Monday, August 29, 2016

When Dallas Was Ocean Front Property

No, I'm not talking about pre-history here. I'm talking about a short-lived and much forgotten marine animal park that existed in the suburb of Arlington- Seven Seas!

In the early 1970's, Arlington, Tx was mainly known as the home of Six Flags Over Texas. That park was doing so well, that the city government decided to add to the attractions. They built a stadium for the MLB Texas Rangers and then broke ground on a whole new park- Seven Seas.

At first, Six Flags was going in halves with the city, but then their management company almost went bankrupt (for reasons not involving either park) and they bailed on the project, leaving the city holding the bag. I don't have time, space, or knowledge enough to tell you exactly what happened next, but suffice it to say that the city built a really cool park that due to bad management failed within four years. Seven Seas 1972-1976...R.I.P.

By the way, before they settled on the marine park idea, the city approached Walter Knott to see if he wanted to open another Knott's Berry Farm. He told them that he was too old to start anything new. Ah, what might have been....

Anyway, Seven Seas was actually a pretty cool park (even if it was never built out completely). I remember going there with my dad. I was impressed at a martial arts demonstration when they showed how to block a bullet and it didn't work. It was pretty much the Indiana Jones sword fighter gag years before the movie. To a ten year old it was hillarious.

Anyway, I bought one of those wooden sailor figures that I had for years. Then I lost it...somewhere. However, I did stumble across the next two items in two different auctions. They went for almost nothing because...well, no one really remembers Seven Seas anyway. So, for your amusement I give you my new...old....souvenirs:

So there ya go! Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Welcome to Haunted Heights!

Well, our trips to Plasticville have gotten me thinking about some of the other buildings that will eventually make up my train layout. You see, I pretty much have the whole thing mapped out in my head, and over the years I've bought kits that I've built to realize that map. So, today I'm going to show you the fine "homes" of the Haunted Heights section...

This was the house that started it all. This is the Alexander Haunted House kit. It's made of balsa wood and card stock with metal windows and doors. The windows are Scotch tape!

The rear of the house. The chimney is carved from a solid hunk of balsa...

This next house might look a little familiar. The good folks at Polar Lights produced this Psycho house a few years back. Alfred Hitchcock would be proud!

The rear of the house. 

I found this clever addition at a local hobby shop. It's not true to the movie, but it's pretty funny...

This is the Lifelike Haunted some. I thought the original kit was too simple and a little boring, so I "kit bashed" two kits together to make an "L" shaped mansion.

The back porch is a front porch that was cut down.

Finally, we have Gomez and Morticia's place. A few years back Polar Lights re-released the old Aurora Addams Family House kit in all its glory!

The back of the house. The stick moves glow in the dark "ghosts" in and out of the windows. 

One of those ghosts peeking out the back door!
So there you go! Will there be any more houses? Well, this section of the layout will actually be pretty small, so probably not. Still, there IS a model of the Munsters' house......

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Fifties Toy "Two-fer!"

Greetings from the attic! This week I have two items to share with you...and they both come from the 1950's! So settle back and let's take a little trip to post WWII America...

(At this point, the picture would go all wavy in a 1950's imagine that, ok?)

The year was 1953. The kids of America had fallen in love with a certain toy spud the year before, when Mr. Potato Head was born. This year, however, more family members were added! Now a lucky kid just might get this!

Yep, it's Mr. AND Mrs. Potato Head...PLUS Brother Spud and Sister Yam! Wow! (Mind...blown.) They came with about a jillion little hats, eyes, ears, pipes (not yet P.C.!), etc.

What they didn't come with was...a potato! The kid was expected to steal a few from mom and jab the little parts into them. I would suspect the Potato Family aged rather quickly... It would be 1964 before a plastic non-rotting potato was included.

I picked this set up this summer at an online estate sale. The price was right...dirt cheap! ...get it?...Dirt?...Potatoes?...Never mind...

