Friday, June 11, 2010

WTFriday?! 06-11-10 Real Crap On Ebay!

EBay is the new Serpent in the Garden of Good and Evil. I mean seriously! I have NO money and yet here I go, click, click, clicking away in my vain attempt to shop myself back in time until I'm 5 years-old again. Today's evil temptation: Presto Magix! Remember those? (To which, Teresa is replying, "No," because when she was a child the Spice Girls were popular.) Being a child of the 70s, I remember the shit out of them!
SO EFFING AWESOME! Basically, it was a set of transfers that you rubbed onto a piece of background artwork. For instance in the above set, which I bought, you see Batman and Robin visiting their buddy Black Lightning in the ghetto. (I'm not white, so it isn't racist.) No, seriously, it looks like the neighborhood in Good Times. Or Sesame Street.

I LUUUUUUVED Presto Magix! They were like the cousin to Colorforms. (I should blog about those next!) Unlike Colorforms, though, Presto Magix were permanent. I didn't realize it was spelled with that clever X at the end, so I was never able to find them on eVilBay. Until today! I got a grouping of three, including this one featuring Batman, another with Blue Falcon and Dyno-Mutt and a Spider-Man set. Despite the packaging, this really wasn't a "game." You were basically making your own mini-poster. When I was five, it was magical... I was sucked into this imaginary Barrio alongside the Caped Crusaders, acting as the puppet master of the entire universe, deciding who went where and who fought whom... they even had sound effects and shooting bullets and everything! I'm pretty sure I was telling myself a story through the whole process. "Look out! Here comes The Joker! BAM!"

The tricky part was that the transfers had this paper backing to protect them and keep them from rubbing off in the package, but you had to remove it before you transferred them to the background. Being a toddler, I would get so amped up over them, that every once in a while, I'd forget and scribble over, say Spider-Man... only to be devastated to realize that I'd permanently transferred his image onto the backing paper rather than the poster background. There was nothing to be done, so I'd end up with a poster of just his enemies lurking about menacingly, with no one to combat them. Twas a sad, sad day in New York.

I remember doing Presto Magix of all the big super heroes... I very clearly remember the Wonder Woman one, as well as some featuring cartoons like Scooby Doo. I may have even had the Blue Falcon and Dyno-Mutt one. It was cool because they were dirt cheap, so my parents were never averse to buying them to shut me up at the gas station or grocery store. (Geez, remember when they sold cool shit at gas stations? Good times!)

I was blissfully unaware, however that Presto Magix partook in the dreaded "Educational Toy" practice. I guess I was either so adamantly obsessed with super heroes or my parents had the good sense to sift through the terrible educational ones, but I never owned or even say the sets such as these:
I can't imagine how Small Pox and Scurvy appear as rub-on transfers, but color me curious. This set was, I'm certain, more popular than it's follow-up the "Trail of Tears" set.
There are some who speculate that the above Presto Magix set never existed and was mocked up in the Nevada desert.

Educational toys blow! They blew then and they blow now. Well, except Playmobile, the hoity-toity rich cousin of Legos. Those are actually pretty awesome. Not awesome? Collectible figurines of the Presidents.
Okay, raise your hand if you didn't even realize there WAS a President Pierce. Not sure why these were sold together as a set, yet others are sold (by the same seller) individually. I guess there's a more ravenous fan-base for the likes of Hubert Humphrey:
Or Lyndon Baines Johnson:Yup. Baines.

Or how about this set of Revolutionary War soldiers:"The Men of '76" sounds like the year-end, double-sized issue of Playgirl.

In the 70s and 80s, if it was on TV, it got a toy. It sort of makes sense, because I definitely recall being in kindergarten and all us kids discussing the ribald political-skewing humor on M.A.S.H.
With this delightful Hawkeye Pierce (a descendant of the President?) puzzle, I could M.A.S.H. it up any time I wanted.

Or for the more musically inclined moppet, there was this amazing Happy Days "instrument" set:Giving a child a toy tambourine seems like the best way to inspire life-long mediocrity. "You'll never have any real musical talent, but have fun!" Plus it features Joanie and Chachi!
If there's one thing that comes to mind when I think of inbred, moonshine swilling rednecks, it's math.

Going waaaaaaaay back in time, I present to you some dubious Flair...
I'm not really sure who Soupy Sales is... but I'm fairly certain he doesn't belong on a button.I'm not even sure why this exists, because I don't even think the inventor of Ziggy "hearts" Ziggy. I imagine his life was this arduous existence of dire self-loathing. "Why, God! Why must I sit here at my desk producing loathsome one panel comic strips to inspire hatred in all who stumble across it?! Why?" I'm sure he put a gun to his temple every night, but was stopped by the Devil who urged him to continue producing his evil handiwork.
I guess any pair o' jeans patched up with this Dick Clark patch would become indestructible and never grow old, until one day, every time it appeared on television, it made everyone uncomfortable and depressed. Ah mortality. On a lighter note, 'twould appear that in this image, Dick is thinking, "Suck it, Seacrest!"Everyone loves a Slurpee... but imagine how amazing one would taste coming out of a cup emblazoned with the image of The Fifth Dimension! Well, except the Coke-flavored ones. Those suck period and no amount of dazzling cupage can fix that. I guess the "Age of Aquarius" was notable due to the proliferation of tasty frozen beverages. What the fuck is a "Hi-School." Is it a fruity punch drink a la Hi-C? Is it what an especially jovial individual says upon passing a learning institution? "Hi, School!"

Speaking of schools, here's a test question for ya:
Fill in the Blank: Prof. Miller _________.
a. Has the worst magician stage name ever.
b. Has a devil on his shoulder, denoting that this is truly a "Wonderful world of BLACK magic."
c. Is probably, somehow, LESS entertaining than Chris Angel.
d. Looks like a total molester.
e. All of the above!
This one isn't so much humorous as it is interesting. Usually, lunch boxes were adorned with images of licensed characters, but sometimes they'd produce one that was kind of a generic concept, such as this one featuring "Secret Agent." I mean, no one ever wanted these kinds of lunchboxes. Some nameless Secret Agent can't compete with Scooby Doo, much less the Super Friends. But that is really too bad, because this thing is GORGEOUS! The artwork is really amazing! I really don't see any kid going for this thing, but it really is a lovely artifact.

This was fun. I might make it a regular feature. Feedback helps!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't have Presto Magixxxx but I did love the hell out of Colorforms!! I remember when someone bought me a sticker album when I was little - it was supposed to have those slick pages so you could remove them and reposition them and all that. The giver told me it was just like Colorforms. Sadly, as I discovered, it was not, and my sticker collection lost many a good soldier that day.