Which Holiday Owns The Nightmare Before Christmas ?

nightmare before christmas

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

If you want to feel old this upcoming holiday season, here’s some good news. Tim Burton’s classic stop-motion movie The Nightmare Before Christmas turns 25 in 2018. But when we say “holiday season…” well, which holiday? Is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie?

nightmare before christmas pop

Awwww, look at those two, celebrating… which holiday, exactly?

Consider this list of films that folks watch in the spirit of October: GhostbustersNighmtare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th… What do they all have in common? They’re all kinda scary/spooky to some degree, and also… they technically don’t have anything at all to do with Halloween. In fact, aside from the Halloween movies, very few movies do. Heck, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial has more Halloween content than most horror films.

As far as Christmas movies, there are tons to choose from. Die Hard leads the list, of course (you disagree? bah humbug, I say!). And Lifetime/Hallmark have filled the broadcast waves with mushy romantic movies that have only the tiniest bearing on Christmas. It’s A Wonderful Life gets a lot of play, but really, it’s only kind of coincidentally related to Christmas.

nightmare before christmas santaThe Nightmare Before Christmas straddles a curious line between the two holidays. The main characters are ghosts and goblins and ghouls of all sorts who live in Halloweenland, preparing year round for their one special day. Sort of like elves making toys year round, right? Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, wishes his holiday could in fact be more like Christmas, so he decides to take over the Yuletide season. In fact, most of the movie takes place after Halloween, during the buildup to Christmas.

The monsters are generally more gothic and cute instead of creepy and scary, and act good-naturedly in most cases. Instead of a hostile takeover, the plot to take over Christmas involves a sincere desire to understand the Christmas spirit in order to embody the nature of the season. Does this all sound kind of like a Christmas movie? It does indeed.

In fact, the stop-motion animation technique gives the whole thing a toy-like feel reminiscent of those classic Rankin-Bass holiday specials. (In an ironic twist, Rankin-Bass gave us an Easter special with the scariest stop-motion villain of all, Iron Tail.)

Since this is hobbyDB, let’s try to settle the issue by looking at some of the collectibles from the film…

nightmare before christmas hot wheelsnightmare before christmas snow globe

Well, Santa Claus does get a lot of screen time in the movie. Not as much as Jack, but he’s pretty pivotal to the action. And when the chips are down, he gets pretty vengeful, kind of like Bruce Willis’ character in Die Hard, which we have already declared the greatest Christmas move of all time. Also, it’s worth pointing out that Zero the ghost dog has a glowing nose sort of like Rudolph. And he files. Very Christmas. On closer inspection, that nose is a tiny pumpkin. So Halloween.

Consider this Jack Skellington snow globe (right). Okay, stop right there for a second. Snow globes belong to winter, not any other season. Totally Christmas, right? Now look at the base of the sculpture. Sure, people give away candy for Halloween, but those peppermint sticks are a bit too much. In fact, there’s an entire series of these snow globes, all leaning heavily on the yuletide spirit. Christmas all the way.

nightmare before christmas jack skellingtonLet’s take a closer look at Jack himself. He is, by title, The Pumpkin King, which is about as Halloween as you can get. And he’s quite comfortable in the role, in fact, darn good at it. But he longs to be something, not different, but more. He wants to be Santa.

The list just goes on… Socks? These are decidedly Christmas themed. Or this sculpture? Well, if everyone in Halloweenland is on the naughty list, that means Santa has them on his radar. Or how about this video game? When did you get a copy of it? Your birthday, perhaps? Or as a Christmas present?

nightmare before christmas misc

nightmare before christmas ornamentHow about this collectible? It’s Jack, who is a skeleton, rising from a jack-0’lantern. What could possibly be more Halloween than that? Well, technically, this object is in fact… a Christmas ornament. So there ya go.

Despite the overriding gothic tones, the dark color palette, the fact that it takes place in Halloweenland… well, The Nightmare Before Christmas is really more of a Christmas movie than a Halloween movie. But since it covers both bases so well, the solution is to cue it up sometime in early October and watch it several times through the end of the year. Really, it’s that good.

In the spirit of both holidays, Jack Skellington lives inside all of us… like, say, a skeleton. Which is what he is, of course.

Do you have an opinion regarding which holiday this classic movie belongs to? Let us know in the comments!

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Samuel Ace

To me it is both holidays Halloween and Christmas.👍

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This Lego Bugatti is a Million Bricks (Not a Million Bucks)

lego bugatti chiron

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Lego has a facility in the Czech Republic where designers are responsible for their really large scale models that go on tour and on exhibit around the world.. Most of them are more static, such as famous buildings from around the world. Then there’s the Lego Bugatti Chiron, a full-size, actual running, drivable car. And it’s built almost entirely from Lego blocks.

