Toys are an essential part of the holidays. Sure there is that whole giving is better than getting mantra, but as a kid, we all loved to get. It was tough to come up with presents for your parents and siblings when you get a small allowance. More often than not you would go to some bazaar and make gifts for them or do so during school. Those gifts in my house are still around though who actually made them is now the big argument. What I always loved about the holidays was the hype. The hype, like most movies we anxiously wait for as adults, is always better than the payoff. Way back when, in a brighter time, the toy stores would hype the holidays with some pretty crazy commercials. #AFJ4LIFE
The first commercial in my collection of holiday cheer is from Toys R Us Circa 1976. Toys R Us is the first place I always look for the bigger named properties (Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Star Trek). With the toy stores slowly disappearing, I thought I would give old Jeffery and his family some holiday love.
I am not entirely sure if Zayre was a big department store or just a toy department, but this Christmas commercial boasts some great stop-motion animation of G.I. Joe figures and Cabbage Patch kids. Hopefully, the stop-motion animators went on to bigger and better things.
Here we find the man-boy himself, Seth Green, in a Lionel Playworld Christmas Ad from 1986. The co-creator of Robot Chicken clearly had a better Christmas than all of us that year as this commercial probably either got him a crapload of toys from Lionel (a Toys R Us competitor) or multiple residual checks. Though it appears as if Seth didn’t grow much taller (Seth, I am only kidding).
I don’t know about you but it seems as if almost every year I get something with Star Wars on it. Last year I got two Star Wars Black Series Figures and two Christmas tree ornaments. Believe it or not, there are no Star Wars Christmas toy commercials floating around on YouTube. However, there was a Star Wars toy commercial run during the ghastly Star Wars Christmas Special. Enjoy!
There was a dark time in the eighties and it wasn’t when Star Wars ended. The times in which I speak of were the Cabbage Patch Kids riots. People were tearing each other apart for these silly dolls. My own mother, who worked as a toy store manager, was able to acquire one for every kid in the neighborhood. Let me go on record right now and tell you I didn’t get one. She asked, but I didn’t want one. My brother and I were more interested in the A-Team licensed toy machine guns and yet another Han Solo blaster for our custom made holsters.
Let’s not end on a downer. It is, after all, Christmas. The Star Wars Christmas Special was essentially a commercial to keep Star Wars alive in the public’s consciousness. Why George Lucas thought this was important only he knows. The movie only played for over a year in the theater. So without further ado here is your Christmas moment of Zen.