The Portal of Lost Toys
November 2, 2009

There is a place more terrifying than the Bermuda Triangle, more mysterious than the pyramids of Egypt, and more baffling than the crowd at a Michael Jackson memorial tribute. This place has plagued generations of toy lovers, and continues to be an ongoing, though not often explored, conundrum in all of our pasts. I’m speaking, of course, about the Portal of Lost Toys. That mystical place where so many toys have gone, never to be heard from again, leaving broken hearts all over the world.

 

Memories. As ‘Blade Runner’ and Barbara Streisand  have made very clear, they aren’t always what they used to be. Now I apparently have a capacity for retaining tiny, useless bits of information that most mere mortals either can’t, or have no interest in trying to. Because of this, I can remember birthdays and Christmases and their respective gifts like they happened last week. I also have a nostalgia gene the size of Jupiter, so I’ve kept a lot of the precious goodies I’ve been given over the years, knowing that someday they’d go to any children I might have. (Or not, maybe I’ll just keep them for myself). What I’m getting at is, I’m very sure about the fate of the items you’re going to read about.

But something happened, I’m not sure when, and an entire catalog of items seems to have been wiped clean from this planet and my life. Seriously, one day they were there, and the next-poof!- they were gone. I have researched this, and come up with no solid answer for their whereabouts. However, considering my only source of information on the subject is my mother, well, let’s just say that ‘In Search Of…” can keep the file open on this one.

Now, before I go any further, let me make something very clear. I love my mother, I think she’s one of the greatest people that ever lived. We were a middle class family, never really financially ‘strapped’, but we couldn’t have just anything and everything we wanted. I was always grateful for what I got, and my mother was amazing at actually keeping track of what I already had and what I wanted or needed. She’s actually saved some of the old Christmas lists I made, asking for  Boba Fett dolls and Han Solo guns and the like, god knows what she must have been thinking whilst scouring the toy aisles. She made me appreciate what I had, and also made me clean it all up and put it away when I was done with it. So, mom, you’re probably why I’m so anal retentive about all my DVDs, CDs, books and such to this day. And also why I never lost a single action figure accessory.

However, one day, I THINK, she must have decided to round up a bunch of stuff she thought I wasn’t playing with or didn’t appreciate any more, and brought it somewhere to drop off. There’s no other explanation. I didn’t realize this stuff was gone til well after the fact, and to this day when I make mention of it (in a sarcastic way to razz her), I get a “Jason, I have no idea, I was very busy trying to keep a household together and pay bills, I don’t know where the hell Rom the damn robot went. Stop asking me”. I’m sure many of you out there have similar stories, but the following is just a smattering of what went missing:

SHOGUN WARRIOR- DRAGUN. Man oh man!! I LOVED this thing, and played with it every day for what seemed like years. He was awesome, about three feet tall, had a disc shooter that you could strap to your OWN wrist (!!!) and his other arm shot axes clear across the room. I never got any of the other large scale figures, but I got a die cast saucer and another small die cast figure, who’s name I’ve forgotten. But the Dragun large size figure was the coolest. Best of all, he worked with ANY other action figures to do battle with, so I had characters from all universes trying to take him down. I even kept the box, and would pretend that that was his lair and put him to rest when the battles were over. (sigh) Dragun, where are you????

REMCO UTILITY BELTS- Remember these? Cheesy, cheap, fell apart if you sneezed on them. But damn, I thought they were cool. I had the ones made for ‘Star Trek’, ‘Buck Rogers’ (with futuristic shades!!), and Spider Man. The belts never really fit, because they were crappy plastic and usually stuck in the oval shape they were packaged in, but the accessories were cool. I remember losing a belt or two, but used to keep the accessories in a plastic bag. Which…..has……gone…..missing…..

BULLET MAN DOLL- Who the hell was this guy, anyway? Was he part of the G.I. Joe gang? An Action Man offshoot? Well, it didn’t really matter, because he had shiny silver arms and a helmet!! The coolest thing about him, were his boots. They were red, and rubber, and cooler than anything MEGO ever came up with for their heroes. He came with a string and device of some kind that he could slide down. Again, I didn’t care about that as much as his shiny silver parts. He fought lots of other characters too, but alas, has gone into the Portal some years ago, never to shine in daylight again.

MEGOS- Who hasn’t got a missing batch of Mego figures from somewhere in their past? I never had a huge amount of Mego toys, but what I had I played with incessantly. The ‘Star Trek’ Enterprise play set and most of the crew, the ‘Planet of the Apes’ tree house thing and various monkeys, several DC and Marvel Super Heroes, and for some reason, the ‘Wizard of Oz’ figures and castle. Outside of the last batch, the rest of those got plenty of attention, sometimes even crossing over into each other’s time streams. But how they all managed to get rounded up and leave the house at what seems to have been the very same time, is still a complete mystery.

EMERGENCY!- Ok so this one didn’t exactly break my heart, but I loved those Gage and DeSoto figures. LJN did a Mego-like rip off for these, with similar articulation and cloth outfits. And no, I didn’t have a Fireman’s helmet to wear when I played with them. (But I do now).

