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Official Article

Bill and Ted's Excellent Merchandise

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure was a sleeper hit on VHS in the late 80’s thanks to the non-heinous tale of two would-be rocker buddies surfing the Circuits of Time to collect historical figures to perform in their high school history report. In 1991 Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter returned to the roles for Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey which found the pair traveling to heaven, hell and hanging around with the Grim Reaper. Wyld Stallyns knew how to party!

With their wild cast of supporting characters and EXCELLENT catch phrases it was only natural that Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan would be transformed into cartoon characters and inspire some very fun merchandise for kids of the 90’s. So let’s hop in the phone booth and travel back in time to revisit Bill & Ted’s Excellent Merchandise!

Text Book Cover

To promote the release of the film on home video to its target audience, the studio sent out book covers to high schools for students to undoubtedly adorn their history text books. What makes this item extra special are the hilarious fake movie review quotes from Bill and Ted’s historic friends that are written in character: “AROUSING…EXCITING…EROTIC…and DEEPLY DISTURBING” says Sigmund Freud of the Vienna Examiner. “I am zee best part zee entire movie. I give myself a 10-I am DELIGHTFUL! WONDERFUL! PERFECT! C’est MAGNIFICENT!” says Napoleon of the Conquering Times. I only ever covered my school books with paper grocery bags, so this would have been an EXCELLENT alternative back in the day.

Nintendo Game

You have to give LJN some props in terms of incorporating some pretty nice graphics of Rufus, Bill and Ted in the game during the dialogue scenes which are scripted very much in the style of the film. As far as gameplay goes, you travel to historic locales in a semi-open world style and talk to the locals until you locate the famous figure to bring back with you. Kind of like Castlevania II or Link’s Adventure.

It’s a bummer they didn’t incorporate a rockin’ soundtrack to match the movie, but it’s not the worst licensed game ever. Though it might have been more fun to go around blasting “Royal Ugly dudes” with laser notes from your guitar and incorporating a Ziggy Piggy ice cream eating mini-game. There was also a game called Bill and Ted's Excellent Gameboy Adventure: A Bogus Journey which is just bonkers.

Magazines and Books

Bill and Ted got a lot more attention in the media when Bogus Journey came out. There was a novelization which contains some exciting deleted scenes, coverage in Starlog magazine and even a comic book series by Evan Dorkin which continued their triumphant adventures beyond the movies. This was a great way for fans to bide their time while waiting for a 3rd movie to come out…which only took 20 years to finally get made!

Trading Cards

Bill and Ted’s Most Atypical Movie Cards were a unique set in that they encompassed both films in the franchise, even though they were released at the time of the sequel. As movie trading card enthusiasts know there are often cards that feature deleted scenes omitted from the theatrical cut of the film and this set is no different, but they also included official outtakes and behind the scenes cards. Interestingly they also included to cards to promote the short-lived animated series and even more obscure live action television show.

Though there were no holograms, each pack included a scratch off card for a contest with a Grand Prize trip to Bill and Ted’s hometown of San Dimas, CA. Sadly I can report as a Southern California native, San Dimas has nothing but one awesome water park called Raging Waters to make it worth visiting. Also in the mix were t-shirts and Nintendo games, but much more exciting was the 2nd prize, the opportunity to an actual full-sized phone booth! This was also the prize for another contest…

Breakfast Cereal

Yes, Wyld Stallyns rocked the grocery store cereal aisles as well with Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal from the king of licensed cereal brands, Ralston! Cinnamon Oat Cereal (did Colonel Oats approve this?) and music note shaped marshmallows, this breakfast treat was based on the cartoon show, but also boasted a pretty awesome giveaway.

Just look at that bedroom setup on the back of the box, what kid wouldn’t want that in his room? In reality the fun would wear off pretty quickly without the time-travel capabilities, unless you were a big Superman cosplayer that is. Still, something to brag about on the playground for sure.

Kenner Action Figures

File this under ill-fated toy ideas that we can at least celebrate the existence of. The idea of the line was that Bill and Ted’s buddies Abraham Lincoln, Billy The Kid, Genghis Khan, Death and Rufus were in Wyld Stallyns now and you could make them all play music together. Unfortunately in a realm where most action figures involved shooting weapons and imitating macho violence, “Be excellent to each other” and “Party On, Dudes” just didn’t have the same adrenaline inducing punch.

One way Kenner attempted to add extra play value to the equation was a “booster pack” you could mail away for which included an amplifier with a plug that you could insert into a stereo, then 2 more cables to plug into the figures that theoretically make the music come out of them. The Wyld Stallyns music for the figures to rock out to came in a form of a cassette tape with track names like “Rufus Riff” and “Accidental Chord”.

You could also get the full set-up in a 2-pack with Bill and Ted, one version which included the guys in tuxedo shirts. This may seem odd, even if you’ve seen all the films. That’s because these were outfits that appeared at the original ending of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which became a deleted scene. So just how far back were these figures in production or what reference materials was Kenner given during the development phase? So bizarre.

Truth be told there’s not that much more vintage Bill and Ted Merchandise out there. There is a phone booth toy that is very sought after and the soundtrack for the films, but it’s not a franchise that was heavily merchandised when the movies hit theaters, though the characters have endured in pop culture. So much so that Bill and Ted Face The Music was finally released to complete the trilogy.

To celebrate, RD’s Retro Detention (the RetroDaze YouTube series) has a new installment celebrating the world of the Bill and Ted movies. Yes, RD and Dutch find themselves riding the Circuits of Time to try and save Principal Hamato’s future with most hilarious results. So be sure to head on over and check out the fun at this link. Also, if you’re a Bill and Ted fan, you might enjoy my article from a few years back where I visited the filming locations of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure at this link. So, catch you later retro reading dudes!

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OldSchool80s Posted on Oct 04, 2020 at 10:01 PM

Loved that piece on the filming locations!

Benjanime Posted on Sep 23, 2020 at 03:51 PM

i can't say i'd ever revisit that bill & ted video game, what other video game has you getting stuck in the grass like flypaper?

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