Catalog Pages: 1982 Sears Wish Book featuring G.I. Joe

I love going through old catalogs from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s to reminisce on the fashion trends, gadgets of the time, and especially the toys.  The Sears Christmas Wish Book is the jackpot of catalogs as far as all that is concerned.  They almost act as time capsules, taking you back in time for a look at how things were each year.

Today I’ve got a heck of a page from the 1982 Sears Wish Book, as it features almost all of the original toys from the G.I. Joe:  A Real American Hero line!  This G.I Joe line is my favorite toy line of all time, so it has been a lot of fun looking back at this page.  Let’s take a tour of it.

Sears Wish Book GI Joe

As you can see, this page has all the heavy hitters…with the exception of the HAL.  There are a couple of the larger action vehicles at the top, along with the exclusive Cobra Command Missile HQ, sets of different figures, the smaller vehicles and action sets, and a sweet G.I. Joe tent!  Let’s go in for a closer look.

Cobra Missile Command HQ

So here is a closer look at the Cobra Missile Command HQ, and from reading the description at the bottom of the page, it comes with the three Cobra figures in the box above, which means you get Cobra Commander, a Cobra Officer, and a Cobra trooper!  Seems like an absolute bargain for just $10.99 even for 1982

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Walking Tall Movie Ads from TV Guide

I miss what I call the “glory days” of TBS back in the late 80’s through the early 90’s.  Those days when they would show cool old movies from the Turner collection, and the Walking Tall series is a great example.  They always done a fine job of advertising their programming in TV Guide, and below is a great example.  They were showing all three Walking Tall films in consecutive nights, and ran a different ad for each night in TV Guide that week.  Check out the three ads below.

Walking Tall Part 1

Walking Tall Part 2

Walking Tall:  The Final Chapter

Music Monday – Week of March 19th


Music Monday


US Top 40 Singles for the Week Ending March 19, 1983

Michael Jackson still rules the chart and three new songs enter the arena this week. Songs with noticeable titles: “Beat It” (which debuts out of nowhere at 24), “Little Red Corvette” and “She Blinded Me With Science”. It seems at some point, however, in the very recent past, Mr. Thomas Dolby took his song off of Spotify (I swear I just heard it last week on my 80’s playlist). Well, I wasn’t going to just skip it like it didn’t exist so I went looking for different versions of it on Spotify. That led me down a rabbit hole of a genre called 8-bit music. For those of you that don’t know, 8-bit music is the type of music you’d hear on old 80’s video games. There’s a whole genre on Spotify for this and it’s strangely fantastic (I recommend the 8-bit version of “My Sharona”). I found an 8-bit version of “She Blinded Me With Science” and put THAT on the playlist just for a place holder. It’s oddly catchy…as is the rest of the genre. Check it out if you get the chance…

Retro Round Table: Favorite 80’s Movies

We’re back once again for another Retro Round Table!  This time, we’re talking about our favorite movies from the 80’s.  There were a lot of memorable movies in the 80’s, and we are all nostalgic about one or more of them.  While I am more fond of old television shows from the 80’s, I do have a favorite movie from that decade too, and so do my friends, so I invited them over once again to share their memories as well.  I’m joined today as usual by Hoju Koolander from the SequelQuest Podcast, Jason Gross from Rediscover the 80’s, Eric Vardeman from Eric V Music, and new to the round table starting this week, we welcome in Spyda-Man from the great retro blog, 20 Years Before 2000!  Let’s get to it and see what movies we all loved!

This was like asking me my favorite album! So MANY to choose from. However, if I have to pick one…it’s Fletch.
So quotable. So hilarious. It’s Chevy Chase at his literal peak. In the four years leading up to this, he’d done Caddyshack, Seems Like Old Times, Under The Rainbow, Modern Problems and Vacation. All quality comedies. After this, though, all you have is Spies Like Us and Three Amigos. My high school buddies and I watched this movie again and again and again. And quoted it just as much. I’m 48 now and STILL quote it.
Go read through these quotes and you’ll remember:

– Eric Vardeman

Give Eric a follow on Twitter at @Eric_Vardeman, and you can find his retro memories right here on Retro Ramblings!  His new weekly feature here on Retro Ramblings, Music Mondays, is awesome too.  He looks back at the songs gracing the Top 40 list from 35 years ago in 1983!  He’s also a talented singer/songwriter, and you should check out his music at EricVMusic


