The Toys in Adam Goldberg’s Bedroom!

top

Anyone catch The Goldbergs last night? Oh boy.

Set in the late ‘80s, I’d been aware of the series, but somehow never bothered to watch it. Then, last night, my email and Twitter accounts blew up with stern demands that I check out the newest episode as soon as humanly possible.

And I’m glad I did, because holy shit. That kid’s bedroom. Oh my God.

Nutshell summary: 7th grader Adam Goldberg misfires on an attempt to woo his crush, Dana. Instead of flowers or a note or whatever, he tries to impress her by showing off his toys.

Hol. Lee. Cow. Adam (based on the series creator of the same name) had to be the luckiest kid on the planet. He had EVERYTHING. I’m only being hyperbolic in the slightest sense. This was UNBELIEVABLE.

1

If you’re anywhere near my age, there’s no way that you didn’t have a few of the things seen in Adam’s bedroom. No chance, no how. It was like the showroom version of the 1987 Sears Wish Book. I don’t know if they borrowed some super-collector’s stuff or actually hunted everything down on eBay, but whatever the case, kudos to the production team. Every last touch felt incredibly genuine.

Of course, while most of us had several of the things in Adam’s bedroom, I don’t know anyone who had ALL of the things in Adam’s bedroom. If you’re able to catch this episode, the nine-year-old still buried deep inside you is going to SCREAM with envy.

This obviously called for a dissection. Below are most of the toys I spotted, even if I had to cut some loose to avoid writing about this for the next five years. Not since I explored Fred Savage’s bedroom from The Princess Bride have I seen such an impressive and familiar bunch of toys. Enjoy!

2

#1: Garbage Pail Kids “Adam Bomb” Sticker!

The fun starts on Adam’s bedroom door, with a Garbage Pail Kids sticker. I guess you could argue that Adam Bomb was a little too on-the-nose for a GPK reference, but he was the star of that series.

3

#2: Ghostbusters Poster!

This was just one of Adam’s posters. Others included Back to the Future and Time Bandits. As for the calendar that’s semi-obscured by Dana’s head, I believe it was Muppets related.

4

#3: Star Wars Bedsheets!

I had a similar set as a child, but mine was Return of the Jedi themed. I was always confused by how Jabba was colored blue on those sheets. Adam’s set is much older, but I’m not counting that as a faux pas. They could’ve easily been hand-me-downs from his older brother.

5

#4: Shogun Warriors Raydeen!

I’ve already confessed my lack of knowledge about Brave Raydeen, but now that I see this giant figure, it does seem awfully familiar. Hmm.

6

#5: Loads of Transformers!

Adam had plenty of Transformers, including Optimus Prime, the Constructions, and one of my personal favorites, Metroplex.

Most notable is Jetfire. He’s the white-and-red guy next to the yellow circle. Adam took good care of his collection, but laws are laws, and there’s no way that his Jetfire was 100% complete. NONE OF THEM WERE, EVER.

7

#6: Grimlock and Shrapnel!

More Transformers. Sharpnel is one of our beloved Insecticons, but the top act in this frame is Grimlock, leader of the Dinobots. I imagine that Grimlock served as a Transformers gateway drug for many kids. Even if you never watched the show, how could anyone not want a high-tech Tyrannosaurus that transformed into a robot warrior?

8

#7: Revenge of the Jedi Poster!

Okay, this one floored me. “Revenge of the Jedi” was the working title for Return of the Jedi. I believe George Lucas has claimed that the film was never going to be called that, and that the “Revenge” name was only used to weed out bootleggers or rats or something. Another story says that George changed it to “Return” at the last minute, since a Jedi would never seek revenge.

Star Wars merch with that title is impossibly rare. Probably too rare for Adam Goldberg. I’m not counting this as a mistake, because you wouldn’t toss in a REVENGE OF THE JEDI reference unless it was to specifically wink at the few people who’d get it.

So awesome.

9

10

#8: Star Wars Figures!

They’re a little tough to see, but Adam had an impressive amount of Star Wars action figures. (I had every single one of those guys.)

I mentioned the show’s genuine flavor. Well, look no further than Adam’s makeshift shelves, fashioned with boxes and videotapes. THAT’S attention to detail. You don’t come up with those kinds of things on the fly. You had to live it.

11

12

#9: The G.I. Joe U.S.S. Flagg Playset!

And here’s where things go way over the top.

Part of the G.I. Joe line, the U.S.S. Flagg may have been the ULTIMATE action figure playset. Obscenely huge, obscenely expensive, and wanted by EVERYONE. I’ve still never seen one in person. The Goldbergs gave me my first real impression of just how IMMENSE the thing actually was.

