Now here is a treasure from my 1980’s boyhood — the glow-in-the-dark Godzilla model. When I sat down to pull up some background on this, I first thought that this was one of the Aurora model kits. It indeed started out as one. But I think it’s more likely that I had the one produced from the same mold by Monogram, which was released in 1978. (Mine was a Christmas or birthday present around 1980 or so.)
This was a sturdy model, as it survived just fine amid the debris of that disastrous desk I kept as a second grader. And its glow-in-the-dark head and hands were damn cool.
Dear God, did I love this thing.
I remember Aurora’s Universal Monsters model kits extremely fondly — even if they never actually belonged to me. My older brother had versions of some of these in the 1970’s, and I was fascinated by them as a tot. (The original model kits date from the 1960’s, but my brother had the later, glow-in-the-dark versions that were released a decade later.)
These things seemed damn near magical to me when I was a very small boy living in Queens, New York. I wanted desperately to get my hands on them, like so many of my brother’s belongings. I definitely remember his glow-in-the-dark “Creature;” “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” was a movie we’d seen on our black-and-white television. He had others, too — maybe all of the original five: Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy.
I’ve always said that if I ever become wealthy, I’ll have a special room full of the monster collectibles I remember from my childhood. These things would have a shelf all to themselves.
What sort of uber-nerd can actually remember a reading textbook from grade-school?
This kind, Ladies and Gentlemen. This kind.
Simply put, these pens were fun as hell. Remember how cool it was to click the different colors, even if you weren’t writing or drawing anything?
Why don’t they make them anymore? iPhones be damned — I know kids these days would love these things.
These were powered by a single AA battery, and made little boys everywhere quite happy on early 80’s Christmas mornings. I always thought that the nearly identical “Stompers” were a ripoff of Rough Riders. But, as it turns out, Stompers came first, in 1980.
Do NOT play the commercial below unless you want the Rough Riders jingle stuck in your head. It’s a hell of an earworm, especially if you remember it from childhood.
I remember getting this spirograph set brand new for Christmas, sometime between … 1979 and 1981, I figure. I am pretty sure this was it, too — I remember a bright red box, the red interior, and some sort of cheesy photo on the front.
I am entirely confused that the Internet tells me that Kenner manufactured this toy in 1967.
Either way, I had a hell of fun time with it.
I was going to save this blog post for the summer — I remember trading Topps’ “Return of the Jedi” cards and stickers with my best friend Shawn Degnan at the end of my driveway on hot July afternoons in 1983. (It was also where we traded baseball cards, stickers, and … even rocks, when we were both tots. We were both quite the childhood collectors.) I’m running this today, of course, following Carrie Fisher’s passing.
“Return of the Jedi” cards were huge. I was 10 when they went on sale at the local family “drugstore” — which was a couple of miles away; seriously, a lot of New York is quite rural. I seem to remember a couple of “Star Wars” cards floating around at the bottom of my childhood toybox, too — but those were released when I was a tot, and too young to collect anything in an organized fashion.
These came in bright red wrappers, with a hard, occasionally brittle stick of truly cheap pink gum. (I am a little confused by a Google image search that shows yellow packaging.) The dust from the gum would sometimes pepper the cards and make them smell like the gum. I relished that scent as a kid — it meant the cards were new. There was also one sticker per pack, but you never peeled it off, as then you could not trade it. I think I had all the cards pictured below.
The Holy Grail of these cards was one that Shawn had and I did not — it had an image of Han Solo being unfrozen from carbonite in Jabba the Hutt’s palace during his rescue by Princess Leia. (I’m confused again by the fact that I can’t seem to locate an image of that card.