Thursday, January 31, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers: PIRATES!!! Part 2

Welcome back to PIRATES!!! courtesy of the League of Extraordinary Bloggers topic of the week. 

This is part two. Admittedly, I think I may have topped out in Part 1 with my fictional history of a group of cheap pirate toys that I worship above all others. Now I feel like parts 2 and 3 are just all sort of sloppy seconds (and... thirds I guess?). Well there's nothing to do but put a bag over its head, grit our teeth, and plow on into it. Let's get this over with. 

I'm opening with a Captain Jack Sparrow PEZ dispenser. Remember when there was only one Pirates of the Caribbean movie in existence and it wasn't a suck-fest? Well, I do. And that is why I was excited to find a PEZ dispenser with Capt. Jack's head on it. Think really hard. In recent years, can you count on more than one hand how many PEZ dispensers have flesh-and-blood characters from live-action movies? And I'm not counting masked characters from Star Wars. Darth Maul counts, and the Emperor... but beyond that, enlighten me. So this PEZ dispenser is a pretty big deal. There's also this ADORABLE little pirate guy on the left that came in a grab-bag from Goodwill, and a hook-handed pirate that I don't remember how I acquired. 

Up next is a set of Scooby-Doo Mystery Mates figures in pirate garb, including not 1 but 2 different versions of Scooby-Doo and not 1 Fred at all. Top center is Redbeard the Pirate. Daphne zazzles it up a bit in a purple pirate get-up, Velma inexplicably throws on some stripes, and Shaggy ties part of his shirt on his head. Redbeard is really the only one that gets much display time in the Cave. But now seeing them all together in a big pirate display is making me fall in love with them more than ever. 

These guys are the Playmobil pirates that came with the giant skull cave you see in the group shot above. I paid 1.99 at Goodwill for the set. The only 2 really adequate pirates in the set are the top 2. I think of them as the Mick and Keith, and the other three are just the other Stones (except for old Bald-top down there... he's just not in the band at all). The set came with a rowboat and some pylons to click into the beach to create and awesome pirate-cove hideout. 

Here's a couple of grinning skeletal pirates with mischief on their minds. The green one on left is from the Pirates of the Caribbean Happy Meal series, and was found this past Halloween season at Goodwill. The one on the right I found at CVS years and years ago in a lame assortment of other Halloween-themed character banks. He stood out as a grinning paragon midst a bunch of cheap looking witches and lame Frankenstein's monsters. He saved me that day. I like to think I took him home... but the truth is he took me home. He's just another generic, cheaply produced Halloween toy (he was full of gumballs, and doubles as a coin bank... that's a fake pirate doubloon in his belly) but he is another fine example of an inspired sculpt in a throw-away seasonal item that was never meant to be special. The tears are streaming down my face as I write this. 

Phew. That wasn't so bad, now was it? All right, next up... there will be books. Part 3 is coming this weekend. So if you're not into books... don't come to the party. 

What are some more of the League saying about Pirates? Let's see:

- Jaime of Shezcrafti did a run-down of some of the most ear-drum destroyingly awesome pirate songs ever sung (sang? sung). 

- Jason over at Rediscover the 80's gives up the who's who of 80's and 90's cartoon pirates. 

- Iok of plaidstallions shows us a set of Matchbox action figures that immediately set me drooling. 

- And Dex over at AEIOU and Sometimes Why introduces us to a Scottish "pirate metal band. You have been warned. 

I'll be back soon with more Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers: PIRATES!!! PART 1

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers has another single word for this week's topic. So it's time for PIRATES!!! Hoo. I need to get myself under control. This blog post may get a little... extended. In fact, I may have to drop a few... parts all up in here. I'm offically breaking this post into 3 parts. THREE PARTS!!! I'm excited. 

(I may have added my own enthusiasm)

I voted for it! And the Pirates have it!!! So heeeeeere we go!

First up I scoured the Goodwill Geek Cave for any toys pirate in nature. This is what I turned up, although I'm only focusing on a small fraction of the toys pictured here in tonight's post:  

Honestly part of why I was excited to do this post was simply to put the spotlight on these fine fellows:

A set of 6 plastic skeletal undead pirate figures. I've mentioned them in passing before (probably around Halloween. Oh thank goodness this post didn't happen around Halloween... the decorations we have packed away!) but these six figures are six of my most prized possessions. They came out of 2 cheap 3-packs of toys found at a local branch of salvage and overstock stores called Mardens here in Maine. 