It’s of course topped with oodles of G.I. Joe figures, including Sgt. Slaughter. (Later in the episode, Adam would sing Slaughter’s praises, forever making me a fan.)

The U.S.S. Flagg is so big that I’m sure some of last night’s viewers thought it was some fictitious thing made up for the show. Nope! All real! An aircraft carrier that was literally bigger than the kids that had it.

13

14

#10: Castle Grayskull!

Adam was especially proud of his Masters of the Universe collection, which included the Castle Grayskull playset and an army of action figures. The structure of Adam’s room meant that he had to display the castle backwards, but in his position, I’d have done the exact same thing. And I probably would’ve given Leech the same position of prominence.

15

Later in the episode, Adam tries to fix things with Dana by pretending that he isn’t into toys at all. He offers all of them up to her little brother, who of course acts like he’s won the lottery. This scene gives us great shots of playthings that were tough to spot in Adam’s bedroom piles.

#11: The ALF Plush Doll!

Yes, ALF! Years ago, I wrote a little thing about how ALF was one of my best Christmas presents ever. Even as I’m writing this now, there’s an ALF doll on my desk, inches away. It’s by far my favorite plush doll in history. I say this with all confidence. I don’t need to see the rest of them.

16

#12: Tomy Omnibot!

Oh for Christ’s sake, are you kidding me? He had the OMNIBOT?!! Granted, his version wasn’t as cool as the later, larger edition, but that was still a MAJOR score. In its day, the Omnibot was as close to a real-life R2-D2 as a kid could get.

#13: Madballs!

Adam had plenty of Madballs, and not just the “normal” ones. Shown here is Touchdown Terror, one of the larger “Super Madballs.”

Did this kid win one of those old Post Cereal Toys “R” Us shopping sprees or something? I CAN’T GET OVER THIS.

17

#14: Armatron!

Armatrons were crane-like robot things that could pick up objects. They looked like crosses between a sewing machines and the opening credits to WCW Saturday Night.

18

#15: Thundercats Figures!

Mumm-Ra and Lion-O were just some of Adam’s Thundercats figures. It looks like Mumm-Ra lost his headgear, which is fitting, because everyone who had that figure lost the headgear, too.

(If you’re wondering what’s going on in this scene, Adam’s mother is attempting to reclaim her son’s collection, first with a bribe, and then by outright thievery. Nice!)

19

#16: Optimus Prime and Megatron!

In the end, Adam learns that Dana wasn’t offended by his toy collection. She was just nervous about kissing him. Once again free to enjoy his toys without shame, the episode closes with Adam recording a battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron. Yeah, the bastard had Megatron, too. Still with the cannon and everything.

UNREAL.

ALL OF THIS.

SO GOOD.

Also, for what it’s worth, The Goldbergs is a pretty adorable show. I guess I was expecting it to be a bunch of exaggerated ‘80s cliches, and while that’s part of it, the nuances are so on-point that anyone who grew up back then has to admire the effort. You couldn’t dress a series up this way unless you truly experienced what it’s trying to recapture. I came for the shots of old toys, but I think I’m gonna stick around.

Oh, and early on in the episode, I saw a box of Pac-Man Cereal on their kitchen table.

Yep, DVR -> Record Series.

UPDATE: Series creator Adam Goldberg wrote in with a detailed response about the toys seen during this episode and on the show at large. Click here to check it out!


126 Responses to The Toys in Adam Goldberg’s Bedroom!

  1. ALL HAIL ADAM GOLDBERG.

    Agents of SHIELD is officially the warm up act for this show.

  2. I can’t tell you how quick my eyes bugged out when I saw the Star Wars sheets and pillow case on the bed. I had the exact same ones as a kid and I never knew anyone else that did.
    Matt…make sure you keep your eyes on this show. I’ve been watching it since day 1 and it still hasn’t disappointed me. I feel like I’m watching my childhood and friend’s childhood play out on tv.

  3. I thought I spotted an omnibot, but I wasn’t sure. I thought the Halloween episode was really good.

  4. Mumm-Ra’s helmet is actually there! It’s in Pic #14, directly above the Armatron, below Stridor!

    And Ratar-O is in Pic #12, under the Flagg.

  5. Skyfire, was awesome but yeah the pieces got lost/broken easily so you had to make do without things like the leg armor pretty quickly.

    I was impressed when you commented on that Matt, it was 100% proof you had one as a kid.

    Thank you for the Flagg pics I remember hearing about it as a legend when I was young but until now I have never seen a picture of what it actually looked like.

