If you are a fan of CollectionDX and you have never visited PlaidStallions, stop what you are doing right now and go visit that site. Brian Heiler has been documenting and blogging about 70s and 80s toys and culture with a unique, nostalgic slant. No lie – it's one of my favorite sites to visit, because each visit is such a flashback to my childhood.
Like all good nostalgic nerds, Brian has certain aspects of that culture that appeal to him, and those make up the fabric of PlaidStallions. Old catalogs, old toy store photos, and the biggest obsession of them all – Rack toys. So much so that Brian has written a book – Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings.
“But what are Rack Toys?” you may be asking? Well, Rack toys are those cheap, impulse buy toys that would hang from “racks” at grocery stores, pharmacies, and other places where you need a cheap toy for a kid. They started around the 60s and are still being made to this day, but their heyday was the 70s and 80s. Think of them like the missing link between a proper toy and a bootleg. This is where you would find Batman gliders, Planet of the Apes squirt guns, and parachuting army men.
Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings is an exploration of these toys that were never meant to be collected. Kids opened them, played with them hard, and broke them soon after.
The book is 144 pages of full color nostalgia trip. The book is broken down into sections by theme, and the treasures unearthed are amazing. I'm a pretty hardcore toy collector, and there are things in this book that I had that I hadn't thought about in years. It was triggering memories that I had long forgotten. I had SO MUCH of this stuff and I had completely forgotten about it until now.
I had the Batman Walkie-Talkies on page 20. On the next page was a Superfriends flashlight that I swear I had – if not that one, one just like it. As the kids like to say, I nostalgia'd HARD.
There's something for every type of collector in this book. There are lots of Superhero toys, army toys, and TV toys, but there are also sections for Monster Toys (Dave's pencil sharpeners are in there) and even some Japanese toys.
Buy this book, and inside you will find the following:
- Spider Man Bowling Set
- Parachuting Hulk
- Trapper John MD Medical Kit
- Kojak Harbor Patrol set
- Simon & Simon Walkie Talkies
- John Belushi Para-Trooping 1941 toy set
And so much more!
I loved this book, much more than I thought I would. If you grew up in the 70s and 80s you need to get this.