The Rantcor Pit #53 - Men in Masks

Recorded not long after the Sunday, August 21 episode of The Rantcor Pit Live, hosts Cole Houston and Eddie Medina continued to share the memories of Infinicon 2016 and especially moderating panels with Gerald Home and Dickey Beer.

Actor Gerald Home donned the mask and costume of Tessek (aka Squid-Head) of Jabba's Palace as well as that of a Mon Calamari officer aboard Home One in the climactic battle against the Empire.  Stuntman Dickey Beer was cast as Jabba's Skiff Guard Barada, but also took on the roles of a Gamorrean Guard on the Skiff, a Weequay, and even doubled for Jeremy Bullock and Mark Hamill during the battle over the Pit of Karkoon.  Furthermore he was a Stormtrooper and a Rebel Soldier for the Endoor battle scenes!

Your hosts, especially JediCole, had the opportunity to enjoy the company of both men at Infinicon during the Return of the Jedi panels and discovered there was so much more to them than Star Wars!  Many a tale of Hollywood was shared, so many that it took an episode of each of the Rantcor Pit incarnations to tell as many as possible.  From behind the scenes on what was to be Revenge of the Jedi to many other film and television tales, the discussion is a lively one on this episode.

JediCole, Gerald Home, Dickey Beer, and Eddie Medina invoke a classic Squid-Head pose!
Discover more about two incredible "men in masks" who were part of the final chapter of the original trilogy!

The Rantcor Pit #52 - Later, Vader

Are you ready for some more "simple tricks and nonsense"?  The Force of July concludes with one more episode for the month!  This time it is all about the Dark Lord of the Sith!

Darth Vader (a.k.a. "Old Annie") is topic of discussion as Cole Houston and Eddie Medina are joined by returning guest David Bunds.  Much exploration of Vader as the central antagonist in the original trilogy is put forth without the benefit of respirators.

What makes Darth Vader such an iconic villain?  What aspects of the character had to be retrofit as the story evolved after "A New Hope" paved the way to an ongoing saga?  What is up with the melty helmet in "The Force Awakens"?  These and other questions are explored as man is separated from machine.

As promised, the "Bad Lip Reading" video...

The Rantcor Pit #51 - Far, Far Away

Cole "JediCole" Houston and Eddie Medina are back!  And stuck in Texas while thousands of fans are enjoying the tail end of the third Star Wars Celebration Europe! 

Undaunted, they have chosen to share thoughts about the entire Celebration phenomenon as well as many of the aspects of this year's European edition.  From the cool exclusives to some pretty amazing announcements and features, there is plenty to discuss.

Even from half a world away, Your Favorite Star Wars Guys are happy to celebrate Celebration.  Won't you join them?

Watch the Rogue One Celebration Reel here.
Watch the Rebels Season 3 Trailer here.

The Rantcor Pit #50 - The First Time Ever I Saw Star Wars

As the Episode 1 trailer said, "Every Journey Has a First Step..."

This unique episode of The Rantcor Pit takes advantage of the milestone number to explore the entree into Star Wars of a number of different individuals.  

The initial exposures ran the gamut from movie theater screens in 1977 to borrowed VHS tapes!  Cole "JediCole" Houston is your guide on a quest to discover that one special moment where Star Wars was discovered by eleven different people.

This episode, by the way, weighs in at nearly three hours in length!

(Note:  Eddie Medina's voice is not heard in the interviews for this episode as he was enjoying the Fourth of July holiday and deserves some time away from "The Pit" as well!) 

A special JCU thank you to Andy, Brett, Chris, DeNae, Devin, Dustin, Erin, Kelly, PJ, Stu, and Tim for joining me on this memorable journey!  -  JediCole

The Rantcor Pit "Yo Joe!" Toy Show Extravaganza Special

Better late than never!  

On Sunday, June 12, 2016, Cole Houston and Eddie Medina recorded a podcast at the DFW G.I. Joe and Action Figure Show in Grapevine, TX.  

Eddie was selling his art at the show, which provided space for a live recording of the podcast you are about to hear.  He and Cole were joined by his wife Colleen (of "Figments") along with special guests Jeff McGee and Taylor Lymbery of "Talking Toys With Taylor and Jeff".  

