Ertl’s Die-Cast Blade Runner Cars (1982)

Blade Runner Ertl-1

Blade Runner Ertl-2

Blade Runner Ertl-3

Blade Runner Ertl-4

Blade Runner Ertl-5

Blade Runner Ertl-6

Blade Runner Ertl-7

My mom took me to see Blade Runner at the theater because I convinced her that it was a Star Wars sequel. I was 10. After Leon shot Holden in the first five minutes (“My mother? Let me tell you about my mother…“), she tried to forcibly remove me, but I wouldn’t budge. I was totally mesmerized by Ridley Scott’s haunting, desperate, Promethean vision of the future. I still am.

I’d forgotten about the toy cars, but they really did exist, and that makes me happy. Kids would have seen the “spinners” (designed by conceptual artist Syd Mead) prominently featured in the trailer, but most wouldn’t have been lucky enough (or duplicitous enough) to get a peek at the movie. It was a brilliant try by Ertl, anyway.

Toys and other kid-marketed merchandise were almost always designed to extend the experience of the production they were based on. (I’ve talked about this before.) In the case of Blade Runner and other R-rated features, that merchandise was meant to replace the experience of the film. Think of all the Alien stuff from ’79: Target Set, Movie Viewer, Board Game, Trading Cards, Kenner’s wicked 18″ action figure.

We’d seen the previews, we gleaned what we could from the adults willing to talk to us, but that’s it. Like Ridley Scott, we had to invent a world and a story for those spinners and that alien to inhabit.

UPDATE (5/8/15): David Augustyn spotted a mistake on the four-pack. Rachael’s Spinner is labeled as Bryant’s Police Spinner and vice versa. The Spinner second from right is clearly a cop car and even has “Police” written on the side.

(Images via eBay)

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