Dinosaur Dracula!

Flea Market Finds, Desperation Edition.

I went back to the flea market this past Sunday. Sadly, I arrived too late in the afternoon for it to be a super effective visit. Most of the vendors had already closed up shop by the time I was parking, I guess because it was a thousand degrees, and making five bucks off of used DVDs really wasn’t worth sitting in that shit.

I got enough for a post, obviously, but it wasn’t a great trip. There are times when a late flea market visit works in your favor, since the dealers are by then more likely to reduce their prices. On the other hand, you’re just as likely to run into very cranky people who haven’t sold anything all weekend, and are just waiting to pounce on the next would-be customer who walks away empty-handed.

creatureExample: I came across one vendor selling a bunch of old keychains. It was a much smaller collection than the one I picked up a few months ago, but still similar in scope. I asked how much she wanted “for the whole pile,” and immediately regretted it as she began counting the keychains one by one. (A telltale sign of impending bullshit.)

She said that she couldn’t possibly sell them for less than $25 — an outrageous price that wasn’t even worth haggling on.

I politely declined and tried to walk away, but she practically demanded that I make her an offer. After some uncomfortable backing-and-forthing, I say “ten bucks,” mostly out of pity. She became indignant. Rather than replying to the offer that she literally forced out of me, the dealer huffed and muttered to herself while putting all of the keychains back into their “table spots.” So I guess that was a no?

Oh boy, lady. I’m crushed! How will I ever live without that rusted Busch Gardens keychain?

Other vendors were just as ornery, but dammit, I had a job to do. My scores certainly don’t rate as 2015’s best, but I think I found just enough to make the hot, humid trip to dusty hell worth it. See below, and decide for yourselves!

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TMNT Technodrome Eye!
Price: $1!

This seems worthless, but it’s far from it. This “eye” is arguably the most critical component of the old TMNT Technodrome playset, and it routinely sells for $15 or more. After all, a Technodrome owner may be willing to live with some missing guns or stickers, but a Technodrome without the eye is hardly a Technodrome at all.

Besides, even finding one single part of the Technodrome delighted me. See, that playset is the #1 thing I’m always searching for at flea markets, because it’s basically the most valuable and cool old toy that one could reasonably expect to find at one. It’s likely that if I ever do, it’ll be missing that eye. So buying this was the prologue to my eventual epic. Read More…

Changeables: The BEST Happy Meal Toys.

McDonald’s Changeables may very well be the best Happy Meal toys of all time. At the very least, they’re tied with those old Halloween pails.

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Between 1987 and 1990, McDonald’s released three sets of Changeables — aka McRobots — for a grand total of 22 unique action figures, plus a few more if we’re counting the non-transformable “Under 3” toys.

We were wild for them as kids, and adulthood has done little to diminish our collective affinity. While it’s accepted that most Happy Meal toys will cut a few corners, Changeables seemed downright retail-ready. These figures were sturdy, well-detailed and just so damn imaginative.

As you’ll gather by watching that absolutely kickass commercial, Changeables were conceived as a sort of Transformers ripoff, but in some ways, they actually outclassed them.

It was thrilling to see robots turn into cars and jets, sure, but a robot that transformed into a pack of Chicken McNuggets? If you were a kid in the late ‘80s, that shit was relatable. Read More…

Six Snacks I Want Back, Volume 6!

It’s time for another edition of Six Snacks I Want Back, celebrating the varied fuels of our long forgotten sugar rushes. Read and get hungry!

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 Butterfinger Ice Cream Nuggets! 

Remember when Bart turned us all into Butterfinger fans? Don’t get me wrong — I’m sure some folks already liked the bars, but I don’t recall seeing any of my friends with them before The Bart Era.

Personally, I never went for a Butterfinger until that ad campaign. The flavor, texture and infamous oiliness didn’t really appeal to me, but for a year or two in the early ‘90s, Butterfinger was the only candy bar that made you cooler by association.

I was, however, a tried and true fan of Butterfinger Ice Cream Nuggets — even if I still needed The Simpsons to act as the middlemen. These were like the kid-friendly versions of Nestle’s Bon Bons, and what’s more, they came in little tubs that resembled the curious offspring of movie theater popcorn buckets. Read More…

Adventures in Atlantic City!