And talk toys they did!  

The Rantcor Pit #47 - The Outer Rim Part One: Movie Nights

Dear Rantcor: Sorry for the delay, three days late may not seem like much, but I do like to try to hit the marks more often than not.  - JediCole
Greetings, Outlander.  Welcome to a special Rantcor Pit Trilogy that explores the myriad times that Star Wars left the confines of that Galaxy Far, Far Away and wound up, directly or in reference, on the big screen in somebody else's movie.

In celebration of the latest anniversary of Fanboys, Cole Houston and Eddie Medina discuss not only this celebration of Star Wars in a feature film, but other movies that give a nod or wink to the Saga, parody or reference, or also show their love of Star Wars as that popular little indy film had done in 2009.  

Personal favorites, half-forgotten movie memories, and reminisces of subtle little "things Star Wars" on the silver screen are the stuff of this show.  While not a comprehensive look at such references, there are plenty of memories shared from Armageddon to Zack and Miri Make a Porno!

The Rantcor Pit #46 - Not a Toy

Welcome back to The Rantcor Pit!  Hot on the heels of the live stream of The Rantcor Pit Live today, Cole Houston and Eddie Medina are happy to bring you a special edition of "The Pit".  

Special returning guest David Bunds joins the fun down in Jabba's dungeon with a show that was inspired by him pointing out an article about Gary Kurtz leaving the Star Wars franchise after The Empire Strikes Back.  Citing concerns that Lucas' artistic vision was more driven by toys and other licensing concerns, the producer determined to leave the franchise.

Explore this story as well as the aftermath that certainly had an effect on many aspects of the production of the Prequel Trilogy.  Collectibles merchandising became an over arching element in the decisions made within the production of the Saga.  In addition, a brewing "controversy" in the merchandising realm is also discussed.

The Rantcor Pit #45 - Wake Up Call

The Rantcor Pit awakens after far too long a hiatus.  A combination of holidays and the arrival of the much-anticipated arrival of The Force Awakens, the pre-recorded edition of this show has been out of production for a month.  But now we are back from the edge of the galaxy and ready to deliver our trademark simple tricks and nonsense. - JediCole

If there is one thing you can count on with any incarnation of The Rantcor Pit, it is that your hosts Cole Houston and Eddie Medina like the Star Wars.  Yet for a time it was a bit touch and go for Eddie after his initial screening of Episode VII.  

This episode, recorded about two weeks back, gives voice to Eddie's initial take on the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga and the contrast between his first and second screenings.  Naturally Cole also has plenty to say in this spoiler-rich (are spoiler warnings still a necessity this late in the game?) episode.

From Captain Phasma (subject of the next episode of The Rantcor Pit Live, 12 PM to 1 PM on Sunday, January 17) to the dynamic of Rey, Kylo Ren, and Finn to the lovable BB-8, Eddie and Cole had plenty to talk about.  What did they love?  What did they hate?  What was better "the second time around"?  These and other questions are raised and answered as they wake up to The Force Awakens.

Just in case...SPOILER ALERT!  This episode features lots of discussion about pretty much any and everything that appears on screen in this movie.  If for some reason you have yet to see it, you may wish to hold out listening until after you have enjoyed a screening of your own.

The Rantcor Pit #44 - The First Time Ever I Saw Star Wars Part 1: A Long Time Ago

Welcome back to "the Pit"!  After a hiatus for the holidays, Cole Houston and Eddie Medina are back in action and ready to talk some Star Wars!
This outing it is all about the how fans got their introduction to the Star Wars Saga.  For some it was in the theater back in 1977, for others their entree into that Galaxy Far, Far Away was in the form of VHS tapes.  Generations have now shared in the experience in vastly different ways.

Cole and Eddie are joined this week by two fellow fans who had vastly differing origins for their introductions to Star Wars.  David Bunds, a high school friend of Cole's recalls many a vivid memory from the late 70s forward.  Midnight Movie Cowboys co-host Hunter Duesing brings his unique false start to the table as he conjures up quite a tale of discovering a love for the Saga.

