Mr. Nostalgia returns in The Day the Toys Died…

Posted on: March 23, 2013
I can’t remember the month, date or day of the week, but I know it was the fall/winter of 1988 and I was 13 years old and in the 8th grade. I also remember the feeling that came over me , a feeling it seems I will never forget. I was a late bloomer in the stop playing with toys department. By the 8th grade it seemed all the boys in my class had stopped playing with toys and had moved on to other things like sports while I was still playing with my G.I. Joe Conquest X-30 and Cobra Rattler.
One school night I had just finished an epic battle with my G.I. Joe toys. The Joes had just defeated Cobra in a daring mission and I was packing up my toys and putting them away in an old army foot locker I kept them in. The next day seemed like any other. I woke up, went to school, came home, had a snack, did my homework, played some Nintendo, had dinner, took a shower, and then went to my room to play with my toys. As I began taking out my G.I. Joes I suddenly felt a weird feeling, the feeling like I was doing something embarrassing and immature all at once, like I shouldn’t be playing with toys anymore. I stopped and sat there, then began to pack the toys away. It was that moment that the toys had died for me.
But long before the toys had died, the collecting bug had attacked in the summer of 1983 when the movie Return of the Jedi had come out. I was 8 years old and spending a week at my aunt’s house in Long Island. If we didn’t go away during the summer for vacation I’d usually go there for a week. Sometimes my mother, brother and sister would come, sometimes just me and my sister, this time, it was just me. My aunt and uncle were very good to us, they’d take us to the beach, mini-golfing, we’d swim in their pool or play with the neighborhood kids. Depending on the time we went we’d even go to hockey games. We even saw the movie Gremlins there one time in the theatre.
That summer day I was outside playing with the neighbor’s kids when the ice cream truck came along. I walked up along side it to see what he was selling when I saw a box of Return of the Jedi cards. Back then card packs went for a quarter and you’d get 10 cards, a sticker and a piece of bubble gum. Quickly my mind began racing doing math. I looked in my Snoopy wallet (a brown pleather wallet with Snoopy sitting around a campfire with Woodstock and his friends) and saw I had 4 dollars left. I could get 16 packs of cards for that amount. I asked for the cards, fearing my aunt wouldn’t let me buy them because she knew my mother wouldn’t want me wasting my money on such things, gave the man my money, got my cards, and ran into the house and sat on the steps where I began going through my cards. Series one had 132 cards and 34 stickers. While my brother, sister and I never came even close to getting a full set, it was still neat to try.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that was my very first collecting purchase. The very first time I was on my own buying something for the purpose of collecting. While toys were given to us for birthdays, Christmas and Easter, this was the first time I actually spent my own money on something that I had wanted. It began in me the collector I would one day become.
Fast forward to the Spring of 1989. I’m almost 14 now and graduating from the 8th grade and going to high-school. My grammar school is having a flea market, and my friend Rich and I are walking the aisles of the gym looking for something to buy. One table has a zip lock bag of vintage Star Wars toys for sale for twelve dollars that comes with a hardcover Star Wars story book. Rich and I pool our money together down the middle, buy the toys, then go back to my house and split the figures evenly. I forget who got the book. (Rich and I would once more pool our cash together to buy a Darth Vader helmet at a convention for forty dollars, each shelling out twenty.)
As time went on I started high-school and Rich and I started attending science fiction conventions, horror movie conventions, or plane movie conventions. Here my collecting habits became a frenzy. With a part time job I could somewhat afford the items that were now taking up space in my room. When we got older and our driver’s licenses in the 90’s, we would then drive to every Toys R Us and Kay B Toy Store (now long gone) looking for the latest Star Wars toys. Sometimes it would be me and Rich, sometimes me and other friends, sometimes just myself. But the collector in me was sparked and I was loving it.
As I got older I met Mrs. Nostalgia who was a collector herself, mostly of Disney items, which was great since I too loved Disney. We would take vacations to Disney World and buy collectibles or pins which now decorate our house. But as we got closer to marriage I slowed down my collecting to only certain things.
As I look back on my days of playing with toys, I consider myself very lucky for lasting so long as I did. Today it seems kids grow up way too fast and spend less time playing with toys and more time on their tablets, I pod touch, laptops or parent’s I phones playing games, which is a real shame. For a child, playing with toys helped stretch the boundaries of ones imagination. It was a way to escape from the pressures of school, whether it be from homework, bullies, or even trouble at home.
When I played with my toys, they weren’t just little pieces of plastic, to me, they were real, live living breathing things. I spoke to them and them to me, almost as if they were telling me how the battle against Cobra was to be played out. They were a child’s boyhood best friend when his boyhood best friend wasn’t around.
I wouldn’t have it any other way having played with toys so long. I have many fond memories of playing. Children spend so much time wishing their childhood away, waiting to be older to drive, to do what they want, to be independent, that they miss all of their childhood. When they become adults, they try to buy it back through nostalgia by collecting the toys they played with as kids. I’m lucky in that, while I don’t buy back my old toys, I have the memories of playing with them. I never had the Y-Wing Fighter, my favorite Star Wars ship next to the Falcon, but Rich did, and I loved playing with it. I can look back on that memory and all it costs is my minds eye.
I think we all experience the Day the Toys Die. For some they move onto other things and never look back. For others, like myself, it brings us to the next phase in our toy living lives, that of collecting. It’s something we all have to go through whether we want to or not. It’s what happens next that matters. For me, I’m glad to be a collector. I couldn’t imagine life any other way. And I never want to.
Filed under: Blogs — admin @ 5:49 pm

