One of the horror genre's "most widely read critics" (Rue Morgue # 68), "an accomplished film journalist" (Comic Buyer's Guide #1535), and the award-winning author of Horror Films of the 1980s (2007), The Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia (2007) and Horror Films of the 1970s (2002), John Kenneth Muir, presents his blog on film, television and nostalgia, named one of the Top 100 Film Studies Blog on the Net.
To this day, I cherish memories of an early birthday (I must have
been four or five years old...) when I received this glorious"Prehistoric Play Set" sold and marketed by Louis Marx Co.,
In particular, I have very distinct memories of opening up the
huge playset box in our living room at my home at 7 Clinton Road in Glen Ridge,
New Jersey, seeing the contents, and playing madly with the dinosaurs (and
cave-men) for hours, even as my granny visited.
I seem to remember that my granny gave me the set, but my memory
could be confused in that regard. As a child, I was absolutely obsessed with
dinosaurs, so this was the perfect gift.
This huge prehistoric Marx playset (tagged as Style 3398 on the box -- whatever
that means...) comes "complete with Cavemen * Animals * Mountains * Ferns * Trees."
There are probably about thirty-six dinosaurs or prehistoric
creatures included in the set, plus a cave-person dwelling (reachable by
ladder...) and plastic mountains (complete with a ridge and a small lake...).
Populating the set are ten or so plastic cave-men molded in various
action-oriented poses (some poised to throw rocks at the nearby dinosaurs, no
Among the dinosaurs included (molded in green, grey and brown...)
are the Allosaurus, the armored Ankylosaurus and Stegosaurus, a Dimetrodon, an
Iguanadon, the duck-billed Trachodon, the horned Triceratops, and a
Brontosaurus. There was a T-Rex, a Woolly Mammoth, and even a saber-toothed
tiger too. Now, you may realize that these creatures didn't actually all exist
in the same time period, but as a kid I didn't care much about the scientific
accuracy of the toys.
Simply put, this was Skull Island, the Lost World, the Land of the
Lost, Monster Island, and the Valley of the Dinosaurs all rolled into one great
toy, and I spent many a day sending in "modern" plastic tanks and
soldiers to battle these small plastic behemoths.
Somehow, I had managed to hold on to one squatting plastic caveman
(!) from this set for over thirty five years, but in 2008, I acquired a
complete playset on E-Bay. It was a gift for Joel on his third birthday, but
these days, he lets me display it in my home office. My wife insists that was the
(secret) plan all along.
She may be right. Even at my age, I love visiting this “lost world”