This episode is a prelude to the 45th edition of this show which will feature a variety of guests of all ages exploring this same topic.  Every generation has a story.  We hope to share as many as possible.

Bonus:  Hearken back to 1977 with these great Star Wars television commercials! 

The Rantcor Pit #43 - The Altruistic Side of the Force

Note:  This episode of The Rantcor Pit was recorded on Sunday, November 8, 2015.  It heavily references the story of Daniel Fleetwood, the Star Wars fan granted his dying wish to see The Force Awakens before its official release in theaters.  I read this morning that Mr. Fleetwood died in his sleep overnight.  Eddie and I respectfully dedicate this episode to his memory. - JediCole

At its best, fandom of any kind goes above and beyond simply devoting time and money to celebrating its particular focus.  This has certainly proven true of Star Wars fandom over the years as groups large and small have utilized that Galaxy Far, Far Away as a vehicle to do good for others!

On this episode of The Rantcor Pit, hosts Cole Houston and Eddie Medina  discuss fan outreach and charitable projects.  From well known personalities like R2-KT to the many fund raisers and assistance campaigns spearheaded by the 501st Legion and other groups. 

There is a veritable galaxy of stories out there about fans coming together for fellow fans or for others in need who are not necessarily Star Wars fans themselves.  Millions of dollars have been raised over the last few decades and easily millions of lives have been touched by the efforts of fans, costumers, and others who have expressed their largess via Star Wars. 
Fund raising  Rebels, Stormtroopers, and Mandalorians to name a few have aided children and adults in need.  The unique comfort that an Imperial “invasion” of a children’s hospital can bring inspire us all.  Star Wars fans show have a lot of heart and illustrate this in so many ways.  Sometimes a helping hand just happens to be wearing Darth Vader’s glove!

The Rantcor Pit #42 - Collect All 10: Figures Sold Separately

A long time ago, but not in a galaxy far, far away, the first Star Wars toys arrived on the scene.  Since then thousands have followed, making the topic of this episode all the more daunting for your hosts!

Concluding "Collect All 10", Cole Houston and Eddie Medina talk about their own personal best when it comes to Star Wars toys other than action figures.   If you missed out on the previous two episodes, be sure and give them a listen for some insights on the Vintage and contemporary action figures that preceded the current run of Episode VII toys.  This time, however, it is about everything else ever made.  Well, ten toys from that category, anyway. 

But how does one reduce hundreds upon hundreds of choices to a mere five?  That was a question heavy on the minds of The Rantcor Pit's hosts as they shared their favorites.

Find out exactly which ten toys made the cut, along with some back story on each, as Cole and Eddie fondly express their love of these great collectibles.  From action figure-related vehicles and playsets to a unique piece from the 70s, there was so much to talk about that this episode runs over an hour in length!  

Photos feature the collection of Cole "JediCole" Houston

The Rantcor Pit #41 - Collect All 10, Too

Well, that took some doing!  There were issues downloading this episode of the show, but it cooperated at last nearly a week late!  We hope that you enjoy the show, even very late.

Do you like the Star Wars...action figures?

Two weeks after hosts Cole Houston and Eddie Medina shared their favorites from the nearly 100 action figures produced between 1978 and 1985 by Kenner, they seek to define their personal top five from the hundreds that followed beginning in 1995!  

With so many figures to choose from over the years it was a monumental task to limit the conversation to a mere five action figures each.  To soften the blow a bit, figures from The Force Awakens were excluded from the mix.

So discover what modern Star Wars figures that are favored by Eddie and Cole as well as the stories behind them.  Plus Honorable Mention figures from both the Vintage and modern line!

Photos from the collection of Cole "JediCole" Houston

The Rantcor Pit #40 - Collect All 10!

It's Rancor Pit time again!  Yes Cole Houston and Eddie Mendina are back with a brand new episode!  Hot on the heels of last week's live show which was all about Hammerhead, your hosts were inspired talk about action figures.  Concentrating on one background character who's first (but by no means last) toy incarnation was a favorite certainly led to this week's topic.