My favorite movie from the 80’s has to be The Goonies! Not only is it my fave 80’s flick, but possibly my favorite movie of all time! I never actually did see The Goonies when it was released to theaters in 1985, but when it hit the VHS market a few months later it became a staple at sleepovers and parties. The main reason why I love this movie so much was because the story and relatable characters from The Goonies captured mine and my childhood friends imaginations. I mean, we planned entire weekends around attempts to recreate the epic story of Mikey and The Goonies’ quest for treasure to save the Goondocks! I even tried to come up with my own inventions to help us on our crazy adventures just like Data. You know, in case some devious ex-cons tried to stop us. The best Goonie idea I came up with was hiding the netting that held our Christmas Tree to the top of our car, up my coat sleeve. It was supposed to eject out in a flurry of awesomeness and wrap up anyone who stood in our way, but mostly it just caused my arm to get itchy. Nothing we ever did compared to the hunt for One-Eyed Willie’s riches, but we had a whole lot of fun trying. The closest we came was finding my brother’s collection of fools gold in his desk drawer. The Goonies was not just a movie to us, but it became a part of our lives and I will never forget the great memories The Goonies added to my childhood.

– Spyda-Man

You can check out Spyda-Man’s retro home on the web at 20 Years Before 2000.  You can also follow him on twitter @20_Years_Before.

Troop Beverly Hills

There are so many movie icons of the 80s to choose from when considering my favorite film of the decade. Heroes like Rambo or Batman, funny fellas like the Ghostbusters or Bill and Ted, but in my heart I know the top spot goes to Phyllis Nefler and her pack of spoiled rich girls in 1989’s Troop Beverly Hills. Oh, how I LOVE this movie, let me count the ways. First off the film features so many familiar 80’s sitcom stars including Shelley Long from Cheers, Craig T Nelson from Coach, Emily Schulman from Small Wonder, Ami Foster from Punky Brewster, Audra Lindley aka Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company and Tori Spelling from Beverly Hills, 90210 to name a few.Then there’s the fact that I grew up in a fairly affluent part of Southern California where I observed this life of privilege firsthand and totally knew ridiculous kids and parents like this. Oh and did you know that the animated opening title sequence was produced by John K, creator of the infamous Nicktoon, Ren and Stimpy? Plus, you gotta love the theatrics of selling girl scout cookies by holding a celebrity fashion show and performing a Tina Turner style pop song. Finally, Shelley Long totally reminds me of my own Mom when she took on the role of Cub Scout Den Mother for me and my friends the year this movie came out. Endlessly sweet, fun, fashionable and a little dingy, my mom IS Phyllis Nefler. I still own the VHS copy of Troop Beverly Hills we bought from our local video store, despite now owning the film on Blu-Ray and treasure it like a family heirloom. Beverly Hills what a thrill!

– Hoju Koolander

You can follow along with all of Hoju’s retro shenanigans on his twitter feed, @hojukoolander, read a lot of his his fine writing on a variety of retro topics at Retro-Daze, keep up with him at PopGeeks, and listen to his awesomely fun pod cast at SequelQuest Podcast where he and his cohorts craft sequels that we never got to movies that we loved!  Be sure to check out his latest piece over at Retro-Daze, Retro Magazine Round-Up: Black Belt!  Oh, and one more thing….stay tuned to Retro Ramblings, as Mr. Koolander has another fun movie review coming up soon as part of our Wrestlemania week.


So difficult to pick just one as my favorite. However, I will choose one that I’ve passed along to my kids. Ghostbusters was so impactful for my 8-year old brain in 1984. I don’t remember if it was the first movie I saw in the theater but judging the evidence, it was clearly my favorite as a kid. I remember spinning the 45 record single of Ray Parker Jr.’s theme at my birthday party that year as we played musical chairs. I received a light blue sweatshirt for Christmas with the iconic logo and the words “Back Off Man, I’m a Ghostbuster!” I remember eating the cereal with the glow-in-the-dark box and watching The Real Ghostbusters (and Filmation Ghostbusters) cartoon. And when Ghostbusters II came out, it impacted me all over again except this time it was Bobby Brown’s “On Our Own” on cassingle.

