Lego, Halloween, Area 51, Barf Bags and The Most Listeners Ever!


More Listeners Than Ever
October was a great month for The Collectors Show (www.webtalkradio.net) with over 19,000 individual downloads. We had great news and guests. But in case you missed them here is another look at who was on this month.

Lego Collecting
Will Reed from Brick Blogger was the guest the last week of October. I’ve never seen a group of people more engaged or passionate about their collections than people who collect Lego. They are in a league by themselves. The hobby transcends age groups and other demographics. You can visit Brick Blogger at (http://thebrickblogger.com).

Lego connects with collectors and fans in an interesting way as we learn this week on The Collectors Show.

Lego connects with collectors and fans in an interesting way as we learn this week on The Collectors Show.

Halloween Collecting
Halloween is the 2nd most important “holiday” in the U.S. when it comes to economics. The 3rd week of October we welcomed with the man who owns the website http://www.halloweencollector.com and is the author of an incredibly informative and beautifully illustrated book called “Vintage Halloween Collectibles” now in its 3rd edition. Mark B. Ledenbach has been all over television including a segment on Martha Stewart Living, HGTV and all of the major print publications. Most all items for Halloween were made to be used once and thrown out and that is what most people have done since the early part of the 20th century. Mark has made much of those that survive.

Vintage Halloween Collectibles is now in its 3rd edition.  The writer, Mark B. Ledenbach is the guest on The Collectors Show this week.

Vintage Halloween Collectibles is now in its 3rd edition. The writer, Mark B. Ledenbach is the guest on The Collectors Show this week.

Area 51
Karen Green is the Senior Curator and Director of Exhibits at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada. The National Atomic Testing Museum is a repository for one of the most comprehensive collections of nuclear history. As part of its mission, the National Atomic Testing Museum seeks to collect and preserve a wide variety of materials and artifacts relating to atomic testing, the Nevada Test Site, the Cold War, and nuclear and radiological science and technology. The current collection includes thousands of rare photographs, videos, artifacts. They also have an exhibit from the super secret Area 51. (http://www.nationalatomictestingmuseum.org)

Collecting Barf Bags
Another first for us here on The Collectors Show, because one day this man opened his eyes and thought “I know – barf bags” . Steve “Upheave” Silberburg is the owner and curator of the Air Sickness Bag Virtual Museum where his collection of over 2500 airsickness bags are on display. His web site is exceptionally well organized are all listed alphabetically and are annotated with other information relevant to each respective bag.

The Admiral Akbarf bag made available for queasy riders at the Star Tours ride at Disneyland.

The Admiral Akbarf bag made available for queasy riders at the Star Tours ride at Disneyland.

(www.airsicknessbags.com)

Our first show for November welcomes Daniel Pickett of “Action Figure Insider”. Daniel has started a campaign to persuade Toys R Us to reinstate the sale of the Breaking Bad Action Figure to their stores and he has lots of good reasons for wanting that outcome. I invited representatives from Toys R Us to respond, but they did not return phone calls or answer e-mails.

It’s too bad when a company abandons the news media the way TRU has. The day will come when they want coverage for something. I wonder how reporters will react? OK, I’m not wondering I know exactly what they will do.

Another Toys R Us Controversy


Every parent’s nightmare comes to life as the most un-feminist doll in the history of plastic and the worst example of female everything are combined into a super colossus of overall terribleness. Dressing your Barbie in Kardashian clothes will definitely cause girls to marry and quickly divorce their NBA player husbands and make sex tapes. Barbie is also seeing Walter White on the side.

This is what happens when you are a terrible public relations leader or you have some dope in a suit telling you how to run your public relations department. Toys R Us lost control of the Action Figure  narrative with their inexplicable banning of the Breaking Bad action figures, when one woman in Florida decided that action figures would lead to meth addiction. This story from Yahoo (below) should be titled reap what you sew.

If parents do not want their children influenced by these Action Figures from Breaking Bad, then don't buy them.