A topic, in fact, so vast that this episode will simply be the first in a three-part series on The Rantcor Pit's favorite Star Wars toys!  Introducing this, your hosts have limited the discussion to their favorite vintage (1977 to 1985) action figures, further limiting it to just five choices each - hence the title!  This proved no small task as there were nearly 100 choices at their disposal and they had to exclude all of the vehicles, playsets, and other accessories of the Kenner line.

Discover for yourself what vintage action figures proved to be Eddie and Cole's favorites as they wax nostalgic about not only the toys themselves, but of their memories of collecting and enjoying the the hunt for the illusive figures in the pre-internet age.

All photos from the collection of JediCole.

The Rantcor Pit #39 - The Force is Strong With This One? (Force Friday, Force Fizzle II)

Friday, September 4, 2015 was Force Friday, the highly anticipated and much promoted official release of the first Episode VII merchandise to retailers worldwide.  On September 3, 2015 The Rantcor Pit co-hosts Cole Houston and Eddie Medina descended on a Dallas/Fort Worth area Wal-Mart to chronicle the collecting feeding frenzy that was to ensue.  Finding that Toy Department ill-prepared, they then took the show on the road to a nearby Toys 'R' Us for further coverage.

On this episode, a follow up to the September 7 edition of The Rantcor Pit Live, your hosts are joined by former Ms. Star Wars Erica Facer as they talk about their experiences during the Force Friday event.  From lackluster preparation to poorly planned stocking-to-demand, many were the down sides to what could have been a memorable event.

Yet the morning did not prove a complete disaster and many a great collectible was obtained during the "midnight run" or later that morning.  Despite poor planning there was much to see and do during the course of the morning and different stores took vastly different approaches from "just another new SKU on the pegs" to thrilling fans and collectors alike.

In addition to this installment of the show, videos taken during the arrival at Wal-Mart and at Toys 'R' Us have been included below that help give a better feel for the excitement that waned at times when so much of the fanfare proved greater than what was provided.

The Rantcor Pit #38 - You Seek Yoda!

It's Rantcor Pit time again!  JediCole and Eddie are back with a look at that most famous of the Jedi, none other than Master Yoda!

When a puppet becomes a principle character then something has gone very right on the big screen.  This was the case with The Empire Strikes Back and the pivotal Jedi-in-exile who would bring out all of Luke Skywalker's potential.  But this character had to be memorable and larger than life, even if he was smaller than many dogs!  How to achieve such a thing decades before the mastery of CGI pushed the envelope of practical effect to a point that has never been exceeded.

What could have been a monkey in a costume and mask was instead a fully realized member of the cast.  Yoda is one of the most iconic characters of the Star Wars franchise and we owe it all to George Lucas having faith in the work of Stuart Freeborn and the mastery of the art of puppetry brought to bear by Frank Oz.  

So join Cole Houston and Eddie Medina as they discuss Yoda the puppet, Yoda the character, and Yoda the legend.

The Rantcor Pit #37 - Ewok on the Wild Side

The Rantcor Pit has returned!  After over a month away (while we took time to provide a month of live shows as well as some much needed time away), the home of simple tricks and nonsense is back for your listening enjoyment!

As the title this time suggests, hosts Cole Houston and Eddie Medina take a little look at some little characters from the Star Wars saga.  The Ewoks.  The love/hate divide for the indigenous species of the forest moon of Endor is a fairly even split.  It would take the Gungans to become the truly divisive species among fans!

While JediCole falls mostly in the negative camp, Eddie comes to bat for the furry little warriors as they explore the life and times of Ewoks.  From a personal inside joke phrase revealed herein to Return of the Jedi to the made-for-television movies, this episode delves into the Ewoks from many an angle.  Their battle against the Empire brought the Rebel Alliance some short help, but there was far more to their story than one decisive battle.

Discover for yourself what The Rantcor Pit has to say on the subject of George Lucas' admonition of daring to be cute when toppling an empire as we return to our regular bi-weekly schedule!

This WILL Make Sense, We Promise You

The Rantcor Pit #36 - Somebody's Gotta Do It!

