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.
I know you guys were probably expecting another TF DOTM post but no,that post will take place on Wednesday 😉 Last night I decided to dig into the ‘ol Bag-o-Joe’s and pull out one of my favorite Cobra villains,Destro,for Monday morning’s post.I never owned this Destro as a kid but always wanted one because this was the cartoon version of him.I would ultimately pick up the Iron Grenadier version w/ chariot but never got that fulfillment I knew I would have gotten with the ’83 version.Alot of the vintage Joes I have now aren’t of ones I had as a kid but rather of figures that I always wanted as a kid and never owned.I remember being amazed every time someone would show me their Destro,Baroness and Snake Eyes figures because I started collecting Joes in ’86 up until ’88 and these guys just weren’t being sold in stores anymore.Figures like Dusty,Quick Kick and Barbecue were hard as heck to come by in the late 80’s and could only be acquired via trade with other kids who had them.My go to Barbecue would be the Slaughters Marauders version and I would also have to settle on the Tiger Force versions of Life-Line,Flint,Duke and Bazooka to round out my collection.Tiger Force Duke’s hair color used to bug the crap out of me,though.I can honestly say that I now have most of the early 80’s Joe’s that I had wanted as a kid but hardly any of the figures I used to have LOL!From here on out I’ll be focusing on the ’87-’88(Crystal Ball,Raptor,Spearhead And Max) line to see If I can fill that particular void in my collection.
My interest in G.I. Joe and action figures in general began to slowly fade away in the late 80’s or so and baseball and outdoor sports quickly filled that void.Although I was a NY Met fan at heart,my favorite American League team was the Oakland Athletics.In the 80’s this team was super popular and I guess the reason I loved them so much was because every one of there players looked like they came right off of the pages of a Marvel comic!I’m serious..no joke!These guys were chiseled and hit the ball 450-500 ft. out of the ball park on a regular basis.They had sluggers like Dave Parker,Dave Henderson,Mark McGwire and my personal favorite Jose Canseco.I was a huge Canseco fan growing up and had to know what he did,where and how he did it in every single one of his at bats. Very seldom did I get a chance to see the A’s play during the regular season unless they played the Yankees.I remember calling an MLB hotline to get the scoop on what the A’s did when the games weren’t televised in my area. Now around that same time Kenner released MLB Starting Lineup’s and I collected the heck out of em’.These cool little baseball figurines were just what the doctor ordered for a kid who was just getting over action figures and falling in love with Major League Baseball.I immediately picked up a Keith Hernandez,Dwight Gooden,Kirby Puckett and a few other favorites of mine but the Jose Canseco figure eluded me.In 1988 Canseco set an MLB record by becoming the first player to ever hit 40 homeruns and steal 40 bases in one season and that year Kenner released a figure commemorating the historic feat.Eventually I had mowed enough lawns to save up and ultimately buy that very same Jose Canseco Starting Lineup figure!Unfortunately I have zero of the Starting Lineup figures I owned as a kid so a while back I stumbled upon this version of Canseco and picked him up for old time’s sake.I thought It would somehow rekindle my love for Starting Lineup’s and lead me to start collecting them again but the figure had no effect on me.McFarlane was out at the time and began releasing some ridiculously realistic sports figures that made Kenner’s Starting Lineup’s look like Happy Meal toys.Now I find myself back in Starting Lineup mode and currently have a couple in my sights.I would love to collect all of the Canseco releases as well as some of the ones I owned as a kid.Wish me luck 😉
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
G.I. Joe more than served it’s purpose when it came to getting my daily “military action figure” fix as a kid,but no military figure begged to be played with outdoors and around the house more than my Rambo Force of Freedom 6″ action figure.I mean i loved my Joes and spent most of my time in my room creating different scenarios and missions with them,but when it came to playing on my stairs,down in the living room or around the yard,Rambo was my go-to fig.As a kid i was a bit over protective of my Joes and knowing how frail they could be and prone to cracking,i would never take them outdoors or out of my room for that matter.Which is why i loved my Rambo figure so much.There was a certain portability and ruggedness about him that made me a little less reluctant about propping him on top of a banister or hanging him off of a protruding tree branch.I remember getting multiple offers from kids wanting to trade their Commando Schwarzenegger for my Rambo figure,only to be disappointed after i would reject them lol!Sadly Rambo was the only figure that i owned from that particular line so most of the time he’d be in pursuit of Python,a 6″ figure and villain of the A-Team produced by GALOOB a little before the RAMBO toys came out.Man would i have killed,figuratively of course,for this Colonel Trautman figure as kid.Years later i can finally place him on my toy shelf next to my current and newly arriving Rambo figures. I picked Trautman up last week and not only did they include most of his accessories,but he also came with Rambo’s famed survival knife!.The extra pistol in his hand and holster are from the weapons pack i recently posted about and i can’t stress enough how pleased i am with them.I’m on a serious Rambo high right now so stay tuned for new and upcoming posts about this totally kick a#$ line of action figures!Enjoy the pics 😉