To say that this Halloween season will be unlike any other is like saying that Leatherface has a unique take on cosmetics. My wife and I are still taking the pandemic seriously (it’s incredibly stupid that anyone has to say that, wear a damn mask) so trick or treating for the kids is all but cancelled. We’re trying to figure out a new way to celebrate, but we’ll see how that goes. Personally, this year will be very different for me because I’ve got a house full of people who want nothing to do with horror movies (or are too young to see them). So, I’m doing my best to squeeze them in where and when I can, but am also focusing on a lot of comics and books. But, I also decided to decorate the shelf in my office with a small army of fiends in action figure form that date all the way back to my childhood!
Watching cartoons with your kids can be a real double, or possibly triple edged sword. On one hand, you get to see what they like, how they react and file away situations and moments that might come in handy when relating something to them down the line. On the other side, you have to sit through some real garbage. And on the other, other side — possibly the sharpest of the bunch — you see how commercially obsessed they are by requesting one of everything shown in the commercials.
But, hey, sometimes you see something cool like Havex Machines commercials. Sure it might have some souped up CGI wizardry, but this spot feels very much in line with the kinds of ads they showed us in the 80s. There’s the implication of a long-standing battle between sides, not to mention the talk-shouting approach and cool-as-hell looking sets they get to play on.
Better yet, Havex Machines seem to basically be Transformers that can only switch modes when you drive a Micro Machine into them with maybe a little Centurions thrown in (Earth! Sea! Sky!) That’s a combo I can definitely get behind.
There are roughly a thousand things I love about this Kenner Star Wars spot. First off, that’s Christian Slater on the left and Christmas Story and Death Valley star Peter Billingsley on the right. Second, I’ve had some of the action figures in this commercial since I can remember remembering things like Hoth Han and IG-88. Third, I’ve always seen and been enamored with that Darth Vader carrying case, but never realized that it actually featured the names of the characters and designated spots. Fourth, it’s hilarious to me that, of all the amazing characters on display as the camera pans by, AT-AT Driver and the medical droid get shout outs from young Master Slater. Okay, so maybe there were only five things I love about this commercial, but it’s still a great watch.
Even as a kid, I knew there was something off with 1993’s Super Mario Bros. movie. I don’t remember being super excited about it coming out — not like I was for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a few years earlier — but I do remember being confused by the tiny headed lizard dudes and, well, everything else.
These days, I’m happy the movie exists because it gave us Ertl action figures based on Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper AND Fisher Stevens. What other movie can say that? More importantly, what accent is this kid trying to do?
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?
I’m returning to the well a bit with today’s Toy Commercial Tuesday. I’ve been writing about the Wall-Crawler a lot for Marvel.com lately and it reminded me how much I enjoyed the Toy Biz line in the 90s. So, having already covered the original line, Spider Force and even Web Splashers, I hope you enjoy this look at the Spider Wars line!
Of the figures shown in this spot I’ve got Hydro Man, Kingpin, Black Cat and Doctor Strange. Hey, since I have all of my toys here, I can now back that up with photographic proof and talk about them in a bit more detail!I still love the enormous Kingpin figure, Doc Strange and his bendy cape (it’s still in the garage somewhere) and, no kidding, everything about Hydro Man from his six pack to his water squirting action feature.
My daughter and I both like the look of the Black Cat figure, but she refuses to stand up. In fact, moments after snapping the picture, she and Kingpin both toppled over. The resulting pile is NSFW. I remember seeing that crazy Cyber Spider-Man and the Doppleganger figure in stores, but they didn’t really appeal to me. I do give Toy Biz credit for coming up with interesting takes on their lead character, though.
Whoa! These are the kinds of rad things you stumble across when you just search for “toy commercial” on YouTube and dive in a few pages deep. I feel like I may have heard about The Great Garloo here on an episode of Toy Hunter, but it was just a vague echo.
Still, I would have been all over this had I been a kid in the 60s. It’s a remote control robot that can move around and also shift its arms up and down. In other words, as the commercial implies, it’s the perfect toy for kids who wanted to create their own monster movies! If you’re curious to see what this bad boy looked like in person (ie not black-and-white), head on over to The Old Robots Website.
As I mentioned towards the end of my Ready Player One review, I’m pretty interested in diving into the Japanese tokusatsu series Ultraman. That got me looking around for Ultraman toy commercials. There were a few, but I figured I’d wait on those until after I start watching the discs I’m waiting on from the library. But, it got me looking around on YouTube and check out this awesome Shogun Warriors/Godzilla spot!
The whole giant robot toy thing happened before I was born and by the time I was old enough, I was all over action figures and the like, not really looking back at what had come before. I do that now and wish I could have had some of these fist-launching bad boys! That Godzilla figure is so rad!
Here’s another great Children’s Palace ad, this one focusing on Nintendo games. What heady times those were!