Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Round Robin Challenge: Licensed Snack Products

A while back I was a part of a loose knit group who called ourselves, The Pop Culture League. Each week we were given a different topic to write about on our blogs. It was a lot of fun! Then the League disbanded and another rose up in it's place with the Round Robin Social Media Challenge. I was a bit hesitant about jumping back in the challenge blog game, but I missed those challenges and the people I met from that time. I kept reading their entries and I finally want in again!
This time around the Round Robin Challenge is to purchase any cartoon/movie themed food item and review it! Well, I couldn't think of anything off the top of my head. My cabinets are full of fruit snacks with characters from Super Mario to Zootopia, but that would be too easy. Cue the music...again the Dollar Tree comes to my salvation and reunited me with Andy Capp's Hot Fries!
I had not seen these delicious snack treats since I was in high school in the 90s and to find them for $1, what a totally amazing excellent discovery!
I ripped the bag open and they tasted exactly as I remembered. Not hard like a chip or potato stick, but kind of airy and crunchy. Spicy, salty and totally addictive. I ate the whole bag in less than 15 minutes. Like I said they are very inexpensive at $1, it totally met my childhood expectations and I would highly recommend these snack treats to anyone who enjoys a bit of spice in their diet.
As with many snack foods it is not the best item for you to eat. There are 130 calories per serving (3 servings per bag), 4 grams of fat, 300 milligrams of sodium, but 0 milligrams of cholesterol! I call that a win!
I did some research on Andy Capp's Hot Fries and it turns out that they have been around since 1971 and they came in a variety of flavors including the now discontinued Zesty Ranch, Pub Fries, Salsa, Hot Chili Cheese Steak, and White Cheddar Steak Fries. The back of the package I bought promotes only the Cheddar Fries and BBQ Fries. I have never seen these varieties on store shelves. Not even back in the day when these were a new product. For more product info you can visit AndyCapps.com.
I always wondered why ConAgra Foods chose Andy Capp as their spokes-comic? He was never anyone's favorite cartoon strip and he was a crazy drunk who wandered the streets complaining about his wife. Not really a role model for kids, but I could definitely see these snacks in a bowl at the counter of a seedy, smoke filled bar. Drinking beer, playing a round or two of darts and eating Hot Fries, not a bad night if you ask me.
Check out these other participants in the Round Robin Challenge. They have some good stuff about retro items you may just be interested in:

Friday, February 24, 2017


Last week I wrote about this toy anomaly that I discovered in an ad on the back of a "Thing" comic. These toys were the Morph-O-Droids! I was so amazed that I had never heard about a toy that was essentially a remote controlled Transformer! I did some research on-line and found little to no info on this line and that intrigued me even more. These searches led me to e-bay, where I won an auction for the Morph-O-Droid named "Valer" for $0.01! Yes that is right, one penny (plus $8 S&H)!
When my Morph-O-Droid arrived I was so excited to play with this amazing toy! I opened the package, popped in some new batteries and Valer was driving on the counter! He did not transform via the remote as advertised, but that was okay, he did walk when in robot mode though, until 10 minutes later when he broke! A gear must have snapped inside, because I could hear the parts moving inside, but the wheels were no longer spinning.
If I would have known that this would be the only time to capture my Morph-O-Droid in action, I would have shot a better video. All I have to remember the good times is this camera-phone video that was recorded in my dimly lit kitchen.
I wonder if the kids of the 80s had the same experiences? Maybe that's why this toy line flopped? On a positive note, Valer also came with these pretty sweet yellow, transparent laser rifles! These are part of the one feature that still works on this toy, the laser light feature!
The odd thing about this is that you plug the laser rifles into your Morph-O-Droids robotic belly button for this feature to work. Not the best design choice.
Overall I think I had my expectations too high for this not so popular relic from the 80s! One thing I do have to say is that the cord was not a problem like I thought it would be. It was about 6-7 feet in length and gave you enough room to maneuver your Morph-O-Droid without getting in the way. Like I said earlier, if this is the experience the children from the 80s had with their Morph-O-Droids, I can see why this toy with so much potential failed to rake in the big bucks.
One last great feature to Valer was the old school Kay-Bee Toys sticker and price tag on the box! This brought back so many memories of shopping at that store in the mall. This alone was worth the $8.01 I spent on my first and last Morph-O-Droid toy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Comic Book Pick: 2/22/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal, return to the world of Thra in an official sequel to the beloved fantasy film. Discover an all-new race of creatures called Firelings that live in a realm near the planet's core, based on official character designs by Brian Froud.
Years have passed since the events of the original film, and though Jen and Kira have ruled Thra as King and Queen, bringing Gelfling back to the land, they have become distracted by power and can no longer feel or see the needs of the world the way they once did. Thurma is a young Fireling tasked with stealing a shard of the Dark Crystal to restore power to her realm. Along the way she'll befriend the young Gelfling Kensho, bring back the Skeksis and Mystics, and embark on one incredible adventure.
    (W) Simon Spurrier (A) Nichole Matthews, Kelly Matthews (CA) Jae Lee, June Chung    
SRP: $3.99

