Friday, December 10, 2010

Vintage Toy Catalog by CHRIS PREKSTA

Recently discovered on the internets - pages upon pages of the cheesy toys and technology we grew up with (Gen X'ers), along with the hilarious ways department stores presented them.  We've collected a few pages here for enjoyment

Let's start with the cover.  I mean that's one heck of a snow day, when you get to go sled riding with Mr. T, Starscream, the Gremlins, and My Little Pony.  (I thought Gremlins couldn't get wet?)  And I'm pretty sure Mr. T is punching snowflakes.
Speaking of Mr. T, how would you like YOUR ENTIRE BEDROOM to be themed after the famous actor, including an oversized wristwatch?
And were any of you aware that the A-Team had a playhouse?  The caption says they're "soldiers of fortune, living on the edge..."  Since when is "the edge" a two story loft?
I love how old catalogs would create little scenes with action figures.  Like this Star Wars display for example, which captures that famous scene in Return of the Jedi where Jabba the Hutt transported the Ewok Village to Tatooine for a cook-out with the Emperor, Han Solo (in Hoth gear), and a ressurected Ben Kenobi.
And with all those crazy gadgets, who knew that R2-D2 was filled with dead Ewok carcasses?
The Super Friends put together a nice little scene outside of the Hall of Justice where Superman, Lex Luthor, Joker, Penguin, and Batman & Robin wave goodbye to...Batman & Robin?  That's a rookie catalog mistake Montgomery Wards.
But the winning entry has to go to GI Joe for it's multiple climate displays and it's aircraft carrier that's taller than me!  7 1/2 feet?!?  Will that even fit in your dad's station wagon?
Maybe you're thinking of picking up a brand new wood paneled television, complete with a remote control bigger than my laptop.
Or perhaps you really wanna splurge and go for one of those new fangled VCR's for the reasonable price of...FOURTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS?!?
I was actually a bit shocked how little video game prices have risen over the years.  Consider how much more you get from your $50 Xbox game than a $25 Atari game.
Here's an ad for my very first camcorder, the PXL 2000 by Fisher Price.  It recorded 10 minutes of pixelated black and white video on audio cassettes.  I used to film videos of myself as Nintendo characters.  (20 years later not much has changed.)  Also, someone might wanna give that kid a rabies shot after he's done singing with all those mangey alley cats.
How about some "make believe"?  This ad promises you could dress up as The Warriors, an ivory poacher, or a dinosaur that doesn't know it's about to be assassinated by a ninja.
And what's with the ad title?  "Imagination...let it go, let it go, LET IT GO!"  Are they telling kids it's time to give this stuff up and get a job?
Forget that fantasy stuff, why not reenact a forbidden cross-cultural romance during one of our wars in the Pacific?  Like the ad cryptically says, "Make believe made real...almost."
While pajama's were always a big deal, why do these kids look like they're going to sip a little brandy, enjoy a Cuban cigar, and discuss Reaganomics?
And lastly, before you go to bed, make sure to pick out your favorite sleeping bag.  Who knows, maybe your parents will let you stay up late to watch Johnny Carson.

Merry Christmas!

CHRIS PREKSTA is a director/writer from Pittsburgh, check out some of his projects - or


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