Are you ready for an unusual new edition of The Rantcor Pit?  In a departure from the norm.  In an unscripted and improvised fashion, Cole Houston and Eddie Medina tackle the "Dirty Jobs" that they feel have to exist in that galaxy far, far away.

From the unexpected duty of an unfortunate Jedi padawan to some of the worst occupations to be found at Jabba's Palace, this episode dares to get dirty.  And grimy.  And down right odd!  Find out what some of Boba Fett's costume elements really are, discover some jobs on Tattoine are all about, and discover one special duty unique to the legion of Imperial troops on the forest moon of Endor.  Plus find out about an unsung segment of Stormtroopers the 501st Legion may not want you to know about!

Somebody made a BIG mess!
Get ready to get your hands dirty and your image of Star Wars tainted forever as the REAL (expletive deleted) jobs you never saw on screen are discussed.  And disgusted!

Get the poop right here, right now!

The Rantcor Pit #35 - Celebrating Celebration Part 2

Two weeks ago Scott Horne from Yak's Pub joined hosts Cole Houston and Eddie Medina to share some of the antics from Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim, California.  Much of that discussion included recurring JCU personality Bobby Blakey.  It seemed only fitting that we have our favorite cartoonist/film critic on the show to tell his side of the story.

So it was that Bobby shared more tales from the official Star Wars convention, Cole tried to inject some aspects of Mother's Day into the mix (as that was to have been the original air date of this episode), and Eddie discovered that there are depths to which this show can plunge when Bobby is in the mix!  

Get ready for more celebrating Celebration VII, some strange turns down the path of Star Wars character name pronunciations and Star Wars-themed porn, and even delicious Nutty Bars snack cakes!  You truly never know where things will take us on this show sometimes!

The Rantcor Pit #34 - Celebrating Celebration

Your Rantcor Pit hosts Cole Houston and Eddie Medina invite you to join them in celebrating the official convention of the Star Wars known as Celebration. 

The seventh such event was held recently in Anaheim, California and welcomed thousands upon thousands of fans of the Saga from around the world.  Among them was the creator of the photographic web comic Yak’sPub and the guest for this episode, Scott Horne.  As the author of a popular fan series and a member of the 501st Legion, Scott has enjoyed his first experience with the phenomenon that is Star Wars Celebration and was happy to share it with you and your hosts on this show.  JCU contributor Bobby Blakey plays a sizeable role in these memoirs!

JediCole had attended Celebration VI three years earlier and mingles his experiences at that event with those of the Rantcor Pit’s guest.  From panels and costumes to collectibles and fans, there is a lot to cover when talking up this amazing event.  Many are the tales shared as anticipation builds for the future and Celebration VIII, when and wherever that may occur!  In the mean time, get a taste of what it is like to attend the Holy Grail of Star Wars conventions on this special episode!

And now a special photo gallery featuring Celebration VI photos from JediCole and Celebration VII photos from Scott Horne.

Finally, as promised, Scott's poster of the Heimlich Maneuver published as a Yak's Pub promo!  (This is a copy of the poster in the collection of JediCole.)

The Rantcor Pit #33 - Mark of Distinction

A day later than expected there is at last a new episode of The Rantcor Pit!  

A lost recording and a second try later Cole Houston and Eddie Medina are proud to bring you a look at Mark Hamill and his impact on Star Wars and so much more!  

Not only did this actor bring so much life to the character of Luke Skywalker, he also embraced the ever-developing nature of the farm boy turned Jedi.  From A New Hope to Return of the Jedi, Luke grew mentally and spiritually and Hamill captured every subtle nuance.  The whiny, ever-put upon Lars nephew gave way to the only-whiny-when-confronted-with-a-dark-lineage Jedi-in-training who would one day be a Jedi, like his father before him.

Beyond Star Wars, Mark Hamill seems to have been everywhere over the years, ultimately returning to his voice acting roots.  His characterization of Batman's most villainous foe has become for many the definitive incarnation of the Joker.  This and more is explored as your two favorite Star Wars guys talk about the career and pop-culture contributions of Mark Hamill!