This piece was originally published July 1st, 2013.

Uncle Sam IconGrowing up in the Mystery Box-land that is Providence, RI, it has always been a special treat to await the festivities that are annually celebrated on one larger than life day here in the United States, Independence Day.

The Fourth of July.

I grew up near a beach, so in actuality it was the eve of the Fourth, on the night of the Third of July that was the real party, with everyone making bonfires along the beach, and lighting more illegal fireworks than could be imagined.


Nothing goes better with fireworks than liquor and bonfires on a beach


The actual day of the Fourth was always reserved more for cookouts, seafood boils, parades and hangovers, with fireworks generally relegated to the larger displays by the local municipalities or baseball stadiums, and whatever scant few firecrackers were still unlit from the night before by the plebeians were casually used—making for an occasional pop and crack here and there throughout the day and night.

Fireworks in RI and MA were illegal. You needed to have someone run a trip up to New Hampshire and fill the trunk of their car, a flatbed, or the back of their truck with enough to satisfy families, friends and seemingly, entire neighborhoods. I can’t recall anyone ever being arrested for using fireworks, as it seemed that unless you really put folks in harm’s way, the local law enforcement looked the other way and enjoyed the spectacle like everyone else. Oh, and did I forget to mention that we had a family friend who was a policeman, and he usually supplied us with loads of firework every year.


Get your illegal fireworks here! Continue reading, please click here…

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Presidential Candidates Endorsed By The Mystery Box

This piece was originally published November 5th, 2012.

Like many a good upstanding citizen of pop trash culture, Friday night monster movies and Saturday morning cartoons, it has always been a bit of a task for me to embrace most political candidates, yet for my entire life, ever since I was eligible, I have taken part in voting at every election.

I guess I watched Robert Redford in The Candidate a few too many times, so between that film and the fact that the majority of politicians that I have known personally have been sketchy, self serving egomaniacs out to fill their own slimy pockets, sort of makes one a bit suspicious and cynical of the whole process in general.

Still, as I write this on the eve of the next American Presidential election, I will vote and hope for the best, and wish that perhaps the winner will be a person that, if I were given the opportunity, is a person you could sit down with over a beer to talk about which Funkadelic or Rolling Stones album is best.

In keeping with the spirit of the great MAD Magazine, here then from Mystery Box H.Q. are my own “usual gang of idiots” picking some candidates we wished had won in the past or in tomorrow’s election…

Horror Host Legend Zacherley

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This piece was originally published September 24th, 2012.

Jet Jaguar Post Icon TemplateDespite my hyperbole with the title for this week’s Mystery Box column, there is actually a great cause for celebration to the many of us obsessive Godzilla fans.  

Finally, an official stateside DVD release for one of the more controversially loved and disliked (and in many cases both) Godzilla films in his entire canon,Godzilla vs. Megalon has appeared.

This past August, after years of subsisting on via poor quality VHS versions, sad expensive bootlegs and Japanese only DVD copies, then after another long, long wait from the time the rumors started, cover art finally appeared, and there were endless promises and pushed back release dates, the prize finally appeared, arriving in my mail.

At long last, for the very first time we have the company Media Blasters’ Toho approved, official release of Godzilla vs. Megalon as a DVD you can hold in your hand and pop into your player.


Front and back cover for Media Blasters’ DVD release of Godzilla vs. Megalon


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This piece was originally published August 15th, 2011.

Godzilla Mask Post IconBack in April, The Mystery Box took a look at a new Godzilla comic book series called Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters ( check it out here ).

I was very excited to see the return of the “King of All Monsters” to comics again after a long slumber, courtesy of the great folks at IDW Publishing.

Once again, there’s a reason to be cheerful if you’re a fan of Gojira and all things Kaiju. For the last few months, IDW has published yet another stand alone Godzilla title.

It may even be one of my favorites so far.

On the down side, it’s only a 5 issue mini-series and by the time you read this—we’re already at #3—there’s only a couple of issues left, but I recommend going back now and collecting this mini-series.


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This piece was originally published April 11th, 2011.

Godzilla Mask Post IconSince his final film, 2004’s Godzilla Final Wars, the big guy—who so many of us have come to love over the decades—has pretty much been tucked away in cold storage.

However, as someone who has been a lifelong fan and collector of Godzilla, I knew that it would only be a matter of time before he would once again rise up from his slumber in the murky depths, to frighten, ravage and entertain the masses.


Toho, owners of the original Japanese franchise for Gojira, will every so often make a statement that they have released their last film featuring him—but that only lasts until the next one comes along. According to Toho, they would take a break from producing any Godzilla films for ten years.


The first Godzilla gets a hug from a couple of his co-stars Continue reading, please click here…

JAMES HONG: He’s Probably In The Film You’re Watching Right Now

This piece was originally published May 10th, 2010

James Hong Post IconRecently while watching an episode of I Dream Of Jeannie from Season One (in glorious, non colorized black and white) I happened across an appearance by James Hong.

This got me thinking, wow, this guy really has been around forever and shows up in everything!


Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1929, Hong spent school time until the age of ten in his family’s original home of Hong Kong, where he studied and then became an engineer for 7 1/2 years, eventually he abandoned this career and decided to devote himself to his hobby of acting and voice over work full time.

Hong’s first notable voice over was for the (uncredited) re dubbing of Dr. Serizawa (and the character Ogata) in the Japanese film Gojira (1954) when it was released for the American market in 1956 as Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

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Hey Menko! A Look at Japan’s Colorful Little Card Wonders

This piece was originally published April 20th, 2009 Menko Man IconMenko is two things: first, a card game that has been played by kids in Japan since Japan’s Edo period (1603 to 1868 a.k.a. the pre modern isolationist Shogunate era of Japan, usually the period where most bad ass Samurai films take place) and is surprisingly still around today, and second, the name for the actual cards themselves. Menko as a game is similar to marbles and with much respect to this actual game, which is ingrained in a multitude of Japanese childhood memories to this day, you probably won’t be playing Menko anytime soon, nor will I, but oh boy, a piece of cardboard with a colorful printed image on one side has rarely been as visually appealing and fun as the glorious Menko. The Menko card reflects Japan’s cultural history, pop history and team sports history. Being a close relative to the trading card, or even a Pokemon card, kids have collected them, traded them and probably sneaked a few into their pockets at the corner store…uhh, forgetting to pay at the register.


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