Random Retro Issue 4
Steve Urkel's Cereal, the Power Glove, and Pretenders
In this issue:
Transformers Decepticon Pretenders, Urkel-Os Cereal, and the Power Glove
Transformers Decepticon Pretenders
In the late 80's a new and completely different type of Transformer was introduced, called Pretenders. These were unlike any other transforming bot in the series.
The actual transforming robot was hidden inside an outer shell. The Pretenders were able to use this shell as an organic disguise, furthering their chances of remaining hidden. The Decepticon Pretenders all had shells of a monster or some sort of beast.
Skullgrin, featured above, is my favorite of the Decepticon Pretenders. His Pretender shell is just awesome and with little imagination could very easily have been a monster foe to battle He-Man even more so than Optimus Prime. In robot mode he is a bit on the simple side but not bad looking compared to some of the other Transformers available at the time. His third mode is a small, weird looking tank which just doesn't compare to his other modes but he is easy to transform so if you need a tank on the quick (no matter how weird the design) you couldn't go wrong with Skullgrin.
Another favorite of mine is Carnivac, a wolf within a wolf. His Pretender shell is a giant, beastly predator that looks great with Skullgrin and the other evil Pretenders.
Unlike Skullgrin, I think the best mode for Carnivac outside of his shell is not his standard robot mode. His robotic wolf look is really cool and for a smaller Transformer it's really top notch. His normal robot mode is short and clunky. I have actually pulled his wolf legs down to use as his robot mode legs as well just to give him some added size.
The shells of the Pretenders were hollow for the most part. This allowed for the Transformers to be folded up and put inside their respective Pretender disguises.
The Pretenders line was quite different from anything else released in the classic Transformers series. You actually got several toys in one because the outer shells could be used as a stand alone figure, some even included a small amount of articulation.
Urkel-Os was another of Ralston's licensed cereals. Urkel-Os featured everybody's favorite nerd next door, Steve Urkel.
Steve was the classic geek and you could find his image on all kinds of merchandise in the early 90's. His popularity was purely by accident. The character was originally conceived as a one time appearance on the show Family Matters but his popularity drove the people behind the show to eventually make him a major part of the sitcom.
The cereal was a unique combination of strawberry and banana flavors which may be common among other fruit flavored foods but not is not usually seen in breakfast cereals.
This box contained no cool toys but had a rather lame selling point of cutting the box up to make a finish line for a few bad cardboard racers.
The racers were just cut from the side of the box and blown around like trash into the finish line.
Though this Ralston cereal had a rather bad premium with the Air Cars you can't deny the fact that this is just some "cool" geeky cereal with an awesome nerdy mascot.
The Power Glove
The Nintendo Entertainment System is the king of awesome looking controllers, even to this day. The problem was that the coolest looking ones were basically useless but somehow they held onto some popularity based on their awesome looks. One of the coolest of all the NES controllers was the Power Glove.
The Power Glove was made by Mattel and released in 1989. Just looking at the glove you immediately know how cool it is. It's easy to picture some cyborg from the future or a member of the Borg Collective having this as a hand. Its use as a toy goes far beyond it's use as a controller for video games.
There were only two games released specifically for the Power Glove though you could play other games by inputting special codes.
One game made just for the Power Glove was Super Glove Ball which isn't a bad game. It's sort of like a 3D version of Breakout where you use your hand to hit balls against walls to break the blocks out. It's simple but can be fun and is cool to play an old Wii-ish game.
The Power Glove may not have been as advanced as we all dreamed it to be as kids but it was freaking cool looking and was just fun to wear around if nothing else. There's a great line from a classic geek movie, the Wizard, that sums up the Power Glove perfectly..."I love the Power Glove. It's so bad!"...and it is so bad but also so cool.
Random Retro Advertisement
These ads could be found in almost any magazine aimed at kids and in almost all comics a few decades ago. I would stare at these ads forever, just picking out things in my head that I would want to take home with me. I never participated in any of these though and I don't know anybody who ever did so I have no idea if it was actually possible to win the cool stuff or not.