Here is the latest episode of the Wax Pack Flashback show I do for The Retro Network on YouTube. It’s episode 7 in the series, and a special Christmas themed edition. In this one, I open up a pack of Santa Around the World trading cards from 1993. If you like the show, consider hitting the “Like” button on it, and subscribing to the TRN YouTube channel while you’re there. And hey, if you’re feeling really helpful, give it a share on your social media channels. It never hurts to spread the fun!
I’m bringing back my old feature, Top 5. It’s where I do a quick list of my five favorites from a variety of topics. With the two big days of Christmas upon us, this time I’m ranking the Top 5 presents I received for Christmas through the years. It’s too hard to put these in any kind of order of most favorite to least, so I’m listing them in the order of when I received them. Feel free to leave your own top 5 in the comments at the bottom.
I’ve got a feeling I got this in 1984, since it probably wouldn’t have been like my old man to buy it in 1983 when my fandom was just blossoming for all things He-Man. He generally liked to wait until he was sure I was really into something before dropping a lot of dough on it. But what kid out there who was lucky enough to get this for Christmas wouldn’t enjoy it? I know I flipped for it. I’ve got an old polaroid of me just after opening it, and I’m crying. They had to be tears of joy. But this was the highlight of my Christmas that year, and countless battles were fought around, in, and for Castle Grayskull in the following months and years.
I love old advertising, and I especially love old Christmas ads, so let’s take a look at some Christmas ads from way back when.
This ad from Gambles department store perfectly showcases what was probably some of the standard toys for the day. That Electra Mustang Airplane is pretty cool in the fact that it could actually fly, but it wasn’t quite as advanced as the radio-controlled versions that would come in later years. You can see that it has a string keeping it attached to a base so it just flys in a circle. But I would bet back then, that was still exciting enough to keep kids playing with it for a long time. And the Variety Game Chest Kit would have given kids something to do for a LONG time after Christmas had come and gone.
The Ford Pinto was one of those cars that everyone laughed at in the ’80s, but I have no idea how people felt about it when it was first on the market. Regardless, if you were getting a new car for Christmas, I’m sure you’d be ecstatic no matter what kind of vehicle it was.
Recently, I spent quite a bit of time working on and posting a feature called, 1986: The Year Santa Became Real. In it, I go into detail about how my Christmas experiences took a huge upturn in 1986 and mentioned several awesome toys that I got from Santa Claus that year. I didn’t have space in the feature to go into a lot of detail on each of those toys, so this whole article is dedicated to just that!
Cobra Terror Drome
The big one that Christmas morning in 1986 was the G.I. Joe Cobra Terror Drome. At that time in life, my world revolved around four toys. G.I Joe, Masters of the Universe, Construx, and Legos….with G.I. Joe being at the top of the list. Knowing this, it was no surprise to my parents that the biggest hit of the holiday season would be this huge G.I. Joe playset.
It had room for plenty of figures, so massive battles were a foregone conclusion. I stockpiled this sucker with every bad guy I had in my collection and then began a full-on assault with all of the good guys I could find. Even Bo & Luke Duke in their 3 3/4″ figure form and the General Lee got in on the action on the side of the Joes!
The initial battle was a stalemate, with Cobra barely able to hold off the tremendous might of the Joes, as they retreated back a little way to regroup and plan for a second assault. Now, of course, this stalemate was only to ensure that the Terror Drome was intact to play with again the following day. I spent a while Christmas afternoon interacting with various parts of this set. The Cobra vehicles re-fueled at the re-fueling station built into it, while some of the top Cobra brass interrogated a captured Joe down in the holding cell area.
No other time of the year holds more nostalgic memories for me than Christmas. All my life – from a kid, up through today – I spend all year long looking forward to this time of year and making plans to make it as special as possible for my kids. The climax of the whole season is Christmas morning itself. That magical time of the year when you get up really early and rush to the Christmas tree to see what Santa Claus has left for you.
It seems that Christmas morning is kind of a tally sheet for the year, doesn’t it? Like, as a kid, you had all these things you wanted all year, and all those wishes would culminate in that one single morning. If you got a lot of loot or very cool loot, your year was a success. If not, well…better luck next year kid. At least that’s the way it went in my mind all those years ago. I had a few of what I thought were less-than-stellar Christmas mornings, but then 1986 came along and changed all of that.
Nowadays, I like to look back on different people’s Christmas mornings of years past and marvel at how cool it must have been to be in their shoes on those mornings so long ago.
So first up, this kid looks pretty pleased to have gotten the GoBots Command Center playset under his tree on Christmas morning. I was a big fan of the GoBots cartoon, but only ever had two of the action figures…Loco and Dive-Dive. Now while I wish I had more of the figures and would have loved the Command Center, I never put it on any of my Christmas lists because it wouldn’t have been very much fun without a lot of the action figures to go along with it.
In the background on his right, someone has gotten some kind of G.I. Joe playset, because we can clearly see the opened box. I’ve gotta take a few points away from this kid now knowing that he chose to pose with the GoBots toy when he could have been posing with the G.I. Joe one instead.
Enjoy this old school trip back in time and check out Woolworth’s Christmas catalog from 1954. It was a time of simpler toys, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a large selection to choose from. This would be our parent’s and grandparent’s version of a Sears Wish Book. So flip through, and see what it would have been like for them.
I recently came across an issue of McCall’s magazine from December of 1967, and while getting lost in all the great advertising, I stumbled upon some fun and tasty looking recipes from that magical year. The Christmas season always brings along it’s own unique blend of tasty treats that are usually reserved for the holiday and not many other times of the year. So chances are these recipes only saw print a few times through the years. Well today, we’re pulling these old recipes out and sharing them with the world!
While all the food on this spread looks pretty tempting, the only recipe given is for the Cream Wafers that are pictured at bottom right. They seem easy enough to make, and look pretty dang good too! The main thing I’ve picked up on in these old recipes, and you’ll see as we go along, is they call for butter and not margarine. These are my kind of people right here!
Now I know that aluminum foil isn’t food, but Reynolds Wrap got in on the game with some “recipes” of their own to try and move more of their product by giving you ideas of things to do with it. You can wrap a child’s present with it, Christmas candles look more “gala” when they have some foil curled around them. From the looks of things, I guess bunching a big glob of it up and sitting the candle in it as a base works too. It even says you can line your fireplace with it to reflect it’s glowing warmth.