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1990 - The Year Santa Died


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Christmas 1985 Through My Gobots Camera Lens

On Christmas 1985, I received my first camera. It was a present from my Grandmother who most likely was made aware of the pile of toys my parents had already purchased and chose it out of practicality. But the camera she chose wasn't just any ordinary kids camera in that it cleverly disguised it's primary function. It was a Gobots camera that was "a real camera just like Mom's and Dad's!"

I was 9 years old and enamored with all the transforming robots of the time. However, Gobots were my favorites of the lot mainly because of their smaller size. I loved playing with Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars and Gobots could interact with them and hide in their midst. By 1985 I would have had a vast collection of Gobots including the Command Center so my new camera seemed tailor-made for me. Did it transform? No. Was it a Polaroid that instantly spit out pictures? No. None of that mattered to me. All I cared about were the stickers of Leader-1 and Cy-Kill on top and the logo on the front that stared down my subjects.

Christmas 1985 was the first time I could document the holiday from my own perspective and my new camera truly made it easy. I could load the 110 color film cartridges myself from the back and use the red slider at the bottom to scroll to the ready position. There was a small counter that kept track of how many pictures had been taken and even a slot for a tower flash cartridge when I needed it. That Christmas season I would use the camera to document most of the gifts I received as well as the Christmas trees of several friends and family members during visits.

Christmas 1985 was a great year for gifts. I received a diecast Voltron robot made by Matchbox which I still own to this day. The Gobots theme passed along to a jigsaw puzzle which I immediately put together for a photo op. My love of robots continued to be made evident because I also received a gold Magic Mike robot that talked, smoked, had flashing eyes, and bump-n-go movement (top of his head is shown in the headline image above.) As a huge fan of sticker books, I was excited to receive the Panini Masters of the Universe sticker book (showcased by my dad below.) I was also a huge Ghostbusters fan and received a light blue sweatshirt featuring the logo surrounded by the words "Back Off Man, I'm a Ghostbuster!" (I'm wearing it in the headline image.)

There were two things that I wouldn't realize until many years later about my Gobots camera. First, it would take some of the most treasured pictures of my childhood. My parents divorced in 1990 so seeing them smile during silly poses with my gifts is really heartwarming. Looking at these pictures now truly helps this time period to transcend later events in my memory that would cause our family to split. 

Second, my camera would still be taking pictures long after any traces of Gobots could be found in department stores. Both stickers on the camera would eventually peel and wear off making it quite generic in the years to come, but the residue left behind was enough to remind me of its heritage. It would travel with me to sites all around central Pennsylvania and one trip to Niagara Falls before being replaced by a newer model with a built-in flash in the early '90s. I have vivid memories of showing pictures taken from those trips to my Gram on visits and she would always be amazed that the kids camera she purchased years ago took surprisingly great pictures.

I have pictures of earlier Christmases in the late '70s that my parents took when I was just a toddler, but Christmas 1985 remains my favorite thanks to a handful of pictures taken by my mighty Gobots camera.
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Superman Posted on Jan 01, 2017 at 05:05 PM

I enjoyed this article. It reminds me of my own first camera. It was an ordinary kids camera not connected to any particular brand like yours was, but I enjoyed pretending I was Peter Parker (Spider-Man) as I took pictures of my family and my pet cat.

SockofFleagulls Posted on Dec 14, 2016 at 08:13 PM

@rickacerhodes Gobots truly get a bad rap. Transformers has a great legacy but Gobots had a decent cartoon with great toys.
@HojuKoolander Glad it jogged some memories!
@oldschool80s Merry Christmas! Waiting for your entry now!

OldSchool80s Posted on Dec 14, 2016 at 12:25 PM

Enjoyed the read as expected! Merry Christmas!

Hoju Koolander Posted on Dec 13, 2016 at 03:34 PM

Ah, sweet Christmas memories. Nothing better than vintage 80s holiday pics. I had a GoBots binocular set I got around 85 or 86, so this really took me back.

Rick Ace Rhodes Posted on Dec 13, 2016 at 04:29 AM

I never got to play with Go Bots because they were before my time, but I honestly wish they were still around. Given the poor quality of Transformers times now and even when I was young, Go Bots probably would of been cooler to play with. Mainly because Tonka has always been a quality brand of toys.

SockofFleagulls Posted on Dec 13, 2016 at 12:48 AM

@mickyarber thanks for the kind words! We Gobots fans need to stick together.
@massreality Thanks!

mickyarber Posted on Dec 12, 2016 at 04:02 PM

First off, I too was a huge Gobots fan, and took a lot of flak from my friends because they all thought Transformers were cooler.

Secondly, I absolutely love those old pictures of your Christmas. I'm such a sucker for old family Christmas pics, and these really hit the spot.

Third, being around that age and getting a camera is something really special isn't it? In 1988, I got a video recorder that used a special kind of cassette tape, and you could hook it up to the tv and play back whatever you recorded. Awesome sauce!

Great Christmas memories in this one, and so glad you shared it and those awesome pictures.

massreality Posted on Dec 12, 2016 at 02:23 PM

I loved those themed cameras. I had a Ninja Turtle one back in the early 90's, that I wore out. I took pictures of just about anything and everything I could with that camera. Its so awesome that you still have some of the photos!

SockofFleagulls Posted on Dec 12, 2016 at 01:26 PM

@vaporman87 I've seen some on eBay, sometimes even sold individually. I still have my Voltron book and several sports books too, some of which I never completed.
@nlogan thanks!

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 12, 2016 at 08:42 AM

I still have that Masters of the Universe sticker book. I always meant to get all the stickers so I could fill the whole thing, but never did. I wonder if I can get them anywhere now? Hmmmm.

Your adventures with your GoBots camera reminds me of my early exploits with a PXL 2000 I received one year for Christmas. It used audio cassette tapes to record grainy, black and white video. But that didn't stop me from documenting all the goings on in my house.

NLogan Posted on Dec 12, 2016 at 08:29 AM

Nice. I had a few GoBots and always wanted the diecast Voltron. The pictures especially the fact that you took them make this one special.

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