Friday, February 23, 2018

My Top 5 Happy Meal Toys From the 80s

McDonalds Happy Meals were created in the mid-70s by McDonalds marketing manager Bob Bernstein. He took the idea of a kids size portioned meal and added the toy element to it when he noticed his sons excitement when he pulled a small toy from a box of cereal. The Happy Meal officially rolled out nation wide in 1979 and the fast food world was never the same! Myself and many other people believe the Happy Meal hit it's stride in the mid-80s to early 90s when the toy offerings were almost as good as anything you would find on the shelf at Toys R Us. I grew up with these toys and have very fond memories of playing with them. These are my favorites from the 1980s!

Fast Macs (1985)
I was big into small pull back cars around the time these guys came out. My favorites were the Penny Racer cars put out by Takara. This set consisted of 4 cars including Ronald, Hamburgler, Officer Big Mac and my favorite of the bunch Birdie! She was my favorite because she was the only pull back car that I received during this promotion and she was AWESOME! I always questioned what Birdie was meant to represent? Fry Guys were French fries, Mayor McCheese was a cheeseburger was birdie meant to represent chicken? Was I eating Birdie with every delicious bite of my McChicken Sandwich!!! No, eventually the mystery was solved and she was created to represent the early birds who woke up for a nutritious McDonalds breakfast. Mystery solved and tears diverted!

Fraggle Rock Cars (1988)
I was a huge fan of Fraggle Rock! My Mom even got me and my brother a Weekly Reader subscription so we could get the Fraggle Rock books and record! I still read those books to my kids today. Jim Henson really knew how to capture kids imaginations and these toys let us use those imaginations to come up with our own Fraggle adventures in the comfort of our own homes. I had all 4 of the vehicles and would use them to race other cars only to leave them in a puff of healthy vegetable dust!

McDonaldland Boats (1986)
Sometimes the toy you received with your Happy Meal was the box! These boats came in 2 pieces and your food was inside! These came with sticker sheets and you could decorate them however you wanted. Some people may have felt cheated by getting these "toys", but I loved mine. I would put my G.I. Joes or Bionic Six or whatever characters I wanted into my McDonaldland boat and float them around the pool, tub or even the puddles in our driveway. Eventually they did crack or break, but man were they fun when they were in one piece!

Muppet Babies (1987)
Jim Henson does it once again with the Muppet Babies! These were outstanding toys, because unlike the Fraggle cars you could actually remove the characters from their vehicles and have them mingle with your other action figures. I always wanted to recreate the Star Wars episode of Muppet Babies and now I could! The original line included Kermit, Gonzo, Fozzie and Piggie. It wasn't until years later that I learned an Animal toy was made for Canada! Luckily I scored one pretty easily on E-bay and he was reunited with his adopted brothers and sister. Also, I just learned that the Canadian version of Gonzo was barefoot whereas the US version had shoes! Why?

Garfield (1989)
In the late eighties into the early 90s Garfield was huge. You could find him everywhere from fruit snacks, to TV, to your Moms car window. I loved Garfield, so when these came to McDonalds I had to have them. The only one I did eventually get was the jungle version in the blue Jeep. The only thing that would have made this line better would have been if they included more removable characters like Odie or Nermal. Still totally cool though!
Well, there you have it...my top 5 Happy Meal Toys from the 1980s. Of course this is just my opinion. What were your favorite Happy Meal toys? Grab a Big Mac, contemplate what the hell Grimace is supposed to be and let us know in the comments below!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Throwback Jam of the Week: 2/22/18

It's that time of the week again here at 20 Years Before 2000...It's time for the Throwback Jam of the Week! These are the jams currently on my Creative ZEN MP3 player and they encompass everything from Motown R&B classics to hip-hop & rap from the 80s & 90s! I would like to share them with you in the hopes that they get you off your feet and bring back some sweet nostalgic memories! So throw on your parachute pants, get your hair cut in the fresh Gumby style and slip on your L.A. Gear kicks as we take you back! Without further ado, here is the 20 Years Before 2000 Throwback Jam of the week...
Artist: Kid 'N Play
Song: Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody
Album: Face The Nation (Released 1991)
Peak Billboard Hot 100 Position: 51

