What was it like back then?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by anikenvader, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. anikenvader

    anikenvader Stuff & Things

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    So like lot's of people, I've not always been into Transformers. I'm only 17 young and got into collecting Transformers only around Armada (still pretty early for my age), but this has always really intrigued me.
    For those of more adult value, what was it like? Back in 84'-85', when G1 was the thing!
    Though I don't know how many of you may remember or your age (not asking age here :p ) but what was it like to go into a store and see G1's? And what stores were there? I'm pretty positive Target wasn't around, and I believe Walmart was. But Sears and such? And what were the prices like?
    I'm just so interested on people who were around in the beginning and buying.
    So, yeah. Where'd ya buy? The prices? Were there hard to find figures? What stores did you visit often for them?
    Thanks for taking a look, It'll be interesting seeing some stories. (if any :p )
     
  2. OmegaSupreme235

    OmegaSupreme235 Well-Known Member

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    I'm a kid of the 80's looking back the toy aisles were great back then so much better then today's experience. In the town I grew up in we had a kmart and that's pretty much it but it had a good selection, It was a real treat to go and pick out a new figure. Now every once in a while my mom would drive about a hour to Sacromento to take me to toysrus and I'll tell you what to think back on it, it was very special and jaw dropping experience to me to see all the aisles and aisles of toys it was awsome! Whole aisles dedicated to transformers gi Joe tmnt hee man it was great and other than my daughters passion for transformers the reason I collect today. I think alot of us are still chasing that feeling we had when we were kids.

    On a aide note I really miss the cool character cereals from all the 80's brands we use to get.
     
  3. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    My small town had a K-mart, a Roses, and a Fred's. These were my main three places if I wanted a G1 figure, and each store carried them quite well. Target was around at the time, but they just weren't as huge as they are now. My G1 pre-rub Mirage was my sole G1 purchase [that I know of, as I'm not sure where my parents bought some of my TFs, especially the ones I got as Christmas gifts] there. Stores Target and Toys 'R' Us were about 45 minutes away from me, so I didn't get to go there often. I do know my Fortress Maximus came from there. Children's Palace and TRU were always big competitors, but CP eventually went under. The wish books were the equivalent to the Internet now, as those were the source that I'd look at almost daily to figure out which figures I wanted to purchase next. This is also in conjunction with the checklist product catalogs.

    As far as what it was like, TRANSFORMERS was a phenomenal hit. Stuff was everywhere. I think the closest this franchise has came back to that sort of thing is with the movies. One of the main differences is that, at the time, these things were completely brand new to us. This was the FIRST time we were exposed to the characters like Optimus Prime and Megatron.
     
  4. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    Kmart, Sears, JC Penny, Service Merchandise Toys R Us, Kiddie Land and Children's Palace carried most Tfs I bought as a kid.

    I remember that PACE Membership Warehouse (the precursor to SAMS club and Costco type stores) carried just the five Predacons one christmas in their toy isle.

    There was a small department store at Gratiot and 12 mile that carried just the Dinobots too.

    I remember that Children's Palace is the only place that I remember seeing actual Fortress Maximus' in boxes. They got 3 in stock.

    Service Merchandise used to carry Transformers and their rival line the Convertors. I remember in about 1987 they had about 30 of Insecticons on clearance for about $3 or $4 each.

    Kiddie Land carried lots of 1987-1989 Transformers that went on clearance, like the Seacons. They also carried Monster Gobot Combiners. I loved those.
     
  5. Ikkstakk

    Ikkstakk Well-Known Member

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    Target's been around since 1962, kid.

    As for other stores besides the usual suspects of Toys-R-Us, Wal-Mart and KMart, there was a large TRU-like chain called Children's Palace. I remember buying several Transformers there.

    Y'know how you can go into a Kohl's now and find Transformers? Nothing new. I remember back in the 80's other clothing/department stores carrying Transformers. I have a distinct memory of seeing the Predacons in a JC Penney.

    Service Merchandise used to have a good section. I remember seeing a Roadbuster shelfwarming there, box beat to hell.