Monday, February 20, 2017

Retro Reading Corner: Nickelodeon Magazine

A local book store was having a sidewalk sale. I dug through all the Little Golden Books and bootleg "Twilight" novels and finally found a bin filled with old magazines. I picked up a few old Sports Illustrated issues and this Nickelodeon Magazine from 2000 featuring a hot young talent named Britney Spears! You may have heard of her? Let's take a look inside!
First up is the comics section. This was always a highlight of Nick Magazine. I enjoyed the artwork and the humor that was funny on so many levels! Okay, maybe 1 level, but still good stuff! Why is that guy naked?
This issue was partly dedicated to celebrities and their pets. Spotlighted here are sports stars Kurt Warner, Warren Sapp and Teemu Selanne. Who knew hoops star Grant Hill's Mom wouldn't let him have pets as a kid? Poor guy.
As per Nickelodeon's educational responsibility to the public we have a page dedicated to facts about the elusive Giant Squid! The sidebar includes "Revolting But True" facts about why cockroaches eat panty hose and the drinking habits of the Sweat Bee!
Finally we get to the main feature of this issue of Nick Magazine, the exclusive in depth interview with Britney Spears! These respected and serious journalists dig deep into thought provoking issues with Miss Spears. Hard hitting questions like "Do you still live at home?", "Do you like cats or dogs?" and "What puts you in a bad mood?" are asked and answered. We really get a look into the core of Britney here.
And of course we have some great retro ads including a weird Cow tales one, the Nesquick Bunny and your chance to win an N64 from Kool-Aid! I don't care what the packaging, advertising or anyone says, to me it is still just "Quick" not "Nesquick". Am I the only one still holding onto this one? I tried Cow tales a long time ago and they were disgusting. The chewy outer part was fine, but when you mix it with the cream in the middle...not a good mix for my tatse buds! I wish Kool-Aid would run contests like this today. Maybe then I would own a PS4?

Friday, February 17, 2017

What is a Morph-O-Droid?

