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Official Article

Retro Antique Store: Las Vegas

Whenever I travel I make it a point to seek out the local antique stores, thrift shops and if I’m lucky, a garage sale or two. Recently while meeting up with some high school friends to see the re-united punk band The Misfits in Las Vegas, I was able to visit a store called Makes Cents, which turned out to be more glorious than I could have imagined. Join me for a visual tour of this “Retro Wonderland” and let’s see what we find.

Upon walking into the store the first thing that hit me was this massive wall behind the counter that had shelf after shelf of retro collectibles covering the space. It was like a Where’s Waldo? book come to life and I stared at it for at least 5 minutes trying to take it all in. I eventually had to take a picture so I could spend time later dissecting the treasures on display. So let’s explore a few of the items that caught my eye.

First up, two full shelves devoted to The California Raisins, whose merchandise I find quite often on trips like these (see my older article here). I specifically want to find that dude with the boombox on his shoulder now. Next is Lion-O from Thundercats looking majestically as Officer Carey Mahoney from Police Academy stands by, most likely making jokes about The Smurfs a few shelves down. Speaking of odd couples, I love the idea of Roger Rabbit and Murdock from the A-Team being locked in an ongoing philosophical debate about the merit of seeing Stars or Birdies when you’re hit in the head with a mallet.

Moving on, I next saw the entire corner devoted to old school WWF Superstars. In addition to dozens of issues of the official WWF magazine featuring The Hulkster, Andre The Giant and Ricky “The Dragon Steamboat” there was also an Ultimate Warrior Ben Cooper style Halloween costume mask, which was pretty awesome. But the real treasures were inside a display case just under the counter.

Of course there were vintage LJN and Hasbro wrestling figures, many of which I owned as a kid, but had you ever heard of the WrestleMania VCR board game? How about a Hulk Hogan’s Rock n’ Wrestling card game based on the Saturday morning cartoon series? I’m willing to bet at least one of us out there had that SuperStars of Wrestling sticker book that looks to have been an item available at Elementary School book fairs. Speaking of wrestling…

OK, so Mud Wrestling might be a little risqué for our standard focus on the site, but I actually have a childhood connection to this poster. Long story short, my dad had a friend with a property in Palm Springs and one time we spent the night at their estate. While I was roaming the grounds I found a smaller building filled with workout equipment and a lounge area where this poster and a box of Playboy magazines were on display. Turns out this was the “Club House” for the guy’s son and his college buddies back in the day. I didn’t stay long, but as you can imagine, it made an impression.

There were actually some more tame, but equally cool posters on the wall. This Avoid The Noid poster is gorgeous and looks like it belongs on the wall of a dorm in a late 80s college campus comedy. Speaking of comedy, be sure to check out the episode of Retro Detention where RD gets a visit from that pizza hating villain. The placement of this vintage Freddy Krueger costume glove just underneath a poster of the band Dokken was a case of perfect synergy. For those not in the know, Dokken provided the soundtrack for the 3rd A Nightmare On Elm Street film, Dream Warriors, which is the best in the series, if you ask me.

Getting back to kid’s stuff, this dynamic duo of Colorforms sets were a hoot. I imagine mixing up the pieces and making Pee-wee Batman’s Boy Wonder for the day, while The Joker brings his brand of humor to the Playhouse with Jambi, Chairy and the gang. Spotting a Married…With Children board game was a huge surprise as well, but I actually owned the The Batman Game back in 1990 after the Tim Burton movie came out. I never learned how to play it by the rules, but I still set up the board and moved the figurines around anyway.

As is often the case, there was fair amount of Dick Tracy movie merchandise and yet I still managed to be surprised. First I found a rack of figures 7 deep, but they were ALL Steve The Tramp! The guy had like 2 minutes of screen time in the film, but he still got a figure and trading card. As ridiculous as a site as that peg of tramps was, there was no way I could scoff at this Breathless Mahoney girls jacket.

It was a real sight sitting there in a bright pink that would make Barbie jealous. Never mind the fact that Madonna only wore black in the film, whether as Breathless or (Spoiler) The Blank! Still it’s one of those crazy pieces of merchandise that is such a miscalculation you can’t help but applaud the madness. I mean, this is something that belongs on an extra during an episode of Happy Days, not at Toys R Us next to Warren Beatty holding a tommy gun.

The place also had a huge open game room complete with pinball machines, a few vintage cabinets and some retro arcade emulators programmed with the classics. I personally got a kick out the Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out wall art and browsing the huge selection of vintage game cartridges in the cases. I even walked away with an old issue of Nintendo Power. If you got bored with games there was a TV with some vintage wrestling programming featuring Vince McMahon, Jessie “The Body” Ventura and my favorite, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. So much retro, so much fun.

As I made my way back to the front I couldn’t help but notice the wide selection of Garbage Pail Kids merch on display and ready to act as a classic impulse buy. I walked away with a button, the poster and of course, a pack of series 3 cards. You can see these items featured in the Retro Detention video where RD digs through a can of vintage GPK goodies for your nostalgic pleasure.

Just as I was about to hand over my cash, a bright yellow item caught my eye. One of my favorite video rentals growing up was Supergirl and it’s rare to find much merchandise from the film in the wild. I have a paper doll book, the novelization and a VHS, but this button is a now a unique piece of my collection I treasure.

So if you ever happen to be in Las Vegas with some time to kill, I highly recommend heading over to Makes Cents Variety Store, located at 2971 Sammy Davis Jr Drive for a trip to the past that will take you back to the good old days.

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OldSchool80s Posted on Nov 30, 2019 at 10:07 PM

Overwhelmed by the awesomeness!!! Definitely will try to stop there next time I am in Vegas. Thanks for sharing.

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