5 Moments from TRANSFORMERS We’d Rather Forget

1. SHOCKWAVE’S SHOCKER

Shockwave is kind of like the Mr. Spock of the Transformer world, but whereas ol’ elf-ears relies on the Vulcan nerve-pinch to dish out the smack, Shockers can simply change into an enormous laser gun and blow his enemies away. Read on to find out why his toy is “packing” more than just heat!

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Eye, Eye! Shockwave costs the Decepticons a fortune in fairy lights.

The original toy of Shockwave was not actually produced by Hasbro. Instead it was made and released independently by a Korean company called ToyCo. This toy – nicknamed “Shackwave” due to being primarily available at Radio Shack in the US (very clever) – hit the market just slightly before the more famous Transformers version. Apart from lacking the Decepticon badges or any other branding, it has another rather obvious… point of difference:

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You’ll have someone’s eye out with that thing.

Yeah. Despite being a completely faceless robot, Shockwave still seems really pleased to see you. Luckily Hasbro got rid of the offending member when this mold was eventually snaffled for the Transformers line in 1985, making this the first time in history a robot was cockblocked by a Rhode Island-based toy company – but not the last.

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Treat Time #2

Following on from our previous Treat Time, Adam once again travels back into the past to tantalise his tastebuds with sweet (and salty!) nostalgia…

Sonic Biscuits

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“Wear sunscreen, kids!”

Memory is a funny thing. I can’t remember a single thing from my college education, but I can still taste these biscuits. It was the height of Sonic Mania, some time in the early nineties… A friend had a bag in his lunchbox and charitably let me have one.

They tasted good, and my brother begged my mum to pick them up by the case at the supermarket. But on the lips of every Sonic fan (in addition to biscuit crumbs) was the question – why is Sally pink?

She looks somewhat denuded. Sally was, very briefly, this colour in the American comics but they soon brought her in line with the cartoon that launched alongside it, where as we’ve mentioned before, the pretty princess was a tasteful tan and brown with a shock of red hair. Burton’s obviously didn’t get the memo.

Sally was otherwise unknown on merchandise in our part of the world, and even America for that matter. Strangely enough, the distant land of Australia went Sally crazy – all kinds of dolls, clothes and other products were available. She also became the mascot for Segaworld Sydney. Upon hearing this, Luke changed into his swimming trunks and headed for the estuary, figuring to ride the E.A.C. straight into Sally’s waiting arms. If you see him out in the English channel, wish him Godspeed.

Ghostbusters Crisps

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“WoooooOOOOooooOOO!”

Lunchtimes were great when I was in first school (yay for three-tier education!). I had a Super Mario Brothers backpack stuffed with Transformers toys, a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles lunchbox, and Ghostbusters crisps.

They weren’t just Ghostbusters crisps, though. They were REAL Ghostbusters crisps, if you know what I mean.

That’s a funny distinction to make, and the more you think about it, the less it makes sense. The REAL Ghostbusters were the dominant form of Ghost Buster, but of course they weren’t actually real, being a cartoon. But no-one called them the “real” Ghostbusters. You just said “Ghostbusters”.

If you did say “real”, you were normally talking about the movies, which you probably hadn’t seen because they had swearing in and Gozer the Destructor had serious cameltoe going on in that Gozerian leotard. Roll on the new movie, when people will have to say things like “Have you seen Ghostbusters? No, not the cartoon. No, not the Extreme Ghostbusters. The new ones. The real ones. No, not the “real” ones. The real ones!! ARRRGGH!!”

Fiendish Feet

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“WoooOO – Oh, we did that one already”

There’s something about yoghurts that attracts novelty. I don’t know why, it just does. I recall that most yogurts for kids had sweets or sugary confections inside, and some had Kinder Surprise-like toys in. Even grown up yoghurts like Muller Corner (and its sister product, Muller ‘Captain of your ship’ Rice) come in any number of tooth-rotting varieties. They always say “low fat”, too, don’t they? Like that’s a benefit when you’re spooning condensed sugar into your mouth.

Fiendish Feet were awesome not because of the yoghurt, but because of the pot. They had FEET! What madness!
Of course, as we all know, feet are a sure sign of the devil’s work so the yoghurts were declared “fiendish” by the manufacturer and appropriately decorated to resemble vampires, mummies, werewolves and so on.

