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admin | Want My Ex Back | 16.10.2013
Yeah, so I know it’s only the middle of September (and if you’ve been reading the blog you’ll know this already), but I am so jazzed for Halloween this year. This entry was posted in Branded in the 80s, Halloween 2006 on September 20, 2006 by Shawn Robare.
I was kind of early going over to a friend’s house the other day, so I decided to drop in on an Eckerd’s and check out their “Halloween Headquarters? So here’s another bit of nostalgia goodness that’s partially in a Halloween-y kind of vein (all puns intended.) So a weird interest I had as a kid was the ability to flip through catalogs for hours on end picking out phantom purchases that I’d never be able to afford in a million years. So one of the things I’ve been scouring the city for recently are some decent flea markets or antique shops. First though, Kirk at the Secret Fun Blog found these awesome Creepy Classics monster figurines at Dollar Tree, so I thought I’d add my voice to let everyone know these are around. This entry was posted in Branded in the 80s, Halloween 2006 on September 14, 2006 by Shawn Robare. This entry was posted in Branded in the 80s, Halloween 2006 on September 12, 2006 by Shawn Robare. Well kids, Halloween is officially here as the local Target has finally spilled its Halloween beans all over the store (is that a horrible misused phrase or what?) I am so giddy right now, I just want to go out and buy 16 tons of candy and other related Halloween crap. So today I found another little piece of my childhood that I thought had been lost to time. These mini trade paperbacks were actually hardcover children’s books that reprinted three issues of each title, typically the first appearance and two other character defining issues. I was so happy to get these, like I said, because this is a big missing link in the past of me and how I came upon the love known as comic book collecting.
So I’ve been chomping at the bit for the eventual Halloween explosion in stores around here. This entry was posted in Branded in the 80s, Halloween 2006 on September 5, 2006 by Shawn Robare. It’s not even like I’m waiting for the big day or anything, though I do think I’m going to dress up this year. The Sears catalog was my favorite, but I’d take a gander at anything as long as there were pages upon pages of well laid out pictures and order numbers.Well sort of an offshoot of this pastime was an obsession with the full pages ads in comics and magazines that had products for sale. I’m a pretty big fan as it is, but this year I just can’t seem to wait and I keep getting these urges to run out to various mega-marts looking for little bits of cheap plastic gory fun. I just want to be surrounded by orange and black, skeletons, and little Frankenstein baubles.
In particular I had a soft spot for Fangoria magazine and the latex mask ads they’d run in every issue.
There are a few other things out from the same company including thumb wrestler versions of all the figures, little buckets of goo packaged in Universal monster fashion, and as Kirk also mentioned in his blog, posters. For instance, Matt over at X-Entertainment stumbled upon these weird zombie finger puppets at Target and I found myself inexplicably driving up there the other day in hopes of finding the dollar bins filled with cheap scary goodness. These invisible ink books are right up there in memory land with golf tee jump-a-peg games and Rubik’s Cube as my pre-Game Boy source of entertainment on trips through most of the 80’s. I’d be willing to be that most boys who grew up in the 80’s would know exactly what you meant if you jumped up and shouted “Sweep the leg Johnny!?
I haven’t had all that much luck though I did find a little place in an out of the way decaying strip mall that was pretty neat. I’m pretty big into skulls, have been since I was a wee kid, but I’ve never had one with a mustache before.
So today I present you with my initial Halloween crap haul culled from my local Target and Toys R Us.To start, I’ll hit the candy I picked up at Target. Alas, only the finger puppets were to be found, though there was a display in the back with some orange and black flashlights, but flashlights just aren’t what I’m jonesing for.I don’t know, I even went so far as to pick up a set of the Polar Lights re-issues of the monsters in silly cars model kits. If you’ve never owned one of these booklets, they’re basically just a bunch of various games that you play by using the enclosed pen to reveal hidden information. Though I remember this one, my favorite version was a two-page spread that had a lot more of the bloody limbs and body parts (like the most realistic eye in a pool of blood I’ve ever seen.) This was back when my initial interest in horror was just beginning to bloom and I couldn’t get enough of the gory stuff. I’d be willing to double that bet that at least half of those boys would then say something in the vein of “Put ‘em in a body bag, yeah…!? It was pretty much set up like a mini flea market, but instead of having a bunch of manned booths, there was just one guy and his daughter selling a bunch of other people’s stuff that was all marked by the sellers.
