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The '70s seen through Department Store Wish Book Catalogs. Classic toys, bad fashion and Spider-Man appearing at your local mall.Plaidstallions
Updated: 1 week 8 hours ago

Dr Steel International

11 January, 2018 - 00:00

My pal Jesus posted this yesterday and it's too good not to share, behold the many different faces of Dr. Steel one of my favourite action figures of the 1970s.

Mainly known as Dr. Steel, the notable exceptions are when he's called "Dr. Acero" (Steel) in Spain and "Doctor Drago" in Mexico but that's only because Big Jim himself is called "Kid Acero" there. 

That's probably a lot to take in, sorry.

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Bar ware:1977

10 January, 2018 - 00:00

Bar Kitsch is the one collection that I can't believe I don't have.

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9 January, 2018 - 07:34

It was at that moment that Steve & Kip began to realize that the girls they met online may not have been real people. Follow Plaidstallions on Twitter
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The Great Sci-Fi Toy Slump of 1979

8 January, 2018 - 00:00

It's really hard to believe but in 1979, Star Wars and other Sci-Fi related toys hit a major slump. So much so that many retailers considered it all a "fad" and stopped ordering new items.

This article taken from a "Toys, Hobbies and Crafts" magazine interviews major buyers and the vice president of Mego about the then-uncertain future of  space toys. Surely Star Trek the Motion Picture and the Black Hole were going to kick it back into high gear!

The recent release of two new space movies, with a third on the way for the spring, means kids will again be looking into space toys in droves, say manufacturers.

But retailers are leery about space, since sales dropped off as much as 30% for some last year on licensed and nonlicensed space toys.
The retailer's attitude for 1980s a "wait and see" philosophy. Most are hoping that Star Trek, The Black Hole and the Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, will rejuvenate sales.

Still, buyers say they plan to go slow in placing orders for sci-fi toys, depending upon the interest.

TH & C spoke with representatives from Heck's, Winns Stores, Singer and Co., Sprouse-Reitz Co.,Toy Fair, Kenner and Mego. This is what they had to say:

Read the rest here.

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Spotlight: Planet of the Apes Game by IDW

7 January, 2018 - 20:29

This past week when I went to my local shop, (World's Collide BTW)  I was presented with this Planet of the Apes tabletop game by IDW.

 I like games and if you pair them with an established property, well I'm an easy mark, so even though I didn't sincerely recall ordering it, it sounded like something I'd do and I went on my way.

What it is: Planet of the Apes is a cooperation game, meaning all players work together rather than pitted against each other. I like this concept a great deal although I've never been particularly successful at it. I'm a big fan of Star Trek Cattan BTW....

How it's played: Each one of the up to four players is Taylor, albeit in a different emotional state, there is Clever Taylor, Defiant Taylor etc.  

The game works sequentially in the film's timeline as you race against time to go through the various stages of the film.  Each area has different challenges and relies often on dice to get you through. 

If the Soldier Ape or the Statue of Liberty gets to the bottom before Taylor, well, you blew it up you maniacs.

How it Looks- It's a pretty darn gorgeous game, the box art is by Jason Edmiston, a super talented dude I got to have a beer with a few years ago and have been a fan of ever since. The interior art is equally as beautiful, this is a joy to look at.

I got an early edition of the game and it came with plastic figurines of the Icarus, Taylor, a Soldier Ape and the Statue of Liberty but honestly, the cardboard pieces are super nice. I'm an Ape toy geek, so these do make me happy, I admit it....

So do you like it? Honestly, i've had a lot of fun but I'll freely admit this, I'm not sure if I'm doing it correctly. 

Planet of the Apes is ambitious and a little complicated, even on my second play, I had some questions. Now, that isn't a bad thing, the game rather new and I expect more and more Youtube videos of actual game play will probably answer all my questions.

I do see myself playing this a few more times as I've enjoyed the experience thus far.

Where to get it?

The absolute best place to get this is your local brick and mortar comic or game store. Keep them in business, spend your dollars locally.

Failing that, you can get it on Amazon or Ebay and if you click these links, you help out this site. Which would also be awesome.

The 1978 AHI Toy Catalog

5 January, 2018 - 00:00

The undisputed king of the "Rack Toy" in the 1970s was Azrak-Hamway International or "AHI" for short.

They were riding high with past hits like Batman, Spider-Man, Star Trek, Space 1999 but 1978 saw them add James Bond 007, Farrah Fawcette, Donnie and Marie, the Walt Disney characters and their answer to Star Wars, Star Fleet!

It's a real blast down the pharmacy toy aisle, check it out here:
1978 Azrak Hamway Toy Catalog on PlaidStallions.

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A world of Fisher Price Adventure

4 January, 2018 - 00:00

By '81 I had moved on from the wholesome (and awesome) Fisher Price Adventure People line but it was such a happy memory that I can honestly remember pouring over the new sets in every wish book.