Raiders of Nostalgia with Mr. Nostalgia

Posted on: March 11, 2013

If I had the money, which I don’t, to collect any toy line I wanted to and get a complete set, it would have to be the toy line based off of the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark.  This is by far my most favorite toy line ever.  Now, I know I’ve written about Indiana Jones before.  He was my boyhood hero and Raiders is one of my all time favorite films ever.  And yes, I know I wrote about how I sold off my collection, but this is about if I had money to buy anything I want.


There are many reasons why I love this toy line, first and foremost, it’s Indiana Jones.  Second, it reminds me of my childhood.  A third reason would be the articulation the figures had in the hips and knees areas (Indiana Jones could site on a horse much like an actual person would and look real) as well as some figures (like Indiana Jones or the German Mechanic) having quick arm action for striking or drawing their weapons. A fourth reason would  be the simplicity in the line.  There were only 11 figures made in total, 3 play sets, 1 vehicle and a horse.    They kept to a strict core group of characters without going over board and making a toy for every character that appeared in the film.


If you look at the back of the card for the first four figures made  you would see pictures for Indiana Jones, Toht, the Cairo Swordsman, Marion Ravenwood, a play set for the Well of Souls and the Map Room, and instructions for a mail away offer for a Belloq in ceremonial robe (which he wore when he opened the Ark). On the front of the card was a small picture of Belloq in the outfit advertising the free figure.


Indiana Jones came with his pistol and whip, had the quick arm action mentioned above, was poseable, and articulated at the neck, shoulders hip and knees.


Toht came with a gun and a removable black coat, his hand had the scar from the medallion, he was poseable and was articulated at the neck, shoulders hips and knees too.


The Cairo Swordsman came with his sword and dagger, had a cloth robe, was poseable and articulated at the neck, shoulders, hips and knees as well.


Marion Ravenwood came dressed in a white dress (the one Belloq gives her to wear) has the monkey with her, is poseable and moveable at the neck, shoulders, hips and knees.


The mail away Belloq toy was poseable, had bendable knees, moveable head, arms and legs, and came with a removable gold ceremonial staff.  The offer for this figure expired March 31, 1983, and you were able to get it buy sending in 3 proofs of puchase off the backs of the toys.  The figure was not sold in stores during the promotion.


