lola, the Looney Tunes decide to do what they do best - being Looney, and this gives them a REALLY big boost in the game! Here, Wile E. Coyote is using an ACME cloning machine to clone the basketball to get multiple shots. (Besides, Al-G and his team were cheating anyways.)



I love how Wile E. Coyote even pulled off the classic "Painted Tunnel, Real Train" device on The Brow!


And of course, here's the scene everyone was practically dreading... the rap battle with Porky Pig. Fortunately it's brief, so it's not as cringe-worthy as I thought it would be, and I did enjoy how reluctant they were to try rapping, along with a few of Porky's lyrics. But even with that, "Robot Chicken" did this sort of thing a lot better 15 years ago...

They even got Bob Bergen to voice Porky Pig in this sketch! (He didn't voice Porky in "Space Jam: A New Legacy," but he DID voice Tweety, but in other cases he still voices Porky in newer stuff like "Looney Tunes Cartoons.")

And speaking of Robot Chicken, here's a hilarious "Space Jam" spoof they did in 2014...

Instead of Michael Jordan/LeBron James playing basketball with the Looney Tunes, it's Tiger Woods playing gold with DiC characters in "Golf Jam!" (WARNING: Because this is "Robot Chicken," it's NSFW!)

So far, "Space Jam: A New Legacy" is doing pretty well at the box-office, being one of the highest-grossing family movies released theatrically this year (as we're still recovering from that darn COVID-19 pandemic.) This means things may continue to look bright for the Looney Tunes for quite a while!
I hope they soon start making replica new-style Tune Squad uniforms with the Looney Tunes' names and numbers on them, because then once I get a new Wile E. Coyote costume, I can get the Tune Squad outfit to go with it! After all, I have an original-style Tune Squad jersey...
wileespacejam.jpg

In fact, the way Wile E. Coyote looked in CGI in "A New Legacy" reminded me a lot of that Wile E. Coyote costume design that Italian company makes and I hope to eventually order one of, preferrably before Anthro New England 2022, so I can then wear it with the Tune Squad uniform to go with the con's 1990s theme! I'm also going to order a custom Tune Squad jersey for Zak Wolf to wear during the Fursuit Games!

And there's your Looney Tunes-related post for tonight, folks!
Son of the Masked Clock

Collecting older Macs...

Well, I've been working for that electronics recycling/reselling company for about eight months now, and apparently I've picked up something that my dad would do from his job; he'd take older PCs home (usually Dells) to tinker with them and whatnot. But with me, I take home older Macintosh computers! You see, the company often gets MANY of the same model from schools (including most popularly iMacs, white MacBooks, MacBook Airs and 13" MacBook Pros). And they also don't really want to resell any Macs made before Apple started putting Intel Core 2 Duo processors in them (this rules out all the PowerPC Macs and the early Intel Core Duo Macs.) So, being the Mac expert on my job and my boss understanding my hobby, he said it'd be OK if I took at least one older model that either they have lots of in the warehouse or one that's too old for them to resell! And so I did, really kickstarting my little Mac collection...


The first one they let me take was this 15" PowerBook G4 laptop from early 2005! When I got it, it had no hard drive or IDE connector...


But the optical drive still works, and so I could at least boot into my Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger install disk. It's the early 2005 1.5 GHz model, and came with 512 MB of RAM, and the optical drive is a Combo Drive (Apple's optical drive from the 2000s that could read CDs and DVDs, but only burn CDs). While it's too bad it's not a SuperDrive, I really doubt I'll be burning any DVDs on a PowerPC Mac anytime soon. (And if I REALLY want to author a DVD in PowerPC style, I could always use my 2005 eMac with its' SuperDrive.)


Maxing out the RAM from 512 MB to 2 GB, to give it a considerable boost in performance.


Here I loaded an mSATA 256 GB SSD that I pulled out of a Windows PC at work (whenever we prepare to resell a Windows computer of some sort, if it's got a removable hard drive or SSD, I'm supposed to take it out so we can sell the PC without a bootable drive installed). I formatted the mSATA drive into Mac OS Extended Journaled using the Apple Partition Map via one of my Intel Macs, then plugged it into an mSATA-to-IDE adapter I bought, hooked that up to the new IDE cable I bought, and nstalled them into the PowerBook G4.


Then I installed Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger onto the SSD!


The "About This Mac" screen. Needless to say, once I was able to hook it up to the Internet, I updated it to Mac OS X 10.14.11, and then I set forward in installing iLife '06, Microsoft Office 2004 and a few other programs...


