Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Fly the Friendly Skies

 When you collect stuff sometimes you end up collecting stuff you don't collect. Or...something...

Anyway, a few years ago I was at a Salvation Army store and found this item tossed on top of some clothes racks. 

Yep, the 1972 Barbie's Friend Ship! Of course, this ship is a plane (just like "The Good Ship Lollypop"). And this plane is a playset. 

Now, I'm not usually interested in Barbie stuff (in fact, this is the only item I've ever bought for my collection) but there are a couple of cool items, such as the original sports car, that are worth getting...for the right price...which means cheap...very cheap.

Anyway, here are some more pics...

 I think they were going for a "carry on" look.

Interestingly, this was from one of those peaceful families. I guess the unpeaceful ones had the GI Joe stuff...
By the way, this shows I spent less than seven bucks for this. I could probably clean that grease pencil off, but I've never bothered.

When opened, it does look a little "airplane-ish." Note the verticle stabalizer is missing (the "up part" of the tail). From what I understand, it was removable so you could fold everything up. They are often lost. 

The really hip and happ'nin inside! I think it looks better from this side. It really oozes that early '70s vibe. Well, not really...that would be gross...

The galley. The vinyl used in late '60s and early '70s Mattel playsets never really fit together well. Hot wheels has this same issue. Still, it adds to the charm. By the way, this playset came with a food cart, food, and other items. I no gottie.

More galley stuff. I don't know how accurately this represents what really was in an airliner galley but it looks good to me.

And here we have some passenger compartment stuff. I'm pretty sure modern toys would never mention smoking, even to tell you not to.

The storage compartment is actually completely flat and won't store anything at all- exactly like on a real plane!

Captian Ken has a smile, although he's been feeling a bit flat lately...

The passenger compartment shows what I assume to be first class accommodations. I assume because I am WAY too cheap to have ever actually seen first class accommodations. 

Back in the galley, there are places to store things under the counter. 
I do not have those "things."

Please refer to the previous picture's caption.

And by reading the fine print we find that this has all been a big, thinly veiled advert for Untited Airlines. 
"A crummy commercial? Son of a *****!"

And there you have it. It's a fun slice of early '70s groovy life, even if the toy line isn't one I'm terribly interested in. I think it's pretty cool!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022


 Well, maybe not incredibly amazing, but still pretty neat. When I was but a wee lad living in the tiny Scottish borough of Denison, Texas (ok, that didn't make sense to me either, but let's continue...) I was given a computer controlled car for Christmas! Now, since this was in 1969, the computer was less Microsoft and more 19th century lathe, but it still works! 

In during extensive research for this post (I Googled it) I found that this was actually an English toy released by Mettoy under the name "Computacar." It was released in the U.S. by Hasbro as "Amaze-A-Matic." The computer part was a punch card that you fed through the back of the car that would engage cams on the streering system and motor that would cause the car to turn in predetermined directions and go forward or backward for predetermined amounts of time. Feeding the card in also turned the motor on, so there's no "on" switch. Pretty nifty engineering, really.

Here are some pictures of mine...

As you can see by the rather lengthy instruction booklet, you could also cut your own cards to program the movements that you wanted. There were little orange pylons that you could set up, but alas, I have lost all of mine.

Also, my car caught a bad case of "battery cancer", which is what happens when batteries corrode in a device. The corrosion not only eats at the contacts, but actually travels up the wires and into the mechanics of the device, which pretty much kills it. You end up with an interesting display piece. If you are buying vintage battery operated devices, always beware of battery cancer!

That being said, there ARE still quite a few cars to be found out there, and while they aren't exactly cheap, they generally aren't horribly expensive either. Maybe it's time to get things up and running again...

Until next time, I'll keep searching for treasure!

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Flight of the Prometheus

 This week we're going to radically shift gears because...well, I feel like it. We'll get back to the Disney stuff soon, but I thought I'd share something from a few years back that I think is kind of neat. If you don't agree, then you can have TWICE your money back! Whatta deal!!!

As many of you know, in addition to being a collector of "stuff," I have flown model rockets for a few decades. A few years ago I took some scrap rocket bits (yes, that's the official technical term) and built a Star Trek themed model of my own design. I called it The Prometheus, mainly because it sounded cool. Here is my original model...

I printed my own very basic black and white decals. The red nose cone was given to me by a friend after the original white one flew away after the shock cord snapped on one of the flights. 

Oh, by the way, that friend, John Dyer  happened to own a model rocket kit company called Red River Rocketry. He liked the design and asked if he could make a kit out of it. I said, "Sure!" and loaned it to him. You can see his penciled measurements on the fins. When all was said and done, he produced this...


His wife is an artist (and art teacher) so she dressed up my simple decals a bit. He changed the engine size from 24mm (D size) to 18mm (A-C size) because of possible liability issues (less power in case the builder messes up). He also added wooden dowels to put it the joints where the wings attatch to make the easier to attatch. Everything else is pretty much the same.

So now I can claim to be a professional rocket designer. NASA, eat your heart out!

Until next time, keep searching for (or building your own) treasure!

Monday, May 9, 2022

Counting the Days to Disneyland

 Ok, I'm not actually counting down for a Disneyland trip, but as an elementary school counselor,  I am counting the days until the school year is out! Soon....very soon...

Now where was I? Oh yeah! 

I'm actually surprised that I haven't featured this item before. It's a chrome perpetual flip calendar from Disneyland! Here are the pictures:

It's fairly small. The base is about 1 3/4 inches square, and it's 2 inches tall. The whole thing is 100% hard to photograph chrome.

I don't really know when this was made, but I would say late 50s to early 60s if I was guessing (which obviously I am). That's when these type calendars were very popular and the graphics seem to be from around then. Could I be wrong? Sure!

I also don't know what such an item would go for. I was only able to find one on the ol' interwebs. It was an old Worthpoint entry, and I didn't want to pay to find out. I am, as I have said repeatedly, cheap. I seem to remember that when I bought it, I thought it was fairly expensive, but with me that could mean anything.

Anyway, I actually use it at work, where it's been on my desk for years. Every now and then a kid will want to play with it and I let them see it because it's really well made. Unless they threw it across the room, I really don't think they could hurt it.

So there you go! A cool collectible that's also functional! The best of both worlds!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!