A few months ago, I shared a video I had discovered on the YouTubes of a short, but quite satisfying clip of footage shot inside a Toys ‘R’ Us shot in 1989. While it indeed induced sweet memories of running up and down the aisles searching for the prefect Ninja Turtle, it had us clamoring for more. Low and behold, the Gods of Geoffrey have bestowed the ultimate treasure for us nostalgic nuggets- a complete twenty-minute video walkthrough of the once gold mine of toys and games that will have you oozing nostalgia from your eye sockets!
The raw footage is filmed inside a Manhattan Toys’ R’ Us at Herald Center in New York the day before Thanksgiving, showcasing the Christmas season’s hottest toys and giving an inch on the dreaded Black Friday for most parents. It’s pretty amazing this video exists and it’s as if some random someone 30 years ago just picked up a video camcorder and started shooting knowing people like us today would be creaming our pants over this type of stuff. All I can think to say is, this person is a damn hero.
Brought to us courtesy of YouTube Channel btm0815ma, the reel highlights the best of the best and everything we can possibly remember from this now relic as children. We get a complete nostalgic gut-punch with WWF wrestling buddies and WCW figures, Ninja Turtles with Technodrome playsets, the universe of Barbie, and Lego sets of yesteryear! We also get to roam the bike aisles, (tell me I’m not the only asshole who rode those around the store) and I even caught a glimpse of those Universal Monsters PVC bendy figures!
Also, can we appreciate that the recorder spent a good amount of time in the World of Nintendo? Memories of taking those yellow tickets up to the counter to get your coveted game to take home to scream at that night was one of the greatest feelings in the early 90s’. We even get a shot of ballsy woman taking a Gameboy out of its original packaging to get a closer look at it!
Then, we end the video with a thorough guided process of checking out and walking out into the streets of the city with a panoramic shot of the once beautiful Toys ‘R’ Us monument. It truly is, one of the coolest videos I’ve seen in a long time and proper high-fives to this Youtuber for unearthing this gem and sharing it to the world!
Like the majority of us adults, some of my favorite memories as a kid were the magic of the holidays. Sitting around watching glorious Christmas specials. Grandma’s magnificent Italian seafood dinner spread consisting of Linguini with clams, Clams Oreganata, and the classic eight-hour gravy for the non-fish folks (like me) with mussels on the side. AND of course, all the goddamn wonderful Christmas toys.
1990 was a banner year for some of the hottest toys and games on the market that holiday season. As we’re all aware, many toys are derived from pop-culture entertainment and with such films like Beetlejuice, Batman, and the explosion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles warping our minds on the heels of their late ’89 and ’90 releases, companies like Mattel and Kenner were in no short supply of marketing campaigns for the 1990 Christmas catalogs.
In full disclosure, I never write about what I can’t either recollect from my own memories, or fill in from other family members so every damn thing on this list is something I or my brother either received for the holidays that oh-so-far-away-feeling of 30 years ago! So if there’s something you’d love to add to this list, by all means comment below and tell me about YOUR favorite Christmas toy from 1990!
My Pretty Ballerina
Oh man, I vividly remember receiving this dancing delight under the tree that year. My Pretty Ballerina was a beautifully made doll made by TYCO that twirled around in a circle and walked around on her tippy toes along to her cassette and dancer pole (heh) that came with each doll. Although she was stunning in her little pink tutu and fun to play with, she was NOT a doll to sleep with at night as I ALSO vividly recall nearly poking my damn eye out with that rose glued to her hand.
Red Ryder ain’t got shit on My Pretty Ballerina.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (3rd Series)
Playmates and Croner weren’t messing around with the blockbuster release of the first TMNT that year and OF COURSE went balls deep in creating another line of figures for the holidays. This year in particular harvested a RIDICULOUSLY extraordinary amount of turtle merch, including Undercover Donatello there along with Samurai Leo, Surfer Michelangelo, and Space Cadet Raphael. Along with an abundance of vehicles and playsets, let’s highlight the radical Party Wagon in particular.
Beetlejuice Creepy Cruiser
Oh man, that Kenner line of Beetlejuice toys were unbelievably fun to play with. The “Ghost with the Most” dominated holiday toy competitors in 1990 along with TMNT a year after the box-office theatrical release of the film. And with the various strange and unusual pieces you could buy adding on to your collection, it wasn’t hard to see why. While there were many options to choose from in the line, The Creepy Cruiser was the holy grail of Netherworld vehicles in 1990.
By the way, check out my Welcome Page– I still have my talking Beetlejuice Kenner doll in the original box! It’s no creepy cruiser, but let me just have this moment.
