Alright, now let's see how well you did. Questions are in the same random, unfocused order as they were asked.
#1 - The cockrocker up above is named Stan Bush. What's his cultural significance as far as we're concerned?
The answer, of course, was that Stan supplied two songs for the soundtrack for Transformers: The Movie. To his credit, Stan's been able to amass quite a number of mocking fans based on that alone, and for a guy who's songs are only really heard nowadays in this movie and Boogie Nights, its amazing anyone still remembers the guy. Well, okay, so most don't. Bush was able to turn lyrics that redefined the term embarassment into some pretty catchy tunes actually, most notably The Touch, and my personal fave, Dare.
More so than anything else, Stan Bush was the only one who could breach the gap between Transformers and MTV. Course, when you stick a feather-haired guy singing about overcoming personal adversity in front of a backdrop of Unicron eating planets and Galvatron mouthing off, you pretty much kill any chance to win Video of the Year. Stan sacrificed for you.
#2 - Back in the 80s, the candy market was so furiously competitive that the companies needed to do absolutely stupid things to get us to buy one over the other. Case in point - this particular candy's commercial featured people getting assaulted by giant pieces of fruit after eating it. Readers...what was that candy?!
If you said Bonkers, you're only half right. The correct answer would be BONKERS!, as the exclamation point is totally mandatory. Bonkers were, more of less, bite-sized lumps of chewable sugar that came in every flavor from strawberry to grape to chocolate. I liked 'em, but I guess I was in the minority since they didn't last too long. Coincidentally, Bonkers also holds the title for the food most sold past its expiration date. In some stores, you can still find the things, even though not a single package has been produced since the late 80s. I wouldn't reccomend eating them now, but hey, I ate Yan Yan, so to each his own.
The commercials promised a lot more than sweet chewy candy, though. Frankly, I'm surprised the demand didn't fly through the roof after an ad campaign as completely ridiculous as this. If Energizer became a top battery because of a pink rabbit, you'd think advertisements featuring people getting attacked by oversized fruit and chocolate bars would be enough to keep Bonkers around for more than a few years.
#3 - Go-Bots, realizing they were just a sucky, sucky version of the Transformers, sought to capitalize on the one thing Autobots never had: furry pig animals with no eyes. Hey, they really rolled! What were they called?
Alright, for the last time, the figures were called Rock Narlies. When I was young, my parents had taken me on a trip to Florida. In between Disney and whatever the fuck else you do down there, my father got the brilliant idea to go to the local gator zoos. Only his idea wasn't so brilliant, since he decided on this course of action during what had to be the biggest thunderstorm I've ever seen, so every gator farm was closed. Empty spot in my heart right here, I never saw the gators. To compensate, they brought me to the only toy store in the area, which was actually a deli that just happened to sell toys that hadn't been produced in five years. And that's where I first met the Rock Narlies.
Here's how it went. Basically, Go-Bots were fledging. There was no reason to buy 'em since there were already better versions of the figures out by other companies. So, in an effort to boost sales, we first got the Rock Lords, human-esque Go-Bot warriors who transformed into...you guessed it, rocks. Around the same time, Tonka decided that Rock Lords were definitely not solitary creatures, and needed companionship. So they racked their brains until coming up with these things - little furry pull-back pig monsters. You wouldn't believe how many people ask me about these things. If you're looking to quench the thirst, chances are good you can find a few of 'em for sale here.
#4 - When new Star Wars toys came out in recent years, us fanboys went nuts. Nuts enough to buy 1,000 bags of potato chips to get 'exclusive' mail-in figures. One such mail-away offer gave collectors (and kids, I guess) the chance to pick up a figure who, for all intents and purposes, was never even mentioned in the movie. Who be dis?
It shouldn't surprise you that the above figure was never really seen in the movies. Between the old and new toys, there are well over a hundred different Star Wars figures. At least half of those are actually in the movie for less than 90 seconds. The figure is called the B'omarr Monk, and boy, does he ever have a story to tell. As it turns out, Jabba's Palace was once a religious sanctuary for these guys. They aren't robots, no sir. They're people who have had surgery to remove their brain from their body, placing them in jars atop spider-droids for movement. Believe it or not, there's actually an explanation for this behavior, but I think you'll agree that no matter how I try to explain it, it'll still sound completely stupid. The B'omarr Monk was available as a mail-away figure offered exclusively from the official Star Wars website.