They came with the crappiest accessories, including an easily broken treasure chest, a row boat, and some other crap I promptly chucked. Because it was ALL ABOUT THE EFFING UNDEAD PIRATES. Aaaand.. since the last time I might have mentioned them on here... they've developed personalities, back stories, and names. Enjoy. 

Here's Captain Scaggs. He's the leader of this motley crew. He lost his leg to a skeletal ghost shark. He keeps his crew in line with a combination of abuse, liquor, and sheer menace. He also has a collection of pristine-condition left-foot boots and shoes. 

This is Pot-Shot Pete. He can take out a crow's eye from the crow's nest. He is an ascot enthusiast, and often steals left shoes from Captain Scagg's collections. Shhh. Don't tell him. 

This is Fred. No one likes Fred. He's lazy as f--k. Look at him. Can't even hold that flag upright. I'm so sick of Fred. Everyone is. But he's Captain Scagg's nephew. 

Here is Cortez. Here is his Machete. He has empty eye sockets but wears an eyepatch. I suppose he could look like One-Eyed Willy from the Goonies under there, all smooth bone... but everyone is seriously scared of Cortez and no one dares ask him. He's kind of unstable and no one knows how to tell them they're concerned. 

Here's Crowley Loblolly and his hatchet. He's the ship's surgeon and ironically, loblolly boy. He has a crush on the submerged, skeletal remains of a girl named Molly. If they get married, her name will be Molly Loblolly. 

Here's Pint. He likes to party. He's the ship's cook and he likes his beer. He is a child's toy brandishing a frothy mug of beer. He is a dwarf. ALL other toys are invalid. 

Honestly, I love these guys because they are detailed, have nice paint, and personality out the EARS. It's even more amazing when you consider they're just cheap blister-pack toys from a discount bin at a salvage and overstock store. These guys are insanely cool. 

He's hungry for leg.

Here's what some other members of the League are doing with "Pirates":

- Newcomer to the League, Jon B over at the Wombat Corkshop (That doesn't sound right...) literally dug up a buried treasure and turned it into Pirate Gold.

- Rich at Fortune and Glory (Days) reminisces about some of his favorite childhood pirate cinema  and I have to say, I like his choices. (What no Goonies?)

- Grey Endres, yet ANOTHER League newcomer, features a pirates-themed game on his blog, Achievements in Gaming!

This was only part 1 of 3 of my Pirate extravaganza!!! I'll be back very soon with more awesome Pirate Goodness! Until then... AAAR me mateys! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hot Dang! The Dork Lord of the Dork Horde Collects Little People!!!

So I was perusing my blog-roll today and noticed that Reis O'Brien of The Lair of the Dork Horde fame has started an obsessive collection of Little People!!!

Now I feel marginally justified in being so infatuated with them!!! Just for reference, my Little People collecting habits have been documented in this post and this post.

And just so I'm not posting to simply toot Reis's horn with nothing to show for it:

Here is my Little People collection as it currently stands. 

And here are my own custom Little People zombies (actually just peg-people like you'd pick up in a craft store) which I plan to continue expanding in the future. 

I'll be back soon with more Goodwill Goodies... so until then, Happy Hunting!

Goodwill Finds: Something Personal

Goodwill is of course a donations based operation, so the items you are buying from them are second-hand, as in they once belonged to someone else, odds being in the favor of complete strangers.

When I shop there, I'm pretty careful about checking items over for damage. I miss things from time to time, like the last few pages missing out of a Finding Nemo Little Golden Book that just broke my heart. I'm also looking to make sure pages haven't been colored on with crayon, or covered in stickers, etc.

I'm fine with books given inscriptions. I like the idea of books being handed from one person to another, and the history of that being recorded in the book. Gifts for kids, for girlfriends, for graduates, or for whatever.

Occasionally though, I find things written in books, or left behind in them that gives me pause. It lets me look into the life of a complete stranger in a way that feels like a little treasure all on its own.

For example, I picked up this copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night at the Belfast, ME Goodwill for .99 cents. It's bigger than it looks, more of a trade paperback than a "pocket" size. I picked it up for a handful of reasons. First, I just really like F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and I've never read another one of his books. Second, I love the look of the book and its cover. It has this great old-style feel to it, and indeed, this copy was printed in 1962. The pages are rough and yellowed with age, and the cover has this art-house feel to it I just really dig on. But what really sold me on the book was this:

When you open the front cover you find a handful of someone's notes. Interpretations of the text. Notes for an essay, or from class. I love this sort of thing. It gives me insight into someone else's experience with this book. You can see a lot of psycho-babble about incest and bloody bedspreads scribbled here, and what various actions and images in the book do to help build themes throughout the book. It also turns this book into something more of an artifact for me. A piece of human history. 

