Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kenner's The Tramp

I found this image in an early 70s Kenner catalog, at one point they were trying to market Charlie Chaplin to kids. I was aware of silent movies as a kid (mostly Laurel and Hardy) but this seems a bit of a reach to me, I guess toy buyers felt that way too because I can't find any evidence of Kenner releasing Charlie to the masses (if you've got one let me know).

Honestly, i'd be surprised if this got made.

A couple of years later, Mego licensed the Hal Roach "Our Gang" shorts and made a series of action figures. It didn't take off either, which is strange considering i watched those after school every day for years..

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Relationship check

Take all the mystery out of the "Are you two together?" question, make sure everyone in the room knows she's got your stink all over her...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spider-Man busts a cap

Whalloping websnappers, ol' Doc Ock is in for rough time tonight. It's amazing to think that artwork of Spider-Man brandishing a fire arm was approved by somebody at Marvel. I wonder what wouldn't pass?

Spidey leaving a liquor store with a rosie in a skirt? No problem!
The Spider-Man smoking kit? Why not?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Star Wars 3 pack

Another addition to my ever growing obsession of Whitman poly bagged three pack comics, this pack from Star Wars is something I definitely had. I remember being supremely confused by these ancillary characters specifically the big green rabbit. 

In hindsight, Jax is probably less ridiculous than most prequel characters and I certainly can appreciate these comics as an adult. I hadn't seen Star Wars when I bought these originally, so my confusion was slightly earned, although I must have missed that "All new stories, not seen in the movie" disclaimer in 1978.....

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Colouring Book Theater: Dune (Part 2)

It's been entirely too long since I did an entry for Colouring Book Theater (coincidentally, if anybody wants to send in a Superhero Mall appearance, I'd be your friend) so I thought I'd do some new ones for 2013.

The original Dune entry proved to be one of the most popular things I've done here at PS, so another visit to Arrikas (I had to look that up) is in order.

I am fascinated with Dune merchandise, we didn't get action figures from Last Starfighter but there were little six inch versions of Sting clogging the clearance aisles alongside incredibly phallic sand worms.

Anyway, this book is even more discordant than the last a "coloring and activity" book, it tries to be rather endearing to it's reader, which makes it even more sublime. More after the jump:

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Top Ten cancelled toys of the 70s/80s

As much as I enjoyed my childhood, it sometimes pains me to think of the stuff we didn't get, for whatever boring grown up decision. Sure, some of these licensed wouldn't have sold and could have forced the companies into risky financial positions but baby Brian wants his toys dammit!
Here are the top ten cancelled toy lines that I personally weep for at every occasion:

Disclaimer: There may be some figure lines not included, this probably intentional as like all of my lists, it's a little biased. I try to be fair.,

10: V LJN planned to make action figures based on the television series V but somehow it stalled and never totally happened.

Why it Hurts It may just be my teenage crush on Jane Badler and her red spandex talking but "V" is just so seriously under-serviced in merchandise, especially when you consider the impact it had.

9) Galoob The Last Starfighter line In the race to find the next Star Wars Starfighter was probably the closest to the concept (well at least when you look at stuff like Krull or Dune), the movie did good but not great at the box office (which is still a mystery to me) so Galoob chose not to go forward with these beautiful items.

Why it Hurts Not only are the figures nice but Galoob wasn't stingy with the character selection, this movie deserved these toys.

Read the whole list here The Top Ten cancelled toys of the 70s/80s

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What me plugging?

I'm very proud to announce that the latest issue of Mad Magazine features a l'il blurb about my book Rack Toys.

I was a pretty loyal Mad reader as a kid (only straying to Cracked for those Monster issues) and I'm pretty sure at one point my parents told me I was rotting my brain with it. So it's extremely gratifying (and weird) to see my name in there. 

