Well, it’s that time of year where we move on from gawking at all the cool, nostalgic shit Halloween 4‘s Vincent Drugstore had buried within that film, and move on to some Christmas toy spotting in, of course, Ira’s Toys from Silent Night, Deadly Night!
Now, when I see a movie of any kind presently from the 80s and 90s and said scenes are in grocery stores, toy stores, or shopping malls, I can’t help my eyes from wandering into the background of scenes and looking for nostalgic treasures from our childhood. It’s a weird tick I have I guess, but nevertheless, actually a fun game for oneself when revisiting old classics and can make them new to you all over again when you watch with a new set of eyes.
Ira’s Toys set the stage for traumatized Billy Chapman to begin his murderous rampage against all the people he deemed as “naughty”; which was pretty much anyone doing anything remotely sinful to him. And the toy shop is undoubtedly, now an iconic image among horror movie fans across the board. So let’s get to some vintage toy shopping, shall we?!
Masters of the Universe: Castle Grayskull
Introduced by the Mattel toy line in 1982, the coveted Castle Grayskull from Masters of the Universe sold a whopping 3.5 million sets during its run in the 80s! The He-Man and Skeletor figures sold separately each came with half of a plastic sword which could be joined into one “complete” sword, corresponding to the storyline in the included mini-comic. Together, the combined sword was used as a key to open the jaw bridge to the Castle Grayskull playset. It was a pretty badass playset.
STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI JABBA THE HUT ACTION PLAYSET
Released in 1983 in conjunction with the great Return of the Jedi, Kenner spared no expense in its wildly successful Star Wars line. The toy version of the intergalactic gangster was kept strictly under wraps until the debut of Return of the Jedi in theaters, seeing as how the playset mimics a spoiler-y scene in the film complete with a “slave chain”. Pretty sure that wouldn’t go over too well with today’s audience.
Snoopy’s Dream Machine
Now, THIS is a rare find indeed for just about any toy scavenger- the 1979 Snoopy Dream Machine! This motorized contraption of Snoopy and his arch-nemesis the Red Baron required batteries and has a spinning propeller with flashing lights as Snoopy chases The Red Baron in his famous plane. It was hard to spot, but here’s a close-up picture of what the toy actually looks like.
Dick Smith’s Monster Makeup Kit
Oscar-winning Makeup Artist Dick Smith (The Exorcist, The Godfather, Taxi-Driver) released several how-to books and make-up kits back in the 70s and here we got one right here at Ira’s Toys! This particular set was first issued in 1976, came with 16 molds, a manual, flex flesh, and a bottle of blood. For eye candy purposes, here’s a set I found a google that gives us a better look at it.
And finally… Glorious 80s Halloween Plastic Costumes!
Ahh. The wonderful sounds and smells of a plastic garbage bag Halloween costume. Going to our local drugstore for the very latest, and greatest in noisy plastic wear was part of the Halloween tradition right along with grabbing a fun horror flick next door from Action Video, (my Mom and Pop rental store growing up). Of course, the Ben Cooper costumes were the heavyweight when it came to Halloween, but even the knockoff brands were just as good- well, I mean if they held up until the end of the night, you were in good shape- and most of the time they did. However, while they may look ridiculous, they are FAR more menacing than any kiddie costume you’ll see at the big chain stores today. I suppose Ira’s Toys here was no exception and stocked the noisy plastic wear all year long! What a great gal that Ira was.
Ira’s Toys, which is named after the film’s producer Ira Barmak, WAS an actual toy store at the time located in Herber, City, Utah, but has since been transformed into a Crossfit gym named The Mountain Gym. While you won’t be able to go there for any nostalgic toy-gazing horror movie style, you can always work on your sprints and jogging time with the spirit of Billy in the air. That outta get you going gon that treadmill a little bit faster!