Thursday, June 28, 2012

228. Holy Wheels! A BLUE BATMOBILE!

 Holy Baloney! Another Japan-made Batmobile from the 60s! And this time, it's the rarer blue model variety.  This battery-powered super car comes with the vinyl caped crusaders, ready to take them to the scene of the crime, complete with light and bump and go action!

This Batmobile was inspired by the campy 1967 TV series, "Batman", starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as the Boy Wonder. There was also a black version of the Batmobile--and I am determined to find that one too.

As you can see, this Batmobile is a bit scruffy with dings and dents and some rusting all over. But that doesn't detract much from the kitschy appeal of this toy, which harkens back to the days when everything was over-the-top, with everyone screaming "Kapowww!! Kablammm! Holy Cowww!" every time Good triumphed over Evil.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

227. I, ROBOT: A Horikawa Shoot 'n Walk Robot

One of the most prolific makers of Japanese battery operated toys was the Horikawa company which manufactured and sold hundreds of different tin robots and space toys. Horikawa sold so many different robots in the 1950's through 80's that new variations are being found regularly by collectors--just like this vintage 70s monter, which came literally robot-walked to my doorstep. It's a large, heft robot (16" tall!), noseless, with tin and plastic body. When running on its batteries, it walks, stops, and its chest opens to reveal a deadly set of rocket artillery, which it shoots with matching light flashes and sound effects. Pretty impressive for a 40++ year old robot, no?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

226. A Jeep for Keeps: TIN ARMY JEEP

I'm not a big collector of tin toys, but when this friction metal tin toy jeep--in exceptional condition--I made a rare exception and bought it at once, even if a bit pricey. The Japan-made toy depicts a U.S. army jeep painted in the typical drab olive green color. Jeeps were used extensively in the last World War, so I found the idea of a Japanese manufacturer making a U.S. war jeep a rather interesting study in irony. This toy, dating from the 60s features two vinyl soldier figures, one driving the vehicle and the other, manning the machine gun mounted at the rear.
When the battery-operated toy is turned on, the army jeep moves forward while the gunner sways from side to side, firing at unseen enemies. I have seen similar tin army jeeps offered on ebay, in the range of $100 and up, and I don't regret getting this fine specimen that has a crossover appeal with WWII memorabilia collectors. Of course, you know what we did to the jeep--we closed it, lengthen it, painted it with bright wild colors, trimmed it with plastic buntings and added a stainless steel horse as a hood ornament. Voila--the Philippine jeepney! Now that's a real collectible toy!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

225. Advertique: COKE "LEYTE" WARTIME AD

I found this full page, full color ad of Coca-Cola with a WWII theme in a U.S. flea market. It's a fascinating piece of ephemera, blending product sell with a bit of world history. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that depicts a Philippine scene---with reference to MacArthur's place of return, hence the headline: .."Yank friendliness comes back to Leyte".

This particular ad was part of a post-War advertising campaign mounted by Coke in 1945, as the world prepared to put the war behind and move forward. Similar ads--both in color and black and white--featured scenes from countries such as Brussels, France and Admiralty Island.

The artwork for the Philippine realistically depicts a village with nipa huts, with two Pinoy husband-and-wife vendors giving out Coke to their amiable "amigos'. "Ice-cold Coca-Cola has become a symbol of goodwill--and everyday example of how Yankee friendliness follows the flag around the globe"--so goes the copy. Wartime Coke ads are very collectible, redefining the brand role in difficult, critical times by associating the product beyond refreshment, in this case, elevating the soda as a symbol of patriotism and American international goodwill.