In this edition of Vintage Vending, we’re gonna take a look at Squash Faces. I realize that none of you have heard of them before, nor have you even seen the words “squash” and “faces” paired together. I live to change lives, in the smallest and stupidest ways possible.
I don’t know when they’re from, but 1986 is a good guess.
That was the age of Madballs, and more quietly the age of everyone trying to rip Madballs off. The rubber monster balls were imitated by lots of companies — including ones who had to size their shit to fit inside vending machine capsules. Remember Wacky Goulies?
Strange, then, that where evoking Madballs would seem to be the entire point of ripping them off, the “Squash Faces” set tried so hard to mask its ties. In fact, some may doubt that these were even intended to ape Madballs. Trust me, they were.
Still — and likely by accident — Squash Faces veered so far away from the accepted Madballs ideals that they felt very much like their own brand. Their own weird brand, where nothing made sense, and where devil women broke bread with green puppies. (more…)
It’s been forever since the last edition of Vintage Vending, the series in which I blather on endlessly about old vending machine toys. If you’re newish to Dino Drac, you can read the past twenty-one entries over here!
Today we’re focusing on “The Stretcher” set, made in 1995, and absolutely indicative of 1995. Ignoring the smaller trinkets for now, the obvious chasers were those two larger stretchable figures.
If their genesis is on the tip of your tongue, I’ll help you out: “The Stretcher” was an obvious ripoff of Stretch Armstrong. Originally sold in the late ‘70s, the toy line enjoyed a brief revival in the early ‘90s, complete with this over-the-top television commercial: (more…)
On today’s edition of Vintage Vending, you will bow before the mighty power of a glow-in-the-dark sticky fist. Truth.
The “Wrecking Power” collection arrived in the early ‘90s, and while it isn’t as showy as many of the sets previously featured on Dino Drac, I think I’m in love with it.
Remember those “sticky hand” toys, where a length of gooey “rope” was attached to an equally gooey hand? You’d whip the things against hard surfaces and they’d stick there, like magic? Well, these were like those, but on steroids. They were bigger and deadlier versions of sticky hands.
While large and on the “upscale” side as far as vending machine prizes went, I can’t say that they were worth a dollar, especially in 1990. There was no enormous difference between blowing a quarter and blowing a dollar, but the fact remained that kids had to want one of these more than four prizes from the cheaper machines.
I would’ve gotten more mileage from one giant sticky hand than four flat gumballs, but nobody thinks about the future when they’re standing by the vending machines. It’s all about immediate gratification, and I would not have robbed myself of the chance to turn that metal handle three more times.
It’s a shame, too. These are great toys! They’re sticky, they’re based on deadly weapons and they glow in the dark. The trifecta! (more…)
It’s been over two months since my last post, because stuff happens, and we must sometimes accept that life is a big ball of shit aimed directly at our heads.
But I didn’t want to let Memorial Day — my 16th favorite holiday — slide by without some Dino Drac action. So here’s something patriotic. Old rubber fish!
In this edition of Vintage Vending, we’re exploring Sea World, an ancient collection of fish toys with a vague “marine park” theme. I couldn’t tell you exactly when these were made, but judging by the orange background with the yellow stripes, I’m pretty sure they came from Poland’s Szamotuly County.
Innocuous at first glance, a deeper study reveals a dark world filled with mutants and torture. It amazes me that we could come so close to the edge of humanity for only a quarter. (more…)
It’s been over four months since the last edition of Vintage Vending. Let’s fix that. HERE ARE BALLOONS.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles balloons, even!
This is from 1989, when literally everything branded with a Ninja Turtles logo was a must-buy. Though the teaser card lacks a sample, we can assume that these were green balloons featuring that same piece of art.
The people behind this knew where their bread was buttered, evidenced by how little thought they put into the remaining prizes. If you ignore the balloons, this is easily the worst assortment yet seen on Vintage Vending. (more…)