Sunday, June 24, 2007

Summa' Time! aka Robo-Vision Optimus Prime action figure

Well, it's officially summertime in good ol 'raska.

Colleges are World Seriesing it. Arts are Fairing it. Air conditioners are turned on. Transformers movie toys are on the shelves. And my dog is shedding more than a Wookie's tampon.

It's that very Wookie-esque shedding and my disdain for dragging the vacuum out every 2 days, that sent me on an afternoon trip to Targé. My mission: find a dust-buster and buy contact lens solution. What I brought home was Prime.

In case you've been living under a rock (most likely Fraggle), you're probably aware of a little art film called "Transformers". The marketing machine is full-tilt with toys, snacks, candy, games, Lunchables, Burger King and just about any other assorted deliciousness you can fathom. Which leads me to my dearly departed $19.99 and my shiny new Optimus.

Since my digital camera only seems fit to film random Kennedy assassinations or the further adventures of Machine from 8MM, I've included a couple of clearer images off the web. I expect better of a $15 camera found in the toy department...

I'm, without a doubt, a Transformers nut. And it's taken a great deal of time for the movie designs to grow on me. Some work better than others. I think the toys have helped me enjoy the new look even more. They are a little more simplified and easier on the eye. Plus they give you a chance to see what's going on with the character. Half the time I on the commercials, I can't tell what the hell is going on. But now...oh, baby, I can go "There's Ironhide!" And "Hey, Starscream's leg!"

The $20 Prime's a gem. Great detail and fully-poseable. Nice, fairly complex transformation. Truck looks good. Bot looks good. He's definitely got that Prime look and styling. I'd love to see him repainted to match the old G1 colors.

I bought the "Leader" Optimus (aka $40 Optimus) a couple of weeks ago and was kinda scared to transform him. So I just displayed him in robot-mode. But the smaller one was a lot more friendly to transform, pose, etc. Both great toys; it's just the $20 Prime doesn't make my man-ham shrivel up in fear for accidentally snapping off a panel or limb.


That's it. It's dvd-time. Thrashin', Private School and The Last Dragon all came from Blockbuster online on Saturday. Plus my Deepdiscountdvd 20% off motherload shipment with Astroboy vol 1 & 2, Defenders of the Earth 1 & 2, Supergirl the Movie, Buck Rogers: Complete Series, The Stuff, Susperia, Avater Book 2: Vol 3, Inframan, King Ghidrah the 3 Headed Monster (Godzilla) and Godzilla vs Monster Zero arrived. What to watch, what to watch...Thrashin', me thinks! "Daggers rule!"

Oh and I got the dust-buster too.

So, you're asking yourself "How can I get the chashier to think I'm a jackass?"

Try out this little little equation next time you're buying dvds:

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin + Deep Red + Silver Spoons season 1
Jesus, you would've thought I had lobsters crawling outta my ass. But that's the price I pay for being a complicated guy who's tastes run the full gamut of crap.

The face that launched a thousand urges to punch the dvd box...

First let me say, I used to love "Silver Spoons" as a kid. But, rewatching some of those old childhoods shows can be as disappointing as Uncle Ed's homemade Transformers (ya' know, the ones made out of whisky bottles...yeah...) So, I found myself shocked that Silver Spoons held up and was actually pretty funny.

Now for those not in the know, "The Spoons" (as we in the fanfic newsgroup call it) aired from 1982 to 1987 and then for years in afternoon syndication. It's a simple tale of Ricky and his rich, man-child father, Edward Stratton III. With the lovely Wilma Deering from "Buck Rogers" (and the occasional guest appearance by Mr. T, Gary Coleman, Vicki from "Small Wonder" and the Killbots), Ricky and Edward try to teach each other some very special lessons.

In short: Com-O-dy Gold!

The first season's out there for around $20. Go get it now!

Dr. Geektarded gives "Silver Spoons season 1" a 4 out of 5

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Toy fun with "The Toy"

Since I was doing screencaps for the Children's Palace post, I thought I'd do a couple from The Toy, the 1982 comedy starring Richard Pryor & Gleason. At the beginning of the movie, Pryor works as a janitor in Gleason's department store (filmed at Goudchaux's Department Store in Baton Rouge, La.).

