Toy Commercial Tuesday: G.I. Joe Drug Elimination Force

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.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: The Shadow

Why did I choose The Shadow for this week’s TCT? It just popped into my head when I went to YouTube today to look for candidates. These Kenner figures were released in conjunction with the 1994 film of the same name starring Alec Baldwin. I miss the days when action films were based on pulp heroes no one remembers, while also inspiring full-on action figure pushes with vehicles!

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Dick Tracy Figures & Walkie Talkie

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.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Batman Forever Figures

I was about 12 when Batman Forever came out. I’m fairly certain I saw it in the theaters, but don’t have much memory of the outing aside from chuckling at the “Holy rusted metal,” line that Chris O’Donnell says at the end. Even though I was down with Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carey as The Riddler, I think this was the first movie I saw where part of my brain was like, “This might not be good.” I can’t say for sure that’s where my love of bad movies started, but I can say that I liked it AND that I didn’t see Batman and Robin in theaters, so take that for whatever it’s worth.

At that time, I was still fully engrossed in the world of collecting Batman toys and did get the Two-Face toy, which comes with a gun permanently melded in his hand and a scratched up coin. I didn’t have the Dick Grayson seen in this spot, but would have grabbed him given the chance because that was my idea of awesome as a kid. Man, what a bonkers line and movie!

Toy Commercial Tuesday: The 12-inch Talking Cryptkeeper

I was pretty excited to hear that TNT is working on a new Tales From The Crypt series produced by M. Night Shyamalan. That show was a huge deal to me as a kid watching the edited versions that would show on my local Fox network. As a kid who had zero interest in horror at the time, it was my first real foray into the genre and I still love it even if it’s a bit over the top (and very 90s) to these days.

It seemed like the perfect time to talk about some of the TFTC toys that came out from that era when this show really took off. Here you can see the Ace 12-inch Cryptkeeper based on the cartoon that was based on the HBO show. I remember seeing these and the more traditional action figures around when I was a kid, but never got any of them. I would definitely drop some coin on this guy if I saw him at a flea market or yard sale, today though.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Giant Leo TMNT Playset

Unfortunately, toy commercials have become less fun for me over the past year or so. I still love combing through YouTube looking for oldies, but goodies to share here on the site, but modern days ones have become a hassle. Why, you ask? Well, I have a four year old who segued from the nearly commercial-free Disney Channel and PBS to Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network which are packed with spots. With each one comes the inevitable chime of “I want that.” It can be exhausting.

But then we both saw the spot for this fantastic looking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Giant Leonardo transforming playset and my faith in toy commercials was restored (for about 30 seconds). Just look at this amazing thing. It would be cool if it was simply a giant Ninja Turtle, but with a few flips and snaps you find yourself rolling down a skateboard ramp, avoiding sewer traps and locking up bad guys in jail!

As a kid, I loved and coveted all of the TMNT playsets from the sewer one to the Technodrome because they always looked rad and came packed with action features like that. It’s nice to see Playmates carry on that legacy. The downside? Now I want to not only buy this bad boy, but a ton of modern TMNT action figures to go along with it!

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Boglins!

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!

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Ghostbusters Dracula & Frankenstein

I don’t usually post these commercial compilations, but this is the only place I could find the Ghostbusters commercial with the live action appearance by Frankenstein and Dracula, so feel free to stop after the first entry or go on through the whole thing. I knew that TCT would be tricky when I decided to go vampire themed this week. Vampires were never the star of the show when it came to kids cartoons and toys in the 80s and 90s, so I wasn’t exactly sure which way to go and then I remembered the awesome array of monsters that appeared early on in the Ghostbusters line from Kenner.

I never had either of these fantastic facsimiles of the Universal Monsters, but I still have that Venkman figure with the green ghost that attaches to his chest causing his arms to spin around. Frankly, if these guys are so scared of ghosts as we can plainly see by their action features, maybe they need to rethink their line of work.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Remco’s Energized Spider-Man & Spider-Copter

This one was supposed to go up yesterday, but thanks to some technical differentiates (I forgot the schedule the post), it didn’t! Anyway, here’s an amazing looking Remco Spider-Man toy that would have delighted me to no end had I been alive in 1979 (or found one in relatively good condition at a garage sale some years later).

This version of Spidey not only climbs up his own webs but also comes with a working flashlight? That seems a little odd, but as a kid, it would have seemed a lot rad. He also has Spider Sense which seems to translate into a hole in his head you could look through that would make external images look like they were moving in some way. All in all it’s a pretty damn cool looking — and enormous — toy that also fit perfectly on a Spider Copter. I had a Matchbox car-type version of that machine as a kid and think it’s still got one of the cooler heli-designs around. Webs for blades!

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Transformers Seacons, Sparkabots & Firecons

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!