I picked up the Bride of Frankenstein cards because they were die-cut in the shape of the monster’s head, which is pretty cool.
I think he’d fit right in with my severed head Feldman and Carrie’s collection of McFarlane’s Dragons on our DVD shelves. I’ve never really been a big model-making fan, as I hate model glue and never got the hang of painting them.
Well I finally found the new location this past weekend and the fiancee and I popped in after work yesterday to see what this year’s set up looked like. The included pens have been the exact same since they were first manufactured, white markers with orange caps and a slightly yellow “invisible?
I always wanted to dress up super gory for Halloween, with these masks in mind, but it never happened. Well I only ever bought one Black Belt magazine actually but I cherished it and loved it literally to pieces. I caught him on top of our refrigerator this morning causing god knows what havoc.The other thing I found at Target, was this crazy glow in the dark skeleton suspended in blue goo inside a clear plastic coffin. My palette is much more geared towards salty than sweet or tart and even though I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for some 80’s staple candies like Nerds, Bonkers, and Jolly Ranchers, I tend to not be all that excited with the basic Halloween candy fare.
I’m hoping between the fiancee and I we’ll be able to get them done up right.On an unrelated note, I also broke my self-imposed rule about re-buying stuff from my childhood. I was kind of hoping that they had some new stuff because last year it seemed like leftovers from the previous year.
It’s not a super huge collection, but it pretty much encompasses what I had when I was a kid more or less.
The slick laminate used on the cards is already chipping off, but then what do you expect from dollar store fare. He was in the dollar bin between cutesy Frankenstein post-it notes and mini decks of playing cards shaped like candy corns.
Usually it’s nothing all that exciting anyway, just fun-size versions of basic check out line stuff like snickers bars and Skittles and stuff like that.
I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of picking that kind of stuff up on Ebay, like Transformers or G.I. Well I couldn’t have been happier to see that over half the store was filled with new stuff and they were still unpacking a ton of boxes. The games can vary, but are pretty much some combination of Hangman, Bingo, Tic Tac Toe, Black Jack, sports games, and my personal favorite Fleet, a knock-off of Battleship you play by yourself. One year I got the whole Freddy Kruger get up including the cloth glove with the plastic finger knives and a really shitty rubber mask and foam fedora, but I didn’t wear it out as we never found a convincing sweater. From batons to samurai swords and grappling gear to nun chucks you were bound to find something you liked in the grand ninja weapon selection. I’m afraid to open it because right now the goo has all congealed at the bottom and it sort of looks like the skeleton is all that’s left of a guy who downed in a sealed crystal coffin full of water and I want to keep it that way.I found these next two guys at Toys R Us in their seriously dinky Halloween section. There are a couple of fringe companies that try to go in a more gruesome direction like molding chocolate into roughly shaped body parts like ears and eyes. In fact one of the selling points of these books is the fact that you can play all the games by yourself boasting “Hours and Hours of By-Yourself Enjoyment? I couldn’t find my old issue of Black Belt, so I broke down and purchased one on Ebay just so I could scan and post these lovely ads for your perusal.
There was a whole box of figures including Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy and Frankenstein’s monster, and I was all set to get Frankenstein and the Wolfman when on another shelf I saw the Creature tucked behind a Dracula sippy cup. In fact you typically see bags of chocolate eyes, and I’m surprised no one has packaged cherry cordials as eyes now that I think of it.
I have been thinking about doing another podcast (on 80’s school supplies) recently and I sort of want to write an article with pictures and stuff to flesh it out, but I don’t have any of the stuff I wanted to talk about.
It took over a place that used to sell outdoor furniture and garden accessories or something like that so there is a ton of room. Here’s the best of what was in the issue I got from 1985: My favorites were always the full color ads like this one for Cobra Imports Ltd.
