Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Rack Toys From Azrak Hamway

Some nice new additions to our Gallery of Rack Toys today, the concentration being on Azarak Hamway or AHI (which I find surprising how many folks call it "Ahheee"). Above is an amazing dual branded package for Star Trek/Space:1999 Jet Disks. You wouldn't see stuff like this today. This is courtesy of Will Frost.

Also by AHI is this too cool Creature from the Black Lagoon doll from their super monsters series, more pics from this line in the future. These 8" Mego-esque characters are fully licensed Universal Monsters product. After playing with Charlie's for these photos, I totally want one, anybody selling?

Always looking for Rack Toy Submissions, drop us an email if you have a photo to share.

Brick gives this page a thumbs up!

Mego Knock Offs: The Azrak Hamway Creature is one of the better known Mego knockoffs of the 70's but there are two fun pages that go into even more detail on this subject. Firstly, the Megomuseum has a page called Mego-Esque which chronicles some of the more prolific knock offs such as Martian Chronicles, Lincoln and AHI monsters etc. 

As a bonus, cruise on over to Topless Robot to read a piece I wrote entitle the Top 5 Best and Worst Comics Blantantly Designed to Sell Toys. I pulled all the stops here, possibly the most fart and groin jokes I've written all week.

A Very Brady Day

The tall one gives me a serious Greg Brady/Johnny Bravo vibe. The other kid looks like every kid who ever attended one of my birthday parties.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cool Toys I Saw on the Weekend

This past Sunday, I was publicly outed as a toy collector twice. The first time was when Airport security X Ray'd my carry on baggage. The officer yelled "who's this Captain Hero doll you got?" I told her it was Batman, her question of "and the little fella?" was met with "Robin!". She burst out laughing and said" Oh, I should have known". T

he second experience was when Canada customs searched my car with a fine tooth comb, no doubt looking for all the guns and cigarettes I obviously hid inside the dollies and dunkin donuts coffee. "What are you some kind of toy collector?" the security guard asked me with the disgust of a father whose son has just told him that instead of football, he's going to take "LARPing" this semester.

Toy collecting is still, well, weird to the outside world. I guess that's why I hop a (budget) flight every once in a while and hook up with pals to do toy shows. It's a feeling of normalcy, the same kind that my friend gets when he drives 14 hours to put a block of cheese on his head and watch football. So, rather than show you pictures of my pasty face on "nerdcation", here is a run down of some of the cool things I saw this weekend, because I know you'll likely dig it:

remco monsterizer

This is the first thing that really caught my eye, a super duper sweet Remco Monsterizer. I don't even collect the 9" Monster dolls and I wanted this badly. From what I hear it went to a very good home.

stretch xray by kenner My buddy Will mugs for the camera with what was probably the best pick up of the day, a boxed Kenner Stretch X Ray.

Stretch people are tough to find in good condition, either the box looks like junk or the doll has just gone and exploded (seriously this happens), it's tough to find a nice figure in a nice box.

I didn't pick up anything of merit at the show, unless you're one of my kids, they made out like bandits. We headed back to my friend Charlie's place (of the Charlie's basement series) and I did what I always doo, take random pictures of things I think are cool.

spiderman freezies

Marvel comics Freezies! "Mmmmm Captain America tastes like patriotism"

creature feature cards

A whole unbroke box of Creature Feature cards, I can't tell you how much I loved these as a kid. Going to Charlie's gives me inspiration to spend tons of money.

711 cups

7-11 Slurpee cups, I love how obscure the characters get.

711 cups

I mean really, Triton? I would not have known who that was as a kid, despite the fact that I loved FF.

711 cups

Boxed Bionic Bigfoot, I doubt I've really looked at this since Christmas of 1978, it set off sparks in my head.
That's it for now, hope you've enjoyed it, I'll likely post the rest in a couple of weeks. Thanks for making me feel normal.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Circus World: The Toy Store in the Mall

circus world toy ad from 1980 click for a bigger view

I spent the weekend with friends cruising the Chicago toy show (expect photos from that tomorrow) and one of the cooler things I got came from my pal Charlie's basement (which has been subject to a couple of blog posts) and not the show itself.

This clipping from June 4th 1980 (Click here for a bigger view) has a lot of cool toy memories packed in there such as energized Spider-Man, 12' boba Fett, the Fisher Price Ferry Boat and all the two dollar Empire Strickes Back figures you can carry. Sigh, can somebody go back in time and get me a Bossk?

