Toy Shops: The Final Frontier?

December 1983

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #3

Just like our last installment from TSR, at first glance I thought this was for a video game… but apparently Star Frontiers is a role playing game instead.

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While I give them points for style for using a comic-like presentation, the ad doesn’t actually tell you anything about the game other than that its topic is space – personally, this wouldn’t have stirred up enough interest to look into it any further. But I guess they really only needed it to stir up enough interest for people to send for the catalog, so it must have generated at least enough interest for that in some people.

 

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Kryptonite Rocks!!

August 1979

Shogun Warriors #7

If you’re a real friend of Superman, then you need the one thing that can defeat him!

Wait, what?

OK, so their logic is that friends of Superman should have all the Kryptonite in order to keep it out of the hands of those who would use it for evil. I guess that kind of makes sense.

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So am I the only one who’s wondering about amounts here? Nowhere in this ad does it say exactly how much you’re getting. Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m going to spend my hard-earned money on glowing rocks, I at least want to make sure I’m getting a lot of glowing rocks!

I like the checkbox where you can send $1 for a brochure – since this ad says nothing whatsoever about any other kind of product beyond glowing rocks, does that mean this catalog is just full of glowing rocks to choose from?

But my favorite part here? The tiny print at the bottom: “The above story is only fictional and is in no way to be confused with actual fact.” Well, damn – that just makes this whole thing a lot less exciting, doesn’t it?

 

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Scrambled Lemonade, Anyone?

December 1983

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #3

Well, I guess gum counts as candy too, so this works well for a post-Halloween post! Here we have the addition of pink lemonade to the Bubble Yum lineup! I remember liking that flavor – how about you? I was curious as to whether or not they were still making this flavor, so I looked up the current Bubble Yum site, and apparently the only kind they still make is original flavor sugarless – how disappointing!

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Well, since this is another anagram game, I was hoping to have some fun like I did with Fig Newtons, but unfortunately none of these words can be rearranged into something else (at least, not with using all the letters) – sorry to disappoint you!

 

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A Whopper of a Plane!

August 1979

Shogun Warriors #7

It’s almost Halloween, and you know what that means: airplanes! No, wait – candy! This is the only candy-related ad I have in stock at the moment, so I guess it’ll have to do. Here we have a styrofoam sailplane soaring above three excited white-haired children (or are they elderly midgets?). You can get this dandy plane just by sending in a Whoppers wrapper… and $3.99. That’s worth about $14.00 in today’s money, so that wasn’t exactly a steal, but I guess if you wanted to get a plane like this anyway, maybe this deal made it a little cheaper(?).

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I was a little surprised to see that Whoppers were made by Leaf rather than Hershey back in 1979… but then when I looked it up on Wikipedia, I was even more surprised to see that Whoppers have only been made by Hershey since 1996! Wow, I guess I don’t pay nearly enough attention to candy! I’ll have to fix that from now on…

 

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Oh Yeaahh! It’s Kool-Aid Man!

December 1983

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #3

I love it when advertising crosses mediums and takes on a life of its own, and here’s a fantastic example of that: the Kool-Aid Man Video Game! Kool-Aid Man, the character designed to advertise packets of flavored drink mix to kids, now has his very own video game! So, in a way, this ad is kind of meta – Kool-Aid Man started as an advertisement, and now this is an ad for Kool-Aid Man! Awesome!

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This was available for both the Atari 2600 and Intellivision. From what I understand, the Intellivision version was vastly superior (as was the case with most games available on both platforms at the time), but you can try out the Atari version here! It took me a bit to figure it out, but it turns out that you need to get the guys who are using straws to drink the water, while avoiding the other guys (and also avoiding the ceiling and floor). Once I figured out what I was doing, I got 6,300 – how about you?

 

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I’m Happy to Help Heroes!

January 1978

The Secret Society of Super-Villains #12

Yes! I’ll take all of it, please!!! Here we’ve got vintage ’70s DC action figures, along with a Barbie-style Wonder Woman doll, the four story Wayne Foundation, and the Batmobile with an exploding bridge! That’s a whole lot of fun and excitement packed into this page!

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I seem to remember, as a kid, there being a Barbie mansion that looked suspiciously similar to the Wayne Foundation pictured here – what do you wanna bet they just took the same toy and gave it a new cardboard backdrop?!

I’m guessing that a lot of you don’t recognize Isis, since she’s not a major DC character like most of the others. Well, a few years ago I stumbled across her TV show while flipping through the channels. My first thought was, “Wow, this is a total rip-off of Wonder Woman!” But it turns out that Isis was actually on TV first!

 

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Princess of (Girl) Power!

May 1985

Masters of the Universe #1

We started this issue with an ad for He-Man, so I thought it would be fitting to save She-Ra for last. This was one of my absolute favorites as a kid, and I’ve still got all my action figures! One thing I always wondered, though – how come they never made toys of Shadow Weaver or Scorpia?? They were pretty prominent characters, and way more important than a bunch of figures that actually were released. I guess we’ll probably never know…

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As much as I liked this show, I always thought Loo-Kee was kind of stupid – I thought that hearing “today’s lesson” had a much bigger impact when it came from the characters we loved and respected (like on He-Man), rather than some random little creature who isn’t even really part of the show. What do you think?

 

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