#5 - Inhumanoids was a truly great cartoon and toy series from the mid-80s that never got its fair shake. That green fellow up above, he's my boy. If you've been reading this site long enough, you should know his name. If you haven't - take a guess!
Like I said, if you've been reading the site, you'll recognize this tentacle-laced green monster as Tendril, one of the three giant creatures who simultaneously rose from below various levels of the Earth, presumably to do evil things. I don't fully recall them doing anything worse than stepping on a few cars, but that's to be expected when you're 50' tall. I dunno, the only thing I can really remember about that show is the bald guy's trademark of destroying a television set at least once per episode.
Alongside Metroplex, Tendril also holds the distinction of being one of the few toys that actually brought me to tears. If you'll remember from my 1987 birthday, I broke the toy pretty much immediately after opening it, and to this day still haven't gotten over the trauma. And, as a bonus fun fact: at the end of the Inhumanoids series, Tendril was the only monster who presumably survived the human purge. Remember that if you're ever on Jeopardy.
#6 - In Spaceballs, the villains are trying to board escape pods before the ship explodes, but some pretty dubious Spaceballs staff cuts 'em off. Which one of the following was NOT one of the people who stole their spots on the pods?
Sadly, I've still yet to review Spaceballs. Since its impossible to make fun of a movie that managed to combine pizza mobsters, Rick Moranis, and Planet of the Apes, Spaceballs may fall into the realm of things too good to write about, right alongside Calvin & Hobbes, Chupacabras, and the mysterious blue spice found on Cool Ranch Doritos.
If you answered Snotty, you'd be right. After the self-destruct button gets hit, the villains lose their escape pods to a giant bear, a Spaceballs drummer, and yes, the Bearded Lady. If there somehow remains someone out there who hasn't seen this flick, I just gave you something to do tomorrow night.
#7 - The doll up above, in a covert homage to you know who, is called Jibba Jabba. But here's the real question - why was it banned from toy stores, following legal threats to parent company Ertl?
You're not gonna believe this one, but Jibba Jabba was pulled from store shelves after an incident and subsequent complaints that it was influencing children to strangle each other. See, the gimmick with Jabba Jabba was that you'd shake him to make noises. Simple enough. I guess some little kid out there took this to mean that if he choked out his sister, she'd spray out bells and whistles. Ertl never had a chance with this one, and the toy never resurfaced. Seriously though, look at the pictures. A lot of things come to mind, but I really don't think domestic violence is one of 'em. Pretty soon they're going to find a way to ban shoes because someone got blisters.
Could you imagine the court case for this one? Picture the judge being handed a Jibba Jabba doll to decide whether it can lead to murder. Testimonies from children citing how they've felt surprisingly violent since playing with a toy that has a clown suit, fluffy blue hair, and a big smile. I really hope no one went to prison over this stupid thing, it wasn't even a cool toy to begin with.
#8- The Horde might have been evil, but they still had issues with Skeletor. One of Hordak's main henchmen is pictured above, a sad sack of fur who offered little more than the occassional grunt on the cartoon while that weird demoness who compensated for having no face by having completely exaggerated breasts predicted the future. Let's not get off track. Who's the sasquatch?
Grizzlor. Since I'm cursed to remember only the most inconsequential moments of my life, I recall receiving Grizzlor as a token gesture from my brother's then-fiance (now wife, do the math) for being the silly little ring boy at their wedding. At first, I felt a little jipped. This was during that period where I would pray night after night - like a screaming banshee - for the Horde Modulok figure. Grizzlor was a bronze medal at best. Through the years, I grew pretty fond of having a furry action figure though. On the show, Grizzlor was useless, but in the toys, at least he was better than Beast Man. He met a cruel fate when a momentary lapse of brain function allowed me to believe that the Masters of the Universe Slime wouldn't ruin Grizzlor's shiny fur coat. Obviously, I was wrong. Stupid fine print warnings.
#9 - Explain what's going on in the picture above.
