70's

Streets Six Million Dollar Man Bionic Blast Ice Creams

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Bionic Blast Ice Creams – Better. Stronger. Faster.


The latest installment in my continuing story of licensed Australian Ice Creams (Part 1, Part 2) features the rebuilt Colonel himself – the Six Million Dollar Man.

SMDM was as big in Australia as anywhere else through the mid-70’s, we had the Kenner toys distributed by Toltoys, the board games and model kits too, but who remembers the icy poles?

This time it was Streets getting in on the licensing fun, creating a pineapple infused ice treat known as the Bionic Blast.


Material from this 1977 release is scarce, but I’m delighted to be able to bring you a couple of items, firstly the store display seen above, and secondly a sample of the in-store and in-pack premium stickers, featuring random shots taken from the TV show.


If anyone out there has a box or wrapper I’d love to feature it here, drop me a line at will(at)toltoys(dot)com.

Cheers!
Will

80's

Kellogg’s Return of the Jedi Decoder Disks

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Kellogg’s Decoder Disks

How cool is this? Thanks to the keen eyes of Nick Macarty over at Rebelscum.com I’m able to bring you the Kellogg’s TV spot from the 1980’s promotional tie-in with the Return of the Jedi.

Wonderful!

Cheers,
Will

70's

Licensed Australian Ice Cream Super Heroes

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Licensed Australian Ice Creams
Part Two – Comic Heroes

Last year I carried on a bit about the wonderful licensed ice-creams and icy poles we had in Australia in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It seemed for a time that any film or television show, character or concept that could be licensed as an ice-treat was, someties regardless of the suitability.

I’ve been pulling together bits of information and obtaining examples of the boxes, wrappers, premiums and advertising for these over the last couple of years, and if all goes to plan (and when doesn’t it?!) I will have a database availble on this site in the near future.

While we’re waiting for that, I’ve whacked together another showcase of some of the more interesting stuff. I’ve cobbled today’s lot together under the broad church that is “Comic Heroes”. Nice tie-in with Spidey 3 ‘s release this week ehh?


First up is my favourite, it’s the Paul’s Ice Cream tie-in to the hugely popular Buck Rogers TV Show from 1979 I’ve always loved that front panel graphic, but the killer for this item is the “Star Stick” promotion on the rear panel.


If you know me or have followed the blog for a while you’ll know I’m a bit of a Mego nut, so when I saw the back panel I knew I was on a winner. Although it isn’t mentioned on the box, the Buck Rogers action figures pictured there are Mego’s three and three-quarter inch line.


The whole gang is there, and as you can see below, if you found a “Star Stick” you could send it in (after you’ve washed it mind you, I think they may have learnt that one from expereience) and you would be sent a Buck figure, plus three other random figures!

Were they sent they carded? Were they baggied? Do any of you Aussie readers remember these? Anyone have a “Star Stick” per chance? Send me an email and make us all happy 🙂

If seeing these Mego figures has re-awakened a collecting giant in you, make sure you visit the Mego Museum Forums for help. They’re like a support group, without the billable hours.


If you liked Buck in ’79 chances are you loved Flash in ’80! I challenge anyone to think of the Sam Jones incarnation of Flash and not follow it with “Ah Aaah… He’s a miracle!” This flick was more camp than a row of tents and didn’t we love it all the more for it!

No premiums for this release I’m afraid, just a reasonably lame Snakes & Ladders cut-out game on the back panel. Lucky for me the kid that had this box thought it was lame too!

The end panels are not too shabby though, Peter Wyngarde’s Klytus always freaked me out, and Melody Anderson’s Dale Arden looks great. No Ornella Muti, but great none the less.

Coming in from the Marvel Universe were two guys who seemed destined for icy poles, Spidey and The Hulk. This treat was a relative late comer to the licensed party arriving in 1982, although Spidey had made an appearnace on his own back in’79 as you’ll see below.

It’s a nice piece of art, and I’m sure I’ve seen both of them many times over the years, some of you comic gurus should be able to help me remember where. This release did feature an in pack premium, a glowing super-hero sticker. The example below is actually from my childhood collection, and had to survive neglect, a house fire and 25 years of spring cleaning to be with us today, take a bow my glowing jade friend! (Yes he still glows, I think they printed these things with some kind of radioactive isotope!)


