Archive for the 'Commercials' Category



1979 Sears Christmas Catalog: Micronauts and Buck Rogers Toys

First of all, the Rocket Tubes. Remember when our parents went to the bank and put their deposits in those plastic cylinder things, which were then deposited into a mailbox-looking thing and sucked (literally) through a pneumatic system into the bank? Well, that’s what these rocket tubes do. The commercial I found (via FuzzyMemoriesTV) is gnarly, but apparently it’s for an earlier version without the launching spaceships.

I love all the Micronauts stuff. It was a quirky, imaginative line. I remember having only one or two of the diecast metal figures, really heavy—they’re not here, but you can peruse them at BugEyedMonster.

I said in another post that I didn’t remember the Buck Rogers toys, but I instantly recognized the Star Fortress. It was made of incredibly flimsy cardboard, and the buildings folded and stuck clumsily into the base with tabs.

How do I love thee, WishbookWeb? Let me count the ways…

1980 J.C. Penney Christmas Catalog: Stompers and Team America Dirt Bikes

Surely you remember the Stompers commercial (via oscartripe):

I also remember the Master Caster (#7 in the catalog) commercial, although I can’t find it anywhere. See the set at Toys You Had.

These hand cranked dirt bikes were bloody fantastic. They tumbled head over heels, righted themselves, jumped, tumbled, bowled over action figures, and kept right on going. Check it (via MrVintageToy).

(Catalog images via WishbookWeb. Click to enlarge.)

G.I. Joe U.S.S. Flagg Commercial and Box (1985)

g.i. joe u.s.s. flagg

(Video and image via Yo Joe!)

Space Mountain Theme Music (Original) and Commercial (1977)

Obviously I’ve got a thing for Space Mountain. It opened at Disneyland in 1977, just 2 damn days after Star Wars came out. The Starcade opened on the same day. That’s destiny for you.

The original music was changed in 1996 (listen here) and again when the ride was completely refurbished in 2003 (listen to the current soundtrack here).

Before the remodel, people waiting in line at a certain section could actually look in to the ride area and see, dimly, the rockets whooshing by. It was too dark to make out much more (that made it even more awesome), but I remember an infamous asteroid that shot across the sky occasionally. All the kids would point it out every time it went by. It looked exactly like a giant chocolate chip cookie.

Thanks to SoundsOfDisneyland and SoCalCoaster521 for the videos.

1981 Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog: Dark Tower

1981.xx.xx Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog P490

Son of a bitch. I’d completely forgotten about Dark Tower until I saw this. It came out in 1981, but I don’t know when I got it (I can’t see my parents shelling out $40 for this thing). Maybe in ’82 or ’83, when I had settled into D&D. The TV commercial, starring a decrepit-looking Orson Welles, has become rather famous in the nerd world:

The game of “electronic wizardry” was considered pretty cutting-edge at the time, although I remember it getting pretty boring after only a few plays (probably because I had no one else to play it with). The tower rumbled around in my closet of toys for years, every so often switching on and spitting out those outlandish sound effects.

As I mentioned here, I don’t remember playing the D&D Computer Labyrinth Game (1980), which Dark Tower chased, probably because the price rarely went down on D&D stuff in those days. Even the modules were tremendously expensive. I remember ogling rows and rows of them in the hobby shop.

As for the Ouija Board, let’s be honest, nobody our age who saw The Exorcist (usually after the parental units absolutely forbid it) ever touched the goddamn things. To this day any mention of “Captain Howdy” drives chills through my body.

(Image via WishbookWeb)

Spider-Man Atari 2600 Commercial (1982)

I never had a 2600, but I’m sure I played this game, because I remember how frustratingly hard it was.

Dungeons & Dragons Commercial: ‘Products of Your Imagination’ (1983)

Disney’s The Black Hole: Toys and Models

I’m excessively fond of The Black Hole (1979). No, it wasn’t Star Wars, but it was a clever riff on Verne’s classic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and the story literally revolves around the most mysterious phenomenon in the universe. The sets and the visuals are amazing, the good guys and robots likable (if corny), and the bad robot awesomely sinister. The merchandise campaign was massive, and I’ll catalog as much of it as I can in multiple posts.

The action figures were well done, but, because this was a Disney movie, guns were included only with the Robot Sentry and S.T.A.R. figures. How did they expect the good guys to win in a firefight?

There were also these creepy 12″ dolls, which I never quite understood.

The models, still much sought after, will cost you more than anything else in the line. What to do if I had to choose between the Cygnus and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea‘s Seaview?

There was also a Fisher-Price Movie Viewer (see it via Toys You Had) and a slew of unreleased toys that you can check out at bugeyedmonster. And let’s not forget the commercials, courtesy of Megomuseum’s brilliant YouTube Channel.

Dungeons & Dragons Computer Labyrinth Game Commercial (1980)

I remember the commercial, and I remember seeing the game in stores and wanting it, but I don’t think I ever played it. All the money my friends and I spent on D&D went to the rather pricey game books and modules.


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