Hey there Satellite Subscribers, its Charlton Hero on the deck of the Super-Hero Satellite transmitting from deep space. All the crew have been sent home for the holidays so its just you and I and what better time of the year than to celebrate our second official Holiday Special. In the event you missed our first Holiday Special..take a minute and soak up the music that simply means Christmas to me personally…https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/the-1st-annual-superhero-satellite-christmas-special/
All done? Alright..This year..I thought no better way to celebrate than with Sears Wish Book Christmas Catalog Toy ads!. These were my absolute favorite toy pages as a kid and I can’t wait for you to see them..nestle in Heroes..pour yourself a glass of Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate..settle in around the holo-fireplace in the archive room of the mighty Super-Hero Satellite and enjoy.
Transmission Begin: Dec 25. 2014
If you lived in my hometown there was one thing that every kid in town anxiously awaited..The arrival of the Sears Wish Book. A compendium of the best X-Mas presents and THE BEST toys that you could only get in the pages of this golden tome! My hometown did not offer a ton of choices in regards to shopping. We had the local Woolco, Dalfens, or The Chain Store (Actual Name..although not so sure it was actually a Chain Store..) Keep in mind in, the years from 1980-1989 we did not have the luxury of online shopping or large shopping malls in our area. There was no formal internet..it was truly the dark ages when you look where we are today..but we didn’t care! We had the friggin Wish Book!! The book usually landed on your doorstep or in the mail in late October which gave you plenty of time to dig through the pages and order what you wanted before the big day December 25th!!! It was a tradition to break out the pen and circle the gifts you “wished” you had under the tree that year!! For my own personal memories and maybe my kids if they read this years from now..here are a few pages of the joys I looked at in awe in the days before every Christmas!!
You have to know my first stop in the Wish Book was the Star Wars section..on the page above is my favorite toy of all time..The Death Star..yup I had that Bad Boy..and it retailed for only 19.99 back in the day!! A steal for all involved!! Now check out the bottom of the page and check out the classic Star Wars Play Doh set complete with Play Doh Style X-Wing!! You had molds to create Play Doh versions of your favorite Star Wars characters!! Loved making a great Green PlayDoh Luke!! Thats right!!
This was my era..I pulled off the Millennium Falcon (I broke the bay door assembling it myself..ugghh)..I had the Ice Planet Hoth Playset pictured above complete with collapsible Ice cave and rebel bunker!! The Hoth versions of the characters were also amazing. Plus, you were not cool unless you had the Bounty Hunters! I was never a fan of those Star Wars Micro Toys though!!
My second love was GI Joe!! Especially the originals!! Hawk, Grunt, Flash, Bazooka, Stalker, Scarlett, Rock and Roll, Breaker, Clutch, Zap and of course..Snake Eyes!! I had the V.A.M.P. Jeep..The Missile Launcher, Motor Cycle with side gun!! The Cobra Command Headquarters was a miss for me though. Even though it was a simple cardboard diorama..it had the elusive silver mask Cobra Commander and two Cobra scrubs!! There was no cooler figure than Cobra Commander!! On closer inspection on the opposite page you have Haunted House toys which I loved as well!! I had the Creature, and The Wolfman! On a trip to a Florida Toys are Us I also grabbed the Lone Ranger, Tonto and Their horses!! Always wanted the Lone Ranger Playset on the back of all those comic ads. Any reader ever have that particular set? At the bottom of the second page the Christmas debut of the legendary He-Man and The Masters Of the Universe Collection!! Check out that WindRaider in the corner!! Had every piece of that collection except Man At Arms!! Why do Toyline’s not feature as much awesome stuff these days?? What ever happened to the lost art of the Playset? Back in my day there was a Playset for everything!! Now some sets barely contain the action figures!!
Mego…Nuff said. I loved my Mego Spider-Man Spider Car with Spider Net! How about the BEST Bat Mobile Toy ever invented!! These have been long missing from my collection as they went to the dump many years ago after many years of play and battle damage but there was nothing cooler than playing with my Dynamic Duo and Wall Crawler action figures!! I do not recommend popping the wheels off these cars over and over again as the only thing you get is the heart break of the chassis pin breaking and your toy rendered useless! Ugghh. These were Amazing though!! Oh had Superman too!! Loved that Fonz toy but only managed a Ritchie Cunningham figure!! Never had the Planet Of The Apes Megos..which boasted the best often heralded amazing Planet Of The Apes Ape Command Tree House Playset!! This one was recently featured on Season 3 of AMCs Comic Book Men. No, I am not forgetting that wicked Star Trek set..never had that bad-boy..I would kill for a Captain Kirk /William Shatner Mego!! I am taking donations people!!
