Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hardee's: Your Ghostbusters 2 Headquarters...

The Summer of 1989 was a big one for movie fans. With such major releases as Batman, Star Trek 5, Indiana Jones and the last crusade and Ghostbusters 2, it almost felt like every week during the summer there was a major event taking place across cinema screens. Fast food restaurants got in on the action with major promotional campaigns which tied-in to some of these big films. Two fast food joints that were relatively new to the movie tie-in world ended up acquiring the license for two huge films. Batman was picked up by Taco Bell and Ghostbuster 2 was snatched by Hardee's. Hardee's truly pulled out all the stops with a campaign that featured in store premiums, specialty food items and T.V. & print ads. The restaurant chain even produced a Ghostbusters themed commercial advertising their line of Ghostbusters soundmakers toys. More on the sound makers fiasco in a moment. The commercial aired constantly during the tie-in promotion which ran from June 26 to July 23.

Kids could get a special meal at Hardee's with a Ghostbusters 2 lunch box and for an extra $1.79 they could also get one of four electronic noisemaking toys meant for kids to scare away ghosts. After a few weeks of selling these toys Hardee's started receiving complaints from angry parents whose kids had mutilated the toys and swallowed the small battery inside the casing. After more than 15 cases of kids swallowing noisemaker batteries, on July 14, 1989 Hardee's corporate offices announced, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission, that it was voluntarily recalling all Ghostblaster toys which by now had been in distribution at over 3,100 of the chain's restaurants.

Due to the recall these toys are hard to come by these days and can go for more than 50 bucks for a set on ebay when they do show up. Adult collectors were also able to get a sweet looking 32 oz. Ghostbusters 2 cup at all participating restaurants until the promotion came to an end on July 23. In my opinion the Hardee's GB 2 cup is one of the best looking movie themed cups ever offered at a fast food place. Another great item offered at Hardee's during the promotion was the Slimer sundae which was covered in a green slime-like syrup which actually tasted like bubble gum.

I really miss the days when fast food chains went all out with big promotional campaigns for the major summer movies. They still do it today but not as often. Two great examples from recent years include the awesome Burger King Star Trek promotion from last summer and 2008's Burger King Indiana Jones' campaign. In future posts I will be taking a look back at other major fast food movie tie-ins from the 80s.

Mexican HE-MAN Bootleg...

During a recent search for vintage Masters of the Universe items on ebay I came across the following aberration worse than anything ever summoned from the depths of Snake Mountain.
It seems back in the 80s someone went through the trouble of putting together a boootleg line of Masters toys and role play accessories down in Mexico.

I found a great deals of images from the He-Man figure as well as the weapons and mask set. Here are some of the worst ones. Enjoy...

This is one scary ass looking He-Man mask. It doesn't even seem to come with anything to hold it up to your face.

I love how they ripped off the artwork from some of the early Mini Comics to use on the cheapo cardboard top.

The weapon (whatever the hell it is) looks like something similar to what Hordak would have, not He-Man. Feel free to comment and let me know if you've seen these before or any other example of Mexican Amos del Universo bootlegs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rocketeer Kids Pizza Pack

I don't know if Pizza Hut is still doing this but back in the early 90s they used to have kids meals with promotional tie ins. Over the years they put together a lot of fun items for these kids meals based on such hot properties of the time as Star Trek: TNG, Fox Kids' X-Men animated series, and The Rocketeer. Today I'll be talking about the Rocketeer Pizza Pack offered at Pizza Hut restaurants in the summer of 1991.

The kids meal included a small personal pizza in a Rocketeer themed pizza box along with a drink in one of the most amazing cups ever offered at a fast food joint. The cup, made from really solid plastic (I still have one in perfect shape) featured the Rocketeer mask on the front with a lid in the shape of his helmet. The sculpting on the helmet lid is pretty impressive. This is probably one of my all time favorite fast food premiums.

As if the awesome cup wasn't enough you also got a Rocketeer Times booklet with awesome artwork and games inspired by the film and comic book series. My favorite images in this booklet are the blueprints for the Rocketeer jet pack and helmet. Rounding out this incredible kids meal package is a Rocketeer cardboard glider you could put together. You could get all this for the ridiculously cheap price of $2.99. These days you can't get a kids meal anywhere for such a low price, let alone one that includes such cool premiums.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nostalgic G's Collection Part 4: TMNT, Rocky, Superheroes and more...

In this fourth installment of My Collection I'll be sharing some more pics from my Superheroes collection, Rocky, Ninja Turtles, and video game characters figures. Make sure to check out all 4 previous installments by clicking on the "my collection" category of this blog. Enjoy.

More Superheroes...



Video Game figures, and more...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Behind the scenes look at Double Dare...

Here's a one hour special released on home video in 1989 giving kids the inside scoop on the making of the greatest game show ever to hit the airwaves, Double Dare!!!
The special even shows Marc Summers and the show's announcer, Harvey, making their way through the obstacle course. Great 80s nostalgia!!!

John Hughes tribute at the Academy Awards...

The best part of the night!
Here's the video. Make sure to check it out before the bungholes at ABC and the AMPAS raid youtube and take it down.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Sword and Dagger...