    And, of course, my prized memory of the 1985 summer when my hometown TG&Y (kinda like a Wal-Mart knockoff) went out of business. Transformers were at or near the height of their popularity, and the place had an entire aisle of them. Not a section of an aisle. An entire aisle. Both sides. On going-out-of-business-style clearance. Bins of mini-bots. Bins.

    If they ever invent time travel, that's where I'm goin'.
     
  6. PlanckEpoch

    PlanckEpoch Just a regular old plumbus

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    Back in the day we had a place called KayBee toys, and they were in every mall imaginable. Going to the mall was always a magical time where you could potentially get another juicy toy that you've been wanting. K Mart was there and so was Toys R Us, but I don't think we ever had Target or Walmart.

    From what I remember it wasn't too different in the past than it is now getting toys. I was too young to remember G1, but I was heavily into G2, and as far as I know the hunting experience isn't too different nowadays.
     
  7. alldarker

    alldarker M.A.S.K. Crusader

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    I lived in England between 1984 and 1988, and Transformers were huge there too. If you went to a store like Hamleys in London, it was HEAVEN for a kid like me. Wall to wall aisles completely dedicated to toys lines like Transformers, MASK, Dinoriders, Centurions, GI JOE, you name it. I actually never owned that many TF's back then: I was more into MASK, but it was still mindblowing. Of course, the UK had their own Transformers comic (as did lots of toys in the UK) which was very cool as well. Transformers were available in the UK pretty well too, through chain stores like Argos and British Home Stores, and of course through independant toy stores which don't really seem to exist anymore.

    At my school, kids used to take their newest Transformers with them: and I specifically remember the kids who brought Grimlock, Wheeljack and Kickback with them. Just to get my hands on Grimlock I boasted that I could transform him without instructions: and I remember getting stuck on the chest (I forgot to push up the chest area).

    Ahhh... the '80's: the golden age of action figure toys... Good times.
     
  8. wildfly

    wildfly Right notes. Wrong order.

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    1) ROBOPLASTIC APOCALYPSE-Incomprehensible Transmissions from the Nostrodomatron (click the links on the left side for pricing each yr)


    2)

    1984: Many of them, TBH. Most of the more sought after autobot cars, Decepticon tapes, and all the seekers.

    1985: Second series cars were easier to get than the first series who, were now shotrpacked i believe. Tapes were still selling quick.

    1986: Hot Rod, Springer, Octane, SOME smaller gestalt members: Blades, Groove, Blast Off Vortex, Brawl, Sky Dive, Air Raid were kind of scarce. Conversely, some like First Aid, Slingshot, you couldn't give away, at least in my part of the world.

    1987. 'Movie' Targetmasters were pretty scarce... but they were shortpacked. Decepticon Targetmasters were generally scarceish too.

    1988, nothing really....aside from Getaway who i saw maybe...once?

    1989-1990. Nothing. All easily enough found.
     
  9. tikgnat

    tikgnat Baweepgranaweepninnybong. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Back in the day the prices were a fraction of what they are now. A FRACTION. If a Deluxe is £15 today, they were £5 then.

    Toys were also THREE TIMES BIGGER. They were huge. A deluxe was what? ALMOST 6 FT TALL. Nowadays they are all shrinking.

    They were also really complex, not these simple simons that are out today, G1s were the most COMPLEX REALISTIC Transformers EVER. G1 Ironhide is so complicated NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN ABLE TO TRANSFORM HIM CORRECTLY.

    They were also ALL MADE OF METAL. Solid metal, not this hollowed out KOish type plastic. When they couldn't find a part to make out of metal they would use LEAD paint. Never did me any harm.

    They also had much better detailing, they had stickers and paint, BOTH AT ONCE.

    [/rage]

    Now I'm going to start todays new thread about why FOC toys are so small.
     
  10. doctajones428

    doctajones428 Well-Known Member

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    I grew up in the G2/Beast Wars days, and if the G1 days were even the slightest as fun and exciting as a kid, I would say it was a amazing time to be a kid
     
  11. wildfly

    wildfly Right notes. Wrong order.

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    :lol 
     
  12. combaticon164

    combaticon164 Warlord of Floriduh

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    We had Zares, Circus World-bought out by Kaybee, Sears, Lionel Playworld, Toyrus, Kmart, and cannot forget Service Merchandise. I remeber the stores stocked from top to bottom with transformers with pegs filled with minibots and duo cassette packs. I miss the old G1 boxes, wish they would make them like that again.
     