BTW, thanks again Charlie!

Links of Interest: Woolco Toy Land Ad

1975 Toys R Us Newspaper Circular

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Morning 1977

Recently I came across a TV Guide I'd saved since I was a kid, I don't know why I saved it. It has a Quincy on the cover and while I enjoyed that show (and now love comedian Jim Norton's "Jimcy" rants on the radio)it doesn't explained why I kept it. I am glad I did however because it gives me the ability to show what a six year old in Toronto was faced with on Saturday morning.

I cut off the 5am - 6am part, it's mostly "farm report" programming with the only kid like thing being "Hilarious House of Frightenstein" on Channel 11 (who actually made that series)

No wonder Monster Squad got cancelled, it was up against the Krofft Supershow, I'm surprised I watched it at all.

There is some Canadian content that some might not recognize, Circle Square was a christian show where everybody lip synched poorly. C.u.c.u.m.b.e.r (Children's Underground Club of United Moose and Beaver for Enthueastic Reporters) featuring two people wearing a Moose and Beaver costumes who encouraged kids to write, John Candy once appeared in spandex as a superhero and Martin Short played a rabbit. Harrigan was a Leprechaun who sang songs or something, I never watched it.

Shazam/Isis and Superfriends are the three big reasons I'm such a junkie for comic book movies today. By noon, my parents would either throw me outside or my older sister would have to get her Shatner fix (she was going to marry him) and turn it to Star Trek. Either way, I constantly got screwed out of Fat Albert and Ark 2.

I've said it before but now my children have three channels of cartoons to choose from, 24/7, I'd have killed for that as a kid bt now, I kind of wish they could experience a time like our Saturday morning...

Friday, April 25, 2008

G.I. Joe in Germany: Action Team Catalog

While we were busy playing with our Mike Power Atomic Man figures, German kids were enjoying the Action Team, a variation on G.I. Joe but with more of a paramilitary flavour.

Characters like Tom Stone and John Steel seemed like soldiers of fortune and while they had a lot of the same items North Americans enjoyed, there were a few surprises in their line.

What's wonderful about this catalog is the terrific action scenes the Germans created to sell the line, a great deal of effort went into marketing Action Team
Check out the Action Team Catalog.

hasbro action team

Related Links: 1976 Hasbro G.I. Joe Catalog

1978 Super Joe Catalog

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Plaid Stallions enters the "Terrible Twos"

happy birthday plaidstallions

It's hard to believe that it's been two years since I started this blog, primarily to fill the time one afternoon while my baby daughter napped. It's a strange feeling, it seems like yesterday although I can't remember a time when this didn't exist. I had no idea what I was doing when I made my first fashion mockery post (which got a whopping two hits,probably both me) and I had maybe 12-15 department store catalogs in my collection. Since then, it's grown into something a little bit larger:

Now it's balooned into the monstrosity you see before you, an burgeoning mass of catalogs, toy store fliers, colouring books, newspapers, Archie digests (I like them, ok!) and more magazines than a man should own.

If I stopped buying catalogs today, I could probably coast on the lot I have for about 12 months but I can't seem to bring myself to stop buying.

Speaking of which, I made a purchase recently of a catalog I already own, the reason was that I had ripped out one of the pages when I bought it back in 1989. It had to go in my locker you see, it was just too cool, I called the gentlemen in the picture "The Plaid Stallions"

the original plaid stallions

Yes indeed, these are the original Stallions, ripped from the pages of a 1974 Eaton's Catalog, God Bless 'em! Also, to commemorate this occasion (this is not at all a coincidence) I've done some new things:

First, I've completely revised the Plaidstallions website , I was never really happy with the original design so I cleaned it up and toyed with the format. One thing you will notice is all the videos are gone, I moved them into their own gallery.

I'm also geeked to announce these:

Yep, I ripped off the Megomuseum (they'll forgive me) and am putting out a couple of Plaidstallions trading cards. The first two are due soon, I have no idea what to do with them, probably give them out through this blog. I have plans for one or two more, maybe a sticker, we'll see.

