It’s flea market season, baby. An excuse to spend every weekend with grimy hands and a pocketful of also-grimy singles.
We had gorgeous weather on Sunday, so it was off to Englishtown, home of one of New Jersey’s biggest and longest-running flea markets. (…which you may remember from various Dino Drac articles over the past few years.)
The place was as packed as I’d ever seen it. Between the crowds, the mud and the heat, only the promise of cheap action figures kept me from hiding under a table until dusk.
Below are my best finds. I’d say I’m off to a decent start!
Dokken’s Dream Warriors Single on Vinyl! ($1)
SCORE. There are thousands of used records at this flea market, but I almost never sort through them. (I’m interested in so few records that it’s just not worth the time. For every “maybe,” I’d have to thumb through 2000 “definitely nos.”)
Fortunately, this obvious must-buy was sitting right on top of an open box. It’s Dokken’s 1987 Dream Warriors single, and I have no idea what it was doing in Englishtown. Best of all, the seller only wanted a buck, which even for a used, sun-beaten copy was an enormous steal.
As the theme for the same-named movie, Dream Warriors is one of my favorite “horror songs” ever, and the art on that sleeve is an absolute beast. The fact that there’s a photo of Freddy Krueger chilling with Dokken on the back just iced the cake.
VHS Tapes! ($2 for all)
One of Englishtown’s big draws is the chance to score cheap old horror tapes, but I’ll admit that this only happens rarely. (My best guess is that the more serious collectors hit the flea market super early each weekend, because VHS collectors are nothing if not devoted.)
The only “true” horror tape I could find was that copy of Halloween; the rest are either random movies I love or movies that were too quirky to leave behind. (I’d honestly never even heard of Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles before Sunday.)
I might’ve gone home with fewer if the price wasn’t so sweet. For a quarter, I’ll buy pretty much any tape that doesn’t star Barney or Dora.
Brutus Beefcake LJN Figure! ($5)
Yes, it’s the unwitting mascot of The Purple Stuff Podcast, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake!
(Well, not exactly. By this point in his career, Brutus had not yet begun moonlighting as a hairstylist. It was still his secret passion.)
This is one of those old LJN WWF Superstars figures, which are ALL OVER Englishtown, and I presume all over every other flea market in the country.
The rubber figures are virtually indestructible, so no matter how ratty they get, they at least stay in one piece. That’s made them incredibly common on the collectors’ market, with the asterisk being that it’s a hundred times harder to find any of these figures in truly great condition.
I spotted WWF Superstars figures on the tables of at least two dozen sellers, even if those sellers otherwise sold nothing but used tools or bootleg perfume. Despite this, all of them clung to “$5 and up” prices, as if by some unspoken agreement to not let the price of filthy, fingerless Hulk Hogan figures drop too far. Dicks.
Fear Street: The Surprise Party ($2)
I wouldn’t normally spend two bucks on a Fear Street book, but the young women running that table (sisters, I think) were SO into them and SO happy that someone else was interested, I would’ve felt like a major heel leaving empty-handed.
Sometimes you buy things at flea markets just to be nice.
They had a whole box of Fear Street books, all for the same price and all in similarly good condition. I picked this one because of the spooky house, which seemed to combine every spooky house from every horror movie into one SUPER spooky house.
TMNT Burger King Tapes! (3 for $2)
I can never turn down the Burger King TMNT videos, no matter how many copies I acquire.
For those who don’t remember, Burger King sold these for bargain prices back in the early ‘90s, and since “back in the early ‘90s” was when Splinter was basically God, everybody had those tapes.
I used to watch them constantly, often playing them five or six times in a row. It got to the point where I’d completely memorized the episodes, and used the tapes more just as white noise. I couldn’t relax unless I heard Krang describing the chemical properties of Lydium 90 in the background.
The tapes are in nice shape, which is miraculous considering that every other tape in the bin looked like it’d spent a month fermenting in a used spittoon.
TOTAL SPENT THIS WEEK: $12. I’d say that’s a steal for the combined talents of Dokken, Brutus and Donatello.
Before going home, we stopped at a trashy Jersey diner for the traditional round of unsweetened iced teas, which is the official way to celebrate a successful flea market run.
I mention this to highlight the real reason for these adventures: They’re a day out for people who hate days out. Really, all the garbage we come home with is just a bonus.
Breezy drives scored with stupid music, the stench of sweat and peanuts, and finally some goddamned french onion soup. I’ve had worse Sundays.
PS: If you missed it, Dino Drac’s April Funpack is now on sale! Get yourself some old gum and trading cards!