These faces are etched into my memory, displacing those of family members and loved ones. At each family reunion or gathering, I look around dumbly like Mr Magoo, squinting at people as they pass. But I can recognise Fangs A Lot from a hundred paces. Weird.

Turtles Apple Pizza

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Introducing the 5th Turtle: McCainangelo.

Turtles was on everything in the late eighties and early nineties. I had a Turtles woolly jumper, Turtles slippers, the aforementioned lunchbox… One time my friend even came to school in his Turtles pajamas.

I’m not sure if I ever tasted these pizzas, though. It’s not the sort of thing my mum would buy… Anything that came in a box with branding (or even colours) on was ignored in favour of the own-brand, no-frills stuff. I can scarcely believe that they’re really apple flavour – that was pretty extreme even for the time.

If anyone still has one of these lurking in the freezer, please send it in to our usual postal address. I need to taste it. On a side note, last night I had perhaps the most vivid, lucid dream of my entire life: I was a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle, and along with the rest of the gang had been kidnapped by Shredder and bundled into the back of a van. He took us to Krang, but we soon busted out and kicked Shredder’s ass. Interestingly, either because of my own gentle nature or because of the standards set by video censors in the late eighties, we only fought Shredder by doing silly things like pulling his cape over his eyes and dishing out ridiculous puns like “Have a nice trip, see you next fall!”

I’m dead serious.

Sonic Pasta

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HP up!

Pasta was cheap. So we ate a lot of it. In fact, I still eat a lot of it. Morisson’s recently had a deal on My Little Pony pasta shapes, so I filled a trolley like I was playing Supermarket Sweep. There weren’t any giant inflatable bananas in the aisles, though. Only shame.

You could argue that this is one thing that hasn’t really changed much over the decades. We still have pasta shapes, they’re still relatively cheap and they still come in cartoon varieties. The tins are smaller, though. About one quarter of the size. This is either because:-

a) the cheeky buggers want to sell you less product for more money, or –

b) Government guidelines limit the amount of salt and sugar you can give to kids in one meal. Being primarily composed of both, the pasta serving size was reduced. But most likely –

c) All of the above.

Join us again for more shenanigans, folks. And we’re not kidding about that Turtles pizza thing.

“Denuded Sally”

Handheld Histeria

Game Com

The Game Com looks pretty ridiculous now, but back in 1997 it was hot stuff. In fact, I became rather smitten with the thing and yearned for it day and night, just like that little filly at Crealy Farm. However, just like that little filly, all it got me was a broken heart and worried looks from my friends and family.

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I also touched the Game Com in new and interesting ways!

Joking aside, it was pretty advanced for the time. I was most interested in its “personal organiser” functions; it seemed like something I could take to work. If I’d had a job.

It could even go on the internet and stuff if you plugged it into a modem. Which you wouldn’t. Because why would you own a modem if you didn’t already have a computer with which to check your email anyway? Continue reading

Off the Record

The Read-Along book n’ record was a children’s staple in the 70s and 80s. It allowed kids to have all the fun of a cartoon, without taking up valuable TV time and disrupting mum’s Coronation Street.jazzk1

I had a whole bunch of these, mostly from Ladybird. They were a little bit cack, especially the ones based on popular cartoons like Transformers, but I loved them anyway. At least, they never approached the awfulness that was Sun Raid – a story that sounded like it was recorded in a shipping container outside Hong Kong.

I no longer own a cassette player, so my story tapes have gone unplayed for many years. Eager to listen to them once more, I took to Youtube on the off chance that someone digitised and uploaded them.

On my travels, I came across a He-Man story record. I clicked it more out of curiosity than anything else, but I’m glad I did, as it’s fantastic.

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The Great and Powerful

“Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes of men. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake and sleep, we grow strong or weak; and at last some crisis shows what we have become”

This quote came to mind while I was watching My Little Pony. To be particular, an early episode from 2010 featuring “The Great and Powerful Trixie”, a character who is unusually complex for a children’s cartoon, so much so that I think it warrants further exploration. We’ll look at some merchandise along the way, too, because this is Toy Meets World after all, not blimmin’…. Pony… Love… World.

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“I’m on that website too. I was young and needed the money”

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