...including TenFourFox! It felt good to see that screen on the Macintosh Repository website. As you can see, I'm transferring files and such from my PowerMac G4 QuickSilver booted into Target Disk Mode via FireWire, along with one of my general backup drives I store program installers and such on (of course it operates at USB 2.0 speeds, but that's fine by me.) The backlit keyboard also works great. But I'm still going to need to get a new battery for the PowerBook, for if I want to operate it without always plugging it into an outlet.


I copied over my iTunes library from the PowerMac G4 QuickSilver for use in this older version of iTunes, and then added some MP3s from my current iTunes/Music library into this, to manually sync them. A little time-consuming, but it gets the job done.


Trying out iMovie HD 6 on the PowerBook. Of course, standard-definition video works great, but it struggles a bit with HDV. It doesn't capture in real time, instead at a quarter of the speed, so if I am going to edit HDV footage on it I'd need to work on my timing on this sort of capture.


I even got Mac OS 9.2.2 working in Classic Mode on the PowerBook and can run some of the old computer games of my childhood that came in Mac versions! Of course, for several of the games I have to manually change the color mode on Tiger to 256 colors, but it's a fairly quick job.


And here's another older Mac I got shortly after the PowerBook G4...

A mid-2012 13" unibody MacBook Pro, the popular 2.5 GHz Core i5 model that Apple made for four years straight as an affordable laptop option for those that wanted more processing power but didn't want to spring for the pricier Retina Display models. Because these were also pretty popular with educational institutions (in addition to some school districts purchasing these in bulk, I'd see a LOT of college students when going for my I.T. degree with them), we often get a lot of these to recycle or resell, and so I'd often either pull out or reinstall hard drives and RAM in these). My boss said because of that factor and my Mac hobby, I could keep one of them for my collection, and so I popped a 1 TB SSD into it and bumped up the RAM from 4 to 8 GB and installed Mac OS 10.15 Catalina on it! The battery needs to be replaced, but that's something I could do without much hassle, as I've had to replace bad batteries from unibody pre-Retina MacBooks before on this job.


Transferring files from my M1 MacBook Air to use on the 13" Unibody Pro via a Time Machine backup.


Running the latest version of Final Cut Pro on it.


Just for a fun project, I can even swap the 1 TB Catalina SSD with my 512 GB SSD with Mac OS X El Capitan installed on it, so I can run older 32-bit applications on this MacBook Pro, like the classic iMovie HD 6. While nowadays I definitely prefer Final Cut Pro for similar edits (and the current iMovie for simpler projects), it's a fun throwback once in a while. I can even capture footage from my MiniDV, HDV and Digital8 camcorders via FireWire into the MacBook Pro! (A story about the iMovie HD project there; in late 2018 when I was finally able to have a MiniDV tape removed from my dead Canon Optura 50 camcorder that kicked the bucket on an outing in 2013, I actually ended up capturing the tape into iMovie HD here, as this was before I found out how I could import DV footage via FireWire into the newer versions of iMovie and Final Cut Pro on Mac OS 10.14 Mojave and higher with the sound going through. It was a fun throwback editing on iMovie HD 6, but it did take noticeably longer than if I edited the movie on iMovie 10 or Final Cut Pro X.)


Running Final Cut Express 4 on the MacBook Pro with the El Capitan SSD installed. It does have kind of an old-school charm.


And because the internal SuperDrive still works, another useful thing for this MacBook Pro is that I can use it as a DVD-authoring machine, running iDVD 7.1.2 for burning home movies onto elegant-looking DVD discs! (They sure do look nicer than the DVD and Blu-Ray menus on Roxio Toast and whatnot.)



Yesterday I maxed out the RAM in the MacBook Pro from 8 to 16 GB! I sure love the easy user-serviceability of those unibody MacBooks...




With the RAM maxed out, I even went and installed a Boot Camp partition with Windows 10! I don't plan to upgrade it to Windows 11 anytime soon though... (I'm saving that for my Dell tower.)
This could definitely make for a nice secondary laptop for me (compared to my more powerful M1 MacBook Air I've been using a lot lately and am typing this blog post on), especially since I've always thought a mid-2012 13" MacBook Pro would be nice to have, especially with the Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports and SDXC card slot and a working SuperDrive, but I previously could not afford even a secondhand one like this. Ahh, the upsides of working for an electronics recycling/reselling company and being the Apple expert there!


And then this week, I acquired yet another addition to the collection, this time a desktop...

