As a collector of things, I try not buy every little shit that catches my eye; instead I try to mindfully limit my collection to only “nicer” pieces–although “nicer” is an arbitary term when you have something like a Ninja Turtles Dinner Tray displayed on your desk. But as far as dinner trays of the 80s go, it really is one of the “nicer” ones.
But recently, I came upon a bag full of assorted little fast food toys and freewheeling parts of playsets at a thrift store, and although I would generally avoid a big bag of little shits, I saw a few choice items standing out inside the bag. So I ended up at home with a big lot of little toys, sorting them on the table, and arranging them into piles of ones I liked and ones I didn’t like.
So let’s see what I got in my grab bag:
1. Burger King Kids Club TMNT Bike Gear
These were a Burger King tie-in to promote the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 film. Can you believe it? Long before we were jaded and ironically dismissive of the biggest crap the franchise ever took, there was a time when we were looking forward to the film and enjoying harmless Turtle tie-ins with our burgers and shakes.
I think the bike spokes are the lamest prize to come with the kids’ meal. A Raphael bike horn is awesome, a ninja water bottle is amazing, but bike spokes? There is not a more efficient way to feel like a lamer and get made fun of, than to put baubles on your bicycle. Plus, for those of us who grew up with the Turtles, by the time Turtles 3 and this promotion came out, we were outgrowing our half shells. The Turtles stayed with us, but we couldn’t be out there flaunting it with Michaelangelo faces on our bikes, though we still fell asleep on his pillow cases.
These spokes were still in the packaging, with an application to join the Burger King Kids’ Club. There’s a club I always secretly wanted to join, but my parents told me it wasn’t worth the stamp to send away for. Or maybe they just didn’t want junk mail for the rest of their lives. Sure, all I’d get was a hamburger coupon on my birthday and an advertisement thinly veiled as a magazine. But I imagined that were other secret benefits you’d find out about once you became a member–something involving decoder glasses. Everything in these clubs involves decoder glasses, right?
As for its inclusion in the grab bag, my rating for it is AWESOME.
Alright, let’s keep digging:
2. Mona Lisa
Here is something I wouldn’t have even known was related to the Ninja Turtles family, except I noticed it said Mirage on the foot. From my research, I learned that this is Mona Lisa, a very minor character that appeared in just one cartoon episode of Ninja Turtles. She is a mutant of ambiguous origins, and was a potential girlfriend for one of the Turtles. The character never appeared anywhere else, and yet got her own figure–but it’s obvious why: they figured girl fans would be desperate for a female character other than April.
Breaking up the boys’ club was attempted again in the second animated series, when they introduced a female Ninja Turtle named Venus, but I had no idea there was a female mutant in the first run. But again, this was 1993, and I was keeping my green on the inside.
What I notice about this figure are the boobs. I’m pretty sure amphibians don’t nurse their young, so the inclusion of amphibian boobs is a bit objectifying to women and female frogs.
But I’m gonna have to rate this toy’s inclusion as SEXY.
3. Happy Meal Wind-Up Chibibotto
What’s a Chibibotto? Some kinda Tamagotchi knock off. Rating: I’M PRETENDING IT’S A ROBOT SPIDER.
4. Orioles’ Bendy
I’m a fan of this guy. Me from Baltimore, me like Orioles, me like bendy toys. Rating: LOVE
5. Elephant Nosed Spotted Weirdo
I need some help with this one. Who is this? He looks like a long-ago aquaintance, a face that I just can’t place. Quite a face, too.
Someone out there knows. Tell me his story. Rating: WHO IS THIS? – UPDATE: The Star Wars nerds should order me 40 lashes. This is Sy Snootles.
6. Happy Meal Dress Up McNugget
McNuggets. McNuggets. That word just conjures up so many images. You might think of ground chicken beaks and gristle. You might think of fried food and obesity. You might think of delicious balls of bleached meat dipped in BBQ sauce. McDonald’s was brilliant–fucking brilliant–in the 1980s and early 90s, and encapsulated all of this into toy form, with interchangeable hats.
The Dress Up McNugget toys are my favorites of Happy Meal toys, and despite the many, many wonderful and overpriced toys I ungratefully recieved as a child, it’s these McNuggets I have quite a few fond memories of. Rating: BEAUTIFUL MEAT
7. Pirate Fry Guy
Oh look at this. Another classic toy and character from McDonaldland. Since the late 90s and 2000s, McDonald’s has just not been the same. You could point out it coincides with my becoming an adult, and perhaps I’m biased and overly nostalgic for days when I ate without care or calorie watching. Days before I knew what the fries were cooked in. But like any great musician, McDonald’s seem to have lost a bit of their heyday genius, but still plod along faithfully in the new millenium. They don’t even fry the pies anymore. It hasn’t been the same. Rating: SENTIMENTAL
8. Happy Meals “Changeables” McDino Cone
Another great toy series from McDonald’s, the Changeables, which were featured in Happy Meals over three series from 1987-1990. The McDino Cone is from the 1990 run, where all the foods changed into dinosaurs. There was the Hot Cakes-O-Dactyl and Fry-ceratops, and oh yes, the Big Mac-O-Saurus Rex. With genius names like that, the McDino Cone is perhaps the least fun, but hey, an ice cream cone that turns into a dinosaur?
