Creatures Double Featured
A couple weeks ago I got a flyer for a toy show in Lowell, in the Jackson Street Mills. The same mills that hosted a weekly flea market in the mid-1980s we frequented as kids. The same flea market where I got a second hand dragon/monster type toy. So going to this toy event became more of a full-circle moment thing.
The Jackson Street mills in the early 1980s appeared to be abandoned. They were subsequently re-purposed for the administrative offices of the Summer Training Employment Program (STEP). That was summer job home base for my first summer job, “affectionately” known as van crew. That experience warrants its own post in the near future.
Not having been back since the mid 1990s, the mills actually look really nice. The neighborhood has always been sketchy, rife with indigent people, drug addicts and alcoholics. A double take and a WTF occurs when I see Jackson Street equipped with an electronic parking meter system and a trendy food truck.
It was smaller than a comicon or expo, but big enough that I was colored impressed. It was made up of vendors showcasing their vintage and contemporary sci-fi/comic/cartoon/anime treasures. Some of which I still collect: The big Gs (Godzilla, Gamera, Gatchaman/G-Force. Transformers, DC Comics, Star Wars…
In addition to being impressed with the space, I was also impressed with the set up. There were these two display cases in the main hallway full of amazing vintage and contemporary treasures. THIS is how I would display my stuff If I had the space.
There was a screening room where they played some films and vintage Japanese commercials. How these commercials ever convinced kids to buy toys is beyond me. As I walked down the hall I heard a familiar sound. Like a sailor to a siren, I was transfixed when I heard the enchanted Mothra’s Song: Mosura-ya, Mosura…[click here]. It took everything in me to not start singing with the track, and dancing in
what could probably be considered a culturally insensitive, bastardized Kabuki theater way.
Snapping myself back into reality, I carried on. In what was probably the office of the factory president when the mill was in use, a beautifully painted space complete with inset cabinets, wainscoting, and a fire place, proudly displayed a carefully curated collection of the kaiju kind. My faves are always the Marmit vintage and vintage style figures of Godzilla and his homies.
The highlights would have been finding a couple Godzilla and G-Force toys that wouldn’t blow my budget. But then I saw Gary Sohmers, the Hawaiian shirt-clad former appraiser of the Antiques Roadshow [click here for my PART I and PART II Antiques Roadshow adventure]. Gary was one of those appraisers on the show that I not only remembered, but looked forward to watching. His enthusiasm and colorful fashion was always brought when appraising cool vintage toys or pop culture memorabilia. We talked AR for a bit, he told me about his “very cool and very fun” Pop Culture Expo [click here for more info].
As I was leaving his table, I mustered up enough courage to ask for a photo (it was really hot in there so my face is giving heat exhaustion realness) and noticed some costumes from the 2001 Planet of the Apes film. Little did I know I’d find something for my (slow) growing collection of twentieth century pop culture garments. But I did! I can’t wait to set it up with my Marky Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter action figures from the movie!!
Unexpected fun day of monster madness, robot revelry, and kaiju kraziness. With a dash of fash(ion).
For sale @ebay #vintage #shogunwarriorsgodzilla under $30! #shogungodzilla #godzilla #vintagegodzilla #vintagetoys #gfan #happy60thbirthdaygodzilla #nostalgia
My favorite dinosaur was the Triceratops, a feisty 4-legged herbivore with the best headgear. It seemed as though every dinosaur book I had featured a Triceratops confronting a Tyrannosaurus or some other kind of bipedal carnivore. Tricerotops was tops with me.
All the dinosaurs from my childhood gone, I was at a local thrift store when I discovered, in the toy section, a bag of Imperial dinosaurs. These dinosaurs represented almost everything biologically wrong with dinosaurs, but stylistically oh so right. Bright, bold color combinations that could only occur in flowers.
This particular thrift store likes to group toys in clear “grab bags”. The groupings sometimes make sense, sometimes don’t. (I don’t think the store personnel really cares, but I can go on all kinds of rants about the nonsensical groupings of second-hand toys.) There were multiples of some of the figures, which meant that in order to get that one Stegosaurus, I had to buy it in the bag, along with a Styracosaurus and a Brachiosaurus. Which I already had. So I bought the whole bag, thinking that I would just re-sell the multiples I already had, but as I saw them together on my dresser, a decorative idea revealed itself. Using the design principle of repetition, I have groupings of dinosaurs accent the bookcase perfectly for a style I call “Modern Juvenile.”
I went on to discover that a couple of the earliest toys I still have from my childhood are Imperial toys. This includes a Godzilla figure, an alligator, and a gorilla which have designated as a King Kong figure. This coincidence was enough to convince me that I should now be collecting Imperial toys. Due to space constraints I’m more of a passive collector. Most of the collection I will keep in storage until I find my dreamspace home where I can display my bold collection of physiologically inaccurate monsters.