If I had a blog the TripleDoubleU existed back in 1986, I might have written this post. I guess it could have been an entry in the journal I had to write in the fifth grade…
Growing up, my sisters and I rarely played together with the same toys. If we did mix up our stories, my action figures paid a visit to theirs, but never vice versa. Very few of their toys mixed well with mine:
This was a Transformer?
Star Wars Cantina, anyone?
These were big fans of the M.U.S.C.L.E. wrestlers.*
*These are M.U.S.C.L.E. wrestlers.
Okay, for these, I played the animals.
Despite this, I was able to convince my sister Becky to buy one toy I needed (I co-opted it soon after she purchased it):
Vanessa Warfield and her Manta, member of V.E.N.O.M., enemies of M.A.S.K.
Too bad they didn’t collect She-Ra: Princess of Power… I could have got one of them to buy anyone in the Evil Horde:
The year is 2006. The 20th Anniversary Edition Optimus Prime has just been released. Upon hearing this, something else might have been released… in my pants…
When I was a child, there was nothing I wanted more than Optimus Prime. The problem was that he cost $20, and I had a difficult time saving up a score of buckeroos. There was always something else I wanted that cost exactly what I had, so alas… no Optimus Prime.
My dream has been not only met, but exceeded. This celebratory edition may not include the weapons base trailer, but he looks just like the cartoon – in robot and vehicle form! It’s an insane representation!
So what broken dreams are left floating around my adolescent heart, you wonder?
They are, in no particular order:
Centurions – Wild Weasel
This went to Sam Rockwell, right? It was Jake Rockwell? Oh well.
You might not remember Centurions for their cartoon or toys (there were 65 episodes produced!), but I will never forget this cool vehicle idea. In retrospect, the real world application of it wouldn’t fly roll past production, and in further analysis, I probably liked it because it reminded me of TRON (you probably don’t remember that old 1982 movie either).
Star Wars – Tatooine Skiff
Everybody wanted this; nobody had it.
This one still didn’t live up to the Desert Skiff we all wanted with every fiber of The Force, but it was better than what was originally offered. And too bad it came out after I started collecting M.A.S.K.
M.A.S.K. – Razorback
This car could arch its back. For some reason.
I still consider M.A.S.K. the best toy collection of my youth (StarCom was a close second), plus I was blessed in prolonging my longing for the vehicles I missed the first time around when they were getting dumped in KayBee Toy Stores years after they were gone from store shelves… on clearance. I never got a second chance to get Razorback, but I still have dreams about finding them still (this is 100% true).
Transformers – Grimlock
Me, Sean, want Grimlock badly.
Perhaps there’s a 20th Anniversary Grimlock on the horizon? How about 25th? 30th?
Omigodomigodomigodomigod! This post imagines what my blog might have looked like if I had one when certain things happened. This edition takes us way back to 1995…
I am loath to admit this, but I’ve literally dreamed of this day for years. Or at least for the years that there were no new Star Wars action figures on the shelves of stores.
THERE ARE NEW STAR WARS ACTION FIGURES ON STORE SHELVES… er, I mean… HOOKS!
This is the first one I’ve purchased:
Imagine James Earl Jones saying: "This... is Chewbacca."
This got me recollecting (ha!) about the first toys in each of my collections. Join me as I walk down memory lane…
1985 – M.A.S.K.
Secret raiders working overtime fighting crime!
Let’s be honest – it’s not really been ten years since I’ve purchased toys. Having a little brother to spoil means never having to stop. But this is definitely the last collection I had that was my own, and it all started with Condor. I remember asking for this, not even really knowing what it was.
1984 – The Transformers
More than meets the eye!
I was dying to get any Transformer for what seemed like forever. I really wanted Optimus Prime, but he cost twenty bucks! Having read the giant-sized coloring book long before these figures were released, I really took a shine to Jazzz (he had three Z‘s in the coloring book). The trick was this – my mom wasn’t too keen on me starting new collections that were similar to other one’s I started. I already had Gobots, so Transformers were kind of off the radar… until my aunt took my sisters and I shopping. I had the eight dollars it cost, and I begged her to let me buy it. She used the payphone to double-check, and my mom relented.
