The U.S.S. Flagg,Defiant Space Shuttle,Tacticle Battle Platform and the Terror Drome all had one thing in common-I never had any of them! I had lots of figures and a few vehicles here and there but no playsets. No worries, though. My OCD coupled with an imagination that would make most kids my age question my normalcy, would never allow for any of my Joes to go HQ-less. That’s when my brain would kick into overdrive. It was commonplace to walk into my room and see quilts folded and fluffed into makeshift caves. Or mom’s wicker spice rack, which served as a lookout post for Cobra! But my all time favorite, miscellaneous “found-around-the-house” item was the oh- so versatile packaging Styrofoam ! I realize that today many action figure backdrops and dioramas are made of similar Styrofoam materials,to a degree of realism where it’s hard to tell if your looking at an actual brick wall, or an elaborate creation made out of insulation foam boards. I’ve dabbled in that myself. The only problem with those is that once they are sculpted and painted,that is all they can ever be . As an adult collector who relies on backdrops for picture purposes, these dios really come in handy,but as a kid , a couple of oddly shaped packaging Styrofoam/cardboard inserts served as blank canvases and could be anything I wanted them to be. Standing upright or laying on their side, those Styrofoam blocks could morph into everything from an elevator shaft to a computer terminal!I recently unpackaged a brand new mini cup cake maker to do some baking with my daughter, when I stumbled across these Styrofoam blocks inside the box. You never know where you’ll draw your next little bit of inspiration from and in this case, a night of baking with my baby girl resulted in the following set of pics! Enjoy 🙂
Let’s get the obvious out of the way… ;)That multi-colored facade had an enchanting effect on me as a kid.Toys R Us was a magical place where the cashiers had sorcerer-like powers to make my parents money suddenly disappear…….and cars too from the looks of this picture.
Must see T.V
The Convenience store exclusive Half-Moon!
And the corner store exclusives….
We’ll start this off with number
5) Captain Crunch glow in the dark Circus Acrobats! I used to love twirling these guys around as a kid,trying to get them to stay upright for extended periods of time!
4) Post cereal MLB bobbleheads!I still have some of these from my childhood 😉
3)Captain Crunch Super Submarine!I spent alot of time at my bathroom sink testing this one out.
2)Starbots!A Go-Bot/Tranfsormer knock-off that quickly got my approval as one of the most kick-a#$ cereal box prizes of all time! Looking at them now they sort of remind me of the DOTM stuff that’s out now 😉 Just kidding 🙂
1)And my favorite cereal box prize of all time………..Wacky Wall Crawlers!Yes,those soft and rubbery colorful Octopuses that traversed our childhood bedroom walls all too regularly and made us out to look like geniuses whenever we’d tell our younger siblings or desensitized parents that you had to wash it off with water and soap to make it sticky again.
Years back I was mostly into collecting McFarlane sports figures.I remember making a deal with my nephew who was around 7 at the time,that for every “A” he received on a test or homework assignment , I would let him pick one figure or bobble head from my collection.The little genius went on to ace most of his tests and homework assignments and pretty much made off with most of my collection LOL!Flash forward to the present,and my nephew is now 18 years old and like most 18 year old’s,has a whole new set of interests.Since then the figures have been in his attic collecting dust and knowing how I’ve gotten back into collecting, I was asked repeatedly by my sister,brother-in-law and nephew to pick them up because frankly they weren’t going to do anything with them and they were taking up space.So 12 years later these figures have boomeranged their way back into my collection and while a part of me really wanted my nephew to hang on to them and continue the collecting tradition, I also knew that collecting just wasn’t his thing.These figures will be mainstays in my collection on the strength of their sentimental value and will be be properly showcased here on Action Figs and Things!
Just recently while on vacation,my family and I stopped at a nearby pizza joint close to the hotel we were staying in.After placing our order, the lady behind the counter proceeded to give us our total which happened to be $19.88! “That was a great year!” I replied, thinking out loud as i do so very often.Others call it “talking to oneself” ,I on the other hand would prefer to call it “thinking out loud” ;)Anyways,the clerk cracked a wide eyed smile,electing to echo my sentiments with a gesture rather than coming out and saying “I too think 1988 kicked royal a#$!”Now don’t get me wrong,certain years and times in my life will stand out for one memorable reason or another,but 1988 was magic!I can still hear Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” playing in the background as i methodically organized my Joe’s,separating their weapons and categorizing their file cards.My mom would always have the radio playing in our kitchen and I jammed out to whatever she was listening to while simultaneously playing with my G.I. Joes.That coupled with the intermittent cartoon + cereal breaks pretty much summed up my idea of the perfect day!I still enjoyed playing outdoor sports and never ending games of manhunt,but nothing beat laying back in my bed with a Marvel comic or watching ALF over a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch 🙂 It goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent chilling at home. Christmas of ’88 was by far the most memorable for me.I remember getting the G.I. Joe Rolling Thunder and the Phantom x-19 and being so sleepy that I wasn’t able to finish putting them together.By the end of 1988 my collection of Joes was pretty impressive,but I remember slowly growing out of actually playing with them to mainly just displaying and organizing them(kind of like what I do now). In ’89 I began collecting comics and then moved on to baseball cards and Kenner Starting Line Up figures. Then video games started to become more prevalent,mainly NES and SNES, so collecting would ultimately take a back seat.Flash forward to the present,and here I am essentially picking up where I left off in 1988.Who knows what the future holds?Maybe comic books and baseball cards?Maybe lunchboxes?I’m leaning more towards lunchboxes.Oh goodness!Only time will tell.Until then,here’s to 1988!
My most memorable action figure from 1988 was this mail-away Super Trooper.Although the date stamp on leg reads 1986,this figure was first available in 1988 via mail-order!Those were the longest couple of weeks, waiting for this guy to arrive.It was well worth it though!
POPULAR CARTOONS IN 1988
1.The Real Ghostbusters
3.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
POPULAR T.V. SHOWS IN 1988
1.The Cosby Show
2.A Different World
6.Who’s The Boss
10.The Wonder Years
TOP 10 GROSSING MOVIES OF 1988
2.Who Framed Roger Rabbit
3.Coming To America
6.Crocodile Dundee 2
8.The Naked Gun-From The Files of Police Squad!
BILLBOARD TOP 10 HITS IN 1988
||Need You Tonight
||Got My Mind Set On You
||Never Gonna Give You Up
||Guns N’ Roses
||Sweet Child O’ Mine
||Heaven Is A Place On Earth
||Hands To Heaven
||Roll With It