Forgotten Toys and Cartoons of the 80s

This week’s Dustinland is probably not very female friendly, but who knows — there may be some girls out there who had a few Battle Beasts. Now, I’m not really into the whole “I love the 80s” thing, but I did grow up then, and I just wanted to shed some light on a few of the things I remember from childhood that go beyond Transformers and Care Bears. This strip isn’t the funniest thing I’ve ever done, but I think that if it reminds you of something you once loved, it did its job. Some people might think this sounds trivial, but even the cheapest, silliest toy could have meant a lot to you when you were 7 years old. Hell, I still remember this glow in the dark rubber lizard I used to love when I was really little. Back then I liked anything that was either glow in the dark or battery operated. I had this Hess truck that lit up — sweet. Without the lights, who cares. With the lights — awesome. I had a ray gun that ran on 9-volt batteries and lit up and made a sound equivalent to that of a car alarm. Loved it. Simple pleasures. It probably cost $3. Now fun toys cost a lot more. If I want something fun I have to dish out a grand at Best Buy. Yay. But yeah, to sum up, Silverhawks was cool.

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16 responses to “Forgotten Toys and Cartoons of the 80s

  1. Sectors. Insect-like action figures with movable limbs and action-grips that flew on over-sized housefly’s and battled with swords as well as guns. Oh, and the flying housefly’s had battery operated wings.

  2. I’m a girl who loved C.O.P.S.! Thanks for the memories.

  3. As someone who grew up in the 80s, I can honestly say I remember none of these 🙂

    All I really remember is He-Man, Transformers, and that my mom watched a lot of VH-1.

  4. I loved SiverHawks. The heroes had these retractable wings on their sides (kind of like that armpit webbing Spiderman has, but much bigger so they could use them to glide). You squeeze their legs and their arms would flip up and unfurl their armpit-wings. Except for this one guy who couldn’t fly. Instead of wings they gave him a cowboy hat for some reason.

    The leader of the SilverHawks had this pet bird, and they used to sell a LIFE SIZE VERSION THAT SHOT MISSILES FROM ITS BEAK, and snapped its wings shut like a pair of shears. That was possibly my favorite toy ever.

    I also remember C.O.P.S. but I don’t think I was ever into the show. Wasn’t there a female villain named Miss Demeanor?

  5. Man, I remember these toys. COPS – Fighting Crime in a Future Time! That theme song was kind of lame.

    Totally remember the Bionic Six, too. I remember it was a husband and wife who adopted a couple of kids from various ethnicitities – the asian kid who was good at karate, the smart black kid who was good with gizmos (I think). I remember the Sport enthusiast son always wore a batting helmet and used to carry around a bat to bionically jack people up with it. and they used to activate their Bionics by punching the bracelet on one hand with a special ring on the other hand and yelling, “Bionics on!”

    MASK was my favorite. All th masks had powers like one woudl conjure up mirages, one would emit a beam that could “lift people” etc. The vehicles were awesome, although I never figured out why Miles Mayhem had a plane that turned into a helicopter. Seemed kind of redundant. The motorcycle/helicopter (Condor) and Matt Trakker’s Camaro/plane car were my favorites.

  6. Sean B: Life imitates 80s cartoons. In college I had to write a paper on the V-22, a plane that transforms into a helicopter. The thinking behind it was to design a military transport plane that could take off and land vertically.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-22

  7. You forgot Starcom.

    But yes, I remember all of those.

  8. holy cow… I hadn’t thought about C.O.P.S. in years! I loved Sundown… lol… and yes, I remember Miss Demeanor too… Silver Hawks came to mind a few years ago when I found a stack of Silverhawks comic books I got when I was like 5… Does anyone else remember BraveStarr? I don’t remember much about him, except that he had this sweet fort/jail toy that was as big as I was, when I was also around 7… How about Dinosaurs? It wasn’t a cartoon, but my wife calls me “not-the-mama” as a joke all the time… Good stuff this week… nothing like a walk down memory lane! btw — I can’t believe you left out Alf! lol

  9. MASK toys were amazing. I’m glad to see Army Ants up there, too.

  10. i loved battle beasts. although i guess the wood/water/fire thing did kind of stifle creativity.

    I always figured that wood beat water because you could build a dam out of water. it made sense to me at the time.

  11. *you could build a dam out of wood.

  12. Pocket Monsters were cool, and I vaguely remember C.O.P.S.

    I was into the arcade and video games during the 1980s: Q*Bert, Contra, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt, and Test Drive. I didn’t go to driving school, so when people asked me where I learned to drive, I get to reminisce for a moment.

    “Perfect Strangers” is the only 1980s pop culture artifact I would care to forget.

    If I have kids, I think sock puppets would suffice for ages 0 – 5 . After that, I’ll just tell them they’re too grown up for toys and if they protest, they can get a pet rock.

  13. Monsters in my pocket was some of the sweetest toys I’ve ever had! For some reason I could only find them in Italy (live in Europe) so every time we’d go there on vacation I’d come home with a new box.
    The cool thing was that they were packaged in this black box with green eyes or something, and you “never [knew] what you’re gonna get”.

  14. I remember all of the shows/toys you mention…most of the toys I never owned since I have a few years more than you and when they came out I was already chasing girls, but still found the time to watch a ton of shows.
    The cops one was surely the lamest while Jayce was very cool…it was a French/u.s. production if you already didn’t know and it shows since the charachter design is more refined than that of typical ’80s u.s. shows (man, the French have a HUUUUUGE respect for BD and animation, they sell their comics in bookshops and they don’t consider them to be merely kids’ stuff).
    Inhumanoids was very good and had hints of Lovecraftian themes in it, with the evil monsters predating mankind and coming to reclaim ‘their’ planet. Mask was quite lame as it happens with shows which feature Gigatons of firepower where no-one ever dies (i.e. A-team and G.i. Joe) I also remember a show named Centurions Power X-treme where the protagonists had cool cyber-suits which connected with various weapons and implements to face different challenges…the main villain was named Doc Terror and you can’t sincerely get much cooler than that…

  15. There were these toy ray guns from the late 1970s and early 1980s that looked like the Silurian/Sea Devil pistols. The cone was clear, and it was in all black and had a parabolic dish. Now this was not the huge listening device rifle–but a black pistol. There are listening device pistols of similar make–but this was a ray gun only.

    Also, I remember a water pistol that had both a clip and a scope. I have yet to find that on the web anywhere either. Any links?

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