Tuesday, December 26, 2017

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!!!

The year was 1971. I had just moved to Garland, Texas from Denison, Texas with my family. I was in the third grade, and it was Christmas Eve. The family was all gathered at my Aunt Sandra and Uncle Duke's house in Irving, Texas for our yearly Christmas Eve Gift Extravaganza! (Ok, it was actually just the Christmas family get together, but to a kid, the first name seems more appropriate). I don't really remember most of what I got that year, but I do remember one item...but let me back up first.

The summer before, my grandparents had taken my older cousin Greg and myself to Arkansas. While there, we toured the Daisy BB gun plant in Rogers. I seem to remember that they had a little museum and a store, but none of it is in real sharp focus all these years later. Now, we flash back forward...

My grandfather handed my cousin and I packages that were about a foot by a foot and a half long and about three inches deep. Now these might have been shirt boxes (groan), except that they had a bit of heft to them. We ripped into them and found that we had each gotten one of the coolest gifts ever! In each box was a brand new Daisy 179 Spitting Image BB pistol!
You see, when we were at the Daisy plant, my grandfather had slipped back in as we were leaving and bought us each one for Christmas!

It has now been 46 years since that day, but for Christmas 2017, I own the gun again. You see, I had been on the lookout for one on eBay for quite a while. I needed good condition and a reasonable price. Those two things don't often go together. However, one came up and I bid, and I won! Here she is:

The Daisy 179 is a pretty good copy of a real Peacemaker.

Yep, it's a Daisy!

Daisy made the 179 from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, with slight modifications. For a gun with such a long run, they still go for a fairly hefty price, so I was lucky to find this one. As far as shooting your eye out goes, you would have to really work at it. This gun is extremely weak, and really just a target plinker. Still, it looks and feels great, plus you can't beat the nostalgia factor.

So, with collecting, you really can visit the Ghost of Christmas Past. Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Just Burning Time...

This week I'm going to share something a little different. A few years ago, my beautiful wife gave me a clock for my birthday. Now this was no ordinary clock, of course. This is it:

This is a Mastercrafters 272 Fireplace Clock. This clock was probably made in the 1950's and features a illuminated rotating cylinder that simulates a roaring fire.

Mastercrafters made clocks starting right after WWII and continued for quite a few years. They usually produced "novelty" clocks, and their three biggest sellers were a clock that featured a swinging little girl, a clock with an animated waterfall, and this one.

These can still be found fairly easily on eBay, but as with any vintage collectible, condition and working order is everything. For example, that gold plastic grate in front of the fireplace is often missing, and that will drop the price about 50 bucks.

Mine is complete and still works great! I think my wife did a great job with this find! Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Little Lost Corgis

Ok, these are not really lost, but I did leave them off of my recent Corgi post. So, in the spirit of completeness, I offer you these!

This is a Raygo Rascal Road Roller. It's about five inches long and weighs about three tons. Not really, but it feels like it!

A 57 Chevy highway patrol car? Sure, why not? This is about the same size as the Road Roller...

If it's good enough for the highway patrol, it's good enough for the Chicago Fire Department!

I might have shared this one before, but I can't remember. Anyway this is the Corgi Juniors version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It's about two inches long and is missing one wing and Mr. Potts. Oh well....

Another Corgi Junior, this Daimler Scout Car has a gunman that flops side to side with gravity...

Finally, we have a Volkswagen Kubelwagen. Although it isn't marked as a Corgi Junior, it is the same size. It also has a lot of neat detailing.
So there you have it! I think that covers all of my current Corgis. However, if I find any more, I'll let you know!

Until next time keep searching for treasure!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Requiescat, Francis Xavier...

Today's post is a tribute to one of the last of the great Imagineers, that we lost in September of this year. Francis Xavier Atencio was instumental in several attractions, but none more so than Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.

X was working for the Disney Company as an artist when Walt asked him to write for those attractions. X said that he didn't consider himself a writer, but that Walt could spot things in people that they didn't see in themselves. Thanks to Walt's insight, X gave words and songs to both pirates and ghosts! (He once said that he used a thesaurus religiously for the Ghost Host's spiel...)

Here are a couple of autographed items I have from him...

These hang in my office at work for inspiration. I never met Mr. Atencio, but in every interview I ever saw he seemed kind and very excited to talk about his beloved attractions.

He will be greatly missed, especially in a day when Imagineers seem to have lost their way and are more worried about roller coasters and being PC than actually creating anything. (Don't ask me about my opinion of the latest Pirate travesty.)

Hopefully, somewhere Walt just greeted X and told him his new job with the real Imagineers who went before.

Keep searching for treasure.

Monday, October 30, 2017

When Rods Were Odd....

In celebration of the Halloween season, I give you this quick glimpse of a monster driving a Mini Cooper....because, why not?

This is my only example of an Odd Rod sticker. I got it because 1. it was very cheap, and 2. I drive a Mini (although not a cool purple one). When I was a kid my bedroom door had quite a collection of these stuck on it. They came in a packet with gum, like baseball cards. Now you can still find them on eBay for pretty low prices. Even after 40 years, I still think they are pretty cool!