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Comic Book Pick: 2/21/18

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
KRUSTY THE CLOWN #1
Krusty the Clown finds himself alone and wandering the empty streets of Springfield, not a friend, neighbor, debt collector, or annoying fan in sight. All that he is left with are his memories of a life in showbiz lived to the fullest-a little song, a little dance, and a little seltzer down his pants. But where did all the people go? It would appear that he is the Laugh Man on Earth!
SRP: $3.99
Synopsis provided by PreviewsWorld.com

Friday, February 16, 2018

What's inside the Superhero Collector Box!?

Every time myself and my family go to our local Target store, we have to peruse the trading cards section. Of course it's filled with everything from Pokémon cards to Football cards, but every now and then there is something that catches my eye. The last few trips I have been mystified by the $9.99 Superhero Collector Box! I had to find out what was inside! Would it be mini comics, stuffed heros, collector card packs? I was suckered in already by the intrigue of this box and the slim chance that I could win a graded comic autographed by Stan Lee pushed me over the edge. I pulled out my wallet, purchased my collector box, tore it open and here's what was inside...

Dice Masters (2016, WizKids)
There were 3 packs of the Dice Masters game which included the Civil War, War of Light and Age of Ultron variety. Each pack contains 2 cards & 2 dice. I have never really been excited about this game. Yes, I know the packs are cheap, but I was never drawn in. I know it has it's fans and now I have 3 packs, so maybe I'll give it a shot?

Dog Tags (Bullsitoy)
There were 2 packs of Dog Tags in the box for the Avengers: Age of Ultron & Suicide Squad movies. I have no use for these. I don't wear dog tags and neither do my kids. I think they will be re-gifted this coming Christmas. My brother always enjoys the random box of stuff that I send him each year along with a Game Stop gift card.

Hubsnaps (NECA)
I have seen these around at toys stores recently, but most of the time they are in the clearance bin. From what I have seen, they never really caught on like fidget spinners did. They kind of look like fun. I will probably give these to the kids and see how long it takes before I wish I hadn't. I foresee a lot of clicking and frustration in my future!

Superhero Magnets (Bullsitoy)
These I can use. Who doesn't need magnets? Especially parents with kids who want their latest and greatest school art project hug on the fridge. Once again Avengers: Age of Ultron was included in this assortment along with a Batman V Superman magnetic Metal Card! Can't wait to see if I get one of the randomly inserted Parallel Foil Magnetic Cards!

DC Minis (Blip Toys)
These are probably my most favorite items in the entire box. I am a sucker for blind boxes, especially cheap ones. I am definitely keeping these! I hope I get a Harley in one of the packs. She is represented in both the Suicide Squad and DC Comics packs included in this collector box.

HeroClix (Wiz Kids)
Once again, this is a game I have never really been drawn in to play. I have a few of these figures from random giveaways at my local comic shop and they are actually pretty cool looking figures. I will open this pack of Civil War HeroClix to see who I get, but more than likely it will not kickstart my need to collect more of these gaming figures.

And there you have it! The 12 various Superhero items inside the Fairfield Company's Superhero Collector Box. Was it worth the $9.99? In my opinion, NO! Most of these items I have seen and passed on at the Dollar Tree. The box says it has a value of over $30, but I say $12. So, yeah I saved $2 over what I would have spent at The Dollar Tree, but I wasn't really excited about these items and I didn't win that Stan Lee comic! Now that I know what was inside, I would have rather saved the $10 to buy some actual comics. But hey, if you're a fan of Dice Masters, HeroClix or Hubsnaps I say give this box a chance. If not, save your money!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Comic Book Pick: 2/14/18

