Dinosaur Dracula!

1985 Toys “R” Us Christmas Dream Book!

Tucked into the December ‘85 issue of Family Circle was a pleasant surprise:

Behold, Toys “R” Us’s 1985 Christmas Dream Book!

Back in the ‘80s, TRU didn’t produce giant catalogs, instead relying on limited-page circulars that either came with your Sunday newspaper or got stapled into certain magazines.

This one was 12 pages and mostly aimed at parents, as I doubt that very many kids were ardent readers of Family Circle. Beyond showcasing that year’s hottest toys, the Dream Book also pushed TRU’s special holiday hours. “Open ‘til midnight!” The idea of being able to buy action figures at 11:30 just blew my mind as a kid.

Below are five highlights from TRU’s 1985 Christmas Dream Book. May they spark as many memories for you as they did for me.

Thruster from Gobots! ($23.87)

The more I reflect on Tonka’s Gobots collection, the more I appreciate it. One advantage Gobots had over Transformers was that since the scale of its core figures hovered in that four-inch zone, you could seamlessly work them into multiversal adventures with your G.I. Joe and Star Wars toys.

Tl;dr: If Luke Skywalker and Destro wanted to have coffee with a transforming robot, they’d probably invite Leader-1, not Optimus.

Plus, that line had some great playsets. I’ve already written about the GoBots Command Center, which was like an AT-AT mixed with a four-star hotel. That was my favorite, but Thruster was a close second.

Transforming from a giant spaceship into a giant robot, Thruster had ample space for regular Gobots figures, plus a fetching neon head that looked as if someone took a Sharpie highlighter to Boba Fett’s helmet. So great! Read More…

Recreating Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving Feast!

I love everything about November. The weather, the colors, the food, and especially that abstract low-fi vibe that just begs us to laze. It’s hard to get November wrong. You can celebrate constantly and it’s perfect, or you can do absolutely nothing and it’s still perfect.

November is also a time for beloved traditions. Everyone has their own, and if you’ve followed me long enough, you sure know one of mine:

Almost every year, I recreate the famous feast from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Popcorn, pretzel sticks and jelly beans. I’ll never understand why Peppermint Patty got on Chuck’s case about it. This is pretty much the perfect meal.

I started doing online recreations of this dinner way back in 2003, but I thought it was finally time to take the show to YouTube. So, here’s how to recreate Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving dinner, now in video form:

Click here to watch on YouTube!

Okay, so maybe throwing toast and candy on a platter didn’t exactly call for a seven-minute tutorial, but I gotta be me. If you’ve seen my photos over the years but never tried preparing this yourself, do it! The feast is fun to make, fun to eat and oddly beautiful in its own weird way.

Enjoy the vid, and welcome to the start of Dino Drac’s 2021 holiday season! There’s much more to come! (Oh, and the Christmas Jukebox has been reactivated for anyone who’s ready to listen to that damn Paul McCartney song this early in November.)

Happy Halloween! (2021 Edition)

Happy Halloween! Here’s an impromptu video where I talk about the site and the season at large. I hope it makes sense!

Click here to watch on YouTube!

I had a great Halloween season, but as I hint at in the video, I definitely wasn’t expecting to. In fact, 2021 was so muddy that I wasn’t even sure I’d be doing a Countdown. I’m glad I did, because IMO it’s been one of the better ones!

I also firmly believe that this was just a great season in general. We got sooo much new junk food, so many new shows and movies, plus toys and decorations galore. On the material front, I couldn’t name a year that beats 2021 as far as sheer volume.

Actually, there was so much cool shit that I didn’t have time to mention it all. For instance, Heinz’s Tomato Blood!

Yeah, it’s just regular ketchup with a goofy label, but you better believe I bought four bottles anyway.

One thing that helped me this season was adopting a take-it-as-it-comes attitude. I get into this during the video — and I even mentioned it in the first post of this year’s Countdown — but I think a lot of us subconsciously expect Halloween to solve things it cannot solve. The season is an awesome distraction, but it’s just a distraction, and eventually you’re gonna crash back down to Earth.

This year, I’ve been focusing primarily on things that are actually literally important, and not using Halloween as a way to avoid them. Instead of treating the season as some kind of make-or-break experience with all of my chips in the pot, I approached it much more casually. Strongly recommended! Read More…

Purple Stuff Podcast: Skeleton Monsters!

Halloween starts in like fifteen minutes, but whatever, the Purple Stuff Podcast still owes you one last spooky show for the season. We’re here to deliver!

In our latest episode, me and Jay from Sludge Central tackle eight great SKELETONS from all walks of pop culture. The Grim Reaper from Spookies! Battle Bones from Masters of the Universe! The Horned King from The Black Cauldron! It’s an all-out skull-fest!

Click here to listen to this week’s show!

As a reminder, the Purple Stuff Podcast is also on Patreon, where you can grab an exclusive bonus show every month. (If you’re in a Halloween mood, it’s a good time to join, because our last four bonus shows have all been Halloween-themed!)

Below are supplemental links about the skeletons we discussed on the show. (Don’t read if you’re avoiding spoilers!)

1. Grim Reaper from Spookies!
2. Horned King death scene from The Black Cauldron!
3. Skull-masked McNugget Buddy from 1998!
4. Bad to the Bone Ghost from RGB!
5. Bones from Power Rangers!
6. Live-action Skeletor commercial from 1989!
7. Battle Bones from MOTU!
8. Charon from Clash of the Titans!

Thanks so much for listening. We’ve loved spending the season with you! Between our main shows and bonus shows, we’ve published around six hours’ worth of spooky podcasts these last few months. Marathon them this weekend, if you’re not busy!

(And don’t worry, we’re gonna hit you up with thematic shows for the next holiday season, too! As for me, I’d like to get one last thing onto Dino Drac before Halloween is over, but we’ll see how the weekend goes. If you’re heading off for parties or hayrides, have a great one!)