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Official Article

RoboCrap: The Weirdest RoboCop Merchandise

 

In 1988 movie audiences were introduced to The Future of Law Enforcement, RoboCop. Despite being a hyper-violent satire of action movies by director Paul Verhoeven which parodied the excessive violence of 80’s cinematic tough guys like Dirty Harry and the shallowness of American excess proudly promoted in the Regan era, RoboCop was instantly accepted into pop culture as a box office hero.

 

As a result of his awesome costume design and no-nonsense attitude toward dispensing justice, Officer Alex Murphy somehow pushed beyond grimy the R-rated streets of Old Detroit and into suburban homes nationwide. In addition to a kid-friendly cartoon series and Kenner action figure line, RoboCop became the subject of a mainstream retail invasion that inspired some interesting items to hit store shelves. So let’s take a look at the Prime Directive to serve and shop’ til you drop by uncovering the weirdest RoboCop merchandise.

RoboCop The VCR Board Game

Most people (especially kids) caught RoboCop on home video, so there is some logic for a board game that incorporated a VHS tape filled with clips from the film into the gameplay. Where the concept begins to get mind-bending is in the meta nature of board game based on such a horrifically violent subject existing without irony.

You might recall that there is a parody commercial in the movie called “Nukem!” where a family is battling it out as if they are world powers in the arms race. This game must play out very similarly as you portray RoboCop blowing away bad guys without mercy. After all as the box states, “The future of law enforcement is you…”

RoboCop School Supplies

While almost every movie and cartoon character got a pencil topper eraser figure or lunchbox back in the 1980’s, it’s still odd to consider bringing RoboCop to school in your backpack. In theory these pencils are brightly colored tools of learning, but in the world of RoboCop you know that they would actually be used to gouge out the eye of a drug dealer or impale the hand of a mugger to a brick wall.

Even if the kid was bringing a homemade meal in this RoboCop Lunch Box, you’ve got to imagine he’s actually using it to sneak the latest weapons tech developed by OCP onto the playground. The next dispute over who got who out in dodgeball is not going to end peacefully, I can promise you that. But you gotta love that graphic of RoboCop laying a haymaker on ol’ ED-209. He may be the future of law enforcement, but he’s an old school bare knuckle brawler.

This school folder is actually a product released only in South America, but you can imagine any American kid bringing it to school would instantly be feared. “Whoa, this kid’s parents let him watch R-rated movies AND buy the merchandise? Better not cut in front of him in the lunch line”.

RoboCop Playing Cards

Speaking of South American releases, these RoboCop playing cards are a fun oddity in that any adult bringing those to a poker game would be instantly laughed away from the table. Although if allowed to ante up in a game of 21, it would totally be worth it to have the dealer remark, “Your move, Creep”.

RoboCop Walkie-Talkies

These branded walkie talkies are not so much weird as interesting in that they make you question the team of engineers that created the RoboCop concept. Did they give RoboCop a fully digital visual readout in his visor, but not include a 2 way radio in his helmet? Does that mean that he has to carry a walkie talkie in his other robo-thigh holster? I do like that this manufacturer added their own tag line for the character in tiny letters near the logo where it says, “Nothing can stop…RoboCop”.

RoboCaps

While I’m not highlighting Kenner’s RoboCop and the Ultra Police action figures (that concept deserves an article all it’s own) I simply could not leave my favorite item from that toyline out of this discussion.

For the uninitiated, each figure had a cap-firing mechanism attached to it’s back to enable “Rapid Repeat Cap Firing Action” which simulated the gratuitous gunfire from the movies. So Kenner created these completely on-brand Robo-Caps refill packs to provide ammo for hours of imaginary urban warfare. The clever reworking of the RoboCop name into Robo-Caps cracks me up every time I read or say it out loud, so I just had to share it.

RoboCop Watches

What time is it? "Crime fighting time!" Oh wait, wrong 80's robot policeman, Anyway, RoboCop never really seemed to be up against the clock in his movies, but that didn't stop two different manufacturers from creating wristwatches of the Old Detroit's favorite cyborg crimestopper.

Though not as knee-slappingly funny as RoboCaps, Robo Watch is still a fun name for this timepiece. I like that they kept it simple with the movie poster art on the card back and a really nice sculpt of Robo's head for the flip-up watchface cover. He just look so pleased with himself. This is the classy way to give kids a chance to wear their hero.

But this thing is all kinds of ridiculous. Putting the RoboCop name on the packaging twice is overkill and what is going on with that drawing? it looks like RoboCop has lost the ability to bend at the knee and is in the process of tripping over his own foot. At least it features "Digital Power Time", whatever that means.

The sculpting of RoboCop for the watch cover looks like a 9th grader's ceramics project or the kind of cake topper your Mom puts together for the RoboCake at your RoboCop themed birthday party. By the way, I first saw RoboCop at a 2nd grade sleepover for a schoolmate and his parents must have been high on Nuke (see Robocop 2) to think that was acceptable for a bunch of 7 to 8 year olds.

RoboCop Shirt

Of course if kids wanted to own toys of the character, they would also want to wear the character. This graphic is clearly based on the cartoon design of RoboCop, but a very interesting detail to me is that the OCP logo is included prominently in the design.

 

Omni Consumer Products is the corporation that funded the RoboCop project in the film, so that makes this shirt branded merchandise from within the universe of the movie! That or the manufacturer just wanted to fill the empty space under our metallic hero’s bent leg and saw that logo in the design guide. You be the judge.

RoboCop Bubble Bath

You want wacky? Here’s the final straw when it comes to RoboCop jumping the shark. Yes, RoboCop bubble bath was once on store shelves. Before you makes jokes about “Robo-Rust”, remember that the final showdown in the original film takes place in dirty water filled drainage area where RoboCop proved that he is waterproof, so if Officer Murphy wanted to take a bath, it would have been fine.

I’m more amused by the way RoboCop’s arms are molded to his side like an Oscar statue. “And the award for bloodiest death scene goes too…” Add to this the plastic that is encasing the bottle and it looks like RoboCop has been trapped in a futuristic cellophane by an enemy and left to rot in a warehouse until his partner Anne Lewis comes to the rescue.

So would you “buy that for a dollar?” Wild stuff, right? If you’re looking for more RoboCop related fun, be sure to check out the latest episode of RD’s Retro Detention over on the RetroDaze YouTube channel where everybody’s favorite juvenile delinquent is facing off against the new Hall Monitor, ED-209 and getting in on the RoboCop act himself. It’s a ton of fun you won’t want to miss!

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vkimo Posted on Oct 11, 2019 at 02:01 AM

Always found it odd a Rated R movie had toys aimed at kids.

Benjanime Posted on Sep 25, 2019 at 02:36 AM

you'd think that a robocop shampoo was enough bizarre advertising, but then you discover the robocop fried chicken commercial from japan and then it's less weird.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 24, 2019 at 03:01 AM

@Mr Magic: Thanks for catching that. We'll chalk it up to a slip of the keyboard ;)

Mr Magic Posted on Sep 20, 2019 at 03:25 PM

"In 1988 movie audiences were introduced to The Future of Law Enforcement, RoboCop."

Actually, it was 1987, my good man.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 20, 2019 at 12:40 PM

OMG, the drawing on the packaging for that RoboCop watch is giving me flashbacks to the original Mega Man box art! Maybe they were the same artist?

I do have to wonder what it must feel like to take a bath in RoboCop bubble bath. Does RoboCop take baths in his bubble bath while indulging in carrot-flavored baby food?

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