Total number of bricks is said to be around one million pieces. As a rule of thumb, Lego models usually retail for around ten cents per brick, so that would be about a $100,000 set. Considering the real car sells for about $2.4 million, that’s a bargain. Remarkably, almost the entire car is built of bricks. The wheels and tires, of course, are real Bugatti spec.There is a also a steel tube frame underneath everything for support. But the interior including seats, rear view mirror, even the removable steering wheel are all Lego.

lego bugatti chironAs with many Lego creations, you have to use a bit of imagination. There is no window glass, as there aren’t any pieces that will quite fit that size and shape. The bricks are primarily Technic brick, which lock together in more complex ways than the standard stacking bricks. Aside from the missing glass, the contours of the car are recreated rather faithfully.

lego bugatti chironLike any exotic racer, it required intense testing, so it was sent to the Ehra Lessien Proving Grounds to be driven by Bugatti’s own development driver, Andy Wallace. The car tops out at a whopping 19 miles per hour, just a bit shy of the real Chiron’s 261 mph top speed. The engine cranks out 5.3 horsepower (again, a tad short of the real car’s number at 1469). What’s remarkable is that the entire motor is constructed of tiny Technic Power Function motors, over 2300 of them, connected through a mind boggling array of over 4,000 Technic gears.

lego bugatti chironlego bugatti chiron

While you likely can’t afford a real Chiron, and this one isn’t even for sale, Lego has you covered in a couple of smaller ways. Set 42083 includes everything needed to create a 1/8 scale Bugatti Chiron. That’s 3599 pieces for  around $349, adhering to that ten cent a brick ratio closely. Despite the smaller size, (it’s still about 22 inches long) the car does feature working suspension, steering, shiftable transmission, and many other amazing parts. The engine block, with cranking pistons, is a work of art unto itself. The instructions even come in the form of a decorative coffee table book, to be displayed along with the model.

lego bugatti chironIf that’s still too rich for your tastes, there’s Set 75878, the Speed Champion Bugatti Chiron. This one is much smaller, built to Minifig scale (and it includes the driver), who can fit inside. It doesn’t quite have the same working features, but at about $15 for 181 pieces, it’s an excellent value. Even at this scale, the distinct contours and two tone livery of the Chiron are unmistakable.

The whole point of Lego toys is dreaming, imagining, and creating. This Bugatti just takes the concept to a whole new scale.

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Hue Must Be Kidding: More Diecast Cars That Look Odd In Other Colors

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Awhile back, we compiled a list of model cars that looked strange in certain colors.

hot wheels buick grand nationalA few, like the DeLorean DMC, only existed in one color in the real world. Some, like the Red Baron, had obvious color choices in their names. Here are a few more diecast cars that might make you want to adjust your eyeballs.

Buick Grand National
The real ones came in other colors besides black, right? You’re certain you’ve seen them in white and maybe silver? You’re thinking of the Regal T-Type, a slightly less potent but still turbocharged Regal variant. Those could be had in a few other colors. But not the Grand National and certainly not the GNX, the most amped-up version of that car. Diecast companies have played fast and loose with other tones for years anyway.

1938 Phantom Corsair

hot wheels phantom corsairThis sleek concept car was designed by Rust Heinz of the famous ketchup family. Instead of tomato red, the Phantom Corsair was midnight black, and since there was only one produced, it looks odd in any other color. Especially with colorful graphics.

McLaren M6A

hot wheels mclarenIn real life, this CanAm legend could be seen in a few different liveries, but when you hear the name “McLaren” in racing, your mind likely sees a bright, yet pale hue of orange. One of the early Just-Outside-the-Original-16-Redline cars, Hot Wheels offered this model in every SpectraFlame color. And eventually, they did an enamel orange variant that looks pretty close to what you expect.

Chevrolet Mako Sharks

mako shark playart topperThe original Mako Shark concepts cars were designed to show what upcoming C2 and C3 Corvette models would look like if they wore shark costumes. Not really, but there was a definite tiburon theme going on, with exhausts in the places where gills and fins might go, sharp, pointed grill/mouths, and silver/blue paint schemes evoking the colors of a Mako Shark. Playart offered the earlier version in a bunch of non-shark colors. Topper was among several companies that made models of the second Shark concept, in every color except “shark.” Aurora also offered the second car as an early ThunderJet slot car molded in all their standard tones.

