1970s and 80s TOY SHELF - PART 1

by Ham

Part 1 of 3
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 3

Once upon a time there was a book shelf in my parent's house that had been turned into a toy shelf for my brother and myself in the late 1970s. This shelf has since been moved into their garage and has not been touched in more than 10 years. Most of the toys that were important to us (Star Wars stuff, for example) have been removed from this toy shelf and put away for safe keeping. So, what is left are the toys that we didn't feel like "saving" for one reason or another and random things that my parents have placed on this shelf.

So, I thought it would be fun to find out what exactly is left on this shelf. I've had this idea for awhile but kept putting off actually going into the garage and taking pictures of all of these things. First, the garage is not heated so I could not do this in winter. Second, all of the dust and cobwebs have made me sort of reluctant to start this project. Third (last reason, I swear), I knew it would be a large, time-consuming project. So what I'm going to do is turn this project into three pages on this site. I will cover two shelves on each page. Ok, I guess that's enough of an introduction.

Oh, and if anyone is interested in buying any of these items please send an e-mail to projectabsurd@hotmail.com. We may be willing to make a deal. Please don't write and offer $1 or something ridiculous either. That just wouldn't be worth the time it would take to go get the item and package it up and stuff. Also, please note the quality of some of these items. The boxes for most of these items are very damaged.

Now, on to the top two shelves.

Starting on the top shelf, going from left to right, we have:

This box o' stuff. I'm not quite sure what that roll of silver stuff is. Some sort of insulation, perhaps? I enjoy the Miller High Life box. My father worked at a Miller Brewery for awhile, so that's probably where that came from. I have no idea where the other boxes - Kent III King Size Cigarettes and Fresh Peaches came from. If someone stumbled across this shelf they'd think we drank, smoke, and ate a lot of damn peaches! Peaches and peaches. Peaches for free.

After removing the silver insulation stuff, this is what I found in the box:

I'm really digging that foam Darien Lake "Viper" frisbee. It looks like someone got hungry and took a bite out of it. I believe this is from the early 1980s, probably 1982. My family went to Darien Lake Amusement Park (in Darien Lake, NY - near Buffalo) the first year that their infamous roller coaster, The Viper, opened. The park sold all sorts of Viper merchandise that year - shirts, banners, hats, buttons, dickeys, foam frisbees, etc.

Also in this box are a tennis racquet, more frisbees, a Sears baseball glove (I hear that's the brand Bucky Dent used), some baseballs, some small blue balls and the evil whiffle ball.

Oh, and of course the "Power Massage" massager. Muscles tend to get stiff after they get whacked with a whiffle ball a few times.

Here's a closer look at one of the frisbees. Spellcheck keeps telling me that "frisbee" is spelled wrong unless it's capitalized. Well, I'm not writing the term "flying disc" so Spellcheck can just piss off!

McGruff The Crime Dog not only takes a bite out of crime, but he helps the MS READ-a-thon!

Next on the top shelf I found the "Duck Hunt Gun" and other accessories from the original Nintendo Entertainment System:

It looks like I didn't play Duck Hunt much. I was probably too busy playing Ms. Pac-Man. Which makes me think of the following item that, while not on this shelf, was also in the garage:

This was what we used for a "Ms. Pac-Man Championship Trophy". My friend had it in his house and we thought it was so absurd that it would make a perfect trophy. Notice the sticker from a VHS tape used to label the statue as a "trophy".

Sorry about that tangent. Back to the top shelf.

Next we have the "Sloppy Jalopies", which have a 1979 copyright by Kenner on the box.

Now these toys were cool. You would just take the two vehicles, "Beetle Basher" and "Demon Dumper" (those were the best names they could come up with?), rev them up and run them off of two ramps into each other. Then, the vehicles would smash into bits. Then you'd put them back together and do it again. Then, you'd get bored with them and put them back in a box and onto a shelf for almost 30 years. Ok, so I guess they weren't that great after all. But the box sure looks cool, doesn't it? Also included in this package were official Sloppy Jalopies ramps:

Next on the shelf is the "game of chance for ages 8 to adult", Pressman's Michigan Rummy. The box also boasts that it includes a "14x14 sturdy dimensional playing board and 96 colorful chips".

They weren't kidding about those chips. Those mf's sure is colorful!