I especially recall being kind of miffed about the submarine complete with octopus "Oh sure, now they come out with that!".

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A New Dimenstion in Time!

3 January, 2018 - 00:00

Ladies and gentlemen, we have truly entered the space age!

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Confessions of a 1982 video game junkie

1 January, 2018 - 13:41

When I think about 1982, my mind drifts to three things, action figures, Doctor Who novels (mostly written by Terrance Dicks) and VIDEO GAMES.

My then eleven year old brain had Pac-Man fever bad, I was a total junkie. I bought terrible magazines about video games where even i could point out the grammatical errors, drew pictures of them, pretty sure I even bought that weird "Atari Force" comic book that DC comics made.

My parents were not shelling out for a home system and they forbade Grandma to help in anyway but my dad knew of a job opportunity in printing that only a kid would take.

So, the winter of 1982 was the year i toiled for weeks tearing misprinted sheets out of 35,000 Ottawa tourism booklets for exactly one penny each.

 Nights, weekends, I spent the entire March break tearing watching day time TV and tearing out that same page out of that damn booklet.

The above page was my spirit animal, I stared at it during this period so much i probably bore holes into it.

Eventually, I raised $300 from my endeavor and my dad took me to Pinocchio's toys in the midtown mall to purchase a system. He would also help me buy a game as well. I remember pressing my face against that Jeweler's case and picking out Activision's Kaboom!

All was right with the world, I was so proud about owning this thing and played combat until 2am with my dad (who was also a big arcade enabler to be honest). 

However, i would encounter one little problem the following Monday, a problem by the name of George Plimpton.

Mattel had launched a competing system called Intellivision and used Plimpton to snobbily tout it's superiority to Atari. This ad campaign was especially effective at my grade school where kids would quote the man (who probably never visited an arcade in his life) to mock the 2600 and my choice.

Me, filled with incredible pride of ownership (after all, i earned the money) took it all too personal and often challenged the other kid to a fight, this was despite my 40/60 success rate in playground scraps, never tell me the odds or the stats. 

BTW I attribute my prodigious ability to snore as an adult to these pointless donnybrooks.

Happily, this lead me to my tribe of the other Atari 2600 kids and we would happily swap games, occasionally, I would get a cartridge that totally reeked of cigarettes, causing my mum to have kittens but how else was I going to play Atlantis?

While the rivalry existed between 2600 and Intellivision kids remained, we both looked our noses down at the Odyessy 2. This weird disdain totally disappeared if I was a kid's house who had it though, mostly because I wanted to play it of course....

And then there was Leisure Vision,  the system that you get when you send your dad to the store but don't come along to supervise. It's low priced and looks like the Intellivision and Atari had a baby, so you can't blame frugral parents and grandpeople for surrendering to it's siren song.

My obsession with video games would last until about 1984 until I got caught up in the world of Home Computers (more on that later) and well, girls but i always think fondly of this weird little era where I had the fever...


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Pod Stallions Mini Sode 4: Top Five Christmas Presents

22 December, 2017 - 08:00

Ok, this isn't much of Mini as it runs over an hour (Boy, we can talk!) but it is a fun show nonetheless.

For this "Mini" Jason proposed the challenge that we talk about our "top five" Christmas presents as kids. That's a hard thing to pick but we managed.

Topics include Kenner Star Wars (duh), Mego Superheroes, Hot Wheels, more Kenner Star Wars (we are Gen X after all) Six Million Dollar man, Tony Rosato, failed 80s sitcoms, calling your mom at work, Florida in the 1970s, Brian's weird childhood,  the Fisher Price Adventure People, Star Team, Starroids, Indiana Jones and did we mention Kenner Star Wars?

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Christmas Wishlist 1981

22 December, 2017 - 00:00

This past summer, my family sold the home that belonged to my grandparents, a place I spent some very happy Christmases in. I even wrote a blog post about it back in the fall.

While it was obviously a sad time, it also had it's bright spots. One of them was discovering the woman kept everything I ever drew or wrote in her home. It was a really warm feeling to be honest.

Seeing as it's Christmas, I thought I'd share my  wishlist from I'm guessing 1981. Every year I'd cut out pictures from catalogs and present it to her so she'd know what I'm on about. I had posted one from 1979  but  I totally forgot about this one.

As you can see Star Wars was my big thing that year. 

Smurfs? That was total peer pressure, every kid in my class was into them that year and I felt kind of like the odd man out for not having any on my desk.

I did get the At-At from my folks (and it was EPIC!) but I'm not sure I got any of the other stuff, I certainly didn't get any Smurfs.

Fond memories like this is why I started this site and I really wanted to share it. Thank you.

Rack Toys the Digital Edition Now Available!

