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! Read More…

Rediscovering Life Savers Holes!

Today I pay tribute to Life Savers Holes. Tomorrow, I vacuum the upholstery in my car.

Life Savers Holes! They came, they saw, and while I was convinced that they’d conquered, the fact that they no longer exist suggests otherwise. The world at large was not ready to accept the supposed leftovers of normal Life Savers as something to be purchased separately, but some of us were, and we miss them dearly.

Ostensibly the “middles” of regular Life Savers, the candies were actually custom creations only meant to resemble that. I say this because my omniscience certainly extends to how Kraft Foods produced their candy back in 1990.

It was a great idea. Every kid loved regular Life Savers, but I don’t think many of us actively sought them out. I never turned them down, but at the same time, I always associated them with my mother’s filthy purse. If I was at the corner deli with my choice of candy, Life Savers would never, ever win.

Life Savers Holes, on the other hand, won and won often. The flavors were largely the same, but they just felt so much younger. Hipper and more vibrant. Maybe it was because I could eat 45 of them simultaneously, or maybe it was because they came in tubes that shook like makeshift maracas. I loved Life Savers Holes, and I was not alone. Read More…

Ten Things I Saw in Wildwood, NJ.

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After more than ten years, I finally made it back to Wildwood.

Well, for a few hours, at least! We spent the 4th in Atlantic City with Mr. and Mrs. Sexy Armpit, but on Thursday, the four of us did a quick hit-and-run at the negotiably-nearby Wildwood boardwalk. If you’ve been with me since the beginning, you know that Wildwood is basically my Disney World.

For the clueless: Wildwood is a vacation spot on the Jersey shore, famous (and infamous) for its insanely long and insanely spirited boardwalk, stuffed with roller coasters, bad t-shirts and six thousand types of french fries.

For me, it is home.

This was a very short trip, so I can’t give you a full blow-by-blow on everything Wildwood has to offer. (Actually, even if I spent two weeks there, I still wouldn’t be able to.) Even so, it seems I took just enough pictures and saw just enough interesting things to spend the next four hours writing loving tributes to dark rides and cereal-infused ice cream sundaes.

Here are ten things I saw in Wildwood. Enjoy them as I did.

gremlins

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I was pleasantly surprised to see officially licensed Gremlins dolls in one of Wildwood’s 150+ crane machines, but outright shocked to see MOHAWK included. In his adorably skunky mogwai form, no less!

Characters exclusive to Gremlins 2 are less often mined for things like this, and as cool as it was to see the original movie’s Stripe lurking in crane machines a few years ago, this is even better. Mohawk was the sequel’s Big Bad, and to date, the ONLY character in the Gremlins universe to be seen in three forms. (The last of which being a gremlin/spider hybrid!)

I somehow managed to win three Mohawk dolls, a miracle that only barely falls short of Moses parting the Red Sea. I freakin’ love them. They look totally bootleg in the best way possible. Read More…

More Yard Sale Scores.

After my success at last week’s yard sales, I wondered if lightning would strike twice.

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It did! The gods of trash blessed me even harder this time, with cheap, geeky goods that I might have expected to find at yard sales 15-20 years ago.

Much of this week’s haul came from a multi-family sale that spanned the front lawns of at least six houses. I started by ransacking a box of insanely cheap videocassettes, and ended with a moment of personal crisis over whether or not to buy used Hulk Hands. (The Hulk Hands aren’t featured here, but I did go home with them. I have a brain.)

Below are my five favorite scores. I’m struck by how it looks like I just got back from a comic convention rather than a bunch of yard sales. It was a tight race, but I think I made out even better than last week!

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Uncut Sheet of Garbage Pail Kids!
Price: $10

Holy shit! An uncut sheet of 2nd Series Garbage Pail Kids stickers, from 1985! I used to buy sheets exactly like this from a long-closed indoor flea market, but that was back when they were still new.

