Dinosaur Dracula!

Toys from the 1990 JCPenney Catalog!

Hello! Let’s discover treasure together!

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The 1990 JCPenney Christmas catalog didn’t pack quite the same punch as some of the other catalogs I’ve reviewed, but it’s still hundreds of pages of toys, peanut dispensers and cheap lingerie, and that’s more than enough for a review.

For those keeping score, I was eleven years old when this catalog debuted. Still very much into toys, but rapidly approaching that age when I wouldn’t receive them without making direct requests. (I hated that “in-between” age. Everyone just gives you bad clothes, bad books and the funkiest desk lamps $15 can buy. It’s like you have to spend 2-3 years as some nonspecific SBTB background character.)

Below: Seven highlights from the 1990 JCPenney Christmas catalog!

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Marvel Super Heroes 4-Pack!
Price: $16.99

I have an enormous soft spot for the original run of Marvel Super Heroes figures, which — if you’ll take my meaning — were essentially ‘80s toys living in the ‘90s. Detailed and colorful without ever seeming over-embellished, their simplicity was a nice respite during a time when most action figures were purposely gaudy.

Of the four shown here, Punisher was my fave. I knew zilch about the character when I originally had that figure, but that was fine. He had a skull on his chest and came with a big gun. It was easy enough to fill in the blanks. Read More…

The Purple Stuff Podcast: Episode 14!

Thanks to the tremendous response from our listeners, The Purple Stuff Podcast — originally conceived as a Halloween-only show — now continues on a weekly basis with no end in sight!

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This week, me and Jay from The Sexy Armpit cover a bunch of discontinued junk foods that we’d really, really like to eat again. It’s a topic that Dino Drac readers have already seen me beat to death! Join us for an hourlong tribute to SNACKS WE WANT BACK!

Click the giant play button below to listen in. You can also download the MP3 directly by clicking here.

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(Click that giant button to listen!)

As a reminder, The Purple Stuff Podcast is also on iTunes, Stitcher and Podbean. If you dig the show, maybe you wanna write us a review on iTunes? I think you do.

Huge, huge thanks to everyone who spoke up and motivated us to continue the show! Hope you enjoy! Read More…

Dino Drac’s November Funpack is available now!

Hey! It’s time to unleash Dino Drac’s latest Funpack! Get excited!

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Dino Drac’s November 2015 Funpack is available now! Each box has a little hint of the holidays and a whole load of nostalgia.

New to the site? The Funpacks are what fund it. Every month, I mail out boxes of retro fun to everyone who subscribes. Without the Funpacks, I wouldn’t be able to do the site, so thank you times x1000, whether you’re a longtime subscriber or a new one!

Subscriptions are available in the United States only, and the cost is $25 per month. (That INCLUDES shipping!) Subscriptions are handled via Paypal, and you can cancel via Paypal anytime without penalty. For as long as you stay subscribed, you’ll keep getting more Funpacks!

Skip to the bottom for complete ordering info, or keep reading to see what’s in the November 2015 Funpack!

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Behold! There are over ten items in every Funpack, from old cards and action figures to brand new snacks, and even some reading material! I know you can’t tell much by that photo, but don’t worry, I’m about to walk you through the complete list of contents!

EVERY subscriber will receive ALL of the following: Read More…

Commercials from ESB’s 1987 TV Premiere!

I discovered a goldmine while reorganizing my old VHS compilations. One tape — sent to me almost a decade ago by Bill from VeggieMacabre — included the full broadcast of The Empire Strikes Back’s 1987 network television premiere!

Stick with me, guys. Whether you’re into Star Wars or not, the nostalgia is gonna hit you from all angles.

The film premiered as part of NBC’s Sunday Night at the Movies, on November 22nd, 1987. I don’t have total recall of my television viewing history, but I’d say that there’s a 95% chance that I watched The Empire Strikes Back on that very night.

Now okay, I probably had the videocassette by 1987. If not an official release, then at least a copy made with the trusty double-VCR trick. Didn’t matter. Then just as now, watching movies was more fun when I knew that complete strangers were watching them at the same time.

The movie’s network premiere was a HUGE deal, despite the fact that The Empire Strikes Back was seven years old by the time it happened. In fact, NBC even crafted a custom introduction for it, where Darth Vader himself broke into the usual graphics to deliver a message from the Galactic Empire. (Watch the video, up above. The voice modulation isn’t exactly movie-accurate, but I’m still pretty sure that that was James Earl Jones!)

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Watching the movie in 4×3 with audio distortion and severe grain may sound a bit stupid in the Blu-ray age, but nope, it was straight-up awesome. It shot me right back into the soul of Me-In-1987. I pictured myself on our old ratty couch, watching Han snark while a jade green desk lamp did its best to keep things bright.

