The 80’s live on as Radio Shack rides the nostalgia train…
Obviously, I’m a sucker for nostalgia. And if you’re reading this it’s safe to assume that you are too. But hold on a second, is it really being a sucker when in fact all of the celebrities featured in the new Radio Shack commercial are just too awesome to let go of? We connected with them, formed friendships over mutual interest in them and scheduled our lives around the television schedule to make sure we didn’t miss them. Thank goodness for DVR technology these days. I never did figure out how to program a VCR.
Jumping on the bandwagon (and joining hundreds of others in giving a ton of free exposure to Radio Shack) I thought it would be interesting to see how many of the featured pop culture icons in the commercial have NEW licensed merchandise long after the Nielsen ratings lost sight of their star status. I limited my search to Entertainment Earth because 1. They’re the best source for pop culture merchandise, (Bring Hollywood Home, kids!) and 2. If you buy something through these links I get a commission. What can I say, I’m a 80’s kid and member of the Reagan era capitalist’s. (Still waiting on my jersey by the way.)
I had no idea what I would find and the results were pretty interesting. I was even more surprised with all of the icons who haven’t had their likenesses scooped back up. Still it was fun to shop around and see what was out there. I also found some fitting stand in products to pay tribute to those left behind.
Friday the 13th – 18 items
The boy who wouldn’t die. No matter what. It should come as no surprise that I offer up this really neat Jason retro Mego style figure from NECA.
Hulk Hogan – 14 items – If you don’t love Hulk Hogan, then you’re simply un-American. I still strive to say my prayers, take my vitamins and be a good American everyday thanks to his adrenaline packed pep talks. Start out a new generation the right way with this too cute onesie, brother!
Cliff from Cheers / John Razenberger – 1 Item There are some other items available (beer mugs and such) but none of those featured the likeness of everyone’s favorite mailman Cliff. This framed presentation however fits the bill nicely.
Clash of the Titans- Nothing tied to the original classic property at the moment BUT the legacy remains eternal… just like this ageless beauty, Io
Chucky – 8 items: Everyone’s favorite possessed doll will never go away, and not just because of the voodoo curse. And now he can possibly enter your nightmares through osmosis.
Back to the Future – 38 items: This is another property that I’m firmly convinced will never go away. I’m not exactly sure of the appeal but this film series and it’s iconic 80’s stainless steel, automobile masterpiece (made even more famous by a cocaine bust) most certainly has staying power.
Slimer – 8 items: Does anyone know what exactly Slimer was before he kicked the bucket? I have no clue but he could pass for the love child of Oola and Jabba the Hutt. Anyway, you can have lunch with this gluttonous blob everyday!
And here are the childhood favorites who may have been merchandising gold back in the day but are now left out in the licensed property cold but a tribute can still be made:
Mary Lou Retton – This is a shame. She was an American Olympic and Cereal box icon people! Even Franken Berry and the Monster Cereal gang get love…
Slim Goodbody – No love for Slim in the merchandising realm either, but considering his pretty gross unitard featuring the inner parts of a human that I’m surprised passed the censors back in those days, I have to pause and give him credit for perhaps in some little way inspiring the look of modern zombies that we see on the Walking Dead. And considering how Michael Rooker became the best damn zombie ever I offer you these tributes.
The action figure –
And for the serious fan (you know you need it!)
Kid N Play – Considering all of the House Party movies you’d think there’d be something but alas that’s not the case. But again to show respect for Christopher “Kid” Reid’s gravity defying super high top fade I offer this gravity defying toy…
Not to disrespect Christopher “Play” Martin I say this… although “Play” is a take off of “Playboy” I’ll keep it PG and say that everything on this list will serve as a fitting tribute. Play people, Play!
Erik Estrada – I couldn’t believe that there weren’t any items depicting this man’s world famous smile. To make up for it I offer this affirmation ball to you (and Erik, the licensers will be calling again, I just know it!)
Sgt. Slaughter – I’m not too surprised that the good Sgt.’s giant chin wasn’t found. However the spirit of patriotism should still be applauded even though he did turn heel and violate my sense of trust at a young age. He later redeemed himself but still to commemorate those tough cookies, put this one on your counter…
Dee Snider – Aw come on! This man needs to be a Mego style action figure! No disrespect to Scott Ian, but he isn’t nearly as flashy or hairy for that matter.
The California Raisins – While they may be out of vogue at the moment these dehydrated R&B superstars will get their day in the sun again. Come on, the Care Bears keep getting make over after make over and they never even did a cover of “I just want to be your Teddy Bear”. It would’ve easily went gold…
Alf – Dude! He’s on the Hub! His image was on everything back in the day. Revamp this property people! Even this lame character from the equally lame Dark Crystal has a puppet toy at the moment!
Q-bert – No. Not again. I’d rather be surrounded by Smurfs.
Teen Wolf – Nothing at the moment. While the original film with Michael J. Fox was fun, the sequel with Justin Bateman effectively killed the franchise. Still at least our teenage werewolves kept their shirts on…
Of course I would be a poor observer if I didn’t show some love to 80’s rock band Loverboy and their weekend anthem “Everybody’s working for the weekend” that served as the backing track to this 80’s collage. However if the the Radio Shack ad agency folks were wanting to dip their toes into a little bit of controversy and really take this ad viral like the Coca Cola folks got from their multi-language version of “America the beautiful” maybe they should have commissioned Foreigner’s hit “Hot Blooded” BUT used our pal Apu Nahasapeemapetilon singing his version.
It even seems very fitting to close this article out with a send up to the Simpsons who helped close the door on the 80’s and opened up a giant wave of 90’s (and today’s) merchandising bliss and are celebrating 25 years of animation parody, mirth and merriment this year. Now, Go Play! – Jim 02/04/2014
On a side note, Radio shack has also posted a behind the scenes video where we here from the stars themselves.