Archive for toys

Giving thanks for my new The Shadow action figures

Posted in movies, pop culture, toys with tags , , , on November 27, 2013 by Paxton

Brian over at CoolandCollected.com is a good friend of this site and the Nerd Lunch podcast. He is also a garage sale/flea market/Craigslist guru. He finds awesome pop culture items and toys tucked away in some nooks and crannies where only the brave care to tread.

Brian posted several articles recently (here, here and here) showing a nice haul of toys he had procured and is looking to “trim the fat”.  I love looking at these articles and seeing some of the treasures he has unearthed.  For instance, I wasn’t even AWARE they made figures for The Last Action Hero and Demolition Man.  WHAT?!  That’s coconuts.  Check them out:

The Last Action Hero figs

Bananas. Anyway, a little further down, I noticed something that caught my eye. Brian had found some of Kenner’s The Shadow figures from the 1994 movie. I love that movie and I really loved those figures. I still own my Lightning Draw Shadow figure from that line that I bought back in ’94 when they were on clearance in KayBee Toys.

Lightning Draw Shadow figure

Kenner’s entire The Shadow figure line was amazing.  Eight regular figures, a deluxe electronic figure and FOUR vehicles.  The line was gorgeous, it really was.  It’s too bad the movie didn’t hit like they wanted because I would have loved to have seen both a Shadow Sanctum and a Hotel Monolith playset.  Oh yeah, AND A SEQUEL.  But that’s a rant for another time.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 91: GI Joe: A Real American Hero action figures

Posted in 80s, cartoons, pop culture, toys, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on June 25, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Our long, slow crawl to episode 100 continues. While Jeeg is off searching for the third constituent element in his Weather Dominator this week, we are joined by our good friend Shawn Robare and first time guest Howie Decker of the Under Scoop Fire Blog and Podcast.  And in this very special episode, CT, the guests and I are discussing the GI Joe A Real American Hero toys.

USS Flagg
(Via herocomplex.latimes.com)

We talk about the ones we had, we talk about the ones we wanted. We talk about some of our favorites and least favorites. We also talk about our current relationship with the property.  It’s a fun, nostalgia filled discussion, join us won’t you?

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Nerd Lunch Episode 68: Failed movie toy lines

Posted in movies, nostalgia, podcast, pop culture, toys with tags , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

This week we are joined by Kirk Howle from Schlock Treatment who follows his podcast colleague Doug from last week. Unfortunately, Jeeg was not able to join us so we called in 4th chair regular Shawn Robare to fill in. The topic this week is failed movie toy lines.

The Shadow figure

We talk about a few movie toy lines that work and why we think they work.  We then parlay that into some movie toy lines that failed and why we think they failed.  Movie toys we discuss involve Star Wars, The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Dick Tracy and several more you probably didn’t even realize existed.

Get your fix for both movie and toy nostalgia with this week’s episode and download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online here.

The Real West: Kenner’s failed western toy line from 1980

Posted in 80s, Billy the Kid, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Paxton

LEB

I’m a big fan of westerns.  Movies, books, comics, toys.  Whatever.  If you listen to episode 68 of the Nerd Lunch podcast, you will hear me lamenting the lack of good western toy lines on shelves today.  The best western toy line is probably the Gabriel Lone Ranger toys from the 70s and 80s.  Most especially the large scale toys and accessories.  Here’s an ad for a western town for the Gabriel 3-3/4″ Lone Ranger toys.

Gabriel Lone Ranger

Gabriel also released a 12″ scale Lone Ranger series of figures.  Both were extremely popular and set the standard for well done western figures.  However, there aren’t many other toy lines that even tried to create western figures, other than generically packed cowboy figures on sale in the discount aisles of Wal-Mart.  See the True Heroes Wild West Action Figure Playset 5-Pack.  To be fair, the True Heroes stuff is actually fairly well made for generic figures.  Check out the True Heroes Wild West Sheriff’s Town Playset.  Like I said, actually not that bad.  But it’s generic.  I want a figure line that’s more specific.

The toys I actually want to talk about today I briefly mentioned in the latest episode of Nerd Lunch.  I consider it to be the closest we’ll get to an actual, well realized “Legends of the Old West” action figure line.  It was first made by Kenner in 1979 as a tie in to the movie Butch and Sundance – The Early Days.  The movie was a prequel to the classic 1969 western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, respectively.  The movie had a nice compliment of stars.  Tom Berenger played Butch, William Katt played Sundance, Peter Weller played La Fors, Christopher Lloyd played Carver and Brian Dennehy played Hanks.  The studio had high hopes for the movie and created a toy line featuring figures of the characters.  Here are pics of the carded figures of the title characters.

Butch Sundance
(via Toys You Had)

There were also figures of La Fors, Sheriff Bledsoe and Hanks.  Kenner also produced the hero’s horses, Bluff and Spurs, as well as an awesome armored stagecoach called The Mint Wagon.  Here they are in a Kenner catalog from 1980.

Horses and Mint Wagon
(Via Plaid Stallions)

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Going to make you GREEN with envy

Posted in Mountain Dew, Pepsi, soda with tags , , , , , on July 25, 2012 by Paxton

LEB

Brian’s new assignment for the League of Extraordinary Bloggers this week is to photograph something green. Well, I have a Flickr stream chock full of green items. So, instead of showing you just one, I’m going to showcase an entire collection of green from my Flickr stream.  Soda, candy, milk.  It’s all represented.  Enjoy.

You can click any of these images to see them on my Flickr stream.

