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Official Article

Thrift Store Road Trip

I just got back from a long road trip and wouldn't you know it, I found myself stopping into several thrift and antique stores along the way to see what retro treasures I could find. I didn't walk away with many in hand, but I took some pictures of the unique oddities on the shelves that I can't wait to share with you.

Steve Dacri Magic Secrets VHS Magic Kit


Back in the late 80's it was all about VHS with exercise and even board game moving to the the format. So why not a magic kit? Steve Dacri was a magician known to have "the fastest hands in the world" and apparently the best tailor in town (just look at that gold suit!). I should have spent more time examining the contents of this box, but the photo of Mr. Dacri looking like a rejected member of Hall and Oates was entertainment enough, don't you think? Even hipsters aren't rocking that kind of mustache, what a pro!

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Trunk


I am obsessed with the 1986-1988 era of Mickey Mouse and his decision to dress like Mike Seaver from Growing Pains. Why doesn't Mickey try to be fashionable and hip anymore? These days The Mouse is back to the old shirtless suspenders get-up and it's a shame. On a previous thrift store trip I picked up a matching framed poster containing this graphic for my daughter's room. I so badly wanted to toss this magic cube into the car for use as a toy chest, but my tiny vehicle was already piled high with luggage, so it was a no-go.

The Shadow Vinyl Record


Collecting vinyl records is not part of my usual hunting, but anything with The Shadow on it is going to catch my eye. What cracked me up about this particular LP was the hilarious stock photo graphic used to represent the vigilante "who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men". Here he just looks like he knows how to ring-a-ding-ding with the chick-a-dees since that is obviously supposed to be Frank Sinatra. Although I do find the idea of The Shadow crooning criminals into submission to be a hilarious thought.

Superboy VTOL Cycle


When Superman died at the hands of Doomsday in 1993 it somehow became national news, but what fewer people followed was the aftermath in comics pages as a quartet of new Supermen showed up in Metropolis. I collected the adventures of all 4, but somehow totally ignored this Kenner toy line. I was too busy buying Spider-Man and X-Men figures, I guess. Seeing as Superboy was trying to be the coolest hero on the block and wore a leather jacket, piloting a flying motorcycle feels somehow justified.

Trivia Adventure Board Game


In any other style packaging this game would have been just another box on the shelf, but throw some Superman The Movie style block letters on your product and you've got my attention for at least 60 seconds. Plus, that lounging 80's family looks they're out of an NBC prime time sitcom, right down to the single parent scenario. It looks like Trivial Pursuit in space is the name of the game here, but with a focus on trivia that kids could easily answer. Although if the kids got the question, "Where's Mom?" I have a feeling a few tears would be shed set to sad keyboard music.

Motorola Mobile Phone


Just one generation beyond the Zack Morris brick phone was this little guy. My Dad had a mobile phone for work starting in 1986, so I got to enjoy the full evolution of the technology from the heavy military style handle carry device, to these more portable models. What's funny is that the $40 asking price on this baby is about 1/10 of the monthly phone service cost for mobile phones back in the day, no wonder businessmen had to make that money on the go!

Robot Jox Promotional Pack


To this day I have not seen Robot Jox and it is a real regret. I remember the TV commercials and it was always on the shelf at Blockbuster Video, but somehow it never made it to the family VCR. From what I understand it's giant mech-robots settling disagreements between nations by beating each other up, in lieu of going to war. Pretty cool premise. Included with this poster was a copy of the film on VHS and a promotional button. I had just recently read an article on the making of the film in an old issue of Starlog prior to finding this trio of items, so it was fresh on my mind.

Inspector Gadget Lunchbox


Go-Go Gadget nostalgia! My love for Inspector Gadget was well documented as a kid. As you can see in this photo, I had the action figure with spring loaded fists, extending neck and even a helicopter hat insert. It was one of the best toys I ever owned. All that survives today is Gadget's head and a few pictures I clipped off the original box.


Had I seen this fantastic lunchbox at the store as a 3 year old I would have filled it with all the accessories for my figure and not lost them over the years. The artwork is just awesome, with Gadget's extender arms acting as a ski bridge for Penny and Brain, who looks very upset for some reason. It really captures the feel of the show.

Transformers Storybook


Oh man, this thing was like a psychedelic trip back in time. Just from the cover you can see that the artist took some license with the character colors and designs. Why does the traditionally gray and white Megatron have red and blue accents on his body now? If you look closely you can also see a tiny Batman sticker next to the Autobots symbol in the Transformers logo, what a bonus!


Getting into the story we see not only is Optimus Prime drawn with a tiny mouth, while Megatron now has purple, red and yellow shading (groan). There are also some interesting character details we didn't know about that may or may not be canon. For example, this page claims that "Soundwave was so horrible that even the other Decepticons hated him", poor guy.


Finally we see where Michael Bay got the idea for the mass destruction and murder that runs rampant in his Transformers movies. Just look at the carnage as Swoop of the Dino-Bots literally blows off the head of Devastator and says, "That should cut him down to size". No wonder our mothers didn't want us watching this stuff.


Quite a retro journey that these aisles of playthings past took us on. So what did I actually end up bringing home? Well, aside from a still sealed VHS tape and a copy of Disney Adventures magazine that will show up in future articles, I couldn't pass up this issue of the G.I. Joe comic book that told the story of where Cobra Commander got his awesome metal armor (my favorite look for the slithering baddy). 

Pretty cool, right? So which of these items got your memories jumpstarted? Did you own any of these little treasures?

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Superman Posted on Jun 15, 2018 at 03:55 PM

Nice. Coincidentally, I just recently finished reading the stories about that quartet of new Supermen that showed up in the comics after Superman's battle with Doomsday.

OldSchool80s Posted on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:43 AM

Always enjoy these treasure hunts to the thrift stores. Thanks for sharing.

jkatz Posted on Jun 12, 2018 at 06:05 PM

The Shadow meeting Fibber McGee and Molly would've been THE crossover event of the 30s!

Vaporman87 Posted on Jun 12, 2018 at 04:34 PM

That Optimus Prime image is just messed up. Whose idea was it to put that mouth on him? He/she is fired!

Nice finds my friend. You always seem to locate the best thrift and antique stores!

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