  6. Holy moley! You actually have a TV Writer Guy as a visitor to TyrannoVania! Dino Drac has hit the Big Time!

  7. I’ve only seen a little of this show once, on the TV in the back lounge area at work. I might have to stream a couple of episodes. This kid has taste. I’m a girl and wasn’t into Transformers or G.I Joe, but I did have my share of Thundercats (Lion-O and the hawk-beaked villain) and Star Wars (some of the ones in photos 8 and 9, including Jabba’s guards and Chewbacca) action figures.

    Board games have always been a big deal in my family. In the 80s, we had “Clue” and “Monopoly.” We wouldn’t pick up “Connect Four” and “Battleship” until a decade later, when my brother was old enough to want new games to play.

  8. Loved Adam’s response to the article. As a girl, I didn’t have a lot of these toys…but I did have some! My brother and I split our toy collection and it was full of Ghostbusters (conspicuously absent from this episode, sadly), He-Man, She-Ra, Thundercats, Jem, Madballs, Care Bears, Alf and all kinds of other great junk. I have to admit I haven’t give this show a chance past the first episode, but now I think I will have to give it another shot.

  9. I love Adam Goldberg’s response, especially so soon after your post about your own collecting years. You two are truly kindred spirits!

  10. Oh man that is so cool that Adam Goldberg spoke up! Also I didn’t know that he wrote Fanboys, my husband and I rented it at the library by chance a while back and loved it.

    I gotta keep up with the show to see what else is going to be on there!

  11. I’ve been watching this, and I have to say it grew on me, the shots of all the neat stuff in Adam’s room is what kept bringing me back. When I saw this last night, I thought of you after my inner child was done having an orgasm.

    In earlier episodes, you could see Go-Bots on one of his shelves. He even had the walking base thing!

  12. Wow, what a wonderful guy! I started watching this show because it’s right after Marvel Agent’s of SHIELD. It grew on me very quick, and it’s pretty plain to see that he’s drawing on his real life in the show; no one else could make such a love letter to growing up in the 80′s.

  13. In the close-up of picture 9, where you can see the G.I. Joe figures there are at least two anachronisms. First, the Snake-Eyes figure that is on the bridge next to Python Patrol Copperhead wasn’t released until 1991. Second, the B.A.T. figure pictured on the crane behind the island structure also wasn’t released until 1991. As for the Transformers, most of the Generation 2 Transformers looked very similar to their Generation 1 counterparts and perhaps they are using those, instead of the more expensive G1 figures. Except Megatron of course, he was released as a tank in the Generation 2 years.

  14. I still have the aircraft carrier. Its complete except for the sweet megaphone thing it came with cause I duct taped that to my bike. Its kind of the centerpiece of my toy collection. And it is as massive as it looks. I don’t have my Jetfire anymore, or my castle greyskull, but I do have the holy grail, so to speak.

  15. The empire strikes back trading cards behind the Star Wars figures, PERFECT!

    Only thing he was missing was the Star Wars movie books that came with an audio cassette. I remember there was a R2-D2 sound to let you know to turn the page :)

  16. I’m 33 and I have more toys than Adam, yeeaaahh!!

  17. Just wanted to comment about how much I adore The Goldbergs. My boyfriend and I make a point to watch it every week (be it live or DVR’d). I’m a tad younger (26) than you, Matt, and Adam, so my childhood was full of Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, and Power Rangers, but I had a number of hand-me-down toys from my older sister; albeit, it was mostly Barbies, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, and Rainbow Brite.

    I did, however, have (and still do, I believe) that ALF doll!

  18. @Bob

    I’m pretty sure Grimlock is the only one that could possibly be Generation 2. G2 Optimus Prime had a black trailer, and the G2 Constructicons were yellow or orange, but not green.

    The others pictured here were not released as part of Generation 2.

    Good catch on the Joes!

  19. Although, some of them could be reissues from recent years!

  20. I was not a fan of the initial episode but after seeing this article and the response, I’ll give it another shot. I hope ABC is paying you good money for this.

  21. Honestly, I’ve been watching this show for months (since the pilot) in the hopes of seeing an episode like this. I’ve since then learned to like it on its own, but seeing all the toys of my own childhood made it all the more worth it.
    My own question had to do with “Skeletor lives there … whatever.” So young Adam knew Skeletor didn’t live in Castle Grayskull? That struck me as an error but I can see how it might not be given his “whatever.”

  22. Matt I can’t believe this is your first Goldberg’s episode! It has been far and away my favorite new series on tv and I just figured you were all over that jam!
    Adam Goldberg giving you such a sincere and thorough response made my morning ontop of this brilliant post. The second I watched the episode I thought of you. Do give the other episodes a chance. This show reminds me so much of my family, especially the taping everything around the house which was definitely something me and my brother and sister did on top of making ridiculous movies together that I’ve always thought of turning into a story.

