If you were a kid in the 1980's, it's my opinion that you were one of the luckiest damn kids in the world. Why? Because our toys were awesome. We were pre computers and Internet but post tin cans and wooden dolls. Toys were what fueled our imaginations. It was the age of five inch thick, glorious toy catalogs that every kid drooled over before Christmas. There were toys that were starting to talk, walk and take on a "life" of their own with the help of batteries and electricity. Teddy Ruxpin could tell you a bed time story, you didn't need your parents for that! And screw TV! The drama that was going on between your Barbie dolls or GI Joes was way more exciting. The dark wasn't so scary with your Glow Worm or your Light Bright. Care Bears reminded you to stay positive. The bottom of the breakfast cereal meant a toy was at hand (unless your parents let you dump it all in a big bowl first.) Saturday morning cartoons were still in existence and were actually good.
Simply put, the 80's were an amazing time to be a kid. I'm going to use this series of blogs to take a break from paranormal & creepy topics to share my love of the 80's. I'm going to dive into some of my favorite memories and toys from that bygone era many of us miss and still love to get lost in the forgotten nostalgia.
This freakishly adorable cat with its assortment of equally cute friends was a solid obsession of mine and of many other kids out there. If I had anything Hello Kitty, it was lovingly taken care off and kept in a special place. I had pens, erasers, stamp kits, mini pencil kits and stationary. These would all be stored neatly in a drawer or be on display. If I took any of these items to school, I wouldn't use them. They would just be artfully placed inside my desk somewhere or in my room with other designer erasers and pens that were just for looks.
But my favorite Hello Kitty toy was my beloved Hello Color. Hello Color was the ultimate bath toy. It was a plush doll you could dunk underwater and it would change color! It was incredible. It started out pink and purple and when the hot water touched it, bam! It turned to lighter colors. Now as a kid, I wasn't just content to dunk the doll underwater once and watch the colors change. It needed to happen again, and again. So on the cold water would go and I'd hold the doll under it and watch the dark colors come back. Then it would go back into the hot bath water...then the cold...then the hot...and after some time lapsed, I would find myself sitting in lukewarm bathwater with the start of chattering teeth. But playtime would continue until my parents would rip me from the tub and hang the doll up to dry. Until tomorrow night Hello Color!
Then one day, the unthinkable happened. Our large Husky decided to get his hands on my Hello Color and destroy it. When I found her, she was torn open, her fluffy insides spilling out. I cried. My grandma did her best to sew the doll back up, but it was never the same after that. The face was sewn up like Frankenstein and it was obvious to me that the soul of the doll I bonded with over bath time had left its body when it was attacked by our heartless dog.
At some point, like all bath toys, the doll was getting a little rank and had seen its last days and made its exit to toy heaven. But I never forgot Hello Color and our short time together on this planet and I have often done Ebay searches looking for another one just for the hell of it. In fact, it was my searches that reminded me it was even called "Hello Color." I just remembered the awesome Hello Kitty doll that changed colors in the tub. A few key word searches later and thanks to YouTube and other nostalgic 80's toy nuts, the commercial below popped up and I was instantly reconnected with my long lost toy again through 31 seconds of streaming bliss. I found this commercial actually disturbing seeing the children in the tub seem really exposed for TV. Something tells me we wouldn't see this on the television today.
Toy #2 - She-Ra = Awesome
There are no words that can really describe my fondness for these toys. I have been slowly getting rid of some of my toy's from the 80's as they have been gaining some collectibility, but I will never, ever, ever part with my She-Ra dolls. The one thing I regret was selling off all of my He-Man dolls at a garage sale back in the late 80's. I had tons of them all in mint condition and I cringe every time I think about it.
I can honestly say that I still have dreams once in a while that She-Ra comes back into stores and there I am, (adult me), walking through the toy aisle when I see brand new She-Ra dolls hanging there ready to collect all over again. But then I wake up, and it just angers me that they came out with He-Man a second time a few years back but not She-Ra. Of course, Mattel learned that it wasn't the kids picking up all of these new He-Man toys, it was actually adults who played with the originals in the 80's and still wanted to collect this new version of their favorite toy. Today's kids didn't know what to do with them. They didn't do anything or come with a screen. They didn't have buttons or a microchip,so the toys didn't catch on with the new generation of kids.
