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January 18, 2010

Beasties! Eat them Up Yum! - Collectible of the Week Pt. 3

Filed under: Collectible of the Week, Transformers, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 1:18 am

Collectible of the Week Part 3

BEAST WARS PLACE MAT

-Special Features: Autographs Not Included
-Manufacturer and Year: Alliance Atlantic, 1997
-Key Words: Transformers, Beast Wars, Placemat

The Story So Far:

To promote the 1997 release of “Beast Wars: A Feature Length Beasties Adventure” on VHS in the Canadian market, Alliance Atlantic had an interesting promotion. If you bought the VHS tape and clipped the proof of purchase located on the back, and sent along a defined amount to coverage postage ($2.95, if memory serves), they would send you a bilingual plastic dinner place mat feature all your favourite Maximals and Predacons.

What can I say? Having infrequent viewing patterns, I took advantage of the chance to bring home a video cassette of my favourite beastformers, clipped the POP and sent the cash. Four to eight weeks later, I received my placemat, which promptly was put back in the original bubble envelop and buried in with other memento gathered here and there. Which is pretty much where it lived for the next half dozen or so years, coming out occasionally during a move, and then going back into the original bubble envelop until the next time it saw the light of day

So that’s I came to get my hands on this particular artifact. The story of its defiling is a little more interesting.

Fast forward to 2002 and the first Canadian Transformers convention takes place in Hamilton, Ontario. Having never ventured to the U.S. for a Botcon, how could I not go to a TF-focused toy show literally in my own backyard. And it was such a good time that I went to the next two, in 2003 (in Hamilton) and 2004 (when TFCon made the switch to Toronto for the first time). Two years later and attendance and space had tripled, and the con was able to bring about its first real guest, the voice of Beasties Megatron myself, David Kaye. Needing something to have autographed, so I of course grabbed my Complete first season on DVD to take with me for David to sign.

I completely forgot about the placemat. Dummy.

Fast forward again to September 2006. I had seriously considered going down for Botcon 2005 in Texas. But I just couldn’t quite bring myself to part with the money required, particularly having just come back from a month long trek in Europe in the Spring (that prevented me from attending that year’s TFCon and affording me the chance to have Gary Chalk’s autograph on the DVD package.) In the end, the events and Fresco weren’t quite enough, and I stayed put. But 2006 was a different story for three reasons. One, the toys (which to be fair had been pretty enticing in 2005 with Ironhide, Ratchet and Deathsaurus) blew me away. The theme was pre-Beast Wars and, having been lured back into Transformers by Canadian produced Beasties, I could not resist the theme. Two, they were going to have the first of their customizing classes and I was keen on picking up new skills. And three, to go along with the theme, they were bringing in Beast Wars guests by the (not quite half) dozen in the forms of Scott McNeil (Rattrap, Dinobot, Silverbolt and Waspinator), Richard Newman (Rhinox), Blu Mankuma (Tigatron, Tigerhawk), and Pauline Newstone (Airazor).

So off I go to my first Botcon, but not before dragging out the DVD collection to get autographed. And somewhere, in the recesses of my mind, I remember the placemat. Truth be told, I’d remembered it in 2004 too, but I think I was in the hotel room getting ready to go out to see Danko Jones at Lee’s Palace and four hours away from doing anything about it. But the fates were kind to me, I was able to remember this time, and the results were pretty cool. There were quite a few impressive noises from the cast to what turned out to be a relatively unique artifact. So I was pretty pleased with myself.

Of course I was now completely hooked on Botcons, so there really wasn’t much discussion about attending the next one in 2007, at which David Kaye (by now having added the voice of Animated Optimus Prime to his considerable repotoire) was in attendance. So I got to make up for past mistakes and add his autograph to the lot.

Suffice to say the bubble envelop is long since lost, and the placemat hangs in my overcrowded study for all to see.

(And if you really want to see the fun that this crowd of actors can have, check out this video I took of them goofing around in 2006: On the merits of a hammer, a ferret and a roulette wheel.)

2 Comments »

  1. It has always sort of cracked me up that the show was called Beasties in CA. Did the opening theme song shout “Beasties!” where the US show said “Beast Wars!”?

    Comment by E — January 20, 2010 @ 8:21 am

  2. Actually, it did. I’ll try and upload a version sometime.

    Comment by fairplaythings — January 22, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

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