New Kids on the Block Action Figures
If you weren’t hangin’ tough with one or ALL FIVE of these Hasbro produced figures of the biggest band of 1990, you were nothing and may as well never leave your house again. Well, according to nine-year-old-girl logic anyway. And you better have that stage, mics, and the phone too. Also, having those interview cassettes that came with each doll pretty much drove your playground points up as well.
Batman Dark Knight Collection
Like Beetlejuice, yet another historical, nostalgic film of 89′ launched a toyline that exploded in 1990. The almighty Kenner was responsible for the glorious Batcave, Batmobile, and figures that some of us still treasure to this very day. I have to admit, when my brother got the Bat Jet and JokerCycle under the tree that year along with the Batcave he already had obtained for his birthday, I snatched that thing and was shooting that Joker face off at everything I possibly could-including my poor brother’s face, heh. Meh. I was a jerk big sister but weren’t we all!
WWF Action Figures
Listen, our household took wrestling very seriously. So much so we had a GARBAGE CAN full of these guys! Every single one was obtained and the answer is yes- we had the ring as well which made for some great Royal Rumbles. Hasbro marketed these guys well as we weren’t the only kids dashing to Toys R Us for the new Ultimate Warrior variant.
Nintendo still hot on the market along with the infamous Nintendo World Championships of 1990 throwing the company into legendary status with our generation, Dr. Mario was released for the NES just in time for everyone with a system to put one on their holiday list. The 215 stage game for the pre-med puzzle thinker was a Saturday well spent in my childhood!
And speaking of Nintendo…
Nintendo Game Boy
Ahh the good ol’ days when everyone was hooked on Dr. Mario and Tetris on the go with Game Boy! Technically, the 8-bit then sorcery phenomenon was released a year prior. However, it was still number one on a LOT of holiday lists that year and sales were booming; making last-minute parents run around like a dizzy ex-governor of California looking for one!
Lil’ Miss Magic Jewels
The Lil’ Miss line from Mattel ran from 1989-1993 with several different variants including a magic mermaid and the original Miss Makeup (which yes I totally owned). Along with this little jeweled treasure that I bet a lot of you forgot about! Bedazzling your doll and your own hair with that wand was all the rage at the beginning of the decade. However, pulling those Velcro jewels out of your ponytail hurt like HELL and would pull out your own hair if the jewels were to close to the roots.
Here’s to going bald in 1990!
Happy Holidays Nostalgic Nuggets! Comment below with your favorite toy or memory from that year! Or hell, any year! Let’s get a good nostalgic conversation going!
One of the greatest aspects of growing up in the 80s’ was the weekend trip to Toys R Us to bask in all the very latest of trendy, plastic treasures. Taking bikes off the shelves and riding them around the store like a goddamn heathen. Grabbing your complimentary Geoffrey balloon while scoping out this week’s new Barbie doll. And most importantly, the heaven on earth video game aisles where you could sit for hours playing video game demos until your hands cramped up or a store associate threw your ass out.
Good times man. Good times.
Now, we all know the tragic troubles our beloved childhood relic has succumbed to leaving us with only nostalgic memories, photos if your parents were the type to take pics of anything and everything, and then THIS. Oh yes. I stumbled on this NATIONAL TREASURE quite accidently of a glimpse inside a Toys R Us chain store uploaded by and features a then teenage Youtube user Kimock7; who by the way is rocking a very snazzy era fashion hat and radical on-point trendy clothing of the latter decade. Checking out the rest of his videos, no surprise here he is now in a Doors tribute band called Of Perception and that just validates that this guy knows the importance of tried and true nostalgic feelings. If you can’t tell, that something I damn appreciate.
I mean, it is 2020 after all. Fuzzy memories are always welcome!
The video is only over two-minutes long, and mind you this is wayyyyy before influencers were counting on supreme content for views. This was clearly done just for shits and giggles by the user and his buddy Brian as he refers to him enter the palace of plastic pleasures looking for “curious kids looking for curious toys”.
These days one might be arrested for something like that but hey, I’m gonna bypass that joke on the heels of what we see next.
The store in the video is shot and located in Vernin Hills, Illinois and isn’t hyperfocused on any toys in particular, except a few creepy dolls that I can’t seem to identify at the expense of a classic joke aimed at Brian ol’ boy. However, the fantastic Nintendo fiber-optics sign smack in the middle of Nintendo world with shots of Sega Genesis along the way is the way to my heart ladies and gentleman.
I’ll admit I would have loved to see some of the Ninja Turtle merchandise they mentioned in the video but I can’t even complain about anything going on here. These types of videos are so rare that the fact this even exists is quite enough for me! Check it out below and give this guy a subscribe who also is an Autism Awareness advocate. Great stuff all around and enjoy this internet gold nostalgic nuggets!