Showing posts with label retro toy update. Show all posts
Showing posts with label retro toy update. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Collectible Update: The secret origins of Freddy Krueger

Last Halloween, I blogged about the Matchbox Talking Freddy Krueger doll from the 1980s that was so scary it was removed from toy store shelves (for frightening children...).

Well, the Internet can be a most amazing place, and recently, I was contacted via e-mail about this great 1980s collectible by the toy's original sculptor, Rich Roland. 

Mr. Roland wrote me to provide some new background about the toy, including photographs of his Freddy sculpt.

He writes:

"I took a few photos for you to see the original size of Freddy's head, close up and un-painted."

"It's my artist's proof casting at full scale of the polished wax sculpt super-master I created, that eventually would be burnt out of the mold, lost wax method. This way they have bunches of seamless vinyls to use as masters and go into production. Castings shrink 3.5% each time, so by the time it gets to market it's 7% smaller than my original."
"At the risk of boring you any more with this techno talk, just imagine how washed out and small Talking Freddy doll was by the time it was bought out from Matchbox and sold at Spencer Gifts by a new manufacturer years after the toy was banned from the shelves because of the AFA and conservative mentalities you mentioned. Right on. It was a first! Ha. The news even made it to Entertainment Tonight. I have the event somewhere on VHS packed in the attic somewhere..."

Mr. Roland also passes along the news that his love of monsters runs in the family.  His daughter, Tina -- who at age 5 was terrified of the Freddy Doll in her living room -- has gone on to design several interesting characters and creatures of her own.  You can check out Tina Roland's web site, here.

I want to thank Mr. Roland for sharing with me and the readers some more history behind the creation of such a memorable 1980s collectible...



Monday, October 18, 2010

The Natural Habitat of a Fanboy?

Well, it's been over a year since we've moved to our new place, and I'm still working on getting all my toys out of boxes, organized and displayed in my new home office. 

Joel has been taking things off the shelves, and the cats have been knocking things off the shelves, so it's two steps forward, one step back.   But I thought you might like to see the work in progress.







Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Collectible of the Week: Big Jim Rescue Rig (Mattel; 1971)






Well, I haven't focused much on nostalgia and toys here for a while (since before Christmas 2009, and my post on Kenner's Super Powers Line, I believe.)

But, as you may or may not recall, I have been endeavoring to get for my boy, Joel (age 3) the entire Big Jim toy line that I had as a kid. Of course, this occurs as time and budget permits...or whenever the mood strikes and I get a few minutes alone on E-Bay. Don't tell Kathryn! (Kidding, Honey, really...).

I have already acquired for Joel the Big Jim Camper, the Sky Commander playset and the Big Jim Safari House. But just this week, I nabbed one of the most well-known vehicles from the Mattel line: The Big Jim "Rescue Rig" from 1971.

The rig, though made from the same mold as the sports van, is a bit longer than the camper, and originally sold for about $13.00 back in the disco decade. The huge vehicle, described as "a large mobile unit," features an "Adjustable Rescue Boom" cherry picker, plus such accessories as a fire-axe and hook pole. The Rescue Rig came originally with a remote control "communications center" that could "relay six emergency calls" too. Unlike the camper, the Rescue Rig's entire aft section opens up to serve as a kind of first-aid station.

Replete with intensive care unit and rescue basket, the Big Jim "Rescue Rig" is quite the cool 1970s toy actually, and Joel's arrived yesterday afternoon in the mail (in a huge box.)

As of 8:30 am this morning, The Rescue Rig has already done approximately 100 "rescue runs" down our long drive-way...and is no doubt bound for further adventures in the wilds of our back yard.

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...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

RETRO TOY UPDATE: More Colorforms


Way back in 2005, the first year I began writing this blog, I displayed some of my prized colorform sets (including Flash Gordon, Star Trek and Space:1999). I've been going through various closets, attic and crawlspace storages lately and weeding through old (and forgotten...) collectibles, and I discovered this: my Batman Cartoon Kit/"colorforms toy" from the year 1966.

