Monday, January 31, 2011

Life Savers, Circle of disapointment

Found this in Blackhawk 254, from DC comics. 1983. I was never a fan of this series but somehow have a single issue sitting in my reader box, which is a box of old comics I had as a bags, no boards. The ad is in itself nothing special. What is special, or should I say annoying is the maze. Let`s say you found a copy of Amazing Spider-Man 238 featuring the first appearance of the Hobgoblin. It`s in great shape, what a score. Then while flipping through the book you come across this ad...and it`s been solved. That means written in. There goes the value of that book...Okay, so now you've all seen my geeky side, but to all the collectors out there, haven`t you run across this ad and it`s been filled in by some kid? Were you that kid?

Lets go back to Lifesavers for a moment. Do you know what the first flavor was? Pep-O-Mint. Mr Clarence Crane wanted to create a candy that would survive the summer heat...So on a hot summer day Mr Crane pronounced..."Let there be candy...with a hole in the middle. Tweet, Tweet, Twiddle, Twiddle."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Guns for little people

What's the ad for?
Crossman Air Guns
Spotted in
The Scoop
Are you a child or someone with small hands? Do you have trouble holding a regular sized handgun or rifle? Well look no further, Introducing the 788 BB Scout. Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating a little bit. Even us Canadian had air rifles and BB guns as kids. We all know it's not small guns that kill people. It's Jokers with crowbars and flying Goblins.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Zorcom Audio Adventure

What's the ad for?
Zorcom Audio Adventure
Spotted in

The Scoop
What...the...hell? That was my first thought that came to mind when I came across this ad while recently.  I thought Castle Mammon was a bit crazy with it's telephone audio RPG. This here is just a cassette tape of an...adventure? From what I can find out, which isn't much, the tape adventure accompanied by the sounds of spacey synths. I really tried to find a sample of the tape online but came up empty handed. It looks like the Sound Trek originally came with a cool Zorcom Space Ship. Maybe when they ran out of ships they thought that two badly drawn sci-fi posters would suffice. Believe it or not I just saw one of those space ships selling on eBay for $300! Not that it's worth that much. Just because you try to sell something for an outrageous price, doesn't mean it's worth that much.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Castle Mammon

What's the ad for?
Castle Mammon telephone adventure
Spotted in

The Scoop
Okay, so what is this advertising? Well it's a role-playing game you play by the telephone! If that isn't an antiquated notion than I don't know what is. It was designed by Steven Jackson, a well known analog game designer who you might know through his popular Munchkin game. By analog I mean not video game. Jackson was approached by a company who ran an  astrology-by-telephone lines gig. The ones you dial up and press number 6 to get the Gemini horoscope. Anyway, Jackson designed the F.I.S.T system (Fantasy Interactive Scenarios by Telephone) and in his own words was able to buy a Spanish Villa with the royalties received. This is not surprising as the first minute is $1.50 with additional minutes clocking in at $0.75. So a ten minute game will run you $8.25 and leaving you with a piece of scrap paper covered in chicken scratches.

This is what you would have heard, whispered in a low voice, upon phoning the Castle Mammon adventure line...

"The number you have dialed is not of this earth. You have opened the gateway to an alternate reality. You are being connected to another world in another time, where you are another person. Welcome to the world of FIST! "

So I have to ask, did any of you ever phone these F.I.S.T. adventures lines as kids? And more importantly...did you have you parents permission?

Thanks to for the information...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Personalized G.I. Joe Figure!

How cool is this one? A personalized G.I. Joe figure! Well actually the only thing personalized was the file-card as children were asked asked what type of team member they were and what was they're weapon of choice. The figure consisted of repainted parts of other cannibalized Joe figures. There were numerous versions made over the years but the one featured in the ad above was composed of Airborne's torso, Scrap-Iron's legs, Gung-Ho's waist and Flash's arms At least the badge was cool...right?

Hmm, which GI Joe hero are you?

Thanks to for the invaluable information.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

RIck Colby...Fire Fighter

Oh poor Rick Colby. This game was just to much for him. After all game, developer Imagic motto wasn't "Created by Experts for Experts" for nothing. Imagic was the second, third party video game developer after Activision. It starting by publishing games for the Intellivision but also published for the Atari 2600 which by the end of that systems life, it had the third largest library of published games.Unfortunately by 1986 the company had folded. The graphics were pretty sweet at the time...but don't take my word for it, witness it yourself.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Model Builders Club

Lets face it, kids these days are not into building scale models. They are into video games, cell phones and doing stupid things. Okay, maybe that's not entirely true as teens have always been into doing stupid things. However, in these modern times with so many distractions what would you rather do? Play the newest racing game or huff glue fumes and tiny plastic car parts. When was the last time you saw a kid building a model car or plane? This ad above is out of G.I. Joe #23 from 1984.

This club sounds pretty cool. I wish I could have joined the Young Model Builders Club. Although I probably would have just ended up blowing them all up with firecrackers like I did with the few models gifted to me during my youth. I even blew up a Huey Helicopter that I put so much time and effort into building. I even heated up a pin, pressing it against the plastic giving the appearance of bullet holes. I poured my small ten year old heart into that model, but alas the allure of firecrackers and making things explode was too much...