Finally today I bring you one of the coolest premiums from these Aussie ice cream days, Spiderman Stickers!

You’ll recall that last year I posted a pic of the store diplay for the ’79 Spidey ice-cream, see below.

It mentions that “Free Stickers” were to be given away with each in-store purchase of icy-poles.

I’m happy now to be able to bring you some examples of these, check ’em out below:
Clearly inspired by the wonderful Topps Marvel Superhero stickers from the mid 70’s, these icy pole ones feature sayings so bad they could only have come from the marketing department of of an ice-cream manufacturer! This isn’t the full set, if you know of any more I’d love to add them.

Anyway that’s it for today, more ice cream stuff coming sooooon.

Cheers,
Will

80's

LEGO Birkenhead Point Keychains Part 2

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LEGO Keychains Part 2

Some of you long time readers who have been following this site since the olden days back in ’06 will remember my excitement at finding an Aussie 80’s LEGO Fabuland mini-figure keychain in a random lot of LEGO.


Well Toltoys.com reader Craig had fond memories of these little guys too, and kindly supplied me with some images of his own keychain.


There is something ethereal in the face of the classic Legoland mini-figure, a manufactured Mona Lisa wrought in plastic. They are smiling, but not too much, full of mischief, but also happy to chill. They would make a great drinking partner or co-driver on a road-trip.

I need to showcase more of these Birkenhead Point keychains, if you have one send me a pic!

Cheers!
Will

Special thanks to Craig for today’s contribution.

70's

Toltoys Special Offer Items

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Toltoys Special Offer Items


Some of the most sought after pieces in the Kenner US Star Wars line are the “Special Offer” (SO) vehicles. To help move old product and keep large department chains happy Kenner would include one or more free items (usually figures) inside the box, advertising the fact with a flashy sticker applied to the outside. There is a great feature article on the Star Wars Collectors Archive on Special Offers, a must see for all Star Wars collectors!

While the Kenner versions have been well documented, a small number of previously unknown Toltoys examples have come to the attention of Australian collectors in the last few years.

The first to surface was the Toltoys SO Landspeeder. This has so far been the only SO vehicle to be found in a Toltoys logo box.

It is unusual in that it included three figures (Luke, R2D2 and C3PO) as opposed to the US version which had only R2 and 3PO. It is unclear whether the figures were included loose in the box or in baggies, and until a sealed example turns up we can’t be certain.

The second one to surface was the SO Dewback. This was a regular Kenner box with a sticker advertising the Stormtrooper figure inside, an offer also released by Kenner Canada for the Empire Strikes Back (ESB).

Next came two unexpected finds, the first was the Kenner Tantaun ESB box with a SO printed flash proclaiming the inclusion of two figures. The only proof of this offer is the cut box front above, so again we have no way of knowing which two figures were included.

Shortly after the Tauntan find a Kenner Wampa ESB box appeared on Ebay Australia with the same printed SO circle, advising that two bonus figures were included. The item was not sealed unfortunately so again we do not know which figures were included.

The most recent find is the ESB Imperial Attack Base. This box has the same style small round printed offer as the Tauntaun and Wampa , but advertises four figures as being included rather than two.

Not content with the small promotional circle Toltoys added another huge yellow sticker shouting the fact to the world! This box was actually manufactured in Australia, but since Toltoys had been recently acquired by Kenner, it features a Kenner logo.

Again we don’t know for certain which figures came with this offer, but luckily the big gaudy yellow sticker caught the eye of at least one young fan, and I’m delighted to bring you his memories of this item from all those years ago…

“I was around the age of 10 or 11, so many years have passed since this memory but what I can recall is that I went to a Waltons store in the suburb of Fortitude Valley Brisbane. Waltons seemed to be the store that had the harder to get items and special offers unseen at stores like Target and K-Mart, incidentally this was the only store where I ever saw a three pack for sale. I was in the store looking for the one figure out of the collection that had so far eluded me, a Princess Leia in the white outfit. I started collecting at the release of the 41 backs so I had a fair back catalogue to obtain!