Ghostbusters has so many memorable scenes, quotable lines, and just something for everyone. There’s horror, comedy, romance, and adventure all in one film topped off with one of the coolest cars in cinematic history. I’ve seen the original film twice when it was re-released in theaters. On the 30th anniversary, I took my oldest son who was 9 at the time. He loved it. Probably not as much as I did when I was his age but he still saw why I’ve clung to it all these years. And now, the evidence is overwhelming. Just this month the film has come to Netflix and he initiated a viewing on his own. While many can’t get past the technology and fashion in ‘80s films, Ghostbusters is one of a select few that is truly transcendent among generations.

– Jason Gross

Jason is the creative force behind Rediscover the 80’s and is always posting some of the best retro content you’ll find anywhere on the web.  His twitter feed is a heavenly slice of the 80’s, so you should give him a follow there at @rd80s.  He and I collaborated last year to compile out list of our ten favorite episodes of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.  Check out his five here, and then give my five favorites a look too!

Karate Kid

I started out thinking this was a very hard topic to narrow down to just one pick, but it didn’t take very long for me to realize that the honor of my favorite movie from the 80’s gets bestowed on The Karate Kid.  I fell in love with the very first time I saw it.  Back in the days before my family had a VCR, my cousin Tim and his family had one.  They lived beside us, and my uncle Ernest would go to the new movie rental store in town and pick up a movie most summer days, and during the hottest part of the afternoon, we would settle down in his living room and watch a flick.

Tim and I weren’t the only two kids who loved The Karate Kid.  When we got back to school that August, all of our friends were imitating the crane kick, and the movie was our main topic of conversation for a long time.  But it was more than just the crane kick.  It was the “wax on, wax off” scene, and all the fights Daniel had with the Cobra Kai gang before the All Valley tournament.  Heck, it even inspired many of my friends to join the local karate class.  The closest I got to that was the set of Karate Kid pajamas I had back then.

– Retro Rambler

Of course you can follow along with me here on Retro Ramblings, but you can follow me on twitter @yesterdayville, and like my Facebook page.

M.U.S.C.L.E. Men Wrestling Toys

M.U.S.C.L.E. Men started out as a manga comic in the late seventies in Japan called Kinnikuman. It proved to be so popular, that an anime series of it was adapted and ran from 1983 – 1986, and focused around an intergalactic form of professional wrestling. Toy company Bandai quickly started producing the little two-inch figures as the show’s popularity soared. And like so many other things, when it became popular there, toy companies in the United States took notice, and Mattel launched its own line of the little pink warriors. Since the name Kinnikuman translates to “Muscle Man”, Mattel named the line M.U.S.C.L.E., as an acronym that stood for “Millions of Unusual Creatures Lurking Everywhere”. M.U.S.C.L.E. Men were produced from late 1985 – 1988 before finally fading from store shelves. Although their popularity was short-lived, it was impressive, as M.U.S.C.L.E. was listed as one of the 10 Best Selling Toys of 1986.

The little pink M.U.S.C.L.E. warriors were not really posable in any way, and were so small that you couldn’t really do much with them. But the fact that they came in multi-packs, and that they were marketed as “wrestlers” was enough to hook me initially. It was intriguing to see who would win in a fight between someone with a motorcycle for a body or a human with a ripped body and the head of a wild boar. Of course, who won that battle was up to the kid in control of the action. That is, until the Hard Knockin’ Rockin’ Ring Wrestling Arena came on the market.

It was a small yellowish-orange contraption with glorified rubber bands for ring ropes, and a plastic arm that held the two combatants. You and a friend would do battle by moving your wrestler side to side, Rock ’em Sock’em Robot style, in an attempt to knock your opponent off if his plastic control arm. If you did, you were the winner. The key was to find one whose body was slightly too big to fit in the controller, and then force him into it anyway. He would then be almost impossible to beat. My best friend and I would play this for a while, and each match, we would select a combatant. The winner would win the losing figure from its owner. Both his and my collection of these increased and decreased, depending on who had the better day of competition.


The big drawing point for me was two-fold. First, their small size made them easily transportable. It was quite easy to stuff several in each pocket and head off somewhere and take the action with me. The second part was the cheapness of the toys. For a kid with a light allowance, being able to pick up multiple little M.U.S.C.L.E. warriors in one package was quite the draw. They were typically available in cardboard and plastic pack of four figures for around $1. Then there was the clear trash can stuffed with 10 mighty M.U.S.C.L.E. Men for the low price of $3. So as you can see, a kid could grow their collection quickly with minimum allowance spent.