BMX – from a 1970s California bike craze to an Olympic sport

The origins of BMX (an abbreviation of Bicycle Motocross) can be traced to the early 1970s in southern California when children adapted their road bikes for the thrill of dirt track racing. Manufacturers soon took advantage of the craze and began selling specially-made bikes. By the early 1980s, BMX had become hugely popular not just in the US but in Europe and other countries.

International timeline:

  • 1977. The American Bicycle Association (ABA) is organised as a national governing body for the growing interest in BMX.
  • 1981. The International BMX Federation is formed and holds its first BMX World Championship the following year.
  • 1993. BMX is recognised and integrated into the Union Cycliste Internationale.
  • 2003. BMX becomes an Olympic full-medal discipline, marking its debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

TVTA is pleased to present a gallery of international print images featuring BMX bikes, clothing, accessories, and promotions as advertised throughout the 1970s and 1980s.


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Britains Toy catalogue, 1979

Featuring toys from the world famous British toy manufacturer William Britain, as seen in the 1979 English, French, and German language mini catalogue. Britains are well known for producing durable and highly detailed painted toy figures, play sets, and vehicles, with sets such as the ‘Deetail’ line being much sought after by collectors in today’s vintage toy market.

On a personal note, as a child, I collected the Britains American Civil War soldiers, 7th Cavalry, Cowboys and Indians, and German Infantry figures. I also had one of the wagon and horses sets, and a selection of farm animals, and one of my brothers had numerous animals from the Wildlife range. This catalogue brings back a lot of happy toy memories 🙂

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Brumm’s classic race cars 1930s – 1960s

Brumm catalogue. 1983. Italy.

Brumm is an Italian toy manufacturer formed in the early 1970s. The company specialises in miniature plastic and die cast vehicles from a bygone age.

TVTA is pleased to present selected images and the full scans from the Brumm 1983 catalogue, featuring some wonderful artwork and photographs of models available at the time such as Ferrari, Bugatti, Mercedes, and Alfa Romeo.

Team Brumm. Pit stop play set.

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’46-’93, comic book art and covers

Good evening, vintage mates…

and good evening, Dr. Manhattan…

In this instalment, we showcase 1940s and 1960s covers for French comic Lisette; a fistful of DC war story comics including three excellent Weird War Tales covers; a 1979 Look-In magazine; some MAD from 1993; and one of the greatest graphic novels ever created – DC’s Watchmen.

Featuring artwork by Roger Bussemey, R.J. Sornas, Neal Adams, Russ Heath, James Warhola, Joe Kubert, Ross Andru, Romeo Tanghal, Dave Gibbons, and others.

Thanks for looking 🙂

Lisette N°26. 1946. France.


Weird War Tales 74. 1979. Cover by George Evans.

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International Star Wars toy and merchandise images 1977 – 1997

TVTA is proud to present a gallery of some of the best vintage Star Wars print images you will see this side of the galaxy!

From the vaults of TVTA we share more than 250 images showing international adverts and catalogue pages for the Star Wars Original Trilogy films, toys, merchandise, and promotional offers.

Covering the period between 1977 and 1997… this incredible post shows exactly how the Star Wars brand was sold around the world!

Thanks for looking, and MTFBWY!


Star Wars as seen in the US

Star Wars Jedi Arena video game. US.,1983.

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666 screwed…

It seems ominous this post I’m writing to mark Britain’s official exit from the European Union today is post N°666.

Get thee behind me, Satan. And all that.

Iron Maiden. The Number of the Beast. 1982. EMI / Harvest. Art: Derek Riggs.

Not ominous really, perhaps just apt. If I were a blog newbie, then post N°13 would do just as well.

Anyway, sorry for the downbeat tone, I’m just mightily sad that today marks the date I, and many like me, will no longer be treated in law as European. To this I say… go fuck yourself. And please give me my European citizenship and freedoms back. To my Euro and Brit friends in the UK who never asked for any of this, I hope life will be uncomplicated and kind. To my fellow Brits in Europe, I hope it goes smoothly… we are subject in many ways now to our host country regs. And to the Brits who voted Leave… enjoy your celebration, sure, but please don’t rub it in the faces of those whose lives, family, homes, and jobs are being affected.

