There are so many collectibles from Disney’s 1979 sci-fi classic The Black Hole… it’s hard to know where to begin to shop for that Black Hole fan in your life – you know, the one who stares back at you in the mirror every morning, lamenting the fact that Micro Machines were never made of the Cygnus and the Palomino. We here are Pop Culture Retrorama are here to help you get in, through, and beyond these tough decisions.
Okay, that bit about there being a vast selection of items to choose from… that’s not really necessarily true. For years, the things you were most likely to find were the Alan Dean Foster novelization, the storybook, maybe a storybook-and-record combo, and – perhaps – a dilapidated Mego action figure or two from 1979. Maybe the soundtrack on vinyl.
And let’s face it…there really haven’t been too many choices added to that menu since then. It’s not like The Black Hole is suddenly on top of the Disney pop culture food chain. But…might its stock price be rising? 2019 saw the somewhat surprising release of a limited edition Blu-Ray through the Disney Club, with a marvelously crisp new scan of the film, looking better than it ever had before. And even if you missed that disc, that’s the version of the movie that can be streamed on Disney+ – and apparently this was a big enough deal to merit a new “Unofficial Official Trailer”, whatever that is.
That’s not the only recent activity on the Black Hole front, either. Though they’re officially out of print, Diamond Select’s amazing action figures of VINCENT, Old BOB, and Maximillian are a gigantic step up from the Mego 3.75″ scale figures of the 1970s.
If you’re really only interested in VINCENT or Maximillian, you may still be in luck – they’ve been spotted in Walgreens stores in non-limited edition packaging. Each of those characters include a variety of additional arms and other parts (Maximillian includes closed, open, and “open-and-whirling” drills, while VINCENT has both extended and retracted anti-gravity “legs”, extended and retracted arms, and extended and retracted laser guns), as well as stands to help them “hover”. But if you want Old BOB to go along with VINCENT – and you should – you’ll have to track down one of the now out-of-production limited edition sets. (Hint: not too long ago, Fabgearusa.com, which deals primarily in Gerry Anderson memorabilia, and Bigbadtoystore had the limited edition sets at or below the original price. May the odds be ever in your favor.)
Diamond Select also made some smaller-scale, non-accessorized, non-articulated “Vinimates” – their answer to the vinyl pop craze, one suspects – namely, a boxed set of VINCENT and Maximillian (Old BOB apparently didn’t make the cut at all for this form factor). These can still be found at Amazon, among other places online.
Oh, and speaking of vinyl pops, don’t think for a moment that Funko didn’t briefly snag the Black Hole license. They did…though the results were…a little out of proportion? These can probably still be found – I stopped at VINCENT, but a similarly huge-headed Maximillian was also made.
Intrada Records gave the soundtrack – with extra tracks! – its CD premiere almost a full decade ago, though that title is already out of print. Good luck on tracking that down, but it’s totally worth it.
But in the late ’90s, Anchor Bay gave the movie itself a long-overdue re-release, in uncensored form, on both DVD and VHS. And surprisingly, it’s the limited edition VHS edition that you should be tracking down if you have a Black Hole fan on your gift-giving list who doesn’t already have it.
The deluxe VHS package from the late 1990s included a wealth of bonus material that was never made available alongside the DVD edition. The lovely tin with the Cygnus beauty shot held everything together, and once opened, contained small reproductions of the original 1979 theatrical lobby cards, and a “liner notes” booklet, Journey Into The Black Hole, which combined recent-as-of-the-late-’90s interviews with the director and effects experts, and highlights from the original theatrical program and information submitted with the movie’s material for Academy Award consideration, to create the most focused document of the making of the movie that anyone really seems to have attempted thus far. (The only other source I’ve seen of information that isn’t covered in this booklet would probably be Starlog Magazine articles from the time of the movie’s premiere.) Even if you know someone with no use for the VHS tape inside the tin, this set is a marvel if you can still find one.
And, you know, if none of that trips your Black Hole trigger, there’s always the Alan Dean Foster novelization and the storybook and the story records and the bedsheets and the trading cards and…
Have a happy Hole-y holiday, y’all.