A sudden rush of duties and obligations fell on me today, meaning the week is now guaranteed to be pell-mell hectic madness right up until everything shuts down at 4 PM tomorrow. That is the cut-off, isn't it? Four PM. I had to run to Target on Monday, and it was insanity. Literally. People in restraints eating bugs, men scraping thier bloody foreheads against the wall, old ladies crying for their babies. Just bedlam.

I expect it'll be worse on Tuesday. Good thing I've prepared this week in advance, and not only have the items below for your amusement, but the Diner. I was going to wait for tomorrow, but that makes no sense. Here you go.

  If the player seems a little balky while loading, click on it. Worked for me. Also, if your TV reception is bad, bang on the top of the set.


Below, another Yule edition of Product. . It's swell! Why? Because it's Mattel.



On Saturday I went to Hunt and Gather, knowing it would be a busy week and I'd need some padding.

Old Bloody-Cheeks is outside, open-mouthed in astonishment:


Oh, these guys: Styrofoam balls wrapped with finely-spun artificial material. You know how light they are, don't you? You can imagine thier insubstantial weight.

Styrofoam balls wrapped with finely-spun artificial material. You know how light they are, don't you? You can imagine thier insubstantial weight.

In the tiny room of many old bottles was a dull-eyed doll, stripped of her clothing.

Hasn't been played with in decades. Won't ever be played with again, I fear. But I've obviously seen Toy Story too many times.

A million small cubbyholes with assorted old stuff, each its own unique tableau:


Customer come and I want to go home. With anyone.

Another cubbyhole assemblage:

Outside, with as much dismay as Santa, a caroler.

He let something dismay him.



Here's an ad that left you with mixed emotions. On one hand, it would be cool to get a million dollars! Wait a minute, that's a million dollars in toys. That's different. Maybe you coul sell them. Wait a minute, 10,000 winners? So they were giving away 10,000 million dollars? In toys? No, the million was split up among 10,000 winners. Eh. Hardly worth the trouble entering.

The key word here for child-satisfaction purposes was "Mattel," since it was asumed by all children that they made the best toys. The year: 1967.

Snoopy demonstrates the extent of Peanuts marketing; Mrs. Beasley invites you to pretend you're a little girl whose parents were killed and had to go live with a grouchy bachelor and his plummy butler.

The cuddly friends seem ordinary enough, even though I'd be wary of incontinence from Larry. Those Patter Pillows are pure late-60s nightmare fuel. Especially Dolly.

We had these for my baby sister. Both of them.

We had no idea how they worked. It never occured to us to ask. What's playing back? Tiny tapes on little cassettes, like spies use? After a whie tehy didn't work anymore, and made odd blurred strangled sounds that probably were prayers to Cthulu.

To unwrap one of these meant Christmas was pretty much a complete success:

You poured goop into molds and then the goop hardened into bug-shaped things you could use to scare your sister. Depending on how you deployed the goop, the bugs could be multi-colored. It was an art form. It was incredible and awesome and forgotten by March.

This, however, lasted alllll year long:

Major Matt Mason was obviously a clone, since you could have five of them in the same moon base. His Space Pal was Callisto.

I loved these things, and I still have one Matt. The wires inside his body snapped at some point, meaning his arms hang useless and his legs are insensate. But if you're going to suffer massive nerve damage, the low gravity of the moon is a good place to be. No need to walk. Hop and float.

At the same time Creepy Crawlers were marketed, Mattel came up with the Incredible Edibles - same thing, in a way, except that they could be consumed, broken down by stomach acids, metabolized and excreted, as opposed to passing intact through your digestive system.

The taste of these is difficult to describe. Sweet, but not cloying. They really didn't taste like anything you'd eaten before. Utterly artificial. Gummis before we knew of gummis, I guess.

Some whee-ha pure evidence of what it was like to be a kid in 1967:


Those were the days. Then again:

Interesting that they made the distinction that her friend Casey is new, and so is NEGRO FRANCIE. Although I suppose NEGRO FRANCIE couldn't be Francie's friend, being her doppelganger, but did that mean NEGRO FRANCIE was from an alternate world in which Barbie was always Black, or did Barbie have a Black Uncle?

The way they stand suggests some sort of spinal problem, or the presence of gale-force winds.

That's it for today - an extravaganza of Christmas rarities tomorrow, including the first of the thrift-store vinyl finds. Good luck with your Tuesday!


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