That's not even the best example of what I'm talking about though, because then there's this: 

It should be fairly obvious why I picked up this book. It's a collected edition of the YA novelizations of the first three Indiana Jones movies. I do actually plan on reading this to see how they are, though my hopes are not exactly sky high. Movie novelizations don't usually do much for me. But I mainly bought it with dreams of reading it to or with my sons someday to get them hooked on Indiana Jones as well. I picked this up NOT at a Goodwill believe it or not, but at a little thrift store called Nice Twice. I paid 1.99 for it. And when I got it home, I discovered I had not only bought a book, but a...

Bookmark! You remember these, right? These came free with a lot of school book orders, and so were given out by teachers as rewards in class, or by librarians... or whatever. They came in perforated sheets of like, 8 or 12 bookmarks, and they had cartoon characters, or sports stuff on them, like the one above. This one is a motivational phrase that I happen to agree with: "You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take" Which is a fancy way of saying, if you don't try, you fail by default. It's when you flip over this cheap cardboard tchotchke that the real magic appears though: 

Apparently this bookmark was given by someone named Javen... to someone also named Javen... which seems like it's either a fantastically incalculable coincidence... or he just gifted it to himself. And if I may take some liberties and interpret his art work, I would assume that the smiling stick figure on the left is meant to be Javen himself, as the packages being dropped by the helicopter above have initials beginning with J on them. And I will assume that the speech bubble containing "TY" is meant to be a thank you. It is night. And what's happening to stick figure on the far right is anyone's guess. But I'm assuming the helicopter may be using the gun turret on its front to "stick 'em up" or... stick figure #2 is simply trying to get helicopter's attention. Not sure. 

But do you remember those boring afternoons in class when all you had to get you through math at the end of the day was doodle in your notebook, or (God help you) in the margins of your textbook? Or on a crappy bookmark that told you not be be such a whiny Quitter McQuitterson? 

I sure as hell do. Which is what makes this item so cool. It's still stuck right in that book, and until I start sharing this book with my kids, that's right where it will stay. These are just some of the weird little scraps of human ephemera you are exposed to when you buy your geekiness second-hand. 

That's it for today folks! I'll be back soon with some more Goodill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Illco and Sesame Street Strike Again: Firehouse

So... this may be sort of interesting. The Muppet Wiki has a large list of toys that Illco produced featuring the Sesame Street characters back in the early 90's. That list however, does not have the following toy:

I picked this firehouse set up the same day as the farmhouse set I featured here. I know even less about it... and to be honest, I'm not as in love with it either. Searching it on the internet turned up one eBay listing, and even more references to a playset produced in the 80's by CBS toys, which was totally unrelated to this one. I don't usually buy things I don't care about since I'm already running low on space, but the price was right, at 1.99 for the whole set... and well... It's Sesame Street. 

So just like the Sesame Street Farm set, there's an Illco production stamp in the bottom, but no date. I'm assuming it was from the same time (and probably donated by the same person). Here's a shot of the firehouse itself, all in red plastic with the exception of the doors. Big Bird, Bert, and Grover are all peeking out the windows above. I have to say I was surprised and impressed that the stickers on both this and the Farm sets were in such great shape. No peeling, bubbling, water damage, fading, etc. You'll notice little switches on the front of the toy next to the character windows, that match the colors of the doors below. More on these later. 

Here's fireman Cookie Monster and one of the two red fire engines included in the set. His engine is missing something, and I am presuming it's probably a ladder. There's not space for a winch like the one we'll see later on Elmo's engine (Also, I am arbitrarily assigning vehicles to characters so I have no idea if this was supposed to be his or not) so I'm assuming they would have made this one a ladder truck. 

Here's fireman Ernie and what I presuming is meant to be the fire-chief's car. I went with the character who seemed the least scatter-brained or ruled by his id... and Ernie's who I came up with. So... he's fire chief even considering his ducky addiction and penchant for torturing his roommate in increasingly imaginative ways. He probably should have gone with the ladder truck, as he's the only character actually HOLDING a hose, and as you will see the next truck comes with one attached. 

And now that I'm examining the hose, it looks like it was possibly meant to fit in Cookie Monster's hand... so I've screwed this all up. This blog post is ruined! RUINED!!!

Anyway, there's a winch to wind the hose in on. And here's Elmo who is most likely supposed to be fire chief because he's Elmo, and was becoming insanely popular by that time... even though I can only barely stand the modern version of the character.

The fire station has spaces in behind the doors with ramps where the cars rest against the doors until the switches above are flipped. Then the fire squad rushes out to address any imaginary infernos a child's mind may cook up. 

