Alien Ads from Yesteryear

Remember the halcyon days before the internet, when magazines like Starlog and Cinefantastique held the monopoly on movie news, trivia, rumours and interviews? Well, I don’t quite recall, having been born in 1988, but I’m more than certain that leagues of Alien fans do remember, and quite fondly too.

If you were looking for film collectibles and merchandise pre-eBay then the aforementioned magazines were a port of call. Advertisements offered everything from Ghostbusters jumpsuits, Star Trek model kits, movie posters, video tapes, soundtracks, novelisations and advertisements for film festivals and conventions.

Oh, there was also some Alien memorabilia too…

starlog oct 1980 facehugger


starlog July 1979

starlog oct 79 figure

In 1986, perhaps in anticipation of Aliens, another Alien figurine was being advertised in the papers. This time he had a few friends:


Here are a few more that were graciously sent along to me by Willie Goldman:

First, there’s an ad for Alien’s first televised appearance. Remember, parental discretion is advised:


More caps (lovingly modelled by Brett), plus pins and badges with designs that you can glimpse in the film. The badges were designed by Ron Cobb and John Mollo and you can read about what some of them represent in Dressing the Future.


And finally, an assortment of Alien paraphernalia including the novelisation, the art book, kids games, soundtrack and more:



Filed under Alien

3 responses to “Alien Ads from Yesteryear

  1. Gaius

    …I love zines, I hate merchandise. =)

    Allow me to explain.

    To my knowledge, zines were rather like a pre-Internet Internet — they allowed communities of fans to form around a certain subject (such as Star Trek or the Alien franchise) and grow, much like a pearl grows around a grain of sand. Cultures developed through zines.

    Speaking as someone who feels that technological capacity has far exceeded our creativity (which is why so many films and video games resort to fancy visuals instead of good writing, interesting ideas, and developed characters — the former is easy, the latter three are difficult [though there is evidence suggesting that crowd-funded/freemium video games and subscription TV like HBO are the new Mecca for media creativity]), I kinda wish things would slow down a bit: zines, dial-up speed Internet, and 16-bit graphics — not for the nostalgia value (I’ve played some truly awful 16-bit games), but because true creativity is often forced to assert itself under limited constraints. Currently, we circumvent the need for creativity by throwing hardware at the problem. Not smart enough to develop a more efficient rendering algorithm? Just wait for consoles to become more powerful, then brute-force good graphics, and to hell with all the rest!

    Putting limits on ourselves forces us to be creative. I wish we had more limits.

    Hence, I enjoy zines, because zines represented a creative solution to the problem of fringe demographics. Basically: the less popular something is, the fewer people like it, therefore the number of people who like it in a given area who like something diminishes. To compensate, you need to either assemble everyone who likes it in one place to form a community, or you need some way to form a distributed community.

    Before the Internet, zines allowed people to form distributed communities. I miss those days.

    On the other hand, I hate merchandise. Speaking as someone who tries to own as few things as possible; someone for whom a cap or an action figure simply cannot recapture the magic of initial discovery; someone for whom consumption doesn’t signify much of anything; I find merchandise repellant. “Buy my stuff,” screams the advertisement (“So I can make a living”); “You need it.”

    No, I don’t. To recapture the magic of Alien, all I need to do is remember the first time I heard the mournful wind on LV-426, the first time I heard those solitary notes of the soundtrack, the first time my heart skipped a beat when I realized what was about to happen to Kane.

    Granted: I consume knowledge, and therefore have a taste for errata. But acquiring these things is a means, not an end. This is not to criticize those for whom consumption is an end; it takes all kinds to make a world. I’m just not wired for it.

  2. My dad bought me the Nostromo Baseball cap, I wore it everywhere. Then a cousin stole it. Grrr.

  3. Pingback: Wrapped in Plastic: Kenner’s Alien Toys | Strange Shapes


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s