Toy Commercial Tuesday: Transformers Fortress Maximus

Fortress Maximus wasn’t really on my radar as a kid, but if I knew about him, I’m sure I would have lusted after it. I mean, a toy that’s a playset AND an action figure that also changes into something else? That’s like chocolate and peanut butter and jelly for me, you guys. My favorite part of this commercial is when the announcer says something like, “He turns into a robot so enormous another robot forms his head.” Yeah, of course the gigantic, super expensive toy needs ANOTHER toy to complete it. Well played, Hasbro.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Hook Action Figures

From what I can tell, Hook is one of those movies that only people of a certain age liked. If you’re too old, it came off as corny and melodramatic and if you’re too young, well, you’ve probably just never seen it. I was about 8 or so when it came out which put me squarely in Hook’s sites. It’s been a while since I’ve watched the film, but I’m excited to get to in my chronological viewing of Steven Spielberg’s films.

Anyway, I don’t think I had any of these action figures as a kid, but my friends and I all played Hook on our own. We didn’t really care about old Peter, but were enthralled with the can-do-anything-they-want-to Lost Boys, especially their charismatic leader ROO FI OOOOOOO. The toys don’t really capture any of that, but that boat playset thing sure looks fun!

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Super Powers Super Mobile

I can’t believe it’s been two years since I posted a Super Powers TCT! Hopefully this one featuring the Super Mobile and the Lexor 7 (SP?) will make up for it. Looking back at that older post and then watching this clip remind me of how much I freaking loved toys back in the 80s. I used to have so much fun taking my guys (that’s what I called them) and having all kinds of crazy adventures around my living room, even building my own playsets and using whatever I could find to make things more dangerous for our heroes, just like the kids in this commercial. Do kids do this anymore? If not, they should be taught how to play based solely on Super Powers, Secret Wars, He-Man, G.I. Joe and Transformers commercials.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: 1977 Kenner Star Wars Line

Oh man, this commercial would have blown my mind if I were alive enough to be around in 77 and old enough to actually understand what was happening. I love that not only do you get to see the original Star Wars figures, but also the Death Star playset, a game and even something that looks like Play Do in that last multi-box shot thing. So cool.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Batman Returns Batcave Playset

After posting a commercial for toys based on the first Batman film last week, I got looking around YouTube and found so many rad ones, I think the TCCs will be pretty Bat-heavy for the foreseeable future. I chose this particular one because I was (and am) a huge fan of Batman Returns, this toy line AND playsets in general. I definitely had that Penguin figure which looks nothing like Danny DeVito in the movie, but instead, exactly like the Super Friends figure and possibly the Batman (it’s hard to tell which black Batman figure came from which line just from memory).

But, the key element that made me love this commercial is that playset. As you can see by the end of the ad, it’s a folding set that gives you several different environments of play: Wayne Manor, the Batcave and a toxic sewer for Penguin to hang out in. I remember this particular playset — like most of them in the early 90s — was priced at a hefty $50. I might have missed my opportunity to buy the Ninja Turtles playset, but by this time, I actually had some cash, saved my pennies and bought this one at a Meijers on the way to my parents’ cottage. I have very destinct memories of getting all my toys out and completely exploiting those awesome action features to their fullest extent. I probably invented 20 years’ worth of Batman comics in my living room with the likes of Jungle Camouflage Batman and what have you.

For what it’s worth, I also remember heading to that same Meijers around the time Batman Forever came out only to find that they just reused the same playset for that movie with just a slight paint change I think. I think that was the first time I ever realized that the toy companies pulled those kinds of moves (I learned of the Penguin repaint much later, possibly during my years at ToyFare). Anyway, I still have this set and plan on putting it in my eventual office/man cave along with Castle Greyskull, Snake Mountain, the Karate Kid dojo and the weird G.I. Joe one I’m trying to identify.

Friday Fisticuffs: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

I was a gigantic fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I remember getting my first action figure–Donatello–and tying a piece of yarn from the hanging light in our dining room area to the fireplace handle, putting his bo staff in both hands and letting him slide down. I remember getting plenty of other action figures and even making my own playsets because I always thought the amazing sewer one was out of reach, though my friends had it. I had the soundtrack and a few other tour tapes from the movies and the live show that I almost wore out. I even read the Archie comics (at the time I didn’t know it was based on a much darker comic that you used to be able to read on the official TMNT site, but don’t seem to be there anymore).

So, when we heard the movie was coming out, my friends and I were incredibly excited. I actually remember going to the theater with my friend-down-the-street Anthony and his parents (or maybe just his dad). There was a real excitement in the place and actually had more of a concert or play feel than a movie one. Anthony’s dad even bought us books about the movie that were kind of like programs. I tried searching around online to find Ninja Turtle movie photo books, but came up with nothing. Anyway, we’re all sitting in the darkened theater–this was one of the ones where there was an aisle straight down the middle and chairs sloping back on either side, I don’t believe stadium seating had been invented yet. It was so exciting. The movie started and to be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot of it, but I do remember that at some point the film broke! There we were, sitting in a packed theater with a lot of increasingly angry people. Out of nowhere, the audience started chanting. One side was yelling “Cowabunga” while the other yelled “Turtle Power.” This went back and forth until someone finally fixed the film and we were back in action.

So, yes, I have very fond memories of the Turtles and their movies (the first two at least, I was older and didn’t care when the third one came out). The other day I had an idea for a list that coincided with wanting to watch the movies and I disocvered via Amazon that you can buy the three live action movies as well as the CGI from a few years ago for like eleven bucks. Sold. I was definitely worried that the movies wouldn’t hold up, but it turns out that–at least the first one–had an interesting mix of the comic’s seriousness and the cartoon’s comedy. It’s actually a pretty great movie. The costumes look fantastic, the fighting is solid considering you’re watching dudes in rubber suits and the performances are pretty good.

The story revolves around reporter April O’Neil discovering a quartet of mutant turtles who live in the sewers with their Master Splinter, a human-sized rat. The Turtles and their enemy-turned-pal Casey Jones (another vigilante) run afoul of Shredder and his nefarious Foot Clan, a group of young men he’s corrupting to help him start a crime wave. For a while, after an injury to one of the turtles, they spend time at a farm house which offers some really interesting character moments all around and then we get to the grand finale.

And, like I said, the fights are solid. I mean, I wasn’t expecting Tony Jaa or Jason Statham moves, but I was worried it would be like old Chuck Norris from last week or something very clearly chopped up and edited together to make it look good and real. Plus, you can forgive a little for the fact that these guys are wearing crazy suits.

I was very excited and pleased to find out that one of the more important films to my childhood–even if I only saw it a handful of times at best after that theatrical experience–is actually a solid movie. I know I liked things like the 3 Ninjas movies, but there’s no way they’re still good. Right?

Ad It Up: MASK

Here’s a look at some of the MASK toys I mentioned in my post about the new DVDs from Shout Factory yesterday. Of the toys seen above, I had Switchblade, Thunder Hawk and Gator. A neighbor-friend had the Boulder Hill Playset and I was very jealous. Still am. Gator came with a metal depth charge thing that fit in the back and you could launch out that looked like a tiny barrel or a shiny piece of gnocchi. My dog Rusty ate it for some reason, but she pooped it out and I got it back. I know, gross right? Scanned from the first issue of the 1985 Punisher miniseries.