And now, a Nutella poem

The Nutella Poem

(part III. Exit crisis)

Nutella, Nutella, O how do we send thee across the Channel?

Your nuts enrobed in palm oil, cocoa and tariffs, held up in traffic,

lorry park queues and bound by new rules…

We want our Nutella! shout the hungry masses at the borders.

Nutella! Nutella! Not commemorative tea towels and 50p coins,

Nor mugs with slogans and a chubby thumbs-up!

Nutella! Your nuts! We want your price cuts,

supermarket discounts and multi-buy dreams,

lathered in cocoa, palm oil, oh sugar, oh Nutella…

Oh where is Nigella?

Nigella, Nigella, a recipe we need, to feed us,

to please us, to ease us, tease us, to free us…

from empty cupboards and ration book hell.

Nigella, Nutella, palm oil, nuts, cocoa and sugar,

(love never ends) We’ll always be together, together in Nutella dreams.

Italy. Topolino. 1978.

#JeNeSuisPasUnVirus – be kind. It could be your nation.

#guyverhofstadt – keep up the fight for continued European rights of those citizens about to lose them.

Nutella Poem (part I)

Nutella Poem (part II)


Barbie: diversity in yet another new decade for the perennial doll

Barbie and friends. A new decade, a new direction.

Long gone are the days of the insanely-proportioned body type Barbie, with her ever-flowing hair, perfect skin, and her once misguided advice to losing weight as: ‘Don’t eat!’

To be fair, those days were already pretty far behind the perennial doll, who has been glamming and adventuring it up since 1959. In recent years, maker Mattel has done much to present Barbie and her friends to a world more in tune with diversity and eager to see inclusion in action.

As a new decade begins, it’s pleasing to see Barbie’s designers steer her in the right direction by introducing dolls with baldness and vitiligo – this in addition to their recent physical disabilities range of wheelchair and prosthetic limb Barbies, and a continuing drive to enhance their dolls with different skin tones, hairstyles and body types.


All images from Barbie© Fashionistas© by Mattel.

TVTA is not affiliated with Mattel and receives no incentives – but, yo, Mattel, if you want to send me some free Barbie to go with my first Barbie California Dream and beach dune buggy, I’ll be one happy vintage editor 🙂

Ertl farm, country, and construction toys

Ertl Hickory Grove Farm. 1990.

TVTA is pleased to present images from two 1990 Ertl export catalogues. Ertl, founded in America in 1945, specialises in die cast vehicles and is notable for its production of farm, country, and construction toys, featuring brands such as John Deere, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Caterpillar, and Case International.

Click images to go bigger.

Ertl Farm Machinery. 1990.

Ertl Farm. 1990.

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Office Cat Tales: the back of the sofa and behind the fridge

Collage. Cat brooch from a late 1970s UK toy vending machine.

“O woe, bleak January, bringer of lean times to our editing house. Your wintry rap upon the door of our office does chill our fingers, paws and bones to the bit. The Vintage Toy Advertiser archives… ah, too grim a place to visit upon days such as these… with its hibernating vampires dangling from rafters, and frozen monsters awakening to thaw their claws and teeth in corners where sit our old photocopier and broken down time machines covered in dust. Hark! No post! No post! Our deliveries for new ads and catalogues held up by raging battles above rooftops, between dragons and banshees and mercenary raptor-bots. Grim times for office cats and editors, indeed!” 

“What an exciting story,” said Wooof. “Please tell more!”

“Crivens, cat!” I retorted. “This is no tale, this is but a reality! We have no ads nor catalogues to scan… I fear our vintage readers will go hungry this winter. As shall we!”

“Tooting scarpers!” said the cat. “There’s no need to paint such a stark picture. Do you want me to search down the back of the sofa and behind the fridge and such places? There are always a few stray ads to be found.”

“Good thinking,” said I. “I’ll go warm up the scanner.”

“Meow!”

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