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?
Lucky Yuckies and Yuck!
I’m at the mercy of that one image to determine what these things were, but I think I’ve pieced it together. You either received “yuck” — a small capsule of toy slime — or one of the “Lucky Yuckies,” which were apparently monster heads capable of dispensing said slime through their noses, eyes, ears or mouths. For the record, now that I’ve explained this, you should be cheering.
I don’t remember them, though I was certainly of the right age when they hit the scene in 1990. Seeing them now, I’ve fallen madly in love. They’re all I can think about, and there’s no way to get them. It was exactly this kind of untapped lust that drove Thanos to astral genocide. I’m screwed, and so are you.
The people behind these were nothing if not determined. Not only were Krazy Wigglelets attractive monster bugs, but they were attractive monster bugs that could be connected to make jewelry! AND they had suction cups under their heads!
Loyal Subject: King Vending, may we your servants have your edict?
King Vending: I want you to make toys that do everything.
Loyal Subject: We shall name them in honor of your firstborn, the Lady Wigglelet.
Best of all were the creatures’ names. “Grosslet.” “Tri-Eyelet.” “Leechlet.” Those names are awesomelet. For toys that cost a quarter a pop, no reasonable person could’ve possibly expected more.
(The light blue one is my fave. Looks like a lizard mixed with a crab mixed with an alien spider. It’s like the genie gave you one wish and you used a loophole to make three.)
Monster Teeth… and Finger Nail! This was a series of presumably tiny plastic fangs, with all sorts of mutations that hinted at different monsters. Some of them seem too intricate to have really existed, so I’m guessing the artist said “fuck it” on the basis of nobody caring enough to sue.
These machines also gave out monster fingernails, which slid over your own fingers to create the impression that you bought press-ons from the worst kinds of dollar stores.
I don’t mind not having the prizes for this one, since the clear star was the teaser card itself. Look at that art! It’s like the one ride at the sideshow that even the carnies try to avoid. I guess all of those monsters are derivative of something, but I’ve never seen creatures exactly like them. My favorite has to be the guy in the center, who looks like a zombified werewolf He-Man. Or maybe it’s the skinless goat devil.
Yeah, it’s him. The skinless goat devil. He just looks so casual about being one.
Another classic. Magic Grobots were Voltron-esque robots that grew in water, and they really did have as much detail and colors as the art suggests. Course, some of those details would be lost as your Grobot evolved into a bigger, slimier version of itself, but you had to be damn stupid to put him in water to begin with. Two inch bootleg Voltrons didn’t come around often, and a nice hard two-incher is better than a gloppy six-incher. It’s the line I’ve used in every bar from here to Moorestown.
A closer inspection of the featured Grobot reveals that one of his hands is a big giant stapler. I guess the “D.V.S.” on his chests stands for “Da Vicious Stapler.” Count me among the assured millions who approve.