Dinosaur Dracula!

Five Random Action Figures, Part 4!

I’ve been sorting through my storage bins. Not the usual ones. These are the bins that time forgot. Stuff I stashed away more than ten years ago. Back then, I was still in “save everything” mode, so I’ve spent many years believing there was nothing but garbage in them.

(Broken videos? Chipped Budweiser steins? Obsolete Archie McPhee catalogs?)

Turns out, there was real treasure hiding in those bins. They were like time capsules, and I’m having so much fun sneezing my way through their dusty contents. It should give me some great content for the next few weeks, too.

Today’s post features some of those new/old scores. Here’s the fourth edition of Five Random Action Figures!

Scumbug
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1990

An evil mutant aligned with Shredder, Scumbug acted as an ironic exterminator, bent on spraying the Ninja Turtles with liquid poison! (My figure is missing the accessories, which included a backpack full of imaginary “paralyzing juice.”)

With the likes of Mondo Gecko and Wingnut, Scumbug was one of the four new figures that came out after everyone already collected the first two waves of Ninja Turtles toys. And guys, that third wave was a BIG deal.

Its release corresponded with TMNT’s peak popularity, and people like me went CRAZY trying to track those figures down. (It was to the point where toy stores didn’t even bother putting the figures on shelves. They just left the shipping boxes out in the aisles for kids to sort through. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.)

Mondo Gecko was the ultimate “get” from that wave, so of course, I found him last. Scumbug was the first one I found. Only with decades of improved maturity can I see that he may have actually been the best from the third wave. A giant cockroach with bulging eyes, covered in smaller cockroaches? That’s so up my alley. Sealing the deal, Scumbug’s antennae form my first initial! Read More…

My 21-year-old dinosaur statue.

This post is brought to you by serendipity.

At least, I hope it is. I’m not totally clear on what “serendipity” means.

See this? It’s a baby dinosaur statue, made by Windstone.

I bought it in 1992. I was thirteen years old.

This poor dinosaur has had it rough. Look close and you’ll see evidence that his head once broke clear off his body. Baby Dino only averted death with the liberal aid of Krazy Glue.

He’s stained, chipped and far from a showpiece, but even after a zillion “collection consolidations” over the past two decades, I’ve never been able to let him go.

It’s not just because he’s a cute baby dinosaur hatching out of an egg, either. That’s one reason, but there’s more to it than that.

You see, I remember buying this dinosaur. I used my own money, and spent a week laboring over the decision to do it.

When you’re a kid, the stuff you use your own money on is held to a different standard. Those things are “yours” in a way most things aren’t.

I’ll never forget the moment I bought him. It was in Las Vegas, of all places.

Which brings me to the serendipity part:

Last night, I was thumbing through one of my old journals.

I’ve written about it before, but I kept diaries for many years. I was especially dedicated to them in middle school and high school. Today, they’re sources of immense personal embarrassment, and were they to fall into professional hands, they might serve as proof that psychoses start early. Read More…

Dino Drac Visits Keansburg, NJ!

I made a vow to return to my old Jersey shore haunts this year. It’s been way too long. First on my list was the Keansburg Amusement Park, a fairly small beachside attraction filled with rides, games and fried clams.

Last year’s hurricane hit Keansburg hard, and several “relic attractions” bit the dust in its wake. Between that and the fact that the 2013 season has only barely begun, Keansburg wasn’t exactly in full swing. Still, there was more than enough for a good trip report. Below are the highlights! Read More…

Dinosaur Dracula’s 1st Birthday!

One year ago today, Dinosaur Dracula hatched. It’s my baby’s birthday!

Let’s party.

I guess I should start with the obvious. As you can tell by the site’s new look, Dino Drac’s birthday coincides with the launch of its SUMMER SEASON — a three-month spread of the usual mixed with the unusual, and, I promise, at least two Jersey shore trip reports. We are going to have A TIME, my friends.

(Psst: I even resurrected the Summer Jukebox. See it?)

I’m very excited about what’s coming later, but even with my muddied brain – a byproduct of my SUPER IRONICALLY TIMED head cold – I know better than to jump the gun. First, let’s let the dino have his day: Read More…

I wish Fruity Freaks was real.

You’ve all heard of Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry. The “Monster Cereals.” Many of us grew up on them. Those who didn’t can at least count on ‘em to turn up every Halloween season, in progressively smaller boxes at progressively higher prices.

But among the trio’s fans are a more dedicated group of super fans. People who don’t just “like” Count Chocula, but need to buy several Count Chocula bobbleheads. I’m one of those people. People like us enjoy the cereals much like anyone else would, but we’re even bigger on the lore. The history.

For starters, there’s a pair of extinct monster cereals.

Fruit Brute debuted in 1974. It was a colorful blend of fruit-flavored cereal, fronted by a werewolf who wore rainbow-striped overalls. I guess there was too much competition from Trix and Froot Loops, because the cereal lasted less than a decade.

But General Mills is a stubborn beast. By 1988, they were ready for Round 2. Fruity Yummy Mummy was basically the same as Fruit Brute, except for the mascot: A mummy wrapped in multicolored bandages. Fruity Yummy Mummy was not a major success, and by 1993, General Mills finally gave up on a “generically fruity” Monster Cereal.

Empty boxes of Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy cost small fortunes on the collectors’ market, which drives me nuts, as I distinctly remember a shady local deli selling Fruity Yummy Mummy well into the late ‘90s. (Shady delis do not always abide by expiration dates. I found cans of early ‘80s Pac-Man Pasta at one, and that was in May of 2000.)

I should’ve stockpiled some of that cereal. Damn.

Now, nothing I’ve written so far will come as a surprise if you know anything about Monster Cereals. For uncommon people, this is common knowledge. But what if I told you that there was actually a SIXTH Monster Cereal, so rare that I could only find one single photo of it online? Read More…