  23. @Chris: Hah, the truth is, “surface retro” is a pet peeve of mine, and I figured that’s what this would be, since that’s usually what these shows are. Glad I was wrong, and I knew I was as soon as I started watching. The subtler touches were too on-target. And now we have Adam’s passionate response to prove it. :)

  24. I need to go through my boxes of Transformers. I know I still have the Jetfire toy and *some* of his clip on parts. I had it from new and some of the various parts to actually enable attaching his booster rockets and extra armor plates were such flimsy plastic they broke almost immediately. The rest of him was actually pretty solidly made though, in comparison to the rest of the G1 line. Probably because the actual robot came from that other Japanese toy line, or whatever it was.

  25. After reading Adam’s passionate response, I am definitely going to check this show out.

  26. In #5 where did they find that version of Clue? My parents have that version and I think that is like a first version of Clue.

  27. So glad that more people are getting on board with The Goldbergs. My wife and I LOVE the show for different reasons. Me, I am into it for the nostalgia. Watching TV Adam takes me back to my childhood in such a good way. My wife LOVES Murray’s “Don’t Hold it Back” 80s parenting style. We are parents now and I would just love to one day tell my kids to stop being morons!
    Killer response from Adam Goldberg Matt, you deserve all the recognition you can get for running this site! Kudos Sir!

  28. The Muppet related thing you pointed out on the wall is a Muppet Calendar that has it’s month open to a Star Wars parody. You and see it in the screen shot where you point out the Revenge of the Jedi Poster.

  29. Sorry to be late to the party on this one. I’ve been with Goldbergs since the first ep. I had some concerns but growing up in the era and being a staunch Wonder Years fanatic this hits my sweet spot. I had GPK stickers up on the headboard of my bed. Never had any cool sheets but an old Sesame Street sleeping bag I had my whole life. Cool to see Grayskull but truth be told I was always more a Snake Mountain man myself! Love the ALF doll cameo. I had Touchdown Terror! Madballs was one of my favorite properties and I swear that Touchdown Terror moseyed around my backyard for over a decade always in a random spot.

  30. They had such attention to detail but 2 of the gijoes on there were a snake eyes and BAT from 1991. OUCH! You’d figure if someone took all the time to buy all that shit to make it real to the era they would’ve got that immediately. I’m not hating though, I still appreciate seeing this stuff as it used to get played with.

  31. Re: Flagg owners.

    It’s just as amazing as you’d think – the designers spent a lot of care making it feel like a real military vessel. There’s no end to the little details that made the 80s Joe toys special.

    I never did mention how I got it – I was at a local comic book store several years ago and I noticed the back room door was open. I saw the Flagg’s enormous box sitting just inside (I recognized it instantly, there’s no toy box of that size anywhere else.)

    Kind of incredulous, I asked the guy working there about it. He said the owner and some friends had dragged out of someone’s attic, where it had sat since 1985. Apparently rats had nibbled holes in the cardboard and some parts had fallen out, but it was mostly there. (Dunno why they didn’t go back for the parts.)

    He then dropped the bomb: The owner wanted just $100 for the thing. If it was mostly complete, it was probably worth $700 or more. The other bomb was that I was in college and didn’t really have $100 to spend. Fortunately, my friends learned of this, and two of them chipped in $20 each so I afford it! I went back the next day and drove home with obscenely large toy in tow.

    Upon getting the parts out, it became clear the Flagg had never been assembled. All the stickers were unapplied. There were a few parts missing – the ends of the deck cannons, a few missiles, the megaphone, the figure that was included. But it was about 90% there.

    It was an awesome day.

  32. lol, I just noticed that this computer has my handle saved as one I use on other parts of the Internet. I’m the guy called “Dracula” from earlier in the thread

  33. Matt: You SERIOUSLY need to show Adam some pictures of your rooms, (Halloween table?), and all the stuff you’ve collected over the years. If he doesn’t immediately suffer a “nerd heart attack”, he may very well ask to use some of them in his episodes, which would be insanely awesome.

  34. The Grimlock seen here was either an original or a G1 Remake, as the G2 version was blue. I was too young for G1, so I mostly had G2 Transformers, which only had 3 Dinobots: Grimlock (blue), Slag (red) and Snarl (green).

  35. The G2 Dinobots each had color variants released. Grimlock was available in gray or blue, while Slag and Snarl were both available in gray, green or red. As far as I know, the only way to tell the G2 grays from G1, was a G2 Autobot stamp placed somewhere on the figure.

