Tag Archives: vintage toy adverts

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 🙂

On a theme of flying

Flying. adj. in the air, winged

Up, up, and away! Take to the air with TVTA as we present retro adverts and comic covers on a theme of flying! We promise you all our pilots are teetotal (mainly on Mondays and Wednesdays) and pride ourselves in our company motto what goes up must come down, eventually. Choose from our range of travel options: jet engine, propeller, elastic band launch, glued feathers on card, or why not go full-on space cadet! So, buckle up, grab a Hostess Twinkie, and familiarise yourself with our flight safety instructions (free parachute included).


FEATHERED MADNESS. “NOW, EVEN MORE GOJA!”

Swedish friends may have to help me with this translation. I think ‘goja’ means nonsense, silliness?

Mad Magazine Sweden. 1978.


MORE FEATHERED FANDOOGLERY!

I’ll have what the bird’s having please! Bird seed? Not just any bird seed, it’s Trill!

Trill bird food. 1981. Denmark.


FEATHERED FELONY! PIGEON WOMAN IS PIGEON PERSON!

I like this DC supervillain – Pigeon Woman/Person – and her evil plot to steal famous statues of North America aided by her pigeon army! Pigeons love nothing more than perching (and pooping) on statues, so it’s a brilliant evil plan! Plus, she gets to annoy historians and tourists. Pigeon Person’s costume has that washed-out, grey and black pigeon poop colour, augmented with a crimson red tunic. Her wings quite honestly are spectactular! But bad luck for Pigeon Person that Batman and Robin were ready to foil her plans with those crime-busting super snack allies – Hostess Cupcakes!

Hostess Cup Cakes. Batman and Robin in Birds of a Feather. 1977. US.


WAYS TO FLING YOUR FLYING THINGS!

A 1979 Mighty Marvel Flying Shield. Free when taking out subscriptions. Offer only available to true believers everywhere, but not valid on The Red Skull. No frisbee love for him then. You can almost hear the glee in the Captain’s voice as he tells us this!

Marvel Flying Shields. 1979. US.


MONOGRAM SPEEDEE-BILT. RUBBER-POWERED FLYERS

I have a ton of adverts for the famous Monogram brand, and this new one is an interesting addition: you assemble it, wind it up, then let it go. We all know products sometimes never live up to their advertising claims, but these Speedee-Bilts look fun.

Monogram SpeedeeBilt Flyers. 1977. US.


TAKE OFF ON A TRIP TO ENGLAND

Another Monogram ad, this time a sweepstakes competition to win a 1st prize trip to England at the Farnborough Air Show.

Monogram Wild Blue Yonder Sweepstakes. 1976. US.


FLYING ON AUTOMATIC

This Cox Sure Flyer had an automatic pilot switch as well as the traditional hand control method.

Cox Sure Flyers. 1976. US.


SKY HEROES

Traditional pull-back-and-launch-from-elastic band. Sky Heroes were made by the reputable Marx Toys company, so were probably good value for money.

Superman Sky Heroes. Marx toys. 1977. US.


SUPERGIRL. IN FLIGHT. SHE’S ARRIVED

Supergirl movie. UK. 1984.


THE DARKSIDE OF FLIGHT

WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU! A truly awful outcome for that one time you make a routine parachute landing in enemy territory and discover your comrades are skeleton-dead!

Weird War Tales 44. 1976. US.


OR, AIRSHIPS AND ALIENS!

Weird War Tales 60. 1978. US.


ALPHA FLIGHT – EVIL IS HERE

Alpha Flight N°72. 1989. US.


THE WAR OF THE STARS

Handheld electronic game in which you fly a space vehicle around the galaxy and destroy stuff.

Guerre des Astres. 1983. France.


“THE MOST DEVASTATING KILLING MACHINE EVER BUILT…

… His job … steal it!”

Firefox (when web browser names were simply killer jets).

Firefox movie. France. 1982.


BLOOD-CURDLING VAMPIRE BAT

My favourite line from this 1973 ad: ‘So realistic, it even fools other bats’

Vampire Bat. 1973. US.


That’s all for now, vintage mates. Thank you for flying with TVTA 🙂

ThunderCats

TVTA is pleased to present a selection of toy adverts, comic covers, mini-posters and fact files for the 1980s animated series ThunderCats. ThunderCats was originally aired between 1985 and 1989, with an additional series added in 2011 and a new series (ThunderCatsRoar) scheduled for spring 2019. The ThunderCats brand has appeared worldwide on merchandise such as action figures and play sets, toys, stickers, comics, books and a video game.

This post has been 100% office cat approved by Wooof, who has made himself a cardboard sword and a fake fur leotard costume, and is now proclaiming himself to be the new Lord of the ThunderCats!

Enjoy the scans 🙂

ThunderCats N°77. 1988. UK.

ThunderCats toy weapons. 1987. Netherlands.

ThunderCats new action figures. 1988. UK.

ThunderCats Luna-Lasher. 1988. UK.

Thundercats Cheetara mask. 1988. UK.

ThunderCats Mini Poster N°44. 1988. UK.


That’s all for now, vintage cats. Thank you for getting thunderous with us 🙂

Western Models – quality hand-built model cars

Western Models 1982 catalogue poster. Artwork by K. Williams.

Founded in the UK in 1973 by husband and wife team Mike and Joyce Stephens, Western Models produced a range of white-metal casted cars both in kit form and fully finished. Their high quality models were aimed at collectors and enthusiasts, and were typically hand-built from a lead-based white metal. Some vehicles were produced in extremely limited quantities of as little as one-thousand per model, making them highly sought after at the time. Models such as the F1 range and racing cars were specially licensed and built with the co-operation of the racing teams of the day.

Western Models continues to exist to date though it now focuses on producing model aircraft. The following scans are from the 1982 and 1983 poster catalogues, and feature the typical 1:43rd scale vehicle range available at the time, along with its newest innovation line of 1:24th scale vehicles featuring ‘authentic wire like wheels’, or ‘realistic photo-etched wheels’ – often referred to as the ‘Small Wheels’ models.

I’ve never owned a Western Models car but would certainly like to! Looking at the images in the two catalogues you can see the amount of detail, care and attention that went into making these top quality models.

Enjoy the scans.




Information taken from the Western Models poster catalogues 1982 and 1983 – purchased and scanned by TVTA, the company website Western Models, and the Western Models Wikipedia page

As always, thanks for looking 🙂