If there was one thing I loved playing with during my childhood it was role play weapons, especially if they were based on those used by my favorite film or T.V. characters. In the summer of 1991 when the Kevin Costner Robin Hood film was released we got treated to a pretty cool toy line from Kenner. Although mostly consisting of toys created by recycling existing figure body molds and accessories the line turned out pretty good. One of the few items in the line that was not put together from previously released toys was the set of Robin Hood's sword and dagger. Being a fan of the film, and a nutcase for swords I quickly convinced my Mom to buy it for me. I'm not really sure what store we found it at. For some particular reason I remember picking up the Sherwood Forrest play set and the bola launcher at Toys R Us, but I have no recollection of where I got the weapons set. The Robin Hood sword and dagger ended up becoming my favorite set of toy weapons, even beating out the Thundercat's Sword of Omens and He-Man's Power Sword. The reason for that was that these weapons were made from some of the strongest and thickest plastic ever used for a toy weapon.

I used to love going into the yard and swinging this sword. It was so strong I ruined a ton of tree branches in the process. The set also came with a sheath to store and carry this tool of justice in. Another thing I used to love doing was to throw the sword into the ground with all my strenght and see how deep it would penetrate the soil. After a while the tip of the sword became pretty dirty from all the soil and grass. I really had a ton of fun with this set. If you combined it with any toy and arrow set from your local toy store you'd have the perfect gear to hand out some justice in Nottingham castle. I really don't remember what happened to the sword or the dagger. I wish I still had it since it seems to be pretty rare. I've been having a tough time tracking a mint in box set on ebay. I think the reason there's not that many of these around is because shortly after its release it made the top of a yearly list of dangerous toys compiled since 1971 by an attorney from Boston called Edward Swartz. I've never seen another role play weapon as sturdy and cool as this one in the last 19 years, and its all probably Edward Swartz fault.

BBC Robin Hood toys!!!

One of my favorite shows in recent years was the BBC version of Robin Hood. I'll admit it got off to a rough start but halfway through the first season the show started to hit on all cylinders.
The stories were a lot of fun and they were able to put a new spin on the classic myth. I just found out that at some point around the show's second season an European toy company known as Vivid Imaginations put out a line of toys based on the show. Unfortunately the line was never distributed at retail in the U.S. It took some time but I was able to create a list of all the items released as part of this toy line. Lets take a look at everything.


The heart and soul of the toy line, as is usually the case, was the action figure assortment based on some of the show's main characters. Vivid Imaginations put out a total of 5 action figures. These figures measured 5 inches and came with a nice amount of accessories.

The line included Robin Hood, Little John, The Night Watchman (Marion's heroic identity), Guy of Gisborn, and the Sheriff of Nothingham. The likeness and sculptin on these looks pretty good, especially for a line of figures from a company most collectors have never even heard of.

The company also released 2 packs of figures and a horse. So far it seems like the only releases for these sets have been Robin and the Sheriff.

Two exclusive figures of Maid Marion and Robin were included in the Sheriff's castle play set. The figures could only be obtained as part of the set. To me it seemed odd that they included the Marion figure in the castle and the Night Watchman as a regular release. I think it should have been the other way around.

12 Inch Figures

12 inch versions of Robin Hood and the Sheriff were also released. There might have also been a 12 inch Guy of Gisborne, but I have not found any images or proof of this figure yet.

Accessories, play sets, and more

In my humble opinion the crown jewel of this toy line's other offerings is the amazing looking Sheriff's Castle play set. Out of all the play sets I've seen released in recent years this thing is one of the best looking ones. Lately it seems like the word playset has become a foul word for toy makers. Nowadays most companies stay away from designing and releasing play sets for their action figure lines. The glory days of the play set are long gone. And since the late 80s the quality of play sets has truly gone down and year after year it becomes even rarer to see companies putting out things of this nature.

I really think Vivid Imaginations has done a great job with this set. The amount of detail and features is great. Plus you get the 2 exclusive figures I mentioned earlier.

The set features opening doors and gate, a working zip line, two highly detailed levels, a dungeon with manacles, trap door, tower, and more weapons for your figures. The set consists of three sections which seem to fold for easy storage or transportation kind of like the old Castle Greyskull play set. In fact this set reminds me a lot about that now classic 80s play set. This is the kind of toy I would have gone nuts for during my childhood. I really wish there was a way to get our hands on it here in the states without having to import it from England.

The Robin Hood toy line continued the tradition set forth by the great lines of the 80s by also including an assortment of role playing toys. Kids can get their own Robin Hood sword as part of the line's dress up set which includes the legendary hero's sword and a jacket just like the one worn by Robin on the show.

An electronic bow and arrow set was also released as part of the role play assortment.

Vivid imaginations expanded the line to include puzzles and it seems they even had plans at one point to put out a board game, but I did not find any more info or details on that.

I must now return to ebay to see if I can get my hands on any of these. Any readers in England or other territories where the line hit retail are welcome to post their thoughts or comments on the line and if you have any of these figs lying around let me know.


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