Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 2009 PlaidStallions Retro Awards

Yep, I'm doing an awards show, except without the musical numbers (this is a good thing if you've met me), stilted humour and most of all, Billy Crystal. Just thought that instead of talking vintage, I'd point out my favourite nerdy retro treats of the last year.


Star Trek: Oh hot damn did I love this movie, which says a lot because I normally loathe origin stories and the furnace that powers my love for all things Star Trek ran out of coal in the early 1990s.

I don't agree with everything this movie did but it brought back elements of the classic series that I felt were missing in all of the spin offs. The scene of Spock transporting to Vulcan's surface gave me chills, it was Star Trek again.

I'm not sure if this is my favourite Star Trek movie but it's my favourite geeky movie of the year. The other runner up would be Watchmen but I think I'll watch Star Trek more.


Despite what my wife says, I do in fact, read things longer than a diner menu. While the majority of what i read is esoteric, here are two modern books I found captivating.

First is Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror by Michael Mallory. A beautiful coffee table book tribute to one of my favourite subjects, the Universal Monsters.

Lots of wonderful photographs and insight here, I was unable to put it down. If you're a casual fan you're learn a lot, even hardcore fans will enjoy the books crisp layout, strong writing and excellent imagery.

My second favourite book of the year was published in late 2008 but I didn't discover it until 2009, so I say it counts. Wham-O Super-Book: Celebrating 60 Years Inside the Fun Factory is a fun and colourful look into a toy company that I hadn't really given a lot of thought to before.

The effect Wham-o had on our popular culture is truly amazing, these were the people brought the Hula Hoop to America, not to mention super balls, the frisbee, slip n slide and the Super Elastic Plastic bubble. Whether you're a boomer or Gen X this book will bring up happy memories.


I make it a point to not buy many new toys, concentrating on the vintage but this year was hard and it looks like 2010 will be even harder to keep that mantra. The biggest thing this year for me was the Mattel Retro Action line announcement. Which has been very carefully guided by Paul "Dr. Mego" Clarke of EMCE Toys.

They may not be exact Mego replicas but I'm getting eight inch action figures of Hall of freaking Doom members, that excites me so much I'd like to call my seven year old self and tell him the good news. I'm itching for a Plastic Man something fierce.

Arg! Character options just keeps beating me over the head with stuff that my "inner whovian" needs to own. This Cyberman wave pictured here was one of those things.

As a kid I dreamt of a Doctor Who toy line that would encompass all these strange and wonderful characters, so seeing these things makes it impossible to resist.

Next year will see more Doctors (including Sylvester McCoy!), an Ice Warrior, the Master and some other assorted baddies that will be expensive for me.

Finally, the action figure I never thought I'd see also came out in 2009. I was excited and elated that BiffBangPow! chose to do action figures from the Flash Gordon movie in the first place, even happier when they chose to do characters such as Prince Barin and Dale but when they made a death scene variant Klytus, I knew these guys were hardcore.

I was nine when I saw Flash Gordon, it overwhelmed me with it's colour and score, I was instantly in love. One of the most memorable scenes in the film was Klytus's gory death scene, I'm probably a little too happy to have this.


I bought a few DVDs this year but three really stand out for me, the first being Mystery Science Theater 3000: XVI which not only features a little Tom Servo figurine (yay!) but a great selection of movies with honest to goodness extras.

The movie selection is great, the Italian Mad Max inspired "Warrior of the Lost World", the Mexican holiday classic "Santa Claus" (I've been torturing the kids with that one every December), a Bela Lugosi cheapie called "The Corpse Vanishes" and a selection from my favourite season "Night of the Blood Beast" with two versions.

I also have nothing but kind words for the former MST 3K crew's latest DVD "Cinematic Titanic Live: East meets Watts" which is a terrible 70s Kung Fu/Blacksplotation remake of the Defiant ones being riffed on by the masters.

I'll probably never get to see CT live unless they get to Canada (HA!) but I couldn't get over how fun this DVD is, IMO it's their best yet. Digital downloads are only $10 and it keeps them in business.

As I've mentioned earlier on the blog, the fun mid seventies Saturday morning series "The Monster Squad" got released on DVD this year as well.

It's a pretty bare bones edition with nothing by the way of extras. It wouldn't have been that hard to track down some of the cast for interviews but I'm not complaining, it's a dream come true just to have this.

Now if I could only get the Six Million Dollar Man, Man From Atlantis and the Logan's Run TV series on DVD....

Model Kits

While I have to admit to being excited over the Aurora Monster reissues this summer and fall, the big get for me this year was AMT's reissuing of their classic "Mr Spock" model kit from the late 1960s.

I have wanted to put one of these together since I was five and it was a joy to find this just in time to put it under the tree for my son, who prefers Jedi to Vulcans but loves putting kits together with the old man.

