Vintage Vending #21: Wrecking Power!

On today’s edition of Vintage Vending, you will bow before the mighty power of a glow-in-the-dark sticky fist. Truth.


The “Wrecking Power” collection arrived in the early ‘90s, and while it isn’t as showy as many of the sets previously featured on Dino Drac, I think I’m in love with it.

Remember those “sticky hand” toys, where a length of gooey “rope” was attached to an equally gooey hand? You’d whip the things against hard surfaces and they’d stick there, like magic? Well, these were like those, but on steroids. They were bigger and deadlier versions of sticky hands.

While large and on the “upscale” side as far as vending machine prizes went, I can’t say that they were worth a dollar, especially in 1990. There was no enormous difference between blowing a quarter and blowing a dollar, but the fact remained that kids had to want one of these more than four prizes from the cheaper machines.

I would’ve gotten more mileage from one giant sticky hand than four flat gumballs, but nobody thinks about the future when they’re standing by the vending machines. It’s all about immediate gratification, and I would not have robbed myself of the chance to turn that metal handle three more times.

It’s a shame, too. These are great toys! They’re sticky, they’re based on deadly weapons and they glow in the dark. The trifecta!


One neat thing is that the toys are arguably “action figure scale.” Maybe not G.I. Joe scale, but you could certainly make do with the right Ninja Turtle or He-Man figure. It’s one thing to flick a sticky hand against the wall, but making Skeletor whip the skin off of Man-At-Arms? Suddenly a dollar doesn’t sound so bad.

The teaser card includes three samples — a spiked mace, an enormous fist, and something that looks vaguely like Metapod. We must assume that kids were just as likely to get other types, but given the high price, those “other types” probably weren’t much smaller. Kids knew better than to kick a vending machine, but there were limits, and spending a dollar on a sticky hand that was no bigger than the shit Kellogg’s used to throw in cereal boxes would’ve turned us into rampagers.

(Note: I’m shocked. “Rampager” did not come up during spellcheck. It seems it really does denote “one who rampages.” Yes!)


Actually, the more I play with these, the more their price seems perfectly reasonable. Even after 25 years, they’re still sticky and pliable. (And since they were protected by a porous sheet of thin plastic, I think the credit for that goes to the toys, not their packaging.)

They’re great reminders of a time when even the simplest things could rule our worlds. You know, for ten minutes. Then you’d accidentally smack it into a carpet. Nothing made kids lose interest in sticky hands faster than old dog hair.


The best part of the brouhaha is that “GLOW” logo on the teaser card. The letter “O” is represented by… well, I’m not sure what that is, exactly. The Matrix of Leadership? A robot olive? The back view of a peacock who is experiencing — for lack of a better term — ass problems? The longer I stare at it, the more it seems to stare back.

Maybe that’s it? It’s an eye! A neon colored eye covered in sticks and fire, but an eye all the same.

A dollar was a big investment at the vending machines, but this one was worth it. So long as you didn’t realize that you could’ve gotten a prism sticker and two pieces of gum for the same price, anyway.