Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Wonder Years, The Wizard, Jenny Lewis, and Rilo Kiley

Here's a big Rocktober post about how one of my favorite bands is linked to one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite TV shows.. and how I've got a few autographs from them to show off.

I recently finished binge watching The Wonder Years on Netflix. It was leaving the streaming service shortly, and I cranked out about 3 seasons I had left within a month or so, marathoning the series' last 5 episodes in the final evening the show was available, just wrapping it up under the wire. (I had "With a Little Help From My Friends" stuck in my head for several days, let me tell you!) It was a show I enjoyed as a kid during its original run, and it was nice to revisit, even if it pissed me off a little sometimes (specifically Kevin Arnold's poor choices, but hey, that's all part of growing up, I guess.)

As I often do when a show or movie really connects with me, I took to eBay to see if there were any autograph cards available, to possibly get some representation in my card collection. As far as I can tell, Fred Savage doesn't have any cards on the market, or at least nothing readily available. But I did find an interesting glossy 8x10 promo photo with his signature on it, and ended up winning the auction for a decent price.

Man, I love this! As a kid in the late 80s, a large chunk of my life was spent playing the original Nintendo Entertainment System. In 1989, a film called The Wizard came out that was little more than a glorified Nintendo commercial (specifically to build hype for impending release of Super Mario Bros. 3), but my friends and I loved it. I remember we saw it in a renovated theater that used to be a XXX theater (The Pussycat Theater), and we thought it was pretty great. I rewatched it again a few months ago, and while it's not exactly a cinematic masterpiece, I still really enjoyed it on a sentimental level.

This glossy photo of the main cast members is not only signed by Fred Savage, but also Beau Bridges and Christian Slater. Of course with things like this, you gotta have some faith that it's authentic, but I feel confident about this being legit. I mean, if you were gonna forge signatures on this, it'd be dumb not to go ahead and finish 'er off with Luke Edwards and Jenny Lewis, right?

But hey, guess what, I also have Jenny Lewis' autograph...

Pierre de Reeder, Blake Sennett, Jason Boesel, and in the lower right, Jenny Lewis
I was a huge fan of Rilo Kiley in the '00s (and I still am, but not as obsessive as I used to be). How I got into the band was, around 2001, I spent some time on NES message boards (yeah, before I was nostalgic for baseball cards, I was nostalgic for old video games), and through them, I learned that "the girl from The Wizard has a band now."

I checked out some mp3s I could find, and really liked what I heard. I ended up buying the 2 CDs they had available at the time, of which Take Offs and Landings was my favorite. Then their next album The Execution of All Things (2002) really put them on the map. I made a little fansite for the band and ended up as a moderator on a big Rilo Kiley fan message board. At its height, the forum had hundreds of active users and was a really great fan community. I made a lot of cool online friends there. One of the other regulars on there was a sassy teenager in Portland. After three or four years of being an online acquaintance of hers (she was 19 by then), I drunkenly flirted with her in a PM once. And here we are 10 years later and she's my wife.

(This song mentions baseball cards!)

So yeah, for that alone, Rilo Kiley will always be a big part of my life and shaped how things turned out for me. I saw them live many times, and after one show, got the band to sign the above CD, and even snagged one of Jenny's guitar picks from the floor of the stage.

The band went their separate ways later in that decade, and the message board shriveled and died. Needing a new "online community" to get involved in, I wandered around a bit and eventually discovered the cardsphere and got back into the hobby.

While Jenny Lewis was the main focus of Rilo Kiley, the core of the band also included guitarist and sometimes-vocalist Blake Sennett. His other band, The Elected, was another favorite of mine. I saw them live a few times and got his autograph after a show once:

Nice personalization! That's their second CD. My wife (back before she was my wife) got their first CD signed:

The signatures are on the inside of the booklet, so not exactly ideal for displaying, but still pretty cool.

Funny thing about Blake Sennett is that he (under the name Blake Soper), like Jenny Lewis, was also a child actor in the 80s. In fact, he worked with both Savage Brothers, as he had parts on Boy Meets World and.. wait for it.. The Wonder Years!

And circling this post back onto the topic of The Wonder Years, while I wasn't able to find a Fred Savage auto card, I discovered that Danica McKellar ("Winnie") did have a few stickergraphs out there. I scored one on eBay and then kicked it up with a simple custom overlay:

Oh, that's a nice card! Little Winnie is all grown up!

The original card looks something like this. --Which is fine, but I like it better with my overlay.

Thanks a bunch for reading and have a great week!


  1. Love the show!
    Love the photo!
    Love the autograph CDs!

    But the most love goes to those overlays you've been doing lately. That's a great photo you used.

    Funny thing is I just did a post about Soleil Moon Frye who appeared as one of Kevin Arnold's girlfriend from the Wonder Years.

    Awesome post Gavin!

  2. I need to get myself one of those McKellar autso

  3. I need to get me one of those McKellar.

  4. Never watched the show really, but your Danica pic is exquisite.

  5. I'm a big Rilo Kiley fan too - I first heard them on a soundtrack to a Christina Ricci film called Desert Blue, and I've been following them ever since. I'm still hoping for a comeback, as I missed seeing them the last time they toured.

  6. Netflix has The Wonder Years? Between Season 2 of Stranger Things and umpteen seasons of The Wonder Years, I'm gonna be busy for the next few months.

    P.S. Got your box in the mail today. Haven't cracked it open... but I plan on treating myself this weekend. Thanks again for hooking me up with the Welch autograph.

  7. I only got through Season 1 before Netflix yanked it.

  8. Great post. Love the Danica McKellar card and what you did with it. 100X better. What young man wasn't a huge fan of hers? Fun stuff. Thanks.

  9. Happy Birthday Danica ~ Jan 3