I really don't remember this game at all. I do enjoy the picture on the cover though. The top of the man's head is a nice touch. Reminds me of the cartoon that went around school in the 80s - "Phil Collins playing cards - top view". This guy's big-ass collar also suggests that this version of the game was probably released in the 70s.

Here we have from the Sears "Little Learner" Collection, the "Girder & Panel Set featuring World Famous Buildings", made in 1975.

I vaguely remember playing with these. Why did they make the kids on the box cover wear matching outfits? Also, I really wish that annoying blond kid would shut his mouth. I imagine my brother would probably have said something similar back then.

Next, from 1979, is Kenner's "Skirrid". What sounds like a Bone Crusher or TI song is actually, according to the box top, "A Game Of Shapes And Numbers!". The exclamation point shows that they mean business.

This game reminds me of Tetris. However, I'm sure Kojak and his ho would never play a game as silly as Tetris. Plus, you don't have to wear a tuxedo to play Tetris. This cover confuses me. Why tuxedos? Why Kojak? Why does Kojak have a ho and why does she have on an Egyptian headband? Why does black-haired sideburns guy have a smirk on his face? Is this game of more importance than it looks? Hmmm. Oh well. Back on the shelf it goes.

Now this stuff is cool (have I said that before?). Micronauts' Microtron, copyright 1976 by Mego Corp.

The contents of this and the next box on the shelf were switched, but I'll put them next to their appropriate boxes for the sake of this article. I do remember enjoying these toys. The see-through figures with the silver heads were really cool. In the picture above, it looks like they were in the middle of some dope break-dancing move or something. I have no idea where that yellow submarine-type thing came from. It's not pictured on any boxes that I've found, so perhaps the box is long gone. I do remember that the blue and white cigar-shaped thing was a "motor" for the submarine, so you could make it swim all on its own in a pool or tub.

Next up is another Micronauts toy, Biotron:

This guy looks like he would kick every other action figure's ass.

I believe this model plane kit, Testors RF-4 Spirit Of America, is from the mid-1980s:

I've made it to the last item on the top shelf.

Hmmm. Just what is the mystery item wrapped in plastic? This is so exciting!

Oh poop. It's just a "Mr. Coffee Coffee Saver" coffee maker. I just used the word "coffee" three times in one sentence.

Now we move on to the second shelf and the Kent III King Size Cigarettes box.

Really? A bunch of empty soda and beer cans, and a Moonlighter Frisbee (Spellcheck approved!)? I think this is junk that my brother collected. The only bottle that caught my eye was this one:

I'm sure my brother kept this one because of the Guns N Roses song, "Nightrain".

Next, of course, is Tomy's Mini Arcade "Cosmic Clash", undoubtedly purchased at KayBee Toy Store in 1982.

Compared to the rest of the stuff, this box looks to be in pretty good shape, probably because the Mini Arcade itself is not easily smooshed by other boxes. Spellcheck also hates the word "smooshed".

Next on the shelf we have something that is quite useless on its own:

Finding one walkie-talkie is like finding pants with only one leg. Or like trying to clap with one hand. Anyway, I believe this one was made in the 70s.

The walkie-talkie and Mini Arcade were on top of a mysterious-looking Nike box.

I'm betting there aren't any shoes in there.

Yes, I was right! It's a Guillow's Skyraider Flying Model Kit, copyright 1976. I remember I was in a "model building club" in 5th grade (don't laugh), which would've been in the early 1980s. I believe that's where this model came from. I must not have cared enough about my "club" to finish the model.

And that leaves us with the three "Peaches" boxes.

Ok, let's see what's in these. First one...

Ugh! Clothes! And not even good, funny clothes. Just flannels and sweatshirts and stuff.

Next box...

Well, I guess it's better than clothes but still not a great find.

On to box #3...

Ugh! More f'n clothes! With foulness all over them!

This was also shoved in the side of the box:

Of course, an unopened package of Women's Flat Heel Shoe Slickers.

That was the last item on shelf #2, but I can't end the post on Shoe Slickers. So, here's an old antique metal license plate cover from Howe Caverns, NY. My parents told me this was in the garage when they moved into the house in 1966.

1970s and 80s Toy Shelf
Part 1 of 3
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 3

(Posted 4/2009)