Monday, January 24, 2011

1-24-11 Mystery Solved! (oh, and Boy Toys....)

Alright, not those kind of boy toys. . .

But before that: Dad remembered that the mystery blocks I posted about yesterday were from Reader's Guide, which helped immensely.

He sent me this:
Ah-HA! Not Playskool -- Playskills. Amazing what knowing the right title can do for you.

Here's the playmat. I look at this thing and can still smell that plastic vinyl goodness.

And here's the complete set, obviously from a home that never let any pre-schoolers actually play with it:

Man, I wish I had a set to play with right now.

Ok, so since the previous nostalgia was entirely girly (alright, except for the race tracks), I thought it might be nice to do one based off of Bob's memories of his toys. Born in the center of April 1967, he was just ahead of me on the "right" Christmas Wish Books that have almost everything a kid his age could ever want.

Let's start with the infamous Vertibird, which until tonight Bob had always called the Whirly Bird when he told the story of that Christmas when Santa brought it for him, but, so the story goes, with the instruction that he would come take it back if little Bobby didn't share with his dad, who hogged it the whole first day. Now, when he went to look for it and found the picture of the box (and the right name) he got that same excited gleam in his eye that I had in mine with all of the toys from my childhood. It's a very personal thing in some ways, even though these things were made by the hundreds of thousands and sold everywhere. But when you see what you had only seen long ago as a child, it becomes yours in a way that you really can't explain.

Bob's passion for all things Batman can be traced way back to the Mego days, when he had all of the Super Heroes.

But he never scored the Mego Batcave. So instead he built one out of carboard boxes, string, tape, and scissors (for all the trap doors and such) with a landing pad for the helicopter on top. It hung from the rod in his closet. And these are the times you wonder, "why didn't we ever take a picture of that?"

He did however get the holy grail of his other favorite show, the U.S.S. Enterprise set. And this one, we still have with Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scottie, and Lt. Uhura safely tucked away on their bridge.

Then there was Johnny West on his trusty steed, Thunder. Johnny apparently came with 5000 small parts, which makes complete sets much more valuable these days.

They even had a General Custer doll in the set.

Which brings us to GI Joe. I am told the "right" Joe is fuzzy: fuzzy beard, fuzzy head, with NO kung-fu grip because his hands would always break off after a short period. Bob's favorites included:

The GI Joe Frogman in The Shark's Surprise

The Search for the Stolen Idol:

Note: fuzzy Joe.

And the Mercury Astronaut:

But the next toy to pop into Bob's memory was one I have absolutely no recall for. Big Jim was apparently the macho version of Ken, with an arm that bent at the elbow, making his bicep swell enough to pop off his armband.

He also had a camper, exactly like the Barbie one except. . . MANLY.

And, as Bob tells it, he was joined by Big Jim's Wolf Pack shortly thereafter, an A-Team before the A-Team. However, looking at the pictures, for me, is a little more Village People than A-Team. But maybe that's just me. . .

I do remember the 6 Million Dollar Man doll, though, with that creepy eye and the skin that rolled up on one of his arms to expose his. . . bionicles.

And since Bob grew up in Hawaii, he learned to read by watching the subtitles of the Japanese shows that were very popular there, including Kikaida and Kamen Rider

It's no wonder when Nicholas was entranced with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that Bob could completely understand the fascination.

There's clearly a monster thing going here. Instead of Stretch Armstrong, he opted instead for the Stretch Monster:

And then there were the Ricochet Racers, featuring Captain American and Spiderman:

One of the last ones he remembers, before getting too grown up to "play" with toys (at least until he got to college. . . ) was the Star Wars Death Star Playset, along with all of the action figures they made after the first movie.

Finally, there are the toys he still wishes he'd gotten way back when, and the top of the list absolutely has to be the Corgi Batmobile and Batboat.

And while he had some of the Aurora models like the Lone Ranger, he always wished he'd gotten the Monster series:
But the one that surprised me the most was his admission that he never owned the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. Going on twenty years of marriage and you still discover the scars of childhood afresh. ;)


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