Do You Remember The Van-Pires Television Series From 1997?

Van-Pires Television Series - 1997

Friends, when doing the research a couple of weeks back for The Visionaries Pop Culture Retrorama podcast – one of the things I stumbled on was another television show created by Abrams/Gentile called Van-Pires. I certainly had no memory of this series that was first aired on September 20th of 1997 on what appears to be both FOX and The WB affliate stations. A bizarre computer animated/live action hybrid that by all accounts appears to have been trying to break into the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers age category. Van-Pires was about four teenagers who were hanging out at Sunrise Salvage, an old junkyard when an odd meteor falls from the sky and crashes among the collection of wrecked and abandoned vehicles. As the meteor is about to hit where they are currently standing Rev (Melissa Marsala), Snap (Garikayi Mutambirwa), Axle (Jason Hayes), and Nuke (Marc Schwarz) seek shelter in separate vehicles to avoid the impact. The meteor itself hits and rolls through the vast assortment of rusting cars and trucks and emergency vehicles that have been dumped and sold off. Then the strange glow from the meteor spreads to a handful of vehicles and brings them to life – the titular Van-Pires who must feed on gas to survive. The four teenagers have also been changed by their proximity to the fallen meteor as they emerge from their hiding spots to find they have been transformed into humanoid vehicles – dubbing themselves the Motor-Vaters!

Video and Article Image Provided by Carmen Van Morrison.

So it is the Motor-Vaters versus the nightmare machines that make up the collection of Van-Pires – with Tracula being voiced by Jonathan Davis… yes… the frontman for Korn. The other three evil sentient and transformed vehicles include Ambula, Cardaver, and Automaniac – it would appear that Alucart is the Son of Tracula and joins with the Motor-Vaters to stop his Father. In addition there is Gypsy and Van He’ll Sing – the former is a transformed cab that offers advice to the Motor-Vaters with the latter owing Sunrise Salvage who acts as a sort of mentor to the teenagers. Both the evil Van-Pires and Motor-Vaters must apparently avoid the sunlight… but at least the teenagers can transform back into their human forms if need be.

Video Provided by Vampyresonly.

I’m not going to say that after watching that clip I thought that Van-Pires was good but I have certainly seen a lot worse. I find it incredibly fascinating that I never knew about the show itself and overall it works better as a curiosity – although I should add that some of the music in the show was composed by The Who’s John Entwistle!

Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast Ep. 013 – Visionaries Knights Of The Magical Light

Visionaries Knights of the Magical Light - Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast - Ep - 013

For this first episode of the Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast of 2020 – we are taking a trip back to 1987 to discuss Hasbro’s Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light toy line. An action figure series that managed to combine both a science fiction and fantasy setting with a line of medieval action figures who were sporting holographic stickers. As I explain in the episode itself by 1987 3D hologram stickers were quite in fashion – giving kids and fans of pop culture the ability to slap holographic images of their favorite Autobots and Decepticons or members of The A-Team on whatever they might wish. Although as I attempt to explain on this show – that popularity sadly did not extend itself to the Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light line of toy and vehicles.

Now I am obviously not saying that Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light was a bad toy line – quite the opposite – it was quite amazing, however it failed back in 1987 to find the audience that Hasbro was seeking. One other thing I feel I need to add is that compared to most of the shows I’ve done for the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast – this was one a beast to research. With the Visionaries not finding success it was like pulling teeth to find any real information on who was responsible for the creation of the toy line – as well as those stunning 3D holograms used on the toys and vehicles themselves. Thankfully I stumbled upon The Visionaries.Net – who gave me my first big piece of knowledge to work with. As promised in the episode I also must give thanks to Bot Talk.Com for a wonderful interview with one of the sculptors for said holograms – David Dann.

Also on this show I reveal that for 33 years I was under the impression that Marvel Comics had a hand in the creation of The Visionaries – much like they had with both G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and The Transformers. Turns out I’ve been quite wrong all these years… sort of… but in the show I share how Hasbro and Marvel Comics did become successful partners – a story shared by Jim Shooter with the Graphic NYC site.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Facebook or even Twitter. Or perhaps check out the Pop Culture Retrorama Facebook page? There you can find posts a couple of times a day – featuring vintage commercials, comic book ads and toys.

The theme used at the beginning and ending of this episode was provided by Earl Green, if you enjoy his work, make sure to check out his exceptional spot on the internet – TheLogBook.com – let him know we sent you.

As always I have done my best to give you information on those behind the scenes who made the Visionaries a memorable brand – in particular with the excellent animated series. That includes letting you know the ridiculous amount of talent they had with the voice actors – such as Roscoe Lee Brown, Jonathan Harris, Jim Cumming, Neil Ross, Chris Latta, Peter Cullen, Susan Blu and more.

All right then, I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to the show – now come with me to the Planet Prysmos and learn of the Visonaries: Knights of the Magical Light!

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