I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but M.A.S.K. may have been the perfect 80s toy line. Shrink down G.I. Joes and put them inside Transformers? Yeah, I’m on board that idea all day long. It’s been a while since I shined the spotlight on these rad 80s ads, but I was dazzled by the use of actual race cars in this one to sell toys! Back at my folks’ place, I have two duffle bags filled with these vehicles and after watching this spot, I want to dig them out! This reminds me that I should watch the animated series on DVD and also catch up on the IDW comic. I’m missing out on so much M.A.S.K. goodness!
It’s pretty funny that Hasbro decided to follow-up the short-lived Drug Elimination Force line with the over-the-top macho craziness of Battle Force. I mean, it’s not like the D.E.F. line was overly serious (see: Headman), but all that “very special episode” stuff is out the window in favor of neon, muscles and spring-launching weapons.
From perusing the fantastic YOJOE.com I realized that the early 90s were my personal heyday when it came to getting Joe toys. Some of the lines were crazier than others, but I was a kid who wanted to play with he-men, ninjas and evil bad guys, some covered in armor, so it was all gravy for me. How, I didn’t get into the sci-fi-themed Star Brigade figures and why there’s not a commercial for the whole line on YouTube will remain a mystery for now.
The early to mid 90s were a crazy time for kids. There was this huge push to make sure we didn’t use drugs or join gangs so many schools (including mine) decided to scare the crap out of students by presenting them with way too much information. I remember one time when a cop came and showed us samples of drugs most of us hadn’t even heard of and an assembly where they showed us videos about gangs that gave me nightmares for a good long time. Thanks Christ the King!
The anti-drug message carried over into the world of animation and toys, as you can see in this commercial for the G.I. Joe: Drug Elimination Force line captured by Dinosaur Dracula. They are hitting this thing hard and not even going for a subtle metaphor in the slightest! I thought the gangster-esque bad guy was even called Hitman, but it’s actually Headman as you can see on the packaging.
While watching this commercial, I was surprised to realize I had a few of these toys, specifically Cutter and Mutt with Junkyard. I’d have to dig through my box, though, to realize if they were actually part of the D.E.F. line or Battle Corps which came out immediately after this and will be the subject of next week’s TCT! I hope it also features amazing live-action craziness!. That’s my favorite thing about looking back at these old spots. Has anyone tried to put them all together as an actual film? Because they should.
When I took to YouTube in search of “1988 toy commercial” I assumed I’d find a good deal of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and G.I. Joe spots to choose from, but it was this Transformers one that caught my attention. Seacons, Sparkabots and Firecons are exactly the kind of names that sucked so many of us into the adventures of the Autobots and Decepticons way back when.
Unlike most of the other posts associated with this year, this is one that I actually remember interacting with at the time, though I had to head over to the incredibly detailed Transformers Wiki to get the finer details. The Seacons consisted of Snaptrap (a turtle), Overbite (shark), Nautilator (lobster), Seawing (manta ray), Scalor (coelacanth) and Tentakil (squid). They joined forces to create Piranacon, a Combiner (which I love). You can read more about them here. Meanwhile, the Sparkabots and Firecons were toys that featured “cold” sparks produced by rolling the wheels back and forth on a hard surface. The good guys included Fizzle, Guzzle and Sizzle while the bad ones were dubbed Cindersaur, Flamefeather and Sparkstalker.
While I never had any of the Seacons (and don’t actually remember them to be honest) it does turn out that I have the Sizzle Sparkabot which has been hanging out in my garage for about a year. I dug him out for the purposes of this post and here he is:
Ol’ Sizzle is much tinier than I remember, but he’s still got that spark!
I know the whole world fell in love with Guardians Of The Galaxy last year, but we only got around to seeing it this past weekend. Even with the delayed viewing, I think it’s safe to say that this movie become an instant favorite at least amongst my daughter and I (we watched it three times in four days). After giving it a look, I was reminded of a few GOTG collectibles I got sent from Hasbro back when the movie came out including this Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon! At first my daughter was terrified of this thing, but after watching the movie, she loves playing with it and already knows all the lines!
Over the weekend, I introduced my daughter to a bunch of Avengers toys I was sent years ago as a way of hyping the toy tie-in line from Hasbro. Everything came in a super cool, locker-like box but the toys inside proved to be a lot more interesting three years later. My daughter’s just at the right age to actually play with the smaller scale figures and get a kick out of things like a Hulk mask and Iron Man repulsor ray. We’ve also got that shield-slinging Cap which is fun, but the real highlights are the 3 3/4 inch figures which have made their way with us on various outings.
Personal story aside, I forgot how crazy the rap was in these Avengers toy commercials. Wowzers.
Tomorrow’s Trade Post will be all about Batman Beyond, so this is a little synergy action. I would have been about 16 when Batman Beyond debuted back in 1999. By that point I was in high school and would be getting by first job in the summer, so I’m not sure how many Saturday morning cartoons I was still watching. I do remember taping a bunch of episodes — I was big on that back then, especially with Buffy — but don’t know if I got very far into the series.
After reading the first two recent Batman Beyond trades, I’ve been more inclined to revisit this property which resulted in a bump to top of the ol’ Netflix Instant queue for the animated series and a stroll through YouTube to look for TCT fodder.
And, look, I found a pretty great one! As you can probably guess, I was out of the loop for the most part when these action figures started appearing. In fact, I don’t actually have any memory of them warming pegs at this time. I probably wasn’t buying many action figures in those days, but I think would stroll through the toy aisle of Target when we’d go.
Anyway, I’ve heard and read that the main reason WB wanted to create this show was to sell toys to younger kids by creating a younger Batman. It only makes sense, then, that they’s push this toy line with a line like “He’s cool. He’s you.” Well played, toy company, well played.