Today, we’re gonna watch some old toy commercials. And not only am I presenting five old toy commercials in this post, but all of the commercials here are for toys I never had. You may remember the post, “Toys I Never Had“, well this is the sequel, but with commercials for the toys instead of images.
G.I. Joe Killer Whale Hovercraft (1984)
Throughout my memories of the mid-’80s, two action figure lines dominated my playtime. Masters of the Universe and G.I. Joe. The cartoon series and the Real American Hero toyline were a powerful combination. I lived and breathed G.I. Joe pretty hard back then. I mean, I still do today, but not nearly like I did back then.
This commercial combines the two pretty well. The animated sequence at the beginning is befitting of its own episode of the cartoon and would make a great commercial by itself. But then you throw in the hovercraft itself, and I was in playtime heaven.
Like most things I salivate over in these old commercials, I never owned the WHALE, nor did I ever get a chance to play with it. So watching the kids in this commercial put it through its paces makes me excited even today. The fact that it actually floats on water is a big drawing point, and watching the depth charges roll off into the water almost sent me over the edge. It was a stellar toy in a line full of them, and yet it still stands apart from the rest because of all its cool features.
And what about that environment they are playing with it in? I wish I had had a place like that to take my Joes back then and fight out the battles between G.I. Joe and Cobra.
This commercial for Fireball Island does a fabulous job of showing off how cool the game board looks, as well as featuring the elements that really set it apart from other board games.
Seeing the character pieces, the landscape pieces like the bridge, and the action that the game brings with the fireballs rolling down the mountain really made the game feel like more of a toy than a game.
Not to mention the cool theme of the commercial being something akin to watching an Indiana Jones movie. But with kids. And plastic jewels.
There is an updated version of the game called Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul Kar that boasts a larger island, faster marbles, and full re-designed gameplay. You can check it out here.
Micro Machines Super Toolbox City
I was all-in on Micro Machines in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I had cars, small playsets, bigger playsets, Monster Trucks, trains, and more. But the toy that alluded me that I really wanted was this Super Toolbox City. Just look at that thing! It folds out to such a degree that you could put 20 – 30 cars on this thing for maximum play fun. And that replica of the Golden Gate Bridge is massive and just seems to come out of nowhere for such a small playset.
The earlier play sets that were released for Micro Machines were the pocket playsets. They were pretty cool in their own right, as they would fold up to a size that you could put in your pocket. When you were ready to play, you’d unfold, install whatever set pieces with had with it, and you were ready to go. You could also snap all the little playsets together to make one larger cityscape.
But this bigger one was pretty cool because it could be toted along pretty easily, didn’t take up much space, but still unfurled to make a hell of a playset. I always fantasized about having this thing and toting it to grandma’s house, knowing that it would keep me from getting bored there. And that John Machida guy is pretty damn cool too.
Mad Scientist Monster Lab
The Mad Scientist Monster Lab from Mattel, Inc. in 1986, allowed users to “make disgusting, gross monsters…then sizzle the flesh off their bones!” The set included a plastic Monster Vat, plastic monster “Bones”, Green Monster Flesh, and Secret Froth formula for Dissolving Monsters.
It was a unique toy to be sure, but I can’t tell you just how unique. I got to be in its presence once at my grandmother’s house. Stevie the Tyrant was there and had brought the Monster Lab with him, but as usual, I wasn’t allowed to actually play with his toys, just watch him play with his toys.
But it did appear to be really cool to put the skeleton together, mix up the crap that would become the monster’s skin, and then dunk it in the shit that would make it fall off the bones.
Now with a toy like this, I can’t really blame Stevie the Tyrant for not letting me play with it. I mean, he only had so many packs of all the stuff it took to make this magic with, and letting me have a turn would have robbed him of a turn later on. It’s not like this was a G.I. Joe figure or something that he could get many more hours of play with later. The fun of this thing was kind of finite. But regardless, I still would have loved to try my hand with it.
Love watching these commercials, they definitely take me back. I remember going to my neighbor’s house and we would all play with the Micro Machines set up in the basement. So many great memories and always enjoyed their commercials. Plus, who can forget John Moschitta Jr. on Saved By The Bell as Mr. Testaverde aka Terrible Testaverde!
John Moschitta was great in real life as well. I got to meet him once. Super guy all around.
I didn’t have a whole lot of G.I. Joe, comparatively speaking to my other stuff, but I did have the WHALE. Fun vehicle, but I never did get to take it in the tub or to a pool or anything.
You lucky dog. I had a LOT of GI Joe stuff, but that hovercraft always eluded me.
All well after my time of course – and I can’t say I recall any UK adverts promoting these either. But though I was never into board games really, I do like the look of that Fireball Island!
(GI Joe, I presume was a smaller vesrion of ’70s Action Man?)