Sunday, April 30, 2006

Small Break

Welcome back!

I'm going to take a small break from my semi-regular posting - I should be back on Wed May 3 -- can you believe it's May already?!?!

Take a look at some older posts - post some comments - let me know you're out there!

See you soon!

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

About Non-Sport Trading Cards

Welcome back!

Do you remember "Wacky Packages" from the 1970's? How about "Garbage Pail Kids" from the 1980's? Pokemon from the 1990's? Or Yu-Gi-Oh from the new millennium?? What do all these products have in common? They're all examples of popular non-sport trading cards (technically Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh are CCG trading cards).

Non-sport trading cards (aka bubblegum cards or entertainment cards) cover a wide range of subjects - from TV/movies  to art to CCGs (collectible card games). My personal interests cover TV/movies and art for the most part. I haven't gotten into CCGs (yet!).

I first started collecting trading cards as a kid (as most die hard collectors do). I had a small collection of various cards - some Space:1999 cards, a few Wacky Packages cards and some from the original Batman TV series. The only trading cards to survive that period of collecting are my Space:1999 cards - I lost the Batman cards (and with the unlikelihood of another set ever being released, I could kick myself!!) and probably stuck the Wacky Packages stickers all over my school books!

I had long put my non-sport trading card days behind me until 1997 when I happened upon a pushcart at my local shopping mall. There, I saw a pack of "Lost in Space" classic TV series from Inkworks -- I HAD to have them! There were two of my childhood loves in one product - trading cards and the tv series Lost in Space (I'm sure I'll be discussing LIS at some point here).  How could I resist? That one little purchase started off a chain reaction of collecting trading cards -- and this time, I'm not throwing them away or sticking them on my school books! :)

I hope to share my enjoyment of non-sport trading cards with you over the next few years - until then, please take a look at my Web site - Tony Island - it has a (slighty outdated) listing of my non-sport trading card collection plus links to other non-sport card collectors along with some Space:1999 odds-n-ends.

Well, this is the last of the topic overview posts - starting Friday, we'll tackle some serious blogging! :)

Thanks for stopping by - and don't forget to post a comment by clicking the link below before you surf away!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

About Gerry Anderson

Welcome back!

Today, I'm continuing the topic overviews, this time focusing on Gerry Anderson. Gerry Anderson is a prolific British television producer - I would compare him to American producer Irwin Allen - they both produced popular science fiction tv series that featured lots of explosions! But there the similarity ends as Gerry never got fully into the movies (he did make one live action film) and Irwin Allen never went back to TV series after moving to the silver screen.

Gerry's career started in the '50s and continues to this day - he has worked with puppets ("Supermarionation") and actors. Some of his works include:

Stingray (puppet series) - WASP patrols the seas to protect humanity from an underwater kingdom

Thunderbirds  (puppet series) - the Tracey boys and their father rescue people in peril worldwide and in outer space.

UFO (live action) - a secret organization protects Earth from an alien invasion.

Space:1999 (live action) - the continuing adventures of a moonbase crew thrust into uncharted space after the Moon is ripped from Earth orbit by a massive muclear explosion.

The above is only the tip of the iceberg of Gerry Anderson productions. Over the coming months, I'll have reviews of many of his series for you. I hope I've sparked your interest in this prolific producer and that you will search out and view some of his many works that are currently available on DVD.

Thanks again for stopping by - take a moment to leave a comment - tell us your favorite Gerry Anderson production!

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DVD Review: The Bostonians

Welcome back!

As you can see from the post title, this is yet another DVD review post! Most of the DVD review posts will be courtesy of my Blockbuster Online subscription  - I get unlimited (one at a time via mail) rentals PLUS one free rental per week at my local Blockbuster store! It's a good deal - they have other packages for more out at a time, etc.

"The Bostonians (Christopher Reeve, Vanessa Redgrave)" is a Merchant/Ivory period piece based on the Henry James novel. Vanessa Redgrave plays a suffragette who meets up with a young suffragette orator. On the scene arrives Christopher Reeve as Vanessa's cousin. They vie for the love of this young woman. The film is rather dull and the underlying semi-lesbian relationship between the two female leads is a bit uncomfortable to view -- can't pinpoint why it is, but it just didn't sit right - Vanessa's character seems to be manipulating this young woman using their common goal of women's equality as a way to control here (she even pays off the young woman's parents to leave them alone!). Toward the end of the film, I did like the quirky characters but it's not something I can recommend you run out and rent.

I'll give it 2 stars out of 5 (average rating is 3). There are better Merchant/Ivory productions - stay tuned to this space for future reviews of some of these period piece classics!

Do you enjoy period piece/costume dramas? Or contemporary films? Let us know - and if you've seen The Bostonians or any other Merchant/Ivory film, tell us about it!

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to subscribe to our RSS feed -- and, as always, leave a comment before you click away.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

About Space:1999

Space:1999 - starring Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Barry Morse

Welcome back!