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We celebrated Independence Day in Atlantic City, joining Mr. and Ms. Sexy Armpit for two days’ worth of tequila and gambling and fireworks. (In that order, come to think of it.)

Between the blue skies and the straight flushes, it was an amazing weekend. Of course, we spent many hours on the famously infamous Atlantic City boardwalk, searching for post-worthy treasures. Here are some of the highlights: Read More…

Dino Drac’s July Funpack is available now!

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($25 / MONTH SUBSCRIPTION. AVAILABLE IN THE U.S. ONLY!)

Dino Drac’s July 2015 Funpack is available now!

This is the twelfth Funpack, which means I’ve been at this for a full year. (It also means that subscribers who’ve stuck with this from the start have also been at this for a full year. WOW.)

Suffice to say, I never expected this to go on for so long. The Funpacks began last August, out of pure need. The Halloween Countdown was approaching, and I was faced with the cold truth that I had no way of gutting through the site’s most expensive and prolific months while making zero dollars. The Funpacks were and remain a lot of extra work, but in the grand scheme of things, I felt they were the least offensive way to make a little cash from the site. I never would’ve predicted that I’d still be doing this, a year later!

It’s been a real adventure, I’ll tell you that much. Coming up with a decent mix of items for twelve months straight has taken more than a few minor miracles. Our apartment, already resigned to its eternal clutter, had to somehow make room for a constantly evolving stock of weird goodies. I’ve learned more about packing and shipping this past year than over the three previous decades.

Thanks so much to every subscriber, past and present. These have been a tremendous blessing for me. If you’ve enjoyed Dino Drac — especially Dino Drac as it’s been since last summer — know that the Funpacks are absolutely responsible for my ability to keep doing it. God knows how long I’ll be able to keep this nonsense going, but if it ever stops, it won’t be for lack of trying!

Now, what’s in store for July’s Funpack? Take a look!

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There are over twelve items in this baby, covering everything from toys to cards to Kool-Aid. If you’re new to this and haven’t paid attention to my previous Funpack pitches, here’s the short version:

Every month, I mail out boxes of goodies to all subscribers. Subscriptions are $25 a month — shipping included — and handled via automatic billing through Paypal. You can cancel at any time without penalty, and no matter when you cancel, you’ll always get what you paid for. For as long as you remain subscribed, you’ll keep getting monthly Funpacks!

I’ll walk you through the ordering process at the end of this post. First, let’s talk a closer look at July’s highlights! Read More…

Five Random Action Figures, Part 20!

Welcome to the twentieth edition of Five Random Action Figures, which marks a milestone that you’ll doubtlessly see mentioned on the front pages of tomorrow’s papers.

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Yes, by the end of this post, I’ll have photographed and reviewed one hundred action figures!

These articles have never been my most popular, but they’ve certainly been the most dependable, and in deference to my whole web career — nyuk nyuk — being built on piles of old toys, Five Random Action Figures will remain a part of Dinosaur Dracula for however long there is a Dinosaur Dracula.

To celebrate this HISTORIC occasion, I made sure to select five figures that could all be construed as haymakers. Enjoy!

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a-2Big Boss
COPS ‘N Crooks, 1988

By the time I picked up my first COPS figure, the cartoon was already off the air, and the only place to find the toys was Lionel Kiddie City — at dramatically reduced prices, with big ugly clearance stickers all over the packages.

By then, the pickings were slim. Kiddie City had multiples of Louie and Dr. Badvibes, but almost no one else. It wasn’t until looking at the cardbacks on those “lesser” figures that I realized my folly. I should’ve been collecting this line from the very start, because BIG. BOSS. WAS. AMAZ. ING.

Look at this guy! I always favored the villains, but I especially favored the villains who looked like they ordered people around from leather thrones, eating grapes while being frond-fanned by robots.

As I’ve mentioned before, all of my “major” bad guy figures acted like mob bosses, sharing total control over everything that happened on my bedroom floor. If Boba Fett wanted to go for a spin in the Cobra BUGG, he needed to clear it with Mumm-Ra and Jabba first. If they disagreed, that red-and-black guy from Visionaries was the tiebreaker.

Big Boss, with his Kingpin build, Armani suit and Destro hand, would’ve fit right in. Oh, what could’ve been! Read More…