So that's it, I'd like to thank everybody for making the last two years an absolute joy, props to the folks who sent in mall appearance photos, the supportive gang at the museum forums, my webmaster Joe DeRouen, Steve Leach, Rob Chatlin, Scott Adams, Rob Kelly, Ben Holcomb, Amanda Currey, Keene Silfer, Daniel from Action Figure Insider, , Robert Berry from Retrocrush, Sharry, the wonderful myspace gang, Detour magazine, WGN Chicago, Rob at topless robot and my ever supportive wife, Michy.

And giant thanks to all the folks who regularly visit this blog making way more clever comments than I can ever think of, you people make me laugh everyday and make me want to turn on my computer.

As a bonus, a piece I wrote for Topless Robot is up today. It's an extenson of a blog I wrote here called the 9 ugliest female action figures ever. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Random Marvel Mania

I've mentioned this before but Bop Bags truly confuse me, why would you want to beat the crap out of your favourite character?

This Captain America Bop Bag is ever worse, isn't he the sentinel of liberty? Isn't throwing a punch at old cap a bit like punching the flag?

If you had one of these as a kid, your future political careers could be dashed if any photographic evidence exists of you wailing on Cap (RIP).

As a kid, Captain America was quite possibly my favourite Superhero, which many find strange seeing as I'm Canadian. I think it was the shield personally, I could really fling the one on my Mego Captain America figure.

Hulk Pajamas

Moving onto the Hulk, I'm loving these amazing Hulk PJs I found, mostly because of the attention to detail (the purple pants), wonderful.

Links of Interest related to this topic: 1975 Our Ways Studios Catalog

Azrak Hamway Gallery

Hulk Pajamas

Speaking of Marvel Mania, fans of Spider-Man should really check out Spider-Man Collector, it's easily the most thorough Spider-Man collectibles site ever. I honestly wish every superhero had a site as good as this one.

Stay tuned tomorrow for our 2nd Birthday Bonanza!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sesame Street Swag

sesame street toys by child guidance

Found this neat picture in a catalogue recently, just a cool spread of Child Guidance Sesame Street toys mingled with the "original cast". That unknown dude in the middle? That's some sort of "Build a Muppet" that CG was selling at the time. Expect another Sesame Street Week this May, it's long overdue.

Links of interest: 1977 Fisher Price Catalog

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Colouring Book Theatre: Bernie Wrightson's Monsters

star wars Colouring Book Turning over the reins to the ever talented Rob Kelly, creator of the Aquaman Shrine among many other awesome comic related blogs such as All in Black and White for Seventy Five Cents which explores Warren publications, which is what we have here today. Take it away Rob!

Will Eisner's The Spirit Coloring Book wasn't the only odd coloring book offered for sale in the back of Warren mags:.
monster Colouring Book
Always solicited alongside Eisner's effort was a coloring book from another comics master, this one at the very eve of his career: Berni Wrightson.

Berni Wrightson, with his intricate line work and obsessive cross-hatching, seems like an odd choice to headline a coloring book, but again, like Eisner's, this book was clearly aimed at the older, comics collector audience. And if the cover didn't tell you this book wasn't made for kids, maybe the opening page would:

Monsters book

"...Mommy, what color is the inside of someone's skull?"
The book is made up of fifteen "plates"--single-sided, page-size illustrations highlighting a particular gruesome character. There's a Ghoul:

Monsters book

A, ahem, "Swamp Creature":

Monsters book

As well as a vampire, a glob, a mummy, a werewolf, a cyclops, Frankenstein, a plant monster, a zombie, goblins, the creeping dead, an axe-murderer(fun!), a witch, and my favorite, a gun-totin' alien:

Monsters book

Each piece also comes with a little goofy poem describing each creature. Since the opening page says the text is copyright comics pioneer Phil Seuling, I have to assume he wrote these wonderful, EC-style ditties:

Monsters book

The book measures a whopping 11x17", which is a perfect size to enjoy all of the detail Wrightson put in his work. It makes me long for a classic Swamp Thing treasury comic--that would've been a sight to behold!

Monsters book

A very fun book, and I guess perfect for a kid who loves monsters and horror. Though at the prices this book commands on eBay, I don't think anyone would hand this treasure over to some crayola-mad tyke.

Got a colouring book you'd like to guest review? Drop me a line!

Previous Colouring Book Theatre Entries can be found here.

Coming Next Week: Superman! (perhaps?)

