The “Hills” Are Alive… With Toys!
January 8, 2013

Over the holidays I was talking to fellow AFi staffer Cantina Dan about the “olden days” of collecting and I mentioned my time in the mid 90’s out east and hitting “Hills” department stores as part of my regular run.   I never had Hills in the mid-west and they seemed to be a treasure trove of old and new toys I was looking for (and some that I was not looking for).  They were great for finding new 5″ Toy Biz Marvel figures, Kenner’s Aliens (and Predator) line and Playmates Star Trek figures as well as full runs of clearance Swamp Thing, Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Nightmare Before Christmas.

I WISH they were still stocked with the vintage toys in these old commercials!   I would have very much liked to have walked in and found endcaps of Shogun Warriors, Micronauts and Generation 1 Transformers!  I stumbled across these the other day on YouTube and they were just too weird and wonderful not to share.

All the Hills discount stores are gone now.  But their memory and their commercials live on!

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,, The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post,,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.





  • Shellhead says:

    I remember Hills! We had quite a few of them in WNY.
    I also remember Ames, Gold Circle, and Childworld.

  • Brett says:

    I fondly look back at the days of Hills, too! I have many memories of standing in front of the Masters of the Universe display in our neighborhood Hills.

  • Ken says:

    I don’t have to watch the videos to remember their slogan! “Hills is where the toys are” I used to love going to Hills stores when I was younger and have fond memories of them being loaded with Star Wars, GI Joe and Transformers to name a few. We had a Hills less than 30 mins. from us growing up and made that a stop every time we went that way.

  • MoMoney says:

    I’ve posted before about my love for Hills – in fact, it’s pretty common for most people in Pittsburgh to miss Hills, even if they don’t care about toys. When they closed, it was a dark day for me…my mother used to make friends with the teenage girls working in the toy department, and they’d call her when they received new shipments of Ninja Turtles, putting aside the figures that I wanted.

    Those were the days!

  • Danny Cantina Dan says:

    North Jersey must not have had any Hills ’cause I most definitely would’ve remembered those commercials! Wow. Nice job getting the USS Flagg into that first one.

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