Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Return of Return of No Weblog for Old Robots Week Part 3: Force your frown upside down

The move into our new residence has consumed my life and because of all the unpacking there's still no time to write my usual 900 word dissertations on 25 year old toy robot Volkswagens and their transforming dinosaur cohorts. So in place of my regular robot ramblings here's a couple quick sentences about some other ads not featuring guys whose names end in "tron" or "troid".

One of my favorite ads of all time is this cover to the Lionel Playworld weekly circular from 12 November 1978. With this cover Playworld combined two celebration worthy events-the grand opening of some new stores and (perhaps even more momentous) the availability of Star Wars toys.


Star Wars was such a big deal back then that even a year and a half after its release people were excited about the toys. It is highly unlikely that Toys R Us or Wal-Mart or any retailer today would devote the front page of their holiday circular to any movie toyline, much less one for a movie that's over a year old. But 1978 was a long time ago in a very different retail galaxy far, far away. Star Wars toys weren't available in '77 when the movie hit and back then movies weren't released on home video within a few months of theatrical release like they are today. So people had to wait 9 months for the toys and forget about watching the movie at home. Heck, Star Wars wasn't on VHS until 1982 and even then it was only available as a rental. Imagine having to wait five years to own a copy of the biggest blockbuster movie of the summer! That's how we rolled when I was 8 years old.

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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.