  13. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    *Zayres I remember!


    Back then was not even remotely like it is now.

    You could go into any dime store and find Transformers. More department stores like Hills, K mart, Zayre's, Montgomery Wards were around.

    Pharmacy, small store chains had them. 3D toys, kaybee and the like.

    Gas stations had them (and comic books!)

    For me Toys R Us was like going to heaven and it was always a very special visit for me up until my teens (when they had loads of video game machines). Now that place is like a dump and really does nothing for setting up a fix of eye drugs.

    There were no shortages because the mentality of collecting wasn't so big at the time if it even existed back then the way it does now.

    I loved Robot toys and , aside from transformers, there were tons of them. KOs, different attempts at lines outside of gobots and Tfs, just robots that had shooting hands and much much more and it was all on par quality. I think the period was a sci fi kids wet dream. I remember tons of spaceships as well.

    You have to remember we didn't have so much variety in the early part of the 80s but come late 83 things start to explode. We were very much the Golden age of action figures. No matter how well one can paint the picture it still ends up being a you had to be there kind of thing.

    Who remembers the minibots on spinner racks?
     
  14. wildfly

    wildfly Right notes. Wrong order.

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    Perhaps the single most significant memory i have is shelf life: Pretty much all TFs were available for two years, or at least the majority were, if not one year. Some made it to three years.

    This is opposed to nowadays, when Hasbro stop shipping something after a few months, if even that long.
     
  15. jbz

    jbz Well-Known Member

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    My parents took me to Japan in 1985. Talk about Transformers/Macross heaven. Holy shit I went bananas. Looking back and remembering what my parents bought me that trip, they must have spent a fortune on me. I love them :)  Sadly, I sold all that stuff :(  I do remember that there just seemed to be much more in regards to selection everywhere. Sears catalog at Christmas was loaded. My local drug store Longs had tons. It was good times.
     
  16. iDarkDesign

    iDarkDesign Rodeo Lawyer

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    I remember toy stores would be so much better then they are now. They would have LOADS of action figures and just a small bit of games (the board kind) and dolls. No faux jewelry no video games or anything. Then my being in Europe I remember everything being behind a year or two. My dad would travel to the US a lot and bring me back some cool transformer not to be seen here for another year or so.

    I also remember my family in France having a really cool transformers toy box. Old to new items. But also Gobots and Zodiac warriors. My original insecticons were bought in france (orange chests) and I remember seeing the predators and Turbomasters there for the first time. I got Hurricane there.

    iDD
     
  17. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    YES! Constructicons were around for at least a year. They were still selling them at Newberry's when Aerialbots came out.
     
  18. grandizerGo

    grandizerGo Predaking

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    growing up in the 80's was a blast..i remember taking a bus to a local mall..not walking distance..the fairfield mall anchor stores were bradlees and then caldor and then kay b toys in between always remeber walking into bradlees and buying my constucticons and then dinobots at caldor..lol other stores like child world and toys r us would have given you a heart attack an entire toy isle of tranformers and go daiken robots..when a toy isle would reach to the ceiling..but ames and zares and service merchandise were always stocked up

    last but not least mr. big toyland on 399 moody st. in waltham an entire store dedicated to transformers and shogun warriors..this is what makes my collection so valuable to me..i still have everything i have ever bought....
     
  19. wildfly

    wildfly Right notes. Wrong order.

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    Generally, i would say i remember many more toy shops,

    They were in the 85 and 86 catalogues.

    Based on what i've *heard* i wouldn't be surprised if they first appeared late 84....and i wouldn't be surprised either if they were still common enough in 87.
     
  20. OmegaSupreme235

    OmegaSupreme235 Well-Known Member

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    Great thread because everybodies post are making me remember little thing I had forgotten about like comics in gas stations, mini bots on spinner racks, and store catalogues. It was great time alot better then today's stuff and like the one person said it was one of those things you just had to be there to describe. It was more than just toys it was a experience.

    Waking up early Saturday morning grabbing a bowl of cereal and watching transformers good times!
     

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