After digging on the Internet, I was able
to find this old ad showing the actual
pajamas on the kid on the right.
Two of the coolest She-Ra items I owned were my She-Ra pajamas and the actual (plastic) armor of She-Ra. First, the pajamas were pretty sweet seeing they came with knee length yellow-gold footies that were supposed to resemble her boots. The actual pajamas were made to look like her mini skirt. She-Ra and her horse were printed on the front of the shirt and then there was the coolest part of the whole ensemble: the red cape. The cape was a piece of red fabric that attached via Velcro onto the shoulders. It wouldn't always stay, especially after it had been washed a few times, but when I went to bed, I didn't go to bed as Amberrose...I went to bed as She-Ra, and there was nothing cooler than that. I would slide down our long wooden hallway in my slippers, trying to get the cape to somewhat blow upwards as if I were flying. It was never too successful but I'm sure it was good exercise and annoying to my grandparents.
My She-Ra armor is still sought after by my friends who beg me to locate all the parts so they can try it on and wear it. This set included bracers, a necklace, the shield, a belt, the sword of power and the most magical piece of them all...the She-Ra mask. Combine these items with my pajamas, and there was no stopping me as a little kid. (Note: I looked cooler than the kid featured in this picture. The white leotard and Keds just don't make a powerful super hero statement.)
Who was your favorite?
My friends and I have often talked about getting together and trying to pull off She-Ra characters for Halloween but we have come to the conclusion that in our 30's, it would take many months of intense physical training and strict dietary habits to even remotely come close to portraying a Princess of Power figurine.
I came across this on the Internet and just had to put this on here in reference
to the small conversation below regarding Halloween.
::Me to my cousin:: "You could be She-Ra for Halloween! You have blonde hair and blue eyes! You could pull it off! I could be Frosta or something!"
::My cousin:: "No one wants to see a fat She-Ra."
::Me:: big sigh.
And who could forget those mighty words, "I HAVE THE POWER!!!"
Toy #3 Jem & the Holograms
Now what's so cool about many of the toys from the 80's was that you not only had the toys, but you got to watch your toys in action in their very own cartoon on TV. Jem was completely inspired by the wild neon fashion of the time and the belief that being a rock star was the coolest thing anybody could be in the world. And for me, a child who grew up listening to plenty of 80's metal and later, hair metal, I very much agreed with this belief. What I didn't agree with however was the music Jem herself sang. It was dorky and sappy. The Jem dolls that kicked ass were The Misfits. Sure they were the villains on the show, always trying to ruin Jem's career and chart topping hits, but let's face it. The Misfits were way cooler looking and had better music (if you want to even argue on the quality of the music at all.) What Jem doll collector didn't keep all of her tapes that came with each doll inside of their "tape case." You always had the Jem and the Holograms theme song on each tape and usually two other songs. I was always fond of the tape that came with my Danse doll. The song, When it's just me and the music was one of the few sappy songs I listened to over and over again. My favorite Misfits song was We're takin' it all. Neither of them are very good by today's standards.
Now I'm not the only one that obsesses over their old toys and fads because I found this picture...taken at...JemCon. Yes...someone actually puts on a Jem conference featuring the creators of the cartoon and even the people who did the voice work for characters like Jem and Rio. Now my first thought was, "Gosh...what a bunch of lame asses..." Then I told myself..."Hey..shut up! You're writing a blog about your beloved toys from the 80's and you so would go to a She-Ra conference if there was one nearby. And you bought at Jem wig this Halloween with the intention of being Jem."
"Yes...Yes I did buy that and yes, I would go to a She-Ra conference. I'd probably go to the Jem one too if it was nearby.
From the JemCon2008 website. I love the dude who's playing Rio in the middle.