1983 – Gobots
We came out before Transformers!
Memories are fuzzy, and so it goes with this. The way I recall it all, there were animated commercials advertising Transformers long before they came out. AND THOSE COMMERCIALS BLEW MY EIGHT YEAR OLD MIND. Robots that transformed into cars and planes and guns? Sign me up! Well, they were nowhere in sight, so the Gobots had to do. And they did. Until I got Jazz. I still think Leader-1 was one of the best, but Gobots could never overcome their horrible names (Scooter the Scooter, Tank the Tank, Cop-Tur the Helicopter, Loco the Locomotive…)
1980 (?) – LEGO
My first set
I don’t remember exactly when I started getting “big kid” LEGOS, but I know this was my first set. The reason I say, “big kid,” is because when I first saw the LEGO spacemen at one of my parents’ friend’s houses prior to getting this set, that’s what I was told.
1979 – Star Wars
Obviously, my figure said "Star Wars" - not ROTJ.
I distinctly (and weirdly) recall receiving this from Santa, and I was fascinated by this strange action figure. Was he a space policeman? He had a gun and a helmet. Was he a space fireman? He was wearing orange. All I know is that I hadn’t seen the original film yet, and I was hooked.
Sure, I should have set up the video, but I like to throw people in the deep end, let them get their feet wet and water in their lungs, you know. Essentially, it’s a fake reality (?) show about a family in the witness protection program, and it’s so absurd I absolutely love it. Season 2 premieres August 22, and I can’t believe I missed it during its initial run.
This second item… I’m not too proud about my excitement.
Apparently, some time between me leaving grade school and starting high school, these toys were out in stores:
Computer Warriors?!? Fucking robots hiding inside soccer balls, flashlights, and Pepsi cans?!? Mattel must have been trying to capitalize on the success of M.A.S.K. (my all-time favorite toy line) and Transformers, but just a tad too late or too early. If these would have lasted on the market, or arrived on the scene two years later when I had my first job at a toy store, I would have had them all.
But I’m an adult. I shouldn’t try winning some of them on eBay…
I remember being a lad of about 29 years old, and I finally gathered the nerve to ask my mom, “Where do babies come from?”
I often think back to my childhood, and remember Saturday mornings as a kid. Rolling out of bed from underneath my taped together Garbage Pail Kid posters. Grabbing a box of Cocoa Krispies and the biggest bowl I could handle. Turning on the TV without a remote control because we had none. Zoning out to crappy yet awesome cartoons and the commercials that sold me on Transformers and Star Wars and Centurions and M.A.S.K. with little to no effort. Then there would come along one of these ads:
Granted, it’s not one of the most heartwarming, but very often, they’d catch me by surprise and effect me on a personal level. Gee, maybe I should help my neighbor shovel the snow instead of throwing snowballs at them from my fort, I might consider. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it was a COMMERCIAL FOR A RELIGION! If I wasn’t born and raised RoamingRecovering Roman Catholic, seeing Jesus H. Christ’s name up there might have been a red alert, but I was, so it didn’t. (Also, I wasn’t raised in a way that told me we were the only ones that were right, so at least I had that going for me.)
