Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Barbies, GI Joes and Legos

My brother probably hated playing with Barbies. I mean, what really does Barbie do? I had a collection over 20 dolls but did I really need that many? The most fun you can have is dressing her up in the latest outfit and maybe seat her with her friends near her real-water swimming pool (a memorable childhood gift from Santa) or in her Barbie Dream House (another cool gift from Santa). But it’s not like the dolls talked or had conversations with each other. They just sat there, looking pretty, staring at one another in their nice clothes and styled hair.

But Star Wars and GI Joe action figures on the other hand were quite fun. The clawed hands could actually be fit with guns and light sabers (with Luke and Vader’s eventually built directly into its arm) and the figures could actually battle one another for ruling power. Sure we had to move each figure with our hands, but hey, at least there was a bigger story and purpose for these toy lines. The GI Joe guys had cool code names like “Snake Eyes” and “Storm Shadow” and were equipped with their own specialty weapons. My brother made me memorize these facts for days. He would quiz me on the real name, code name, specialization, and weapon of each different GI Joe. I spent many summer hours reading the information on the back of the action figure cardboard cut outs. He even made a little box out of white construction paper and staples to file all the cards in order. Eventually all those memorization exercises eventually paid off and got me through high school and college.

Transformers were cool because the concept of attaching multiple robots to build an even larger robot was a thrill. And who, but the Japanese, would think of turning each transportation vehicle into a dinosaur, bird, animal, or robot. My brother and I would have timed races to see who could transform each toy the fastest. It was such a hot concept that even McDonald’s Happy Meal toys would transform plastic mini McNuggets, Hotcakes, Shakes and Fries into a robot of sort. Of all the Transformers, Bumble Bee the little yellow bug (VW) was my favorite. Perhaps that’s why I wanted a VW in college. My friend Angie and I wanted to paint one hot pink and plaster sorority Greek letters on the hood and doors.

But in my opinion Legos are the best toys of all time! I’ll have to write a stand-alone post for Legos next time. They are in a category of their own.

Cheers to my brother who was my best friend and who made childhood and growing up so much fun and memorable. I can’t imagine my childhood without him


Eric said...

Cool post! I remember one of my favorites was Mutt and Junkyard dog. The dog was a Rottweiler and I liked him. I think played with the dog more. I found this pretty crazy site about all the characters:

Anonymous said...

This is a cool topic. Taking it back to the great memories of being a kid - getting home from school, watching Transformers, He-Man, and GI Joe cartoons while drinking Capri Sun.

To answer your question, I don't remember Sledge Hammer, although there may have been some obscure character with that name that may have been packaged with a vehicle or mail away offer. Besides Snake Eyes, the other coolest character was Storm Shadow. He was the other ninja.

Looking forward to reading your separate entry on Legos. BTW, there are Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Batman Lego sets now. The best of both worlds.

Anonymous said...

I checked out the website--that's alot of GI Joe knowledge I didn't know about!

Capri Sun, the good ole days!