Sunday, September 21, 2008

Children's Palace and Child World toy stores revisited

Had some new Children's Palace and Child World items to share. So lets take another look at my all-time favorite toy store.

New to my collection:

A Children's Palace & Child World Ertl toy truck, in the box

Close up of the trailer

An old Child World toy truck by Majorette, on the card

An old Children's Palace toy truck by Majorette

A double page CP/CW video game ad from Marvel's Robocop II adaptation

Peter Panda puffy stickers

Some CW/CP items graciously sent in by readers

From Bernard, a former Child World employee was nice enough to take pics of some of the memorabilia he had saved.

From Brandon, an excellent shot of the old style CP store sign.

From around the web: (i.e. photos are not mine, I'm just sharing what I've found)

A Peter Panda board game

An old store pic

Former store locations around the US

So, so, so close...
In my constant search to find a photo of the old Omaha Children's Palace location, I found this great old pic of the store prior, to CP. The spot was occupied by a Handy Dan (long defunct Hardware store chain)

A must read
Here's a excerpt from a reader of the original Children's Palace post

"Dr. Geektarded, I had the pleasure of helping to open the store in Omaha. Unfortunately, this is the only time I have ever visited your fine city. I was involved with over 20 store openings.

I also remember when they filmed "The Color of Money". We were excited that Children's Palace (CP) would be in a major movie. I recall that CP was paid $25,000 for a day of shooting for the scenes. This equated to one days average sales for that location. The "customers" in the scenes were filled in by store personnel and their families. I still watch the movie on occasion.

Dr. you ask what happened to all of the clearance items? Well, we sold them! (obviously) But here is the rest of the story: The reason why CP had so many "old" items was their "pack-away system". We would store all boxed merchandise above the area in the actual aisles of the store. All pegged items (i.e matchbox, hot wheels, seasonal) would be boxed up and stored in the warehouse. Here is where the issue happened. As the store sold down items like Matchbox cars, we would get another few cases in on our truck so we would fill the shelves with this product. The overstock Matchbox cars in the pack-aways stayed in the warehouse, never seeing the light of day. This inefficient way of stock balancing was one of the many factors to the demise of CP. Ideally, today's retailers have eliminated the back stock all together as to not tie up these dollars. I recall meeting a Matchbox collector who asked to see any unopened cases in the warehouse. He was like a kid in a candy store as he looked through the 5+ year old cases.

During the closeout procedures, we had incremental markdowns that were sent down by corporate for 10 weeks. (i.e. 10% off, 20% off) It was in the last few days that we went from 70% off to 90% off retail prices. We continuously pulled the old pack-aways out of the back room as merchandise sold down. WOW.... all of these old items came out!!! Old Mego figures (like the Spiderman you have pictured. I bought a case of 6 for 50 cents each!)Michael Jackson dolls, Starting lineup, and so on... I bought several items... but I couldn't buy them all. I still have these items MOC. I only had one child then (age 1) and boxed them up. Now, I see these items on EBAY so I never let my kids play with them. (Shame on me)

The last hour of the last day, my liquidator consultant had me put up a sign that said "Everything you can fit in your cart - only $10". Needless to say, everything was gone within the hour. I took a video camera and video taped some of the mayhem on the last day. Fortunately, I had a job lined up and was paid nearly 3 months severance/remaining vacation pay if I stayed to the end."

I'm was so happy to hear about this "pack-away system". That explains all the old stock and why the aisles were literally packed to the rafters. At the Omaha location, on the shelving above the new stock, was this Tetris like packing of old boxed vehicles, playsets, etc. Then, along the back of the store was more boxed toys and aisles of carded toys. And lastly, the front entrance of the store was filled with closeout items too. Huge displays of Masters of the Universe, Voltron, Gobots, Rock Lords and the like, years after they had run their course.

The store was probably 1/3 closeout items. It was honestly a crazy way of doing business, but all those old toys are some of my fondest memories of the chain.

Netflix Picks of the Week: 9/21/08

Having just recently joined Netflix, I thought it might me fun to do some mini-reviews of what shows up in the mailbox each week.

So, this week: "Diary of the Dead", "The Eye" and "The Abandoned"

Diary of the Dead

Ole' Uncle George is back to his zombie-shenanigans with a mockumentary taking place during the first few days of the zombie outbreak. There's a great deal of heavy handed social commentary on media, the internet and other tired subjects. The movie is enteteraining, but feels like it's trying too hard to force a point. But there's a few cool zombie kills and I dug the pool zombies scene.
I give at a 2.5 out of 5. Not great, but worth a look.

The Eye

An american remake of a J-Horror movie I've never watched. Jessica Alba stars as a blind violinist who appears to have a personal make-up artist on hand at all times, since she looks like she's always coming from a Cosmo shoot. Jessica gets a cornea transplant and starts seeing weird shit. So, the game's afoot to slove the ghost mystery and stop the crazy visions. Alba does a decent job and moves past the standard hot girl role. The scares are fairly run of the mill in the post Ring and Grudge era. At least there wasn't a long-haired japanese girl as the ghost, so that's something.
I give it a 3 out of 5. Entertaining, but fairly disposeable. One of Alba's better roles.

and lastly
The Abandoned

One of the After Dark "8 Films to Die For". An orphaned woman returns to Russia after receiving news of her dead birth mother and the creepy old farm she now owns. Some scary-ass shit hits the fan, a long lost twin brother shows up and undead dopplegangers shamble about. The film maintains a constant air of dread and the Russian countryside looks to be a scary, scary place.
I give it a 4 out of 5. Great, creepy ghost story.

Local Color: Random Omaha and Council Bluffs pics

Downtown Omaha

The old Center Mall

The old Richman Gordmans/ Half Price Store in Council Bluffs

Old building ads

W.C. Franks sign at gas station in Council Bluffs
I have to look further into this. W.C. Franks was a local chain of arcades that served hot dogs that I used to go to all the time, from grade school through high school. The last one disappeared years ago (It's now a Nickle A Play arcade). So, I was a bit surprised when I looked up while filling the car and saw a W.C. Franks sign.

The old Florence post office.

Miiiiighty Muggs!!!

The toy crack that is "Mighty Muggs" has invaded the Geektarded undersea base. It started with a Darth Vader ("I'll just buy one...") and has blossomed with every trip to the store. Star Wars, Marvel, Indiana Jones and soon Transformers and GI Joe.

-DR. G

Just a shout out...

I've become a podcast junkie over the last year and one of my favorites is the Horror Etc. Podcast with Ted and Anthony. If you're a horror fan of any kind, I highly recommend the show. It's funny, insightful and the duo has turned me towards some new films. Anyway, downloads are available through their site and itunes (just subscribe, cuz it's an excellent show). Their show on shocksploitation from a couple weeks back was seriously one of the best analysis of the genre I've come across and probably one of the best film discussions I've head in years.

-DR. G

Dr. Geektarded Returns

Hey, hey, hey.

It's been a long, hard summer. But, after taking some time off to catch up on some personal things, work, rest, movies, comics, games and ther assorted day-to-day nonsense, I plan to be back posting on a regular basis.

Smell ya later,
Dr. G