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Fast Food Toy Update (December 24, 1997)
by Lisa K Shimei (zephyr4@grove.ufl.edu)

<insert sheepish look here>

Well, as usual, I allow my personal life and tribulations to interfere with my net life. It's been a billion years since the last report (well, not a billion, but it makes it sound much better when I say that it's been about 2 months or so) and many cool things are about nowadays. My trauma in a nutshell is this: my landlord went insane and threw me out and I had to find a place to live in one day, after calling the cops on him. Very exciting, and rather aggravating. Deep inside, I'm a nesting creature, and it disturbs me to be...disturbed. I'm in a big new abode now with a real kitchen and more walls and nice carpet (not that bright orange 1970's Holiday Inn garbage) and things should get better. Sadly, all my toys are in boxes, and that can't be good for me at all. I know where some stuff is at, but not all of it. I've learned 2 things from this:

  1. I have nice people in my family who care about me and will drop everything to help me pack and move even though that's about the grossest thing you can do for someone.
  2. If you are near to someone who is nuts, be forewarned: You can spend entire months watching this person obsess over neighbors and other people who don't matter, and watch as the cops get called and brush it all off as "him gettin' all riled up," and remain unscathed, but remember, one day that person is going to aim that anger and upset in YOUR direction, and you take it or leave it, but don't ever think it won't happen.

I'm ok now, but I am severely discombobulated by the whole deal. I still have my little car, Screamin' Green, and I have a nice place and no money. That said, here goes....<drumroll>

McDonald's - The Little Mermaid toys. And oh, are they ever being rude. I saw on the tube that 1 in 10 toys is a GOLD toy, and I saw that the bags, of course, were solid light blue. Ok - they did this last year with the 101 Dalmations, so I suppose this is an improvement. What do you collectors do? Sit in the McD, I suggest, especially noon on the weekend and watch as tables full of families open their little toys, and approach the winners and offer a bribe. 1 in 10, my butt. As luck would have it, I got the gold duck, first try - I was going to return it and ask for a shark (sharks are cooler) and decided to look into the little crack where the heat-sealed edge of the bag didn't quite come together, and saw one color...so I decided to keep it. I'm *not* telling any of you this as a hint as to how find the gold toy....

There are 8 toys:

  1. Ariel - just sits there...sigh.
  2. Guy in the boat - has movement
  3. Sebastian - red crab with cool movement - does he wind up?
  4. Duck - winds up and the feet paddle
  5. Shark - neat toy - his jaw opens
  6. That woman...she's huge and purple, and I think this one has an inflatable bottom to it, which is too cool.
  7. The little fish,
  8. and some dog, sorry.

Altogether, it's not a really nice set. Nothing caught my eye when I saw them in the display case, and I'm only interested in the crab. Previously, McD carried Barbies and Hotwheels, which did my mother no good at all. It was the first time she ever ate Happy Meals in order to get the little car for her grandson - I told her to keep calling, and if she got a duplicate, she could always trade it back. I think the city vehicles (ambulance, taxi, fire engine, police car, and tow truck) were a hit with little kids, but I only liked the tow truck for it's unique design. The Barbies were all nicely done, but looked the same to me...plastic bodice, lace double skirts....I must say that this is the first McDonald's toy display that truly entranced me. I don't collect these cardboard monstrosities, but look - all the Barbies are standing on that balcony in the nice house, while city vehicles come cruising around the freeway. It looks like a big Barbie Brothel to me.

The Jungle Book was other toy series...(Mowgli, Bagheera the cat, Baloo, King Louie, the elephant, and Hiss the snake) and the toy with the *best* play value, Hiss, was recalled. I never got one. They said it fell apart and was dangerous...sigh. He was coiled around this tree and you could spin him around the trunk - it was so neat. Baloo the bear looked good, and my compliments to the sculptor who did the black cat - they managed to capture an unusual look, where a cat can be sly, bashful, friendly, and mischievous all in one pose.

Burger King - Anastasia. I'm sorry, I can't get into this movie idea at all, but they'll do what they want. The King is offering up 6 toys and 4 purchasable toys, which are quite nice. First the 6 regulars:

  1. Anya and Pooka - she's wearing a really nice cloth coat.
  2. Bouncing Bartok - the bat holds an eyeball and you pull the eye and it bounces forward. Kind of strange.
  3. Beanie Bat Bartok - beanie toy.
  4. Fiendish Flyer - a fun flying toy with a helicopter blade-type disk that can be launched and floated upwards.
  5. Rasputin - standing there in dark robes, and you yank his head and his limbs release and dangle. He's just sinister and a great addition to "scary and weird" toy collections.
  6. Collision Course Dimitri - a train car that breaks open when crashed.