In this first week of posting, I thought I'd introduce some of the topics I'll be discussing in my blog. Today, I've decided to introduce the epic 1970's British SF series Space:1999. As you can see from the photo above (a scan of the back cover of one of the novels), Space:1999 starred Martin Landau, Barbara Bain and Barry Morse (first season only). The series centered around the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha ("Alphans") who had been thrown into the deep reaches of space after the Moon was ripped from Earth orbit by a massive nuclear explosion! Unable to control the course of the Moon, the Alphans were at the mercy of the Universe as they encountered alien worlds, alien beings and other oddities.

The first season was a serious look at the castaways' predictment and as such the stories were rather moody and dark. There were some light moments, but most of it was serious - as one would expect if you were careening thru space on an uncontrollable moon! The second season  saw a sharp turn to a more action-oriented, lighter approach to storytelling. American producer Fred Frieberger was brought in to boost ratings -- his main contribution was to add an exotic resident alien known as Maya (Catherine Schell)  who was capable of shape-shifting into any living creature. Unfortunately, the stories tended to play out where Maya would use her abilities to either save the crew or provide key information to help them out of the current predcament and then end on a "light hearted" note. Many fans were put off by all the changes (we'll discuss them in future blog posts) and ratings declined. The series was cancelled in 1977. It played sporadically in syndication during the 1980s and made a brief appearance on the cable Sci-Fi Channel in the early 1990s. It was left for dead until A&E released the entire series on DVD in 2001.

In the coming weeks, I hope to chat more about Space:1999 and hope that you chat about it, too! Just click on the link below and leave your comments!

Thanks and see you soon.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

DVD Review: Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Welcome back!

As promised, I viewed and will now review "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" (Bette Davis, Errol Flynn). Just to let you know, my DVD reviews will be short and sweet - I won't bore you with long winded reviews unless the film (or DVD features) really really impresses me!

Bette Davis stars as Queen Elizabeth (the virgin queen) and Errol Flynn is her love interest Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. When the film opens, the Earl is returning to England in triumph over the Spanish at Cadiz. There's only one problem - he never brought back the spoils of war (gold) that England so desperately needed. This sets off a battle royale between the two. Elizabeth sends Essex off to Ireland to defeat the rebellious natives there but comes home defeated himself. In the end, Essex is beheaded - and Elizabeth remains a virgin.

This film was originally released in 1939 - and only shows its age in terms of sets (fairly bland for a period piece) - the acting is still superb and the story engaging. Look for a very young Nanette Fabray along with a small role by Olivia de Havilland. The DVD transfer looked sharp - no noticeable problems here.

The DVD had an interesting extra - "Warner night at the movies". Introduced in a 4 minute segment by Leonard Maltin, the special feature "recreates" a night at the movies in 1939 - you would have seen a trailer for Dark Victory (another Bette Davis feature), a News Tone news update, a short patriotic animated cartoon, "Old Glory" starring Porky Pig, a musical short "Royal Rodeo" and finally, the feature film.

The DVD also had a 10 minute featurette about the off screen hostilities between Davis and Flynn while making the film - I won't spoil any of it here, but let's just say they didn't get along!

I'll rate this 2.5 stars out of 5 (my average rating is 3 stars). I'd recommend renting this for most movie lovers; purchasing it if you're a Davis or Flynn fan. I can almost recommend buying it for the extra features alone - I did find them fun and different!

Well, that's all for this time. Please be sure to leave some comments if you've seen this film or perhaps if you're a Bette Davis or Errol Flynn fan!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Navigating Tony Island blog

Welcome back!

I thought I'd take a few minutes of your time to discuss the layout of Tony Island blog (hosted by As you can see, there is a "control panel" on the left side of the blog. It has a rather simple layout - About Me, Links and archives. I'll be adding more links in the near future, but for now, I encourage you to check out my "complete profile" by clicking the link under the About Me section.

As I get better at blogging, I hope to make the control panel and layout more interesting - but, of course, you're here for the content, so I'll be concentrating on that foremost! :)

I'm off to watch "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" (Bette Davis, Errol Flynn). Check for a review soon!

As always, constructive feedback is appreciated and can be left by clicking the "comments" link below this posting. Don't forget to add Tony Island blog to your RSS reader!

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Welcome to Tony Island Blog!

Hello and welcome to my blog!

Over the course of the next several years, I hope to have an ongoing chat with you about some of my favorite things - dvds, Space:1999, non-sport trading cards and (occasionally) sports (especially if the Boston Red Sox or New England Patriots make the post season!).

I'll even share some thoughts about current events or something rattling around in my mind. While I continue to construct Tony Island Blog, take a look around - check some of the links including the one to my main web site Tony Island; just be careful not to hurt yourself - there could be some flying debris!

I hope to post every Monday (at the least) -- but, if you don't want to miss anything, why not subscribe using the RSS link? Use your favorite browser, RSS aggregator or Web site to catch up-to-the-minute posts!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my new blog. Please leave a comment (keep it constructive and family friendly :)

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