Dec 29, 2015

Dec 28, 2015


Jackson Street - Philadelphia, PA
There's enough bizarre bootleg, foreign and new old stock merchandise in this store to create a separate blog.  Earlier, I showed the Bear Police and Wind-Up Fish from 1994 B.C. toys.  Here are the best of the rest:

This Power Rangers knock-off includes five "Super Rangers" on motorcycles.  I'm not sure what makes the blue one more violent and capable of performing fighting actions than the others.

When I was growing up in the 80's, most kids loved Transformers.  There was a smaller, but loyal fanbase for the GoBots.  There were also weird kids like myself who liked the McDonald's Changeables.  However, I don't remember anyone going bonkers over Auto-Change toys.

Hey kids!  How would you like to spend some time re-enacting the brutal slaughter of Native Americans with the power of voice and sound?  Well, get ready to open fire on the enemy attack and you, too, can enjoy this 50 piece set as much as the very white children pictured on the box.  Be on the lookout for our next product, the Hawaiian Invasion Playset where you can turn a peaceful tropical kingdom into a theme park for the wealthy.

Flight 668 ready for takeoff.  Our in-flight service will be serving Charm Toast.

I was born just a few years too soon to catch on to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers phenomenon, but I would have passed on these even if they did give me warm, nostalgic feelings.  New old stock VHS tapes are cool and all, but four bucks seems a little stiff.  I worked in the electronics department of a K-Mart back in '97 and I think we were selling these cheaper even then.

This seemed to be the carnival game prize section of Jomar.  These are exactly the kind of giant posters in cheap plastic frames that you can win by playing bingo or throwing darts at a balloon at the Bloomsburg Fair.  The same goes for the giant novelty watches that are made to hang on the wall.

Judging by the Joey McIntyre poster, I'd say that this merchandise went on tour at various county fairs and amusement parks in the late 80's or early 90's before landing in a warehouse for a couple of decades.  It must be said that for being a quarter century old, these were in pretty good shape.  They look brand new.

A product called "Chia Willie" could have been worse, I suppose.  I've never watched Duck Dynasty, so I have no idea who Willie Robertson is or what he does that has earned him the honor of being immortalized as a ceramic head with a chia sprout beard.  I suspect that, like most Chia Pets, plenty of these were given as gifts on Christmas morning.  You know the drill.  Mom unwraps her Chia Pet, there are smiles, laughter, and a photo holding the box, and then the unopened box goes into the attic where it is rediscovered 20 years later and sold at a yard sale for a buck.

These are the items that proved too nerdy (and cheap) to resist.  I bought a new old stock Jurassic Park bookbag from 1993, a bag of what looks like soot sprites from Spirited Away, and my personal favorite, a wind-up Ninja Tricycle.  You'll be seeing more of that in a future post after I take it out of the box.

Dec 27, 2015

Ancient Chinese Wind-Up Fish

Tropical Paradise Wind-Up Fish
Jomar - Philadelphia, PA
Before Christmas, I posted a picture of the Bear Police from Jomar.  Another curious piece of merchandise that they had for sale were wind-up fish toys.  According to the box, these fish are oolder than Jesus as they were made in China in 1994 B.C.

If you're in the neighborhood, you can pick up enough of these to fill a whole aquarium for less than $20.

Dec 26, 2015

Boxing Day Facts

Sure, why not?

Dec 22, 2015

This Rocketship Runs On Dunkin'

Dunkin' Brands
Canton, MA
Just wrapping up a three day visit to the global headquarters for Dunkin' Brands.  We're creating a customer service training to roll out next month.  It's going to be hard to walk away from all of the fresh coffee and donuts we've been enjoying.

Dec 21, 2015

It Can Bring You The Endless Fun

Bear Police
Jomar - Philadelphia, PA
Before Final Battle, my friend Angel and I went into a weird store near the ECW Arena called Jomar.  Their merchandise is an interesting mix of clothes, fabric, new old stock and strange bootleg toys.  One of my favorites is the Bear Police, which the box describes as "lights music, fluctuant revolving, battery operated" and "spining colorful".  It can bring you the endless fun.  Piglet must be sold separately.

I'll post more photos from Jomar later this month.  In the meantime, check out these videos that Angel took inside the store: [1] [2]

Dec 20, 2015

An Extreme Tribute

The restroom hallway at 2300 Arena has this tribute to Extreme Championship Wrestling painted on the wall.

Dec 19, 2015

Final Battle at ECW Arena

ROH Final Battle 2015
2300 Arena - Philadelphia, PA
Ten years ago, I went to my first Final Battle.  It was in Edison, New Jersey, and it was the best professional wrestling show I had ever been to up to that point.  Yesterday, I got to see this year's Final Battle in the old ECW Arena.