The 4 large toys are: a hanging Bartok bat with 3 sayings, Pooka the dog? with flapping ears (cute toy), Anastasia doll with fashion items and extending hair, and best of all - the train. All kids will want this. It's battery operated and has 4 cars total, comes with 2 curved and 2 straight sections of track in a very pretty box. All the train cars are well-painted and are covered in snow. Excellent.

Previously, the Burger King had Universal Monsters and I'm glad I sent a short post/message to you folks - it was a beautiful set, and not to be missed. It might be my favorite of the year.

Wendy's - Pinky and the Brain. I now have to pay for television, and my many channels are down to 2-13, but luckily, I get that WB network. So neat. I finally have been able to sit and watch Pinky and the Brain, and although I was skeptical at first, I've found it to be rather well done. They have 6 toys total, and 3 are worth your time.

  1. Playset - in the huge shape of the Brain's head, you open it up and it displays a room. Pull on a lever, and Brain goes back and forth in front of a globe that spins. Really well done.
  2. Satellite - grey satellite with red...(fins? those things that move) and a clear section containing the 2 tiny characters. Roll it along, and that section *pops* and the mice jump. Great toy.
  3. Television - oh, you have to get this. It's a purple tv with a pink screen, and you drop a little VCR tape inside and see a message from the Brain filtered through the colored screen. What is so unique about this is that it's a classic *animated* tv set, uneven and higher on one side than another. It looks like those whacko tv's in cartoon living rooms, like the warped ones that Berke Breathed would draw Opus the Penguin sitting in front of.
  4. To Do Pad with colorful pencil...
  5. Grow chart with paint brushes...(ok, I got that from someone else's post, I have no idea, but it wasn't interesting enough to hold my attention or move me to make a purchase)
  6. Brain - just the mouse standing there, the Under 3 toy, I'm sure.

Previously, they had Dexter's Laboratory, which featured odd lab things and no figures of Dexter at all, much to Gary's (hi Gary!) chagrin. The toys were simple, and the only one that grabbed my attention was some clear container with some glow-in-the-dark brain-tentacled thing that had no real point. It was gross, and it glowed. At that point, I don't need a reason to be interested.

Taco Bell - Finishing up those Nintendo toys now. They'll actually be nice and sell you one in a gift box for $1 - a step down from those Star Wars toys for $1.50. There are 5 toys altogether:

  1. Mario Kart 64 Joystick - ok...you move a little knob and it shifts a maze in 4 directions, and you direct a little ball along a path and avoid getting it in the tiny lake or whatever. It's a really nice toy, and all of you would love it. It comes in green, red, and yellow, and it's just too unique to pass up.
  2. Mario Maze - it's a huge 8-sided maze with a ball. It's really pretty, and fun to play with. The maze is simple and has too many good pathways to take, but kids will love it, and it'll look nice sitting on a your desk.
  3. StarFox Shootout - ah, now this one's odd. It's shaped like a joystick, and you squeeze a lever and try to get the balls into these baskets, but you're shooting at an angle. There's a mirror inside, and oh...ah, well, it blew my mind at 2 am. Kind of neat.
  4. Donkey Kong Tree Maze - kind of fun, until you figure it out, and then it's not fun at all. You assemble the top and bottom of the tree (read: 3 parts - don't try to get this used...) and work the monkey up the trunk and back. It's, uh, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, then sideways, down and back and forth again. There's the solution. sigh.
  5. Yoshi - that green thing. The ultra-boring Under 3 toy. Right....

Previously, the Bell had those Halloween Monster Eyes (4 of 'em) and Monster Eyes in the Kids Meals, too. The kid version (with the meal) had the ball, which sat in a plastic...setting. Skull came with bones base, green Scares came with tombstone base, Fangs dracula came with coffin base, and Werewolf came with tree stump base. There was no real need to get any of these, when Burger King had those Monsters.

Kentucky Fried Chicken - finally, the Colonel's gets stuff in. They are still having that problem with whether they get the corporate toys or otherwise...like the Dairy Queen. The management is beginning to recognize me, "Hey, the toy lady!," which is nice, and they've been really helpful and nice. They now have Extreme Ghostbusters, which have some great pieces That You Oughtta Buy.

  1. Haunted Cube - just like the Darth Vader/Yoda one at the Bell, this one has a glow-in-the-dark ghost on one side, and nothing on the other. Well done toy that kids will like - I bought it.
  2. Ghost Trap Challenge - a must have. It's a ball-catch toy, but ohhh, it ain't easy. The clear ball has a glow ghost inside it, and you can catch it in the big cup end, the rounded end (like most ball catch toys, ala' Brainchild from Tick), or hardest of all, in a small dip in the handle. It's frustrating, excellent, and really colorful.
  3. Screamin' Scrambler - a 6 sided, 3 level turning puzzle where you line up the bodies of the different characters. I like these toys a lot, and I think they are great for really little kids to do.
  4. Ecto 1 Haunted Hauler - the station wagon. I didn't get this, but on reading the enclosed note, I see that you roll it and the ghost pops up the roof. Not bad, but slightly bigger than a Hotwheels car.
  5. Keychain Keeper - well, it's a black tire with the Ghostbusters logo in the middle. The back opens as a secret compartment.
  6. Slimer Squirter - Under 3 toy, just a squirter. Boring.

