Wednesday, June 16, 2010

VIRTUAL SPACE TOAST TOUR TOLEDO-A visit to Children's Palace on November 30, 1985 (Grandma not included)

The other night as I was perusing the Google newspaper archive I came across a true gem in the microfilm rough. It was a complete 16 page Children's Palace circular from November 30th, 1985. I've seen this ad a lot on microfilm in person at various libraries across the country and I tell you, the quality of Google's transfer here is easily the best I've ever seen. It's beautiful. This is an extremely rare treat because complete Sunday circulars are usually missing from Google's archive and also not every city had a Children's Palace. It was a regional chain that wasn't as widespread as Lionel Playworld or Toys R Us but still very well known for the unique castle style front facades of its stores. Dr. Geektarded wrote some great posts about the chain at his blog. Since my hobby focuses only on the toy robots portions of these ads I never document the rest of the pages with other wonderful toys and those remain buried in library microfilms. Yet I'm sure there are fans of toylines like M.A.S.K. and G.I. Joe who would love to see stuff like this but they don't have the time to go to their local libraries and dig it up themselves. Well now thanks to Google nobody has to solve the perplexing mysteries of figuring out where their local library is and learning how to use a microfilm scanner. To make it even easier I've linked each thumbnail below to its corresponding page in the Google archive. Just click on whatever page you'd like and it'll take you to the super high quality zoomable Google version. The first and last pages weren't linkable but once you get to any other page you can scroll over to them. Then get ready to enjoy the toy robots ads right on your screen without the hassle of kicking some grandma at the library off the microfilm machine. (Although for me that's actually part of the fun.)

Page 2
Page 3
Page 4

The cover and page 2 are of interest to me as they are the most robotty pages. I don't think I've ever seen another toy store who thought Ironhide was cool enough to put on their circular's cover but that's how Chil Pal rolled back in '85. If you zoom really close up into the jumble of toys in the stocking on the cover you'll see Transformers roller skates! Page 2 features some of the most horrendous mistransformations I've ever seen anyone put a Transformer through but it redeems itself with a super rare solicitation for the Transformers Pinball Machine by Durham. Also of note on page 2 are Robotix and Capsela sets. Highlights from page 3 include the Voltron Castle of Lions and the Voltron Camera. Sectaurs and Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars also make appearances. Page 4 features Boulder Hill, Rhino and Switchblade from M.A.S.K.. For some reason the M.A.S.K. stuff isn't displayed outside of the boxes like every other action figure. After seeing how badly they did at assembling the Transformers I can't say I blame the photographers for giving up as soon as they saw the contents of the M.A.S.K. boxes, which contained more guns and car parts than an NRA meeting on GoBotron.

Page 5
Page 6
Page 7

Page five features a bunch of cool riding stuff including the Knight Rider Power Cycle. Pages six and seven have quintessential 80s board games like Trivial Pursuit, Broadsides & Boarding Parties, My Little Pony Merry-Go-Round and Beatlemania!

Pages 8 and 9
Page 10

Barbie, Wuzzles, My Little Pony, Care Bears and Rainbow Brite dominate the centerfold on pages 8 and 9. Check out the three foot tall stuffed animals including Garfield and some Care Bear guy on page 10.

Page 11
Page 12
Page 13

Buncha baby toys on page 11 including some Hello Kitty and Glo Worm action. 12 and 13 have classic building toys like Tyco Super Blocks, Whittle Chips, Construx and of course Lego.

Page 14
Page 15
Page 16

Page 14 is the electronics page with Casey the other robot tape player. Also down there in the left hand corner are three G.I. Joe videocassettes by F.H.E.-Red Rockets Glare, Cobra's Creatures and Countdown for Zartan. Anyone who has ever owned an F.H.E. cartoon has the promos for those stuck in their head. To the right there are VHS tapes by Prism with old timey cartoons of various Marvel Super Heroes like Captain America, Spider Man, Iron Man, The Red Skull and Doctor Doom. It's weird but twenty five years later these are still in stores, just in different formats. 15 is musical instruments and baby restraint devices for the feral babies in your life. The last page sort of got cut off a little but the good parts are still there if you strain your eyes a bit. I can see ads for the Transformers Electric Racing Set (and the individual cars, too), the "Sun Raid" Listen & Play book and the Transformers slumber bag.


Unfortunately I couldn't find any other Children's Palace circulars from the 1985 Toledo papers in the Google archive. I guess it was just a fluke that they included this one but boy am I ever glad they did. The quality is outstanding and it beats what you'd find at most libraries. And even if you could go down to the Toledo library and find this on the reels it would be nearly impossible to get copies this clear off the copy machines. Even taking a picture of the microfilm scanner screen wouldn't come close to the quality here. Google is inadvertently making some great contributions to the field of roboplastic archaeology in their quest to digitize media and I thank them for it. I would also like to thank whoever made the Toledo microfilms for not skipping over the ads as many microfilm manufacturers did. Of course my deepest gratitude goes to the now extinct Children's Palace, whose ad makers knew Transformers were the toy to pimp even if they didn't know how to transform them. Also, that Ironhide was ugly.

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