So now this little vid is making it’s way around the web. I recieved it via a link in an email from frequent idea spurner Dave, and I watched it in similar wonder to the old LSD, er, I mean LDS commercials. It was beautiful, and in fact made me happy to be alive. Damn YouTube and their header captions:
I guess what I’m saying is it’s much more effective than this old thang:
In other words, how can so many inches of Tom Cruise can be wrong? (My guess: 60 of his 67…)
While Paul’s out of the office and off dreaming up new lists on vacation, I thought I would play catch up. We’ve been too busy at work (and I’m not posting my boss’ lists while I’m playing at home), so since I have a slight chance to breathe today, here we go:
Top 5 Professional Sports Moments[Ed. – Local anyway, and without further explanation]
1.) 1997 Red Wings Stanley Cup Champs
2.) 1997 Michigan Football NCAA Champs
3.) 1989 Michigan Basketball NCAA Champs
4.) 1984 Detroit Tigers World Series Champs
5.) 2008 Detroit Lions fire Matt Millen
[Ed. – Oh yeah. Guess where Paul went to college…]
Top Five 80’s Cartoon Theme Songs[Ed. – With explanations and video!]
1.) G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero – “He’ll fight for freedom wherever there’s trouble…” (This should replace the Star Spangled Banner.)
2.) Transformers – “More than meets the eye…” (Song seemed to be ahead of it’s time.)
3.) The Wuzzles – “Two types of fun, wrapped up and rolled… into one!” (What could be better?)
4.) M.A.S.K. – “Masked crusaders, working overtime, fighting crime.” (Song passes the time test.) [Ed. – I had to twist his arm to get this included – it’s my favorite.]
5.) Silverhawks – “Partly metal, partly real.” (Very underated show. Plus, it has a sweet guitar solo.)
Top Five Stores That No Longer Exist (Now in Reverse Order)[Ed. – My favorite list so far.]
5.) The Old Ballpark – Every baseball card collector’s favorite store located in Livonia. If you wanted mint rookie cards of Alan Trammell or Lou Whitaker, this place had ’em.
4.) Great Scott, A&P, Farmer Jack (all lumped in together) – I do have the fondest memories of Great Scott, as it was our old school place to buy groceries. [Ed. – “Old school,” as in O.G. boyee!]
My sister, Tammie, had a good chortleguffaw chuckle when she heard me ask this one time:
Hey Chris, what does it mean when my Wii’s glowing blue?
She lost it, and upon thinking how ridiculous it sounded out of context, others joined her giggles, myself included. As it turns out, she may slowly be turning into my foil.
Let me further explain.
Last night, one of my friends stopped by with his two sons. They’re cute enough, nice enough kids, but where my friend made the mistake was to inform his children that I had toys.
What I have are not toys. They’re collectibles. Two totally different things.
Upon arriving, and not expecting them to stay long as I had mentioned plans to head to trivia, the boys whipped off their scarves and knit caps and bundled coats and proclaimed, “Where’s the toys?”
I begrudgingly lead the trio back to my DVD room (yes, they have their own room… they kinda require a room when they reach 1200+). In there, I have Indiana Jones figures, Lego playsets, Transformers, and Matt Trakker of M.A.S.K. re-released as a G.I. Joe, all in their packages. Of course, the first thing to reached for is Trakker.
“I know how to put this together,” the oldest proclaimed.
“So do I,” was my response as I put it back.
On one of the cabinets, I have some open figures on display which include mini Ninja Turtles, mini Transformers, a mini Grimlock cartoon figure that does not move, and both versions of Bumblebee from the Michael Bay movie.
They moved onto these collectibles, and within minutes, Grimlock was in pieces (I don’t think he’s supposed to come that much apart, if even at all), the rubberbands holding the weapons in the Turtles’ hands were snapped, and the ’77 Camaro Bumblebee was being stabbed by his own laser sword.
I have learned patience through all the years of working with computers, but when it comes to children—
My friend kept talking to me and I kept thinking, doesn’t he see what they’re doing? The youngest had to go #2 and took Raphael with him. Raphael! RAPHAEL?!
When they were finally getting packed up to ship out, I told my friend he could visit with them again in about 10 years.
Now back to Tammie. As I recounted the situation to her, she just laughed at me again. The definition of a foil according to Answers.com:
One that by contrast underscores or enhances the distinctive characteristics of another: “I am resolved my husband shall not be a rival, but a foil to me” (Charlotte Brontë).
She said, “You do realize you’re complaining about children playing with your toys.”