The Well of Souls play set came with two arches, poles to carry the Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, a replica Ark cover, twelve snakes, two torches, a grappling hook with string, a mummy and a breakaway wall.  No figures were sold with this play set, but it was by far the larges of the play sets.


The Map Room came with an Indiana Jones figure in desert disguise, the Staff of Ra, a scale city which reveals the location of the Ark, a grappling hook, excavator’s pick, notebook and a surveyor’s transit.


Later on the cardbarks would have nine figures on the back (Indiana Jones, Toht, Marion Ravenwood, the Cairo Swordsman, Sallah, Indiana Jones in German disguise, the German mechanic, Belloq in his white shirt and pants, as well as the Belloq in his ceremonial robe. (At this time the mail-away offer was over.  I never saw a Bellow in Ceremonial robes in the stores or on a card, but if this figures does exist that way, I would think it would be quite rare.) It had the Well of Souls and Map Room play sets on the back, as well as a third one for the Streets of Cairo, as well as the Arabian horse Indy rides on.


Sallah came in clothe robes and a torch, was poseable and moveable at the neck, shoulders hips and knees.


Indy as the German shoulder was in a green German outfit with hat, came with a bazooka, was poseable and moveable at the neck, shoulders hips and knees.


The German mechanic comes with a monkey wrench, is poseable, moveable at the neck, shoulders hips and knees, and had quick action arm for realistic play.


Belloq came dressed in a white shirt and pants, had a map, was moveable a the neck, shoulders, hips and knees.


The Streets of Cairo play set came with Monkey Man in a clothe robe, a dagger, a molded figure of Marion Ravenwood that could hide in any of the three baskets it came with, a molded figure of the monkey, a merchant stand with removable fruit and a street cart.


The Arabian horse was sold on a card and if you pressed it’s saddle bags (there was a button hidden underneath them) his legs would move as if galloping.


The Desert Convoy truck came with retractable rope feature (to pull Indy to the truck), a removable canopy, and it had storage compartments under the seats.  It did not come with a figure.


Like I said, a core group of figures and play sets and vehicles, just enough to recreate the film with or make up your own adventures with.  I don’t know if more were ever planned then these figures listed above, but one could imagine, if they were to make more, an Indiana Jones in his teachers suit and play set of his classroom, a Marcus Brody figure, a figure of Jock, Indy’s pilot from the beginning of the film, with his seaplane, or even a figure of Capt. Katanga of the Bantu Wind (the ship Indy, Marion and the Ark stowaway on) being created.


Two things I would have loved to have been made was the German flying wing that Indy fought the German mechanic around.  This would come with a German pilot and would be around the size of the Millenium Falcon toy.  Another thing that would have been cool would have been a play set of the Peruvian temple from the beginning of the film.


This temple play set would be large much like the Ewok Village was and could be sold in one box or as pieces to put together.  It would have the circular room where the Fertility Idol was (with a weighted base so that when you take the idol off the base it sinks down), a corridor filled with boobytraps, and of course a piece where the boulder chases Indy out of the temple.  A figure of Indy’s scared helper Satipo would come with the play set.


If I had the money I would definitely track down these figures, play sets, vehicles and horse, perhaps even get two of each, one to keep mint in the box and another to open and display in front of the carded toy.  They’d look beautiful in a glass case  for display.




Filed under: Blogs — admin @ 3:27 pm

Prince Adam Variant from Pop Culture Shock

Posted on: March 8, 2013

Recently Pop Culture Shock announced that they have obtained a license to create Statues based on He-man and the Masters of the Universe.

Now we have seen some of the leaked designs of their upcoming He-man statue but they have also sent out a sneak peak of a Prince Adam Variant.






No other information was available at this time.

To see the He-man production statue check it out here.


Filed under: Articles — admin @ 2:01 am