Dinosaur Dracula!

Vintage Vending #21: Wrecking Power!

On today’s edition of Vintage Vending, you will bow before the mighty power of a glow-in-the-dark sticky fist. Truth.

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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…)

Vintage Vending #20: Sea World!

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!

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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…)

Vintage Vending #19: TMNT Balloons!

It’s been over four months since the last edition of Vintage Vending. Let’s fix that. HERE ARE BALLOONS.

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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…)

Vintage Vending #18: Rotting Vermin!

Okay, this has gotta be the weirdest edition of Vintage Vending yet. LOOK AT THIS THING!

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No formal title for the collection was provided, I guess because “Bugs & Fish Guts” would’ve been more polarizing than fetching.

Everything about it is off. I’ll describe the individual prizes in a minute, but each is stapled – literally stapled – to the card, and in entirely erratic positions. The card itself is impossibly flimsy, and for reasons I can’t even guess at, smothered with purposeless holes.

It’s another treasure from the Folz company, who also produced the Halloween Horrors collection. While this would’ve worked as “Halloween Horrors II,” the card forwent any title in favor of the word “FOLZ,” presented in multiple neon colors in a font more suited to football team logos.

The set’s enigmatic qualities only add to its appeal. In my view, throwing a bunch of rotting fish over a hot pink background reads less as “lazy” and more as “art.” Whoever assembled this was clearly trying to make a statement. I bet he wore a painter’s cap and teensy tiny glasses. I believe that with all of my heart. (more…)

Vintage Vending #17: Halloween Horrors!

The Vintage Vending series returns with an incredibly seasonal addition. From 1994, get a load of the HALLOWEEN HORRORS collection!

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We’ve seen better prizes in the past, but on card art alone, this may be my favorite entry yet. I’ve seen plenty of vending assortments with “horror” flavors, but it’s exceedingly rare to find one that’s so undeniably tied to the Halloween season.

The design is complete perfection, looking more like signage from some ancient cheesy dark ride than something you’d find near a supermarket’s exit. Art like this can stop traffic, which is hilarious, because just imagine all of the stupid people crashing shopping carts into total strangers’ asses.

“Halloween Horrors” is a great title, yes, but please take note of the fine print:

“Plus Other Fine Toys.”

Translation: This was stuffed with the junky leftovers from a hundred other vending machines. Hell, once you get past the obvious chasers, even the shown sample prizes are utter garbage.

But what would’ve been an annoying experience in 1994 is easier to appreciate in 2013. What better topper for a “Halloween” vending machine than the knowledge that most players ended up with tiny plastic magnifying glasses? Since I can’t play, I take vindictive solace in knowing that Halloween Horrors caused so much disappointment. Yeah, I’m that guy. (more…)

Vintage Vending #16: Super Mega Edition.

I’ve been visibly absent these past few days, but it was for a good cause. Been getting ahead on a few things for this year’s Halloween Countdown. This may be the first time in forever that I’m actually over-prepared, at least in terms of having enough topics to cover 40+ spooky posts. I’ll refrain from saying more, because you go down a letter grade without the element of surprise. That’s why I’ll end this paragraph with a caps-locked TOOTHPASTE.

Anyway, today isn’t about Halloween. Today is about vending machine prizes. It’s been over a month since the last edition of Vintage Vending, and I can totally smell your separation anxiety. Well, good news for you: This is actually five editions of Vintage Vending in one!

See, the old teaser cards in my collection generally still have the prizes intact, but I also have a bunch that are “card only.” Since the lack of prizes makes them “too small” to devote single reviews to, I’ve batched up five of my favorites for this great big something-something fucking Friday bonanza party. I hope this paragraph feels more fluid when I read it later. (UPDATE: It didn’t.)

Super Food Robots!

Some of you must remember these, because no matter where your interests lied, NOBODY could resist Transformers-inspired robot figures with “real food” stickers over their chests. There was absolutely no reason for the Super Food Robots to exist, so I can only assume that some company took their dead stock of robot figures and their dead stock of canned food stickers, and figured out how to make lemonade. Thank God for bizarre solutions.

Choosing a favorite really comes down to which food you like best. It’s not like you’ll notice the sculpts or colors of the Super Food Robots when you look at them. All you’ll see is corn, cereal or soda. As a child, I think I would’ve gone with the Frosted Flakes guy, but as an adult with a better appreciation for things that should not be, how could I pick anyone but Pickled Beetbot? (more…)