Now that you've got more pictures, this isn't a tough puzzle to solve. That's actually the chest target from the Lazer Tag set, during that year where every kid in America wanted nothing more than to shoot in the infra-red. Alongside Photon, the two sets were immensely popular, but completely frowned upon in today's society. Every now and again, new companies spring up with their own version of Lazer Tag, but almost all of them are immediately crushed under the iron grip of the law, which says that its not a great idea for kids to go around waving guns around. Especially if they're black and near a precinct. I would always argue with friends over which was better, Photon or Lazer Tag, but truth be told - they're virtually the exact same toy. For those who don't remember the deal here - you and a friend would shoot at each other's guns and chest...first person to nail the other three times had massive bragging rights, usually amounting to a few 'I killed you haha!' shouts before throwing the entire set into a closet for eight months.
#10 - Here's a tough one for our resident Transfans. Well, semi-tough. Which Decepticon followed Murphy's Law to become the only Decepticon to ever internally hold the Matrix of Leadership?
Believe it or not, Scourge was the only 'Con to hold that honor. If you're curious as to how something so blasphemous could occur, remember, this all happened during the post-movie episodes. Admittedly, Father Time has sweetened the memory of most Transfans. After the movie flopped, the series didn't do much to rekindle the spirit, as we were privy to countless storylines that made absolutely no sense, and that seemed to contradict our very existence by being. While most of my favorite characters are actually movie and post-movie additions, its no big secret that fans get nostalgic for the Prime Era, not the Rodimus mess. Case in point: in one episode, Scourge gets his hands on the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. While it was already made pretty damn clear that a Decepticon couldn't wear the thing, Scourge scorches the critics once again by not only doing that, but morphing into some weird metallic monster for twenty minutes before someone shot him and made things right.
Sometime in the future I hope to give the post-movie eps a little more airtime on the site so you can see what I'm talking about. Half the episodes look like they were scripted after the animation was done, thus leading to stories that make even the worst TF fanfics look like gold. I'm not saying they were all dogs, because a lot of them turned out great and introduced some cool characters to the series. Other times? Well, let's just say you're not a true Transformers fan until you survive knowing that Unicron was actually created by a little alien dwarf who talked funny. But that's another article entirely, let's move on.
#11 - Tasha Yar was part of the Star Trek: Next Generation crew. Until, of course, she died in probably the most asinine way ever devised. Amazingly enough, Denise Crosby would go on to even greater success as the zombie wife with the drippy eyeball from Pet Cemetery. But in Star Trek, how'd she bite the bullet?
Hoooo boy, I have been waiting for this moment for a long eight months now. Finally, I get to tell you all about Tasha Yar's untimely death.
Now, I'm doing this basically from memory, so I'm definitely a little rusty, but here it goes: Denise Crosby was leaving the show, so they decided to use that to its fullest potential by killing her off in one of Trek's few actual death scenes. Unfrotunately, The Next Generation was still a little young, and hadn't evolved into the great series it eventually would just yet. That's evidenced by a few things, namely Troi's unwillingness to adopt any one specific accent, instead opting to sound completely different and progressively more ridiculous through each episode of the first season. But nothing would compare to Tasha Yar's death.
In the episode Skin of Evil, Tasha is killed by a giant black Jell-O mold. She must have really pissed someone up in the writer's office off to get a sendoff like that. On the sheer fun factor of media deaths, this ranks right up there with Sammy J talking about killing people and subsequently getting bit in half by a shark in Deep Blue Sea.
Like most of the first few seasons of TNG, The Jell-O incident lives in infamy amongst Trekkies. It wasn't quite as protested as Wesley Crusher, but it ranks pretty close to the Tribbles on the 'what the hell did we just watch?!' scale. For what its worth, Denise ended up returning to Trek a few times in various roles, but nothing would compare to this. Ever. On any show.
#12 - What guy does the above action figure represent?
Wrestling fans shouldn't have had too much trouble with this question - the action figure was from LJN's mid-80s WWF line, and its George 'The Animal' Steele. This was back before pro-wrestling met its second boom period in the late 90s, back when the only thing a guy needed to get over with the fans was to be, for lack of a better term, idiotic. Case in point: calling George a 'wrestler' would be an overstatement bordering on the ludicrous, as all the guy did was be fat and eat the foam out of the ring's turnbuckles. Oh yeah, he also had a green tongue, and towards the end of his fabled career, carried around a fuzzy grey doll named 'Mine'. So if there's any dads out there thinking they'll be embarassed when their kids ask them how they make a living, take a look at George and sleep easier at night.
