Dinosaur Dracula!

Play-Doh Valentines Bag!

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and with it, tons of new candies and novelties in shades that fall somewhere between bubble gum pink and horse blood red. I normally don’t pay too close attention to these things, but the 2013 haul is pretty interesting. I’ll cover a few of my finds between now and whenever Valentine’s Day is. Let’s start with Play-Doh.

Play-Doh’s “Valentines Bag” puts a spin on the traditional goofy cards that kids trade in school. This Valentine’s Day, they can instead give each other tiny Play-Doh canisters with impossibly tight lids that I absolutely needed to use my teeth to pry off! I suffered more than a $5 CVS bill for this, believe me. Read More…

Vintage Vending #7: Gemstones!

Vintage Vending continues, with ROCKS. This is not going to be my most popular review.

I ain’t gonna front. I love this. I love, love, love this. Polished stones always thrill me, even when they’re presented as tacky jewelry. I would’ve been all over these prizes as a kid, and probably still now.

I’m immediately struck by how high-end they are, at least in comparison to most other vending machine prizes. I could see any of these things in a museum gift shop, and I’d expect to pay more than five bucks for some of them. That would be too much, but I don’t have a say in their prices.

With the known prizes being so good, there must’ve been a hundred unseen duds hiding in the machine. Of course, this does raise the question of what could be lower on the gemstone totem pole than a half-inch flawed quartz wrapped in a five-cent bead cap. I don’t have answers.

Viewed from just the right angle, the teaser card looks like a raceway, filled with speeding rocks that leave trails of metal and string in their collective wake. But good luck finding that angle. Read More…

Unboxing Rocky Road Cereal, from 1986.

I hadn’t intended for this to become an ’80s week on Dino Drac. It just worked out that way. And now I shall make it official by opening a box of cereal from 1986.

I don’t know exactly when Rocky Road Cereal went out of production, but it did, and people miss it. Not all people, but some people. I can’t honestly count myself among them, but that’s only because I grew up with too many other favorites to make room for this. From all accounts, it was a good little cereal. It deserves one more day in the sun.

So, here’s a video of me opening a vintage box, and trying to figure out how to make that interesting without actually eating it:

I don’t know if I succeeded, and I misspoke more than once, but I can guarantee that this will be your only shot at seeing a 1986 Rocky Road Cereal unboxing video. So there’s that.

Charms of the 1980s, Reexamined.

From kindergarten through the third grade, I don’t think a school day went by that I didn’t see at least six dozen of those plastic “charms.” You know, the ones with the little bells attached, typically clipped onto long neon chains?

This photo tells the story better than I can:

These things were everywhere. The girls wore them as bracelet, necklace and earring ornaments, but even if they were more popular with females, it’s not like the guys were totally cut out. We just had to choose charms that were a little more macho. Toilet bowl charms, and charms that looked like tiny cans of Pepsi. Macho stuff like that.

From what I recall, there was no standard “way” to get these charms. Vending machines were the safest bet, but for a while, they were pretty much everywhere. No one company had “majority control” of ‘em, but it’s also true that some charms were much better than others.

Like, if you had a charm that was based on a real life food item, that was gold. If your charm was a fully-functioning miniature version of some everyday appliance, that was silver. Then there was the sea of bronze, filled with everything from animals to tennis rackets to baby bottles. Read More…

Five Random ’80s Action Figures.

Below are thoughts about five random ‘80s action figures. Well, random to you, but very important to me. I chose these five because blah blah blah, something something, who cares, nobody reads intros. I’ll just use this space to practice the ol’ text whistle. Whhhrrreeeeeee. Sooowoooiiiiiiooo.

B.A.T. (Battle Android Trooper)
G.I. Joe, 1986

I should have written more about this guy over the years, because it’s damn close to my favorite action figure ever. The B.A.T. was just one of an army of identical Cobra robots who made life hell for the Joes, but their place in the lore never concerned me. I just thought the figure looked impossibly cool.

In my little toy universe, B.A.T. had a starring role. For a while, everything that happened on my bedroom carpet was seen from B.A.T.’s point of view.

Uh oh — the Rancor is battling a Sharkticon. How will this affect B.A.T.?

Regrettably, this particular figure is in rough shape, and is missing one of its coolest parts – the awesome chest sticker that showed all of his internal gears!

B.A.T.’s right hand was removable, and he came with various weapons that could be attached instead. The weird cigar cannon shown above is all I have left. Still better than most of the other beat up old B.A.T. figures, with left arms that stop dead at the elbows. I have a bad feeling that only three of you will have any idea what I’m talking about, and of those three, at least one will snark about how I’m not really “talking.” Preemptively: Fuck you. Read More…

Nintendo Cereal System, from 1988!

Breakfast peaked in 1988. You’d need a strong argument to believe otherwise.

Nintendo Cereal System was its name, and according to everyone who was appropriately-aged in ’88, it was the stuff of the gods. I can think of dozens of cereals I’ve liked more, but never did I NEED one more than this.

Nintendo is obviously still huge today, but back then, it seemed to be the only common ground that linked all kids. The exceptions were too few to count. Everyone had a Nintendo and everyone spoke the language.

A lot of things get “hot” for a while, but Nintendo became so much a part of a kid’s very culture that it was less an “interest” and more a way of life.

So, it only made sense that it’d become a cereal. Of course we were going to eat this. Of course we wanted Nintendo to start our days, even when there wasn’t time to kick Bald Bull’s ass before the bus came. Read More…