Tuesday, January 20, 2009

RETRO TOY UPDATE: More Big Jim (Mattel)

Recently, I featured Big Jim's 1973 Sky Commander play set from Mattel -- a massive, fold-out jet plane interior & HQ -- on the blog as a retro toy flashback.

Well, that memorable item was merely the beginning of the vast Big Jim toy pantheon. My favorite Big Jim toy -- and one that I think every little kid in the 1970s owned -- is likely the brown Big Jim Sports Camper from 1972. God, I loved playing with this when I was about eight years old...

This impressive 18" four-wheel vehicle came equipped with a yellow fishing boat, two oars, a fishing rod, and a variety of other important camping supplies too.

Let's see, the van came fully kitted-up with a brown coffee pot, some pots and pans, a motorcycle rack, a card table and two fold-out chairs. There's even a camp fire, a skillet, a lantern and more. Oh, and I forgot the sleeping bag!

The interior of Jim's tan sports camper is decorated with cool sporting competition posters, Big Jim's medals and other goodies too are visible in there too. The rear of the van features a small kitchenette with sink and stove, molded in dark brown plastic.

If you're so inclined, You can prop open one of the van's side doors as a kind of tent roof, to get a good view of the entire interior. The other side features a sliding plastic door that you can remove all together. The van's rear has a "pop-up" window.

The Big Jim sports camper also boasts a transparent windshield you can swing open, so you can fit Jim behind the over sized steering wheel. Off to adventure he drives.

A possible destination for the van: Big Jim's Safari Hut. This toy was created in 1974, and it seems to be a bit less popular than the sports camper.

The Safari Hut is a thin carrying case (made of soft plastic...) that opens up to reveal the interior of a rugged African cabin. There are bunk beds, native decorations, some cabinets, and other neat touches. You can see (drawn on the walls..) items like Jim's movie camera (for photographing wildlife...) and a radio for emergencies.

I think I mentioned it in my last Big Jim blog, but I've been collecting some of this fantastic Big Jim paraphernalia for my son, Joel; to (hopefully...) indoctrinate him into the wonderful world of over-sized action figures and play sets.

So far, he absolutely loves the Sky Commander and the sports camper. The Safari Hut? Joel's not exactly thrilled with it yet. It came with a giant eagle, and Joel likes that item fine, but otherwise, he prefers to push Big Jim's camper across the carpet...

And proving that everything you ever remember from your childhood is archieved somewhere on Youtube, I even found a commercial for the Big Jim Sports Camper.

Remember and enjoy. There's nothing like the smell of the 1970s in the morning. Or afternoon, as it were...

1 comment:

  1. I had (still have, actually) Big Jim's Rescue Rig, which appears to be exactly the same toy as the Sports Camper only with different graphics on the vehicle's walls and different accessories. It was one of my favorite toys, too... until a little movie called Star Wars came along, with its related flood of tie-in toys. Still, I retained enough love for the Rescue Rig that I've held onto it all these years. That's gotta say something...