Considering the glut of Scream-like masks with hoods that seem to be permeating the market these days, this was a very welcome discovery. There is one type of candy that I do tend to like year round though, and that’s gummi stuff like bears and worms. Here’s what the outside looks like: Unfortunately it’s on the tail end of a run down shopping center that’s in the middle of having the entrances remodeled so that may slow down business for it, but that just means there will be more thing for me to pick though I guess.
Well, I dropped the Wolfman (who was way too Orange anyway) and picked him up lickety split because he needed to live in my home. I can’t take it in huge does, but if I have to pick something, it’s usually gummi in nature.

I don’t know how well you can see it, but the entrance to the actual store is really cool, there are two sets of stairs that lead up and converge on the door, which is set into the building at a kitty corner. Many days I imagined walking home from school and getting ambushed by ninja, only to be saved by my trusty ninja belt buckle (of course in my day dreams the ninja star would come back to my hand magically like a homing boomerang.) This ad is pretty darn cool if only for the insane amount of styles you could get your ninja stars in. Luckily a lot of the stuff that I was into as a kid has popped back up in recent years as both the original He-Man and G1 Transformers lines were reissued in commemorative packaging so I’ve managed to pick a few of those up.
It even sports a pretty basic but cool bit of off mark spray coloring that adds that certain bit of nostalgia.
Well this year Target is carrying a bunch of gummi candy and I couldn’t help but buy a bunch of it. When you walk in you are in a recessed pit that hopefully will be decorated all dark and creepily soon. Of course this ad also feature the awesome Ninja Board game, because we all know that aspiring ninja are all tabletop gaming nerds at heart. This year’s location is the largest one yet which is cool because it was pretty cramped last year.
In Fleet for example, you have two sections, a graph board with four hidden ships and a series of dots to record the number of shots made on the board. I had a plush ET, but not the cool faux leather one that all my friends had, mine was all fuzzy and seemed a bit too girly for my tastes.
Aside from this though, the material they were made with makes it easy and fun to make them look like they are waving at you, or having a seizure, so I guess it’s all right. The pencil bag was pretty cheap, but the eraser was $5 and that seemed like a lot to pay for something that’s just going to go into a box and probably only looked at one or two more times.
When I went out at lunch today I saw that Wal-Mart has their section up, though it was pretty lame. The design and gimmick are pretty damn awesome and the art department pulled no punches with their gruesome mascot, the gummi chef!
Well I ended up deciding against them but when I got home I looked on Ebay just for the hell of it and I soon found myself wrapped up in 80’s eraser heaven. Here are a few of the better ones: Considering that all they sell are costumes, accessories, and every other Halloween branded item you can think of, this really is the biggest and best. Erasers also fit squarely here, though the branding seems to make a lot more of a difference.
Franky here looks a lot more like Frank Sinatra what with his very short cropped hair and his dapper green evening jacket.
This is the first time I’ve seen a product mascot that looks like it was drawn by Evan Dorkin or Simon Bisley! I couldn’t help myself, I just started bidding on a few items here and there and the next thing I knew, I dropped $15 on erasers.
Also there should be plenty more to come as I also found out where our floating Halloween store is opening this year, so I can’t wait for that to open. But there are some other brands that don’t seem as coveted and therefore can often be picked up for pretty darn cheap.
I was so jealous, and about four months later when he had lost total interest in the franchise I managed to trade the little plastic Elliot and E.T. Oh well, hopefully they’ll make a nice visual aid and it’ll prompt me to do the podcast before I turn forty or something.This also reminds me of something else. Then there were the more upscale masks (click to enlarge): I’ve wanted that Herman Munster mask for three years now and I still can’t bring myself to drop $40 on it. You get 32 shots to try and uncover the 4 ships, each of which is a different length ranging from 2 to 5 spaces. Take for instance these Thundercats flat picture erasers: I picked these up for $2 still in the package. At that flea market there were a lot of 80’s Burger King promotional glasses from the Great Muppet Caper, Star Wars, and like the Shirt Tales and stuff that were really cheap. Norris was like on every other page of this magazine, so I’m assuming 1985 was a prime year for Chuck. A couple years later when we got our first VHS player, that was also one of the first movies my family bought, and it’s pretty much been a staple of my video library every since.Even now, years later, I still love that movie. Then you have your more marshmallow-like gummi’s like your gummi pizzas, tacos, and hamburgers. But here’s the thing, what do you do with a 20 year old drinking glass that you know has been used a million times in someone else’s household? See if there is one thing that I’ve truly wanted for the last 20 years it’s been a realistic severed limb.