I also want to add that my ten year old stole this issue within the hour....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Space:1999 The Alien

This is a piece I wanted to add to Rack Toys but it got a little wordy and too insider, so I saved it for here. Most Space:1999 fans are at least slightly aware of the fundimensions "The Alien" model kit, which  has no connection to the show. It is in fact, a revamped Goerge Barris concept car (more on it here). Fundimensions was good for that sort of recycling, that same year they re-released the Monkee's car as "Fonzie's Hot Rod" but what is cool, is the story doesn't end with that.

You see, the above black and white image comes from the AHI archives and it shows that the company handling the licensing of "Space:1999" shared information among their licensees and well, this happened:

AHI copied the kit, right down to it's weird 2001 inspired pilot and made it a rack toy a year later. It didn't matter that it had no relation to the series , let's get it on some slat wall people!

Here is an Italian carded version of said Alien, I like that the imagery is a mix of season one and two. Toys like this exemplify why I love Rack Toys, there is no attention to detail or research done, it's done purely on the level of "will a child like this?" and nothing more. 

We're in an era where there are literally hundreds of places that a new toy gets scrutinized and reviewed (sometimes joylessly), no doubt this piece would be lambasted were it new today. For me, it represents a simple joy and how I prefer to look at the hobby in general...

Space:1999 Rack Toy Gallery on PlaidStallions

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Space Lego Love!

True Confession time: As much as I go on and on about vintage Space Lego sets, I a) never had any as a kid (save for one small set I bought with my own money) and b) don't have any now.

 However, I am luckily married to a Space Lego collector and with the help of my daughter, I now have this scene to look at every day while I work on this blog.

I honestly remember going to the house of the biggest wiener on my block just to play with that ship pictured above. He was a year my junior and often slapped my fingers if i played too rough with it. I took this abuse, mostly because of the Lego and that even at nine, I knew life was going to be hard for him.

What I love about these sets is the spacemen are just so happy with their toils, everybody is smiling!

This is not the first Lego display my wife has set up in my office but it's been three long years since I stumbled in the dark and knocked over the castle. I still feel bad about that...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Release the birthday Kraken!

Christopher Elam of the great blog OWARI submitted this great bit of 1981, this being his ninth birthday he has received the Mattel Kraken. Being of a similiar age, I wax fondly at those blockbusters that diverted our attention from Star Wars, albeit briefly...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lost Star Trek Merchandise

I was thumbing through the 1979 Southbend catalog the other night (click on it to enlarge) and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think any of this stuff got made.

Southbend made some cool toys for the movie, particularly and electronic Enterprise that is still quite popular with collectors but I've never seen that figurine set.

That's a shame because I've explained before, I kind of have a low level obsession with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, not so much the movie but the merchandise. I was nine when it came out and TOTALLY got wrapped up in the hype. I gleefully read the Marvel comic adaptation while eating my happy meal, hoping to pick up more Mego figures.

I think I fell asleep during the movie but who cared?

UPDATE: I've been told by several folks they remember having these toys, so it looks like there's nothing lost about these except that I don't own them. That will change, oh yes, that will....

Other Star Trek Toy Links


classic star trek toys

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Last minute Valentines suggestions

Hey, if you woke up this morning and thought it was a normal Thursday, don't panic, I've got you covered. You can thank me later. Here are a few items that are way better than gas station flowers (trust me on this).

For Her: Jewelry, the bigger the better, personally I'm going for the unhappy toad.

Ewww, I'd pick the French one, extra classy. 

How about the latest technological innovation, his and her Digital Watches in genuine gold plate. (Warning watches get extremely hot and should not be warn on skin or near small children/pregnant people)

Candles are always a mood starter and a bonus, you can pretend you're a wizard.

However, if you truly want to make sure that you've got company for breakfast tomorrow, take some advice from our fearless leader and spokes model. A true way into a girls heart is through your outfit, show how much this made up corporate holiday really means to you by wearing the exact same outfit today. And send me some pictures while you're at it.

