Hot Wheels

Five Fun Hot Wheels Toys

I’ve been feeling pretty nostalgic for Hot Wheels lately, so I feel like running down some of my favorite Hot Wheels toys. There have been plenty of cool Hot Wheels toys that have come along in recent years, but my list is looking at Hot Wheels toys from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.  I’m not including any individual cars this time out, because I hope to do a deep dive on those in the near future. 

Sto & Go Playsets

Hot Wheels made their own play sets for a while called Sto and Go.  You can’t see it in this picture, but these things folded up and made their own carrying case, hence the name Sto and Go.  They made several versions of this play set, but the city one was probably my favorite. There was one at my grandmother’s house, and it became the main street area from The Dukes of Hazzard as we played with the Ertl cars based on the show..  I had a lot of various construction themed vehicles and the construction zone Sto and Go was a great addition to those cars.

Read More
Pudding Cup

Del Monte Pudding in a Can

You know how sometimes you find yourself sitting around doing whatever, and a random thought just pops into your head about some fast food item, or one of your favorite home-cooked dishes?  And then right behind it comes the hunger pain, and then you walk around with this craving laying heavy on you until you make the run to that fast food place, or whip up that dish that’s been on your mind, and quench that craving. 

Well, that’s what every waking moment of my life is like.  But I get no relief from those cravings, ’cause the food that I crave don’t exist anymore in most cases.  I continually carry the burden of a thirst that can’t be quenched.  I’m like those cursed pirates in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. 

I can’t satisfy those cravings because what I crave just can’t be found.  I’m talking about all those awesome fast food items, chips, candies, snacks, and drinks from years gone by, and they’re always on my mind and driving me crazy!  And I don’t know if it helps, or just makes the cravings worse to talk about them, but I’m going to do it anyway.  And today, I’m talking about one of my most missed foods…Del Monte pudding…in a can!

Kids who came along in the early ’90s and later can have their Hunt’s Snack Packs, or their Swiss Miss from the dairy aisle. For me, the king of the hill when it came to pre-packaged pudding was Del Monte’s Chocolate Pudding in the can. Not a plastic cup, but in the little metal can! Scientists can conduct all the experiments they want to determine what effects tin and plastic packaging have on the taste of packaged food, but I can save them a little time and sum it for them in one sentence. It just tasted better out of the can! Period. End of story.

Of course, fond memories, nostalgia, and many, many years of time can mislead the brain when it comes to reality. Maybe it wasn’t the metal can that made it taste better. It could have been the fact that I would get this fantastic little treat when visiting my grandmother. She always kept a large supply on hand, because she had 16 grandchildren, and every one of us was fans of these little cans of chocolate heaven. More times than I can even start to remember, my cousins and I would sit on her front porch indulging in the magic of those little cans of pudding while talking about important subjects of the day like He-Man, Transformers, and the latest issue of Batman.

When I was sick and out of school, that meant a day at Grandma’s to recuperate. And on those days, you were treated to not one, but TWO cans of Del Monte Chocolate pudding. One with lunch, and an extra one “just because” later in the afternoon. You pair those cans of pudding with some Tropicana orange juice out of its glass bottle, and a can of Chicken Noodle soup, you had a remedy for sickness better than anything a doctor could prescribe.

Nowadays, you can always run to the store to pick up a 4-pack of pudding in cheap plastic cups, but you’ll not find that incredible taste that you could enjoy when you popped a top on a can of Del Monte back in the day.

Classic Commercials: Lazer Tag

Back when the commercials for Lazer Tag came out, I was blown away by what I was seeing on my TV screen. Those guys and gals were running and jumping around an arena, playing a game of tag with laser pistols. It was not only exciting, it was futuristic. You gotta remember back to 1986. The Walkman was damn near at the top of the technological heap as far as 8-year-olds were concerned. So seeing this was mind-blowing.

While I never had these wonderful toys, I do remember them being on the lips of me and all my friends at school for a good long time. Some of my friends were lucky enough to get their hands on them, but sadly, I wasn’t ever invited over to play with them.

I did however get to watch Lazer Tron on NWA Wrestling. The character was created to capitalize on the popularity of the toys and technology. I just had to make do with cheering him on in a wrestling ring instead of suiting up and playing an incredible game of tag.

Royal Rumble

5 Memorable Moments in Royal Rumble History

With this year’s Royal Rumble coming up this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to look back at some of the Royal Rumble moments that have made the event a staple on the pro wrestling calendar.  So,  without further ado, here are five memorable moments in Royal RUmble history!

The First Royal Rumble in 1988

Back in late 1987 when the first Royal Rumble was announced as being broadcast on the USA Network, I was pumped.  I had gotten to go to a friend’s house to watch Starrcade ’87 but had yet to be allowed to order a wrestling pay-per-view.  So when I found out this event was going to be free and I would get to watch it, I was bouncing off the walls.

The first Royal Rumble didn’t disappoint either.  One of my favorites at the time, Ricky Steamboat, had a match with Rick Rude, and there was the contract signing between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant for their rematch at the upcoming Wrestlemania IV.  But the big draw was their new concept in battle royals, the Royal Rumble itself.  Just the concept was enough to get me to watch the show without all the other matches.