An early 2006 Intel Core Duo 1.83 GHz 17" iMac! This was practically the very first Intel Mac on the market when the PowerPC-to-Intel transition commenced! (Mine was manufactured in July 2006, about two months before it was discontinued in favor of its' Core 2 Duo successor). Visually it looked identical to the later 17" iMac G5 that came equipped with an iSight camera, but aside from the internals the I/O port arrangement on the back is different.
When I got this iMac, it apparently came from either a school or a library that had Mac OS X Snow Leopard already installed on the 160 GB hard drive and requiring a password to log in, and as if that weren't enough, it had a firmware password as well! But I was able to remove that by removing one RAM module (it had already been maxed out to 2 GB) and resetting the PRAM three times. Then I wiped the drive and installed Mac OS X Leopard onto the system (my old Snow Leopard disk was accidentally damaged and thus could not install on a system; I got a replacement one though, more on that in a bit).


Transferring my data from my PowerBook G4 via FireWire Target Disk Mode. I did this so I could use my iTunes and iPhoto libraries designed to work on the older versions of the software.


Mandatory "About This Mac" shot.


Testing HDV capture on the white Intel iMac. Of course it's not a real-time capture, but at least it's a little faster than on my PowerBook G4. According to David Pogue's "iMovie 6 & iDVD: The Missing Manual," this was common with such Macs back then when capturing HDV footage, be it on iMovie or Final Cut or whatever. This was because the iMovie HD and Final Cut Express would transcode the HDV footage into the Apple Intermediate Codec for quicker and easier editing. For real-time capture with the early Intel Macs you needed a Mac Pro or even a MacBook Pro. Of course, when I'd run iMovie HD on my two Macs from 2012 (my quad-core i7 Mac Mini and my aforementione 13" MacBook Pro), it captures HDV in real time, thanks to the more powerful processor and lots more RAM.


Thanks to the working SuperDrive, it also makes for a great DVD player with a large built-in screen! Here I am watching one of my favorite summertime movies since childhood!


From 2009 to 2011, Apple had what they called the "Mac Box Set." This was back when upgrading to a new Mac OS X version cost $129, and each new version of iLife and iWork was $79 each, so Apple made it easier for people to upgrade the software on their slightly older Macs with this software bundle including the latest versions of Mac OS X, iLife and iWork for $169! In a way, people have compared installing this suite on an older Intel Mac to buying a new Mac!


Because this is an early 32-bit Intel Core Duo Mac, 10.6.x Snow Leopard is the highest Mac OS X version it'll support, as it was the last version that would work on 32-bit Macs, in addition to being the first version that only worked on Intel Macs (10.5 Leopard was the last one that could also be installed on PowerPC Macs.)


Now I am preparing to install iLife '11. This was the last version to be sold as a physical disk bundle together in 2010, and was the first Intel-only version of iLife. While iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand got some great upgrades, iDVD and iWeb were included but had virtually no updates, as by that time Apple felt that consumers weren't burning DVDs or creating their own personal websites anymore.


Running iPhoto in full-screen mode. Beginning with iPhoto '08, you now also had "events" for groups of photos, that way you didn't have to make an album for everything. WAY more convenient. Though when upgrading that iPhoto library I did have to separate several of the events into their dedicated proper ones, like this event for Anthro New England 2020.


iPhoto also had some pretty nice image editng tools, but they do pale in comparison to the more extensive image editing features in Photos for MacOS (the successor to iPhoto.)


As I mentioned before, iMovie '11 got some really spiffy and useful updates after it was completely rewritten and redesigned three years before. It came with the cool Movie Trailer creator, brought back "rubberband"-style audio editing and waveforms and added other useful sound editing tools and effects, one-step video effects, a face recognition feature like the one in iPhoto, and even the ability to work with something like a classic timeline (the current iMovie strictly sticks with said classic timeline-esque layout.)


Running my aluminum Mac laptops side by side! From left to right we have the 15" PowerBook G4 from 2005, the 13" Core i5 unibody MacBook Pro from 2012, and the current 13" M1 MacBook Air that came out later last year. That's three different types of Mac processing systems right there, each one better than the last!


So that makes three older Macs to add to my collection, along with my M1 MacBook Air, my 2012 quad-core i7 Mac Mini, my late 2009 white polycarbonate MacBook, my 2005 eMac G4 all-in-one desktop and my 2001 PowerMac G4 QuickSilver tower! I don't know how much bigger my collection is going to get now, as I think I'm perfectly happy with the selection I have (though maybe I could get an early 2000s iMac G3, as those were pretty popular... maybe even a PowerMac G4 Mirror Drive Door model... hmmm...)