Another day, another action figure controversy at Toys R Us. 

Every week there seems to be yet another Kardashian sister controversy, but this time it’s for a seemingly innocent venture – their children’s clothing line, Kardashian Kids, exclusively sold at Babies “R” Us. The collection, which includes signature pieces like a $23 leatherette skirt for 0 to 24-month-old baby girls, has raised the ire of one Kansas mom, Amie Logan, who has started a petition to rid the retailer’s shelves of the merchandise.

“I don’t want my child to grow up to be a sex tape star,” Logan wrote in her Change.org petition. “You pulled the Breaking Bad toys because they promoted drug use. You should pull this clothing line because it promotes bad behavior as well. The madness has to stop. If the toys are damaging so is the clothing.”

Logan started the petition after she received an email from Babies “R” Us that notified her of the Kardashian Kids collection. In light of the recent Breaking Bad uproar – in which Toys “R” Us pulled the action figures from its stores after parents complainedpetit that the they were unfit for children – the 43-year-old mother of one decided to publicly question why everyone could be up in arms about toys involving a fictional television show but not about clothes that are backed by controversial reality stars. According to Logan, the sisters are bad role models for young girls.

“Our priorities are a little messed up,” Logan tells Yahoo Style. “We are getting upset that they have toys from a fictional television show for kids 16 and older, but then they’re selling the Kardashian clothing line, which is from a real-life family that made their fortune from Kim’s sex tape.”

The petition is not yet complete, but it has gained support from mothers nationwide (which Logan says she did not expect). And many are threatening to stop shopping at Babies “R” Us all together. One mother from Michigan wrote, “The Kardashians – due to their own marketing – are certainly not about family values. Just the idea that their brand would be part of Babies “R” Us makes me not want to shop there – ever again.” Another mom from Missouri noted, “Maybe we should focus on healthy family values at home and stop idolizing these people.”

Breaking Bad Toy Removal The Original News Story


If parents do not want their children influenced by these Action Figures from Breaking Bad, then don't buy them.

If parents do not want their children influenced by these Action Figures from Breaking Bad, then don’t buy them.

Next week on The Collectors Show (www.webtalkradio.net) we will talk with Daniel Picket of “Action Figure Insider” about his counter to the demands of one Florida parent to ban the Mezko line of Breaking Bad Action figures from Toys R Us.

In the meantime, we will offer other media accounts of the controversy. Here is a link to the original television news story that started the whole business. The link comes to us from Fox 4 in Cape Coral, Florida.

Breaking Bad Toy Ban Petition

If I can get anyone from Toys R Us to respond to my requests, I will put those on the site as well.

Lego Collecting With Will Reed of The Brick Blogger.com


This week on The Collectors Show (www.webtalkradio.net) we meet Will Reed of The Brick Blogger.

Collecting Lego with Will Reed of Brick Blogger

I’ve never seen a group of people more engaged or passionate about their collections than people who collect Lego. They are in a league by themselves. The hobby transcends age groups and other demographics. So this week on The Collectors Show we welcome Will Reed from Brick Blogger

Lego connects with collectors and fans in an interesting way as we learn this week on The Collectors Show.

Lego connects with collectors and fans in an interesting way as we learn this week on The Collectors Show.

(http://thebrickblogger.com).

Will says he is never too busy to talk about Lego! Brick Blogger has volumes of material on Lego though Will says his is one of the smaller sites. There are entire web sites with much more material posted than Brick Blogger. Brick Blogger is a great entry into the hobby for the beginner.

Where To Start With Lego?

So to get started with Lego, first decide what are you interested in? What captivates your interest? There are plenty of opportunities with Lego and if not you can invent one. He and his wife started with Castles because they liked the medieval genre. They went on to Ninjas and super heroes. But the advice remains that starting with what you like is the way to go, because once you start the hobby will take on a life of its own.

