1. Howard Johnson’s 2001 Children’s Menu – A lot of words come to mind when I think about 2001: A Space Odyssey, but “child-friendly” isn’t one of them. It’s not like it’s filled with questionable or mature content or anything, I just have a hard time believing that kids could sit through a movie like that and be able to digest it. Howard Johnson’s – who had a presence in the film – thought otherwise, and maybe it’s a good thing they did – I would have killed to be one of the kids featured in this “shut up and sit quietly” restaurant comic book. Courtesy of Dreams of Space – below are some of my favorite pages but be sure to head there for the rest:
That’s an odd thing for the cover to feature, that aspect of the movie. It’s not like the movie’s about that. The copy is a little odd, too but as you’ll see in subsequent panels they really go out of their way to explain the movie and the science to kids.
Here’s where I start taking issue. These kids are at a fancy movie premiere and they’re discussing/summarizing what’s happening on screen! I would not be smiling like those people are if I were the one seated behind them. I do love that they call it the “atom-powered spaceship”, though. Also their “here’s the part” summary covers like 30 minutes of the film!
“I can hardly wait for the year 2001 so I can be a space stewardess!” Yeah, that’s a cringer.
A great story about a great story. Actually the illustrations of movie scenes are pretty gorgeous, so there is that. Also, the comic ends with this kid’s menu:
Save a Happy Clown for me!
2. Jimmy Jet – Creepy and delightful. And an impressive toy for the time.
Fly! Fly! FLY!
3. Richtung 2000 – This one hurts a little to share. It’s a 1972 German television broadcast envisioning life in the year 2000 and the sting comes from the fact that it’s 2015 and I’m still not this guy.
For best results, translate the page in Chrome and put the subtitles on. It’s not perfect but it’s wayyyy better than my German.
4. Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle – This ColecoVision game really showcases how difficult it is to be a Smurf.
There’s a few things to love about this game. Released at the height of Smurf-mania in the US, Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle featured pretty solid graphics for the day and showcased what the ColecoVision could do – an endorsement that the flagging ColecoVision could use. Also the use of “Smurf” instead of “Smurfs” implies either an artistic boldness or a mistranslation; I choose to believe it’s the former.
Now, the bad: this game is terrible. Presumably because of their height, everything under the sun is a threat to a Smurf: blades of grass, fences, or slight ledges meant death. I have no idea how they navigated these perils in the TV show, but I was unequipped to do so in the game. As it turns out, and I’m not joking about this, the Cabbage Patch Kids game is the superior licensed ColecoVision title. Look for that one soon.
Here’s a terrible playthrough of this terrible game that has nonetheless captured my heart.
5. Operation X500 – From the makers of Jimmy Jet, here’s an equally creepy ad for Operation X500:
Is that a real kid? That’s not a real kid.
Is that a real kid?