And that's it, I hoped you've enjoyed the first annual retro awards, hopefully 2010 will bring new things to talk about. I'll be doing some tastings for Liquor Pig this evening, so tomorrow's Friday Feature may be late and grumpy...

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mantooth by Baron

Well, I'm back on the wagon and I thought I'd open by sharing something that arrived just in time for Christmas, a portrait of PS spokesmodel Brick Mantooth by artist Tim Baron. I was a fan of Tim's previously for his portraits of Mego figures but I'm a sucker for Mantooth art.

One of these days I need a Black velvet Brick for my mantle and I need a mantle.

Tim also gave me a copy of his cool artbook "The Great and Terrible Dream" which I really enjoyed. The subject matter ranges from gothic horror to historical figures to Ben Cooper Halloween costumes, it's no surprise that I'd like it. It's a bargain at $7 and you can order copies at his store.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Very Special Message From Brick Mantooth

Thanks to everybody for a great year, 2009 wasn't my greatest personally but the one thing I could look forward to were the great folks who chime in here, make me laugh, send me stuff for the site and most of all, feel the love. The experience doing this site and blog has been wonderful and rewarding. Thanks to all of you for that, may you all get Stretch Monsters and Barbie Campers under your tree this year.
Having said that, PlaidStallions will be going under it's usual Christmas drinking binge Hiatus this year, look for me to sober up some time before the new year. 2010 is already looking fun, I've got powerful things in store.

For now, I wish you all the Mantoothiest of Holidays.

Keep watching all day for entries at the "Christmas in the 1970s" blog, people sent in some awesome shots and stories from back in the day, you can read it here.!

It's not too late to Send us your vintage Christmas pics! You could win a prize or be involved in our upcoming book "Christmas in the 1970s"!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Trouble in Paradise

the wedding is off! Tom's thoughtlessness in choosing a hat created a rift between him and Irene, who chose to spend the rest of the day sulking in the woods and contemplating the future of their relationship.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stunt Doll

Gabriel Toys broke the "fourth wall" of TV and movies with the Hal Needham stunt set. This fabulous toy allowed you to reenact the filming of a Saloon fight complete with break away chairs, windows and of course, a set of stairs to send our hero down. This may be one of the few incidents where the toymaker wanted you to beat up your toys ( Manglors is another)

Interestingly enough, while Needham was a veteran stuntman with a tremendous amount of screen credits he was getting more known at the time for writing screenplays for movies like "Smokey and the Bandit" and "MegaForce".

I kind of liken this toy to Ideal's JJ Armes, in that both these men were famous but not exactly household names with children resulting in only modest sales. From all accounts of people who have emailed me over the years, this toy was completely full of win.

We have another entry "Christmas in the 1970s" contest although this guy can't win the prize cause it's Me! Here is a little image and tale I call "Waiting is the Hardest Part" you can read it here.!

Send us your vintage Christmas pics! You could win a prize or be involved in our upcoming book "Christmas in the 1970s"!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Captain Fancy Pants and his Electric Merry Men

"There's trouble at the macrame store! Boys I can't promise we'll all come out of this one alive!"

We have another reader submission to the "Christmas in the 1970s" contest we're running all December. John has sent in tale of both joy and woe from 1977 revolving around a certain Mr. Armstrong, I call it "For Love of Corn Syrup", streeeetch over to the blog here!!

Send us your vintage Christmas pics! You could win a prize or be involved in our upcoming book "Christmas in the 1970s"!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cool Thing: Popy Spider-Man

I'm currently out of colouring books to review (although expect some great stuff in January) so I thought it was high time to take a look at some of the more interesting toys to cross my path.

Our initial entry comes from Japan, land of wonderful playthings and pornography that gives me nightmares.

This doll is not based on the comic book Spider-Man, no sir, it's based on a goofily brilliant live action TV series that ran in Japan in the late seventies. The costume is the same but that's not Peter Parker under there. If you haven't already be sure to watch episodes at the Marvel comics site it saves me explaining it.

While a lot of people might use "Mego-Like" to describe this guy, he is about a head taller than the average Mego Superhero and his build is bulky like Big Jim but the body style is unique to Popy. His right arm is straight and features a winch, you pull out that webline and hook and he'll climb just like a Remco Spider-Man. His left arm is for firing things, the Japanese love this feature and I love them for it.

And look what you can shoot out of Spidey's left arm, missiles (of course), a net and rubber Spiders that fit on top of the missiles. They thought of everything! Spidey also comes with working suction cups to simulate wall crawling, this is a serious toy.

The back of the packaging is no slouch either, the one nice thing about this piece is it seems relatively obtainable. It popped up regularly and doesn't destroy your wallet when it does.

Thanks for reading my "Cool Thing" Spotlight, I'll hopefully do more in the future when and if I get something interesting to talk about.

Got a Cool Thing? Wanna do a Guest Review? Drop a Line

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How Do You Do Lord Vader?