It was also interesting that his wife participates with him in the Lego hobby as I would not have thought there were many women interested. Boy was I wrong.  The only other things that come close to this level of hobby and collecting involvement is remote control vehicles, science fairs and board games, which Will and Mrs. Reed also collect and design. Will, is a freelance writer often gets paid in Lego sets that he gets to play with and write about. What a cool job!

Lego Ideas

But what is so appealing about Lego? Is it building? Maybe. Lots of people gravitate to the end product. Fans can submit ideas for others to vote on for Lego sets the company will make and sell. According to Will these always sell out.  The latest Ghostbusters Lego set is an example of an idea that was submitted by a collector, voted on by fans and accepted by the company. The winner gets 1% of the take from the company which is probably a lot. I’m thinking of a way to enter the competition. Will also says you have to market your ideas to other Lego enthusiasts as a way to get them to buy in. Creativity, ideation and marketing all from a single, collectible hobby!

Lego works very hard to engage with fans. For example, Local Lego User Groups (LUGS) are invited by Lego to go online and talk directly with the company. The Ideas are but one way.

The Red Darth Vader

Plumbers are the best source of lost Lego parts. But that seems a little random. Finding a specific part for Lego is not. Brick Blogger can help, but Brick Link (http://www.bricklink.com) is a better site for finding stray Lego stuff. Will characterized the site as the eBay of Lego. “It’s a world market,” he said. “Parts, instructions, boxes are all available from Brick Link.”

Counterfeits?

There are other businesses that make Lego parts that the company will not. For example, Lego will not make anything that is not what they deem “family friendly”. So these companies make military uniforms, weapons, etc. that the Lego company itself will not make. There is a whole industry that has grown up around Lego. So there is no real need for fakes, someone will make it for you.

Movie Tie-Ins and Cross Marketing

There were very few cross market tie ins for Lego until the mid-1990’s. The company was not doing well and decided to try a Star Wars tie-in. Since the Star Wars movies were reissued in the ‘90’s it was good timing. Will says that most recent Lego devotees started because of the Star Wars sets. Lego is also making sets based on the cartoon shows and are very excited about the next movies that will be coming from Disney.

Extremes

Certified master builders are artists who have an agreement with Lego to make museum type displays from Lego. Some have toured the world as parts of art museum displays. Some “civilians” have made battleships, skyscrapers, and the tower from Lord of The Rings that was 8 feet tall. These take tens of thousands of pieces and hundreds of hours to build. Some of these people use their vacation to do this work. A Seattle woman is on record for making the worlds largest Harry Potter structure at 10 feet tall. Wow!

Relationship Challenges

There are lots of couples who pursue the Lego hobby together. But the hobby can also strain relationships when one half of the couple is way into the hobby and the other not. Will says that those couples drift apart naturally. He was not aware of any divorces that occurred because of Lego, but I am betting there are!

Brick Blogger encourages fans of all ages to come to the site and write about their creations. They have engineers that write about just the basic brick. One factory worker writes about clutch power, stamping process, colors that were tried, etc. and he is only one of the contributors to the site. “We want people to start a conversation about what they like about Lego,” Will said. Brick Blogger manages the flow of information about Lego as well.

They only post one news story per day, so the audience can keep up with the news. “Some sites post dozens of stories a day, but we think that is too much for anyone to keep up with,” he said. They target teens for their site, who are ignored by so many others.

Whose Idea?

The founder was encouraged by her husband to start a blog about Lego so he did not have to hear about it all the time(not a fan). She took a course on blogging and the rest is history. By targeting teens and younger adults they have a nice blog site that is a great entry point for collectors and for a demographic ignored by so many others. Brick Blogger is an affiliate of Lego and gets a percentage of sales from the company. Brick Blogger also shares information with Lego about traffic and interest in the site from users that the company pays for. Sweet! “The best way to connect with collectors and users is by starting and participating in the conversation with Lego collectors, Will concluded.”

