Alright Retroseekers alike, it's time once again to embark on a journey through time and space, back to the vividly golden era I like to call childhood. Show of hands, who here likes toys?

Whoa! That's quite a lot of you!

It appears we share a common interest. I like toys as well.

Always have. Ever since I was a wee lad (That seems oddly appropriate, right?). And as a wee lad, I beheld a line of toys that would shape me into the lump of a man I am today...

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The Incredible Crash Dummies!

I remember it like it was yesterday - many yesterdays ago to be exact. I was watching television as I normally would on any such occasion when suddenly my racing attention was lassoed by an intriguing ad:



Wow, how cool are those!?

**I can't say for sure if that's the actual commercial that got me into these toys or not, but it certainly serves its function.

First, a little history lesson.



Back in the 1980s there ran a series of PSAs starring two lovable crash test dummies named Vince and Larry. These mascots were on a crusade to convince their audience to buckle up - a noble cause indeed. The ads were very popular but the Department of Transportation wanted more. They wanted to reach a wider child demographic. With the help of Leisure Concepts chairman Al Kahn, Tyco was recruited to bring the dummies into toy form.

And before you know it, Vince & Larry The Crash Dummies came to store shelves.

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Only there was a tiny problem.

Tyco's association with the original ad campaign ended and the title protagonists were pulled from store shelves. The spirits of Vince and Larry were recycled into two new characters, Slick and Spin. Though the sidekicks Spare Tire and Daryl were saved by anonymity, the animal friends Hubcat and Bumper were met with the same fate as the original namesakes of the series. All the recalled characters were soon to be joined by Skid the Kid at the behest of dismayed parents.

With a new cast of characters there was nothing standing between these awesome toys and us eager kids. Well, maybe a few irate parents. But that didn't stop me any way.

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For those of you who don't know or don't remember, the dummies had impact buttons that would cause them to EXPLODE! And just in case the head, arms, and legs weren't enough, you could also separate their extremities in two pieces, yielding a devastating pile of limbs right in front of you. But no need to worry! With a few quick snaps your figure is reunited into its singular state.

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But that's not all! You had Spare Tire whose face bugged out upon impact and Daryl whose head spun up into the heavens. Well...about half an inch to said destination. These dummies had to have their limbs removed by hand but they certainly added a nice flavor to the mix.

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With colorful and exciting artwork on the packaging, excellent articulation for their time, and exciting action features, Tyco went all out with this stellar toy line.

And boy did they go all out. As if the figures themselves weren't cool enough you had crash cars, crash cycles, a crash center, the crash 'n bash chair, crash this, crash that (I'm tired of saying crash)...

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But in all seriousness the cars had seat belts! What other toy company was innovative enough to give our figures safety devices? If that won't coax a child into buckling up I don't know what will. Safety first for the child and the figures they play with.

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Video games? Why of course! Courtesy of none other than the beloved LJN. But that's fodder for some other writer.

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Returning to my own personal experience, it all began with a commercial much like the one you saw above. As soon as I was acquainted with this enticing line I launched into prototypical kid mode and begged my parents for them. Acting as parents do, they denied me, harboring the notion that I would not enjoy them.

Are you kidding me?

Did you not see them explode?

What kid could possibly grow weary of breaking and reassembling their toys over and over again?

Sooner than later juvenile demand prevailed and I was secured a crash test motorcycle. But what is a cycle to do without a pilot?

Before long my motorcycle was driven by the skillful hands of a dummy at the mercy of the perilous hands of a child. And this was only the beginning.

Soon I was granted my wish tenfold with a full lineup of the main dummies (all in Pro-Tek gear, some in their original jumpsuits), a car, a crash 'n bash chair, the airplane, a junk bot, a bendable, a plush, and yes, even a copy of one of those LJN games. My room was replete with dummy paraphernalia.

Like many a felled Stretch Armstrongs, dummies often met their end in devastation. If broken pegs were currency I could have repurchased the entire lot ten times over. But alas, only in the wildest of kid dreams is this so and my large assortment of dummies slowly dwindled to a tiny pile, until all that was left was an emblematic frankenstein of a dummy with the broken head glued to the torso. A sad fate to befall such a treasured collection. And with an eviction from all toy shelves by the mid-ninties, these figures were all but a memory, a lost artifact of my childhood days...

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...until I discovered eBay in 2000!