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Mattel Dealer Catalogs from 1982-1989

 
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Mustard Broach



Joined: 02 Feb 2010
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:09 am    Post subject: Mattel Dealer Catalogs from 1982-1989 Reply with quote

I just stumbled across these Mattel Dealer Catalogs from the '80s and thought a few people here might have been interested in them. There are no video games listed (hence the posting in Off Topic) but more '80s toys than you can lob a bobomb at. (The 1987 listings for M.U.S.C.L.E.s made my nostalgia boner cry.)

I actually found these while looking at something semi-relevant to this site. According to the Wikipedia article on Captain Power and the Soldier's of the Future, there were two figures in displayed in the dealer catalog that may or may not have actually been produced. (I've found a few sites that note that the figures have occasionally appeared on eBay, so it's believed that they were produced, just in very limited numbers.)

For those that don't know, Captain Power was a series of action figures and space ships that had the ability to interact with VHS tapes and a live action television series. The space ship toys could be used as light guns and would keep track of how many times you managed to shoot the enemy ships on the show. However, if you failed to dodge the enemy shots, your pilot would be physically ejected from the ship. (How has this not been resurrected in the age of Wii/Kinect?!)

Highlights include the aforementioned M.U.S.C.L.E. on pages 138-139 of 1987, absolutely horrid Clash of the Titans action figures on page 2 of 1982 (which look even worse when you turn the page and see the Masters of the Universe figures), bizarrely deformed Talking Garfields on page 56 & 57 of 1983, and a bunch of "VCR Games" starting on page 192 of 1986.

If you're into Barbie and Hot Wheels, there are dozens upon dozens of pages for you through out the years. Masters of the Universe factors heavily throughout all of these as well.

Also, in 1982, someone apparently thought it was a good idea to sell something called "A Bad Case of Worms" which was literally just a plastic case with some big rubber worms in it.

These were all uploaded by action figure site Orange Slime, which put their logo on every single page of every single catalog, but had the decency to put it in an unobtrusive spot on each page, which had to be a huge pain in the ass. So props to them.
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TheRedEye
The Internet's Frank Cifaldi
The Internet's Frank Cifaldi


Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These are cool. I actually flipped through all of these at the library at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, looking for game stuff.
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I am Christina Aguilera



Joined: 25 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:14 am    Post subject: Re: Mattel Dealer Catalogs from 1982-1989 Reply with quote

Mustard Broach wrote:
For those that don't know, Captain Power was a series of action figures and space ships that had the ability to interact with VHS tapes and a live action television series. The space ship toys could be used as light guns and would keep track of how many times you managed to shoot the enemy ships on the show. However, if you failed to dodge the enemy shots, your pilot would be physically ejected from the ship. (How has this not been resurrected in the age of Wii/Kinect?!)


I bought one of the VHS tapes of this for 50 cents from a huge local record shop and gave it a watch. It seemed surprisingly ambitious for being a high budget-but-low budget late '80s sci-fi TV series geared towards selling toys to children, took itself really seriously in plot. It was written by J. Michael Straczynski, who created Babylon 5, also wrote the good episodes of Real Ghostbusters, wrote for the Amazing Spider-Man, etc. etc.

Watching panels on people's chests and such flip out and flash in an odd scanliney way that I assume would make the relevant toys shoot things was fun.
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Tongueman



Joined: 27 Feb 2004
Posts: 627
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's really nostalgic stuff, and it was funny to see Tom Kalinske's name under president of Mattel in those catalogues...
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Kid Fenris



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 300

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orange Slime has a bunch of other company catalogs to go through if the Mattel ones struck your interest. The Hasbro ones are great.

I'm surprised to see so many toys I don't remember from lines that I do. I watched the Captain Power TV series, I had a few of the figures, and I sure wanted one of those cool ships that shot at the TV (which my parents took literally and forbade). But I had no idea that they made Captain Power tanks, robots, a second wave of figures, and a huge mountain playset. And He-Man had dinosaurs in its last desperate year? Wow.

In fact, everything seems to have big playsets, something you'll rarely see for kids' toys today. Even Food Fighters got a playset.

Reading that Captain Power Wiki page makes it plain just how that series was trapped by its own ambitions: too serious for a kids' show, too goofy for adults (I remember my dad watching the first episode with me and groaning at some of the dialogue). Maybe it would've been better off as a straight cartoon. The special tapes that worked with the toys were slickly animated by prominent Japanese studios that could've put together a TV series as well.
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Blitzwing
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of these days I'll post pictures of my captain power collection, some of those figures are pretty tough to locate as they only were available in canada and some parts of europe.
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