I spotted the Imperial Attack Base with a huge sticker (couldn’t recall the colour until seeing the pics above) offering free figures inside. I reasoned with my Mother to open the boxes and find out which figures were in there in case they had a Princess Leia. My Mum opened all three boxes, only to find that they had the exact same figures in each box. This is where my memory gets a little hazy unfortunately. I recall seeing the Rebel Commander but can’t say for certain whether Rebel Soldiers or Hoth Stormtroopers accompanied him. I do believe there was a Rebel Soldier at least though. I recall the figures being loose un-bagged but that could be my faded memory. I am positive they were Hoth related figures as after opening the second box I realised it was going to be a huge waste of time to keep going, even though my Mum did. So that is pretty much my memory on that little moment in time.”

Paul N, Brisbane

My own recollections of receiving a SO Landspeeder as a child also fit with Paul’s theory of the figures being loose / un-bagged in the box, so until evidence shows us otherwise I’m going with that!

Another tantalising piece of evidence we have is the page below from an Australian catalogue of the time. It shows the SO Dewback with the Stormtrooper, but interestingly it lists the SO Landspeeder as only including Luke and R2D2, the same as the US release. I’m not even going to begin to talk about the $4.99 three packs… wow!

So far these five items have turned up in extremely limited numbers. There are two known SO Landspeeders, three SO Dewbacks, one SO Wampa, one SO Imperial Attack Base and only a box front for the SO Tauntaun. Articles such as this one will I’m sure will bring more to collector’s attention, if you have one or know of one I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks this week to Paul Naylor, Dave MacLeod, Brody Walker and Dax for the images, info and memories!

Cheers,

Will

Will(at)toltoys(dot)com

PS – This will be my last Star Wars post for a while, I have some great non-SW Aussie stuff to showcase next, but never fear Star Wars will return… (Doesn’t it always?)

80's

Toltoys ROTJ 65 Backs Nien Nunb Offer

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…And still more Star Wars!

This week: The Toltoys ROTJ 65 Back

The difficulty and frustration in tracking down Toltoys logo 12 and 20 back carded figures in my opinion has led to an appreciation of the other Aussie issued cardbacks, primarily the Return of the Jedi 65 Back card with the “Nien Nunb” free figure offer.

While the Toltoys link is more tenuous than on the earlier cards, these cardbacks are unique to Australia and included the mailing address of Toltoys for the competition.

While still a real struggle to track down, they are probably one rung down the ladder from the Star Wars Toltoys cards in terms of rarity, instead of “impossible” to find they are just “near impossible”.

A handful of collectors both here and overseas have been chasing them for years, and even with years of active searching I don’t believe a full set of 65 examples has yet been achieved. Indeed I don’t believe an example of each cardback has even been found! The set above is the most complete set of cardbacks as far as I’m aware.

So what did you get if you took the effort to send in your POPs? There he is above, the final result. I still vividly recall heading to the mailbox and seeing that box (well not that exact box) with my name and address on it. Toy memories are made of this!

The actual offer artwork had a running production change, creating a subset of variations. The first version featured text proclaiming Nunb as being from the “Revenge of the Jedi”.

As with Star Wars items across the world this was changed to “Return” when Uncle George decided that Jedi’s don’t seek revenge.

Toltoys applied a semi-circle sticker over the offending text as a quick fix (above) and then updated the text on the actual cardback (below).

In the US the Nunb figure offer was available on 48 Back cards, but for some reason there was a delay in bringing the offer to Australia (and Canada) resulting in the highly amusing Nien Nunb with Nien Nunb offer card.

As yet a perfectly sealed example has not been found, but a few cardbacks have turned up as well as the almost MOC specimen above. You’ve got to wonder what (if anything) they were thinking as they carded these guys up!

The Nunb offer 65 Backs offer a great collecting focus, some easy ones to get started, some harder to find ones to keep the interest going, and some ridiculously hard to find ones. What more could a collector want?

Generally speaking these figures are hard to find with clear undamaged blisters, and it’s probably also fair to say that the earlier release characters (such as the first 12) are more difficult to locate than the later waves.


Thanks to Brody and Dax for many of today’s great pics, as far as I’m aware this is the largest group of this particular offer presented in one place, scroll down to check them out. If you have a MOC example we don’t or a cardback featuring a character not shown here I’d love to add it, you can email me will(at)toltoys(dot)com.

