Thursday, March 11, 2010

Back and There and 1984 Again

Back in October 2008 I wrote about Google putting a whole bunch of newspaper microfilms online. I was even able to find an article from 1984 about the toy robot holiday shopping craze but I couldn't figure out how to search the archives for more. Well I was looking through their archives again this week and holy crap either I got smart recently or they made their online newspapers really easy to look through. Now with their easy to use search function I've been uncovering tons of old toy robots newspaper articles from all over the country. The most significant search feature is being able to narrow the results down by date. This is awesome because whenever I'm at a library looking through microfilms I don't have the time to read every story I see so I miss a lot of them. But now thanks to Google and having no life I am able to respend all my childhood in 1984, except this time from the perspective of an omniscient time traveling adult who has subscriptions to ten billion newspapers.


It's not all free flowers and sausages over at the Google newspaper archive, though. The bulk of the Google newspaper archive is composed of links to pay-per-article sites. So when you go looking for something at first it seems like all the results are from online newspaper subscription services. But there's still a ton of free content that can be unearthed and as an example I've made a quick list here of articles pertaining to Transformers and GoBots from the last six months of 1984. All of these are totally free and the scans are pretty good. In addition to these I also already have a lot of the pay articles the archive mentions so I'm amassing this giant database of toy robots newspaper stories. It is the most useless couple of gigs every dedicated to a hard drive ever but hopefully it will achieve sentience and grant me time travel powers so that I may finally get my wish and go back in time to work as a stockboy at the Lionel Playworld next to my house when I was 11 years old in 1985.

The Milwaukee Journal Aug 13, 1984
Toy robots gun for big sales record
-This article features speculation that toy robots could break the Cabbage Patch Kids' first year sales record of 65 million in wholesale orders.

Anchorage Daily News - Sep 9, 1984
Toy Robots take over Cabbage Patch craze
-I've never heard of Optimus Prime described as a "mild mannered tractor trailer" before.

Sydney Morning Herald Sep 12, 1984
Family Life
-Even Australians were monitoring the US robot invasion.

The Milwaukee Sentinel Oct 12 1984
GoBots, Transformers invade our children's world of play
-In this article a lady throws out a GoBots cardback before giving the robot to her kid because the GoBots' back story is too violent for her.

The Milwaukee Journal - Oct 21, 1984
Robots Take Over Toy World
-This article featured a good overview of GoBots, Transformers, Starriors and Robo Force.

Ocala Star-Banner - Oct 24, 1984
Japanese robots turning into latest us toy fad
-Bob Budiansky was kept in a cage and fed raw meat according to this article.

Ottawa Citizen - Oct 24, 1984
Tester raps toys based on violence
-Story about a person who preferred Cy-Kill when he was just named "Cycle Man".

The Spokesman-Review Nov 21 1984
Montgomery Ward ad
-There's also nice RoboForce ad on page 154

Lakeland Ledger - Nov 22, 1984
Check out the TG&Y Convertors ad on page 130

The Courier - Nov 22, 1984
1984 Toy Hit Parade
-In October's 1984's top ten toy list TFs were #5 behind GI Joe and GoBots. I'll talk about this more on an upcoming Podcastalypse.

The Modesto Bee - Nov 22, 1984
Montogomery Ward 22 Nov 1987 ad featuring metal plates Optimus Prime
Hey check out the "Friends of Voltron" ad on page 43 and the "Changeover Robots" on page 8. Also a nice GI Joe ad on page 4.

St. Petersburg Times - Nov 24, 1984
Hot New Toys click at the cash register
-Tons of Optimus Primes sell out in five minutes after one store opens.

Spokane Chronicle - Nov 26, 1984
Look out, Cabbage Patch Kids, here comes the competition
-Really good lowdown of the GoBots mythos here.

Kentucky New Era - Nov 28, 1984
Important Notice Regarding Montgomery Ward Advertisement in Wednesday's Newspaper
On page 45 check out Transformers is airing Saturday on Channel 17 at 7:00a.m.!

Modesto Bee - Nov 29, 1984
Important Notice Regarding Montgomery Ward Advertisement in Wednesday's Newspaper
-There's a good G.I. Joe ad on page 37 of this paper.

Gainesville Sun Dec 2, 1984
Only the luckiest santas will bag the season's top toys
-Good overview of 84 holiday scene but it said GoBots were top sellers in '83!?!

The Pittsburgh Press - Dec 03, 1984
Child Panel Rates Convertible Toy Robots
-Kids rated the Kronoform Robot Watch higher than GoBots!

Reading Eagle Dec 4, 1984
The Robots are coming
-TFs right behind GoBots on the November Hit List; good lowdown of shopping shortage

The Argus-Press Dec 04, 1984
Cabbage Patch being invaded by some toy robots
-Michelle Litsky states Transformers are in production at 25 Tokyo factories!
-Also a bit further down the page a little kid with a bad report card asks Santa for Transformers!

The Rock Hill Herald - Dec 04, 1984
Toy robots invade the Cabbage Patch
-Includes the story of a lady who got stampeded when the doors of one store opened.

Ottowa Citizen Dec 4, 1984
Hot Toys Going Fast, Price Survey Finds
-GoBots are almost impossible to find!

Kentucky New Era - Dec 5 1984
Toy robots invading the Cabbage Patch on wish lists
-Store owner laments only ordering 72 Optimus Primes and Megatrons-it wasn't enough!

The Telegraph Dec 5, 1984
Transforming toy robots invade Cabbage Patch Kingdom
-Funny bit on how one store owner said shoppers would hover around the empty Transformer shelves.

Gadsden Times Dec 6, 1984
Toy robots invade the cabbage patch
-Same as earlier stories but with a picture of a store employee behind a Godaikin Abega

Lakeland Ledger Dec 16 1984
America's being invaded by strange new robots

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