Chevrolet StingRays

sitingray hot wheels auto artSpeaking of Corvette concepts, the 1957 Stingray race car, which previewed the C2 styling, and the 2009 Stingray (C7) both only existed in silver. None of that has stopped diecast companies from producing both of them in other, more garish hues. Meanwhile, the 1992 Stingray III concept was a very 1990s purple, but has been produced in several less garish but nonetheless strange colors.

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

hot wheels wienermobile“I wish I drove an Oscar Mayer wiener…” There have been numerous generations of the giant tube steak on wheels over the years, but what they all have in common is their general shape their colors. Yellow bun fenders with a, well, meat-colored sausage body. Several companies have made models of the Wienermobile over the years, but only Hot Wheels has dared to get creative with the coloring, including chrome and NASCAR themed versions.

Goodyear Blimp

hot wheels blimpThis one might be a stretch… in 1992, Hot Wheels introduced a casting called “Goodyear Blimp” with revolving signage. It was appropriately colored silverish-gray with the expected logos. The casting has been released in other color schemes, although they solved this by changing the name to just “Blimp.” Also, it’s not a car.

The Batmobile

christmas batmobileWhen George Barris was given three weeks to create a car for the Batman TV series, one of the things he didn’t have to think about was the color. It had to be black with some red pinstripes, no further consideration needed. But Hot Wheels has taken the paint gun to several generations of Batmobiles, such as the dark blue Burton era Treasure Hunt car. The TV car has been done in holiday colors, chrome, and all kinds of hues.

Of course, sometimes a diecast car seems to be an unexpected color, but nope, it actually does have some basis in reality. We’ll look at some of those in an upcoming article.

Can you think of any other diecast cars that look odd in certain colors? Let us know in the comments!

Comments (2 Comments)
Samuel Ace

School buses have always been yellow and hotwheels has made the school buses in a bunch of different colors. And the purple passion only came out in purple in real life and hotwheels has made a bunch of different colors of the purple passion over the years.👍

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Garbage Time! The Original Garbage Pail Kids Live On At hobbyDB

garbage pail kids completeWe’ve been digging through piles of Garbage at hobbyDB headquarters, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Piles of Garbage Pail Kids collectibles, that is.

At hobbyDB, we want to be the go-to place to research and document anything and everything collectible. So even though we started with an emphasis on diecast vehicles (especially Hot Wheels), we’ve been able to dig deep into other areas. And to that end, we’ve finished documenting the GPK cards through OS15 (That’s Original Series 15). The OS cards go through 1988, but won’t be the end of it.

Matt Oldweiler, who runs the GeePeeKay.com website, is crucial to this project. hobbyDB was able to access his extensive (one could say darn near 100 percent complete) list of anything and everything related to the Kids. He has been collecting the cards since 1985 when they first came out. He’s a recent addition to the hobbyDB Advisory Council.

garbage pail kids allBy adding his archive to ours, collectors can cross reference between all kinds of collectibles that fall out of the range of GeePeeKay’s scope.

Andy Goodman has also been instrumental in the project. If his name sounds familiar in hobby circles, he is a big time collector of all kinds of diecast. Turns out he has a thing for Garbage Pail Kids as well. Like many of us, he collects collections.

Chris Wuensch, Data Team Manager at hobbyDB, leads the effort to get the entire GPK line into the database. As it turns out, he’s been an avid collector since he was a kid, too. “I can still remember sitting in the car in the Grand Union parking lot opening my first GPK packs as a kid,” he said. “We’re talking Original Series 1 in 1985. I still have about 75 to 100 cards from those early series. The appeal was through the roof back then, especially for a nine year old. Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage, so the GPK cards were a nice counter-balance for boys who didn’t want a doll.”

The Garbage Pail Kids began in 1985, as a parody of the enormously popular Cabbage Patch Kids. Despite legal threats from the doll company, Topps was able to continue making the cards, and they have been in and out of production ever since. After a hiatus, the Garbage Pail Kids made a comeback in 2003, and hobbyDB is already at work adding those and the more recent ones to the database as well.

garbage pail kids allOne interesting thing about collecting GPK cards… there are at least two versions of each character card. Topps decided right from the start that there would be a pair of names attached to each illustration, each being an equally terrible pun on the misfortune being shown. So Adam Bomb, who became the brand’s unofficial mascot, is also known as Blasted Billy.  Or sad skateboarder Hurt Curt is also known as Pat Splat.

In most cases, it would seem that one name is no rarer than the other, but there are some unintended exceptions. Double Heather and Schizo Fran were released as part of OS2, a two-headed girl fighting with herself. Advocates for mental health took exception to the term “schizo,” so Topps agreed and changed that one to Fran Fran shortly after. Shizo Fran is one of the rarest of all GPK cards as a result, but since Fran Fran only got a partial print run, she is on the rare side as well.

garbage pail kids list

Even Garbage Pail Kids have reasonable limits on their sense of good taste.