STAR TREK WHIRLIBIRD- Do you remember the Whirlibird? Super cool helicopter thingy that swung on an arm, and you could hook pieces up with it and bring it in for a landing? Is it there in your mind yet? Good. Well, now imagine it as the Starship Enterprise, picking up space supplies and the Galileo Shuttle. Has your mind been blown now?? Good, because now you may feel just a pin prick amount of the pain in my soul.

STAR WARS- Alright, now here’s where the mysteries of the Portal become especially strange. Now I KNOW, for a fact, that I ate, slept and drank ‘Star Wars’ from ’77-’80, and still have absolutely everything I ever got relating to the film from that period, including the cardboard sleeve to the Early Bird kit and it’s stickers and ID card! (So there!). So why on earth any SW items would disappear into the mist is beyond me, but sure enough, I’m blatantly missing several pieces from that glorious time: the ‘Land of the Jawas’ and ‘Cantina’ play sets. Admittedly I wasn’t too keen on the former, but the cantina got lots of use, as I’d have Han Solo gun down most of it’s denizens on a weekly basis. Wherefore art thou, o plastic and cardboard backgrounded gems??

STAR BIRD- Star ‘What’, I hear you say?? Well to you I say, ‘How dare you , sir.” Star Bird was hands down, one of the top five Christmas presents I ever got. I seem to remember a really cool commercial for it, and dropping several hints so I’d get it under the tree. It was an original design, by Mattel I think, and was made to cash in on the Sci Fi craze of the late 70’s. As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I loved all the Sci Fi stuff from back then, but one of the things that always got under my 9 year old collar, was the fact that when there was a ‘laser’ sound effect from the ship or gun, it never sounded like the lasers in the movies. They always sounded like a dull whirring sound, and usually had a

tiny red light representing the actual ‘laser’. Well, Star Bird was different, and made a truly kick ass laser blast sound, with TWO red lights that flashed when active. You held the ship by it’s ‘neck’, and when you tilted it upwards, it made an accelerating sound, and when you held it downwards it did the opposite. The little fighter ships on the wings detached, and the cockpit detached as well, making a totally new, separate ship. It was the coolest ship in the fleet, and it too has flown straight into that Portal of Lost Toys, most likely laser blasting it’s way to it’s own doom.

As you can probably tell, these are wounds that are still not completely healed. Every now and again, late at night, I find myself looking through listings on ebay, tempted to try and get those pieces back into my possession. But I’m kidding myself, they’re not THE pieces, the ones that I played with and obsessed over non stop all those years ago. And maybe that’s just it, maybe it’s time to let them go once and for all. Some things are better left as mysteries, to be enjoyed from the distance that time brings to all things. Besides, it could be that the Portal is not to be messed with. Perhaps it’s pull is so powerful, that it could start taking things I own NOW, just to make a point. Nah, I don’t think so. I’m going to keep looking, Portal be damned. So if you or anyone you know happens to know where any of this stuff is, please, get in touch. No questions will be asked, and no judgments will be made. You’ll be doing a good thing, and just may be helping to solve one of the greatest mysteries man has ever been haunted by.

TAGS:
Jason "Plastic Soul" Lenzi
A successful television producer and voice-over artist, pop culture fanatic Jason Lenzi established Bif Bang Pow! in 2005, channeling his boundless enthusiasm as a fan and collector into the creation of the company’s highly-desired toy lines. His enthusiasm has proven contagious, earning BBP! unanimous praise from the toy community and leading to creative partnerships with the likes of comics giant Alex Ross and rock icon Scott Ian. BBP! has so far released action figures and bobble heads for 'Flash Gordon', 'The Big Lebowski', 'The Twilight Zone', 'Dexter', 'LOST', HBO's 'Eastbound and Down' and 'The Venture Brothers'. When he's not chasing down new licenses, producing and narrating various TV series, or reading every music magazine on the shelves, he's obsessively playing Beatles: Rock Band until he gets every song right.
Read other articles by Jason "Plastic Soul" Lenzi.

 

 

 

18 Comments »

  • chad says:

    cool article. and as for most of your lost stuff wound up proably into the portal that sent them somewhere else no doubt into someone elses hands to enjoy. as for finding the old stuff now it would cost you given the price for the old stuff like star wars and megos and of course the rom doll a big hunk of change. as for me the so called lost portal just made some star wars stuff and my super powers darkside wonder woman and batman vanish

  • Chip Cataldo says:

    The 24″ Shoguns were, hands down, some of the greatest toys ever made. I had the Great Mazinga. Also, like you, I had one 5″ diecast one.
    Great blog, as always.

    • Hourman says:

      I had Raydeen but always secretly wanted Mazinga instead. But when your Mom is buying you a 24″ Shogun Warrior, you really don’t complain about which one you get.
      And, naturally, Raydeen is long, long gone.