The distortion in the video was less a distraction and more the return of an old friend, because that’s how I remember the original trilogy: Shining through smallish, squarish television sets with muffled audio in what could only generously be described as standard definition.

Of course, this was long before the Special Edition trilogy came out, so I was also watching The Empire Strikes Back in its original form. Seeing the chimp-faced Emperor again made my heart grow three sizes.

But the nostalgia hit hardest during the commercial breaks. That many commercials from 1987 was gonna be a trip no matter what, but since the movie’s TV premiere happened so close to Thanksgiving, many of them were firmly holiday-themed. Yes! Smart money says that I spent that Sunday in our old living room, TV remote in one hand and the 1987 Sears Wish Book in the other.

Below are ten commercials that aired during the network television premiere of The Empire Strikes Back. You’d be able to find crisper versions of most of them on YouTube, but I think the grain and hiss add to the effect. If this stuff doesn’t put you in a memoria K-hole, you’re probably a lot younger than me. Read More…

Mythological Creatures in Pro-Wrestling!

As many of you know, I’m a lifelong wrestling fan. I’m also a wrestling fan with strange tastes. Most of my friends prefer wrestlers with slick attitudes and crisp moves, but I always preferred the MONSTERS.

In the decades I’ve spent watching wrestling, I’ve seen my share of them, from One Man Gang to Kamala to The Undertaker. So long as the particular wrestlers were very big and somewhat scary, I was on their side. Didn’t matter if they couldn’t move, or if their punches looked bad, or if their promos sounded like cab drivers trying to insult old ladies with G-rated language. I LOVED them. They were like B movies come to life in a wrestling ring.

Several of those wrestlers had something else in common: They were based on actual legendary creatures. Yes, there really were wrestler versions of the Yeti and the Loch Ness Monster!

Collected below are six such grapplers. Let’s see how they compare to the beasts that inspired ‘em!

(Note: I’m sticking strictly to mythological and legendary creatures. That means I’m not including wrestlers who were meant to represent real animals, nor am I including wrestlers meant to mimic specific fictional characters. Basically, to be included here, the wrestler’s inspiration needed to be covered on Unsolved Mysteries.)

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The Yeti!

THE CREATURE: Also known as the Abominable Snowman, the Yeti is basically a wintry version of Bigfoot. Reports peg the creature as a hulking, ape-like monster that towers over men and stalks its prey all over the Himalayas. Save for the blue skin, Blizzard from Primal Rage is a good representation of what the Yeti is supposed to look like.

THE WRESTLER: Oh, brother. Debuting in 1995 as part of the Dungeon of Doom, WCW’s Yeti stood more than seven feet tall and looked just a bit like a mummy. (Well, no, I’m understating things. He looked EXACTLY like a mummy, and NOTHING like a Yeti. The only “Yeti” thing about him was that he debuted on live television by breaking out of a ten foot phony ice cube. For real.)

After helping his monstrous friends beat up Hulk Hogan, somebody at WCW realized that a guy covered in ill-fitting bandages probably wouldn’t survive a match without pulling back the curtain too far. Thus, when it was time for the Yeti to actually wrestle, he randomly sported a ninja costume instead. (The throwaway explanation provided by the announcers was that he “thawed out.”)

WCW’s Yeti did not last long, and is largely considered one of the most hilarious offenses in wrestling history. I don’t care. It was a giant guy covered in paper towels who looked like a mummy but was called “Yeti.” I don’t see how sane, rational people wouldn’t love that. Read More…

Toys from the 1983 Consumers Catalog!

Most of you aren’t ready to go full tilt with the holiday season, but if you wanna get your feet wet, I have just the thing: Awesome toys from a really old Christmas catalog!

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Below are nine highlights from the 1983 Consumers Distributing catalog. If you’ve never heard of Consumers, it was like a looser Service Merchandise. (Better yet, learn more in my coverage of the Consumers 1984 catalog, which includes another bunch of amazing toys!)

These items will help you a remember a time when nothing in the world mattered more than four bucks’ worth of plastic… an idealistically simple view that helps to explain why so many of us still collect action figures over 30 years later!

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G.I. Joe Three-Packs!
Price: $7.97 each

Because bad guys get the best lines and the coolest clothes, I’m more enamored with the three-pack on the right, featuring the original Cobra Commander, Destro and Major Bludd figures. Bludd’s just kinda tagging along, but the other two are among my generation’s most adored action figures, from any line.

Here’s a kick in the balls: To collect those same three figures in their original packaging now would run you somewhere in the area of a thousand bucks. No exaggeration. I want you to sit there and think about every toy you had as a kid, and how many private islands you’d own today had you not opened any of them. Read More…