I believe the club started out in Readers Digest as far back as the early 1960's. The club apparently holds found memories for a lot of people. However like the age demographic of the average comic book reader (25-40...just a guess), scale model builders are probably of an even older age bracket.

Below is picture of two of the kits from back in the day from the website...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Robot Watch from Bonkers candy

With the Transformers dominating the toy scene in the 1980's (along with G.I. Joe and He-Man), transforming robots were everywhere. Bonkers thought they could boost sagging sales with this promotion. I personally never had one but several grade school classmates did....they were so cool. Not to be confused with Kronoform , this was but a cheap knock-off, one of many that came up during the 1980's.

The Robot watch was most likely the only toy you could bring to school and not have it taken away. The watches from my childhoods were most likely not obtained from this ad (mail away? $3.95? Three bonkers wrappers?) but probably from vending machines in the mall or maybe a few were even one of those cool Kronoforms. Man, I wish I had one now...that would be cool. I did a search on Ebay...$50! Did you have a robot watch as a kid?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fantastic Four chewing gum

The past six months or so I've been reading X-men staring from #94. I've been reading the issues in the form of the Essential X-men series.  The Essential series are black and white reprints of famous Marvel titles. They collect over 20 issues at an affordable price. They of course have no ads. In my opinion that's a good thing and a bad thing. These fantastic stories are timeless (at least when Dazzler or Storm as a punk) so it`s the advertisements in the issues that can tie them to their respective era. Plus they`re fun! As I`m reading issues 170 +, I've left the Essential volumes behind in favor of the single issues I have in my collection. The above ad is from Uncanny X-men 170, 1983. Fantastic Four chewing gum? It`s Bubble Blowin' Time!?? Really?

Sure, comics have been from the start a way to drive newspaper sales and used to sell products. (remember all those Superheroes hawking Twinkies?). It`s still pretty funny to me.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Evil-Eye Evader

What's the ad for?
Evil-Eye Evader
Spotted in

The Scoop
You never know when someone, somewhere is giving you the evil-eye, so be pro-active and protect yourself.

 Yeah because they might think your crazy...
 Don't try to change your life for the better, it's not your fault your life stinks. It's all those evil eyes, strangers are giving you.
 Now this is a brilliant marketing ploy. With this free book, you'll be able to hex others, making it necessary for them to buy an Evil-Eye Evader too!
Okay, $6.66? Maybe this is why you don't see more Evil-Eye Evaders around...not that they would tell you they have one. The person that clips a coupon out of a comic book to order a trinket to protect them from the evil eye is also the same person that will avoid purchases totaling six dollars and sixty six freaking cents. There goes that business venture...

Click here for actual pictures.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Attack of the Mutants!

What's the ad for?
Attack of the Mutants
Spotted in
 The Scoop
 Another ad for a game that I never realized was a game when I was a kid. I must not have even read the text, but I sure remember the picture. Attack of the Mutants was a board game released by Yaquinto Publications, who were only around for a few years (1979-1983).The game was a campy hex and counter war game where the heroes are pitted against newly mutated monsters, transformed by a horrible nuclear accident at a nearby power station (the Big Melt-Down of 1993). Below is a photo of the game contents. The game fetches a nice price if you can find it.

photo from

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Task Force and Fighting Ships

This is an ad that ran for years, starting from the 50's. This is one in particular I scanned from a DC comic from the late 70's. The company was called "Helen of Toy". Back in the 50's-70's there was a few mail order toy companies. Helen of Toy sold around a dozen different sets. I'm sure a lot of these sets were sold and you have to hand most of the credit to the artists. They sure captured my imagination. I didn't even realize it was a game (similar to Battleship)...I just thought it was toy soldiers and boats.

Were you ever curious about what you got for $2.49? Well, look no further.

Fighting Ships

Photo: Paul Sauberer

Task Force

Photo:Chris Brua

Monday, January 3, 2011

Heres a Whole Treasure Chest of Fun!

You see a lot of these ads in comics. Promising lots of crazy fun. Lets take a look a few that stand out for me.
Throw you Voice

What you received for $0.25 was a swazzle, a device made of two strips of metal bound around a cotton tape reed that you position between you tongue and the roof of your mouth. Right...I wonder how many kids choked on that one...Danger!

X-Ray Specs
From Wikipedia: The lenses consist of two layers of cardboard with a small hole about 6 mm (.25 inch) in diameter punched through both layers. The user views objects through the holes. A feather is embedded between the layers of each lens. The vanes of the feathers are so close together that light is diffracted, causing the user to receive two slightly offset images.

Surprise Package!
Oh, what was in there??? More then $0.50 cents worth of fun, that's for sure!

Monster Size Monsters

I think these were sheets of printed polyethylene. " so life-like you'll probably find yourself talking to them"???? ...

Secret Spy Scope

Creating perverts since 1950!

Karate! Home study course.

Only a kid would believe they could learn Karate on their own in the comfort of their bedroom or garage.

Skin Head Wig

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