Once again I open up the wounds of my youth for the sake of entertainment. I love toys and it might be because I didn’t have many as a kid. Here are some more stories about those toys from my youth that slipped between my fingers and have made me the bitter man I am today. Just joking, not really bitter per say, but I do spoil the crap outta my kids to hide my mental scars.
1. 12″ Inspector Gadget (Galoob, 1983)
In 1983 I was a big Inspector Gadget fan and I thought this toy was the pinnacle of toy technology. He had a ton of action features straight from the show and it blew my mind. Already at the age of seven I knew the soul crushing truth that most toys never lived up to their TV or movie counterparts, but Inspector Gadget looked to be crafted by the toy gods themselves. He had a “real” trench coat, his trade mark extending limbs, his telescoping neck, helicopter hat, and even a comical mallet for smashing the shit outta CLAW baddies. This dude had it all.
When ever I would pause to take in its awesomeness at the toy section my mother would shoo me away. I was told I was getting something I really wanted for Christmas from one of my mother’s friends, so the little dark knight detective I was deduced that I was getting Inspector Gadget from those two facts.
When I was handed a wrapped present that resembled the same shape and size of Inspector Gadget, I just knew what was inside. Oh, the egg was on my face as I peeled back the wrapping paper to find…a Mr. T doll? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed pitying the fool as much as the next kid but removable feathered earrings were no match for a helicopter hat. I still had fun with my 13″ Mr. T figure but what made it worse was I got two of them that Christmas and wasn’t allowed to return one for ol’ Inspector Gadget.
2. Yoda, The Jedi Master (Kenner, 1981)
Just imagine if you had an item that could foresee the future…awesome right? Now imagine that same object as Yoda….totally more awesome, right?
Yoda the Jedi Master was my first foray into the world of “Magic 8-balls”. At five years old I felt like what cavemen probably felt when they first saw fire. I was in awe of the witchcraft that must have been performed to create this miracle of modern science. One top of having an awesome gimmick, this was Yoda. I loved Yoda and no matter what it was, he looked great. I can’t remember if his fortune telling was in his wording or just normal run of the mill Magic 8-ball wording. It would be awesome if it read “Cloudy the outlook is” or “Later, please ask”.
I only saw him once “out in the wild” when I was a kid. I was with my grandparents and you try convincing two people who had lived through the depression that I NEEDED this. Hell, one year for Christmas they got me six cans of sardines.
Believe me, I could do a couple lists just on Star Wars toys I wish I would have gotten as a kid…but I like drawing out the pain as long as I can.
3. Greatest American Hero (Mego, 1981)
This is a toy “miss” that I can’t blame anyone for. This was a here one day gone the next situation. Being one of the last toys that Mego produced, the Greatest American Hero toys had very low production runs and sold out quickly. Today, they are very rare and very sought after. But in the mind of a five year old it’s just sour grapes that can ruin your day.
I was a HUGE Greatest American Hero fan and in turn a big William Katt mark, I discuss it briefly in my Halloween post about Over Looked Horror Movies of the ’80s. I wanted this toy so bad and what made it worse was I had a friend that had this along with all of the other Mego Pocket Hero toys AND he was the type of fellow that wouldn’t let ANYBODY play with his stuff…what a jerk! Kindergarten is a dog eat dog world.
Damn, now I can’t get that theme song outta my head!!
4. Wrestling Superstars (LJN, 1984)
Back in the day when there use to be Saturday morning cartoons, 11 o’clock was the scourge of children everywhere. Some stations had local or national intellectual shows like “It’s Academic” or would go right to local news. These were dark times!That was until one of our local stations (remember kids, this is before cable TV) started playing WWF wrestling in the mornings.
This was the era of WWF that was the “Rock and Wrestling” era. They started to push wrestling to kids more with a cartoon, trading cards, and of course toys. There were a few different ones on the market but these big, solid rubber figures were the best. And when I say they were solid rubber, they were, these figures could become a spandex clad weapon if you needed it to be. I can see the newspaper now “Robber, killed with blunt Big John Stud trauma to the head.”
I think I missed out on these toys simply because my parents didn’t “get it”. I remember having to buy them for friends for the birthday parties, but alas I never got one myself.
5. Super Powers Collection (Kenner, 1984)
Oh how sad it is to admit that as a huge comic book fan at an early age, I never had a single Super Powers toy. I know, WTF, right? I watched all of the Super Friends and Super Powers cartoons at the time, lusted after the toys in the stores, and read every comic I could my hands on…so I have no idea how or why I never even had a Superman or Batman in my collection. I personally blame poor parenting.
The Supers Powers Collection was a who’s who of the DC elite, and even the not so elite. This was the first time in the history of comics that some of these characters were introduced to the public conciseness….you know what ? I can’t even go on….post over….damnit!!
**throws keyboard across the room, sobbing**