Some random card dealer was always at that flea market; he was the one who sold the uncut sheets. Three dollars a pop. He also dabbled in everything from used Star Wars figures to vintage movie posters, and now that I think about it, his crusty booth was the first time I became aware of the collector’s market. Oh, the memories! Memories of super cheap but criminally folded Gremlins posters!

I nearly died when I saw this on someone’s lawn. I’ve often written about Garbage Pail Kids’ fall from grace, but these uncut sheets represent a time when they were everything right with the world. All of my friends collected Garbage Pail Kids, but I was the only one busting out uncut sheets. (Of course, like an idiot, I’d always end up cutting the things into single cards, using imprecise scissors and my shaky left hand.)

I’ve since found a few auctions for this exact set with prices north of $60, so yeah, this was a sweet deal.

See more pics on Mummy Shark, and you’ll learn the biggest reason to find an uncut sheet: You’ll also get an uncut card-back poster! Read More…

Yard Sailin’ for Fun and Profit.

We went yard sailin’ on Saturday morning, and I think I hit the jackpot.

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(No, that’s not the jackpot.)

I don’t go to yard sales as often as I did before everyone turned into a wannabe antique dealer. These days, you can barely buy paper plates without hearing about how they’re VERY VALUABLE paper plates first. On balance, there are only so many times I can see $10 price tags on McDonald’s Beanie Babies before orchestrating total stellar genocide.

But the weather was really nice. We didn’t want to waste it. Most of the sales were duds, best exemplified by the one ran out of some lady’s backyard. She was selling what I can only describe as a twelve-inch hammock filled with fake fruit. It was the most atrocious thing imaginable, so of course I wanted it.

I asked about the price. She gave the fruit hammock a discouraging look, and then made that “ooooh” sound. If you’ve been to many yard sales, you know this game. People do that when they’re about to announce an awful price. She bluntly says “twenty five” before quickly turning her back, as if to add “I will not go a penny lower” purely through body language.

Twenty five bucks for a novelty hammock stuffed with plastic fruit? Jesus, is it at least lucky?

I had better luck at other sales. Much better than I was anticipating, actually. It wasn’t so much that the stuff I picked up was that valuable, but they were really odd things to find at yard sales. Odd in a great way.

Here are my five favorite finds:

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First, a SEALED copy of DuckTales The Movie, from 1991! Only a buck!

Disney tapes in clamshell cases are notorious for being resealed on the secondary market, but this one is legit because it still has the price sticker. Look close and you’ll notice that there’s also a Lost Lamp game card inside, which — had I found this tape before 6/30/91 — would have provided me the chance to win a free Disney World vacation.

I haven’t written much about DuckTales, but I was a huuuuuge fan. I never forgave Goof Troop for knocking it out of the Disney Afternoon lineup. Though DuckTales The Movie did get a theatrical release, I waited for it to air on television. (I have a vague recollection of some network splitting it into parts and airing it during prime time. Can anyone confirm?)

As much as I’d like to crack this baby open, it must remain forever sealed. If I open it and find out that I’m the too-late winner of the Lost Lamp Instant Win Game, I’ll die five years sooner than my doctor predicted. Read More…

Summer Berry Pebbles Cereal!

“It’s the first day of summer” is both the truth and the opening line to my debut rap single, I Can’t Stand To Sit.

I thought we’d celebrate the shift in seasons with the most summery thing imaginable: Bamm-Bamm Rubble beating the shit out of cereal.

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New from Post, it’s Pebbles Cereal in a limited edition “Summer Berry Flavor.”

I’ve beaten this horse before, but I’m still irked by cereal companies using the “limited edition” term. “Limited time,” yes, but “limited edition” makes it sound like there’s some frantic foreman in Post’s shiny factory, waiting to throw cold water at the fusebox to ensure that his careless staff doesn’t make even one box beyond 5000. I like the image, but I know it to be false.

Looking over the box, it’s obvious that this was originally intended to have a strict Independence Day theme. At the last second, Post changed it to “summer,” reasoning that it was better to get an extra month’s worth of sales out of their efforts. If you doubt my theory, just check out Uncle Bamm. Read More…