Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rocketeer Thermos and Lunchbox

The Rocketeer is one of those movies that probably 90% of people are oblivious to nowadays, which is a shame, because for all it's faults, it had a lot of promise and will always be to me, one of those "could have/should have been" tentpole franchises.
The lunchbox is in a used condition. Fair amount of plastic stress point marks, a slight bit of water damage to the front sticker, and a bit of grime stuck in it's beveled areas, but nothing a bit of tlc can't take care of. This variant was one I had wanted mainly for the metal latch that locked it shut. (Most later production models in all lines had plastic lock tabs on them.)

Dave Stevens, creator of the Rocketeer, was a fantastic illustrator who was sadly taken far too soon from us, and like his character, is in some circles unfortunately relegated to a niche fandom.

Steven's work on the character was probably very much influenced by the early Republic Pictures productions like "King of the Rocketmen" (released in 1949) and my favorite "Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe" (released in 1953). When I was a kid, a lot of my dad's old favorites would be aired late at night, and if the late night monster movies weren't on, then usually something like those would be playing. Years later when Joe Johnston (Star Wars SFX artist and much later the director of Jurassic Park 3 and the first MCU Captain America film) was set to direct the Rocketeer, I wondered how they would pull it off on the big screen.

The movie for some is a bit hit and miss, but for me, it's a bite out of the Indiana Jones sort of feel, with a good leaning towards the recent first two Mummy movies with Brendan Frasier in the lead role. Not as much fun as the Indy movies, but full of potential that should have been carried out longer in other movies.

Closer look on left of some of the "residue" that I have to clean off. (Right) Close up of the flat graphic artwork on the decal.

I'm not an expert by any means on these sort of lunchboxes, but as I got older I remembered so many over the years that I wish I'd been able to get when I was younger. I mean I did own a few, that I believe are still in storage somewhere at my parent's home. I think I got a new lunchbox like every two years or so. I had one based on the "Hardy Boys", then one on "How the West was Won", and the last one I believe was a G.I.Joe one that had the original Mobile Strike Force on it. 

DO NOT KID YOURSELF, people who are unaware... social acceptance was often tallied by your choice not only in clothing, but in lunchboxes and Trapper Keepers!!! That was the legacy of the 80's. 
(Left) The inside had some pressure marks and slight scuffing, but otherwise looked intact. (Right) The Thermos graphics were immaculate. Usually the pattern of planes or the Scitex like printing of the larger Rocketeer head were worn away.

I had a heck of a time tracking down these two items because I had passed up on many others prior to these two, that just didn't really measure up to what I wanted. With things like this, the graphic elements and completeness of the items is key. 
(Left) The Thermos as it fits in the lunchbox. At this point I did notice that there was a bit of damage on the lower half inch divider. Most people would not have noticed this, and I missed it completely myself. (Right) The front graphics of the Thermos are just as bright as the day this was put on the shelf.
The more I got to looking at the Thermos, the more I began to think that it had maybe been used once, maybe a few times. The lack of scuffs, or any residue to clean off, as well as the tell tale school kid aspect of "chew the hell out of the spout like a deranged beaver eating a stick" teeth marks were not present, and the internal area still had that new Thermos smell.
I know the person that sold it to me said it was used, but I'd be surprised if it had been at all.

So there's a review of my first Rocketeer item, I've got a few more that I'll try and get to in short order including one that I happened across at an Aldi grocery store of all places that has a nifty internal variant to it.

Until next time, support your local artists and businesses, leave no bargain bin unchecked, be kind to your fellow beings! - Mario, the Rogue Hobbyist

Bonus Addition! An episode of Commando Cody! On YouTube!


Stats Rating/Information
Item Aladdin Lunchbox and Thermos "the Rocketeer"
Made by Aladdin
Rarity Uncommon - Thermos based on the Rocketeer license is fairly scarce.
Rare - Metal latched lunchbox was made in limited numbers.
Classification Retro - Released in 1992
Condition Excellent - Thermos colors are bright, no scratches at all.
Good - Sticker graphic is clean and bright. Some scuffing.
Procured Iowa (both items)
Worth $20 to $35 (more so to fans of illustrator Dave Stevens, like myself)
Investment $15
Further Research
Trivia & Fun Facts Cliff Secord's girlfriend Betty is modeled after "Queen of Pinups" Bettie Page in the original stories by Stevens, but for the Disney movie effort, Cliff's girlfriend now named Jenny Blake, was played by Jennifer Connelly. Other changes attempted included replacing the iconic Rocketeer helmet with a NASA styled one, which thankfully Joe Johnston rallied against.  

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