Dinosaur Dracula!

Old Junk Food, Revisited!

As you’ve probably surmised, I collect old food. Old food packaging, and actual old food. I don’t know how this became my thing, but that’s the hand I was dealt, and tonight, I’m gonna play it.

So behold! Old junk food from my personal collection! You’ve seen a few of these things in previous articles both here and on X-E, but, well, what can I say? When you have an empty box of Oatmeal Swirlers, ya gotta brag.

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From 1990, here’s one of the crown jewels of my collection. Even people who never ate Oatmeal Swirlers remember it fondly, thanks to its awesome TV commercials, which alternated between the use of a catchy jingle and the use of a goddamned anthropomorphic strawberry stickman.

If you’re too young to remember this stuff, I call bullshit, because there’s no way you could stomach me without the constant notions of “I did/saw/ate that too!” But, for the sake of argument, I’ll explain.

Oatmeal Swirlers was oatmeal with a gimmick. In addition to the everyday packets of everyday oatmeal, kids were provided with smaller packets of… uh… what can I call them? LIQUID FRUIT ROLL-UPS. Yes, liquid Fruit Roll-Ups! With those, you could literally draw on your bowls of oatmeal with a variety of fruit-flavored slimes.

If there was anything that could make oatmeal even more exciting than little dinosaur eggs that hatched into little candy dinosaurs, Oatmeal Swirlers was it. The packets of fruity goo didn’t allow for quite the same level of artistic finesse as promised by the commercials, but so long as you stuck with simple shapes, you’d finish breakfast feeling like da Vinci.

(And hey, even if your pictures came out messy, you could at least feel like Wassily Kandinsky.) Read More…

7UP’s Countdown to Christmas Posters!

Just when you thought Dino Drac couldn’t get more obscure, here I am with a tribute to those old 7UP posters that let us glue cotton balls over Santa Claus’s face.

During various holiday seasons of the ‘80s and ‘90s, people who bought enough 7UP soda scored free “Countdown to Christmas” posters, right from whatever supermarket they were shopping at.

Now, these weren’t normal posters. There were several variations over the years (you can see another here), but the main bullet points were always the same. The posters always featured Santa Claus’s enormous head, and the posters always came with a truncated December calendar, stamped right over his beard.

But wait! It gets better! Read More…

Weird TMNT toys from the late ’90s!

While scouring ancient and loosely archived versions of Playmates Toys’ website, I found a goldmine of late ‘90s Ninja Turtles crud. What an interesting time for those guys!

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Many of us stopped collecting TMNT toys years before the line died (if it ever truly did), so if you’re like me, you missed some incredible stuff on the tail-end. If you think about it, lots of lines hit their creative peak too late for it to really matter. Arguably, Kenner’s best Star Wars figures were the ones nobody had. Arguably, Mattel’s best Masters of the Universe toys came out long after He-Man lost his cool.

It was the same with Playmates’ Ninja Turtles collection. No longer guaranteed strong sales on brand name alone, the toys grew weirder and more intricate, with the kinds of goofy special features that aren’t seen in toy lines until they hit their seventh string. If you never gave up on TMNT, you were rewarded in a big way.

Below: Tons of Ninja Turtles figures that some of you never knew existed!

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TURTLE-IN-A-TURTLE FIGURES!

Holy hell, I WANT THESE. I was aware of the “micro” line of Ninja Turtles toys, but I had no idea that there were corresponding playsets shaped like Ninja Turtles!

Here, our four heroes start off as “complete” action figures, each with exclusive weapons and accessories. They would’ve been interesting enough even if they didn’t fold out to reveal two miniature Ninja Turtles living inside!

The “base” figures doubled as playsets, with a flavor akin to Mighty Max toys. Every part of them popped up, down or sideways, creating whole little worlds for your mini-figures. As expensive as they’ve become ($60 and up from what I see), can any true TMNT fan resist something called a Turtle In A Turtle? Read More…

Holiday Sprinkles Cookie Crisp Cereal!

Perhaps inspired by their success during the Halloween season, General Mills is finally trying to muscle in on Christmas. And I’m totally good with that.

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The first of two super seasonal cereals (I’ll cover the second in a future post) is Holiday Sprinkles Cookie Crisp. This is huge news! Cookie Crisp hasn’t danced with Santa since 1991’s Christmas Cookie Crisp, when the brand was still owned by Ralston. It’s been more than twenty years since we’ve been given a rock solid reason to correlate Cookie Crisp with the holidays. Our prayers have been answered!

The box glows with festive touches, comfortable enough in its Christmasness to never once explicitly mention it. (And hey, GOOD. Inclusivity is a plus. There’s no need to ostracize people who don’t celebrate Christmas. Everyone should be allowed to get excited about this Cookie Crisp.) Read More…

Classic Christmas Commercials, Volume 3!

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Hooray, I can finally dust off one of my favorite topics: Classic Christmas Commercials!

If you missed Volume 1 and Volume 2, this series of posts includes ancient holiday-themed TV ads. Christmas commercials were such a big part of the festivities back then, and if you’ve ever felt that more recent holiday seasons have been missing something, it’s probably ads like this.

Hell, when you think about it, so many of our idealized notions of perfect Christmases came as much from TV commercials as they did movies, shows and well-photographed store catalogs.

These ads were donated by Larry P., and this is just the first of several batches you’ll be seeing this year. Get excited!

“Spot: The Video Game” Holiday Promo!
(1991)

7UP’s best Christmas commercials had something in common: Spot, the super adorable anthropomorphic “dot” mascot. With his spindly limbs and oversized sunglasses, Spot singlehandedly transformed 7UP from a soda we would drink to a soda we had to drink, out of some misguided loyalty to the jumpy cartoon character who made commercial breaks tolerable.

This is one of the rarest of those ads, where Spot (or more accurately, an army of Spots) illustrated our chance to save five bucks on Spot: The Video Game for the Nintendo Game Boy. The image of two red dots struggling to carry a Game Boy into frame will stay with you forever, and you won’t mind it one bit.

Despite this essentially being a video game commercial, it’s still incredibly Christmassy, featuring both soothing sax music and a shot of a two-liter 7UP bottle morphing into a Christmas tree. Play this on an unending loop and you’ll never need Ativan. Read More…

Cranberry & Sage Triscuit Crackers!

Judging by what I’ve seen so far, the 2014 holiday season is going to be a great one for junk food lovers. Here’s some early proof!

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I rarely buy Triscuits anymore, but it’s only because I can’t be trusted around them. Like Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, they were one of my childhood comfort foods, and like Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, I cannot have access to a package without devouring it within five minutes.

If I was ever going to make an exception, now was the time, because OH MY GOD, THESE ARE CRANBERRY. Cranberry & Sage, to be precise. Even if this limited edition flavor doesn’t immediately appeal to you, at least admit that they come in a freakin’ fantastic box. It looks like one of the ten dollar throw blankets I buy every December. Read More…