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Shorts!

Stupid Toys
by: -RoG-
 

As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of toys. I've been collecting 'em for quite a while now. Not only do they bring back countless childhood memories, but it's also like being an art collector. Only it's the kind of art you can buy for five bux instead of five million. And frankly, if I owned one of a piece of artwork that was actually worth five million, I'd sell it off so I could buy more toys.

Still, just like any collecting hobbyist, you've gotta use your discretion when choosing what toys to purchase. Now if you're collecting toys in hopes of simply making money off of them in the future, you have no soul and deserve a throat stomping from the reanimated corpse of Andre the Giant. But if you're in it simply because looking over at your mighty collection o' toys puts a smile on your face, then allow me to share with you some toys you might want to scratch off of your "need to buy" list.

As much as we'd like to think that the world of toys is a sacred ground which can't be tainted by the flaws of mankind, this just isn't the case. The simple fact is that toymakers, while they may love their craft, are still in it to make a buck... and sometimes they throw all logic and reason right out the window to do so. That being said, consider this the first of many future articles about some of the stupidest toys, both old and new, ever released to the general public. So let's get right to it...


THE COBRA POGO BALLISTIC BATTLE BALL:

COBRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!

First up is the Cobra Pogo Ballistic Battle Ball, and I challenge you to say that 10 times really fast. The idea behind this vehicle was that the bad guys from Cobra didn't necessarily need to fly to gain the upper hand over G.I. Joe, they simply had to jump a lot. I hear Cobra tested out a bunch of evil Kangaroos for a while too, but all they did was stuff the Joes in their pouch and nurse them. So the Pogo Ballistic Battle Ball was created with only one reason in mind: "If you can distract the enemy with something absurd like this, you'll be able to catch them off guard while they point and laugh!" At least, that's the only reason I can think of for inventing this stupid thing. If this was actually Cobra Commander's favorite new toy, I can only imagine that he'd give all of his troops something even cheaper, like a pogo-ball.

Truly realistic blueprints...

Gotta love all of the fake techno jargon they used on the "blueprints" for this thing too. I remember reading the first item on the list and thinking that Cobra had a plot to kill a bunch of poor hobos with a homing bomb system. Come to think of it, if this was a hobo-killing machine, that'd at least make it interesting.


STRIDOR & NIGHT STALKER:

Saaaaaaaaaay, wait a minute! Are those two horses related?

You've already seen my old piece about two of the most absurd He-Man figures ever created, Moss Man and Stinkor. They may have been ridiculous, but at least they were unique and provided some good laughs... and bad smells. Now the He-Man universe has more extremes than any other toy series I can think of. On one hand you'll have some of the coolest toys ever created, and on the other hand you'll have pathetic plastic excretions like Stridor and Night Stalker.

Considering He-Man had Battle Cat and Skeletor had Panthor, I can't see why they would want a bunch of clunky robotic steeds to ride on. Perhaps they just got a twisted kick out of making their cats feel useless from time to time. Either way, this is just one of the many examples as to why Mattel made billions off of the Masters of the Universe toy line back in the 80's. You see, almost any time a good guy had a fancy new feature, they made a bad guy counterpart with almost identical features. I mean look at these things; they're made from the same mold, have the same weapons, and only really differ in color. And the kids? You know the kids wanted both of them without even thinking to question their similarities. So for every He-Man toy Mattel made, they devised a simple way to make every kid want two of them. Hell, with some of the He-Man and Skeletor figures, they'd have kids buying 5 different versions of 'em!

Marketing genius.

Anyway, aside from the idea of replacing Battle Cat and Panthor with fearsome robo-donkeys, Stridor and Night Stalker really were stupid. Just look at them; even though they're robots, they still have bushy tails. But wait, maybe that's their strategy! Perhaps they hope the enemy will come up to brush the bushy tails and then get shot in the face with the laser cannon located right above the ass. The ass cannon. Ah yes, now it's all starting to make sense.

Hello, I'm Mr. Ed. PLEASE KILL ME!

They did give one thing to Stridor though that Night Stalker did not have. A Helmet. That's right... A HELMET. Yes, a robotic horse, that can experience no physical pain whatsoever, needed a helmet. FANTASTIC.


THE LOVE BOAT FIGURES:

Permission to come aboard Captain Stubing! Er wait, there is no ship to come aboard. :(

Now, I can certainly understand companies making toys based on old shows nowadays, cuz a lot of people (myself included) love reliving their past. But what the HELL was Mego thinking when they made a series of Love Boat toys all the way back in 1981!? I mean, an adult owning toys like this back then was about as taboo as punching a koala bear in the face. And while punching koala bears in the face grew in popularity by the late 80's, the Love Boat figures did not.

One has to assume that Mego actually thought kids would be interested in "action" figures from the Love Boat show. Yes indeed, can't you picture little Timmy playing with Captain Stubing, Isaac, Gopher and Julie? With action like "bringing somebody a meal" and "removing the captain's hat," it's hard to believe that these weren't the most popular toys ever.

There's one thing about this toyline that's even stupider. It's based on the show "The Love Boat" right? Well guess what they didn't make a toy for. Yep, they made figures of every cast member. But did they make the actual Love Boat? Nope! How's that for pure brilliance.


THE JUSTICE JOGGER:

Able to sit in a chair in a single sigh! IT'S SUPERMAN!

Now I'll be the first to tell you that the old Super Powers figures were easily the greatest super hero toys ever created. The series covered a wide spectrum of superheroes, each toy came with a mini-comic, and the figures themselves looked fantastic. But just because it was a great toyline overall, that doesn't mean they didn't have a blunder or two. And no blunder sticks out more in my mind than the Justice Jogger with its "power stepping action!"

Nevermind that he can leap over buildings in a single bound. Nevermind he can run faster than a locomotive. Nevermind he can fly so goddamned fast that he can make the Earth spin the opposite way and turn back time. No, Superman apparently needed something to do the running for him, and so the Justice Jogger was born. It's basically a La-Z-Boy on robotic stilts. Yep, Superman would sit in his La-Z-Boy and let it do all the work as it chased down villains. And what happened when it actually caught up with them? Well, I guess Superman would get out of the chair and finish the job... if he felt like it. Or maybe he told the villains he'd let them go if they'd wind-up his Justice Jogger again. Word has it that the original blueprints for this toy included a built-in toilet so Superman could take a superdump while in hot pursuit. Who knew that the son of Jor-el was such a lazy bastard, eh?


Well that's all for this first installment of "Stupid Toys". I hope you've enjoyed a look at some of the most absurd creations that somehow made it to the shelves in your local toy store. I'll be featuring more stupid toys soon enough, so if you have any suggestions for toys that you'd like me to cover, drop me a line!

Questions or Comments about this piece?
email -RoG-


If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:

Stupid Toys: Part 2!

and

Stupid Toys: Part 3!



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