It has been over 4 years since I first wrote the original “Lost in the Attic: The Toys That Time Forgot” piece. When I originally wrote the first installment it was simply as a companion piece to another bit I did called “Saturday Mourning: A Memorial to the Cartoons That Time Forgot“. The funny thing is the “Lost in the Attic” bit ended up getting more interest. Lets face it, the toys, action figures and games were so much better in the 80’s than what they are now. They were awesome and that is why they generate the nostalgia that they do.
When I started writing what would eventually become the first three parts in this series, I stuck to 2 rules. First I would only write about toys I currently own or had owned at one point because what in the hell would be the point of me telling you about something I never actually played with. Second, I don’t get into the most popular toys like G.I. Joe, Transformers and He-Man. Now that I am re-visting this series after at least 2 years of not exploring it I have decided to stick with those same two rules. The bonus for all of you is in the time since I last wrote one of these I have been to a lot more toy shows, purchased a lot more stuff off ebay and been given a lot of old junk no one wanted.
I hope that this helps to bring back some fond memories for you the way it has for me.
I came across my first Action Jack at a toy con a few months ago. They are kind of like G.I. Joe’s REALLY lame cousin. They aren’t that articulate and kind of poorly made, but they still seem fun. Plus, look at that mountain play set!
One of my friends told me about these a while ago and he described it as “Some kind of car with an air pump that makes it go” and the only thing I could think of were those old water pressure rockets. Then, about 2 months ago I saw one on EBAY and bought it for him for Christmas. It was exactly what he described.
Etch A Sketch Animator
As a kid, who didn’t love the Etch A Sketch? When I was little I used to use one to design stuff I would later build out of Lego’s. I also used to draw a lot of stairs and squared off boobs. The Animator was the next step. It, as its name implies, allows you to animate your drawings. Hours of fun!
I have seen a lot of people compare Army Ants to M.U.S.C.L.E. figures and to be honest, I guess that is a fair comparison. They are both small, their are WAVES of both of them and they don’t really do much. The Army Ants are a little bigger and to be honest not quite as cool, but they are still fun. I have 2 that do battle from time to time when I am really drunk.
At first I wasn’t going to include this because I didn’t think anyone would know what the hell I was talking about. Of course I thought that about the Armatron too and I ended up getting a ton of emails about that so I am putting this in. The Big Trak is a six wheeled toy and you could program it to do things with the keypad on the back. It moved kind of slow but it would crawl over lots of stuff. I used to use it with my G.I. Joe’s and say it was a renegade tank. I think you could also buy a dumping trailor thing too but I never owned that and only vaugely remember it.
The Bionic Six were always one of my favorite cartoon shows and therefor of course one of my favorite toy lines. Beyond it being a great show, the toys were really well made too. I could be mistaken, but I believe they shared the same kind of construction as G.I. Joe and C.O.P.S. My favorite toy was Scarab, but I haven’t been able to find him since I was a kid.
It took me FOREVER to remember what these things were called. Between my cousins and I we had about a billion pieces of these things. Iwould describe them to people and they always thought I was talking about Lego’s or an erector set. They were three sided beams that would lock into the special joints and you could build all kinds of shit. Tanks, Starfighters, buildings. They were awesome.
Curse of the Cobra
Curse of the Cobra was a game that I imagine was sued out of existence by George Lucas. Even the 80’s Allen Quartermaine movies didn’t rip off Indiana Jones quite this bad. The point of the game was to lift things off of an Idol with out having the cobras wrap around your hand.
Hey, remember that Dick Tracy movie from the 80’s that had a HUGE cast and should have been a major hit but pretty much bombed out of theaters? Well it had a toy line. Don’t ask me why. I can say this, I had pretty much the entire line because my neighbor was selling them at a yard sale so he could buy a Nintendo game. He was sold me all of them for like $3.00 and I still have three or four of them. Any how, you can’t go to a toy convention without seeing a shitload of these because a bunch were made and no one bought them. So now you can get them dirt cheap on ebay. They are kind of cool though.
