An Idea Right Out of History [The Flintstones 21316 Official Announcement]

In which I ponder the nature of the television sitcom and its broader narrative development, new spinoffs resulting in decades of related programming, changes between fan designer and production art and finally consider whether or not this one’s for me.  By the way, 21316 the Flintstones will be available for VIPs 20th February, and probably having its ‘regular’ release on March 1st 2019.

Memories of after school television in the 70’s

One of my fondest childhood memories is coming home from school, and sitting down in front of the (Black and White) television for a couple of hours. It was the 1977 in Australia, and the typical afternoon television lineup consisted of a collection of 1960’s programs, both live action and animated: Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Get Smart, Scooby Doo and The Flintstones.

With their canned laughter and awkward situations, often caused by miscommunication or zany get rich quick schemes, virtuallyany character development that occurred was reset at the end of the episode. Apart from a different actor playing Darren in Bewitched, as if nothing ever happened, most of these stories followed a simple plot line, with new scenery and characters telling a similar story the next week.

The Flintstones was unique amongst these programs, as it was probably the first show that would be considered to an animated sitcom: certainly a novel concept in 1960, when it was first broadcast. Fred and Barney – with their challenges at work, misunderstandings with their wives, the ritual Bowling tournaments, to say nothing of the Order of the Water Buffaloes.

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Anniversary Alert: 50 Years of LEGO® DUPLO® Bricks

We love a good anniversary celebration here at the Rambling Brick, and recently, we have had plenty! Last year we saw 60 years of the Brick, 40 years of the Minifigure, 30 years of the Helicopter Transporter and 20 years of Mindstorms. This year we celebrate 40 years of Fabuland, 30 years of LEGO® Pirates and 20 years of LEGO Star Wars. And one more thing.

Today we celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the first announcement of LEGO DUPLO®. The year of the Moon Landing, Woodstock and the airing of the first episode of Scooby Doo was also the the year that the LEGO Group first released the DUPLO Brick.

Aimed primarily at Toddlers, DUPLO Bricks have been the introduction to the LEGO system of play for millions of families over the last 50 years.

Not the first Big Brick, but possibly the most interesting

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All I want for Christmas is the Return of Classic Space [70841 Benny’s Space Squad]

This was probably not the post I was planning to write today. In fact, I was not planning to write one. And then a couple of things happened: a couple of LEGO® Movie 2 sets arrived at home, and I was given a Lume Cube as a present.

The Lume cube is a small, portable light source – waterproof, it also comes with a variety of magnetic filters which act to provide a bit of warmth or diffusion. And the light has variable brightness: either through buttons on the back, or by bluetooth control. I’ll talk about it a little more in the future, but suffice to say I was was looking for an excuse to photograph something.

But the arrival of Benny’s Squad was also very exciting. Perhaps one of the most anticipated sets from the LEGO Movie 2, 70841 captured my attention in several ways.

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Minifigure 40: LEGOLAND® Space [Advertising Archive]

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, LEGO® Space is one of the great evergreen themes of the Minifigure era. One of the terrific aspects of the theme was the way that the overall design would periodically evolve, introducing new colour schemes and minifigure designs.

Ad 1979_64The theme arrived as we saw a resurgence in science fiction and space fantasy entertainment on the screen: led by films such as Star Wars, and on the smaller screen by Doctor Who, Blakes Seven and Battlestar Galactica, our imaginations were primed for journeys beyond the stars. The Space Shuttle Enterprise had been undergoing test flights from the back of a 747 Jet, and a we were excited for a new era of space exploration commencing, with the Space Shuttle Columbia ultimately launching in 1981.

These early series focussed on exploration, mining and the perils of space travel itself. It took 8 years before an enemy faction arrived, providing an outlet for dramatic conflict within the stories that were told.

Join us, as we set about exploring the print advertisements for LEGOLAND Space, and continue through the classic space era. Most of these advertisements are from Europe in a variety of languages.  I have endeavoured to provide translations of these.

In the Beginning

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A Post About Aspiring Altered Alliterative Anthropomorphised Animal Annotation [Fabuland Names: Advertising Archive]

Let me take you back to Fabuland.  First released in 1979, this was one of the first themes for which story telling was central. Fabuland was the first theme to be released in parallel with a series of books and was supported later by an animated television series.  Designed to fit into the range somewhere between Duplo and ‘normal’ LEGO Bricks,  Fabuland sets continued to be available until 1989.

With around one hundred sets produced over this time, there were over eighty different figures produced. The sets were designed to be able to be assembled by children as young as three, and as such developed larger elements compared standard building bricks during the course of their run.

 

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Minifigure 40: LEGO® Town [Advertisement Archive]

Untitled 7Forty years ago, we saw the change in LEGO® sets: the arrival of the minifigure.  Now we had articulated figures to bring our models to life: no need to remove the torso for our figures to sit down. As part of #minfigure40 I received access to a large number of media assets: today, I would like to look at some of the features of the advertisements in the LEGO Town/City series, one of the few themes to have been continuously available in some form or another for forty years!  The majority of these advertisements were placed in comics, or magazines featuring comic strip anthologies, and puzzles and kid’s news. They have been published in multiple markets – ands languages.  I have attempted to translate them as well as an online translation engine will allow.

The art style is typically similar to that seen in contemporary catalogs: certainly I suspect the early advertisements were shot at a similar time to the catalogs for that year.

1978: The Minifigure Arrives in Classic Town

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Minifigure40: Trains [Advertisement Archive]

Ad 1980_105-2As part of the recent Minifigure40 campaign, LEGO have sent out a collection of old print advertisements for a number of themes, from the 1970’s through to the early 2000’s.  These advertisements come from a variety of sources, including comic books and magazines from the period.  Not all of these were presented in English.

Today I thought we might check out some of the advertisements from the 1980 to 1997.  During this time, we have some 4.5V and 12V trains, and ultimately see the introduction of the enduring (and endearing) 9V train system.

Introducing the New 12 Volt Train System

In 1980, we saw the introduction of the new 12 Volt train system: offering electrified central rails, batteries were unnecessary.  The system also introduced a system of switches that would allow remote control of points/switches as well as boom gates and trains.

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