Rating: I’LL TAKE IT.
9. Woodstock Sitting on a Pig
Now we’ve reached the cheapo section of the bag. It is what it looks like, Woodstock, on a pig. Rating: A HUNK OF PLASTIC
10. Annoying Looking Blue Rabbit
This looks like it has a high-pitched voice, giggles intermittently, and is friends with bees and talking flowers. Rating: ANNOYING
Another who is this? It looks like a cross between Barney, Big Bird, and a platypus. Can you help me identify it? Anyone? Rating: WHO IS THIS PURPLE CRAP? STILL UNDENTIFIED.
12. Launchpad McQuack
A perfectly good Lauchpad figure from the Ducktales cartoon. Rating: PERFECTLY GOOD
13. Dog I Don’t Know
I know someone will know this dog. I know this dog. My brain is nearly grasping it, but it’s still just beyond the reach of my memory. Going through this bag has been quite the brain workout. I had to look up Launchpad above. Rating: WHO IS THIS? – Update, it’s Brain from Inspector Gadget!
From Oliver and Company. I don’t remember anything about this film. I’m not even sure that I’ve seen this film. Rating: HEY LOOK, IT’S OLIVER! OH, OKAY, SO WHAT?
From Bambi. Was Flower a boy or a girl? Was Bambi a boy or a girl? Why did Bambi’s mom have to die? What is the meaning of life? Please offer any help you can.
Rating: ALSO, WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE?
16. Fraggle Rock Vegetable Racer
These were another memorable and beloved line of Happy Meal Toys, Fraggle Rock in 1988. Here was a huge name, Jim Henson, and a huge show, Fraggle Rock, and McDonald’s was the kind of venue that could pull in the big rock star brands. These are toys were well-made, lasting, and above all, fun to play with. RATING: CLASSIC
17. What Is This Purple Thing?
I just can’t remember anything. What is this? Looks like another long-ago aquaintance, another funny face I just can’t place. RATING: HELP – Update – a Fob from Teddy Ruxpin.
From one of my favorite movies, Hook. Rufio was kind of a jerk at first, but then he was nice, and then he died. At least he got his own squirt gun Happy Meal toy.
Hey, what’s Rufio been it lately? Hey, according to Wikipedia, he was in Moonwalker. RATING: QUESTION FOR SAM, MY MICHAEL JACKSON EXPERT, WHERE IS RUFIO IN MOONWALKER?
19. Cat in a Dress
Now we’re at the really stupid section of the bag. Cat in a dress. Rating: REALLY STUPID
20. Crazy Dragon Thing
Crazy Dragon. Rating: WHY AM I STILL DOING THIS?
21. The Little Mermaid’s Dad
I don’t feel like looking up the Dad’s name. Rating: HAS A NIPPLE SHOWING
22. Tom & Jerry
Now we’re back to some winning toys. I’m so glad this pair have survived together intact after all these years, not winding up in two different bins, or two different trash cans. Now I can keep them together. The pair are still holding up, but Jerry’s missing a tail, and Tom is yellowing in the same way that Super Nintendos do–the plastic he is made with is flame-retardant and when exposed to UV light, yellows over time. There’s your science for the day. It’s going to be a test later.
RATING: ORIGINAL FRENEMIES
A pretty good Batman, what can I say? On the bottom of the figure it says DC Presents, and it’s from 1988. Man, this thing is over 20 years old. RATING: WHO’S GETTING OLD? IT, OR ME?
24. Random Dog
A random PVC dog figure. Has genitals. Wish I hadn’t noticed it, because now everytime I look at the dog, my eyes are drawn to that area. Rating: HAS BALLS
25. A Snork!
Here are my two favorites, sort of the whole reason I bought the bag of little toys in the first place. I haven’t even seen a Snork figure before, and now I have one that’s getting ready for a bath. Too bad his eye is half scratched off. Snorks were an import from Belgium, a sneaky attempt to smackdown the Smurfs. And here’s a bit of trivia for you–the female Snork, Daffney, was voiced by Nancy Cartwright–Bart Simpson! Rating: DON’T HAVE A COW MAN
26. Cartoon ET
Another weird ET toy. What’s the story with this ET? He’s done more cartoony than other ET figures I have–which prompted to me to look up whether there was ever an animated ET series. But I guess not. This is my favorite figure in the whole bag. He’s a juicy, red berry among all of them. I gave him a special place on the shelf next to the ET finger. Rating: STRAWBERRIES.