Time Warp Toy Box: Week 1


It’s hard to believe 2007 has almost flown by already and here we are in the holiday season again. I can’t think of a more retrospective time than Christmas so this seems like the perfect opportunity for a month long installment of Time Warp Toy Box. Over the next four weeks I will be spotlighting some Fanboy favorites from Christmas past and I welcome any reader suggestions if you would like to see something special featured here.

How could I start this off with anything other than my personal favorite – G.I. Joe? The items featured at right are the Adventure Team Headquarters and Helicopter that found their way under many a Christmas tree. These items are from the early 1970’s when Joe left full time military service and founded the privately funded “Adventure Team”, a thinly veiled band of mercenaries for hire. Sure, you were supposed to have rescue and exploration related excitement with these toys but we all knew that was just a cover to draw attention away from his real missions. Joe managed to both avoid being shipped off to Vietnam and turn a profit at the same time – what a role model!

The late Evel Knievel was more than a man, he was an action figure! The basic bendy figure and cycle from Ideal were all a kid needed to create their own daredevil stunts! The line lasted for a number of years but most of the more involved pieces like the stunt car or the sky cycle never performed as well as the motorcycle sets. In an attempt to keep things fresh, Ideal eventually added a Skull Canyon playset, complete with boulders and a yeti like monster, and adventure sets that had Evel dressed as an artic explorer and jungle hunter! Sadly, his plastic and rubber cycle didn’t hold up too well to a flaming trench in the back yard (the rear wheel melted after two or three near misses) but it was fun while it lasted!

Believe it or not, there was a time when not every child’s toy had to light up, talk, and/or explode and they could still provide hours of entertainment. The Navarone playset from Marx was one of the coolest sets of army men ever made. The ad calls it a “fort” but this thing came with a freaking mountain and two whole opposing armies that were armed to the teeth! Anal retentive children could reenact an exacting version of the World War II battle or you could create your own science fiction scenarios with a bag of plastic dinosaurs! There was a similar Iwo Jima version with Japanese soldiers (notice no mention of Germans in the ad above) and this set was reissued several times by other manufacturers, so it stayed in production for years. There were no batteries required either, it was all powered by imagination.

Our final entry this week is a special request from my friend Angela – Weebles (or Weeble Wobbles as she insists on calling them). This was a popular line of toys for younger children from Playskool (a division of Hasbro). The main claim to fame for these egg shaped characters was that “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down” (try that one the next time you get pulled over for a DUI!). There were all sorts of Weebles accessories and playsets including a submarine, tree house, circus, western train, and haunted house. The House at Pooh Corners (insert your own septic tank joke here, I can’t do everything for you) above was one of several sets licensed from Walt Disney that even included a miniature version of Walt Disney World! Weebles are still being produced today but the modern ones look more like morbidly obese Cabbage Patch Kids than the versions we grew up with. 

OK kids, dig out those old Christmas photos and be back here next week for more Time Warp Toy Box!