Author Archives: The Vintage Toy Advertiser

About The Vintage Toy Advertiser

Love late 20th Century pop culture? You’ll love it here :) TVTA’s mission is to digitally showcase as much vintage advertising as it can get its ink-stained fingers on: from toys, to film, to music, to comics, video games, fashion, food, drink and household goods and much more. TVTA began life in 2010 as a French blog documenting French toy adverts. In 2011 the site moved to its current WordPress home and expanded to include international adverts, catalogues and posters that went beyond toys. Today the site is an ad-free, non-revenue platform aiming to serve as an excellent digital archive and resource. TVTA loves: books, magazines, comics, film, poems, music, photography, art and design, Halloween, Horror, drums and percussion, peace, love, nature, fairies, the stars and space, nonsense, silliness, and of course... vintage toys! Thanks for stopping by :)

’80-’87, comic book art and covers

Wonder Woman 265, 1980. Cover Andru / Giordano.

Welcome to another selection of comic book art, covers and ads. In this instalment we showcase DC characters as seen in the 1980s, and feature cover artwork by Dan Jurgens, Raphael Kayanan, Dick Giordano and Ross Andru, Gil Kane, George Perez, Eduardo Barreto and Romeo Tanghal. Also for your viewing pleasure are DC adverts featuring  Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Suicide Squad, Batman and more! 

As always, thanks for looking 🙂 


Aquaman. 1985.

The Flash. 1986.

Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. 1982.

Hex. 1985.

Tales of the Teen Titans 49, 1984. Cover George Perez.


Suicide Squad. 1986.

Wonder Woman Wonder Words, 1983.


Join TVTA again soon for more superb comic covers, art and adverts!

Top 10 non-medical doctors in pop culture who might be able to aid you in an urgent medical situation

The pitch: You are in the jungle, slowly bleeding to death. Your left leg needs amputating. You have been stung multiple times by angry hornets. You have been partially mauled to death by a black panther. Bitten by a venomous snake. Vultures are circling overhead. The beast of the jungle – a 60 foot Megaprimatus ape – is waiting for nightfall to finish you off!

Short of a miracle, you are completely fu^@*d! Luckily there are ten doctors who might be able to aid you. Problem is, none of them are medical doctors! Nevertheless, each one possesses certain skills, powers and motivations which may help save your life… or not!!

Let’s rate your chances…

1. Dr Pepper

Dr. Pepper, so misunderstood. The Dying You: “I understand you are a can of carbonated soft drink?” Dr. Pepper: “You misunderstand me, I am actually a tin robot full of medicine.” The Dying You: “Thank goodness, any chance you can save my life?” Dr. Pepper: “No, I am lying, I really am a can of carbonated soft drink.” The Dying You: “Curse you Dr. Pepper!!” Dr. Pepper: “Muhuhuhahahaha!”.

Quite obviously you are hallucinating from your injuries, and are conversing with a can of carbonated soft drink. Dr. Pepper is unable to aid you. Chances of survival: 0%  

Dr Pepper advert, 1947. Image Wikipedia

2. Dr. Phibes

Dr. Anton Phibes is a famous concert organist and expert of music, who was thought to have died in a car crash while racing to visit his wife, Victoria, who was having emergency surgery. Phibes survived the crash, but was horribly disfigured and left unable to speak. After learning of Victoria’s death, Phibes went into hiding and developed an evil revenge plan to kill the incompetent surgeons he believed were guilty of Victoria’s death.

It is highly unlikely that the seriously unhinged Dr. Phibes will aid you in any way whatsoever, unless you happen to resemble his beloved Victoria, or are able to seduce him with a vast, musical knowledge you probably don’t possess. Chances of survival: 2%

The Abominable Dr. Phibes. 1971. Movie Time DVD.

3. Doctor Octopus

Save your life? Unlikely. This Marvel supervillain is more likely to baffle your brain with his knowledge of atomic physics, before battering you with one of his four electrically powered, prehensile, tentacle arms. Chances of survival: 8%

Doctor Octopus. Top Trumps.

4. Dr. Manhattan

Before Dr. Manhattan became a superhero he was Dr. Jonathan Osterman, a nuclear physicist who survived disintegration in an Intrinsic Field Subtractor, and managed to reconstruct himself into an all-powerful being.

Prone to mood swings, and with a strong sense of detachment from human suffering, butt-naked Dr. Manhattan is unlikely to help you in your hour of need. But you never know… it all depends on what mood he is in! Chances of survival: 19%

Cover detail of Watchmen. By Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Titan Books, 2008, Spain.

