80's Christmas Wishbooks
remembering the Chrismas Wishbooks
Being that the "Toys R Us New and Old" article went so well I decided to take another stroll down memory lane for most 80's kids and visit the Christmas Wishbooks of our time.
Living in NY on Long Island we were lucky enough to have virtually every big name store local. Sears, JC Penny's, Macy's, TSS (Times Square Stores), Toys r Us, Child World, Caldor, K-Mart, you name it, we probably had one.
Well as many of you remember in the 80's the stores like JC Penny's and Sears had the Christmas Wishbook Catalogs. They were basically a catalog of the entire store and had HUGE TOY SECTIONS. I used to scour those books for hours, over and over again every year trying to prioritize what I should ask for first. It was painstaking work and very important. My friends and I would compare notes to make sure our top 5 toys were all the same. It was an event in the neighborhood, and I know we drove our parents crazy all scrambling to find the same toys.
Well your good buddy JPDRAVEN stumbled upon a ton of Wishbook photos with the original pricing of the toys at the time. So without further delay let's take a look see.........
Well 1st off we always had to pick some NON TOY items which sucked but was a worthwhile tradeoff. I used to look for bed sheets, and what do ya know, I found some vintage wishbook bedsheet ads. I had smurfs sheets and star wars sheets so here we go lol.....
I remember these because I used the pillow cases more then the sheets.
ANYTHING Star wars was cool as hell and if memory serves me correctly I had Empire Strikes back and Return of the Jedi Sheets. NOTICE the Atari 2600 Star Wars Games!? WOW I STILL have these and my working Atari. Can I just tell you how absolutely HORRIBLE the graphics are on these games BUT in 84-85 these were high technology. Oh man how far we've come.
Now for the ladies of the site I'm sure they'll remember Pound Puppies and Wuzzles. I liked the Wuzzle cartoon, HATED Pound Puppies lol. But never the less here's your Wishbook page
I have to start this section off with Star Wars. These toys were iconic in the 80's. If you were a cool kid you had Star Wars or GI-Joe toys lol. And I remember so many of these toys as if it were yesterday. My dad used to put the vehicles together and on Christmas Day we came down to the Vehicles and Playsets put together with their boxes under and around the tree... it really made it feel like Santa really brought them for us. What great memories.
What 80's boy didn't like GI-Joe? Joes were as big as Star Wars and arguably just as popular with just as much marketing. I loved my GI-Joe Skystriker and I remember losing Ace and his parachute on Christmas Day in the gutter and making my dad and brother get it with the extension ladder lol, man were they pissed off. And here is my beloved Skystriker on the LARGEST PLAYSET of the 1980's and maybe ever, the USS FLAGG Aircraft Carrier. This thing is like 6 or 8 feet long.... INSANITY!
And the GI-Joe stuff was really detailed and pretty accurate. They really didn't cheap out back then. Check these vehicles out, they're pretty damn cool.
Now some of you i know are wondering where the He-Man and Thundercats toys are... well here ya go!
Eternia the home world of He-Man. this was another HUGE playset but was actually a failure in the 80's that became a highly valued collectible in recent years. It is so rare it commands silly crazy prices. And to think it coulda been yours for only $89.99 in 1986 or something.
Hordak's Swamp Hideout. This thing ranked right up there with Castle Greyskull and Snake Mountain. He-Man had great fortresses for the figures. I never dug the vehicles so much, but the fortresses were great!
Inhumanoids obscure BUT none the less COOL!
Inhumanoids were a less popular toyline in the 80's but had a cool cartoon and I liked them. I particularly liked that the villain monsters were HUGE! And they made for great monsters for my secret wars and super powers super heroes to fight!
I was ALWAYS a big wrestling fan and I remember vividly when LJN came out with the Wrestling Superstars figures. There was such potential for these things and it turned out that they were really cheesy 7 inch solid statues more than they were action figures but we bought them anyway lol. Looking back on them now I realize how horrible these figures were but have a special place for them in my heart so I had to post the wishbook ad for them lol.
I see Corporal Kershner in there somewhere LOL. Sgt.Slaughter's protege.
Speaking of wrestling I have read numerous articles on here about fellow retrojunkers and their M.U.S.C.L.E.S figures. I LOVED THESE THINGS, there was just something about their unbelievably bland pinkish color and the goofy looking guys they made. I loved em'! When I stumbled on the Wishbook ad for M.U.S.C.L.E.S I couldn't resist.
these were small and cheap and you could get packs of them. You never knew who you'd get and always had doubles to trade with friends. I really dug these little pink bastards lol.
And along with M.U.S.C.L.E.S I also was into Voltron. NOT THE CARS Voltron, the LIONS Voltron! Very important... the cars voltron just reminded me of a huge robot ripoff of the transformers... hated it. The Lions was the real Voltron to me.
Here's both the Cars and the Lion versions. Kids used to fight over which was better and it was usually like 2 kids fighting with 15 kids lol. The Lions rules the day... nuff' said.
Thunder...Thunder...THUNDER...THUNDERCATS, HOOOOOOOOOOOO! This cartoon was a unique cartoon with a great story, good history in the storyline and interesting characters. COME ON, who didn't like Mumra!? He was a serious Bad Ass and woulda kicked Skeletor's ass all over the place! Skeletor looks cool but he isn't bad ass like Mumra!
The one thing that always annoyed me with these toys was they articulation. I didn't really dig the toys and I hated the vehicles much like He-Man. The one playset they did make was kinda cheesy too. The Cat's Lair could have been so much cooler but it was rather small in comparison to other toy line playsets, AND they never made a cool Mumra Lair, just the good guys. So yes yes the He-Man fortresses got busted out on many a Thundercat occasion so my villains could hide out and ambush the Cats. Hey why the hell not that's what imagination's all about.
Now this next toy line I never got into. I never had the patience to work with these toys. I swear you had to be a rocket scientist to get these things "transformed"... YEP you guessed it, here is a vintage ad for the Transformers, robots in disguise... Yeah so well disguised I couldn't ever get them in robot form.
The concept was COOL and I loved the cartoon, but these damn toys took so long to transform I just couldn't get into it. Megatron took me almost an hour to transform from the gun to the robot and then back to the gun. THAT IS NOT FUN!
After all that frustration I had an escape in the form of Photon and or Lasertag. Now I added Photon because there is a funny story behind it.
My best friend, his little brother, and I all wanted one of them, Lasertag or Photon. They wrote down Photon I wrote down Lasertag on accident. Yep you guessed it I came running around the block on Christmas Day with Lasertag and Robby and Brian had on their Photon Gear. Man did it suck having to take turns using their Photon Gear lol. Lasertag was retired that morning and sat in a box in the cold and dark of my closet until it was thrown out many years ago. What a sad life for a toy.
Looking back now at these photos it really takes me back to being a kid, sitting in the kitchen or in the living room by the Christmas Tree flipping through they toy section of Christmas Wishbooks and imagining all the fun I could have with my new toys IF I got them. We drove our parents nuts, cutting toys out and leaving them in my mom's books as bookmarks, putting them in my dad's wallet in his money, under the sun visor in the car, in mom's pocketbook, under pillows!, you name it we did it.
What great memories these pictures bring back to me. I hope it does the same for all of you! Enjoy!