I don't find the figures as interesting as the ones that came with the Farm set, and the whole thing feels like it's designed for a slightly younger age group. But it is cute, and it's juuuust old enough for me to justify it as mildly vintage. 

It's going in storage for now until I decide what to ultimately do with it. And well, that's all I really have to say about this set and all I have to say tonight. (I'll be interested to see how this reads in the light of day when I wake up tomorrow).

I'll be back soon with more Goodwill Goodies. Until then, Happy Hunting!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Internet Heroes Unite! Help Me Identify These Mystery Toys!!!

Help me Internet Kenobi... You're my only hope! I have these four figures that I need all of my most powerful internet friends to help me identify! 

First up is this weird alien/mutant figure. He looks like he's melting, has a hole blown through his chest, his feet don't match, and he has a tiny skull growing out of its belly button. There are absolute zero markings on this guy. No dates, no company stamps, not even a "china". I would really love to know where he's from.

This Greek (I thought Roman at first, but now I'm going Greek) archer figure is another cipher.  He looks like he's from a cheap bag of roman soldiers, possibly included with a play set or something. Again no markings. Nothin'. Nada. Please tell me you recognize this soldier. I want to know where he came from. 

UPDATE: Eric Stettmeier of Toyriffic fame has given me a possible lead. He once upon a time found a Minotaur figure that matches this archer in style. Most likely from the same set or series of toys. He mentions it in the comments below, but there's a picture of it on his blog. Check it out! 

This is my most burning mystery. I've owned this figure for over 10 years now. I bought him at a yard sale. Again, no markings on him, but he's a bird-headed warrior figure. He's pure awesome. He also has a hole through his hand to hold a sword or spear or something. I suspect he was designed to ride on something else's back, because he cannot stand on his own, and well, look at that gait. I can't tell how old he is, or ANYTHING. 

This is a more recent find from Goodwill. I love his look and style. He feels retro (... 90's maybe?) with the collar and leg belt. He's more of a rubbery plastic than a hard plastic, and yet again, he has not one single indicating marker on him. I cannot even imagine what he could be from. 

Here they are in my "oddball figures" group, on top of my CD tower. Don't they look nice? I actually need to get my Simon Garth Zombie figure out of there. He's just not "oddball" enough. 

HELP ME INTERNETS!!! I desperately need to know where these figures came from!!!

I'll be back soon with more Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Illco Farm Found at Goodwill!!! Wait... what?

Last week's League of Extraordinary Bloggers topic was "Cowboys" and I dropped a picture into that post of a cowboy Big Bird and a horse. I dropped a hint that there was more to come featuring that particular duo, and indeed, this is where that hint is finally payed off. I bet you were DYING TO KNOW. So be warned. Regular readers of this blog may have noticed my Muppets-but-mostly-Sesame-Street-obsession and have chosen to politely ignore it. This is one of THOSE posts. 

I picked up this Sesame Street farm set for 2.99 at Goodwill. It has a manufacturer's stamp of "Illco" but there's no production or copyright date so at first I had no idea when these were produced. I felt like they were at least late 80's early 90's or possibly more recent, but not by too much. I didn't think they were much older either, due to the detail of the figures. 

Here's everything that came with the set. When I Googled Illco and Sesame Street, I got an article from the Muppet Wiki specifically about this farm set, which gave me the most information I could find anywhere about the set (this image is from their wiki):


Indeed manufactured in the early 90's it apparently originally came with a tractor, a milk canister  some fencing, a few bales of hay, a winch on the loft to lift the bales, and a trough for the animals. What you see here is what I got. All of the characters and animals are still in the set, which is the important thing. 

Here we have Grover, Ernie, and Bert, all dressed for farm work in their overalls. Grover has a bucket of seed, possibly to feed chickens or to plant. Ernie's holding a potato and a carrot. Bert is holding a bloody cleaver behind his back for slaughtering the animals. Hey. It's a farm.

One of the best pieces in this set is Barkley, even though he is only included as a puppy. I have no Barkley figures in my collection at this point, so any port in a storm. These are the compromises one must make when desperately wanting a plastic figurine of a Muppet dog. He's pretty cute, though he's got a weird lump of plastic that he sits on instead of a flat surface. I almost imagine his base fitting into something else in the set, though if that's the case, it's something that is missing from the set I found. 

Hey! These pardner's look pretty familiar! Here's cowboy Big Bird and the horse I desperately wish I could call Buster. In fact, why the heck did that not happen? Why not make him a darker shade of brown? And while we're on the subject, why is there not a Forgetful Jones figure in this set? Why the hate Illco? 

