Vintage Vending #10: Assorted Awesomeness.

Vintage Vending continues! I’m calling today’s batch “Assorted Awesomeness,” but the prizes really aren’t so hot. Actually, I would’ve skipped this one entirely… if not for one totally killer prize hiding among the weaklings. Take a look, and see if you can guess which it is.

(I’ll tell you later. Don’t worry.)

I’m not sure when this assortment came out. The only thing that gives us a sense of timing is the Hello Kitty button, and even then, it only means that this couldn’t have come out earlier than the late ‘70s. I’m sure the grime and dust could be age-evaluated, but I don’t have those types of connections.

Here are the highlights:

The “real” diamond rings are the top prizes, if the card is to be believed. Obviously, the diamonds are not real, and the rings are no better than the assorted casino arcade jewelry you could win with five points’ worth of skeeball tickets.

I don’t know who this man is. Noah, maybe? Of ark fame?

The shepherd’s staff may betray the mystery man’s position as a protector, which makes sense, because he’s guarding that weird “springy feet thing” with everything he has.

Perhaps Noah is merely being a good Samaritan. By partially shielding the springy feet thing from view, he greatly reduced the number of vending machine fanatics cursed to spend their entire lives wondering what the springy feet thing actually was. Thanks, Noah. Even if you weren’t trying to protect anyone, the train of thought led me to learn that “Samaritan” is only correct when capitalized.

Writing was so much easier when I did it in Notepad and threw grammatical caution to the wind.

Finally, some familiar faces!

Come on, you’ve seen them before. Everyone has owned at least a few of those tiny animals covered in that fuzzy, felt-like material.

I had many, but I can’t remember how I obtained a single one of them. They entered our lives quietly, but oh so mysteriously. If we were paying closer attention, the whole thing would’ve seemed spooky.

But kids pay no mind to the details. They just see cute little fuzzy bears, and start searching for the gaping assholes. I’m being literal, not crude. Many of these figures doubled as pencil toppers.

EDIT: Hey, look at the quarter! 1989! Now we know when “Assorted Awesomeness” debuted. Thanks to Adam Riches for his magical eyes!

There’s the aforementioned Hello Kitty button. Google informs me that Hello Kitty really is a big time tennis fan. For as mundane as this prize assortment is, it’s teaching me so many new things.

“Samaritan” should be capitalized. Hello Kitty likes tennis. “Gaping assholes” can be written without ill intent.

Next is a collection of fruit and vegetable pencil toppers, complete with you-know-whats. These were pretty ordinary finds in vending machines, but since there were lots of different companies making them, the quality varied greatly.

In this case, the fruits and vegetables barely resemble fruits and vegetables. They seem more like alien cowboys, but that’s not a problem for me. I like pencil toppers based on alien cowboys way better than pencil toppers based on smiling cantaloupes.

At least, I did until I wrote “smiling cantaloupes.” Now I’m not so sure.

And then there’s THIS. My whole reason for being here.

I spent an inordinate amount of time researching this guy. He seems so familiar. Not him specifically, but just the type of toy. There were all sorts of “Jigglers” and “Uglies” and other rubber monsters made famous in vending machines, but I can’t get an exact match on this one.

Until someone corrects me, I will presume that he’s from a galaxy populated only by him. Given the face and the frills, I’m guessing he’s meant to be some kind of mutant lionfish. (I could just as easily argue that he’s a Leafy Sea Dragon mixed with a monkey, but that’s really wordy.)

I don’t like to dissemble these ancient teaser cards often, but this is a special occasion. That awful monster needs to be freed.

It’s the best prize in the set, and possibly my favorite single prize from anything seen on Vintage Vending so far.

Doesn’t he look evil? I bet he’s cursed. If I’m struck by lightning tonight, it’s because I let this mutant lionfish breathe again.