Anyway, it looks pretty complete and it makes a good addition to the ol' attic!

Next, we're going back to Plasticville! This is an item that I picked up at a flea market a few years ago...

Actually, I didn't buy this for the model (I already had a church) but for the box. As you can see, the box sports a sticker encouraging kids to sign up to win a free trip to Disneyland!

Disney held this promotion in 1956, which helps date the kit. Unfortunately, the entry blank was not included. The kit was in there, however, and it's a pretty good early example of it, so that's a plus.

Interestingly enough, several companies were involved in this promotion, including 3M. The Barstow family actually won a trip and captured the whole thing on 16mm film! If you want to see it, just go to this link:

I'm such a Disney nerd that I actually bought the DVD of this comes with extra interviews with the family and stuff.

So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed your time in the 50's! Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Little Trip To Plasticville

Hello, Attic Searchers! This week we're going to jump on the train and take a little ride to Plasticville! All aboard!

Of course the train we are getting on is HO scale, as is Plasticville. You really have to stoop in these doorways! Still there is a charm here that can't be denied.

I actually have a pretty good collection of HO trains and accessories. Unfortunately, most are boxed up and stored in the closet. Still, I keep my eyes peeled for more vintage stuff. One day I'll have the greatest train layout you ever saw! Well, in my eyes anyway.

You see, I'm not like a lot of train buffs who want everything to be perfectly to scale and everything to run like the real railroads. Instead, I like a little charm and toy fun mixed in. That's why I like brand names like Tyco and Plasticville. Accurate? Not really. Fun? Yup!

Over the summer I bought a box of odds and ends from the 1960's and 1970's. There was some junk in there, but there was also some good stuff. I'm going to share some of the good stuff with you. Here we go!

The Plasticville School might not hold many students, but it looks just like a school should.

This barn (also Plasticville) is a bit more complex than most Plasticville structures. Still, it's pretty simple.

With "Mid-Century Modern" being all the craze now, this ranch style house fits right in. These buildings are all from the early 1960's. 

A traditional home was also in the box. Bachman and Lifelike have continued to release these same kits for years, so the price isn't high if you wanted to pick up a couple.

A Tyco car.

And another one. This is actually an automatic unloading car. Unfortunately, the dock wasn't in the box. Still, it will ride the rails as is with no problem.

This is my second example of this car. I got the first one when I was ten in my first Tyco train set.

I really like this car. Tyco had a large line of advertising cars. I have collected several of them over the years.

One of the big reasons that I bought the box was this engine. The front is powered and the back is a dummy. They are by Tempo, not Tyco.
So there you go! I got a lot of other odds and ends as well. Not bad for under fifteen bucks. I'll store them away and wait until I get time to start my empire!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sweet Sixteen Hot Wheels...Part Two

Welcome back to the attic! This week we are going to look at the other eight cars from Hot Wheels original 1968 "Sweet Sixteen." So let's just jump right in!

The Custom Mustang proved that Mattel didn't always just give the love to GM! does the Custom T-Bird. Gotta love the side pipes!

The Custom Volkswagen has always been a personal favorite. The front mounted engine and sliding moon roof are just straight out cool!

The Deora with its removable surf boards is always popular. This color is called "antifreeze."

Another Ford entry, the J-Car has an opening rear hood.

I love the Hot Heap. You can never lose with a Ford Model T.

The Python is actually based on a real car- The Car Craft Dream Car. I don't think the Dream Car had the exposed engine, though.

The Silhouette is the Beatnik Bandit's big brother, I guess...
 So there you go! All of these cars bring back great memories for me. As I said, I'm still collecting, and am about halfway through 1971. I'm stuck on an Olds 442...because they're EXPENSIVE. Still, I'll get there. My plan is to go through 1973, when the cars lost their spectra-flame paint and started losing their red-line wheels. Hey, it keeps me out of trouble!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!