Links of Interest: 1982 Ben Cooper Catalog

Treasury Comics dot com (another RK production which catalogs all the tabloid sized comics of the 70's)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thwip! Chemtoy Spider-Man Webmaker

spiderman webmaker by chemtoy

This is a cool rack toy I picked up recently that brings back lots of happy memories. My Dad brought this back with him from the 1978 Toy Fair and I immediately cracked it open and made a huge mess on my desk. It maybe lasted a day tops but what a cool item with beautiful art.

heroes world gallery click here

Cool toys like the web maker never got into many department store wishbooks but they did get into the Heroes World Catalogs, the Megomuseum has a comprehensive gallery of old Heroes World comics and ads.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mattel Donny and Marie Catalog

donny and marie
Donny and Marie were TV superstars in 1977 thanks to their Sid and Marty Krofft (yes, the Land of the Lost guys) produced variety show which I watched an awful lot as a kid.

Girls loved Donny and looked up to Marie so it only made sense when Mattel Toys snapped up the merchandising rights to this squeaky clean pop duo.

The results are a little bit Barbie, a little bit Rock and Roll....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Logical Putty

It's hugh time we looked at Rack Toys again and what better a subject than Star Trek: The Motion Picture? I'm not sure what the connection was to the film. It's pretty funny to imagine the crew of the Enterprise playing with this Silly Putty knock off, imagine if during the kolinahr ceremony spock just starting bouncing this stuff.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Open the door, to your mystery date!

Not a dud in the bunch, although number four is the dreamiest. I think it's the moustache and the fighting stance, I'm a sucker for both.

bricks picks
If you liked yesterday's blog about Incredible Hulk Toys then you'll love the one I wrote for Topless Robot entitled The Top Ten Most Incredibly Lame Hulk Toys. It's a look into some of the more strange Hulk merchandising over the years.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


hulk toys

Even though he's getting another summer blockbuster this year, I still say the Hulk was never more popular than in the late 70's. The TV series was, in my opinion the thing that made the character the pop culture icon he is today. Merchandising back then went from logical to the truly insane, I mean why would the Hulk need a race set?

hulk toys

For no other reason than "Because I can", I'd like to showcase some Hulk live appearance pictures, Marvel never quite got it right. When I met the Hulk in 1975, he was a big balloon, complete with fan and you could see the guys loafers underneath. The suit above is an improvement but still kind of weird.

hulk toys

The 1979 Philadelphia Car Show had a great idea, dress up a local body builder for the event, not bad, bet it fooled a lot of kids.

Related Links: Marvel Superheroes: Live and In Person!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Bright Future in Sales

burger king playset
One has to wonder if there was anyone who grew up loving this Burger King Playset and then later ended up working at a real Burger King. I know I used to pretend I had a variety store as a kid and eventually ended up a register monkey for a couple of years. I never calculated the drunk and crazy people at that tender age....

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Colouring Book Theatre: Star Wars

star wars Colouring Book Today's colouring book was supposed to be Superman but I misplaced that (I tend to do that) so we'll go with a book based on a little known movie called Star Wars.

This book is by Kenner, being the master toy licensor, they left no stone unturned. The book itself is rather bland, there is no story, rather it looks like it was created by a few folks in their design department amidst a pile of stills.

The art has a strong contrast, some of it is better than any book I've seen and other times it looks like children scribbled it.

One of the things I noticed was that none of the pages were coloured, this is because when Star Wars dawned, I was no longer a kid, I was a serious collector. Probably why I don't really have a lot of nostalgia for SW merchandise but I digress...

star wars book

This first image is swiped right from the Marvel comics series, there are a few pieces like this in the book, many of them wonky as somebody tried to trace Howard Chaykin's artwork.

star trek colouring book

Walrus man: The good times. Oh and you can keep your "Ponda Baba" to yourself, his name is Walrusman, dammit!

star trek colouring book

Aother example of wonky comic book tracing, there isn't a straight line in this thing!

star trek

I missed this scene in the movie, I'm assuming this is a still.

star trek

Another scene I missed, actually I'm pretty sure this a drawing of the actual Darth Vader Toy. You can imagine him saying "The Force is with Kenner Toys Children kooo-kah kooo-kah!" Oh man, I'm sorry for that, this book is giving me nothing.

Got a colouring book you'd like to guest review? Drop me a line!

Previous Colouring Book Theatre Entries can be found here.

Coming Next Week: Superman! (maybe)


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