So that's it for this time! Happy Halloween and keep searching for treasures!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cards From the Crypt...

Usually I talk about vintage items here, but today I thought I'd share something that my daughter and son-in-law gave me. You see, they just took my grandkids to Walt Disney World, and when they got back (after being in a hurricane, by the way) they gave me this:

The brand new official Haunted Mansion Playing Cards! Yes, they glow in the dark. They come in their very own coffin, which is even more impressive when you open it up...

Yep, it's lined with purple "silk." A magnet keeps the lid closed. Here are a couple more pictures:

Pretty cool, huh? My daughter and her hubby really know my taste! Now I need to actually play a game with them!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

My Birthday Wheels!

Well, my birthday just passed and one of my gifts was the next Hot Wheels in the 1971 lineup that I'm collecting right now. May I introduce to you, The Heavyweights Racer Rig!

Now I actually already had an extra Indy Eagle, so I chose to display it on the rig.

Now, I'm not sure what makes one car sell for so much more than another, but some do (don't even ask about the 1971 Olds 442). The Racer Rig is one of the rather pricy ones (the Indy Eagle isn't). Therefore I'm glad to mark this one off of my list!

Soon, I should have a new Rocket Bye Baby (again, a cheaper car) and I will set my sights on a S'cool Bus (higher priced car). But that's the ups and downs of collecting!

Now, if I could ever afford that stupid Olds 442....

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Today I'm going to share a couple of books from my childhood that really mean a lot to me. Now, by the title you may think I'm talking about Poe, but actually these books have a much more honored spot in my heart than he. I'm referring to Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators.

When I was in about fourth grade, my grandmother (who was a fifth grade teacher) gave me this book:

Inside, I was introduced to Jupiter Jones, Bob Andrews, and Pete Crenshaw...and Alfred Hitchcock, of course! The story was a huge adventure with ghosts, pirates, abandoned amusement parks, and general wonder that kept me turning pages like never before.

There were also great illustrations like this:

That's a ghost on that merry-go-round, by the way...or is it? The book is filled with twists and turns that are both intelligent and clever (unlike any Scooby Doo cartoon ever made).

I enjoyed the book so much that on my 10th birthday I got this:

This is actually the first book in the series, and it tells about how the guys started their investigation agency and met Mr. Hitchcock. It's also a really fun haunted house mystery. Here's an illustration from it:

Here are a couple more, featuring stickers with my name on them that I got for the same birthday...

By the way, my fifth grade signature was much better than my current one...

Anyway, I ended up sharing a large part of my childhood with these books. I have read them again as an adult and I'm surprised that they still hold up.  I think the key is that they never talk down to the reader and that the clues actually make sense. In fact, I read the series to my daughter when she was growing up because I liked the fun way the books make you think. She loved them too!

So, if you are looking for a good mystery series for kids (which is much better than The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, in my opinion) I recommend Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators!

You can still get the original books on eBay or Amazon, or at Half Price Books. These were rewritten after the deal with Alfred Hitchcock ran out, but the ones with him are the best. 

So get out to those used book stores and keep searching for treasure!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Corgis Are Coming, The Corgis Are Coming!

That title makes me think of a bunch of short, cute, British dogs running pell-mell toward us, which makes me smile. I should probably end this one right now on a high note, but I'm going to push ahead and point out that the Corgis of which I speak are not, in fact, dogs, but are actually toy cars.

Corgi Toys were made in Great Britain and imported to the states. The quality of the cars was extremely high, and they often had functioning features for extra play value. You couldn't get them just anywhere, and they were more expensive that your typical Matchbox or Hot Wheels. Maybe that's why I actually still have some from my childhood!

Therefore I present to you, my childhood Corgis...

This Jeep FC-150 is a hardy survivor from my kid days. It used to have a cover on the back, but I lost it decades ago. 

The Ford Tractor is missing its exhaust stacks and it's trailor. However it still steers well and the lever by the seat still opens and closes the trailor hitch. Notice the "jewel" headlights. 

This was one of my first cars. The Morris Mini-Minor must have made an impression on me because I now drive a real Mini Cooper. The real one isn't as cool. 

How could you be a boy in the 60's and not love James Bond? My Astin Martin still has functioning machine gun button, spinning plates, tire rippers, bullet shield, and ejection seat. What's not to love?

The Stingray on the top is from my childhood. I found the (in slightly better shape) Stingray on the bottom at a Goodwill store years later. 

This Batmobile isn't from my childhood, although I had one. I got this one at a toy show as an adult. Batman and Robin have stepped away for a while. Also, I'm pretty sure the one I had as a kid had the "Bat-Hub" wheels on it. Still, it's a pretty good example.

Like the Batmobile, my Green Hornet Black Beauty is a fill in for my lost childhood toy. I got it at a toy show as well...

So there you have it! It's amazing what great memories can still be found in these little cars!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Serving Up Some Disney...Part Two

Well, after I posted last week's look at a couple of trays, I noticed that I actually have a couple more. I've had these longer than last week's examples. I picked them up years ago at a toy show...So here you go!