Here are the results of the show:

Here are some photos from the show:

The ring before the start of the show
The Young Bucks
Dalton Castle faces off against Silas Young (with The Boys)
Michael Elgin after he defeated Moose
Adam Cole
Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly before their match
Alex Shelley and "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels
Alex Shelley, Matt Sydal and ACH
Bobby Fish
Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong before their match for the ROH Television Championship
War Machine (Rowe and Hanson) before their match for the ROH Tag Team Championship
War Machine (Rowe and Hanson) before their match for the ROH Tag Team Championship
The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Michael Bennett) with Maria Kanellis before they defended the Tag Team Titles
War Machine (Rowe and Hanson) after winning the ROH Tag Team Championship from The Kingdom
War Machine (Rowe and Hanson) after winning the ROH Tag Team Championship from The Kingdom
AJ Styles and Jay Lethal before their match for the ROH World Heavyweight Championship
ROH World Heavyweight Champion Jay Lethal, with Truth Martini and Taeler Hendrix, before his match with AJ Styles

Dec 18, 2015

The Childhood Reawakens

Star Wars Episode VII - The movie that will bring millions of fans back to their childhood for 136 minutes.

artwork: May The Force Be With You by John Afflick

Dec 2, 2015

A Sparkling Strawberry Breakfast

Strawberry Pop Tarts
Kellogg's (2015)
I'm a sucker for seasonal products and packaging.  I'm probably an even bigger sucker for things that sparkle, especially when those things contain a tasty strawberry breakfast pastry.

It doesn't really show up well in the pictures above, but these winter themed Pop Tart boxes have a shiny silver and blue design that almost looks like a hologram.  I'm sure it has a name, but I don't know what it is.  Whatever you call it, they really grab your attention at the grocery store.

Dec 1, 2015

Hulk Hogan Wins The Belt With Stickers

Troll Student Book Club News
Special Issue - Year End 1985
The kids who got this flyer 30 years ago hit the jackpot if they had parents who were looking for Christmas present ideas.  There's a Choose Your Own Adventure book, Michael Jackson, Santa Claus: The Movie, WWF stickers, The Flintstones, Garfield, Heathcliff, Zork, Mad Libs, Video Game Smugglers, a book to teach you how to draw dinosaurs... this catalog had it all!  [source: Shawn Robare]

Nov 24, 2015

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Down The Turnpike

A new limited edition t-shirt is available from that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Raven vs Tommy Dreamer feud that put ECW on the map.

The shirt is designed in the style of the original Star Wars movie poster featuring Raven as Darth Vader, Dreamer as Luke Skywalker and Beulah McGillicutty as Princess Leia, which adds a bizarre dimension to her relationships with the two men.  Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie are off in the distance as C3P0 and R2D2.

Nov 23, 2015

You've Got A Friend In Me

Buzz Lightyear cup
The cowboy isn't the only Woody in the playroom.

It's hard to believe that it's been twenty years since Toy Story first appeared in theaters.  While I didn't see it in theaters, the home video release has a special place in my heart.  I worked as a cashier at Wal-Mart for the 1996 holiday season.  We had TV / VCR carts set up at both entrances just past the shopping carts.  Toy Story had just come out on home video, so we had the tape playing on a constant loop.  On the days that I worked the express checkout lanes, I would hear Randy Newman sing "You've Got A Friend In Me" ten or twenty times a day at the beginning and end of the tape.  It became sort of an alarm clock to let me know that another 80 minutes of my shift had passed.

Nov 22, 2015

Despicable Pizza

Marketside Pizza
Wal-Mart (2015)

Nov 13, 2015

A Love Song To An Empty World

Kauaʻi ʻōʻō
American Bird Conservancy (1987)
The Kauaʻi ʻōʻō bird was native to Hawaii.  In 1987, photographer David Boynton recorded the song of the last of its species.  It was a male bird whose mating song went unheard, as there were no remaining female birds of the species left on earth.

Nov 12, 2015

The Insane Orange Waiter

Things I like about this decal on a restaurant window: 
  • The insane orange waiter.
  • That he’s carrying his plates in the air like a strongman.
  • The couple looks like this isn’t the first time he’s done this, but it’s easier to just let it happen at this point.
  • The sign says PASTA as if he’s screaming it like a Frankenstein
  • ...but he’s holding a plate of an entire chicken and a plate of wine glasses.
  • There’s three wine glasses
  •’s for him.

Nov 11, 2015

That 70's Hawaiian Luau

This photo was published in the Standard Speaker forty years ago today.  My mother is on the left, my grandmother is in the center, and my aunt is on the right.

Oct 31, 2015

Oct 22, 2015

What's My Specialty

Specialty Sandwiches
Burger King (1979)
In the late 70's and early 80's, Burger King began marketing a line of specialty sandwiches to sell alongside the traditional burgers and fries on the menu.  Only the chicken sandwich remains available to this day, but there was a wide variety of sandwiches sold over the years on the long, sub-style sesame seed bun.

This is just a small sample of the different sandwiches Burger King released throughout the 80's and 90's on their long sub-bun.  I worked at Burger King when I was a teenager in 1995-96.  At the time, we sold three different International Chicken Sandwiches.  They were the American (with lettuce, tomato, mayo and American cheese), French (with ham and Swiss cheese) and Italian (with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese).

In 1980, the fast food chain ran their What's My Specialty promotion.  Guests of the restaurant would receive a game card like this one, and they would win free food by first scratching off the name of a famous person on the top.  Below this was a multiple choice of four potential answers to match the famous person to their occupation.  Winners would scratch off the box below the famous person's specialty.  The quiz game was very easy and was designed to give everyone who played a small food prize to help promote the new line of Burger King Specialty Sandwiches.