Latest ads – Action Man, Dream Girl USA, Buffy, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards, and a Hellboy Zippo lighter!

Greetings vintage mates! Welcome to another roundup of various print adverts featuring toy and pop culture goodness, this time from the 1970s all the way up to 2007! Let’s get the action going with…

1996. ACTION MAN (Hasbro) US.

Action Man Power Arm Ninja. 1996. US.

I was pleased to get hold of the above Action Man double-page ad, even though I prefer the original Action Man line from Palitoy which I played with as a kid. The Hasbro line has already been around for more than 25 years now (how time flies!) and is starting to tingle the TVTA vintage sensors! I remember my eldest son when he was a child having lots of Action Man toys, and we would mix up what he had with some of the accessories I still had from the 70s.

The rest of the ads below you might remember if you were a 70s, 80s, 90s or even a 2000s kid! The ads come from publications as seen in the UK, US, France, Netherlands and Denmark at the time.

Enjoy 🙂

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Meccano toy catalogue, France, 1972

Front cover for the Meccano S.A. Catalogue Général, 1972, France, showing the new blue and yellow parts colour system.

Originally called ‘Mechanics Made Easy’, Meccano is a popular and enduring toy construction set invented in 1901 by Frank Hornby from Liverpool, England. Due to its huge success and demand, Hornby opened factories around the world, one of which features in today’s post – the Bobigny factory in France, which in 1951 was producing more than half a million Meccano box sets a day! 

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Toy shop snap shot: Hamleys of Regent Street London W.1.

Peter and Jane: We Have Fun. Lady Bird Books. 1964 / 2004.

Hamleys toy shop based in Regent Street, London, England, was founded in 1760 by William Hamley. It is the biggest and oldest toy shop in the world, and prides itself on selling not only traditional toys but newer toys that enter the market. Hamleys Book of Toys, Sports and Games, Christmas 1983 states

“Whilst traditional toys and dolls are as popular as ever, a vast revolution has nevertheless taken place in toyland. Electronic games and home computers have captured the imagination of children and their parents throughout the world.”

The Hamleys book goes on to announce the creation of a vast 4,000 sq. ft electronic games complex called ‘A Step Ahead’ with trained technology advisors on hand to guide customers through what surely must have been described back then as ‘video game heaven’.

Hamleys also announce another new department ‘Small World’ featuring international dolls furniture and miniatures, as well as extra space given over for their ground floor Star Wars department.

The 123 page Hamleys Christmas book is wonderfully presented with photographs and descriptive text, giving us a sense of not just what the toys looked like back in 1983 but what they did too, Enjoy the scans!

The 1983 Christmas Book of Toys, Sports and Games by Hamleys. Front and rear cover. The front ‘cover subject’ is “Toy Lady” while the back features one of Hamleys famous bears.

Hamleys “A Step Ahead” Electronic Games Complex

That’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed the scans. Thanks for looking 🙂

Further reading: A history of Hamleys by Hamleys



Developed by Denys Fisher in England in 1965, Spirograph is a creative design toy that uses gears, wheels and a pen to create 2D geometric patterns. The first sets were sold in the US by Kenner and soon became popular. Many different types of Spirograph sets have been sold around the world and continue to be sold today.

Spirograph. Dinky Toys Catalogue. 1971. France.

Spirograph. UK. Hamleys Christmas Book. 1983

US. Justice League of America. 1975.

Spirograph. US. 1975.

Spirograph. Ets De Neuter catalogue page. 1995. France.

Spirograph. Ets De Neuter catalogue page. 1995. France.

Spirograph. Meccano SA Catalogue. France. 1972.

Spiroscope. Meccano SA Catalogue Général. France. 1972.

See also TVTA’s Cassette-O-Graph

Sam’s Toy Box has some great Spirograph sets.

Official site


I couldn’t find much information about this French drawing / design toy that seems to be based on another popular drawing / design toy, Spirograph. The ad states that Casset.O.Graph is from the same makers as SkeDoodle – which is yet another drawing / design toy that was similar to the massively popular Etch A Sketch… which is, erm, another drawing / design toy! Then there’s the Rotadraw, and Sketch-Master… phew!

If anyone has any info on the Casset.O.Graph then please send me a drawing / design, I mean a message 🙂

France. Pif Gadget. 1981.

France. Pif Gadget. 1981.