The Retro Machine (Vol. 3)

Robie Jr, Popoids, & Fleer Candy Maze!
June 26, 2007

It's time for another batch of digestible retro morsels. Enjoy!


I have such fond memories of Madballs. They were great to shove in someones face just to see their reaction to it. There were all different kinds of Madballs out there, but I only had two of the actual balls, the green one with his eye hanging out (pictured above) and the one that looks like a baseball (above also). However, the franchise didn't think it was enough to just have shocking balls, so they took it a step further. They released little action figures which had miniature Madball heads, complete with vehicles and everything. Best part about the action figures was you could press a switch on the back of it and the head would come flying off. Though the head was some a hard rubber, they still could hurt if they hit you. There were many times where we'd shoot Madball heads at our friends.

Cal Ripken Candy Bar

In honor of the release of the huge 6 disc DVD set "Baltimore Oriole Legends: Cal Ripken Jr.", please indulge me for one moment while I present you with a little tasty treat from Cal's past. In the early 90's, a limited distrubution of the "Cal Ripken Jr. Candy Bar" was locally released. You could find them at your local convenience store as well as buy them from fundraisers. It was advertised as "A double play of peanuts and caramel in milk chocolate".

While I realize that sounds alot like a Snickers bar, trust me when I say this was one of the best tasting candy bars I've ever had. It was different from a Snickers, different chocolate, different taste. Unfortunately, they had a limited run and these days one of the only ways to get them is on Ebay. Even then you are strongly discouraged from eating it since it's like a 13 year old candy bar or something. So instead of buying this candy bar on Ebay, I picked up the DVD set for 40 dollars shipped.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Party Wagon

What's cooler than mutant ninja turtles? Why, a vehicle made to carry them all around in and blow up stuff too, that's what! This is probably the coolest vehicle from this outstanding toy line. Those little orange bombs were great, they look like freakin' nuclear warheads! I'm pretty sure it's not a good idea to carry nuclear bombs around in your party wagon. Sometimes the thing to do would be to just pile everyone into the Turtle Party Wagon and ram it into things causing massive virtual explosions. Surely, the optimal way to end a TMNT play session would be to send the Party Wagon, armed with bombs, careening into the Technodrome. That was always game, set, match.

Robie Jr.

Now, I was not a kid who was very much into Robots. However, this robot came with a tray. To me, if the robot had a tray and a remote control, it meant one thing: IT COULD BRING ME SNACKS AND DRINKS! My young mind had glorious visions of me laying on the floor watching cartoons and saying something like "Robie, can you get me a Coke?" and Robie would come back later holding a Coke on his tray.

Of course, I was leaving out the fact that the robot didn't have arms to reach snacks or the ability to pour drinks, but hey lay off me, I was 7. The thing never did bring me any drinks. Unless of course I poured it myself, put the drink on his tray, and then used the remote to guide him towards me. But what's the fun in that? I just ended up spilling soda everywhere. And this illustrates the unforgiving threshold where imagination meets reality.

I think whenever you'd press that button on top of his head he'd say something like "come get me!" and run around in circles. That was kinda cool.


So I was really impressed with myself when I remembered the name of this toy. For weeks I've been trying to remember what it was called. Strangely enough, it randomly "popped" into my mind the other day as I got out of the shower: "Popoids"! Of course!

The novelty here was that those tiny pieces could actually be pulled to make it bigger and as it increased in size it would make a "popping" sound. They were also flexible so combining the Popoid pieces with the anchor pieces allowed you to create any number of odd looking tripod-like things. It was a neat little toy that lives mostly in obscurity. I did see that Popoids seems to exist today as an educational toy in the UK.

Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch

If memory serves me well, I recall getting the best toys from Cap'n Crunch boxes. They always had neat little plastic things you could put together, or decoders, etc. I'd say this is my second favorite cereal of all time and so I present you now with this Cap'n Crunch Box circa 1980's. I have many fond memories of devouring bowl after bowl. This is one of the few cereals that I enjoy with milk more than I do dry. Anyhow, the box above is from that famous campaign where Cap'n Crunch vanished! And who among us can forget about the "soggies"? There was a time when the Cap'n and the Soggies were always fighting. Whatever happened to the Soggies?
I gotta tell time I opened a box of Cap'n Crunch that hadn't been eaten in a long time. I poured a bowl out. Started eating it....and found worms squirming around somewhere towards the bottom of my bowl. So I had a mini stroke, a "freezy seizzy" (where my body trembles uncontrollably at the thought of something creepy), and checked the contents of the box. Yep, there were worms all in the box. So I had a mini stroke again and another freezy seizy.