Next is a cautionary tale of Christmas past. NEVER..and I mean NEVER trade or sell one of your old Christmas toys..you WILL one day live in the waters of regret! My story occurred during an ill advised toy trade with a friend (That’s YOU John Stacey!) I lost one of my all time favorite Toys, The Star wars Rancor. I sold out my beast for a pile of vintage G.I. Joe’s..in mint condition. I think I still got the better deal but cant help but miss my Rancor!! The Jabba The Hut Playset was gifted to me at the height of the Return Of The Jedi hysteria and remains in my sons collection to this day!! One of the lost gems and the real center piece to this page was the very cool M.A.S.K. collection!! I had the Boulder Hill Playset, Transport Truck (The Rhino) and flying Sports car (The Thunder Hawk)!! For those of you not familiar with M.A.S.K. it was one of the most unique toy lines out there with a group of Super Agents equipped with transformable vehicles that they used to battle the evil terrorist regime V.E.N.O.M.!! Sound familiar? If it sounds too close to G.I. Joe… it was!! That’s why it ruled!! The M.A.S.K. collection were more or less a micro version of the Joe’s but the Vehicles and TV show left you thinking these may be the best Toys of all time..almost.
Boba Fetts Slave-1 was the boss of Star Wars vehicles and came complete with Frozen Han and is probably one of my favorite Star Wars toys ever made..that is until you factor in the AT-AT! I had both of these toys and I will tell you these are the standard by which all toys are to be judged!! These days if You see a vintage AT-AT Walker in a kids room and you know he has great friggin taste in toys!! One dark horse on the second page was The Duke Boys and Car Set!! Love my Dukes!! The TV series The Dukes of Hazard was a family favorite and having a wicked Bo and Luke set of figures complete with The General Lee was amazing!! The Toy line itself was very cool and I miss this set badly. The figures didnt much look like the Dukes outside of their clothes and broke pretty quickly but my time with the Dukes was a great time Yeeee Haaaa!!
Before The Game Boy or The 3DS there were Coleco Table Top Video Games!! If There were ever a cooler game system at the time..I dont know what it was! The Coleco Table Top games featured crude LCD graphics and were like having an arcade in your living room!! I had Galaxian (Which broke sadly..but was replaced with..) Frogger! I had Donkey Kong as well. Kong was the best of the bunch and was responsible for hours of gaming fun that Christmas..The sad reality was these things ate batteries like nobodies business!! You HAD to use the (Sold Separately) adapter or you had to mortgage your house to play these things!! They were also great due to the waaayyy cool side cabinet stickers and graphics these things still stand out in any retro collection!! Thanks Sears!!
I cannot go out without giving a shout out to my personal favorites the Go-Bots!! Got only three items on this page from actual X-Mas gifts and those being the very cool Super Go-Bot versions of Cy-Kill and Leader-1!! They were huge..simple and great!! The other was the shameful “Go-Bots Rogun Cap Rifle” I am pretty certain this was not official Go-Bots merchandise but Sears claimed it was so I received it one fateful December 25th!! I did however own three other huge pieces of Go-Bot lore..The Go-Bots Command Center (Won in a Trade…thanks Leslie Card!!!), The Renegade Thruster (Christmas Gift!!) and the fantastic Go-Bots Power Warrior set!!! (Got this on a trip to NY City baby!!!)
Countless big name franchises were just mentioned..Star Wars, GI Joe, Marvel, DC but the DarkHorse franchise was SECTAURS!! Warriors of The Symbion!! If you didnt have these figures you really missed a unique Toyline that passed by many people..but old Charlton Hero here is gonna tell ya that these figures absolutely kicked ass!! A toy based on a race of inset /human hybrids who rode massive insects and battled in the World of Symbion!! The figures themselves were a little taller than the Masters Of The Universe figures of their day but were more articulated. They had a flashy faux metal design for Armor and their “Vehicles” were large very detailed insects with real fur that you fit on your hand like a glove. The trick was that your fingers acted as their legs to add another level of creep factor to the beasts!! Prince Dargon was always my favorite but my X-Mas gift collection one great year consisted of Skulk and Trancula, Pinsor and Battle Beetle, Zak, Mantor, Skito and Commander Waxpax, the latter Four figures came with mini insects that feature a button activated feature that was unique to its owner! Then of course there was the elusive Hyve..a Battle set of Battle sets!! Sadly I never had this masterpiece in my collection. A real showcase gem of any figure collection are these toys!
Although the Wish Book still exists to this day I still get that little trickle of excitement that my kids may never truly get when it arrives at our house. If you ever were a kid of the 70s and 80s you knew what you had and appreciated this wonderful part of X-Mas! many Christmas memories were generated by these rich pages and a big part of my childhood was from the fine folks at Sears. If you worked at Sears or had anything to do with the creation of this book this guys says thanks for the memories!
So..as it is ..it is Christmas day and I urge you all to go spend time with family and friends and thank all my readers for simply coming to visit this humble little blog on ocassion. It truly means a lot that I can write this little snapshot for myself and family for years to come. Ill dim the lights in the Satellite and beam you all back home. Be good to each other and goodnight, To my friends at the Super-Blog Team Up a huge thank you for entertaining this Blogger and hang with the Heavyweights for a while. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays..or what ever it is you celebrate and see you again in 2015!