If you’ve been around Dino Drac long enough, you’ve probably read my article about the legendary Toys “R” Us Treat Box. Of course, “legendary” may be too strong a word, since I seem to be the only one who remembers them. Thank God for material evidence.
Brother, you missed out. At scattered points during the ‘90s, TRU paired up with various sponsors to give away cardboard “lunchboxes,” filled with samples and coupons. More importantly, every time they ran the promotion, the box had a different and even more awesome theme. (I already told you about the Batman Returns version, which included, among other things, a cutout Catwoman mask.)
Now here’s another, from later that year: The Jurassic Park “R” Treat Box!
Jurassic Park debuted in June of ‘93, but this box is actually from late ’92. That should give you an idea of how long and deep the film’s marketing ran.
These giveaways were promoted in TRU’s Sunday circulars, and whenever they came around, I was always there. I cannot possibly overstate how much I loved the “R” Treat Boxes! They were free with any (literally any) purchase, so it’s not like you had to jump through any major hoop to get one.
I don’t have the original samples that were once tucked inside, but imagine things like a pack of gum and a teensy bit of Crest toothpaste. If you were lucky enough, there’d even be a bag of chips or cookies. I remember treating those things like priceless artifacts that were to be left unmolested for all of time. (For roughly ten minutes. Then I ate everything.)
The free junk made me feel like such a star, but even the empty boxes were worth celebrating. Covered with good reasons to cut them into a million pieces, here are the key features of the Jurassic Park version:
I suppose the grandest freebie is this collection of cutout Jurassic Park figures, including three dinosaurs, a couple of warning signs, and just enough cardboard stands to keep everything upright. They aren’t remotely to scale, unless we’re to assume that the “HEY WEAR GOGGLES” sign was printed on a ten foot strip of aluminum.
And hey, maybe it was. I’m just saying… raptors ain’t bigger than triceratopses.
One of the side panels features this maze, which, at least on a passing glance, seems impossibly difficult. There are four ultra squiggly paths, three of which leading to dino damnation. Making matters worse are the instructions, which clearly state that the fate of the entire world rests on your ability to navigate that giant pile of whale intestines. As such, I will only volunteer to be a starting gate cheerleader. Somebody else can save the planet. There isn’t enough cobalamin in the entire state of New York to prepare me for this kind of pressure.
OH AND PS: Yeah, it’s real easy to solve the maze at this size. The maze’s actual size is much smaller. I stand by my words. I stand by them because I don’t want to kill my cobalamin reference.
Here’s my favorite activity. You get three cutout “puzzles,” representing a tyrannosaur, a dilophosaur and a gallimimus. All three of those things might need to be capitalized, but I never graduated college. And I’m not sure that having done so would make any difference.
Each dinosaur is separated into three parts, and the box encourages us to create mutants by mixing-and-matching. I’m particularly fond of the one on the left, who’s just a hat and raincoat away from passing as a mysterious person.
“Hank” wants to see you.
It took much soul-searching and head-smacking to make myself okay with cutting up this box. If there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s that life will not bring many additional opportunities to procure an intact Jurassic Park “R” Treat Box. Thing is, this was already a short post, and there wouldn’t have been any meat to it if I didn’t bust out the scissors. I suffered for your pleasure, as I always do.
Remember that when I require your blood.