David after getting chomped on by Cookie Monster also sent in this fun shot of him shaking hands with the dark lord of the Sith in '77.

We have another reader submission to the "Christmas in the 1970s" contest we're running all December. Adam has sent in tale from 1978 which deals with the important things, I called it "At least we had Underoos", dig it!

Send us your vintage Christmas pics! You could win a prize or be involved in our upcoming book "Christmas in the 1970s"!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Viva Zorro!

In the early 1980s Gabriel Toys, (known mostly for their fan-freaking-tastic line of Lone Ranger toys) picked up the license to the Filmation Zorro television series and worked their usual magic with a series of awesome 3 3/4" action figures.

Click on any of the images to explore the 1980 Gabriel Zorro Catalog.

More Western Action Figures:

Lone Ranger Johnny West toys

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Triple Shot of Star Trek Model KIts

This amazing three pack of Star Trek model kits featuring The Enterprise (no clue as to why it's silver), Shuttle Galeilo (A kit I ruined twice, thank you) and the incredibly awesome Mr Spock kit was only $8 back in 1974.
I'm buying my son the Spock reissue this Christmas, I imagine it'll cost me $30 easy.

Click here to check out the 1975 AMT Catalog

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Glamour Dressing for Memorable Holidays

Memorable in the context of "Remember when mom got dressed up like a gigantic red ornament and drank an entire box of wine?"

Speaking of the Holidays we have the first reader submission to the "Christmas in the 1970s" contest we're running all December. Derek from the UK has sent us in a vintage picture from 1970 of a boy, Christmas and a Space Hopper, dig it!

Send us your vintage Christmas pics! You could win a prize or be involved in our upcoming book "Christmas in the 1970s"!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holy Marconi Batman

William Dozier should have gotten royalties for all the "holy" gags used in toy catalogs over the years. These 3-d Walkie Talkies are neat to display but I can't imagine that they were much fun to use, I could see myself dropping them.

Monday, December 14, 2009

7 Different Looks

Each one more repellent than the last, perfect for bake sales, christenings and of course, frequent bullying.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Toys & Games by Variety Product Sales

I had an epic day last Wednesday, what I thought would be a boring trip to a storage unit turned out to be an amazing discovery! When I found the records and remnants of my father's 1970s toy distribution business including these funky signs he used to use. I have been looking for one of these for years.

My dad's company provided toys and novelties to smaller chain stores (especially Mac's Milk locations) across Ontario and provided them with mostly rack toys and closeouts. While I haven't unearthed any physical toys (yet), I sure have some groovy artifacts in the many invoices and pay ables he had, VPS dealt with all the big names and carried all the Brands, Mego, AHI, Larami, Barton, Aurora, Parker Brothers, it's pretty extensive, here are a couple of examples:

This cool invoice from Grand Toys (distributor for Azrak Hamway and later Mego) shows an order of 576 Batman parachute figure figures, I'm salivating, I don't own one now! Looking at how much AHI Superhero stuff VPS carried, it's not surprising I'm totally obsessed with it now.

This invoice from Aurora shows a big order for the classic comic scenes kits, these are really happy memories for me. I remember putting every single one of these together as a kid and playing with them as if they were action figures.

I've got tons of this stuff and I've never been happier to go through a pile of boring old company records before!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Adventure People Discovery

Got a great email from another Brian yesterday, this being the Brian who sells on Ebay as Ant-Toys, it seems he's had an amazing find of 70s toy history in these four original Fisher Price Adventure People Store Displays.

The amazing thing about this is they're stocked with figures! A really rare and impressive sight.

This action Play Sets one is calling to me, I wonder if my family would mind if I got this instead of paying my gas and grocery bill. Hmmmmmmmm, there must be a way to sell that concept to them...

Check out Brian's awesome auctions here.

Cookie Monster Grabs A Snack

David sent in this vintage bit of awesome, at a car show in 1977 Cookie Monster decided to chow down on David, the stuff of schoolyard legend. This is our first (but hopefully not last) Sesame Street submission, great stuff!

plaid Stallions mall appearance gallery

Send me your mall appearance photos!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gordy Toys wants you to play with "Hulk Putty"

Another player in the world of Rack Toys was Henry Gordy International, who specialized in somewhat generic impulse items with licensed appearance. Among their staples is my new favourite thing mostly because I'm immature:

The "Ball Blaster" would indeed be an effective crime deterrent even Lex Luthor himself would think twice.

The primary licenses used here are Spider-Man and Hulk (that TV Series paid off) but the DC staples of Batman and Superman are along for the ride as well.

Gordy was also one of the few companies to license merchandise based on "Battle of the Planets" back in the day.

More Rack Toy Links

1979 remco . 1975 azrak hamway catalog.1976 remco catalog

AHI Spiderman toys. AHI


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