As for the toys, they were pretty popular for a time. Big, heavy rubber figures standing around 7-8" tall, virtually every superstar of yesteryear, even the completely boring ones, had a figure. Along with my GI Joe Baroness figure, Miss Elizabeth served as my surrogate girlfriend throughout adolescence. As for George, you can see him up above, doing what he does best. Staring blankly and not moving...at all.
#13 - Back in the day, race car tracks were one of the hottest selling items for kids. To get a bigger share of the market, companies would make slight adjustments to the normal track in the hopes to win kids over with crazy crazy bonuses! In this case, we have Tyco's Daredevil Cliffhangers. What set it apart from the rest?
I'm sure the format of this article is going to look extremely confusing by the time I put it up, but its nice to finally pay homage to some of the stuff that doesn't really warrant a full article. Like this set, Tyco's Daredevil Cliffhangers. In case your blind, yes, the correct answer was that this was the first set with glow-in-the-dark tracks.
As cool as it sounds and looked in the commercial, this really sucked. I'm at a loss here...were kids supposed to play with the set in a pitch black room? I was afraid of the dark, and though pretty luminescent, Daredevil Cliffhangers' unholy glow did little to brighten up a dark room. But, in keeping with a lifelong trait of making snap, irrational decisions, I'm going to add another trademark rule of this site. Not only are robots cool by default, but also things that glow in the dark. So thumbs up on this set. Now if only we could find glowing robots, we'd have our true material mecca.
#14 - What line of toys was that stupid green monster pictured above featured in?
This was definitely a tough one. Not only would you need to be a Star Wars fan, you'd have to have had a really lucky childhood to recognize that figure as Dianoga, the trash-compactor creature from the Star Wars Death Star Playset.
The Death Star playset, one of the few Star Wars items I still own in any kind of redeeming shape, was amazing at the time. After the 12" GI Joe line from the 60s died down, we didn't get too many really large toys. This one broke the mold - three stories tall, with more crazy shit going on than any kid could dream of. When the playset came out, I was still a 'please don't let it happen again!' thought in Dad's sperm bank, so I actually didn't get this set until just a few years ago. Its great, really captures the older spirit of toys, if you could believe I'm claiming something like that actually exists. Guns, cardboard backdrops, swing ropes, and yes, the trash compactor.
The set came with about a dozen pieces of foam, which the imaginative child could use as 'trash'. Hence, trash...compactor. Also included was a figure intepretation of that cyclops thing that tried to eat Luke, Dianoga! In today's collectors market, just that figure alone fetches a decent amount of money, since its often lost from the playsets, and because no true fan could call their figure collection complete without one. I'm pretty sure I sold mine off for beer money a few summers ago, but now that I've got a website to pay tribute to the most useless things in the universe, Dianoga will always have a place on the internet. Almost poetic, no? Guess not.
#15 - A little X-E trivia. Fat Daddy - purveyor of plastic peanuts who remained consistent for a two-month span in keeping his hand in his crotch isn't only fan-friendly...he's downright fashionable. What are the colors of the two shirts he was seen on this site wearing?
Its been way too long - this site hasn't been graced with Fat Daddy since a small cameo appearance when I reviewed Snowboard Academy. If you're new, dig through the archives to find out what he's about. Hint: look for Bulbasaur. Ironically enough, the fat man from Wildwood, NJ played a major role on this site this past summer. I'd say its pretty inevitable that I'll end up back at the Double-W this year, so god only knows what the guy will have evolved into by that point. Let's just hope he's not dead. Then again, he didn't move much anyway, so they could always just stuff him.
If you got this right, big bonus points for you. Fat Daddy appeared, in royal form mind you, wearing pink and yellow t-shirts about sixteen sizes too small. Are the rumors of other color variations true? Well, we can't be sure. I'll find out this June.
So, how'd you fare? Personally, I thought the questions were pretty easy, so if you got anything less than 7 right, you're devoting way too much time to having a life. I may do one of these types of posts again in the future, albeit in a better format, so if you've had any undying questions about some cartoon, movie, or toy you really need answered, shoot me an e-mail and I'll try to include it in Round II. Right after I see if those Sea Monkeys ever hatched. Ha.
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