5. Dr. Lillian Isley (Poison Ivy)

Before Posion Ivy became a formidable DC supervillainess, she was Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, PhD, a Gotham City botanist who studied advanced botanical biochemistry. Poison Ivy is in her element in a jungle setting, and may well rise to the challenge of battling a 60 foot ape beast with nought else but whatever jungle toxins she can mix up into a potion, and depending on what mood she is in (sweet or evil?) there is a slim to fair chance she may help you in your hour of need. Chances of survival: 34% 

Variant cover of Batman vol. 3, #26, Sept. 2017.
Art by Joshua Middleton. Image Wikipedia

6. Dr. Hook

At last, things are looking up for you!

Dr. Hook was an American rock band who enjoyed chart success throughout the 1970s and 80s with hits like “Sylvia’s Mother”, “When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman”, “Better Love Next Time”, and “Sexy Eyes”.

Don’t wanna end up being a human banana for King Kong’s hungry cousin? Then let Dr. Hook’s Essential hits save your skin with smooth ballads penned to lullaby even the most fearsome beast of the jungle into a state of tranquility, as you crawl to the nearest hospital! Chances of survival: 50%

Dr. Hook. Essential.

7. Doktor Avalanche

More musical medicine! Doktor Avalanche is a drum machine and credited band member of dark rockers The Sisters of Mercy. Essentially, Doktor Avalanche was whatever drum machine lead singer Andrew Eldritch was using at the time, and the good Doktor underwent several electronic incarnations across their three studio albums and live tours.

Rhythm may well save you here, as the 60 foot ape beast of the jungle is mesmorised by the dark and hypnotic loops of “Black Planet”, “Lucretia My Reflection”, “Dominion”, and “Doctor Jeep”. Chances of survival: 60%  

Boss DR. Rhythm. DR. 55. As used by The Sisters of Mercy and called Doktor Avalanche.

Floodland. The Sisters of Mercy.

8. Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American children’s author, political cartoonist and animator, and is famous for his internationally-loved stories like The Cat in the HatGreen Eggs and Ham, and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Dr. Seuss offers a decent chance of saving you as he entertains and bamboozles the ape-beast of the jungle with his fun and nonsensical tales. Chances of survival: 75%

Cover for Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. 1997, Harper Collins, UK.

9. Doctor Graves

Dr. M. T. Graves hosted stories for The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves which was published by Charlton Comics throughout the 1960s to 1980s. Graves is well-equipped in matters of the supernatural, and among his many talents are energy manipulation and magic. Bringing a cool, calm and intellectual air to any scene of alarm, Doctor Graves is certain to be able help. Chances of survival: 82%

US. Charlton. The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves. Steve Ditko cover. 1969.

10. The Doctor

Time travelling adventurer, the Doctor, may not have medical expertise, but you can bet your left leg (why not, it needs amputating anyway) that the Doctor will always find a way to get you out of a tight spot! And with so many Doctors to choose from, you will be spoiled for choice! Chances of survival: 98%

The many faces of The Doctor. Image BBC.

Doctor Who. Thirteen action figure. TVTA collection.

Doctor Who. Vol 1. Marvel US. Cover by Earl Norem. 1981.

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Top Ten Time’s up! That’s all folks! We hope you managed to survive with the aid of one of our handy non-medical doctors, and didn’t end up as ape dinner in the middle of the jungle!

Get well soon 🙂

View-Master reels – Star Trek, 1982



Presenting: packaging and reel images for the 1982 View-Master Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. View Master. 1982.


Reel images. Click to enlarge.



Thanks for looking 🙂 More View-Master goodies can be seen here 

It’s a doll’s world: clone wars, law suits, and inappropriate names.

Clone after clone after clone. Presenting: The Babs, Randy and Bill wardrobe booklet, 1960s, US.

Babs, Randy and Bill wardrobe booklet, 1960s. Fab-Lu Ltd.

Babs, Randy and Bill dolls were sold by the Fab-Lu Ltd company of New York in the early 1960s. The line was a cheap clone of the popular US Barbie doll brand, and the German Bild Lilli brand that predated both.

Babs’s wardrobe imitated many of Barbie’s costumes, as well as clothing from various Hong Kong cloned Lilli dolls. Babs also mimicked Barbie’s tag of “Teen-Age Fashion Model” by declaring herself as “Queen of Fashion”. Not that Barbie should complain too much, seeing as she herself was a clone of the German Bild Lilli – the original fashion doll.

Randy

Randy was a clone of Barbie’s younger sister, Skipper.

