A little bit of Barbie, Action Man, Playmobil and Doc Justice!

Barbie Birthday. Pif Gadget 627. 1981. Artwork by Mezza. If anyone knows any information on the illustrator Mezza please let me know!

Greetings vintage mates! Presenting: eight vintage adverts from French comic Pif Gadget. I was particularly pleased to get my hands on the Barbie ‘Birthday’ advert with art by the illustrator Mezza who designed a good deal of late 70s and early 80s Barbie adverts, and, despite my online searches, I still can’t find any info about.

The Action Man advert was also a treat to discover (known as Action Joe in France, and GI Joe in the US where the toy originated in 1964). Eagle-eyed readers will spot the popular ‘Eagle-Eye Action Man’ features on the below advert – quite an innovation for those of us who lovingly played with these toys back in the day.

Action Joe. Pif Gadget 529. 1979. France.

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Latest ads – 1970s to 1990s

Greetings vintage mates! TVTA is pleased to present an international selection of print advertising featuring toys, games, bicycles and other goodies, as seen in the pages of comics and catalogues between 1977 and 1998.


Ricochet Racers and superhero shields. The Superhero Book Of Goodies. 1977. US.


Lotte / Petra dolls. Anders 20. 1978. Denmark.


The Bridgenorth Stamp Company. Anders 20. 1978. Denmark.


Raleigh Ultra Burner BMX. Autumn Bargains 1986. UK.

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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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Willy Wonka’s Magic Jumping Disc and other curiosities

Willy Wonka’s Magic Jumping Disc. US. 1982. I remember some jumping toys that were sold in the 80s and 90s – they were spring-loaded and you had to moisten a rubber suction cap then press it down onto its base. A few seconds later, the force of the spring would release the cap and the toy would jump. There were multiple variations of these toys featuring novelty animals and things, and I’m wondering if the Willy Wonka Magic Jumping Disc employed a similar method… or was it really Wonka magic at work?


Cube Lube

Cube Lube. US. 1982. Cleverly marketed on the back of the Rubik’s Cube craze yet not once mentioning the word ‘Rubik’ – possibly for fear of legal action. Cube Lube was deployed into being as a lubricant to increase your time at solving puzzles like… Rubik’s cube. The ad states the product’s greatness for other toys with moving parts, as well as the benefits for bikes and cycles. 


Triple-Flips by Takara

Takara Triple-Flips. US. 1982. Japanese toy company Takara had a number of successful toy hits it was proud to put its name to such as the Japanese license to sell Kenner Star Wars toys for the first Star Wars film; Microman (Transformers); Micronauts; Battle Beasts and Beyblade. Therefore I was surprised to see today’s Takara advert in all its low-tech and simple gadgetry – Triple-Flips – a humble travelling 3-in-1 pocket board game with magnetic playing pieces.


Hostess Cup Cakes – The Flash

Hostess Cup Cakes. The Flash. US. 1982. I’m always pleased to discover a Hostess advert I haven’t added to my collection yet, and this is my first ad for The Flash! Cup Cakes, Twinkies, and Fruit Pies products were advertised by Hostess in the pages of DC and Marvel comics in single page strips that starred famous superheroes allied with Hostess cakes to take down evil villains. There are hundreds of these quirky, bizarre and sometimes plain weird adverts to be found inside comics throughout the 1970s and 1980s. To date I have 44 in my collection, thanks to The Flash! 


The Jorvik Viking Centre, York

Jorvik Viking Centre Eagle comic competition. 1985. UK. Early print advert featuring the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, England. The advert is a prize-winning promotion in conjunction with Eagle comic in 1985. The Jorvik Viking Centre was opened in 1984 as a museum and visitor attraction on the excavated site of what was once the Viking city of Jorvik in the 10th century. The centre is still open to date and is one of the regions most popular visitor attractions.


Peter Pan Playthings Stunt Man Hang Glider

Stunt Man Hang Glider by Peter Pan Playthings. UK. 1983. Another promotion for the readers of Eagle comic with the chance to win a Stunt Man Hang Glider toy.


Worzel Gummidge – Scatterbrook Farm’s resident scarecrow since 1936 

Worzel Gummidge. Look-In N°15. 1979. UK. Worzel Gummidge was a massive TV show hit for children back in the 1980s. The title character was played by ex-Doctor Who actor Jon Pertwee. Worzel Gummidge was first featured in children’s books in the 1930s and was written by author Barabara Euphan Todd. In 2018 it was announced that the BBC is planning to make a new TV series based on the Barbara Euphan Todd books, with Pirates of the Caribbean actor Mackenzie Crook playing the Scatterbrook Farm scarecrow. 


Capsela Construction Action Vehicles

Capsela construction. US. 1982. Snap-together interchangeable parts for building motorised land and water action vehicles. 


Four Monogram models adverts


Magnum 440 by Tyco

Tyco Magnum 440. US. 1982. Slot-car racing for use on Tyco and AFX racing tracks.  


Bubble Yum Sweepstakes

Bubble Yum Sweepstakes. US. 1982. Some superb prizes on offer in this Bubble Yum bubble gum sweepstakes promotion.


Thanks for looking 🙂

Latest ads – SSP, Solar Ball, Skittle Baseball, Sea-Monkeys and more!

Kenner SSP Racers. 1971. US.

Glow in the Dark Solar Ball. 1985. US.

Aurora Skittle Ball. Weird War Tales N°1. 1971.

Seamonkeys. 1977. US.

Space 1999 model kit by Centuri. 1976. US.

Doctor Who Records and Tapes. 1980. UK.

Sphere sci-fi books. 1989. UK.

Sizzlers Fat Track. 1971. US.

Aurora Powerslicks. 1971. US.

Fleer football cards. 1991. US.


Thanks for looking 🙂