Even the Jesus like resurrection scene that really makes no sense other than Speilberg pummeling the pubic with the crying tear club. I mean I don’t think I could drink out of them, and I’m not sure if I would enjoy displaying them, but the pull to buy them was so strong. If you look in the ad that I posted about a few days ago you’ll notice the severed leg at the bottom left. And then there is the sugar coated marshmallow gummi’s like peach rings and Sour Patch Kids. I’ve coveted that leg for so long that I never thought I’d find one that was cool looking and affordable.
When I was a kid the obvious draw of these books was the magic of the “invisible ink?, but now that I’m a little older and my bar for amazement has been risen a bit, I’m a lot more intrigued by the fact that these books haven’t changed a bit since they were first published in 1976.
So over the last year I’ve scraped together this modest collection of erasers that I really dig.
Out of these, my favorites are probably the more dense fruity ones, but I can deal with most of them. I know logically there’s nothing wrong with them, it’s not like there are microbes stuck forever to the surface of the glass, but it still seems wrong.
In fact the books still bear the 1976 copyright notice with no other dates listed, and if it weren’t for the Choking Hazard warning on the back cover (a fairly recent change in toy products, I assume referring to the pen cap) I might even believe that these haven’t been made in the last thirty years. When I was in the third grade, back in 1985, I had just started to become aware that there was a world of school supplies beyond your standard yellow #2 pencils and basic red or green triangular pencil topper erasers.
If I had to pick one that I just don’t like it would easily be the sugar coated ones because they are too sweet and I just don’t like the consistency of the sugar coating, not to mention that because we are in the middle of a decades long sour candy boom, they are typically tart and I’m just not big on tart. The really pink one in plastic which they’ve sold three years running that looks just awful to me, and the super realistic ones to the right of the pink ones.
Well unfortunately these gummi’s were of the sugar coated variety, which is a bummer because the picture on the box makes it look like the dense fruity kind. One of the cool things about this though is the fun 70’s cartoon-y style to all of the interior art. Take for instance the Donnie and Marie cartoon styling in the above-pictured game of image match. What’s funny is that no one I knew used these as erasers because they were too cool and fun to mess around with while the teacher was blabbering away about multiplication and the science behind windmills.
I’m not sure, but I believe there are only like 10 permutations of the basic Yes & Know Invisible Ink Game and Quiz book in existence. I picked up the one with the Blue and White cover, but there were also Yellow, Red, Green, Orange ones available, all of which had a different silly age requirement gag on the cover.
It seemed pretty rare, if I’m remembering correctly, to have more than a couple of these more upscale erasers.
This set was a little pricey at $3, but it more than made up for what the Gummi Boogers lacked which was great quality and to top everything off stickers!
On of the other things that I love about this place is that they not only cater to people who want to buy an entire costume in a bag, but also to the people who want to get a little more creative with their masquerading. I only remember my mom buying me one, which I got in my stocking for Christmas, a He-Man Merman eraser. As you can see below there is an entire wall (plus four short isles of additional stuff not pictured) of make-up and latex appliances. My mom was under the impression that he was my favorite even though I would constantly stick my Stratos and Trap-Jaw figures in her face. As far as Halloween themeing goes, I think I enjoyed these gummi fingers the most as they’re all Frankenstein-y.
The only other one I managed to get as a kid was the Admiral Ackbar pictured above that I had to trade a whole mess of dinosaurs to get.
As we made our purchases and started walking out of the store we were greeted by one last cool thing, this midnight cowboy of a life sized zombie that had a little more than a passing resemblance to a certain Fly Boy from the original Dawn of the Dead flick.
Oh one day I’ll be able to afford props like this when I rule from on high, wielding my mighty Halloween scepter of affording. Who knows maybe after this new Michael Bay movie comes out next summer collectors will be so disgusted by the re-designs that it’ll put them off fighting over figural erasers shaped like prowl for a little while.

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