Linger on Youtube for a little while and you’ll likely find at least fifty toy collectors and or pop culture buffs that have a slew of videos looking back at classic toy lines and franchises. What makes “Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2” such a unique series is that it attempts to offer up much more than memories. Creator Brian Volk-Weiss’s series could very well have fallen back on pure nostalgia, but instead opens up the scope of these world changing toy lines. There’s deeper insight, stark truths about how and why these toys were created, and a look in to the business of it all.
We couldn’t afford too many toys when we were kids, but for we always appreciated what stuff our parents could grab for us for Christmas or our birthdays. My toy preferences mostly narrowed down to action figures and play sets with TMNT and superhero figures some of my biggest choices on wish lists as a kid. Along the way I did have some toys that were horror themed, including the Ghostbusters, the Mighty Max play sets, and much more. I was even around during the first wave of McFarlane’s Spawn figures, which were hot commodities for a while, there. These are five of my favorite and most fondly remembered horror themed toys from my childhood.
What were your favorites?
Nostalgia entertainment is about as popular as ever and modern streaming services and networks are banking on the fascinating topics that can be mined from the mementos of pop culture. One of the most entertaining documentary series to be brought to the popular Netflix service has been by Brian Volk-Weiss’s “The Toys That Made Us.” While most studios would cut corners by merely making a series that relies on “Remember this?” and “Remember when…?” what “The Toys That Made Us” instead does is examine the importance and relevance of iconic toy lines from the eighties and nineties.
“Funko” is not a flash in the pan and it’s not a fad. It wants us to know that, and that it loves us, the fans. It’s been around for twenty years, manufacturing bobble heads and dolls in the background. Most recently it broke in to the mainstream consciousness with its series of Funko Pop Dolls, a long line of dolls with big heads, black eyes, and no mouths that have become humongous, coveted collector items far and wide. The Funko Pop craze has even managed to save some waning businesses with its broad line of dolls that range between anything from Batman, to The Sandlot, to The Golden Girls. “Making Fun” is a documentary by category, but in reality it’s a big promotional reel for stock holders of the company in the midst of its massive popularity.
In the late eighties companies still wanted their own version of the Transformers to sell to kids and market some hit animated show that sells them plastic toys. By the late eighties just about every company thought of some way to create creatures or heroes that would transform out of some disguise. There were heroes that transformed from boulders, there were even heroes that looked like normal everyday food and kitchen utensils! Yes kids, why buy a hamburger when you can buy action figures that look like a hamburger, or a slice of pizza.
Once upon a time McDonald’s tie ins were memorable, sometimes weird, toys and prizes that came in every box of a Happy Meal. A lot of times, McDonald’s would appeal to both boys and girls, but most of the time, their toys appealed to the broader demographic and even became collectibles for some adults. McDonald’s in the past provide quality toys, which included the Halloween pails that came in three varieties, and the Michael Jordan sports toys. It’s a shock these toys were so quality considering the low price of the meals touted toward kids. Even the happy meal boxes were a good time to be had. Here, we think back to our top 5 favorite McDonald’s Movie Tie Ins, and how creative they were in their heyday.
What are some of your favorites?
Well, one thing I can say about “Demonic Toys 2” is that it at least tries to feature the monsters from Demonic Toys. It avoids bringing back the laser shooting robot, and the evil teddy bear for obviously budgetary purposes, but it seems to try. There are moments even when we see the demonic toys in full form. But that’s rare. Basically “Demonic Toys 2” can’t hold a candle to the original. Which is sad considering the original was barely mediocre to begin with.