Cheers!
Will

70's

Toltoys Death Star Playset

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Star Wars Month

The Death Star playset

Play-value. Great toy-makers have always known it’s the secret of a successful toy.

In my opinion the best example of play value in the vintage Star Wars line is the Death Star playset created by UK company Palitoy, and adapted around the world by Kenner Canada, Meccano France, Toltoys New Zealand and Toltoys Australia.

A brilliant playset of semi-spherical design, this cardboard toy fits together like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, creating a multi-room and multi-level environment.

Wonderful graphics and sections such as a gun turret and canopy, a trash compactor (with shute) and bridge saw kids the world over recreate some of the most memorable scenes from the original film.

All the playsets have subtle differences; the original Palitoy version is a true cardboard item, whereas the Aussie version is made of a tougher chip-board like material.

One thing they all have in common though is the ability to deconstruct and stow away in a box about the size of a regular board game. Simple storage means there are probably many sets still out there stored in cupboards and attics worldwide, unlike the Kenner USA Death Star Playset, which is a behemoth to store.

Somehow I think today’s kids would think this playset is beyond quaint, but I bet if they put down their Wii and PS3 controllers for a moment and staged a shoot–out between Han, Chewy and the Stormtroopers they would get lost in this toy in a flash! Or maybe not. 🙂

One interesting aspect of the Toltoys Australia box is the text on the side that talks of the 19 figures that are currently available. I had thought that the “second eight” figures were released as one, with Fett bringing up the total to 21, so I would be interested in people’s thoughts on this.

Finally here are the instructions for this toy, note the nod to the original Palitoy release.

Cheers!

Will


80's

Australian Star Wars POTF Coin Offer

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Star Wars Month

The Australian POTF Coin Offer

The transition from Return of Jedi carded figures to the Power of The Force (POTF) line in 1985 produced an interesting variation here in Australia. The POTF figures included a collector coin blister packed above the figure, a new idea to help revive sales of the long running Star Wars line. This however left retailers with large numbers of unsold Return of the Jedi carded figures that did not have the coins, not an easy sell to premium savvy kids.

At least one Australian retailer had a simple solution, add a yellow sticker to the existing stock of Jedi cards offering a free coin with the purchase of any figure.

According to an old article on the SWCA the coins and stickers were sent from the US to Australia in Trivial Pursuit question card boxes, and were applied at retail. That piece of info about the boxes is so bizarre and precise that it must be true, I mean, how could you make that up?

The keenly observant among you may have noticed that the card-back in the SWCA article has a Wonderland price sticker on it, which is probably why the theory that this offer was a Wonderland store exclusive exists. The only problem for me was that I’d never heard of Wonderland toys.

I talked about this with fellow Aussie collector (and Toltoys.com contributor) Dax, and he revealed that Wonderland of Toys had been a toy store chain in Perth, Western Australia. He also had a feeling they may have been connected in some way to the large Toyworld chain of toy stores in the eastern states, still in existence today.

Toyworld was Australia’s version of Toys’R’Us through the 70’s and 80’s, until the arrival of the local Toys’R’Us around 1990. It makes sense that if anyone had the leverage to ask for and receive a concession to help move old Jedi stock it would be Toyworld.

It was only when the picture below came through for this article that this theory was confirmed, as stuck on the Lumat cardback sat the instantly recognizable colour and logo of a Toyworld price sticker. So it seems the coin offer sticker was available Australia-wide, in Wonderland of Toys stores in the west, and the Toyworld chain in the east. That is a lot of stores, giving collectors hope that a number of cards are still out there waiting to be found.

The stickers seem to mostly turn up on 79 back cards, which makes sense since they were the last of the Jedi release. However they have shown up on other card backs, including 77 and 65 backs, and most strangely of all a POTF Anakin.

This card was sold on Ebay a couple of years ago, if you are the current owner I’d love to update and upgrade the photo, contact me at the email address in the top right of this page. I suppose if the promotion was successful and the store sold all it’s old Jedi cards it makes sense that they would want to use up the rest of the stickers and coins they had, so why not an Anakin? An uber-cool variation. Actually it does appear that the blister area on the Anakin is lifting, so potentially the store just clerk used the sticker to keep the blister in place! One mystery that we will never know.

Special thanks to today’s contributors Dax & Dave Trimboli for their photos and information.