Flight 93 Memorial Fire Shows Struggle to Keep Artifacts Safe


Flight 93 Memorial Fire Shows Struggle to Keep Artifacts Safe
DEBRA ERDLEY ON OCT 25, 2014
SOURCE: THE PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Oct. 25–The loss of historic artifacts in a fire this month at the Flight 93 National Memorial — including the soot-stained flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001 — may be symptomatic of a larger problem afflicting the nation’s park service, some experts believe.

The problem is a lack of resources to adequately protect and preserve these artifacts, experts said Friday as a team of museum professionals and archaeologists from the National Park Service released an inventory of all that was lost in the fire, labeling the toll “significant.”

The flag, soiled by smoke emanating from the crash of American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, was presented just last month to the memorial by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., who said Flight 93’s passengers saved thousands of lives when they died while preventing the hijackers from reaching their intended target, thought to be the Capitol.

Also lost in the fire were 334 original photographs along with numerous items connected to the plane’s occupants, including a boarding pass, a parking receipt from Newark International Airport where the flight originated, passengers’ identification cards recovered from the crash site, items donated by family and friends of the 40 passengers and crew, and tributes left by visitors at the temporary and permanent memorials.

“These items are irreplaceable, and we are devastated by their loss,” said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County.

Items destroyed had been assembled in the temporary office and storage area in preparation for a visit later this month from experts preparing exhibits for a permanent visitor’s center scheduled to open in 2015.

Although the office trailers were equipped with fire alarms, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, Reinbold said there were no sprinkler systems.

“There is no easily accessible water (source). There is not public water at the park,” Reinbold said.

The losses came as no surprise to a group that advocates for the National Park Service.

Three years ago, the National Parks Conservation Association released a lengthy report warning that millions of historic documents and artifacts at parks across the country were at risk.

“The issue here is really that the park service lacks the resources to adequately preserve and protect our antiquities because Congress has failed to invest in this. … The park service has had a lot of trouble not only protecting, but cataloging these resources because they lack the staff,” said John Garder, budget and appropriations director for the association.

The conservation and protection of historic documents and artifacts is an ongoing concern at state, federal and nonprofit institutions across the nation, said Lesley Langa, director of the 2014 Heritage Health Information Survey for Heritage Preservation, an independent public policy organization dedicated to preserving the nation’s cultural, historic and scientific heritage.

Garder said the National Park Service, whose budget has declined by more than 18 percent since 2002 even as new sites came online, is struggling.

Mike Nardolilli, president of the C&O Canal Trust, a nonprofit that supports the C&O Canal National Park, said preservation is a concern for his group

The park, which has a library in Hagerstown, Md., full of historic documents detailing the construction of the canal, is “stuffed to the gills” and staffed by volunteers.

“I believe the park service is doing a remarkable job, but it’s a question of resources,” Nardolilli said, adding that his group is storing artifacts because the park service lacks adequate space.

“There are a number of parks where there is really inadequate storage of cultural resources,” Garder said.

In a recent survey, his group found that collections of historic artifacts at one out of four park service sites were not in good condition.

One example of that kind of threat was at Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument in Montana, where nearly 150,000 documents and other historic objects were not being adequately cared for, Garder said.

“They were stored in an insufficient, outdated room in the 1952 visitors center that had all kinds of problems. They stored them in a basement that was damp, and in heavy rain, water was running down the walls. … And that is not unusual in historic sites that the park service is protecting,” Garder added.

The collection was moved to a facility in Arizona three years ago until a permanent repository is available at the battlefield.

Asked about such claims, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, whose district includes the Flight 93 Memorial, would not address the preservation issues, saying only that he remains “committed to supporting this national park and the people and families who inspired it through actions such as my legislation, which secured a Congressional Gold Medal for the site.”

The Gold Medal, along with a number of other items stored off-site, escaped damage.

The Guardian Picks A Fight With Collectors Over Breaking Bad Action Figures


I just finished recording and uploading the Collectors Show (www.webtalkradio.net) and had said to the audience that I was not going to post this article on the web site, but I changed my mind.

If parents do not want their children influenced by these Action Figures from Breaking Bad, then don't buy them.

