In this issue of Vintage Vending: More dinosaurs!
I would’ve been all over this Dinosaur Museum set as a kid. (And given that I would’ve been of the appropriate age in 1985, I’m sad that I missed the chance.)
The stars were a series of skeletal figures, meant to represent museum-assembled dead dinosaurs.
Of course, if you didn’t want to play that way, you didn’t have to. Most kids probably skipped the “museum replicas” idea and headed straight for “living monster skeletons” territory, treating their tiny dinos as supernatural demons, sent to terrorize whatever other one-inch figures happened to be in their collections.
The teaser card’s bright reds and blues make me unnaturally happy, to the point where I felt compelled to research “color psychology.” Believe it or not, that’s a legit thing. Blue is supposed to relax you, while red is an “action color” that can actually raise your blood pressure. Looking at this card is like mixing uppers and downers.
The skeletal representations aren’t entirely accurate. They look more like figural versions of those dinosaur “bone models” I used to buy from museum gift shops. (I don’t think I’ve ever visited a museum gift shop and not bought a dinosaur bone model. If there’s a museum out there that doesn’t sell dinosaur bone models, it’s not the type of museum I’d ever visit.)
The figures are partially articulated. Most have poseable legs, and some even have poseable tails. Indeed, I can make this little Dimetrodon look like he’s running, standing, or perhaps most fittingly, dead.
Prehistoric marine reptiles are the collective reason why I keep a pouch of emergency confetti on my person at all times. I love them to death. The plesiosaur was my childhood favorite, owing much to my fascination with the Loch Ness Monster. (Even as a non-believer, I still count a night spent camping on those Scottish shores as one of my biggest dreams.)
I don’t know if they were going for “plesiosaur” with this figure, but I sure am. On the hunt for this toy, no amount of quarters would’ve been too great.
Warning for time travelers!
There was a huge catch with the Dinosaur Museum collection. Aside from the marvelous bony figures, you could also get simpler, cheaper, smaller dinosaurs, which still had their ugly skin. Those figures might have been fine under other circumstances, but not when “Option 2” was a bleached dinosaur skeleton with poseable legs.
Only one of these lesser dinos was shown on the teaser card. It served as a soft admission that you could get royally screwed.
Ah, good. I love it when these old vending machine teaser cards remember the rainbow diamond. If we could add the image of a mean cobra creeping up behind it, I’d have the brand logo for my next cult.
One other neat thing about those skeletons. The teaser card invites us to “assemble the bones,” which leads me to believe that the prizes came in unassembled parts. We got to build these monsters ourselves!
The best puzzles only take five seconds to finish.
UPDATE: Big thanks to Jugendsehnsucht for making my dream a reality:
My cult is going to be so sweet.