Monday, October 24, 2016

When Hot Wheels Sizzled!

By 1970, Hot Wheels was the hottest brand of toy car in the world. Still, Mattel was never one to take success for granted...or to leave any money making angle unexplored. So, they introduced the next step in the evolution of the small toy car...Sizzlers!

Sizzlers were motorized cars that were about the same size as other Hot Wheels cars, or HO scale slot cars. However, the huge jump in technology with Sizzlers was that their motors didn't need a track for power. They were fitted with tiny ni-cad cells that allowed them to be completely self powered! After a (relatively) quick minute and a half charge from the Juice Machine, they were ready to tear up the track!...or kitchen floor!...or driveway!...or whatever you put them down on!

Here are my three examples. By the way, none of them are running right now since the batteries have been removed. It seems the same technology that birthed Sizzlers also tends to kill them, as corrosion is a huge problem with older cars. There are replacement batteries that you can purchase, however, so all is not lost.

The Hot Head (1970) in its original case.

The back of the package, showing other accessories.

The Mustang Hoss (1970). I had this one as a kid.

The Dark Shadow (1978) is fairly rare since it was one of the last six Sizzlers Mattel made. It has working headlights. Note the mis-matched front wheel factory mistake.

I also have a Juice Machine, Power Pit, and a couple of track sets. In the 1990's Playing Mantis released some Sizzlers as well, and I have those examples too. Still, the ones that I really love are the originals.

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ghost in the Machine

Greetings from the attic!

This week we are going to look at a little item I picked up about 10 years ago. It's not in great shape. Heck, it doesn't even work, but it's still really cool! I'm talking about the Brumberger Mystery Haunted House Bank! Here are a few pictures for you...

And now for a little history. This bank was produced in the 1960's by Brumberger. It was sold in various retail outlets and even by mail order (think comic book ads) but it really took off when a rather large company decided to use it in a promotion. The company was Disney and the promotion was for The Haunted Mansion!

Now, never mind that the bank looks nothing like the Disneyland (or Walt Disney World) Haunted Mansion.  It was close enough in concept to be sold in the park as a tie-in item. Now a lot of people think it was a Disney produced item. It wasn't. It was kind of like how rather typical Japanese puzzle boxes became Haunted Mansion Secret Panel Chests...but that's another story.

Anyway, the bank is really a thing of beauty. It's a roughly seven and a half inch cube of wonderfully lithographed tin. The top and base (both of which are chipped on mine) are made of plastic. There are supposed to be two plastic front doors (which mine is missing) that hide the draped, plastic ghost. When a coin was placed on the front steps, the porch light came on and the ghost came out and stood over the coin. He then went back into the house and the coin was GONE!

Mine does none of that. Apparently before I got it, someone decided to "work" on it and now several parts are missing. Still, I got mine for five bucks, and a working model can set you back several hundred, so I'm not too upset. It sits in my display cabinet in the study and just looks cool. That's all I really need it to do!

So, if you happen across one of these houses in a thrift store or flea market, snatch it up! ...just like the ghost does with all that loose change!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Driving the Flying Dutchman!

1962 was a good year. Not only did I happen to be born then, but the baby boomer toy craze was kicking into high gear. Yep, it was a good time to be a kid!

I happened to pick up one of those 1962 toys a while back at a local auction. I didn't know much about this particular item, or even if it worked, but it looked so darn cool, I decided to put in a low-ball bid- and by golly I won!

Therefore, I present to you; the Remco Flying Dutchman!

After I won the car, I found out a bit more about it. It is a battery operated toy, that was U-line controlled. Now, I had seen gas powered U-line cars before, but not electric models! Apparently Remco also made a U-line controlled land speed car called The Shark. My car included all of the parts except for a card-stock driver that fit in a slot in the front seat.

Anyway, the Flying Dutchman is a big toy (about 16 inches long), has a working front headlamp (that can be turned on independently of the motor) and is just overall cool!

Now when I went to write this blog about it, I realized that I still didn't know if it worked. I never bought four D cell batteries to find out! So, I made a quick trip to the store, opened the hood, and plunked in the batteries.

I flipped a switch on the dashboard and the headlamp flickered on...but no motor. I was beginning to think that the motor had died due to age (which happens a lot in older toys). Then I pulled on the control rod on the side of the car to see the front wheels turn to the left. The motor stirred. I pulled more and nudged the back wheels with my fingers and slowly they started turning. Then they turned faster and faster and suddenly (in who knows how long) the Flying Dutchman was running at full speed! Now I just might have to take her out for a drive!

Here are some more pictures just for fun!

The functioning headlamp!

The adjustable U-line control arm

The U-line handle in place.


Big toys= big fun!

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