If parents do not want their children influenced by these Action Figures from Breaking Bad, then don’t buy them.

There is a lot of fuss over the Toys R Us ban on the “Breaking Bad” Action Figures. Walter White and Jesse Pinkman are not suitable for Toys R Us customers regardless of their age. Collectors of Action Figures, and there are lots of them, are not amused. In the case of Daniel Pickett of Action Figure Insider, he has started an on line petition asking Toys R Us to reconsider. You may remember that Daniel was on The Collectors Show twice! And unfortunately Daniel was painted with the same broad stroke of collectors as the rest except poor Daniel was called out by name in an article from The Guardian. You can read the whole article here.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/22/banned-breaking-bad-figurines-how-infantilised-are-we

Writer Rupert Snider of  The Guardian dismisses all collectors of action figures, characterizing them all as “adults playing with doll versions of their TV heroes, while locked in a bedroom.” Well, speak for yourself Rupert.

Whether action figures or stamps, the reasons we like to collect are many. And stigmatizing collectors of this or anything else shows only how narrow minded  or unacquainted with collectors Mr. Snider is.  Making judgements about groups of people you do not know is pretty uncool all by itself. I know that Daniel is married and has a family. Me too as are most adult collectors of Action Figures. They have jobs, families, mortgages, etc. They also have a nice hobby. If Walter White sets a bad example for children, then don’t them for your kids. If you are an adult, you should be free to buy them, collect them, sell them, or display them.

It’s unfair to judge all journalists or writers as a group or to characterize The Guardian as a periodical that simply disdains members of its audience. So this one is on you Rupert.

Collecting Halloween With Mark Ledenbach Listen On Web Talk Radio (www.webtalkradio.net) or on iTunes


This week on The Collectors Show we meet Mark B. Ledenbach to talk about collecting Halloween. He is an extremely well respected collector and writer. Mark is the author of an incredibly informative and beautifully illustrated book called “Vintage Halloween Collectibles” now in its 3rd edition. Mark has been all over television including a segment on Martha Stewart Living, HGTV and all of the major print publications, and the owner of http://www.halloweencollector.com.

The trouble with collecting Halloween items is that so many of them were made to be used once and thrown out, which is exactly what most people did with them.

I was really happy to see some die-cut items in his collection that I had not seen

This was a die cut decoration from Beistle that was made in the 1930's. But I remember seeing it in elementary school back in the 1960's.

This was a die cut decoration from Beistle that was made in the 1930’s. But I remember seeing it in elementary school back in the 1960’s.

since elementary school.

This one in particular is a Beistle Die Cut cut out. It was supposed to have been made in 1930’s, while I was in elementary school in the 1960’s. So the ones I saw when I was a kid may have been knock-offs, but it was still fun to see again.

Things That Go Bump

This week’s bump music comes from the soundtrack of the television classic, “it’s the great pumpkin charlie brown” which first aired in 1966 when I was 7 years old! This music was also used in the Charlie Brown Christmas, but this music is played under the opening segment where Linus and Lucy find a pumpkin and bring it home to be made into a Jack O Lantern. You may be able to hear some of the action in the bumps. And while almost 50 years old, the music and the program still hold up.

Why I Like Halloween

Some of my best memories of being a kid were around Halloween. I did not grow up to be an astronaut, like I planned and rehearsed for every October 31, but it was still fun.

Did you get a rock?

Did you get a rock?

My sister and I went to at least two blocks near where we lived with some of our friends. It was safe to do that in those days. And like I said during the interview it was still OK to post Halloween decorations at school. We even sang Halloween songs. Halloween, like Christmas and Thanksgiving is an American celebration that borrows from the diverse heritage of all the people who live here.

Halloween is not strictly a set of traditions we took and grafted onto our culture. Instead we borrowed the parts we liked best and that we were most suited to and made them uniquely our own. It’s too bad for kids growing up today to miss out on that.

Next week, Legos and Will Reed from the web site Brick blogger to discuss a hobby that is completely out of control. Lego!