Here we have a pig and a sheep. They are definitely done in a muppet "style" but I can't even pretend they represent any prominent characters on the show. Here we have some examples of Muppet farm animals from Sesame street (Images from the Muppet Wiki)

SSPig     2096w

The sheep is unlike any kind of sheep that ever appeared on Sesame Street. The pig is more similar in style... and here I am debating the style of Sesame Street Muppets and some farm animals I found at Goodwill. Riveting stuff folks. Keep following!

Another figure that if I squint and tilt my head a bit I can pretend is an actual Sesame Street character is this cow. Definitely done in a clear Sesame Street style, this cow is more than a little reminiscent of Gladys the Cow of Sesame Street fame: 

Gladyscow    SSCows

Here are some other examples of Sesame street cows and oh my god I'm doing it again please help me stop someone please. 

Here are the wagon and truck that were included in the set. It irritates me that the truck doesn't hook up to the wagon. The wagaon was clearly only designed to be pulled by the tractor... but some frikkin' versatility would have been nice, Illco. Wow... and I thought I would have nothing to say about a plastic wagon and truck. 

Here's the whole gang again! I'm pretty impressed with the lot of them, all together. And while I probably won't display the farmhouse due to it's sheer size, I will most definitely be sticking all these awesome little guys up somewhere. (Look, see? I made it LOOK like the truck is pulling the wagon... wouldn't that have been nice Illco? Wouldn't that have been nice? Yes. Yes it would have been.) 

There's more where this set came from oddly enough, because I found another Illco Sesame Street set at the very same time I found this one. But I'll be doing a separate post on it somewhere down the road. 

That's it for today folks, but I'll be back soon with more Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Spacemen!!!

It's League of Extraordinary Bloggers Time once again!!! Last week we had the simple topic of "Cowboys". The week before that (which I did not participate in) was "Spies". Do you see the pattern forming? 

So what is this week's single-word topic for the League? 

So in the same vein of last week's response from the Goodwill Geek, I scoured the cave in search of items that fit the bill. I think I did way better this time around. There are waaaay more men (and things) from space in the Cave than cowboys. 

First the group shot. Here's absolutely everything I could find within the confines of the Cave I call home:

First of all, I want to point out the absolute lack of robots. Robots may appear in space but are not distinctive to space. I also went for more variety than quantity, so my entire Star Wars Galactic Heroes collection sat this one out, along with all but one item of Star Wars in general. And while there is a definite Green Lantern presence, and an Action League figure, I left out the Green Lantern Action League figures I featured a short while back. And even though he got to sit in on this picture, we won't be talking about the Mars Attacks figure I mentioned back here

So I'll start with the animated spacemen. from left to right we have Red Lantern Razer and Green Lantern Kilowog McDonald's Happy Mean toys from the Green Lantern animated series. Up front there we have an Action League Martian Manhunter. Next up we have Super Hero Squad Silver Surfer, Galactus, and Nova. Then we have Burger King Kang dressed as the Burger King for Halloween. Peaking up from the back is MegaMind from McDonalds, in his exo-skeleton. Flanked by the Buzz Lightyear and Emperor Zurg Toy Story Buddies, we have villainous Gallaxhar from the Monsters Vs. Aliens mini-figs line. 

Here we have the vintage figures of the collection. From right to left, a 1979 Mork action figure. A sitting ALF figure from 1988. 1990 Raphael the astronaut. An E.T. pawn from the 1982 E.T. board game. And a mail-away Boba Fett from the 1979 toy line. These guys are some of my favorite toys in the Cave. 

Some of the oddball larger toys: A "Space Defender" figure who is really just a super cheap albino Darth Vader figure I picked up at a local chain store called Reny's. Also a PEZ spaceman magnet my wife bought me years back for my birthday, and a Target dollar-bin astronaut who used to be a bottle of bubble-blowing solution. 

Aaaand here is a collection of cheap toys such as coin-machine aliens and bagged spacemen that may or may not be vintage themselves. Loves these little colorful guys, and they all reside currently on the knick-knack shelf above my desk. 

That's everything I could find folks! That is the entirety of my "Spaceman" themed toy collection. I hope there's at least one thing here that makes you smile. 

Now check out what the rest of the League had to say about Spacemen:

- Rich at Fortune and Glory (Days) throws some vintage E.T. memorabilia all over everything. 

- Michael at Memories of Toymorrow just KISSed off the whole assignment. 

- Hobgoblin at the Monster Cafe has little plastic spacemen (they look sorta familiar) on the brain.

I'll be back soon with more Goodiwll Goodies. Until then, Happy Hunting!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...