    I was also a kid between G1 and G2, and I had a gray G2 slag. One of my favorites. You can check out pics at http://tfu.info/subgroup/dinobots.htm or do an image search.

    I love this geeky talk!

  36. Dear Matt and Adam and all friends here, dear compatriot toy geeks, nostalgia buffs, frustrated citizens with secret Ghostbusting dreams, most noble fellow drinkers and basement dwellers-there is hope and happiness out there yet.

    Adam, I have never seen this show although I’ve heard of it and as others above have said, I’ve seen it on in the background but never really payed much attention. That will definitely change now after hearing what a labor of love it it for you and how it is based so much on your real childhood.
    Unfortunately, very unfortunately we all grow up and quickly find out what a bad deal adulthood generally is, and that is where I found myself in the 80s.
    So I did the only thing I knew to keep myself sane and that was getting deeply into toy collecting. I haunted many a Children’s Palace, Ka-Bee, Toys R Us, and other local shops looking for just the things you featured in this episode. It helped that my little brother was 8 years younger than me so when I was buying Transformers or GI Joes in my 20s, they weren’t for me. Really. They’re for my little brother, so stop giving me that funny look Mr Toy Store clerk. As if you don’t have a basement full of this stuff. I know, it’s really your apartment and your mom is not allowed down there even to dust.

    Anyway, thanks once again Matt for this site and thanks Adam for pushing so hard to make all us nerds out here happy.

  37. I’m in the UK and I’d not heard of this show. I can’t wait to watch some, as it looks like a totally cool and adorable way to see what my childhood would have been like in another country. :D

  38. I had the USS Flag as a kid. It was the only time I think that I had the toy that all my friends were jealous of. It was a little heart breaking when I “grew” out of that toy. I know it’s still in my parents storage shed. No doubt, it’s completely warped now from the heat (live in Fort Worth, TX).

    My parents still talk about that thing being the closest they ever came to being divorced. Santa displayed the toys on Christmas Eve in my house. Apparently the Flagg took hours to set up with all the little parts and decals. The stress of getting this done before I woke up caused one of the biggest fights they’ve ever had.

    Strangely though, I don’t ever remember ever “playing” with it. I would spend hours meticulously setting up all of the figures and jets just right.

    Only other thing in Adam’s room that I had was Castle Greyskull. He did say in the episode that Skeletor lived there which as we all know is ludicrous. Skeletor lived in the much cooler Snake Mountain. Only two toys I owned that I loved more than that badass aircraft carrier.

  39. This was an epic article, about obviously and epic show that I have not started to watch yet. I really enjoyed Adam’s response, it was full of a bunch of interesting stuff about getting tv stuff done! I always wondered why there were not more actual toys shown in movies or tv episodes.

    ADAM- Please, now do an episode featuring a GIRL’S epic 80s toys collection!!! I always have to make do with boys toys- “oh thats the he-man version of she-ra’s crystal castle….” congrats on getting your childhood made into a tv show, thanks for bringing us on that ride.

  40. I LOVE this show. I can’t ever remember a show that made me laugh and cry in the same 30 minutes (and I like to think of myself as a manly man). I grew up in the 60′s, but this show captures some universal aspects of coming of age. Thank goodness for George Segal, and Jeff Garlin is a hoot. I take my pants off when I walk through the door too. Great minds think alike!

  41. Belated, as I’ve been absurdly busy, but I can tell you one thing: Lucas is full of it.

    My dad managed a theater in the early 80s, and I have in my possession the Star Wars re-release poster which advertises Revenge of the Jedi. Absolutely and unquestionably–in that the studio sent it to him–authentic. The story’s bollocks. It was the original title.

    (PS: this particular version–not the poster seen above–is actually not that rare, and runs ~$100 and often less)

  42. This is my favorite new show this year and I thought of you when I watched this episode, Matt. I think it’s a great show and I have a lot of respect for Adam Goldberg for taking the time to write you such a heartfelt, genuine, and appreciative response.

    I had a lot of toys as a kid, but the only things I’m seeing here that I know I had are Castle Grayskull, some of the He-Man figures, and Optimus Prime. What an impressive collection, though. I admire Adam Goldberg, not only for responding to you, but for keeping so many of his toys and for being so passionate about them that he went through the trouble to get clearance to use them all. That sounds like a pain in the ass, but that just tells me he wanted to do it right. Thanks for taking the time to break down this episode and point out all of this stuff, Matt! I missed a lot of it when I watched it, especially that Revenge of the Jedi poster!

  43. Nope not Skyfire… That’s a Robotech figure. I should know… I had it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *