1962 Mercury Comet Dash
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Toys from my Hood (Childhood)

Johnny Seven - One Man Army

Johnny Seven - One Man ArmyIt was a few weeks before Christmas, sometime in the late 1960's. Winters in Syracuse, NY can be quite cold and long. Just a few years earlier we had the great Blizzard of 1966, where over 42 inches of snow fell in 5 days’ time. I was now 6 or 7 and greatly anticipating a visit from Santa Claus soon. I can't recall if we had snow or not at this time but I do remember one event that stayed seared in my memory all these years. The doorbell rang and our neighbor Mrs. Kovac was standing on the porch with a rather large shopping bag. My mother invited her in and she explained that what she had in the bag was a Christmas present for her son Neil. She didn't want to keep it at their house because she suspected he would snoop around and find it. So she felt the safest place was with us. My mother gladly took the bag and agreed to hide it. Now I don't recall if the present was revealed to me at this time, but soon after Mrs. Kovac's departure I became aware that the bag contained the greatest gift of them all, the Johnny Seven - One Man Army toy gun.

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Godzilla - The Lizard King

In Syracuse, NY in the late 60's-early 70's, the place to get your Sci-Fi fix was on Saturday afternoon TV watching the "Monster Movie Matinee".  A local favorite among the kids because of the two hosts Dr. Witty and his sidekick Epal.  Each week they would introduce a different monster movie to their audience.  The opening sequence used a camera shot moving across a foggy bog approaching a haunted house up on a hill.  It was a classic.  


More often than not, the movie introduced was one of the many Godzilla movies. Watching a Godzilla movie was like watching a 3-year-old throwing a temper tantrum. Godzilla would stroll into a city and thrash his arms and tail around wreaking havoc on everything in his path. Sparks would fly as he crashed through the power lines that were always in his way. Even cooler were the tanks and rockets he battled that were always over matched. Even as young as we were, we knew the special effects were done using a guy in a rubber suit stomping through a miniature city. Being a lover of model building, it fascinated me that they would create an entire scaled down city full of army tanks and planes, just so they could be destroyed.

The original Japan release of the first Godzilla (Gojira) movie, was quite violent. As they continued to make follow-on Godzilla movies, he became more lovable, to the point where you wanted him to win. The Godzilla movies got more involved and started including other monsters like the three-headed fire breathing Ghidorah and Mothra, a giant moth, of course. Now you could legitimately root for Godzilla to "win" and save Tokyo from the other monsters. Next came Mecha-Godzilla, Baby Godzilla, King Kong and even a giant Frankenstein monster. All great fun to watch.

My love for Godzilla continued into my adulthood where I purchased many Godzilla related models and figures. I found many of the movies at local comic book conventions, most of them never released in the US. Back then they were traded from "collector to collector" with the understanding that I had to trade money for the video tape.

I was amazed at the number of Godzilla movies that were released over the years. I must have had 30 different movies. Some never even had the closed captioning, but you could pretty much follow along. Once my son was old enough I started showing him all the movies. He loved them and we enjoyed watching them together, talking about them to no end. Then I pulled out the classic 1977 Blue Oyster Cult song Godzilla. He thought it was so cool. We'd play the song at high volume while he stomped around the living room roaring like Godzilla and singing "Oh no. There goes Tokyo. Go Go Godzilla". I think I've got that on video around here somewhere.

One year my son wanted a Godzilla themed birthday party. Everything was Godzilla related from the treats for the guests to the full scale "Skittle-Godzilla" we set up on the pool table. You may recall Skittle-Bowl, a toy from the 70's whose commercials featured Don Adams of Get Smart fame. The game had a ball suspended on a string attached to a pole. You had to swing the ball around the pole into the pins, knocking them over. Not as easy as you would think. Well, we took that game to the next level. We suspended a 8 inch plastic articulated Godzilla figure on a long string attached to the ceiling above the pool table. We set up our version of Tokyo on the pool table. The city was made from milk cartons and other small boxes we painted to look like buildings. We had each kid swing the Godzilla into the city and counted the total number of buildings each knocked down. The winner got a Godzilla themed prize. The kids (and Dad) loved it.

more to come....

Secret Sam Attache Case

The 60's was the era for spy movies, spy TV shows and spy toys. I'm guessing because the "cold war" was booming, spy’s and spying was on everyone's mind. Ian Fleming had been publishing his James Bond novels since the 50's and Spy vs. Spy cartoons had been gracing the pages of Mad Magazine since 1961. Secret Agent Man was on the top of the charts and Get Smart and I-Spy were on the tube. To kids, being a spy meant miniature pinhole cameras, small walkie-talkie radios and fast cars with ejector seats.  


The Secret Sam Attaché Case was a complete spy kit in a briefcase 

It contained everything a budding spy needed to play in the espionage game. Concealed camera, Gun with telescope, a "message missile". The coolest part was you could fire the gun while still in the case. A hidden button on the side, actuated the guns trigger sending one of the hard-plastic bullets at your target 

Like in every single spy movie to date, you open the briefcase and assemble the gun. The extra-long stock attached to the back giving you more stability and the periscope attached to the top allowing you to see over obstructions. i don't recall every using the camera to take any real pictures

I abused my Secret Sam Attaché Case badly. several parts broke and of course the bullets all got lost. I have since replaced many of those parts and have reproduced (molded) the bullets as well as the orange button that seems to be broken on many of the ones that come up on eBay. As a matter of fact, I was the one who originally sold the reproduction bullets on eBay in the early 2000's. Since then many folks have started doing so making it not worth the time or effort.  

I still sell the reproduction button over on my B9 Robot Site.Secret Same Reproduction Orange Button


...more to come.