While flipping through the pages of the Classic "Thing" #30 from Marvel comics I noticed an advertisement for a toy I had never seen before.
These toys were the Morph-O-Droids! Morph-O-Droids were remote controlled transforming robots! That sounds AMAZING to me, but that's not all! They can walk, fire laser weapons and generally kick ass! I had to find out more about this toy line and figure out why a line of FREAKIN REMOTE CONTROLLED TRANSFORMERS failed?
In my search I found that these relics from 1985 could be found on e-bay from anywhere around $15 to $75. You can check the auction for Morph-O-Droid Poizen by clicking THIS LINK.
I couldn't find much more information than they were a toy line put out by Vector Intercontinental in 1985, there were a total of 9 vehicles produced and they sold for around $10.99 at  KB TOYS.
That still doesn't explain why this toy line failed to grab a piece of the Transformers/Go Bots pie. Doesn't that sound delicious? My only guess is that the transformations were not that great and the cord was connected from the Morph-O-Droid to the controller. That was always a disappointment when you asked for a remote controlled car and got one of these instead!
I may have to take a look at those e-bay auctions again and see if I can buy a Morph-O-Droid and find out the truth for myself! In the meantime these other sites explored the mystery that is the Morph-O-Droids! If you feel like reading more about this toy line click the links below!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Comic Book Pick: 2/15/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
"When I grow up" part one! The sons of Batman and Superman have graduated to their own monthly comic-but if they want to survive, they're going to have to share it! Writer Peter J. Tomasi (BATMAN & ROBIN, SUPERMAN) teams with rising-star artist Jorge Jimenez (EARTH 2) to bring you the adventures of the World's Smallest. This debut issue looks at the lives of Robin and Superboy and their destiny to follow in their fathers' footsteps, while we meet a new villain whose ascension parallels the boys' own understanding of their powers-except that he believes it's his right to rule over every being on the planet!
(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A/CA) Jorge Jimenez       
SRP: $2.99

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines Day!

Hoping everyone has a great and happy Valentines Day from your friends at 20 Years Before 2000!
Enjoy some of the best love jams from the 80s & 90s!

Monday, February 13, 2017

TMNT Kawaii Cubes!

On January 30th I entered a contest on the AWESOME website TMNT. Readers of the website were asked to write about when they became a fan of the turtles for a chance to win one of these adorable Ninja Turtles Kawaii Cubes from Wish Holdings. Here's what I posted:
"I knew I loved the turtles when my Mom bought me and my brother the original Playmates toys! I got Leo & Don and my brother got Raph & Mikey. We played with those toys for hours and our infatuation with the boys in green led our friends to get their own figures. Pretty soon we all had them and were having epic backyard battles between the Turtles and the minions of the Shredder! My favorite Turtle is Donny. Attached is a pic from the time me and my brothers met Mikey at a local department store. TURTLE POWER!!!"
A few days later I was announced as one of the 8 winners of the TMNT Kawaii Cube contest!!! About a week after that, this bag arrived at my job! I was so excited to rip it open. Of course all my coworkers were intrigued by the Ninja Turtles bag and had to see what was inside.
I got a Donatello (my fave Turtle) small size Kawaii Cube! These things are great! They are soft, they stack on top of each other, the design is unique and they only cost around $5 each. So, if you are a fan of the Turtles I would recommend picking these guys up! I think I'll have to head out and complete my Turtle foursome.
They also list Bebop & Rocksteady Kawaii Cubes, but I have been unable to track these down online yet. The Ren & Stimpy cubes are pretty sweet too.
Needless to say, but little Kawaii Cube Donnie has now taken a spot atop Bo Jackson on my shelf of Greatness! Thanks again to the folks at TMNT! You guys rock and so does little Donnie!

Friday, February 10, 2017

DC Comics HIV Education Ads

Not many people know this, but in 1992 DC Comics decided to kill off a little known character named Superman. This apparently became a big deal. If you don't realize by now, I am being sarcastic. This event was huge! In fact it was so big that DC Comics created the "Funeral For A Friend" storyline to follow those events in 1993.
Like a lot of people, these stories are what really got me into seriously collecting comics. So, when I saw Superman: The Man of Steel #20 & Action Comics #686 at the Dollar Tree, it reminded me of those good old days.
I already have these issues in my collection, but needless to say, I picked them up anyway. I have read these stories so many times, but I forgot about the HIV ad campaign that DC included in their comics around this time!
This one features Tim Drake aka Robin and Alfred discussing a boy at school who has HIV. They discuss how you can't contract HIV through casual contact and Robin flies off to get more info, probably from the Gotham City Library.
The second ad features the Flash schooling some young Central City citizens on the HIV virus. Once again it focuses on the fact that you cannot receive HIV from casual contact like drinking out of the same soda can. After dropping this knowledge Flash shows off his mad B-ball skills with a mind blowing dunk!
There were other ads sprinkled throughout DC Comics' offerings in 1993 that included Nightwing, Blue Beetle & Booster Gold and 2 different Green Lanterns. This was a smart move by DC. It informed people of the rising HIV/Aids epidemic in America and it was a great PR move for them. I know these caught my eye back then. It was such an adult situation, brought down to a simple message for kids to understand. Just look at the Green Lantern ads though. The artwork is the same except Hal Jordan and Jon Stewart swapped places. I wonder why they did that?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Comic Book Pick: 2/8/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
Reprinting material from MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS (1988) #72-74.
SRP: $1.00