"Splat, Splat, Splattin' bugs is where its at, Splat". In the early 90's, this was the song from this quirky yet shallow little game. The game came with tubes of Play-dohish substances and you could use the included molds to make Play-doh bugs. These would be your pieces around the board and when you landed on certain spaces, it was "SPLAT" for you! Let's face it, there wasn't much of a game here. The selling point was smashing Play-doh, that's what it boiled down to. It was forgivable to just forego the game completely and smash Play-doh bugs until you were tired of it. Anyways, this was just my memory of an empty little game that has for whatever reason rented a tiny piece of real estate in my mind all these years.

Fisher Price House Boat

Whenever your Little People wanted to have an outing out on the lake, they had this great little house boat to accompany them! Check out the little life boat and floatation device! I remember frequently taking this into the bathtub with me and learning that unfortunately it did not do a great job of actually floating. Moreso, it just seemed to gradually take on water and capsize, so I doubt the Little People had enough time out on the lake to use their picnic table and beach chairs. The lifeboat only has room for 1, which is ridiculously impractical but at least they gave the one spot to their child.

As a kid, it also had me wondering why there was one character who either (a) was a dog-faced person or (b) was a dog that somehow miraculously could walk around like all the other Little People.


Bash is a man with problems. He has Fred Flintstone feet, no arms, looks like the lovechild of the Operation guy and Moe from the Three Stooges, and a body made up of disks. The latter he will not have much longer though, for the object of this wacky 60's game is for you to take a hammer and gradually knock the discs away without tipping Bash all the way over. You win if you are able to knock all the discs away and reduce Bash to a Goomba-lookin' freak. Bash really loses either way.

This game was at my grandparents house and had been owned by my mother at one time. I'd always give it a go when I was over there. A fun little game and slightly reminds me of Jenga now that I look back.


To me, this slightly edges the DeLorean as the car of the 1980's. First popularized in the 1984 film and then in the "Real Ghostbusters" cartoon, it sure as heck was alot better than whatever that monkey drove in the "other" Ghostbusters series.

You may notice there's a different car in the bottom righthand corner. That right there is an Opal GT. I know you're wondering what an Opal GT has to do with this, so let's cut to the chase.

Every kid I knew played Ghostbusters at least once in their childhood. My friends and I were into playing Ghostbusters pretty hardcore though. We'd break out the walkie talkies, the plastic proton pack toys, the Ghost Trap toy, and I think we even fashioned our own poorly drawn shoulder patches as well. We went out in search of ghosts and you know we always caught them. But how did we get from location to location you ask? Well, we hopped into my friends father's old Opal GT, that's how!

The thing was no longer in use and the grass had grown up around it. To be honest, there were probably snakes and other animals making a home in the good ole' Opal GT. But when we sat in the drivers seat, we were suddenly finding ourselves racing through the streets of New York. We'd imagine a vacuum atop the Opal that would suck the ghosts in, just like in the Ghostbusters videogame.

Using the Opal as Ecto-1 was definitely alot of fun. However, one day while we were in the Opal, Jeff accidentally kicked the car into reverse. Suddenly we found ourselves rolling backwards down the driveway at a quickening pace. I was able to jump out before it got too fast, but Jeff ended up riding in it a good ways down the yard until it was finally slowed down. I think that was the last time we needed to use the Ecto-1 to get anywhere when we played Ghostbusters.

Fleer Candy Maze

You know folks, there was a day when companies made candy and it didn't have to be gum or a lollipop thing. It was just good old fashioned flavored sugar shaped like whatever the theme of the candy was. Let's take a look at one of my personal favorites: The Fleer Candy Maze.

Pictured above is the Pac-Man theme, the Donkey Kong theme, and my personal favorite, the Haunted House Candy Maze. Pac-Man is obviously little candies shaped like Pac-Man while Donkey Kong has little barrels that only slightly resemble those found in the arcade classic. But let me tell you, I almost thought I had found the holy grail of obscure childhood memories when I saw that box of Fleer Haunted House Candy Maze! I regret that there is no picture of the actual item itself, but I can see enough of the picture on the box to know that this was a special candy that came out around Halloween. My father pretty much brought me one of these everyday when he got off work in the fall season. What made it so memorable for me was I remember that being above average-tasting candy as well.

If anyone can find an actual picture of the Fleer Haunted House Candy Maze I'll be very grateful!

That's all for now!
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