Games & Toys

The Art of Activision Atari Covers

The Art of Activision Atari Covers

Games & Toys
I can't even begin to calculate the hours I spent playing Activision games for my Atari 2600. I think they probably had the most fun games on average out of any gaming company back then. One of the crucial parts of Activision's appeal was their artwork. I'm referring specifically to the great use of simple drawings with those bold, rainbow motion patterns. There was a real sense of thematic unity behind a lot of Activision's games, which really helped them so stand out from the pack. Not all of their titles shared that unity, but many did. So in tribute to the great (and not-so-great) Activision games with the brilliant packaging, here is my Atari 2600 Activision cover slideshow gallery. Here's what we have here -- Boxing, Enduro, Fishing Derby, Freeway, Grand Prix, Ice Hockey, Kaboo...
Vintage Tabletop: Marvel World Adventure Playset (1975)

Vintage Tabletop: Marvel World Adventure Playset (1975)

Games & Toys
Straight out of the Bronze Age of comic books comes this cool Marvel board game from Amsco. Hell, even if I never got to play with the thing it'd be worth owning one just to have as a model. Look at the picture on the box and see what I mean: This thing is so cool I'm even willing to overlook the glaring grammar error in the list of locales. See if you can spot it: Baxter Building Daily Bugle Offices Peter Parker's Apartment Avenger's Town House(!) Dr. Strange's Mansion The Negative Zone Fantastic Four Air Car Working Elevator Secret Trap Door Here is what the original, shrink-wrapped contents look like: It's a little early for Christmas, but if you're reading this and want to know where to send one of these just let me know!
Rebuilding My Vintage G.I. Joe Action Figure Collection: Introduction

Rebuilding My Vintage G.I. Joe Action Figure Collection: Introduction

Games & Toys
This is the first in a series of posts wherein I document the rebuilding of my vintage G.I. Joe collection one figure and vehicle at a time. But first a bit of background. You may not know it by reading this site, but I am a child of the 1980s. And like any red-blooded American child growing up in the '80s, I took pride in my toy collection. And while I dabbled in He-Man figures and even had a decent M.A.S.K. collection, for me it was all about Transformers and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Recently I decided that with my son on the cusp of prime toy-playing age, it was time to restore one of my old collections to something approaching its former glory. I picked up a few Transformers G1 minibots and a few M.A.S.K., vehicles, and that was fun enough. But I don't think rebuil
Vintage Tabletop: Wacky Races (1969)

Vintage Tabletop: Wacky Races (1969)

Games & Toys
For the first entry in my new series, Vintage Tabletop, we're going to take a look at one of the countless TV tie-in board games of the 1960s -- Wacky Races. It's based, quite obviously, on the 1968 Hanna-Barbera cult classic cartoon of the same name. Released by Milton Bradley in 1969 (the same year the short-lived series ended), Wacky Races is a 2-4 player game targeted at the 7-to-15 age group. It's a fairly straightforward dice racing game, and the object is to beat the villainous Dick Dastardly to the finish line with your racer. Or as the game puts it, "The players maneuver their crazy autos across the countryside tying to avoid the traps set up by the villain, Dick Dastardly." There are small cardboard cutouts for all the vehicles seen in the show -- the Boulder Mobile, Bu
All Aboard the 1955 Honeymooners’ Special Jackie Gleason Bus

All Aboard the 1955 Honeymooners’ Special Jackie Gleason Bus

Auction Finds, Games & Toys
I've written before about the Great One, Jackie Gleason, on this site. Between his television, movie, and music careers, the man was a bona fide superstar during the 1950s and into the '60s. So I don't know why I was surprised to find out that his image was even used to sell toys. In this case, most appropriately, a bus. But not just any bus -- it's the 1955 Honeymooners' Special Jackie Gleason Bus, produced by a company called Wolverine. The Jackie Gleason Bus features Ralph Kramden from the Honeymooners, of course, but other Gleason characters as well. I can spot Joe the Bartender, Reginald Van Gleason III, and the Poor Soul. And awa-a-y we go! Notice that while the bus is tin the wheels are wooden. I also think the POW! license plate is a nice touch. For more auction...
Auction Finds: Vintage Cragstan RCA-NBC Mobile Color TV Truck

Auction Finds: Vintage Cragstan RCA-NBC Mobile Color TV Truck

Auction Finds, Games & Toys
I would so love to own one of these vintage tin beauties -- it's a battery-powered RCA-NBC Mobile Color TV Truck from Cragstan. I've included multiple shots here because there's a lot of great detail here. Based on the NBC logo used, I'd date this at around the late 1950s. Here's a few pics with the original box. Love the vintage '50s color scheme. Great detail on the cameraman, and of course there's the classic RCA "His Master's Voice" logo on the side. On the right side we have the original peacock logo, circa late '50s. I wonder what's going on behind the blinds? For more auction finds, click here.
Meet the Mr. Potato Head Toy Family

Meet the Mr. Potato Head Toy Family

Featured Posts, Games & Toys
The icon that was to be known as Mr. Potato head was born in the early 1950s when Brooklyn-born inventor George Lerner came up with the idea of inserting small, pronged body and face parts into fruits and vegetables to create a "funny face man" toy. After Lerner sold his idea to Hasbro -- then known as Hassenfeld Bros. -- Mr. Potato Head was officially introduced on May 1, 1952. The original toy kit cost $0.98 and contained plastic hands, feet, ears, two mouths, two pairs of eyes, four noses, three hats, eyeglasses, a pipe, and eight felt pieces resembling facial hair. By the mid 1960s, stricter government safety regulations meant that the plastic accessories could no longer easily puncture real food, so Hasbro introduced the all-plastic Mr. Potato Head in 1964. They also introduced
Vintage Toys: 1970s Star Trek Inter-Space Communicator

Vintage Toys: 1970s Star Trek Inter-Space Communicator

Auction Finds, Games & Toys
The original Star Trek TV series ended in 1969, but its enduring popularity was evident not long after. Fan demand for new adventures led to the 1973-74 animated series, and it's from that period that this neat Star Trek toy comes from. It's an Inter-Space Communicator, released in 1974 by a British company called Lone Star. Hell, I'd like just the packaging, featuring a surprisingly decent illustration of Kirk and Spock. In case it wasn't immediately obvious, the communicators here worked with a string attached between them. To the future! Operating instructions and closeup shots are here. For more auction finds, click here.
Vintage Toys: James Bond 007 Thunderball Action Figure

Vintage Toys: James Bond 007 Thunderball Action Figure

Auction Finds, Games & Toys
Here's a dashing action figure likeness of Sean Connery as James Bond from the 1965 film Thunderball. The movie was released in 1965 so I'm assuming the action figure -- produced by Gilbert -- was as well. Dig that sweet SCUBA outfit, complete with fins, snorkel, and super-snug bathing trunks! The Thunderball line turned out to be almost the last hurrah for Gilbert (known officially as the A.C. Gilbert Company), which closed for good in 1967 after almost 60 years in business. Gilbert, incidentally, introduced the world-famous Erector Set in 1913. For more auction finds, click here.