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Official Article

5 Antique Store Finds Part 1

Before ebay became the go-to source for locating knick-knacks from our childhoods, we had to get ourselves to a local antique store and dig through a lot of dusty garbage to find that old Fisher-Price Sesame Street playset or slightly discolored Rainbow Brite doll . Though the thrill of the hunt at the local video rental store is no longer possible, antique stores still thrive and on a recent trip to a local Arizona shop called The Brass Armadillo I found some retro-gold I just had to share with you.

Metal Lunchboxes

For mental time travel, no vehicle is better than an old school metal lunchbox featuring TV and movie stars of decades past like The A-Team, Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars. My favorite thing about these metal works of art are the painted scenes that adorn the edges. For example on the bottom of The Dukes of Hazzard lunchbox, you can glimpse Boss Hogg running for his life, while the 1978 Superman The Movie box shows Lara and Jor-El preparing to place their baby in the crystal spaceship for his journey to Earth. I also want to draw your attention to the fact that the main image of Christopher Reeve seems to depict Superman RUNNING through the air, rather than flying, which is hilarious.

Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man

While wandering the aisles of this magical store I came across not 1, not 2, but 3 different versions of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from the Ghostbusters universe. The first was the totally out of scale, but beautifully sculpted figure from The Real Ghostbusters cartoon toy line by Kenner which was a much coveted item in my youth that I never owned. Next I found the Stay-Puft pencil sharpener from the 1987 Ghostbusters Happy Meal (which I did own) next to a more portly version I had never seen before. It turns out it was part of a 2-pack of SpitBalls water squirter toys that boasted a "scary 18 ft squirt". Discoveries like this are why I love outings to a physical store, I would never have come across this in a random internet search.

Novelty Banks

As kids we were always obsessed with amassing precious coins to eventually purchase toys of our favorite characters, but it was even more fun when we were able to do so in a bank shaped liked them. The California Raisins were such a pop culture phenomenon in the late 80's that I totally ignored the fact that they were created by the California Raisin Advisory Board to increase revenue to companies like Sun-Maid. I love the casual pose used in this bank, which feels like it could only have been found at a shady Swap-Meet back in the day. On the other hand, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers design is an epic action scene in molded rubber, which appears to depict that last moments of a crossover battle with the subject of our previous entry, where the Red Ranger's Thunder Bike tires have turned poor Stay-Puft into Marshmallow Creme.

Dick Tracy Movie Merchandise

Riding on the back of the hype from the 1989 Batman film, in 1990 Dick Tracy tried to make kids care about a 60 year old comic strip character by casting a hyper-colorful film with our parents favorite actors like Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman. It was a strange film, but I totally bought into the tidal wave of merchandising that hit our local stores. I regularly bought packs of the Topps trading cards shown here and joined my friends in digging through the bulky Playmates action figures in toy aisles to find the elusive figure of The Blank, which none of us ever found. But what I really wanted was the 2-way wrist radio shown here, which didn't really work but my imagination would have filled in the gaps just fine. Apparently the company usually known for metal toy trucks, ERTL created actual working wrist-mounted walkie-talkies, but the sleek style of the movie accurate replica was much more desirable.

Random 80s Action Figures

The sight of loose action figures piled together is the culmination of a nostalgia trip like this, in that it replicates the experience of walking into your friend's room circa 1988 and digging through their toy collection to find that afternoon's entertainment. Here were have "Land Operations Specialist", Jake Rockwell from Centurions ruling the roost, having just captured Spikor from Masters of the Universe (a favorite from my own collection) and the mutton-chopped Turbo Tutone from the stellar C.O.P.S. N' Crooks line. I could seriously spend days digging through boxes of collections like this without thought for food or sleep and find a state of zen usually reserved only for Monks in mountain top monasteries.

So that's it for this installment, but this was a big store and there was so much more on display that I'll be back to show you soon in part 2. So which of these items struck a cord with you? Did you own any of these yourself?

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