Wednesday, May 20, 2009

PRELUDE TO VINTAGE SPACE TOAST TOUR PASADENA (part 1): The infectious enthusiasm of those who have eaten lunch with Ultra Magnus

Roboplastic ApocalyptiCon starts in a little over a week and boy am I excited about Vintage Space Toast Tour Pasadena. It is said that man cannot live on Botcon alone, so I'll be getting there a little early and vacationing for a bit in southern California. Of course there will be tons of library visiting and microfilms looking in the days leading up to the big show, but there is also more, much more to do! This area is the birthplace of Transformers animation because it's where the building that used to be the Marvel animation production warehouse (where the Transformers cartoon was produced) still stands. There's also the Wally Burr recording studios where the voice actors portraying robot Volkswagens uttered immortal lines like "Come in me, Spike!" oh so long ago. It's the cradle of Transformer cartoon civilization! And how do I know all this? It's because of a man I call a true roboplastic hero-Rik Bakke. (Also, Google Maps).


Me & Rik @ Botcon '04
If I could award honorary Doctorates from the Kingdom of Macrocrania Roboplasticology Institute of Toy Robots Studies, Rik Bakke would be the first guy to get one. You see, there are those in the roboplastic community who use the power of the internet to enrich the lives of countless other toy robots archaeologists by relating fantastic tales of roboplasticity (and then there's me who uses eBay as a virtual wormhole to visit ancient K-Marts and shop for toy robots tents from 1985). Rik Bakke is one such helpful guy and his site the Cybertron Chronicle is a majestic fountain through which flows torrents of arcane Transformer knowledge while my site is more like a garden hose with an intermittent trickle of blurry Transformers underwear ads from 1986. Rik has done interviews with the creators of the G1 cartoon that have yet to be topped in any medium. You can go to Botcon where there are panels with these guys or buy Transformers DVDs to watch interviews with these guys and listen to their commentary tracks but you still won't get anywhere near the level of information and entertainment that Rik has managed from his questions and expertise. What's mind blowing is that he wasn't just interviewing old Transformers voice actors and writers before interviewing Transformers voice actors and writers was cool, he was going to their houses. When I see Michael McConnohie at Botcon 2009, I may get to ask one fleeting question as he signs my Tracks and Cosmos underwear, but I will never know what it is like to use his toilet.


In late 2002 Rik took a vacation to southern California and toured these places rich in Transformers history. Not only that, but he did it with many people who worked on the old Transformers cartoon as tour guides! He even had lunch with the guy who did the voice of Ultra Magnus. Now I'm not really into the cartoon much but the enthusiasm with which Rik wrote about his adventures makes me want to visit those places. I want to see the buildings where roboplastic history was made and eat at the restaurants where the creators of the cartoon had lunch 25 years ago as they ironed out the finer points of their stories about alien robot Volkswagens from space and their transforming robot Tyrannosaurus cohorts. It would be absolutely fantastic to sit down with some of those robot-related people as Rik did but I don't think Ultra Magnus would want to have lunch with me anyways.


I am really grateful to Rik for all the time he took to chronicle his adventures. So thorough is he that I could print out a couple pages from his site and use them as a map of the toy robots stars homes. Better yet, I could charge random roving Transformer enthusiasts on the street corner for a tour of roboplastically historical sites like the Marvel Productions office building and Ultra Magnus' house. Next week at this time I hope to be having dinner and looking through pictures of toy robots newspaper ads on my camera in the same restaurant where Paul Davids and the rest of the Transformers cartoon production staff did their brainstorming decades ago. Of course there is the possibility that I am wrong and Rik's site is just a Transformer themed viral marketing campaign for Sizzlers restaurants. There is also the possibility me crapping my pants in my signed Michael McConnohie underwear will cause some roboplastic apocalypse and California will nosedive into the ocean. I'LL TAKE MY CHANCES.


agentmorris said...

That guy's site is really awesome. Quite a group of interviews. Why can't they have that kind of stuff in the Collector's Club magazine for the 25th anniversary?

Weasel said...

So are you saying that Rik actually went to Dan Gilvezan's home?! I am dying of envy over here.

But it's Rik. He is a supercool guy.

Evil King Macrocranios said...

Rik's adventures are the stuff of legends. Nobody knows how many Transformer voice actor homes he has visited but chances are if you did a voice of a toy robots, he either negotiated your mortgage, performed an exorcism in your living room or is in your house right now.


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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.