A vaguely creepy, more grown up and down right more exciting variant of the Mr. Potato Head toy – Hugo (The Man of a Thousand Faces!). Complete with a variety of props, this bald headed, Donald Pleasance look-a-like in a blue smock could transform into a Beatles impersonator mutation or whatever else you could put your young and fertile imagination too. I remember the whole affair smelling very rubbery and gluey (you got some glue to affix the various disguises to Hugos face). Lovely stuff. Hugo was produced by Kenner (released in the UK by Palitoy). Here are some pics…
It’s only however-many-shopping-days-to-go before you know what (though over here in The Netherlands we get 2 bites of the cherry, as we get SinterKlaas early on in December – and the celebrations are gearing up now – and then we get Christmas like wot we do it in the UK later on in the month.) If you don’t know what you want Santa to stuff in your sack this year, maybe these pages of 30 year old toys will make you realise what you really want is a PS3, or maybe your childhood back, or maybe just a boxed Cyborg and Muton in mint condition, as they go for a kings ransom on ebay. Anyway, I take no credit for these scans, but please go to the wonderful do you remember site and have a look at more lovely scans of old toys, if you wish. I think these pages date back to 1975 or 1976. I remember Cherilea producing slightly inferior Action Man type stuff, like vehicles (it always felt a bit cheaper and not as solid as the Palitoy stuff). I had the Airfix Pontoon bridge playset! I had Cyborg and Muton too – I wrote about them a few months back.
There was an influx of cheap(ish) handheld electronic games at the tail end of the Seventies and beginning of the Eighties (think Grandstand’s ‘Invaders From Space’ game, a clone of Space Invaders). This was beginning of the home gaming revolution, which would quickly overtake Arcades as the preferred environment for gamers worldwide. Before the electronic handheld game, and during its early years, there was a competitor, made by Palitoy, called Pocketeers, a range of distinctly non electronic handheld offerings.
You can see why the pocketeers lost out to the electronic games – the Pocketeers take on ‘Space Invaders’ does not have the same dynamic quality that the likes of ‘Invaders From Space’ has;
Basically, you wound up the barriers, they moved from side to side and you had to fire a tiny ball and try and hit the U.F.O at the top of the screen. That was it. No waves of attacking aliens, no damage to shelters that protected you from the invaders missiles. Bit boring, with limited appeal. I remember being excited at the prospect of playing, but feeling VERY let down by the reality. Ho hum.
There is a bit of detail about the game here;
The excellent ‘World Of Stuart’ website has loads of information about the Pocketeers – well worth a look;
For an overview of Grandstand Games, and other handheld electronic marvels, have a look here;
For an exhaustive look at the handheld gaming, check this out;
One of those unfilfilled childhood wishes. I wanted all of the ‘Fist Fighting Super Heroes’, but I had to make do with Captain America battling Batman & Robin, because I didnt have any ‘super foes’. I remember really wanting Spiderman & The Lizard, but again, my dreams were smashed against the rocks of financial hardship…..
I also desperately wanted the Batmobile,
Yup, I was a spoilt brat without the budget. This makes me feel better though. This is a fantastic clip of the UK Palitoy advert for ‘Fist Fighting Super Heroes'(about £2.25 each!!).
Mego were the manufacturers of these toys, with Palitoy selling them under license over here in the UK. Some great resources here;
Palitoy were a great company, giving us British kids the wonders of Star Wars figures in the 70’s and 80’s, as well as Action Man, Action Force & Marvel licenses like Micronauts. Not only that, they had the only real rival to Subetteo – ‘Striker’. Based in Coalville, Leicestershire, they sadly closed in 1984. Some links for Palitoy;
A Striker tribute site
Lovely site – shows the conneciton between Mego & Palitoy