Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I have no clue if this was an actual toy store, or if it was a merely set dressing. It's hard to find any behind the scenes info on the movie and the credits are like snuff movie credits. Nothing saying where it was shot. No "special thanks to", etc.
Anyway, Ira's Toys is a creepy, 3 aisle, understocked hole in the wall. It looks like a closeout toy outlet store run by meth addicts. But it has some cool, now-vintage toys from the early to mid 80s.
Check out the cool Halloween costumes
Star Wars Dewback and a pile of Jabba the Hut toys
Poochie! The Rockin' Dog!
Matchbox Super Garage, Stomper, Mr. Potato Head
Wider shot of the Sat Wars toys. Below them you can see a couple of Manglors hanging on the shelf and the KRULL board game. Sweet.
Close-up of Star Wars toys. See the Luke figure card peaking out?
Another aisle with some various Smurf items and dolls.
Look behind the manager on the top shelf: A Masters of the Universe standee and Castle Greyskull. Also a couple of He-Man kites below them.
That's it. A Wide shot of the store to close us out.
There was some GI Joe stuff, but nothing I could get a decent grab of.
Those helmets kick serious ass, especially the yellow one.
Empire Strike Back
A Smurfy Christmas Cover
Here's that "Total Immersion" thing I was talking about in the previous post. Here's what life would be if you ate, breathed and poohed Pac-man (Which I think I tried to do from ages 7 to 8)
Those Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man puppets are the most terrifying things I've seen in a while. Good, 'ole fashioned, armless-nightmare fuel.
The debut of GI JOE
Empire Strike Back
An excellent Atari spread from the fold out back cover of the catalog.
This blew my mind. A WKRP DJ booth control center record player. I'm a huge WKRP fan, but had no idea they did any merchandise. Santa, please bring me one of these, mint in the box. "Boooooogerrrrrr!!!"
Table top video games
Well, here's something that always puts me in the spirit. Christmas Catalogs! During those childhood years these were the text books for Holiday Education 101. My mom used to get them all. Sears, JC Penny, Service Merchandise and my favorite... Montgomery Ward (or "MONKEY WARTS"! when I was too dumb to know better). And from November until January, these would be stacked on the coffee table in the living room. Constantly read and re-read. Favorite toys dog-eared for quick reference.
All the wish books were great, but I always gravitated to Montgomery Ward. I think one of the big reasons was they would do multi-paged themed layouts. It would be total immersion; a lifestyle. You could see what life would be if you lived in Transformers or Smurf-themed world. If you room, clothes, toys and decorations were all that particular character. It was mind blowing.
To get things rolling, here's some of my favorite pages from the 1979 Montgomery Ward Christmas Values catalog:
Used to love those Super Heroes "Fiddlesticks" construction sets. I remeber, like most merchandise in the 70s, that they had both DC and Marvel.
MORE SUPER HEROES
I loved those aqua games like Basketball. So much fun.
I remember playing with both those Disney toys in the middle alot.
STRETCH ARMSTRONG, ROM and ALIEN
THE CHANNEL F VIDEO GAME CONSOLE
Sunday, November 23, 2008
In the meantime, here's one of my favorite holiday specials, the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special. This one beats all the rest for me (yes even CB Christmas). Snoopy making popcorn and toast. Eating at a ping pong table. It's the reason the Pilgrims died for our sins.
So, take a break for 20 minutes or so and get in the Turkey Day mood. The special also airs on CBS on Tuesday and Thursday night at 7pm (central). Or go out and get the 3 pack with the Halloween and Christmas specials.
It's like a cozy blanket for your brain.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Anywhooo, hope everyone had a fantastiriffic Halloween. I OD'ed on horror movies and Diet Pepsi as I inked and lettered. I'm pretty sure the 21 year old version of of me would have kicked my butt for being so lame, but it was nice.
Here's the comic. More will be coming soon, I promise (or threaten, if you hate it)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Venture Stores, Inc.
A former chain of retail stores that operated in the American Midwest. The company operated over 90 stores, and was based out of the St. Louis suburb of O'Fallon, Missouri.
Opened: 1970 in St. Louis, MO
Headquarters: O'Fallon, MO
Website: www.venturestores.com (archived at Deadmalls.com)
1970: First store opened in in the St. Louis suburb of Overland (location became a Kmart and is now a Home Depot).
1976: Expanded to 20 units.
1978: Venture purchased 23 Turn Style locations in the Chicago area from Jewel food stores, and expanded to over 40 locations. They were the largest discount chain in Chicago with inner city locations other than Zayre/Ames.
1985: Over 50 stores, most of which were in Chicago and St. Louis.
1990: Venture became a private corporation, operating in eight states: Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, and Indiana.
1995: 115 stores in 9 states, having expanded into Texas in 1993.
1998: Bankruptcy. Stores closed in late April
Laura, a Venture fan and super-friend of the blog was kind enough to share some of her cool Venture collectables to help me round out this post
Ad from Oklahoma Cit, Christmas 1984
Venture's advertising slogan during the 1980s was "Save With Style." In the 1990s, Venture used two other slogans; the first was tied to the remodel and
restrategizing to be like Kohl's and that slogan was "See What's New For You!". By the time they closed they used the slogan "See What A Little Money Can Buy".
By the late 1990s, the chain found that it was unable to compete against other retail chains, such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Kmart. Venture tried to return to its founding principles as an upscale discounter and remodeled most of its stores. While facing vast competition Venture made a fatal mistake trying to expand into Texas instead of protecting its core markets. Venture sold the Texas stores to Kmart in 1996 and closed its distribution center in Corsicana, Texas. The company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 20, 1998, and tried to operate with a smaller number of stores. The effort was not successful, and the company announced its closing on April 27, 1998. Most of the former Venture buildings were absorbed into other chains, such as Kmart, Kohl's, ShopKo, and Burlington Coat Factory