These toys were another one of my favorites. Infact I can’t express how great these were. The legs and arms didn’t really bend but the vehicles were cool, the toys were sturdy and they were based off the fucking Ghostbusters. What more do you need fool?
These weren’t my favorite toy as a kid and the only reason they really made the list is because someone asked me about them and I remembered I used to own them. They were essentially plastic drumsticks attached to a shitty speaker that blew out right away. Woo hoo. What kid wouldn’t want that? I think they had some gay keyboard thing that made you retarded if you looked at it.
Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors
I won’t lie to you. I forgot about this toy. You should to. It wasn’t good. Was not good. A bunch of semi gay dudes fighting plants? Come on.
This toy is a robot that from as near as I can tell you are supposed to sing into or some shit. The one pictured here is black, but mine is red. Mine is also missing an arm and even after I tracked down the right batteries for it it didn’t actually work. It looks cool thought.
I honestly never heard of these things before the Steel City Con last year. I happened upon what I thought was a really cool looking G.I.Joe knock off jet toy. Turns out it was a MANTA Force toy. The ship can fit a dude a little smaller than a Joe actually, about a M.A.S.K. size so it is interchangable with other lines. From everything I read the toys were made by some company that got bought by Mattel and then Mattel never made this particular line. If anyone else has any more info please tell me. They seem like cool toys.
Honestly I shouldn’t include these because they were a bit too popular for this list, but they were also the ONLY car toys that were fucking cool. I hated Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars as a kid because they were just cars and had no personality. But Micro Machines made the car the action figure. It was an awesome idea. They had really cool playsets and thousands of different cars. They also did stuff for the Star Wars movies and I think the Star Trek movies too but I could be wrong on that. If it doesn’t say Micro Machines…Its not the real thing!!!
Monster in my Pocket
Monster in my Pocket was the lamest of all the M.U.S.C.L.E. knock offs. I mean they were poorly detailed and looked shitty, but I guess in their own way they were kind of charming.
The original tiny toy. There were thousands of these little pink dudes and they were cool as fuck. I bought a bag of 180 of these guys off EBAY one time for $10. Man these things were cool.
Pass the Pigs
One of two games in the 80’s that had to do with pigs. This game was actually really fun. I remember when I was in 5th grade I used to take it to school every day and me and my friends would play it. It ended up turning in to throwin bones for lunch money but it was still fun. I also kissed a girl for the first time because she lost a game to me. Yeah.
The point of this game was to get all the peices in the right spot before the timer went off and they all flew out. The tag line was “Pop goes Perfection”. I used to play this all the time with my best friend down the street. I had the board up until about 2 years ago when I threw it out because I only had like 3 pieces left.
The ULTIMATE weird ass game of the 80’s. Don’t ask me why but there was a MAJOR boom in family games in the 80’s that made no sense what so ever. Video games hadn’t exploded at home just yet and I guess people were buying whatever games they could get their hands on. This game featured pigs playing ping pong…sort of. There was this foamy, papery ball type thing that ALWAYS got flattened out and these two pigs that you would squeeze to force the air out of them. The air jets would move the ball and you would score it like ping pong. I still have one rubber pig somewhere. Man. Weird.
The Pocket Rockers were these little mini tapes that had one, maybe two songs on them and would play on a loop. They were kind of like the original I-Pod for kids. I think the idea was good but just a little over priced for all the more they did. I would love to see one that was still in working condition. If you were a kid in ’89 and you had a Pocket Rock and one of those Tiger handheld games you were cooler than a kid with a PSP now.
Rattle me Bones
Rattle me bones was another one of the non-board variety family games of the 80’s. Only this one was really fucking cool. There was this skeleton who was all decked out in treasure and the goal was to take it from him. I think the thing was though if you bumped him around to much he went crazy and knocked all of the shit off. Either that or you had to try and put the shit on him. I don’t really remember. I just remember how much fun my mom and I had playing it.
GAYEST. TOY. EVER….EVER.
I know I have said it a couple of times, but these absolutely were my favorite toy as a kid and they still are today. I LOVED these toys. I LOVED this cartoon. I loved it. Fucking great.
Be sure to check out Part 3
or go on to Part 5