For the British market, Randy underwent a name change to ‘Mary Lou’ due to the English sexualisation of the word randy (meaning ‘to feel sexually aroused’). However, the problems didn’t end there for Randy/Mary Lou. The doll, as seen on her featured pages of the Fab-Lu booklet, was actually a Tammy doll as made by Ideal and ‘borrowed’ for the photoshoot to model Randy’s wardrobe. Fab-Lu tried to get around this by painting a beauty spot on the cheek of the Tammy doll in the hope no one would notice. It failed, and Fab-Lu was later taken to court and sued by Ideal.



Bill

Bill was a clone of Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken.

“Every inch a he-man. Powerful body. Powerful physique.” Check out Bill’s ‘sales pitch’ …

Bill – every inch a he-man?


The Clone War(drobe)s.

Below are the remaining scans of the Babs, Randy and Bill product booklet. It is the only known catalogue to exist for the line to date, and was included in packs of individual dolls and accessories.

Click images to enlarge.


Low, low prices!

Babs dolls and outfits were exceptionally cheap to buy compared to Barbie. Statements such as “fashions made to fit all leading fashion dolls”, and “Other male fashion dolls can and do wear Bill’s extensive wardrobe” were almost a call to arms to buy Babs outfits to put not just on Babs dolls, but on Barbie dolls too.


To find out more about the fascinating history of ‘clone dolls’ – from Lilli to Barbie to Babs and others – check out the excellent article Bild Lilli and the Queens from Outer Space

Until next time, thank you for cloning around with us 🙂

Tintin, toy cars, bionics & a Bat horn!

New additions fresh from the scanner! Enjoy 🙂

Tintin L’affaire Tournasol. Enamel advert. Date unknown.

Tintin Adventure Club. 1986. Sweden.

Tintin Adventure Club. 1986. Sweden.

Aurora AFX. 1973. US.

Matchbox Super 6. 1976. US.

Siku. 1986. Sweden.

Six Million Dollar Man. 1976. US.

Barbie Yellow Booklet. 1962. US.

Batman Bike Horn. 1977. US.

Captain America Turbo Motorcycle. 1985. Super-Jouet. France.

Télécran / Etch-a-Sketch. France.

Galaxy Rangers. 1988. UK.

Lego Space. 1979. Sweden.


Thanks for looking 🙂

The Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture Kit

Probably my new favourite print advert!

As regular readers know I’m a bit of a fan of Halloween, and I was going to save this beauty for the Big Day… however, the advert is simply too cool not to share right now!

Enjoy 🙂

The Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture Kit

Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture. 1976 print advert. US.

Endorsed by horror legend Vincent Price (I love the line: ‘Look for Vincent Price’s pretty face on the cover’), the Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture was a kit enablng you to decorate and bake apples in the form of nightmarish shrunken heads! Accessories included a baking capsule (The Shrinker) which you heated using a 40 watt common household light bulb , hair, beads, templates for carving facial features, cord, a paint brush, and a carving tool.

The artwork for my 1976 print advert was created by Mort Drucker, a long time contributor to Mad Magazine. The Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture was produced by Crafts By Whiting, a Milton Bradley Company.

Detail from 1976 Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture print advert.


TVTA bonus trivia!

As well as the Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture Kit, Vincent Price was hired by Milton Bradley to appear in advertising campaigns for two of their other popular products: the games Hangman and Stay Alive.

That’s all for now, vintage mates. Thank you for shrinking fruit with us 🙂

Mutant Green Blob and the Green Machine

Today’s post title sounds like a cool name for some 70s experimental psychedelic rock band. No. The Mutant Green Blob is one of those gunge/slime toys that were all the rage in the 1980s and 90s, and The Green Machine is a pretty cool-looking three wheel low rider child’s bike from 1976. OK Mutant, show us what you can do!

Hale’s Mutant Green Blob gunge toy. 1988. UK.


It’s the hottest ride in town…

The Green Machine by Marx Toys. 1976. US.


Thanks for looking 🙂

TTP – Turbo Tower of Power

TTP (Turbo Tower of Power) was a toyline sold by the Kenner company during the 1970s. Sets consisted of motorbikes and cars that could be propelled along tracks by a pump-action launcher (the Tower) and made to perform stunts. Sets included the TTP Car Stunt Set, Cycle Action Set, Deluxe Thrill Set, and the Wild Riders Competition Set with motorcyle rider Flyin’ Freddie. Cars and cycles were also availble to purchase separately.

TTP Turbo Tower of Power. 1974. US.

TTP Turbo Tower of Power Wild Riders. 1976. US.

See also: Kenner’s SSP Super Sonic Power toyline

Thanks for looking 🙂