Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ghosts of Christmas Past - Memory Lane

Going through the old Sears Wishbooks brought up lots o' memories for me, as seeing one toy pictured would remind me of two or three that weren't. So, let's take a quick rummage around the toy chest of my mind, shall we?

When I saw the Wishbook ad for the Fischer Price yacht, the first thing it made me think of was my other playset which often served as an expansion for the Fisher Price figures: the Sesame Street Clubhouse.

Loved that little playset, with its hand cranked conveyor belt that you can see is pushing Big Bird over to the red slide in the picture; and then there's that white rectangle next to Grover, which is actually a trap door -- I loved me some trap doors when I was a kid.

Couple of other early favorites were my Superman Big Wheel

and my Sit and Spin
which I covered in the Six Million Dollar Man stickers which didn't wind up plastered all over my bedroom wall.

As I may have mentioned before, my toy collection was pretty scattershot; I never picked one toy line to focus on above all others, but instead dabbled in a wide variety. Of course, my earliest action figures were those which any self-respecting child of the late 70s had: Star Wars. And while I mentioned a few of the figures I used to own in some of the Wishbook posts, there is one seminal piece of Star Wars paraphernalia which was not pictured: the Death Star Space Station playset.

Which, in addition to a neat cannon and elevator (not to mention a trap door) also had the nifty trash compactor toy complete with trash compactor monster which, I have learned while doing image Goolges, is technically known as a dianoga.

I had this funky looking thing for many years longer than the actual playset lasted. My other beloved Star Wars toy was my Tauntaun.

As mentioned previously, I had my fair share of Masters of the Universe toys. In addition to Orko, Buzz-off, and Ram-Man, I was also in possession of Teela

and the unfortunately named Fisto.

Seriously, Fisto? And someone got paid to come up with that? Sheesh.

I liked the concept of Webstor, with his grappling hook back pack which served as a zip line, but in practice the line was constantly getting tangled and it wasn't long before it was totally useless.

As for Teela, well, my biggest memory with her was taking her to school and having one of the older kids swipe her and scratch off paint around her chest to reveal the flesh colored paint underneath, making her suddenly, if not an R-rated toy, at least PG-13. And, sadly by that point I had already lost the snake-shaped helmet/breastplate which would have effectively covered her shame.

Although the following were definitely birthday presents* and not Christmas presents, I figure we may as well ride the nostalgia train for as long as we can.

I remember coming up with some scenario in which Pegasus was wounded, and I decided to use red crayon for the effect, not realizing that the red streaks would be pretty much permanent.

There are a few toys that I have fond memories off that have so far eluded my attempts to find photographic proof of online, such as the Spider-Baby doll or the strange looking drag racer figure whose car looked like it was more suited for underwater travel or outer-space use than land activities, and so that's precisely what he became. That was a common theme of my play time as a kid, creating new worlds, powers, and back-stories for my action figures; seldom if ever were my imagining straight-forward interpretations. This was true of my Star Wars figures, my Masters of the Universe figures, my G.I. Joe figures, and, of course, the vast array of robotic figures which I'll be discussing in my next post**.

*Have a very clear recollection of getting these at my McDonalds birthday party in 80 or 81, for some reason
**Hey, gotta milk this for all that it's worth!


Zinger said...

My Tauntaun was brutally injured in a vicious weiner dog attack when I was a kid.

cedric said...

A neighbor's dog also confiscated my Tauntaun, and hid it under the tire of a car. When said car backed out for work in the morning...my Tauntaun was no more. Damn dogs.