Archive for the 'Blade Runner' Category

Ertl’s Die-Cast Blade Runner Cars (1982): Rachael’s Spinner

BR Ertl 1982-1

BR Ertl 1982-2

BR Ertl 1982-3

Ertl Rachel

I talked about the obscure Ertl line way back here. I’m still trying to find each of them in package.

Fantastic Films #27 (January, 1982): Interview with Jim Steranko

FF #27 FC

FF #27 TOC

FF #27 pg. 50

FF #27 pg. 51

FF #27 pg. 52

FF #27 pg. 53

FF #27 pg. 62

Comics and illustration genius Jim Steranko on his Raiders of the Lost Ark pre-production art:

The first Raiders painting I did established the character of Indiana Jones. There was really no actor discussed at this point, at least not with me […]

I got a note from George’s [Lucas] secretary describing Indiana Jones, which said that Indy should have a jacket like George wears. That was the only instruction. Fortunately, I knew what kind of jacket George wears. It all worked out very well. I perceived Indiana Jones as a cross between Doc Savage and Humphrey Bogart […]

The definitive image appears on Kenner’s 1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark Game.

Raiders Board Game

Steranko’s Outland adaptation was serialized in Heavy Metal from June, 1981 through January, 1982. You can read the first few pages here.

The movie it’s based on, written and directed by Peter Hyams (Capricorn One, 2010), is generally dismissed as a heavy-handed retelling of High Noon (1952). That’s a mistake. As Steranko says, “[Outland] struck me as being the first noir science fiction film, somewhat in the ‘Chandleresque’ vein.” The film also verges on cyberpunk, and it came out a year before Blade Runner.

It’s fitting that Steranko, deeply influenced by the pulps, also did the cover for the Marvel Super Special Blade Runner cover.

Marvel Blade Runner

Ertl’s Die-Cast Blade Runner Cars (1982)

Blade Runner Ertl-1

Blade Runner Ertl-2

Blade Runner Ertl-3

Blade Runner Ertl-4

Blade Runner Ertl-5

Blade Runner Ertl-6

Blade Runner Ertl-7

My mom took me to see Blade Runner at the theater because I convinced her that it was a Star Wars sequel. I was 10. After Leon shot Holden in the first five minutes (“My mother? Let me tell you about my mother…“), she tried to forcibly remove me, but I wouldn’t budge. I was totally mesmerized by Ridley Scott’s haunting, desperate, Promethean vision of the future. I still am.

I’d forgotten about the toy cars, but they really did exist, and that makes me happy. Kids would have seen the “spinners” (designed by conceptual artist Syd Mead) prominently featured in the trailer, but most wouldn’t have been lucky enough (or duplicitous enough) to get a peek at the movie. It was a brilliant try by Ertl, anyway.

Toys and other kid-marketed merchandise were almost always designed to extend the experience of the production they were based on. (I’ve talked about this before.) In the case of Blade Runner and other R-rated features, that merchandise was meant to replace the experience of the film. Think of all the Alien stuff from ’79: Target Set, Movie Viewer, Board Game, Trading Cards, Kenner’s wicked 18″ action figure.

We’d seen the previews, we gleaned what we could from the adults willing to talk to us, but that’s it. Like Ridley Scott, we had to invent a world and a story for those spinners and that alien to inhabit.

UPDATE (5/8/15): David Augustyn spotted a mistake on the four-pack. Rachael’s Spinner is labeled as Bryant’s Police Spinner and vice versa. The Spinner second from right is clearly a cop car and even has “Police” written on the side.

(Images via eBay)


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