This first one was probably the hardest to peg who was going to win.  Once they added the stipulation that the winner would get a title shot made it pretty easy to guess who was going to win each year.  But this one lacked all the real big stars and was made up of mid-card guys, making it really hard to figure out.  “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan came out on top, and I had a hell of a time watching my first “big event” live. 

Read More
Superhero Burger

The McDonald’s Superhero Burger of 1995

McDonald’s has released more than their fair share of various hamburgers and sandwiches through the years. Some have been big hits, and others colossal flops. And while different ones like the McD.L.T. have been discussed at length through the years, the Superhero burger rarely gets mentioned. Let’s change that.

Historically, the Big Mac has always been the largest burger on McDonald’s menu.  But for one glorious month in 1995, it played second fiddle to the Super Hero Burger.  With it’s 3 (that’s right, 3!) burger patties on a hoagie length bun, with two different slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo….this sucker was a monster. 

The Super Hero burger had two promotional tie-ins attached to it.  First and foremost, it was available during the release of the movie Batman Forever, and Batman, Robin, Riddler, and Two-Face all figure prominently in the advertising spots for this burger.  Secondly, 1995 was the year that McDonald’s released a different burger every month, known as their “Taste of the Month”, and this was the featured item one month.  Speaking of the “Taste of the Month” promotion, I’m going to have to dig deeper into that for some future write-up. That was a great year for new products from McDonald’s.

Read More
Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills in the Playoffs Takes Me Back to the ’90s

This past Saturday, the Buffalo Bills advanced to the AFC title game for the first time since the 1993 season.  The team certainly appears to be capable of winning the game, but their opponents, the Kansas City Chiefs, are currently the best team in football. 

But just seeing the Bills back in contention for a Superbowl berth takes me straight back to the ’90s. Back then, the Bills being in the playoffs and having exciting moments went together like peanut butter and jelly. Like back in 1993 when they were a wildcard team and had to face the offensive powerhouse Houston Oilers.  And they had to do it without their starting quarterback Jim Kelly, their starting tailback Thurman Thomas, and one of their best linebackers, Cornelius Bennett.  At least they were getting to play in their home stadium if nothing else. 

My old man and I decided to watch the game that afternoon.  My Dad was just a casual football fan and rarely watched a game unless it was the Superbowl, and even then I think it was just because it was a national event, and not because he personally enjoyed it so much.  As for me, I was really getting into football at that point, and watched full games every week, and was excited about all the playoff matchups.  What we thought was going to be just an enjoyable playoff game, turned out to be one of the most exciting NFL games ever played, and featured the greatest comeback in NFL playoff history. 

Read More
Super Toolbox City

Classic Commercials: 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.

Check out other old toys in these other Classic Commercials posts!

Talking Note Pad

Product of the Past: The Talking Note Pad

The 1980s brought plenty of advancements in technology…things that amazed us at the time. Home video game systems, compact discs, big-screen TVs, handheld video cameras, home computers, and so much more. And a lot of those products have stood the test of time. But not this one.

No, the Talking Note Pad was certainly a product of its time and was quickly left behind by other modern marvels. But my family had one of these things handing on the fridge in our kitchen. That was made possible by the handy magnet on the back of it.

But at the time, what wasn’t to love about this do-it-all piece of convenience? I mean it featured a notepad and a pencil to jot down notes and leave them for other family members. Like, if you wanted to remind Mom to pick up another box of Morning Funnies Cereal or Oatmeal Swirlers for breakfast, all you had to do was leave her a note! And if you weren’t sure that just handwriting on a piece of paper would convey the urgency of the matter, then you could record an actual message! Hallelujah! Breakfast would be saved!

This thing had a voice recorder and a playback feature and came with not one, but two tapes to record on! It even had a volume control so you could turn it up real loud so when she hit play, there’s no way she wouldn’t get blasted with your message.

And a convenient little feature this wonder device also boasted was that the organizer part was detachable, so you could move this marvel around wherever you may need access to a pad and pencil, or clipped coupons, fingernail clippers, or whatever else wouldn’t fit in that drawer in your kitchen. You know which drawer I mean. We all had one.

Unfortunately, the Talking Note Pad ran its course. But we can all take solace in the fact that things like this eventually led to the invention of the smartphone. I mean, something had to come along to replace this, or how would we ever leave messages for Mom, or write notes to remind ourselves that Hulk Hogan was wrestling Paul Orndorff in a cage on Saturday Night’s Main Event that weekend?!? It was a must-have product of the past.

Hills Department Store

eBay Archeology | Hills Department Store Model!

Ok, so this isn’t a typical eBay Archeology post since I’m not showcasing something that is actually old. But holy crap how could I not bring this sweet piece of merchandise to your attention?!?

It’s a 1/160 scale model of an old Hills department store. The listing says it measures 4 inches by 10 inches. I’m not sure how that measures up to buildings from Christmas village sets or anything, but I don’t think I’d care. If I had a village, I’d certainly plop this bad boy right in the middle of town.

But as it stands, I’m probably going to pick up one of these to just put on display on a shelf somewhere in my home. I saw this thing and memories once again came flooding back. I like the thoughts of having it around just for those days you’re feeling down, you can just sit and stare at this thing and probably start feeling better right away.

It sells for $29.99 + $5.95 shipping. That’s a steal in my opinion. You can view the listing here if you’re interested in getting one.

Classic Commercials: 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 was 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.