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19.3.12

Toys: Back To 1984 - Transformers, The A Team, My Little Pony, Postman Pat, Roland Rat and Knight Rider...

A skim through the toy selection in the Janet Frazer autumn and winter 1984/5 mail order catalogue - starting with some robots! Remember those "Transformers - Robots In Disguise" on telly - robots that turned into boats and things? Weird, eh? And what about the toys? Genius, or TV merchandising overkill? In my day, we were lucky if Mum had a spare spud for a Mr Potato Head...

Mind you, that's not to say there wasn't loads of TV-related merchandising in the 1960s and 1970s. I loved the Magic Roundabout, and you could buy Dougal house slippers, Magic Roundabout lampshades, Magic Roundabout biscuits, Magic Roundabout wallpaper, Magic Roundabout figurines, Magic Roundabout clocks, Magic Roundabout tea towels, Magic Roundabout curtains, Magic Roundabout mattresses, Magic Roundabout cuddly toys, Magic Roundabout annuals, Magic Roundabout storybooks, Magic Roundabout colouring books, Magic Roundabout dot-to-dots, a grand Corgi miniature Magic Garden, Magic Roundabout crockery, Magic Roundabout tablecloths, Magic Roundabout soap, Magic Roundabout bubble bath, Magic Roundabout umbrellas...

Most of these things I desired but couldn't have because my parents couldn't afford them. But certainly the concept of children as consumers was not invented in the 1980s.

A whole range of A-Team merchandise, including a toy "Mr T" - "HE'S BIG AND BOLD! HE'S THE BOSS!"

A My Little Pony baby walker - the little girl in the illustration looks thrilled with it, doesn't she?

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - an animated TV series featuring the likes of the goodly Prince Adam and the evil Skeletor. Lots of viewers. Lots of associated merchandise - including here your very own Castle Grayskull - "fortress of mystery and power".

Snake Mountain - "ELECTRONIC MICROPHONE CHANGES YOUR VOICE INTO A SCARY 'VOICE OF EVIL'!" Ain't technology wonderful?

The battle between good and evil rages fiercely.

First appearing in 1981, Postman Pat was a tremendous success, earning many fans beyond the target audience of tiny tots. All together now: "Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat and his black and white cat"!

Roland Rat - the ultimate '80s superstar. Look at all this - Roland Rat and Kevin the gerbil jigsaws, a stencilling kit, Roland, Errol the hamster and Kevin the gerbil toys and your very own RATMOBILE!

Knight Rider - a highly popular American children's series starring David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight and a very sophisticated car called KITT - had some very snazzy associated merchandise. Also in the picture is a battery operated Knight Rider push button intercom set that: "really works from room to room. Includes 30ft cable, buzzer sound and working light."

2 comments:

  1. You couldn't help loving Roland. And Kevin too, for that matter!

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  2. A window back to my childhood, Great stuff! I always wanted a Knight Rider car like that but at £35... I know why it was out of the question. shame.
    I was never into the He-Man toys as such but always remember them as pretty expensive and out of my reach, £3.50 a figure according to the catalogue - at that time I'm pretty sure my pocket money per week was £1.50!

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