Cheers!

Will

70's

Star Wars Toltoys Card Backs

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Star Wars Week*


Cardbacks Update

*Might actually be a couple of weeks.

I love talking with people who are more knowledgeable than me, and when it comes to Toltoys Star Wars collecting there are a whole bunch!

One such collector is my mate Dax, who happens to have the finest collection of Star Wars cardbacks I have ever seen, probably the best in the known universe. In his extensive collection Dax has an example of 15 of the 16 known characters released on Toltoys logo cards, with only the Death Squad Commander eluding him.



After speaking with him about his cardbacks, I now feel confident in saying that the Toltoys cards were printed from scratch by Toltoys, and are not overprinted Kenner cards.

The first argument for this is the figure height information on the rear of the 12 backs. Australia has a metric measurement system, and so by law all measurements on printed material in this country should be in millimetres, centimetres, metres, kilometres and so on.

The good part of this is that we get to drive at 100 or 110 on our highways with no worries. The bad part is that when you ask someone what their height is they might say 183.5 centimetres. And no we have no idea how tall that is either, go Google it if you must. Anyway the backs of some 12 backs have the printed figure height info in millimetres instead of inches as in the US or UK. The cardbacks in the photo above have the following characteristics:

  1. Luke Skywalker 12 bk, round logo, made in Taiwan, measurements in inches
  2. Princess Leia Organa 12 bk, round logo, made in Taiwan, measurements in inches
  3. Artoo Detoo 12 bk, round logo, made in Taiwan, measurements in millimetres
  4. Chewbacca 12 bk, round logo, made in Taiwan, measurements in inches
  5. C-3PO 12 bk, bar logo, made in Hong Kong, measurements in millimetres
  6. Darth Vader 12 bk, round logo, made in Taiwan, measurements in inches
  7. Imperial Stormtrooper 12 bk, bar logo, made in Hong Kong, measurements in inches
  8. Ben (Obi Wan) Kenobi 12 bk, bar logo, made in Hong Kong, measurements in inches
  9. Han Solo 12 bk, bar logo, made in Hong Kong, measurements in inches
  10. Jawa 20 bk, bar logo, made in Hong Kong
  11. Tusken Raider 20 bk, bar logo, made in Hong Kong
  12. Greedo 20 bk, bar logo, made in Hong Kong
  13. Hammerhead 20 bk, bar logo, made in Hong Kong
  14. Snaggletooth 20 bk, bar logo, made in Hong Kong
  15. Walrusman 20 bk, bar logo, made in Hong Kong

Dax argues further (and I agree) that the Sandpeople cardback is another smoking gun.

“It is actually titled Tusken Raider on both the back of all the 12 back cards (unlike Kenner 12 back cards) and the front of the actual 20 back figure card (again, a change that did not occur till much later with Kenner).”

“On the back of all the Toltoys 20 back cards it is still referred to as Sand People. Now if Toltoys are obviously printing their own cardbacks and fronts it doesn’t seem to make sense to over-print an already produced cardback.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m declaring case closed on this one and packing it away in a big wooden crate Indiana Jones style. I would add that there are top men working on it right now. Just don’t ask me who.

Cheers!
Will

Special thanks to Dax for tonight’s info and picture.

70's

Toltoys Board Games and Puzzles

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Star Wars Week

Part Three: Board Games & Puzzles


Due to their relatively short production turnaround time, board games have always been a great movie tie-in option. Print a new board, design some pieces and a play format and stick it all in a standard size box, voila! I believe that Kenner managed to get it’s Escape from the Death Star game out well before the figures were ready, and in Australia we had the Toltoys version just in time for Christmas 1977, also before the figures were released locally.

As a result they sold in huge numbers, and are probably the most common Toltoys branded Star Wars item, turning up on Ebay Australia about once a week.


The second game released by Toltoys is a little harder to find, but still not rare by any means. It is the R2-D2 Adventure game. Both games are virtually identical to the Kenner releases, with only the logos changed and the printing of the paper based parts done here in Melbourne.


Toltoys also produced local versions of the Kenner Star Wars jigsaw puzzles, again only changing the logos. You can find a comprehensive list of puzzles released around the world at the SWCA, you’ll be surprised what you can find there 🙂

Cheers,
Will