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.

Ad It Up: Karate Kid Playset

I don’t know about you guys, but I had a lot of toys as a kid that I couldn’t identify past “Ninja” or “Robot With Baseball Mit.” They all got put in a big tub or box that I would haul out and have huge battles with. The names weren’t super important so I would make some up or not even bother. In that same vein, I had the Karate Kid playset for years and never knew where it came from. A year or two ago, I was flipping through a comic and saw this ad for the Karate Kid toys from Remco and it all made sense. This playset is a fantastic one, with ninjas popping out from sliding doors and plenty of break-away parts for Daniel, Miyagi and the rest to crash through. I’ve got a few figures from this line as well, but if memory serves, they are of the generic ninja variety. If you’re interested in what I thought of re-watching Karate Kid recently, head over here. (Scanned from 1986’s Hex #17)

Toy Commercial Tuesday: He-Man Slime Pit & Fright Zone

Today we’ve got a double dose of creepy He-Man and the Masters of the Universe related toys for Toy Commercial Tuesday. First up, the Slim Pit:

I have very distinct memories of getting this toy as a kid. For some reason I feel like it might have been one of the last He-Man toys I got, but I’m not sure why. Anyway, the idea is to trap your toys with the monster hand and then tip the skull down and cover them with green slime. Amazing. What a perfect toy for little boys. The only problem was that, if you didn’t clean your He-Man figures off soon enough they’d get all crusty and gross. I think a few of my figures might still have remnants from the Slime Pit. I’ve still got the Pit in my storage unit and fully intended to bust it out when the kid is old enough to play with toys (assuming they pass my course on being nice to your toys with at least a 90%).

On the other hand, I have no memory of the Fright Zone, though it looks like it would have gone with my Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain Playsets perfectly. It’s a little on the simple side with an included puppet creating the bulk of the fun, but I’m sure I would have come close to killing for a full set of He-Man playsets including this one and the Eternia one which I was blissfully unaware of until adulthood. In fact, I still might do some damage for these toys…

Toy Commercial Tuesday: G.I. Joe U.S.S. Flagg

I love playsets and was a pretty big G.I. Joe fan as a kid, but I never knew anyone who ever even heard of the U.S.S. Flagg. It wasn’t until years later when either reading through a ToyFare or actually working on the magazine that I first discovered this behemoth playset. I think the video speak for how awesome this bad boy is.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Batman Returns Wayne Manor

I was about 9 when Batman Returns came out and loved it. It’s still my favorite of the 80s/90s Batman movies. I was also a big fan of action figures and bought the hell out of those figures. And finally, my beloved playsets. Oh how I love them. I think I saved up for a while to get the magical $50 to buy the Wayne Manor/Penguin’s sewer playset (they all cost about that much back then, didn’t they?). I had more fun with that thing than any of my other playsets and even had the Penguin figure in this commercial, which I believe is a holdover from another line which is why it looks absolutely nothing like Danny DeVito. From the breakaway skylights to the Bruce Wayne/Batman changing room and the Batcomputer to the giant garage door for the Batmobile, this is one of my top favorite playsets of all time, mostly because of its incredible versatility. Kenner would go on to repaint this bad boy and use it again for the Batman Forever, Batman & Robin and Animated Series lines. Watching this again makes me wish I could afford to buy the most recent/upcoming playsets like Hasbro’s G.I. Joe Pit and the Star Wars AT-AT. Damn, those look rad.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Karate Kid

Anyone else remember this line of Karate Kid figures? I have some of the random ninjas, not Daniel or Mr. Miyagi. I’m guessing they came with the rad Karate Kid playset I had as a kid (and still have at my parents’ house) that I never knew the origin of until the last few years when I saw ads for it on the back of comics from the 80s. That’s one childhood mystery solved! Anyway, I love these old toy commercials that show kids both talking about the characters/figures like they’re real people and also controlling their actions at the same time. I’m sure that’s a deep rooted commentary on society or some such, but just look at how well those figures kick ass! I can’t say for sure I used this exact commercial, but I used a lot of commercials like this when I put together my list of greatest action features list for ToyFare. That was a super fun list to put together and was only helped by YouTube!

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Silverhawks Double Feature

As a kid, I always loved the commercials that showed kids playing with toys in these really complex play areas like their G.I. Joes in a to-scale creek or some other crazy setting. Now that I’m older and looking back, I appreciate commercials like this one that generally show kids using what they could get their hands on to create settings for their toys. That’s really how I played as a kid. I had a few playsets along the line, but I was much more likely to create my own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle stuff out of old Cheese Poof cans that have the real thing. The first commercial uses everything from a kitchen counter and straws to paper and a cherry. The second one looks a little bit more like a set, but I think it’s just set around an 80s fish tank. On the subject of the toys themselves, I loved Silverhawks as a kid. I had no idea at the time that they were basically the exact same thing as Thundercats, but that’s probably why I liked it. But, as much as I loved the toys, they did not return the favor as every single Silverhawk I got broke in a matter of minutes. The villains held up pretty well and I still have most of them in good working order today, though Mon-Star had some problems. My favorite was Blue Grass not because I’m the guitar-obsessed guy I am today, but I loved how you could launch his guitar/robot bird off his back. Of course, that broke too. And the shiny paint chipped off, but I still loved him.

Also, check out how cool the opening to that first commercial is with the non-metal body falling through the logo and then turning into a Silverhawk. I bet THAT figure didn’t break.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Super Powers

Hey, let’s pretend it’s Tuesday and I didn’t forget to post this yesterday. Today’s toy commercial is a double whammy of Super Powers from YouTube featuring all kinds of figures, vehicles and even the Hall Of Justice playset. You know what else it has? Brainiac kicking the Justice League in the nards. I didn’t have a ton of Super Powers figures as a kid, but I still have my Superman and Hawkman figures somewhere in my collection and do like how the DC Universe Classics team has redone almost every figure in their line. Now we just need that playset!