Throw in the fact that some cards were available as glossy or flat, and the number of variants really start to add up. Also, the backs of the cards can differ as well, featuring certificates, puzzle pieces, or other fun bits. Some versions might have a checklist (as a kid, these were boring, but as an adult collector, they are valuable, especially if they haven’t bee unchecked).

garbage pail kids backsThe Garbage Pail Kids are a collectible phenomenon that won’t die. And if it did, they would probably make a card of a character commemorating it.

What are your favorite Garbage Pail Kids collectibles? Let us know in the comments!

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Pops! For Patients and hobbyDB Team Up to Provide Toys to Kids in Hospitals

popsforpatients

Randy Lee and Krysten Barrera founded POPS! for Patients after their own kids had extended stays in hospitals.

Sometimes you need a little fun to pop into your life to brighten your day. Especially if you’re a child spending a lot of time in the hospital.

That’s what Randy Lee, Co-Founder of POPS! For Patients, figured when he and fellow Co-Founder, Krysten Barrera, came up with the idea for their toy donation cause.  Lee and Barrera had the experience of seeing their own children struggle during extended hospital stays. “We both personally know how sad it is to be stuck in the hospital, so we decided to give back and bring joy to kids in the form of POPS!” he said. “I helped my good friend and fellow P4P team member, Dustin Taylor, with a Toys For Tots benefit show in honor of his son several years ago. It was a great success so I felt extremely confident going into this that we could succeed.”

popsforpatientsSince August of 2016, they have donated almost 10,000 Pop! figures. That’s ten… thousand in two years! The two had been donating by themselves for a few months before going public with the idea.

Why Funko Pop! figures, specifically? Kids love them, of course. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out Lee is an avid fan and collector of the toys. He doesn’t accumulate them for himself quite as much lately, however. “I’ve been collecting for three years but recently slowed down significantly to focus on having the necessary funds required to attend all of the shows and events we are being invited to lately,” he said. “It’s a trade-off I’m happy to make!”

The toys currently go to whichever hospital the teams in any specific area collect for. “We have hubs all across the world including ones in San Diego, Colorado, New York, Canada, and Brazil. to name a few. And more coming soon!” The Colorado connection has just been strengthened courtesy of hobbyDB. When Rodney Porter from Appleseed Collectibles talked about P4P (as they sometimes refer to), Christian of hobbyDB felt a kindred spirit. “As collectors, we try to avoid growing up sometimes,” he believes. “But it is important to act grown up. What Randy and his team do is fantastic, and we wanted to help by doing what we do best.” So to that end, the two organizations found a way to be a partner in POPS!

popsforpatients

Kayla Fuller, of WVLT, Knoxville, joined Krysten Barrera  and Randy Lee to distribute Pop! figures at a hospital in Tennessee.

hobbyDB, a website concerning anything and everything collectible, including vinyl art toys, is a natural fit for such an endeavor. It’s an ever-growing database of every variant of any given toy or collectible, as well as a marketplace for folks to buy and sell. And Pop! figures are a huge part of that model.

“We are so excited about the idea of a private seller-fueled Funko Pop! marketplace that will result in POP! donations. It’s a no-brainer partnership” Here’s how it works: If you’re shopping for POP! figures on hobbyDB, you can visit the POPS! For Patients Marketplace, and part of the proceeds from any purchase will go towards buying figures for the P4P program. It won’t cost you anything extra…. just shop for Pops!

popsforpatients

According to Lee, there are other ways to help out as well. You can send them POP! figures in the mail to distribute at two different children’s hospitals in Tennessee. If you want to donate figures directly, they do have a few rules: The characters must be kid-friendly (Sorry, Pennywise, even if you are a clown), and they must be in sealed boxes (for sanitary reasons, not for collector value). Other Funko lines such as Dorbz and Wacky Wobblers are fine as well, as long as they meet these criteria.

popsforpatients

Knoxville’s Tall Man Toys & Comics and Lexington’s Heroes Realm teamed up to support P4P.

You can also form a team in your area to help them spread the cheer. Details of all the ways you can help are available on their website at www.popsforpatients.org. The P4P team also encourages you to get involved and support your own local Children’s Hospital. They can be contacted at PopsForPatients@gmail.com.

Comments (1 Comment)
Karl

Great idea - thanks, HobbyDB, for partnering with them!  So should it now be H4P4P?  :-)

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