Produced in Norwood N.J. and licensed by National Periodicals Publications, Inc., this Batman colorform set allows you to put the Dynamic Duo through their paces while battling the Joker and the Penguin (with a backdrop of Gotham City and the batmobile by moonlit night).

"Now! Your favorite hero in colorforms plastic!" reads the box. "Colorforms plastic pieces stick like magic. Easily lifted to put away, ready to play over and over again. No scissors, no paste, no muss."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

RETRO TOY UPDATE # 2: Unreleased Galoob Star Trek Action Figures (1988)

Back on December 14, 2006, in Retro Toy Flashback # 52, I looked at the Galoob line of toys and action figures from Star Trek: The Next Generation. At the time of that post, there was some interest generated in the comments section of the blog for the action figures that were never actually released to the public, specifically those of Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) and the Romulan (seen in the first season finale, "The Neutral Zone" with a flashy new look and Warbird).

A few weeks ago, a gentleman named Greg Peters contacted me with some further information on these toys. He actually owns a pair of these ultra-rare figures. Anyway, Greg was kind enough to send me the scan of his figures. (above). You can see, they are ensconced on Captain Picard cards with no original art, but still -- wow! The Galoob Holy Grail!

Greg also directed me to some background data on the toy line. In Trek Collector (Summer 1993), for instance, it was written in regards to these figures that "Galoob announced additional action figures to the line including the Romulan and acting ensign Wesley Crusher, but these were never released."

Toy Collector also had a piece on Galoob's Star Trek: The Next Generation toys in February 1996. An article by Jean Paul Vaudreuil featured photos of the unreleased "Enterprise starship action playset." Now, does anyone out there own one of those? Send pics!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

RETRO TOY UPDATE # 1: Amsco Cardboard Playsets, Again



Back on September 29, 2005, I wrote Retro Toy Flashback 11 about the Space:1999 Amsco Cardboard Playset. You see, back in the 1970s, Amsco and Milton Bradley joined forces to create these very detailed, very sturdy dioramas from popular film and TV franchises. There was the Space:1999 Moonbase Alpha set I featured in that post, the Marvel World superheroes set (which I never owned and now can't afford...) and last but not least, The Planet of the Apes playset.

When I was a kid, I was proud owner of the Planet of the Apes playset. This "Adventure Set" was selling at Toys R Us for one dollar in the late 1970s, as I recall, and I sprung for it. I will never forget this image ingrained on my brain: there were maybe a dozen such playsets stacked on a clearance shelf. To this day, I wish I could travel back in time and buy all of them. Oh well. *Sigh*

Regardless, this was a glorious, highly detailed set that combined several incarnations of the Apes saga. For instance, there was Zira and Cornelius's house on one side of the set, with a view out the window to the Forbidden Zone and the half-sunken-in-the-sand Statue of Liberty.

On the opposite side of the set, there was the grand (two story!) buried cathedral where the mutants worshipped the Alpha and Omega Bomb. Here it was called the "Cave of the Doomsday Bomb." Other locales recreated for this toy included "Ape Headquarters," "Villagers Hut," "Underground Ruins" and a "Jail Cage with Moving Doors." The set even included cardboard "figures" of Virdon and Burke - the heroes of the TV series, not the film series. A small cardboard version of the ANSA Icarus spaceship seen in all the Apes films was another item in the set (see photo; right).

Although I was already into Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek by the time I got my hands on this set, the Amsco Apes diorama held my attention for weeks, perhaps months. I loved that toy. Unfortunately, it did not survive my adolescence (and my messy bedroom closet...) and disappeared permanently somewhere during the dark years of the mid-1980s.

Lo and behold, super collector Jeff Locklear (who sent me those scans of the Batman trading cards last week), still owns his Planet of the Apes Amsco Cardboard Playset and sent me scans of it. Since I no longer own this toy, these photos are the next best thing. I thought it might be fun to update the original post and show you this rare (and valuable) set today.


Enjoy the pics.