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
X-MEN BLUE #21 LEG
POISON X PART 2
•  SYMBIOTE SPACE PIRATES!
•  THE X-MEN and VENOM have been asking the wrong questions in the wrong seedy spaceport cantina!
•  Vicious SPACE PIRATES are bad enough...but they're even worse when they're using ALIEN SYMBIOTES as weapons!
(W) Cullen Bunn (A) Jacopo Camagni (CA) Arthur Adams
SRP: $3.99
Synopsis provided by PreviewsWorld.com

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Throwback Jam of the Week: 2/15/18

Recently while doing some cleaning around the house, I uncovered a relic from my past. It was my Creative ZEN MP3 player!!! I used to carry this thing around everywhere I went back when I was in college. Not only so I could listen to some hot jams anytime I wanted to, but because I was a DJ during this period of my life and would use it at parties and other campus functions.
I still did use CDs and mini-discs while on the mic, but it was so handy to have over 1,000 songs at my fingertips with my trusty MP3 player at my side. This thing is filled with about 1,200 hip-hop, rap and R&B classics spanning from the Motown era to the early 2000s and I would like to share them with you in the hopes that they get you off your feet and bring back some sweet nostalgic memories! Without further ado, here is the first 20 Years Before 2000 Throwback Jam of the week...
Artist: Prince
Song:1999 
Album: 1999 (Released 1982)
Peak Billboard Hot 100 Position: 12

Friday, February 9, 2018

Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light

In 1987 Hasbro released a line of action figures called Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light. The figures were similar to G.I. Joes in articulation, but were slightly bigger in size. The biggest draw in my opinion though, was the inclusion of Hologram technology into each figure, weapon and vehicle created for this action figure line.
The toys were broken into two factions the Spectral Knights (good guys) and the Darkling Lords (bad guys). These two sides were granted special powers by the all-powerful magician Merklynn, not to be confused with his more successful cousin Merlyn.
As the legend goes, after each knight completed a competition consisting of traps, creatures and face to face combat, the knights were given their special Visionary powers! These magical powers gave the knights special abilities including the power to turn into their totem animal form! I never knew that!
Sounds pretty cool right? Well, I thought so. I did have the majority of these toys as a kid, but it wasn't until they were clearance for around $1 each at Kay-Bee Toys! My Mom was always on the lookout for great buys and these toys were a great buy! When Visionaries were released in 1987 the price point was a bit steeper than other toys on the rack due to the inclusion of all the Holograms on the figures. This may have partially led to the demise of this toy line. Another reason could have been the competition with other Hologram based lines like Supernaturals
Obviously there were some set backs with this toy line, but once myself and my brother added these Magical Knights to our collection, they became a favorite. Like I said earlier, they were similar to G.I. Joe figures and like G.I. Joe the Visionaries had some sweet rides including the Capture Chariot and Sky Claw!
Even though the toyline failed and only 12 figures and 4 vehicles were produced, Hasbro put a lot of effort behind it. They had Marvel produce a 6 issue comic series...
and Sunbow Entertainment produced a 13 episode cartoon program. With these resources behind them Hasbro expected another smash hit on their hands. Unfortunately that never happened and the Visionaries faded into 80s toy obscurity. It's kinda sad, because these were actually some pretty great toys that I enjoyed as a kid. That's why I was so excited to hear that they were being resurrected by IDW publishing in the Transformers vs. Visionaries comic mini series!
I have read the first 2 issues and I have to say...Its actually pretty good. There are some unexpected twists and the Visionaries use there animal totem powers to fight each other over their new home on Cybertron! That's right the Visionaries are taking up residence in the home of the Transformers and some people are not happy about these circumstances. My only issue is that this series picks up where the IDW First Strike mini finished off, which I didn't read and left me confused in some parts. The comic does an okay job of recapping events and I can't wait to see where this one goes Hopefully the popularity of this mini-series will lead to an all new Visionaries ongoing comic by IDW? Only time will tell. I'm just glad to see this forgotten toy line back in the spotlight or should I say...Magical Light? Terrible, I know! Now enjoy a clip from the first episode of Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light!