Since we’re up to the seventh installment of this series, I guess I can skip the preamble. Here are random action figures. Five of them!
Star Wars, 1983
Behold, one of my favorite figures from Kenner’s immense Star Wars collection. Something about the Biker Scout’s boxy head appealed to me in a way normal Stormtroopers didn’t, and excluding the Emperor’s Royal Guard, this was the Star Wars figure I bought most often. (Sometimes I needed to replace a lost figure; other times I just wanted more Biker Scouts.)
Critics be damned: When I hear “Star Wars,” my mind jumps to Return of the Jedi. It’s fitting that my most beloved “Imperial” characters were exclusive to that movie.
The biggest reason to own a Biker Scout was to have an appropriate figure to place on Kenner’s “Speeder Bike” vehicle. (The one that blew apart with the push of a button… which was an awesome feature until you realized how easy it was to hit said button by accident.)
Speeder bikes featured prominently in ROTJ, of course, and I grew up wanting to ride one more than any other fictitious vehicle. Every time I was in my parents’ car, stuck in Jersey shore traffic, I’d imagine myself on a speeder bike, casually zipping to Wildwood just above the many hoods. In those dreams, I’d be dressed in the Biker Scout’s uniform. Read More…
In November of 2000, I placed my first-ever order with Amazon. Reviewing my account, it looks like I bought Charmander earrings, two Furby Babies, and twenty of the exact same Darth Sidious figure, just because it was marked down to a buck.
Probably shouldn’t have admitted all of that, but here’s the point: I’d guess that the vast majority of you have been ordering from Amazon for nearly as long. Maybe even longer. Many of us have ordered so frequently that our purchase histories read like diaries. It’s been our collective corner deli for everything that isn’t food.
I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at Amazon as it existed back when a lot of us were first hearing about it, so I dug up an old version of site.
This was Amazon, on August 27th, 1999:
Maybe Amazon’s comfort factor stems from how little it’s changed through the years. Today’s version of the site is slicker, more responsive and less heavy on the ten paragraph advertorials, but it’s still basically the same.
The screenshot isn’t a mockup. That’s what people saw on the Amazon homepage on 8/27/99. As I clicked through the site, so many memories came flooding back. I had to remind myself that 1999 really was fifteen years ago, and that it wasn’t crazy to see so many new movies in VHS format. (God, we’re all so old.)
I spent most of my time in the “Toys & Games” category. Holy nostalgia. The neat thing about sifting through Ancient Amazon rather than an old store catalog is that you’ll see much obscurer things. A catalog will remind you about “big launch” releases, but even back then, Amazon carried everything. It was as much “shit parade” as “hit parade,” and I loved every second of it.
To commemorate the hours I spent navigating dead links (and forced redirects to more dead links), here are thirteen random playthings Amazon sold back in 1999. Read More…
I was separating a stack of papers into “keep” and “toss” piles, and buried underneath so many hotel receipts and menus for dead restaurants, there it was…
Yeah, this one went into the “keep” pile. It’s the Toys “R” Us Summer Fun Book, from 1986! Lightweight and only around a dozen pages, I’m guessing they came packed with Sunday newspapers. The contents aren’t nearly as voluminous as what we used to see in Sears Wish Books, but there was certainly enough to make me a remember a time when “toys equaled life.” Here are some of the highlights: Read More…
I wasn’t sure if today’s topic truly deserved to be one, so I asked the folks on Twitter:
Does anyone want to read about really old Fruit Roll-Ups?
— Dinosaur Dracula (@DinosaurDracula) July 31, 2014
They said yes. And that’s how you came to read 750 words about old Fruit Roll-Ups.
…and not just any old Fruit Roll-Ups, mind you. These are Jurassic Park Fruit Roll-Ups, made to promote The Lost World back in ’97. As a fan of all things dinosaurs and all things fruit snacks, I will forever hold my peace about this marriage.
I love Fruit Roll-Ups. I must’ve eaten a thousand of them by now. They prettied up my lunch boxes like vases on end tables. To this day, I know few finer comfort foods.
I love Jurassic Park, too. The first one, the second one, the third one, and even the still-incubating fourth one, which I believe will include mutants and space aliens. Whenever the mailman drops off a package I’ve been waiting for, I still hum the JP theme. Whenever I meet a woman named Amber, I want to grab her face and scream about mosquitos.
Yes, yes, yes. Jurassic Park Fruit Roll-Ups are so up my alley. Read More…
Hi, I’m Matt. Child’s Play fan.
I was a late bloomer with horror, but Chucky was an exception. From Day One, I was on his side. Of the right age to clearly recognize him as a riff on Hasbro’s My Buddy dolls, I stupidly assumed that the Child’s Play franchise was at least partially targeted at kids. It wasn’t, but I fell in love all the same. My earliest memories of horror movies come in blips and bleeps, but with Child’s Play, I was all-in.
In my mind, there’s no bad Child’s Play movie. The second one is my favorite, but even the more polarizing fourth and fifth films worked for me. Chucky started as a straight-up slasher, evolved into a sort of cartoon, and eventually settled into something approaching “outsider art.” I adored all of it.
To celebrate Chucky — because that’s what we’re doing today — I thought I’d dust off an abandoned Dino Drac series. Below are the five best Child’s Play items currently on eBay.
(And when I say “best,” I usually mean “weirdest.”) Read More…
I took a break from the yard sales this week, wanting to try my luck at a flea market at least once before summer was over. I begged Jay to tag along so I wouldn’t have to haggle alone, and off we went to Englishtown, New Jersey.
I’ve written about the Englishtown flea market before. It’s a crapshoot. You’ll see plenty of desirable things there; the issue is finding something desirable and reasonably priced.
Like, you might come upon a seller with several bins filled with action figures, all lined up on the ground outside. But then you’ll notice that most of those bins are stuffed with fast food toys and generic army men. And then you’ll find out that the seller wants two dollars per figure, regardless of how destroyed it is.
There’s a lot of that in Englishtown.
The flea market is so large that you’d need to devote an entire day to seeing it all. Since it was 550 degrees on Sunday, we only allowed ourselves an hour. Here’s what I was able to dig up… Read More…