During the "Wonder Wheel" scene, Pryor is standing in front of a mouth-watering display of minty-fresh Mego superheroes figures (and I think some AHI parachute Spidey and Batman toys too).

Let's go shopping! Children's Palace

A typical Children's Palace/Child World store front (from "The Color of Money")

Children's Palace and Child World toy stores

One of our little obsessions here at Geektarded is the by-gone toy store chain, Children's Palace. The Palace opened it's doors in Omaha in early November 1985. The store was located at 7500 Dodge St., at the former "Handy Dan" hardware store location. As far as I know it was the first big chain toy store in the area (Toys R Us didn't open until 1987, in the same shopping center, no less). Omaha did have "Toys Plus" a part of a small chain of about 35 stores that were based out of St. Charles, Mo. and closed around late 1987/early 1988.

Due to the recession and competition from other retailers, Child World Inc. started closing unprofitable stores. The Omaha CP lasted until late March of 1991. The store closed for Easter Sunday and never reopened.

The Palace was a wonder to behold. The store front was designed to look like a castle and inside the shelves were stacked to the rafters with new and old toys.

The old toys are one of my fondest memories of Children's Palace. They did not get rid of old stock and it appeared that they would also buy closeout stock from other stores. When they first opened we mostly did our new toy shopping there (Transformers, GI Joe, M.A.S.K., Super Powers). But around 1987, when I as 12 years old, I started to get into toy collecting as a hobby. My dad and I would go to CP every weekend and hit the clearance sections around the store. It was a wonderland. Old Robotech, Kronofoms, Godaikins, Super Powers, Megos, Gobots, Rock Lords and more.

Stuff that I still kick myself for not buying (aside from all the mint in box Robotech mecha) were the clearance priced Masters of the Universe toys that were stockpiled at the front of the store when you walked in. I remember tons of mint on card Kind Randor, Sorceress and Scare Glow Skeletor figures just stilling there along with just about any older figures and vehicles you could want.

I can still remember a family trip up north around 1988 or 89 (I think South Dakota) and stopping at an older CP store that still was fully stocked with Clash of the Titans and Raiders of the Lost Ark toys. Shelves and pegs full of figures and playsets. I remember barely having any money at the time but I managed to get an Indiana Jones figure, a Mego Human Torch, some Batman & Robin Color-a-Card playing cards from the late 70s and a Super Friends Parcheesi game. But man did I want those Raiders and Titans toys. At the very least a Kraken and Perseus with Pegasus...

A couple of Child World interiors from "The Color of Money"

Anyway... after the Omaha store closed the nearest stores were in Kansas City and Overland Park and those closed in 1992. I remember going down to both stores a couple of times before Child World Inc. closed for good.

Man, I wonder what happened to all that old clearance stock...

If anyone out there has any photos or info that is Children's Palace or Child World related, shoot us an email at I'm always looking and researching, so I'll post more photos and artifacts as I find them.
Peter Panda, the Children's Palace mascot
Facts from WikipediaChild World Inc.
Founded in 1974
Based out of Avon, Massachusetts

Store designsChild World was known largely for making its stores resemble castles, complete with turrets, battlements, and three half-circles (two small, one large) in the front door. The storefront motifs came from the Children's Palace stores (est. 1967), a subsidiary of Kobacker Stores, Inc. which Child World acquired in 1977.

Mascot Peter Panda

The End...
In 1991: Child World began to close less successful retail locations.
May 7, 1992: Child World filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
June 1992: A merger was attempted with the Lionel Corporation, operators of Lionel Playworld, Lionel Kiddie City, and Lionel Toy Warehouse. Child World announced that if the merger was not complete by July 12, 1992, it would begin liquidating its inventory at 20% off retail prices. Child World said the merger was its only chance to continue operating, and if talks failed, liquidation would escalate into a going-out-of-business sale.
August 4, 1992: Child World announced that the merger with Lionel had failed, and all Child World stores closed within four to six weeks of this announcement.

Most of the old store fronts were remodeled for the new retailers,
but a few castle fronts survived the change.

Apparently, Best Buy was expanding at the time Child World Inc. went under and took over many of the old locations. That was the case in Omaha, Denver and Chicago. To this day, I do 90% of my movie shopping at that Best Buy in the old Children's Palace location because there were a lot of great memories created in that building.