The Greater York Toy Extravaganza has become a tradition every November. It’s a massive toy show in Pennsylvania that lives up to the word “extravaganza,” with over eight hundred vendors of all kinds of toys and even five-hundred dollar bootleg wall-eyed Miss Piggy lamps that have been SLASHED to only forty dollars.
This year I broke down and bribed the wife to come along with me. She had come along once before and was traumatized for life, swearing she’d never go again. Something about the cramped aisles, scary collector people with beards, and vendors who act like scrap dealers in post-apocalyptic video games. Also, that smell. What is that smell?
To me, it’s all worth it for the glory of digging in a dusty box to find some great figure at the bottom. But for the wife, I had to sweeten the pot. I offered to take her out to breakfast because going out to breakfast is awesome. But it wasn’t enough. “I’ll be fine eating cereal at home,” she said.
But the two-and-a-half hour drive round-trip is a real drag alone, and besides, I like having someone I can point out all the wack overpriced stuff to. Scoffing to yourself is not as fun. So I had to throw it all on the line. “Fine, I’ll do one of ‘your things’ with you,” I said. Which means I’m going to a musical. But she promises to be kind and not pick something torturous like Oklahoma.
Often the thing about these toy shows is not what you buy, but what you show great restraint in not buying. Like a sealed packet of Ninja Turtle party napkins from 1990. For only two dollars. Or a dented box 1973 box of Fruity Freakies cereal. The downside of taking the wife was she wouldn’t even let me entertain the thought of buying a jar of Ninja Turtle Ooze Slime that had completely liquefied on the inside. Sure, it was probably a dangerous toxin at this point, but for a short time the wife and I separated, and I secretly went back to buy that ooze, AND IT WAS GONE. And now I will have to regret it for the rest of my life.
I may also regret not buying this:
It was only two dollars and it says FINGERTRONIC on the box, which was worth the two dollars alone. I’m insane for leaving it there.
That’s the other thing about this toy show. You might picture it being a collector’s dream of finding Mego figures in mint condition and bounties of rare Star Wars toys, but it’s actually just a ton of crap. Really bizarre crap that’s unsettling on a level that you will never be able to fully come to terms with. Like the sad Miss Piggy lamp or lone pack of Ninja Turtle napkins.
Or this. Whatever this is.
It’s a tiny box of Pillsbury mix for a dollhouse or diorama, suspended inside of a dirty glass cube. What is it? Why? And how do they possibly think somebody will pay ten dollars for it?
Extra Terrific. Something tells me this isn’t official ET merch.
And finally here’s an opportunistic toy dealer who brought along his creepy portfolio of his side teeth-bleaching business:
And there were about forty other pages in the binder, all filled with pictures of mouths. I actually stood there turning the pages in the mouth binder. I was trying to figure what IT WAS. Like, is this real? Is it some replica book from some cult horror movie? It’s gotta be a pop culture thing right? It’s not possible that’s he’s trying to sell teeth bleaching with these horrifying pictures, right? RIGHT? Not only does it make me not want to purchase a teeth-bleaching from this man, it also makes me not want to purchase ANYTHING from this man.
Stay weird, York Toy Extravaganza.
Now let me show off the things I did buy.
First up is the Michael Jackson California Raisin. As a huge Michael Jackson fan, I’ve been searching for this raisin for the last fifteen years. I guess there was always the eBay route, but I just never found one at the right price or I got outbid at the last minute. But finally, he was mine for three dollars. It’s not even particularly rare, but this figure has been one of my elusive white whales.
Next is my favorite find of the day and a total steal, too:
I bought all seven of these Food Fighters for a total of ten dollars, which also came with seven McDonald’s Changeables toys. I already had all of the Changeables toys, so I’ll sell them on eBay, meaning I basically got the Food Fighters for free, which go anywhere from $5 to $35 individually on eBay.
I’m proclaiming the Food Fighters line of toys the coolest action figures ever. Look at them. I now own a militaristic angry stack of pancakes. And a figure called Private Pizza. And a gun-toting taco. Released by Mattel in 1988, they are proof that toys today are not anywhere near as cool as they used to be.
Here’s another cool, random toy line: Army Ants.
I got these three ants for a dollar a piece. They’re pretty rare to come across, and I only had a measly two in my collection already, so it felt like a real score to find them. They were like MUSCLEs or Monsters in my Pocket, only they were ants, and they had removable asses. Well technically, it would be their abdomens, but that doesn’t sound nearly as exciting.
I guess I was on a roll for finding stuff from random, obscure 80s toy lines, because I also scored this guy from the Super Naturals line:
Got it for a buck and the hologram still works great.
Finally, I picked up a couple of robot toys, also from obscure lines.
The guy on the left is a Charger Tron, or in other words: the other, other transforming toy line that wasn’t Go-Bots, which is the guy on the right. I can’t exactly keep my generic Transformers straight, but I do love a good 1980s robot, which is exactly what these guys are. I picked them up for two dollars each.
The Charger Tron is awesome. It’s two pieces attached together. The one piece shoots the other piece, which has wheels and transforms automatically from a car into a robot when you shoot it. It kind of still works, although the pieces are kind of loose and I imagine it dies a little more each time I shoot it, each time being thrilled no less. Seriously, it’s awesome. The Go-Bot transforms into a cap gun, but is missing pieces, so he’ll just have to be content being a robot for the rest of his life.
So that’s my haul. As for the wife, she survived. But now it remains to be seen whether I will survive that musical. Oh well, I guess that Rufus Wainwright concert where I went with her a couple years ago couldn’t fill my quota of doing her stuff forever.