Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And as he clipped out the ads he thought, "Well, isn't this nice?"

1987 was the year that I turned 13 and like most young men that age I found myself wanting to be more than just a little boy playing with toy robots. I wanted to advance, to mature, to take life to the next level. For every other kid in my peer group this meant putting away the kiddie toys in favor of pursuing more adult interests like heavy metal and the Nintendo Entertainment System. Video games never really appealed to me, though, and I was still very much in love with the Transformers. Unfortunately my generation was giving up on Transformers and even Hasbro's advertising support of the line began declining. I should have realized I was retarded when in seventh grade the only other kids who were into the same things I was were fifth graders. Deciding to step it up and be more of a Transformers dork at a time when the line had already jumped the Sharkticon was a little ironic in that Alanis Morissette kind of way. Which means it's not really ironic, it's just bad timing.


Walgreens 12/02/87

The journey from fanboy to fanMAN meant I had to be a more mature, more grown up toy collector because you know, chicks love it when you take good care of your Rodimus. Instead of mutilating my Transformer boxes by cutting out the tech specs and robot points and then throwing away the mangled packaging, I started saving everything. I still opened them but I carefully cut the plastic bubble trays open so that I could return my toy robots to their boxes. Well except for the Throttlebots. I had this weird notion that someday the Throttlebots would be worth something so I never opened those, but stuff like Targetmaster Hot Rod got opened immediately. Actually Targetmaster Hot Rod was my sister's. While she was having a blast playing with her toys I was just telling myself over and over that I will be grateful one day for putting everything back in their boxes and not opening those Throttlebots. Honestly the truth is I still beat the hell out of my Transformers so putting their broken bodies back in their good condition packages just made me (and them) look dumb. It was an exercise in irony not of the Alanis Morisette kind. But hey would you rather be buried in a nice cardboard box or one with the robot points cut out.

Lionel Playworld 12/13/87

ToysRus 11/26/87

Probably my favorite fanMAN thing I did in 1987 was clipping out Transformer newspaper ads. It was what got me started with toy robot ads collecting. Although I lost interest in doing it after a few months I still kept the ads and the Vintage Space Toaster Palace grew out of that small envelope of clippings. What sucks is that as a kid I did not have the foresight to write down what date the ads came out or from which store they were from, so all these years later I am going back to libraries and looking through their microfilm reels and piecing that information together bit by bit. It was really exciting during Vintage Space Toast Tour El Paso 2009 when I'd come across an ad on microfilm that was one of the ones I clipped out as a kid. Speaking of which, last week I added a little over a dozen new* ads to the Transformers 1987 section of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace including a couple more full color clippings from my childhood collection. I really hate putting ads up without all of their associated information so I've held back on my no-date 1987 ones for a while. Now the whole internet can marvel at how Throttlebots are worth the same 4 bucks today as they originally cost at retail. That's not really ironic, that's just the Throttlebots sucking.

Toys R Us 11/18/87
Toys R Us 11/22/87


Circus World 10/11/87

One notable ad from the recent update not from my childhood collection is this Circus World ad I found in Houston. What's interesting is that although it's supposed to be about the $10.99 Special Team leaders it includes line art of the super robots Menasor and Computron. I have never seen line art for those two used in ads before. In 1987 Toys R Us was heavily advertising their giftset for my favorite chicken tasting combiner team the Computrons, but the line art they used was derived from a photo from one of their other ads. What throws me about this Circus World ad is the use of illustrations for the combined robots when the ad is not about the combiners at all. It's the Alanis Morisette of giftset ads! I'll bet some people went looking for an eleven dollar Menasor based on what they saw in this ad. Even decades later it leaves me with so many questions. If Circus World had this art does that mean that somewhere out there there's an ad from them for these giftsets? Why didn't they just use art of the actual robots being advertised? Did they not have graphics of Onslaught, Motormaster, Hotspot and Scattershot? Where are the ads for the giftsets? If this is a councillor ship where is the ambassador? Are we humans or are we dancers? HOW MUCH ROBOTECHS CAN I BUY FOR TEN BUCKS?

*22 year old

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