Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ask JKM a Question #32: Most Wanted Vintage Collectible?

A reader named David, who a couple weeks ago asked me about collecting vs. hoarding, returns with a second question today, about my collecting hobby.

He writes: “What are the old toys you absolutely want the most, but don’t have in your collection?”

David, I love that you keep asking these collection questions.  I enjoy answering them.

I feel like what you’re really asking me is this: what is my personal Holy Grail in terms of vintage toys?

I must say first that I feel very blessed to own a couple of those already, in the form of Milton Bradley’s Star Bird (1979) and Mattel’s Eagle One (1976), two of my all-time favorite and most-treasured toys.

In terms of stuff I don’t own at the moment, I’d really love to get my hands on Parker Brothers’ Rom the Space Knight electronic figure.

I absolutely adored the Rom comic-book series as a kid, and always really loved the look of this great character from Parker Bros.  In fact, I secretly still harbor hopes that one day someone will revive Rom the Space Knight, and adapt the comic to film or television. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, especially if J.J. Abrams’ movie of The Micronauts, now in development, proves a hit.

Today, Rom figures -- even loose ones -- sell for something like two-hundred dollars, and that’s a bit rich for my blood.  Still, I would love to write up Rom here as a collectible of the week at some point.

The other toy that I’ve always wanted -- and have no illusions I will ever get my hands on -- is Mego’s 1970s Wayne Foundation Playset, a gigantic complex for Mego’s Batman and Robin, replete with four floors and seven rooms.  This thing is absolutely colossal, and it boasts a garage and a helicopter landing pad, even.  I don’t know where I would put the thing in my office, but yeah, I want one. 

Alas, The Wayne Foundation playset, last time I saw it, was selling for something like fifteen hundred dollars.  So, again, unless I luck out, I won’t be featuring a “close-up” of this Mego toy anytime soon.

I’d also love to get my hands on an Amsco cardboard Planet of the Apes playset.  I still have the Amsco Moonbase Alpha set from Space:1999, but my Apes set was sold long ago, when I was a kid.  I’ll never forget the day, however, I first got it at Toys R Us.  The store had probably a dozen of them on clearance, selling them for a dollar a piece.  I was a kid, so I got one.  Had I thought ahead, I would have bought them all…

Don’t forget to ask me questions (under the header, Ask JKM a Question) at my email at Muirbusiness@yahoo.com.


  1. Anonymous2:16 PM

    John, like you, as a boy in the '70s I got the Amsco Space:1999 playset, but never got Amsco cardboard Planet of the Apes playset. For a dollar each that was an amazing find back in the '70s.


    1. Hi SGB:

      That Moonbase Alpha set is awesome. I'm afraid mine is showing signs of age, since it is made of cardboard. But I still love displaying it...

      The Apes set was also incredible because it blended all the various incarnations of the saga. You had Virdon and Burke from the TV series, but also the cathedral and Alpha Omega Bomb from Beneath. It was awesome. I'd love to have one today.

      There was also a Marvel World Amsco set, and a Waltons one. I sometimes see the Waltons on E-bay, but almost never Marvel World, alas...

      Great comment!


  2. It's a wonderful blast from the past to see Rom mentioned. I also loved the Rom comic book, and was fortunate enough to be buying them when the series wrapped up.

    According to Wikipedia, Milton Bradley owns the trademarks on Rom, while Marvel would own the story trademarks and copyrights on the comic book storylines (the reason Rom hasn't appeared "in armor" since the end of the comic). Someone tapping the storyline would have to get both Hasbro and Marvel in line to make a story anything like what we remember.

    If they can make a blockbuster film based on Battleship, surely someone can put together a good movie based on Rom.

    1. Hi Kentucky Packrat,

      The ROM comic book was awesome. The storylines were great, and the characterization was strong too. I loved it.

      It doesn't seem like it should be that hard for Hasbro and Marvel to team up to make some money. I think a lot of folks my age remember ROM.

      Great comment, and thanks for the skinny on the copyright details. It sounds like it could be worked out...


  3. Honestly, besides the obvious Kenner Alien figure, I'd be happy to have the Six-Million Dollar Man "Mission Control" playset, mainly because I was given one during a hospital stay for very, very nearly fatal pneumonia at age 5, and I was such a huge fan of the show and the toys. My best memory of getting the playset was that it was inflatable, and my stepfather attempted to inflate it beforehand with an industrial-strength AIR COMPRESSOR, and invariably ripped a gigantic hole in the side. I received it fully inflated, albeit with duct tape down the side.