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!
A few years back I took the time to spotlight the rad 90s Kenner Superman: The Man Of Steel line (that was probably only rad to kids like me who were HUGE Man of Steel fans). The line didn’t last very long, but it gave us some really interesting commercials. The one you see above has a lot of the same figure as seen in the previous post from four years ago, but with the added awesomeness of Superboy’s motorcycle. Why would he need one? He doesn’t! He just wants one, so take that!
Also, I dig how into it those kids are! They really nail the “Don’t Mess With The S” slogan and I’m pretty sure one of them is dressed exactly like Marty McFly in Back To The Future, so bonus points for that.
Finally, how crazy is it that Conduit has an action figure?
Here’s another great Children’s Palace ad, this one focusing on Nintendo games. What heady times those were!
I still think it’s amazing that, back in the 80s, it was standard practice to simultaneously launch a comic book along with a cartoon/toy line. These days, comic book characters are bigger than ever, but I’m not so sure that reflects back on the medium itself, but back then it was assumed that kids would want to plunk down the money they didn’t spend on toys on a monthly comic to fill out the story.
Just today, I wrote a post for Marvel.com about the tie-in comic for Star Wars Droids as part of my weekly Star Wars Spotlight column. While researching, I was reminded that the Kenner toys based on this short-lived cartoon were actually pretty rare so this will probably the most I ever see of them. It’s too bad because those vehicles sure look cool!
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.
As you will see in a post going up on Thursday, I was a huge fan of the whole Dick Tracy experience in 1990. I loved the movie, I picked up some of the toys, I collected the trading cards and I desperately wanted a watch that doubled as a phone.
In this spot, you can see some of those toys and a replica of the famous watch that basically just told time. If memory serves, there was a set of massive wristwatch walkie talkies you could buy as well.
I find myself continually fascinated by the 1980s trend of selling scary things to children. I missed a lot of that, but even as a kid I loved Gremlins which begat movies like Ghoulies, Critters and the Troll films. The Mattel-distributed Boglins toys are also part of that mini-monster lineage. The toys themselves were creepy puppets that allowed you to manipulated their mouths and eyes. From the looks of this amazing commercial, they were ready for the big screen and probably looked better than some of the Gremlins clones out in the world around this time.
I don’t specifically remember Boglins from my childhood, but do remember walking into the research office when I worked at Wizard and seeing one of them lying on a makeshift end table created from piles of longboxes next to my boss’s desk. The ToyFare guys were doing a retro toy feature on the line and this was the one being shot for art purposes. I bet I have that issue sitting around somewhere in my garage. If I ever find it, I’ll scan it and post it here on the blog!