Happy love making, I'm off to the gas station....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hussla's Warmth 2

"Six more weeks of winter? I believe that groundhog might have a change of mind......"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Ghost who walks (in pharmacy toy aisles)

The Phantom got a lot of cool Rack Toy love in the 70s, which is pretty cool considering he didn't have a cartoon show to back him up. 

I like all of the toys but this set, this one is something I'm actively searching for. Seriously, if you have one of these for sale, I've got a Tarzan set that is ever so lonely.......

Get our new book "Rack Toys" at our shop!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hussla's Warmth

Just because a playa is iced out, doesn't mean he has to be cold, dig?

Friday, February 08, 2013

Megabug Gladiators 1979 Catalog

Described by Kenner in 1979 as "Combat vehicles of the future....half insect, half machine" Megabug Gladiators were perhaps just too ahead of their time.

That's pretty much the only reason I can think of to justify why this cool toy line of insect tanks wasn't a hit with kids. Had it been spawned in the 1980s, Megabugs would have likely gotten an animated series to support the concept and been a bigger hit.

As it stands, it's one of those toylines that deserves more fanfare, mostly for being one of the most creative concepts of the decade.

Click here to see more of the Megabugs.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Comic 3 pack love

Back when I collected comics "seriously" (AKA when I was 11) the most dreaded thing to own was a "reprint". That Whitman symbol or a diamond price tag meant the comic was worthless and Willy, the local expert (and the only kid with an Overstreet Guide) was quick to point that out and shame you.

It's ironic now, some 30 years later that pretty much the only comics I collect are beat to crap Gold Key Star Treks and any Whitman 3 pack I can find. These 3 packs especially dominated every toy store and gift shop I visited as a kid and I bought a great deal of them.

Above is my latest score, the Black Hole three pack which includes the spell binding first chapter of "Beyond the Black Hold" Gold Key's attempt to keep the story line going.

Back in the day, my dad was actually friends with the guy who distributed these 3 packs in my area. One Saturday he went to visit him and I tagged along. In the giant warehouse full of these comics, I heard the man say "Take as many as you want" to me and he strolled back into his office. Just before my dad followed him, he turned to me and held up two fingers.

I spent the entire time trying to find two sets that had nothing but cool comics I didn't already own, it was heaven. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Zig Zag

Years of working on this blog have likely obscured my judgement but I would totally rock this.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Lincoln Monster Mystery

I've been been pretty much under the assumption that I'd seen it all when it came to Lincoln Monsters. Well, that fell apart this weekend when I got this photo emailed me to me.

These are the four perfect as the day they were made Monster figures shrunk wrapped to a card. To me, it looks like some sort of Catalog item, but which one and when?

If anybody can sheld some light and remembers getting the monsters in this fashion, please drop us a line. I'm delighted to have another weird mystery with regards to these kooky figures.

Monday, February 04, 2013

I'd rather not be sailing

I think if you can tie you own shoes, you should be exempt from "Nautical Fashion Torment" as a child. 

Friday, February 01, 2013

Bugmen of Insecta

I thought I'd dedicate the Friday feature space to this odd little line of early 1980s obscurity. Not because I collect them but because they kind of fascinate me.

When Toys R Us first hit my town in 1984, the Bug Men came with it. Their cards looked warn already and it was sort of this weird "never heard of it toy line" that belonged in a pharmacy rack toy aisle more than a TRU action figure aisle.

There they sat and sat and sat until at least the mid 1990s when they seemed to vanish from every Toys R Us I visited, in some sort of clearance clean up. I almost never see them at toy shows either, they just vanished. That was until this past fall when I was at Burlington Toy Con and a fellow I know trucked by a box of them. 

Turns out the Bug Men are highly collectible now, commanding more than I'd pay for them, which is a shame because their mix of horror and cheapness are now intoxicating to me. Fortunately I was able to record them for posterity, more after the jump:


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