21 December, 2017 - 08:22

I am so happy to announce that my baby is back! Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings is finally ready and available for download here!

This new version of Rack Toys is now expanded (now weighs in at 162 pages) and includes some new stuff i've found, most of which i wished i had at the time.

It's been a wonderfully cathartic experience going through these old files, taking new photos and just reliving the whole creative process (well, save for the sitting and inevitable back pain, I really need a new chair) has been so positive and wonderful.

Seriously the other day, I noticed I had been smiling the entire time I was re-linking photos. Those things shouldn't go together....

Just a couple of the new things in the book.

So much so, that I added the following PS to my own introduction:

"PS I published Rack Toys in 2012 and it was one of the best things I ever did. I didn’t get rich but I grew as a human being and made many new friends as a result. If you have an aspiration in this life, do it, don’t listen to naysayers, just go for it. I’m so happy I took this risk, you should too"

I sincerely mean that, I'm so happy i did this and i'm grateful to everyone who came into my life as a result. Record your podcast, make your movie, audition for that play and write your freaking book! Put it out there.

A book about trash toys changed my life and I thank you.

Rack Toys: Cheap Crazed Plaything digital edition is now $6.99.

and the stockings were stapled with care

20 December, 2017 - 00:00

i say this without any irony, my family is actively seeking a cardboard chimney and would treasure it.

AHI James Bond Toys

19 December, 2017 - 08:05
Even though they were advertised for a couple of years in their catalogs, the Azrak Hamway James Bond series of Rack toys remains pretty hard to find on the secondary market. It seems they were produced in very low numbers. 

Recently a carded disc gun came on the secondary market prompting my podcast partner Jason Lenzi to quip "Is that Fred Grandy as James Bond?"

Oh and hey, my book "Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings" will soon be returning as an e-book, hopefully this week barring any problems. You can get updates at my facebook page:

Azrak Hamway Index on PlaidStallions/
1976  AHI Toy Catalog1976  AHI Toy Catalog1977  AHI Toy Catalog 1979  AHI Toy Catalog 1981  AHI Toy Catalog
Universal MOnster toys by AHI
Monster GalleryBatman Toys by AHI
Batman Gallery Star Trek Toys by AHI
Star Trek Gallery Planet of the Apes Toys by AHI
Planet of the Apes Gallery Spider-Man Toys by AHI
Marvel Comics Gallery 1999 Toys by AHI
Space:1999 Gallery

The Fancy Boys

18 December, 2017 - 07:40

"The coast is clear,  we finally gave those mean sixth graders the slip"

Arco Toys The Other World Catalog

15 December, 2017 - 00:00

Arco's the Other World was one of many fantasy toy lines that came out in the early 80s to cash in on the "Sword and Sorcery" craze lead by Mattel's Masters of the universe.

Unlike many of it's competitors the line had no cartoon to back it up (although comic books were included in it's packaging) and the figures were all bendable. I seem to recall seeing these at lower cost shops, the Regal catalog and Woolco as a teen.

The Other World is also a colourful line filled with imaginative characters like Jipps and Moggs, well worth checking out.

Check out the Other World Catalog here.

Durham Kung Fu!

14 December, 2017 - 00:00

The Durham Kung Fu figure seemed to be everywhere in the early 1970s, not based on the David Carradine series it simply captured the culture's then obsession with martial arts.

I really wanted one of these as a kid but they're pretty cheaply made and I've heard no end of stories about how his hands flew off in mid chop.

Still that display box is pretty sexy,....

Bendy Buck Rogers and Twiki

13 December, 2017 - 00:00

This past weekend I was grateful to recieve a surprising package from Jason, my podcast partner. If you had asked me to guess, I'd have never gotten it right but somehow it's the perfect gift. More after the jump:

So, it may be obvious to listeners and readers here that Brain loves hisself some Buck Rogers but when  these two figures turned up on my doorstep on Sunday, I had totally forgotten they were even a thing!

Bendy Toys is this UK company that makes figures out of foam rubber and wire. Most of their stuff doesn't age well and kind of rots. Their main output seems to be cartoon characters with a strong british focus, so you get a lot of characters like "Worzel Gummidge".

Jason is mainly obsessed with these because Bendy made a Kenny Everett "Captain Kremmen" figure. Seriously, if you google "Bendy" and "Captain Kremmen", you get a photo of Jason. That's not me mocking him, far from it, we share that phenomenon. 

I am so delighted to be the guardians of these wonderful, weird, off model action figures.

Buck and Twiki are home.

Mall of Justice wants your photos and stories click here!

The good sport

12 December, 2017 - 00:00

Fun fact: The ascot is the "white flag of surrender" in the dating scene....

Circus World Toy Sale!

11 December, 2017 - 00:00

All i want for Christmas is a MIB Stretch Monster......and some Mego Superheroes.....and a Blip....covered in Shogun Warriors.

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