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Retro Revival Challenge: Movie Memories

This week the Retro Revival Challenge from the Retro Ramblings website is to tell about OUR FIRST TIME AT A MOVIE THEATER!  What was the first movie you saw at a theater?  How old were you?  Do you remember a lot about it?  Tell us everything!" I'm not sure if this was my first movie going experience, but it is the first one I can vaguely remember!
It was 1985 and I was 5 years old. My entire family went to see the film "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend". To a 5 year old me this movie was amazing! There were real dinosaurs in it! I remember really enjoying the movie, but that's not why I remember this trip to the theater.
We must have recently watched The Peanuts "Bon Voyage Charlie Brown" cartoon special. Because for some reason the part where Linus is stuck in a burning house and yelling "FIRE! FIRE!" stuck with me. During the previews before the movie I stood up and yelled "FIRE! FIRE!" in a well attended theater for no apparent reason. I did not do it to cause panic or hurt anyone. My mom was so embarrassed and she had every right to be. I learned my lesson to never yell "FIRE!" in a crowd again unless I was the one on fire. It was about 20 years later when my Mom went with us to the movies again.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Wax Packs: 80's Pac-Man Trading Cards

For a long time now I have had "Pac-Man Cards" on my WANT list. What I was looking for was a full box of the cards. Unfortunately the prices for these were a little too steep for my budget. Although recently I found a nice deal on e-bay for not only a pack of Pac-Man cards, but also Ms. Pac-Man and Super Pac-Man for a couple bucks! Spoiler Alert: I snapped them up!
The cards are mini scratch off games where the goal is to gobble up the most power pellets to get the high score before you scratch off 3 ghosts and end the game. These are just like the old Donkey Kong and Dragon's Lair card sets put out by Fleer in the early 80s. I love these things!
In addition to getting 3 game cards per pack, you also get 3 stickers! The artwork is vintage 80s Pac-Man! This is how he was meant to be. The game cards suggest you use these stickers as prizes for the person who gets the highest score. Nuts to that, I'm putting these babies on my Trapper Keeper!
Pac-Man (Fleer, 1980)
It was so satisfying to have one of my want list items in my hands. I used to have a shirt that had this same artwork on it. I wore that baby every other day like a boss! To this day Pac-Man is still one of my all time favorite games!
Ms. Pac-Man (Fleer, 1981)
This was one of the bonus pack I received. There is a Pizza restaurant near where I live that still has a working coffee table Ms. Pac-Man arcade game. I have picked that place for my birthday meal for the past few years.
Super Pac-Man (Fleer, 1982)
I am not too familiar with the Super Pac-Man game, but I have recently played it on one of those compilation disks. Not a huge fan, but happy to add this pack to my collection.
Now I'm gonna open my cards while enjoying a classic episode of the Pac-Man cartoon. I suggest you do the same!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Comic Book Pick: 2/1/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
For over four years, Masters of the Universe had its own newspaper comic strip! This story continued the tales from the Filmation cartoon and bridged the saga to the space-themed New Adventures of He-Man cartoon relaunch. The comic strip only ran in selected newspapers and was never reprinted, so most fans have never read it . . . until now! For the first time ever, Dark Horse brings you a collection of these strips, restored and ready for you to unleash the power!
o Never-before-collected material in a beautiful oversized hardcover with restored art!
(W) James Shull, chris Weber, Karen Wilison (A) Gerald Forton      
                  SRP: $29.99