Dinosaur Dracula!

Fast Food Kiddie Bags from the ’90s.

Tonight’s article is about fast food kiddie bags from the 1990s, which is as close as I may ever come to literally writing about garbage.

Really, focusing on the bags is just my way to highlight five memorable fast food promotions, starring everyone from Spider-Man to Amy Monkey.

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie!
McDonald’s Happy Meal, 1995

I’ve come to dig the first Power Rangers movie. Guess I needed a full twenty years to truly appreciate Ivan Ooze, a sort of otherworldly midpoint between Brother Justin and Ursula. When one could accurately summarize a film with “villain mass produces toy slime that turns people in drooling slaves,” I feel an almost religious need to champion said film.

It isn’t surprising that the movie scored a Happy Meal, but I’m shocked at how good the toys were. I mean, this was Power Rangers in 1995. They could’ve tossed anything in there, and kids still would’ve lost it. Instead we got a set of six legit action figures in accompanying Zords. The figures were on the small side, but they still way overachieved for McDonald’s toys.

UPDATE: I’ve since been told that these figures were actually sold apart from the Happy Meals — which included smaller MMPR doodads — and thus weren’t exactly “free.” Oh well. They did seem a little too good to be true.

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Five Random Action Figures, Part 14!

I’ve been salivating over the many reveals from this year’s Toy Fair, which collectively guarantee that I’ll have five cents to my name by the end of 2015.

To cool down, I thought I’d take a minute to appreciate what I already have… and stop worrying about how I’m going to afford seventy thousand new Decepticons. Curse my toxic plasma.

Here’s the fourteenth edition of Five Random Action Figures!

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png-scorpRobeast Scorpious
Voltron, 1984

Through the years, I’ve been pretty quiet on the Voltron front. I had the big lion set and watched the show often enough, but my ability to retain Voltron knowledge is weirdly horrible. I’ll never understand it.

My silence has been a disservice, because aside from the giant robot toys that everyone thinks of when they hear “Voltron,” Panosh’s accompanying series of standard-sized action figures absolutely RULED.

Here we have Robeast Scorpious, a gorgeous blue demon that was equal parts Darth Vader and Ganon. If you didn’t know that he was from Voltron, you might imagine him to be from some knockoff line sold at 1980s supermarkets. Or possibly the fruit of a six-year-old’s Play-Doh project. I just love him. (more…)

Five Random Action Figures, Part 13!

We’re in the middle of a blizzard, and it’ll be a miracle if I’m able to finish this article before the power goes out. If I sound like I’m rushing… I am!

So, onward with the thirteenth edition of Five Random Action Figures. I took these photos over the weekend, hoping to capitalize on a picturesque snow dusting. Little did I know that I’d have forty feet of it to work with just two days later.

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a-trollCornelius the Samurai
Stone Protectors, 1993

Stone Protectors was one of several toy lines made to swipe glow from the Norfin Troll craze, but it was also arguably the best of them. Boosted by an animated series and a Super Nintendo game, this was the story of a shitty rock band turned into screwy Troll superheroes by the power of five magic stones. (I’m serious. That was the concept.)

Most Troll-themed action figures were made on the cheap, relying on poofy hair to keep people from noticing a lack of articulation and other finer details. That wasn’t the case with Stone Protectors, which would’ve been right at home in Playmates’ old Ninja Turtles line. The figures were bright, detailed and poseable, and they came with plenty of accessories. Of course, no Troll is complete without funky “real” hair, so Stone Protectors had that going for ‘em, too.

Cornelius here was the team leader, and probably my favorite from the set. How can you not love a Troll with electric yellow hair who is both a rock vocalist and a goddamned samurai? Is that what they mean by a slash career?

In a neat touch, you can move Cornelius’s arm to make his chest jewel “spark.” (Picture a lighter that can’t maintain a flame. Cornelius’s sparking jewel worked something like that.)

The line wasn’t a big success in its day, and hasn’t caught on with collectors since. That’s good news for you, because Stone Protectors figures are absolutely boss, and you should have to pay three times more than you’ll actually need to. Act fast, before everyone smartens up. (more…)

The True Legends “Tree Warrior.”

Okay guys, we need to talk about Tree Warrior.

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Tree Warrior is part of the True Legends line, a collection of low cost, lower quality fantasy toys.

If you’re a TRU hound, you’ve probably seen their aisle full of True Legends offerings, ranging from battle-ready elves to giant neon dragons. The toys cut a few corners to make sense of their fantastically low retail prices, but the themes are great and they really do look good.

I was happy enough to admire them from afar, but there’s just no turning down Tree Warrior. Someone on Facebook gave me the tip, and I would’ve gladly spent triple what Toys “R” Us wanted. (A mere ten bucks!) (more…)

Five Random Action Figures, Part 12!

It’s time for the twelfth edition of Five Random Action Figures! (Three of these were picked up just this week. Thank you, mysterious and awesome local comic book shop that’s apparently been hiding in plain sight since last spring.)

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a-venkPeter Venkman
The Real Ghostbusters, 1986

Most of the praise I lavish on Kenner’s Real Ghostbusters line is thanks to the, erm, ghosts, but the actual Ghostbusters were just as inspired. They’d ultimately get umpteen upgrades with all sorts of new outfits and features, but I’ve always been partial to the originals.

Peter here has seen better days, but even with a half-broken Neutrona Blaster, I think you can still see the appeal. For one thing, the figure was a near-perfect representation of the cartoon character, assuming you can forgive Peter’s weirdly radioactive eyes. (And if there’s anything that’s forgivable by default, it’s weirdly radioactive eyes.)

The big draw was the accessories. Venkman came with a mini ghost, a Proton Pack and a Neutrona Blaster that perpetually spit a swirling proton beam. (The beam is longer than the figure itself!)

I got Peter for a song, and adding my recent acquisitions of Ray and Winston from that eBay mixed lot, I’m one Egon away from completing the world’s most play-worn set of Real Ghostbusters figures. Go me, I guess. (more…)