Thursday, May 13, 2010

J. C. Penny Wish Book!

From x-entertainment, Only it's not the Sears Wishbook, it's the 1986 JCPenney Christmas catalog. And I'm writing about it in April. We're off to a roaring start.

Such forty-pound holiday catalogs are still around today, but they can't possibly mean as much. In 1986, they were treated with more reverence than bibles. This wasn't merely "one way" to help a kid decide what he or she wanted for Christmas. It was the way. We couldn't go online to make Amazon wishlists, and though some had the notion, few of us ever went browsing toy stores on an early December weekend, pen and pad in hand, writing down things that might've been interesting to play with on the morning of the 25th. Practically every gift I ever asked for was found in the pages of a Sears Wishbook. (Or a JCPenney Christmas Catalog. Errgh.)

Endless glory. Page after page after page of toys we recognized, toys we'd never seen before, toys we absolutely had to have. All of the products were beautifully photographed and often showed real kids playing with them, as if to taunt us in some sneaky, "this could be you" sort of way.

1986 was a good year for kiddy stuff, as you will see. Below are twelve of that year's best, representing stuff I had, stuff I wanted, and in one rare case, stuff that teaches us how human hearts pump blood. If being six-years-old again seems like an attractive proposition, what's seen below will cause disgusting salivation that will make everyone hate looking at you.

[Excerpt], M.U.S.C.L.E. was an acronym for "Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere." Shitty acronym. Sold in 4, 10 and 28 packs, we gobbled them up, carried them all over the place, and at least in my circles, used them as currency. The figures depicted everything from maniacal warriors to dudes with teacups as heads, and the goal was less about collecting your favorites and more about collecting as many M.U.S.C.L.E. men as humanly possible.

Go here for awesomeness!

1 comment:

Octopunk said...

It's amazing. That catalog is a little past my peak toy time, seeing as I was a junior in high school. Sure, I was buying M.U.S.C.L.E. Men, but that was about it. Yet photos of those toy displays still tug at my heartstrings.