Sunday, May 24, 2009

Goodbye, land of ads and snow

After three years of living here I'll be leaving Rapid City, South Dakota soon. It may not have been toy robot convention central but Rapid City had it where it counted-the library was awesome for old toy robots ad looking. Every city has its own unique strengths when it comes to their library's microfilm archive of old newspapers, and Rapid City had the most beautiful quality microfilm transfers of anywhere I've ever seen. The only downside was that it had the clunkiest, most broken down microfilm readers I've ever used. During the time I was here the zoom lenses on both machines completely broke and they were both stuck on mega zoom and one machine's display slowly degraded to the point that half of the screen was permanently blurry (I called that one R5-D4). I understand how Luke Skywalker felt in that scene where R2-D2 wouldn't play back the Princess Leia message. It's hard being the internet jedi super hero of old toy robots newspaper ads when you have to work with shitty droids.


(a better) K-Mart 11/26/89
I've noticed that there are people who never truly take advantage of living where they live. I know natives of Rapid that have never been to Mount Rushmore. Even worse, I know people living here who have never searched through the library microfilm archives for toy robots newspaper ads from 1987 through 1990. I didn't want to be one of those so recently I went back to the library for one last Rapid City gig on the Vintage Space Toast Tour. Another great thing about this place is Rapid City has Target, K-Mart and ShopKo ads going further back than anywhere else I've ever been. I was able to reshoot better pictures of Target and K-Mart ads I'd already found in other cities in nicer Rapid City quality. While Target and K-Mart were strong with Transformers ads from '84 to '87, from '88 to '90 their circulars usually just ran a single combo ad for a line-wide Transformers clearance. On the other hand, ShopKo didn't jump on the Transformers bandwagon until late in the 80s and they kept advertising individual assortments all the way until the end of the road in '90. So while Transformer ads did get increasingly rarer towards the end of the line, at least ShopKo was hanging in there and thanks to them I was able to add one new ad to the Transformers 1990 section of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace. I was so glad I got that one because there's never any guarantee that 1990 will have anything and I spend so much precious time looking that coming away empty handed would have been nothing short of a roboplastic apocalypse. I would have beaten R5-D4's ass.

ShopKo 12/18/88
ShopKo 11/04/89
ShopKo 12/05/90

I only spent six hours at the Rapid City library but I ended up finding a total of about two dozen new* ads for the Transformers 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990 sections of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace. A couple of those were for assortments that I've never found before like the Monster Pretenders from '89. I'm happy with what I came away with because I usually do not have time to search through the later years of the 80s during my short vacations to other cities. Speaking of which, I feel like it was good practice for the upcoming Vintage Space Toast Tour Pasadena where I'll probably spend six hours each in 1984 and 1985 and not get to visit the eras after 1986. I know I will leave Pasadena wishing I had a little more time because like South Dakotans who have never seen Mount Rushmore, Pasadenans disappoint me by not internetting their library microfilm archives of old toy robots newspaper ads. What could there possibly be to do in California that's funner than microfilm looking?!


Woolworth 11/26/89
It was kind of sad sitting down for the last time at the library here but it also reminded me of how much fun I had here. Although I started doing this ad collecting seriously in Tucson, Arizona almost ten years ago, it was here in Rapid City, South Dakota that the VSTP was born and really grew. When we first moved here I thought I wouldn't find much by way of old ads because there was no Toys R Us, Children's Palace or Lionel Playworld here in the 80s, but Rapid City ended up being one of the best sources of material because of what it did have. It had small retail chain stores and independent mom and pop retailers that ran some of the most memorable toy robots ads I've ever seen. In a short three years Rapid City and I robotted enough to last a lifetime. Now like Luke Skywalker leaving Tattoinee I leave Rapid for Miami where there will be warmer weather and hopefully more agreeable microfilm droids. DEATH STAR DO NOT BLOW UP MY LIBRARIES BEFORE I GET THERE!

1 comment:

Heavyarms said...

Miami-Dade County. You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy...


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