Back to: BANZAI INSTITUTE MAIN MENU
NOTES ON BANZAI INSTITUTE MERCHANDISE
RE: Banzai merchandise
The big news, of course, is MGM Home Video's release of the docudrama, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension. The long-awaited Special Edition DVD hit the shelves on January 2, and became an instant hit with fans of the good Doctor. Ironically, the DVD had originally been planned for a much earlier release, but when the folks at MGM realized just how many Blue Blaze Irregulars were clamoring for their own copy of the docudrama, MGM hired Michael Arick, one of the best-known DVD producers in the film industry, to produce a world-class Special Edition. Arick worked closely with director W.D. Richter, screenwriter Earl Mac Rauch, as well as members of the Banzai Institute. Together, they have assembled an amazing collection of never-before-available material including the film's original opening scene (with Jamie Lee Curtis as Buckaroo's mother), deleted scenes, a full-length director's commentary, photos, Jet Car data, Pinky Carruther's Unknown Facts trivia track, a Banzai radio show, a number of delightful Easter Eggs, and a behind-the-scenes documentary featuring recently declassified video material. Add to that a pristine new widescreen transfer, and you'll see why Dr. Banzai's friends are calling this the definitive version of the classic film. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai DVD is available for purchase at video retailers everywhere, and can also be found online at Amazon.com and Blockbuster. More information on the Buckaroo Banzai DVD can be found at the MGM Home Video website.
For those who haven't yet made the leap to the world of DVD, MGM Home Video also has a VHS video version of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. Although it does not have the extensive special features of the DVD, it's great for those who are tired of seeing this wonderful film cut up on TV to make room for more commercials. And it's a lot cheaper than the collector's prices that were being charged for the older editions of this tape. (On the other hand, once you see the difference in image quality between DVD and VHS, you'll never be satisfied with VHS again. Speaking for myself, at least.)
Students of Dr. Banzai's work have for years been frustrated at the unavailability of Earl Mac Rauch's novel version of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension. The book had been out of print for years, and there just weren't that many copies printed in the first place. As a result, the classic novel was simply unavailable to many friends and fans. Scholars found this to be a serious impediment, since Earl Mac Rauch had worked closely with me, and thus the novel is a valuable treasure trove of background facts and fascinating information not found in the film itself. Now, Pocket Books has published a trade paperback edition of Buckaroo Banzai, featuring a new section of color photographs, as well as a new introduction by the author. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension is available at booksellers everywhere, as well as through many on-line retailers, including Amazon.com.and Barnes & Noble.
Other Banzai merchandise includes the original Vestron Video versions of the docudrama film. While the image quality of these older recordings is markedly inferior to the new DVD, some Blue Blazes collect them and have reported spotting them occasionally in the "rental return" overstock bin of their local video stores. Even harder to find is the original laserdisk version of the film, which was produced in even smaller numbers. We've gotten reports of these being sold for fairly hefty prices on eBay, so if you've got one of these, you might want to hold on to it. Speaking of rare items, the original Pocket Books edition of the Earl Mac Rauch novel is also something to hold onto if you're lucky enough to have one. Also, in connection with the 2002 DVD, Suncoast Video published an 8-page promotional booklet featuring color photographs from the docudrama.
Other licensed merchandise includes t-shirts, patches and posters. I've seen these for sale at science fiction conventions, through Starland.com, or of course, at Sabine's booth during our concert tours. (One of these days, I'm going to have to complain to Starland about the fact that they also sell merchandise with the Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems logo. Talk about demented humor...) Starbase 21 also sells Banzai t-shirts and patches, including the t-shirt made for the crew of the Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets & New Mysteries TV pilot project a while back.
And there is finally a version of the docudrama theme music on CD. While it's not the actual Bodiker soundtrack, Neil Norman's "Greatest Science Fiction Hits IV" on the Crescendo Records label has a terrific cover version of both the opening and closing title music. The disk also includes music from many science fiction and fantasy films/TV shows, as well.
Other collectibles (besides the odd lock of the Boss' hair) include: the docudrama lobby poster, cardboard standup of Peter Weller as Buckaroo, six-image set of lobby cards, headbands, Viewmaster reels, an Apple II computer game, lapel pins, bumper stickers, Yoyodyne and Banzai Institute mugs, the promotional materials given out by 20th Century Fox (in a big silver envelope), the little "jet car through the mountain" spring-loaded toy, the comic books, several different Banzai fanzines, and a very limited release "concert tour" t-shirt produced by Haines and sold through Sears. Most of these are available only on the secondary market, meaning that you'll probably have to get them from other collectors through venues like eBay.
Back to: BANZAI INSTITUTE MAIN MENU
(C) 1998, 2002, 2003 MGM/Sherwood Prod, Harry Bailly Prod, & Earl Mac Rauch. All Rights Reserved.