    • Thanks Chip! The ship I had was a saucer of some kind, and it had wings that folded down. A small Shogun figure, I think Mazinga, could be inserted into the front and shot out. Along with missiles from the arms of the ship. Unfortunately, I got mine JUST as the change over from small, cool, red missiles that shot across the room to huge, YELLOW, rubber ones that shot out about an inch and a half. All because some idiot kid in Iowa choked on a Battlestar Galactica missile. Culling the herd, I say….

  • Russ says:

    No, I unfortunately know where all my old toys went. My Dad gave me the ultimate threat as a kid: “get rid of some of this stuff, or no new toys”

    Painful, right?

    Basically, whatever I have now that’s vintage is stuff I bought again later on.

  • My Bulletman, Atomic Man and Stretch Armstrong were all whisked away into that vortex.

    The worst thing I ever saw as a kid was on a family trip, my sister decided to be car sick on my aurora models and mego figures, they were all tossed into some farm field. agh!

  • logan says:

    I feel your pain on missing toys. When I was 9 (in 1988) someone broke in to my family’s house and one of the main things they took were most of my action figures. They took all of my Kenner Super Powers (which sucked because I had all of them except for Orion, Shazam, and Cyborg), all of my Transformers, most of my Thundercats, and 85% of all of my G.I. Joes. I was heartbroken. The theif just about cleaned me out. The only thing they didn’t take was my Star Wars toys. Since it was mostly toys that got stolen the police didn’t really do anything about the break in.

    Ever since then I became an action figure collector. I don’t want to go back and buy the figures that were stolen from me because I know my memories of them are making them cooler toys than what they really are.

  • stewbacca says:

    My parents never did this to me– in fact the opposite- I try to get rid of some of my older stuff and my mom says no– your kids will want it–

    The attic is filled with 30Yr old board games– and I have all of my old action figure stuff- although I have sold a bunch of it the past few years.

  • Bill says:

    I lost my Six Million Dollar Man action figure, X-wing, and Mego Kirk and Spock to that portal.

  • Lightsource says:

    This portal is sometimes manned by siblings, annoying nextdoor neighbors, or forgetful mothers. They can channel the portal towards attics, basements or dare I say, garage sales and landfills.
    In my case, what has come to be known as the “Great Purge” had nothing great about it. Sister-in-law moves in, opens the portal with her evil powers, and numerous moments of nostaglia are lost to oblivion.
    Amazingly, many things still survived that really have no value at all as they are completely thrashed. They are kept for nostaglia of course, but also as survivors of the Purge.

  • kevfett says:

    Starbird was an awesome toy! Toy line to be exact. I had the Starbird, The Intruder and the cardboard base. Whirlybirds ( I knew them as Vertibirds) were also cool! I seem to remember having a Battlestar Galactica version.

    • Oh, cool! Was The Intruder, like, the ‘evil’ Star Bird ship? I only had the Star Bird, never got the base, and didn’t know about this ‘Intruder’ thingy til recently.

      • kevfett says:

        I’m not sure it was ever labeled as evil but it was molded in black and called the “Intruder” so I always assumed it was.
        Basically it was the front section of the Starbird with wings. It had the same electronic features as the Starbird and if you had both they could duel kinda like laser tag. After something like 3 hits the engine noise would cut out like the ship was disabled. Pretty cool for the time. I wonder if my Mom still has those in the basement back at home…

  • Dave Ziegler says:

    My brother & I each had Starbirds, and we had the Starbase, too. Had no idea Intruder even existed until just now, reading about it in the comments. But Starbird was insanely cool for the time. We flipped out over the accelerate/decelerate sounds.

  • Mark says:

    Seriously. Making fun of Michael Jackson. Do your research moron. Read a book and look up the definition of extortion. Moronic fools like you who only read things like ToyFare and then cast judgment is what is wrong with the world. People like you, sir.

    • Jason says:

      Actually, Mark, if you go back and read my intro again, you’ll see that I was making fun of Michael Jackson FANS, not the man himself (may he rest in peace). And just to clarify, I do read more than Toy Fare magazine, I’ve been known to peruse Lee’s Action Figure News and Toy Review as well. So other than that bit, did you enjoy the article??

  • Chris says:

    Another great article Jason.

    Mark – really? Someone can’t make fun of Michael Jackson? I love he dies and suddenly he is a saint who can’t be made fun of – maybe you should read more – there are many articles out there about his predatory nature – but despite all of that, I hope you don’t make fun of ANY dead people – because clearly that is what you are saying.

    No Grover Cleveland jokes! EVER!

Leave a Comment

(required)

(required)

What is the sum of 5 + 9 ? (required)
Important: type in your answer for "Verification" as numerals, not letters.

 

ARCHIVES

 

SPONSORS
BBTS-gen-250x250afi

 

liveauctioneers

 

300x250_aff_captsale

 

toys_apr21-star_300x250

 

tim-bruckner-250px

 

associates-trade-in_Edits_Associate_300x250

 

your-ad-here