Collecting TRON

by Rolof DeJeu

For most of us serious classic gamers, collecting is in our blood. Not only might we have inherited this from our folks, society stuffed it down our throats when we were innocent kids. Who doesn’t have a collection or two on the side of nostalgia from the Seventies and Eighties? Silver-Age comics, lunchboxes, cartoon stuff, and of course movie memorabilia. And after George Lucas put massive widespread movie merchandising on the map, many movies just had to follow and cash in on this new goldmine, no matter how odd the flick was. One such oddity is TRON and it’s big line of merchandise and memorabilia that was available in the early Eighties and new goodies that are being released right now. Here’s a line-up of what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to collecting TRON. The competition in your search can be vicious – there are quite a lot of TRON die-hards out there.

One easy path for adults to start with is the paperware. Many magazines devoted pages full of pictures and info, and many cinemas donned lobby cards and posters. For those of you that would like to own some of the one-sheets and lobby cards, foreign ones from Germany or Spain are affordable, as well as the Japanese cinema program. Also easy to get is a complete set of 66 Trading Cards by Donruss. Or pick up the disco party favorite Read-a-long Story of TRON, the TRON the Storybook, Pop-up book (great cover), or the Rolling Stone issue #376, with Jeff Bridges interview, Starlog #59, 62 & 64 and Starlog’s Photo Guide book of Special Effects Vol. 4 or American Cinematographer August 1982 (Vol. 62 #8). Harder to get are the following items: The Art of TRON (Little Simon div. of Simon & Schuster), the Cinefex Issue #8 , April 1982, TRON & Silent Running (Don Shay / Cinefex) and a complete set US Lobby cards (8 sheets, 11x14”).

If you wish to wear TRON, there are quite a few newly printed 20th Anniversary, glow-in-the-dark shirts available with great artwork. If you want original wear, go for a TRON cap, or try and get one of those ultra rare crew-shirts. Too bad we don’t fit those wacky Halloween costumes anymore. If you want to be more modest, many pins, old and new, from Disneyworld US or Japan, are available. For bedtime there’s a great spread and pillow sheet.

As for gaming, we all know there are quite a few games available, mainly for the Intellivision and the Atari VCS. If you ever hit CGExpo and are lucky, you can get yours signed by Dave Rolfe. If you like to take your eyes off a TV-set, there are coin-ops for those serious collectors, of which the cocktail and cabaret models are tougher to get. And if you have the space and cash, the Discs of TRON environmental cabinet is the best one to own. Parts and manuals for all of these are readily available. If space is less of an option, Tomy’s little tabletop with VFD screen is great to have. If you want a challenge, get the Japanese one by Youngtronic – boxed. Ideal released an “Assault on the MPC” board game, and the Disney Channel magazine from December 1985 had a silly board game as a centerfold.

Then there are those typical merchandising nonsense products that make great pieces of conversation, and might just tie your room together. Puzzles and jig-saws from Whitman, Air Freshener from Woodlets, Spanish Chiqui TRON Velcro darts by Midena, Duncan’s glow-in-the-dark Yo-Yo with Video Action, the Frisbee, Zoom disc and holographic disc, the party napkins, cups and plates, the bendy doll from the UK, you name it, it was there, and some of it is still ready to be picked up. As for toys, there’s another article in this issue devoted to the many action figures and light cycles that were released.

For those that like to see TRON: yes, there is a View-Master set with 3 reels. The clamshell VHS isn’t that much of a collectable, nor are the plain Laserdisc and DVD (1998) version. If you do have a laserdisc player, the Archive Edition is still worthy to pick up, although the new 2-disc DVD holds the same items. If you are more serious about film, of course there are still prints, but rarely available, on 16mm (Cinemascope even), 35mm (Scope, mono on LP Fuji stock and stereo on LPP) and for those few that have a 70mm screening room set up (yes, I know a few), there’s 70mm prints. And of course the 3 minute trailer and the shorter teaser.

If you have no space at all, just search the web and drool over the many pictures, scans and photos available.

Out Now/Coming Soon: Cindy Morgan at PhillyClassic4 (March 29th), April issue of Computer Game has a cover article of TRON 2.0. April/May issue of Cinefantastique (CFQ) is devoted to TRON. There may be a TRON-Con in On August 26 Disney Interactive will release TRON 2.0, the Game. For more news, check


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Last updated: Saturday, April 23, 2005 07:48 AM