That's me on the right. Given the t-shirt, I'm guessing this was taken in 1982, putting me at 9 or 10. Already playing D&D for a couple years - my "Stranger Things" era self.
I took advantage of the heatwave we’re experiencing in the midwest today to descend into my box-filled cellar in search of one in particular: the fabled D&D box. After getting covered Indy-style in cobwebs, I finally located it and nearly sprained my back carrying it up the stairs.
I have other things to get to today, so to paraphrase Quint, “We’re gonna need a bigger post.” Unfortunately, my DM’s Guide is missing from the box, and I have no idea why. Must be a trap to convince me to keep excavations going.
These, I’d forgotten about entirely:
And this was one of the things I’d really been hoping to rediscover. I can’t remember how old I was, but my guess would be around ten or eleven. Detailed photos of the contents will be coming soon…
Who dares enter The Cave of the Unknown!
I stumbled on this quite by accident while I was browsing YouTube for videos of the Damned performing their song “Nasty.” It’s a 1987 clip of Siskell and Ebert discussing the current state of extreme horror films. The entire time I watched it, all I could think was that if they could see the future of the sub-genre – series like Saw and Hostel – they’d have probably run screaming from their studio. Also, note the brief inclusion of a then-embryonic Blockbuster Video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzD5DxF3LcI
No, I didn’t forget about this blog. And I certainly didn’t run out of items to post about. But summer happened, and between driving around in my 1955 Dodge, and getting back into playing ice hockey again after a 20-year hiatus, I wasn’t really into spending a lot of time digging around inside the house. But now that it’s chilly out again, it’s another story.
I happened to spot a small box near the bottom of my cellar stairs which had a distinctive Kenner logo visible, so I decided to bring it upstairs and bust it open to celebrate Thanksgiving. And boy am I glad I did!
Let’s start out with this bendy fellow…
This is what happens when you feed your Mogwai after midnight, jackass.
He looks cool from behind, too. Quite the paint job.
Copyright Warner Bros, 1984, LJN Toys Ltd.
So after that, let’s move on the the Kenner logo I’d mentioned. It was part of this, which I’m pretty sure was a Sears exclusive:
Basically a punched cardboard diorama, which came with Han Solo (Bespin Outfit), Dengar, Ugnaught, and Lobot. But sorry Mario, your diorama is in another box:
Alright, I admit that was disappointing. An empty box. Once I find Cloud City, I’ll definitely post it. But let me make up for the empty box with this:
Certainly this can’t be empty, right? Right. It contains about 1/3 of my total collection (the other 2/3 of which is located in Darth Vader’s head somewhere).
Hey look, there’s Han and the Ugnaught from the Cloud City playset! Second level:
The Gamorrean Guard is so fat, putting his arm up is the only way to fit him into one of those cases. That’s right, I’m fat-shaming the Gamorrean Guard. And also, notice that Lando was not the only black guy in Bespin. There was one more, and he was a guard.
Ok, what’s next. This box was a bit of a random grab bag, but a really cool one, in my book. This next one was bought when I was a teenager, and I’d started to develop more of an eye for collecting. Hence the close-to-pristine state of it…
Back before Playmates had their highly-successful Star Trek toy line, Galoob put out theirs, which was not so successful. I managed to snag a bunch of it though, including this baby. Opened, but not really touched.
Still rubberband-wrapped in her instructions, like a warm cozy blanket:
And now, a slight change of pace. Despite the fact that they’re still in the packaging (and notice the yellowing of it), there three actually WERE removed and played with. I just, well, saved the packaging. Because I was that kid.
Strongheart (Good Paladin), Warduke (Evil Fighter), and Northlord (Great Barbarian). Strongheart didn’t need no stinking shield, because his heart was strong, and he was GOOD.
Warduke was… ok, he just had the coolest equipment of all of them. Bad guys always get the best uniforms. Armor on only half my body, because I’m some kind of badass gladiator or something. And tell me that batwing helmet wasn’t inspired by Erol Otus…
And then there’s Northlord. So much kit was awesome for an action figure, but he’d have needed a squire or bag of holding to take it all with him everywhere:
Prices, for the curious. Warduke’s was peeled off (probably a gift), but Strongheart was $2.99 at Fay’s Drugs:
And Northlord (probably since he was big and had more stuff) was $4.97 at Bradlee’s (a northeast discount store similar to K-Mart which has long since gone under).
And the reverse sides, all of which are identical except for proof-of-purchase value:
I’m not sure who did the artwork (it doesn’t look like one of the usual TSR crew), but it still wasn’t half bad:
Alright. It’s grand finale time. This was the one thing I was happiest to see in that box.
That’s right. Merlin. The grand daddy of hand-held electronic games.
And THIS box isn’t empty:
So, there was something rattling around inside of it. I remember hearing it way back when, but I never had the guts to try to open it up and make sure it wasn’t an electronic component (resistor? capacitor? Ack!) that had worked itself loose. But I’m older and supposedly wiser now, so I removed the two simple screws holding it together.
And this was the cause of the rattling. Not sure where it came from, but it’s obviously not electronic, so I was relieved.
Yeah, so I could post multiple shots of all the user manual. But let’s admit, that’s not why anyone is still reading, right? No… this is why:
Ok, so the suspense would be tangible if you’d been there, but you get to see the results after a couple quick sentences. Unfortunately, until I figure out how to post video here, you don’t get to hear the result, or see it interactively. But there was no smoke, and this bit of 1978 handheld technology fired up like a champ:
So now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be mixing up a dirty martini and playing blackjack against a 36-year-old friend who could whup your iPhone’s behind.
Ah, they just don’t make them like this anymore…
I was out doing a little record shopping today at the local antique mall, and ran into this gem for one whole US dollar. I also picked up a nice Rush “2112” and Queen “Jazz”, but this one needs to be shown off here. I swear I can remember hearing this on the radio the summer of 1978. Gotta love the booty-bumpin’ Flash Gordon-esque artwork by “Rodriguez.” I bet 2W2N knows more about him than I do…