Mt Dew Dark Knight Rises
Vault ZeroPepsi Ice CucumberMello Yello MelonPepsi ShisoMt Dew hillbilly

Mint Crisp M&Ms
Apple Kool-Aid
Green Machine
Hulk milk ad

Other green entries from around The League:
1. ShezCrafti takes a look at her Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection
2. Lair of the Dork Horde looks at some tiny, green Z.O.M.B.I.E. figures
3. Brian himself over at Cool and Collected shows us a collection of Hulk stuff

The Star Wars Holiday Special and its vintage merchandise

Posted in Boba Fett, cartoons, movies, nostalgia, pop culture, Star Wars, TV shows with tags , , , , , on November 17, 2011 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

A few years ago I wrote two articles for the Archie McPhee website Monkey Goggles. It was a fun site with quirky humor/pop culture articles and I was glad to contribute.  My buddy Shawn over at Branded in the 80s also wrote a few articles for the site.  Unfortunately, it seems Monkey Goggles has stopped updating so I thought I’d archive the articles I wrote here before they are swallowed by that unforgiving beast, The Internet.

Anyway, the first article I wrote was about discontinued soda. I published it last week.  The second article I wrote was about The Star Wars Holiday Special.  The Holiday Special aired for the first time on November 17, 1978, which makes it 33 years old today.  I thought reprinting the below article on the TV special’s 33rd birthday was appropriate.  And, stay tuned, the Nerd Lunch podcast is going to devote an entire episode to The Holiday Special.  That should be coming up in December.  I can hardly wait to record it.  Until then, enjoy this article.

And I may be biased, but I have to say, this is one of my very favorite articles I’ve ever written.

SW Holiday Special

The Star Wars Holiday Special is legendary amongst Star Wars fans. Created to bridge the gap between the first Star Wars movie in 1977 and its 1980 sequel The Empire Strikes Back, The Holiday Special only aired once in America and immediately rocketed to infamy by being so notoriously bad that it swings back over to good, ninja-kicks it in the groin, leaves good in a crumpled heap, and moves all the way back into shockingly horrible. To sit and watch the two hours of boring insanity contained within the Holiday Special is like an endurance trial for hardcore Star Wars fans. The awkwardly-inserted musical numbers and endlessly boring live-action scenes combine to create a perfect storm of awfulness.

Not surprisingly, George Lucas hates The Holiday Special. And by “hates it,” I mean that Lucas once said that if he had the time, he would find every copy of it in existence and smash it with a sledgehammer.  Lucasfilm doesn’t officially comment or discuss the special, as if by pretending it doesn’t exist will cause all of us to forget it ever happened. But we will always remember, George.

Holiday Special Press KitThe Holiday Special turned 31 years old last November, so I decided to celebrate the anniversary by taking at look at some of the rarest of “Star Wars” collectibles — those based on the Holiday Special. There was a big marketing push before the special aired back in 1978, but after it died its fiery, televised death, Lucasfilm pretty much cut it loose and left it to die like a gutted Tauntaun. As a result of this abandonment, the spectrum of Holiday Special collectibles is very small. Let’s take a look at some of the items one would look for if they wanted to collect merchandise pertaining to one of the most reviled television specials in history.

Like most films, the Holiday Special was preceded by a press kit (left). It’s a package of information that was sent out to newspapers and television stations to promote the airing of the upcoming special. The official Star Wars Holiday Special press kit contained a booklet, several black and white stills, production information and a mini-poster, all contained in a silver folder. Since press kits are meant for media only, complete sets of these can be very hard to find and only a few complete copies are known to exist.

Starlog 1979If you can actually sit through the Holiday Special and not doze off or throw your 12″ Boba Fett through the TV in utter rage, you’ll be treated to an appearance by Jefferson Starship for no other reason than “why the hell not?” The song the band performs, Light the Sky on Fire, was released as a 45″ single and the record sleeve mentions the song’s appearance on The Star Wars Holiday Special as if that somehow gives the even-then aging rockers street cred. The B-side? A song called Hyperdrive that wasn’t used in the special but probably could have been had the producers hated their audience just a little bit more. Diahann Carroll also performed in the Holiday Special, but smartly decided not to ever mention her connection to the show.

The January 1979 issue of Starlog (right) actually featured the Holiday Special on its cover, and inexplicably chose to use a picture of Bea Arthur and a bunch of cantina aliens on the cover instead of Han or Chewie or Luke or, God forbid, Chewie’s family. I mean, you are doing a cover story on the first new Star Wars in over a year and a half and you choose Bea Arthur? It’s like going with a story on a new “Godfather” movie and using Moe Green on the cover. Was Starlog trying to jinx everything? From now on, Starlog, I lay the blame for this entire Holiday Special fiasco at your doorstep.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 10: By the Power of Grayskull…

Posted in nostalgia, podcast, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , on November 8, 2011 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Episode 10 of the Nerd Lunch podcast is live, my friends. This week we not only celebrate our foray into double digits, we welcome our first returning guest. Shawn Robare from Branded in the 80s joins us again to wax nostalgic. And what are we waxing nostalgic about? This week we are talking about vintage He-Man toys.

We talk about our favorite figures, what we thought were some of the worst figures, the figures we owned and the figures we wish we had owned.  We talk about the effectiveness of “battle damaged” armor, the inexplicable origins of Zodac and learn one of us won a break dancing contest at a Showbiz Pizza (it ties in, sort of).  Hope you are ready for an 80s good time.

Download it from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.