Recent Yard Sale Finds


I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. The 1980s were weird. Take a slasher flick about a disfigured murderer of kids. Make a novelty talking doll out of it. Add poseable arms and legs. Make sure to advertise that on the box. Total selling point. Put it on the shelves at Toys R Us. The kids will really go for it.

And here’s the thing. WE REALLY DID GO FOR IT. I wasn’t even allowed to watch Nightmare on Elm Street and didn’t see it until my late teens, but like other kids at the time, I was completely sucked into the merchandising bonanza. When I think of Freddy Kruger, I don’t think of a psychotic who tortures and murders children in their sleep. I think of a nostalgic and iconic figure whom I really just wanted to be for Halloween.


Released by Matchbox in 1989, The Talking Freddy Krueger doll was controversial and didn’t hang around on the shelves for too long. And in fact, despite what I say about my cuddly nostalgia for all things Freddy Krueger, I most definitely would not have wanted this doll in my bedroom at night. You see, I was never scared of monsters under my bed/in my closet. I was far too intelligent for that. My fears were completely rational: like bees. Man, fuck bees. Or jellyfish. Or dolls strangling me in my sleep.

So it’s with all of this context that when I saw this Talking Freddy Krueger doll the other weekend at a yard sale, I had to have it. I even paid more than I normally would, although I still got a damn good price for fifteen bucks.


The box is in solid shape and the pull string function works like brand new. He spouts out fun phrases like “let’s be friends,” or my favorite, a shrill string of maniacal laughter.


Finding this book briefly inspired my next great life plan. The average game of Pac-Man lasts something like a minute and a half. And my average game of Pac-Man probably lasts less than half of that. I’m terrible at it. So when I found this book, my first thought was “oh cool, something neat for my retro gaming shelf,” and my second thought wasn’t really a thought but instead a moment of divine intervention. A beam of light broke through the clouds and shone down on the book while illuminating the world around me. In the distance, I heard a bluebird sing.

I could read this book cover to cover. Study it. Know it. Live it.

That dream lasted about five pages into the book when I reached the sentence: “I have attempted to put together an easy-to-understand guide to learning Pac-Man, starting with the simple beginning patterns and progressing to advanced ones—all diagrammed in detail on the Pac-Man schematics.”

Oh, Pac-Man schematics. You lost me. I am never going to be able to study schematic plans. I barely have the patience for untangling my iPod headphones. And I’m not ever going to remember the thirty-five different arrow directions of which way to go through the schematics. I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast. (And no, in fact, we are out of the waffles again since my last my post.)


Seriously. Look at this. Just look at it. This isn’t what I need to help me master Pac-Man. What I need is a Game Genie and a bottle of Adderall. Oh well, goodbye, dreams. I’ll be over here trying to see things in those Magic Eye picture books. (Still on my bucket list. FOREVER. NO I CANNOT SEE THE DOLPHIN.)


Finally, dinosaurs. There’s really not much to say about them. Except, well, dinosaurs. DINOSAURS. DINOSAURS.

15 thoughts on “Recent Yard Sale Finds

  1. In 7th or 8th grade, I had a Freddy Kreuger movie poster on the back of my door for not even a week until I sheepishly rolled it up and stuffed it in my closet because it was just too much to look at. Equally terrifying is the idea of pacmathematics!

  2. I wonder what happened to Ken Uston. Did he go on to solve the mysteries of Tetris or maybe Dr. Mario? I could google this, sure, but I suspect that won’t be half as fun as imagining all the possibilities that writing “Mastering Pac-Man” would have provided him.

  3. Toys R Us still has the inappropriate goods. This past weekend I saw a bobble head of Jigsaw from the Saw moves for sale there. Good times. And great blog!

    “Pull My String, If you dare!”

    1. that’s funny because I was going to comment how you’d never see something like “saw” dolls on the shelves these days for kids. what do I know?

  4. I think I had that Pac-Man book, or one very much like it. The thing I didn’t get is that the patterns would not show you how to complete the entire maze. I guess you were supposed to figure the rest out yourself. If you’re going to make me memorize a pattern, give me the whole thing!

  5. I had a Freddy Krueger hand as a kid that I would wear around all the time trying to creep people out. I remember as a kid walking down the grocery store aisles with the hand on as if it was totally normal. I miss that hand.

  6. I used to have that Pac-Man book and after I saw those patterns in it I just said the heck with it and tossed it too the side lol. Great score on that Freddy I think those can go for a decent price these days.

  7. I remember when I saw the remake in theaters I thought, “Man, why did they make Freddy Krueger so ‘rapey’? Back in my day he just spouted off a bunch of terrible puns.” It wasn’t until I was back in my car that I remembered…”Oh yeah, because he raped kids.”

  8. I used to play Pac-Man when i worked for the real Gilley’s. I got to the 3th and 4th leval. Never saw a book for it though. Just practice

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