Overall, this is a nice set, and has great play value with some of the pieces. I really look forward to what KFC has in the future, and I hope they don't let me down - they've done well with this, and the Carmen Sandiego set, and not too badly with the Marvel set. Right now, they are also selling a GigaPet (those electronic beeping monstrosities that I've managed to avoid purchasing, until I saw the Toy Story Buzz ship that has the little green alien in it...Ooooooooooo) for $7.99 with some food - and there's 3 different kinds.

Hardees - yep, the Hardees. I decided to once again brave that insolent and frightening atmosphere just to see what's up. The help behind the counter did not drool and used a long word or two, and managed to answer my queries without dropping the cuisine on the floor. "What toys do you have," I enquire, and she said, "Christmas stuff." Upon prompting, she produced one such stuff, and they carry 4 stampers - one of Santa, a Snowman, a reindeer, and something else. Ok. I exit quickly.

Subway - now has Dino Stompers. There are 4 wind-up dinosaurs and one Under 3 single-piece toy which has the sharpest edges I've ever seen on any thing, save for a jar of nails and razors. You'll lose an eye, and don't let your baby have that horrid sharp thing. Geez. Anyway, there's the obligatory Tyranno...(oh, I'll have to get the bag, I'd hate to screw up the spelling...) can't find it, sorry. The Rex, and some other upright thing, and I got the Dimetrodon (on all fours) and the last is likely a Triceratops. They are all insanely painted - such bright colors. The Dimetrodon I got was purple with other colors, and the upright beastie was neon green. One was red, the other blue, I think. The wind-up action doesn't work too well, though. My dino just did that walking-in-place thing that all bad wind-ups do. They are bright and cute, though, and kids will like them just fine.

Well, I can't think of anything else. Kind folk have pointed out that if you eat a ton of Lucky Charms, you can purchase those beanie bag toys they have offered - a Lucky, and I noted a Count Chocula. There is also a HotWheels/Barbie offer on the boxes of Little Debbie Snack Cakes, which is an excellent way to justify buying a box of those things. There is also a little car offer on other cereals, and one car is a Cheerio car, which is rather cute. I'm sorry I can't churn out better details than this, but you'll have to barrel down the grocery aisles on your own. I do apologize for taking forever to post a report, but as long as you got the Universal Monsters in time, I don't feel you've missed much. I've just been putting my life back together and I'm bummed that it takes me so long. I'm still sleeping on the floor and my walls are bare, but that'll take care of itself in time.

If you want to be added to the mailing list, email me. Reports should come out monthly, barring unforeseen personal crises, and you'll get the occassional shrieking update that insists You Go Out Now and Get This Way-Cool Thing. If you need to be removed from the mailing list, let me know that, too. For those of you who are trying to do that McDonald's Gold toy set, maybe get with others on the list and see what you can trade, or post a trading list. It shouldn't be that hard to complete if you get enough people to trade with. I hope all of you have a calm and uneventful holiday season - I'm one of those people who has given up on the Happy Happy Joy Joy !! of the whole thing, and I've come to the conclusion that if I keep my new residence, and the little green car runs fine, and I stay reasonably healthy, and if my family doesn't fight like wolverines, then it went well, and that'll make me kind of happy.

zephyr...Oh, so it's Christmas Eve, and I have to work, and then drive 3 hours, and wrap stuff, and....


"So, what do you think of this guy," I ask, hoping that the answer will be boring. After all, I'm moving into an apartment in his house, and it just wouldn't do to reside with a psychopath.

The boy on the other side of the fence pauses to collect his thoughts. "Weeeellllll," he starts, "Ah think hees ah right, ya know, hees kinda odd, ya know, welllll, one day sum tahm agos he uppa wint onna hees roof wif a bottle an' a raffle..."

"A what? A rifle? Is that what you said?" I press.

"Ayuh, a raffle, anna lawn chair and he sat up dere, 'cause hees all upset, ya know, 'bout them folk 'cross da street, butcha know, hees all fine now, hees an awright kinda guy, odd sumtahms."

May 1996, and zephyr, tempted by low rent and amenities, ignores the warnings of nature and mind, and moves in for 'bout 19 uneventful and mildly amusing months, and then...


November 1997, and zephyr, hardly the picture of serenity or calm, reevaluates those charming amenities, and decides that it's time to depart the premises before she needs a coroner and a bodybag.
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