Pic of the Day

Manglors Manglord Action Figure Toy by Neato Coolville

Poe’s note: Man, I loved these toys as a kid. Well, toy, I should say, since I never had any of them except for the Manglord here. As you can see, they had some great, creepy box art, too.

There was a certain tragic aspect to these toys. The gimmick was that you could pull off their arms or legs and then, because the figure was so sticky, you could stick the limbs right back on. But as you might expect, the limbs never really gripped as tightly as they did before you ripped them off, and so once you’d torn off Manglord’s head, arms, and legs, you soon lost interest and the figure ended up in the trash.

Still, it was a neat gimmick, and made for a memorable, if unsuccessful, toy line. If you’re interested in learning more about Manglors, this seems to be the definitive site, although this guy also spends more text on Manglors that I would have thought possible.

Vintage Month > The California Raisins (Applause, 1988)

raisins

Back in the late 1980s, the California Raisins were huge. Like so many pop culture characters of the decade, they began as a marketing gimmick. Within a year or two they had toys, albums, TV specials, and they were even awarded that epitome of 1980s pop culture adoration, a (short-lived) Saturday morning cartoon. They even got a freakin’ videogame, although it was never actually produced. My personal favorite Raisins-related production was Meet the Raisins, a clever Beatles send-up which, sadly, remains unavailable outside of old VHS tapes.

Of course, young Poe had some of the Raisins toys–mostly just the little Applause figurines. They weren’t articulated, but they served their purpose of offering Poe a plastic totem of some beloved marketing icons.

Vintage Month > Homer Simpson (Mattel, 1990)

Playmates’ run of Simpsons action figures back in the early years of the decade is the gold standard for toys of the show. They produced (almost) every major character from the show, and a whole heck of a lot of minor ones too. More recently, McFarlane Toys offered a different take on the license with dioramas depicting famous Simpsons moments.

But as much as I enjoyed these lines (particularly Playmates’), I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Mattel’s early effort in 1990. The short-lived line still offers the most articulated figures of the Simpsons ever made.

The sculpting isn’t as spot-on to the show as Playmates’ work, though, and the figures had an odd feature–they came with little plastic word balloons that could be plugged into a hole in the characters’ soft, hollow heads. You could swap out the cardboard cards with different sayings, and best of all, the cards were blank on the back, allowing you to write in whatever classics Simpsons bon mot you wanted. Homer’s other accessories were a radiation hood and an inanimate carbon rod.

The line included the Simpsons family, as well as a “Bartman” figure and a Nelson Muntz (who represented the typical action figure line “villain,” I guess). There was also a purple couch and TV playset. I used to have them all, then stupidly sold them sometime during college, in the early days of eBay. I’ve since picked up a Homer, and someday may try to track the rest of them down.

Pic of the Day

gumby by Morgan 🙂

Poe’s note: I’ve always loved Gumby. One of my favorite MST3K episodes  features the guys mocking a Gumby short before the movie. “Thank goodness for the internal genitalia!”

(On a side note, people who take photos of Gumby seem disproportionately protective of their images on Flickr. I had to go through almost twenty pages of results before I found a good one I could use.)

Vintage Month > Ten Things I Always Wanted Toys of

dangermouse_02_200x250When I encounter something cool–a TV show, a movie, a book–I often end up wanting action figures from it. That’s not an unusual trait among toy collectors, but it’s something I’ve been doing ever since I was a wee tyke.

Here’s a list of ten things a young Poe always hoped to get action figures of, but never did. Continue reading “Vintage Month > Ten Things I Always Wanted Toys of”

Vintage Month > Dinosaucers

A look at the unproduced Dinosaucers toy line from 1987, based on the cartoon of the same name. Includes images of prototype figures.

dinosaucers(All the toy photos you see below, and many more, can be found at Alex Bickmore’s Super Toy Archive.)

I’ve often explained the reason I love Grimlock so much is that he’s both a dinosaur and a robot. What could be better? Nothing. But a close second is the combination of dinosaurs and aliens, and for that, there was Dinosaucers.

I remember catching the show as an early-morning treat before I went off to elementary school (it came on around 7 a.m., while at 7:30 I would watch Dennis the Menace). Dinosaucers followed a very similar formula to Transformers: two warring groups of aliens come to Earth and have at it, causing lots of collateral damage to our planet (of course, the good guys befriend some human children). Rather than giant transforming robots, however, Dinosaucers featured giant talking alien dinosaurs. Continue reading “Vintage Month > Dinosaucers”