First, we have this Disneyland tray from around 1967-1970. I think it's from that time frame due to the Pirates of the Caribbean being included in the images. It opened in 1967.  I also think this had to be made within a couple of years of the Walt Disney World tray I featured last week, since they are pretty much identical.

Next, we have a very early Walt Disney World tray in the style of the World's Fair tray I shared last week. I know that it's early because when WDW was first opening, they went out of their way to highlight other attractions in Florida to draw as many people as possible. I really like the characters playing on the beach!

As an added bonus, I give you this:

This is an unused first year EPCOT window sticker from 1982! I like the old-style graphics. This is from when EPCOT actually had a mission to educate and entertain folks...unlike now where they just cram in whatever intellectual property they think will sell tickets (I'm looking at YOU, Frozen and Guardians of the Galaxy!) Unfortunately, "vision" is not something the current batch of imagineers seems to possess.

Anyway, there you go! Once again, if these items didn't say anything about Disney, I never would have looked twice at them.

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Serving Up Some Disney

Sometimes I get Disney items just because they are Disney items. I might not care much about the item, but if it ties in with Disney, I'll snatch it up.

Case in point are these two serving trays that I got at a thrift store a while back...

The first tray is from 1964. It was made for the '64-'65 New York World's Fair. As any Disney nut worth his salt knows, this fair was a huge deal in Disney history. I will buy a NYSF item if it features a Disney related attraction, and this one does...The "Ford Motor" building featured an early People Mover type track and the dinos that now live by the Disneyland train tracks.

The second tray comes from seven years later. I'm pretty sure this one dates from Walt Disney World's first year because all of the attractions pictured were there the first year, the logo used is the original one, and it is a direct takeoff on a Disneyland tray from the same time. I like the vintage illustrations of the park!

So there you have it. If these had just been trays, I never would have looked twice at them. However, slap some Disney on there, and now they live with me! That's called successful marketing!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wrapping Up 1970- Hot Wheels Style!

Well, today we finally get to the end of the 1970 run of new Hot Wheels! I kind of feel like we should drop the ball and sing "Auld Lang Syne." (Yes, I had to look up how to spell that...but I go to great lengths for this blog!) Anyway, here are the final five cars!

The Swingin' Wing features a large (and easily breakable) plastic wing...that does swing!

The TNT Bird is pretty much a Custom T-Bird with no hood and a spoiler on the back. My stickers aren't great, but they're original!

With the Tow Truck, the Heavyweights line completes its bland car name mission. Still, it's a pretty cool car that can actually tow other cars!

The Tri-Baby features three turbo jets under that funky, swoopy back hood. Groovy!

Finally, we have the Whip Creamer. The coolest thing about this car is the orange turbo spinner in the back that you can blow on to spin. I did it as a kid, and I did it when I took this picture!
So there you have it! Thanks to those of you who hung in there through the whole year. I have some different stuff coming up, so we'll let the Hot Wheels rest for a while.

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

1970, The Hot Wheels Year That Keeps On Giving!

Here we are with part four of our look at 1970 Hot Wheels! Believe it or not, there's one more post to go after this one before we can wrap this year up...So, here we go again!

The Porsche 917 in gray enamel is one of my favorite cars. I think the level of detailing sculpted into this model is fantastic!

The Power Pad is all about that 70's "mod" vibe!

Tom Daniel had another hit with the Red Baron! Intrestingly enough, he never actually worked on the Hot Wheels line. All of his Hot Wheels designs were borrowed from his Monogram plastic models.

The Sand Crab looks great in this spectra-flame magenta paint!

Sticking with the beach theme, we have the Seasider with its removable plastic boat.

Mattel released two action sets that featured cars that could launch airplanes from little ramps when they hit a trigger on the track. This is the Sky Show Deora. 

The other Sky Show car was the Sky Show Fleetside. This is it! Notice that the ramps are actually different on both cars...

Finally, we have the other half of the Hot Wheels drag racing team...The Snake!

Well, as I said, we have one more week (with five more cars) to go!

So, until then, keep searching for treasure!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

1970 Hot Wheels...The Third Batch

You know, one thing you can say about the 1970 batch of Hot Wheels, is that there are a LOT of 'em! This week, I give you the next eight...Don't worry, there's more after these!!!

So let's jump right in, shall we?

The Mantis features a flip-up windshield and futuristic styling!

The Mighty Maverick has a huge hood bulge and wing on the back. This car just screams early '70s!

Hot Wheels had already done a car with two engines (the Twin Mill) so why not FOUR??? I give you, the Mod Quad!

1970 was the first year that the Mattel sponsored Mongoose and Snake racing teams were featured. Here is the first of several Mongoose cars...

The Heavyweights Moving Van once again shows that the person they payed for clever car names really just phoned it in on this series...

They made it up by calling this Mercury Cougar the "Nitty Gritty Kitty!" Cool, huh?

Some of the most iconic Hot Wheels were designed by Tom Daniel. The Paddy Wagon fits this description.

The Peeping Bomb has an intresting feature. You can pull a lever in the cockpit and the black covers over the headlights pull back. Very cool!
So that's it until next time! Keep searching for treasure!