robot, toy
Here is another Christmas catalog mashup, aided by, This time, I’m exploring the wonders of my own childhood. The Sears Wishbook arrived in September every year, and I can distinctly recall spending hours flipping through the toy section, craving. These images are some of the things I wanted most in the mid 1980s. Speaking of… see that robot on the top of the page? That’s the Omnibot 2000. I don’t think you have any comprehension of how much I wanted him. Instead, what I got was an inflatable plastic robot that had a motorized remote control base. Lame.

See more photos after the break. And click the photos for the full catalog pages.

gobots, toy

Sears Catalog, 1985. “More Than Meets the Eye”? I don’t think so, Sears. You put the Transformers slug-line on the damn GOBOTS!

gobots, toy

More from Sears 1985. I gotta admit… I did like the Gobots. My Gobots and my Transformers existed within the same continuity, which made for some great, epic battles.

transformers, toy

Sears Catalog, 1985. Here we go. This is the high quality stuff here. Soundwave was one of my favorite Transformers. He always struck me as more substantial than many of the other Transformer toys. Solid. Built tough. Even as a kid, though, I had a problem with the size discrepancy for both Soundwave and Megatron. Small, hand held devices that are supposed to transform into giant robots. There was never an explanation given in the canon. It’s bugging me to even think about it now.

transformers, toy

Sears Catalog, 1985. Number 17… Jetfire. Damn I wanted him. I wanted him bad. I remember visiting my cousin Dave, and seeing his Robotech collection, and there was Jetfire with different paint. The concept of mold sharing completely blew my mind.

star wars, toy

Sears Catalog, 1983. Ah, Star Wars. Is it me or does it really look like 8D8 is running to R2D2’s rescue? I just strikes me as funny as in Return of the Jedi, 8D8 was not depicted as a ‘running, skipping’ type droid, as he just stood there handing his control stick. Which sounds bad.

star wars, toy

Sears, 1983. Oh, the infamous bell-bottom disco Obi-Wan. Perhaps the worst Gen 1 Star Wars action figure.

star trek, toy

J.C. Penney Catalog, 1976. I would have lusted for these Star Trek toys if I had been a bit older. As it was, I was just a year old when these were on the market. It would have been nice if some attempt had been made by these toys designers to mimic the Jolly Rancher buttons on the original Enterprise bridge.

star trek, toy

Wards Catalog, 1975. I did inherit the Spock and Kirk action figures from Cousin Dave when I was older, so I didn’t completely miss out on the Star Trek goodness.

That’s the end of this journey. Be sure to visit They’ve done an awesome job archiving these catalogs.

6 replies
  1. Joe Williams
    Joe Williams says:

    This is a great entry. I think the experience of seeing these toys in a catalog spread were often more exciting than getting the toys themselves.
    I worked at a toy store when the Transformers were first coming out. They would sell out as soon as they hit the shelves. At the same time Trivial Pursuit was also impossible to get.

  2. Jason
    Jason says:

    Joe, I agree about the sense of anticipation being more powerful than the actual getting of the toys. I was a very introverted kid, and I spent more time imagining stuff than actually playing with the toys I had. The catalogs were a sort of visual aid to my mental playground.

  3. christine
    christine says:

    Oh, the robot. That takes me back. The year was 1980. The Empire Strikes Back had just come out, and my dad was known for going waaaay over the top on Christmas – I mean literally, by Christmas morning the entire living room was all presents, two feet deep, and it was a big living room.
    So imagine the excitement of my sister and I when a present appeared that was wrapped up, but was the proper shape and size to be ACTUAL R2-D2. We spazzed for the entire two or three weeks, unable to contain our excitement, just knowing that WE GOT AN R2 ROBOT FOR CHRISTMAS OMG OUR DAD IS THAT AWESOME WE ARE THE BEST KIDS ON THE PLANET IF WE GOT R2D2. Dad played into it, allowing us to speculate freely.

    It was a fishtank.

    Yeah. You heard me. A fishtank. A big, cylindrical, dome-topped fishtank. Not even any fish in it. Just a tank. For the living room.

    There are no words.

    We got tons of stuff every Christmas, but I doubt we’ll ever, ever forget the year we didn’t get R2-D2. XD


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