Friday, November 23, 2012

Silent Night, Deadly Night : Inside Ira's Toys!


I could literally make up an endless list of things I love about Silent Night, Deadly Night, a movie that I will never tire of getting drunk and having a blast with, each and every year around this time.  At the tip top of that list would have to be the Ira's Toys location, where we first meet the adult Billy, and where Billy is driven into a murderous Santa suit clad rage.

Named after the producer of the film, Ira Barmak, the fictional Ira's Toys is heavily featured in the early parts of Silent Night, and is absolutely jam packed with awesome vintage toys from the '70s and '80s.  Since nobody really had the foresight to take pictures inside of toy stores back in those days, it's movies like Silent Night, Deadly Night that have forever preserved the look and feel of the old school mom and pop toy store, and for that, I am eternally thankful.  One of my favorite things about watching the film is spending a solid half hour in Ira's Toys, where I always manage to notice a new vintage treasure that I had never noticed before.

So this holiday season, I've decided to gather together screen grabs of all those treasures I have discovered over my many years of watching the film, and pass them on to you.  I now gift to you an in-depth inside look at Ira's Toys, and all the vintage awesomeness that will forever be packed into it, thanks to the magic of the movies!
One of the first things we see in the store, as Billy punches in for his first day of work, is this Ben Cooper G.I. Joe Halloween costume, from 1982.  Ben Cooper rose to mega popularity in the Halloween world by releasing licensed costumes such as this one, though this particular costume was released right around the time the company started to lose its footing.  In fact, the year it was released was the same year seven people died after ingesting Tylenol laced with Cyanide, right before Halloween, which resulted in parents not letting their kids out trick or treating, and the company in turn suffering huge financial losses that year.

As the camera pans out, we see even more vintage Ben Cooper costumes, including Batman, Mickey Mouse and various monsters.  Gotta love the fact that Ira leaves this stuff out, even around Christmas time!


Speaking of G.I. Joe, a sealed box of Hasbro G.I. Joe toys appears on the ground in one scene, just waiting for Billy to crack it open.  Though it's a bit hard to read the print on the box, close inspection reveals that it's a case of 12 Falcon Gliders, released back in '83.


On the more feminine side of things, we've got a display of back to school portfolios from the Poochie line, an early '80s pink haired dog toy from Mattel.  Poochie spawned a whole laundry list of merchandise, and was even given her own VHS movie!


In this shot, Billy and Pamela stand in front of a display of Kenner Star Wars toys, some of the most iconic action figures of all time.  Most instantly recognizable is the Jabba The Hut playset, from the Return of the Jedi line.


To the right of the Star Wars display, we see various car themed toys, including Slotrace, Stomper, and Hot Wheels Wipe-Out, the latter of which was a board game released by Mattel way back in 1968.  Certainly one of the oldest toys on Ira's shelves!
Panning the camera over a bit more, we see Matchbox's Super Garage playset, released in the late '70s.  One of the main selling points of this set was that it had an operational elevator lift, which could bring cars all the way from the ground to the top level.  Ah, the good old days, when simple things like a toy parking garage could entertain kids for hours.

Of course gotta give a shout out to the Mr. Potato Head toy, which Billy is seen playing with here!

Hanging below the Star Wars shelf, which we see in a later scene than the previous few photos, is a toy that's very hard to distinguish, but is probably recognizable to anyone who had one back in the day.  Can anyone guess what it is?  Yes?  No?  Maybe so?

That's Manglodactyl from the super awesome Manglors line, a giant winged creature that would always return to its original form, no matter how much you stretched it and beat it up.  Manglors were released by Ideal in 1984, and Manglodactyl was a part of the first wave.  Later releases of the toys were packaged inside of plastic eggs!
Hanging next to the Manglors are a few handcuff playsets, with a Wild Bill Hickok theme.  This was likely a cheap-o dollar store item, as I can't find a single picture of one anywhere on the net.


Underneath the hanging toys mentioned above we find the Krull board game, based on the movie and released in 1983.  If it weren't for Ira stocking this in his toy shop, it's likely that I would've never known such a board game even existed.  I mean Krull, really?!

Next to the Krull game is Ideal's Torture Track, a toy that dates back to 1966, and allowed kids to watch battery operated toy slot cars drive around and through various road hazards, including a brick wall!


Speaking of board games, check out the Popeye game hanging out behind Ira in this shot. This was of course the official board game of the 1980 Popeye film, starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall.


On the top shelf of this shot you will see a Pac-Man looking little guy called Mr. Mouth, a game released by Tomy in 1976, four years before Pac-Man made his debut.  The object of the game was to throw all your game pieces into Mr. Mouth's mouth, which would rotate around and open and close.  When Milton Bradley took over Tomy Toys, Mr. Mouth was turned into a green frog, presumably to distance the toy from the Pac-Man comparison.

Underneath Mr. Mouth is a Groucho Marx doll and a brown stuffed animal (middle shelf) that I can't quite place.  Looks totally familiar though.  Anyone?!


In the scene where Billy is playing Santa Claus in the store, and greeting children, the Stuff Yer Face board game is seen behind some of the parents.  Released by Milton Bradley in '82, Stuff Yer Face was a fairly creepy game that required you to use puppet arms to stuff marbles into a scary clown's mouth.  Yeaaaaa, glad this one wasn't lying around the house when I was a kid!


Here we have a 'Movie/TV Monster Make-Up' kit, which appears to have Barnabas Collins on the front of the packaging.  Wasn't able to find any of these online, but I did find a very similar looking kit from the '70s, released by a company called Dekker, which leads me to believe that this kit is from the same era, and the same company.  These kits were apparently created by makeup legend Dick Smith, and they allowed kids to transforms themselves into all sorts of different monsters.  Dick (Smith) in a box, if you will!


We round out our stay at Ira's Toys with my favorite thing I was able to spot in the shop; the Masters of the Universe Castle Grayskull playset, seen in this shot, above a drunken Ira's head.  It looks like there's some sort of promotional standee next to Grayskull ... and what's that hanging below?  Let's zoom in a little closer on that...


Ah ha!  That'd be a He-Man and Battle Cat kite, a vintage treasure so awesome that even Billy couldn't help but smile, while in its presence.  Even when you're on a murderous rampage, there's just something about He-Man riding Battle Cat that warms the heart, am I right?  And that image above just about warms my heart more than anything I think I've ever laid eyes on.  Oddly enough, I somehow never noticed this until I went through the movie tonight, for this here post!

And with that, it's time to lock up Ira's Toys for the night.  It's Friday night and Ira's gotta get wasted, so that concludes our tour of the coolest toy store in movie history.  Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!

Take it away, Ira!!


kalliope kreations said...

Don't forget about all the Smurf toys too! Those are my favorite :)

Cat said...

The brown doll near the Groucho Doll is very much a Rowlf doll from The Muppet Show :)

Johnny said...

Ah ha! See I'm not a Muppets guy, but I knew that looked familiar. Thank you, Cat!! =)

Caffeinated Joe said...

I saw this once, a long time ago. Going to try and get my hands on it this year and watch again. That toy store scene alone is priceless! Like a time capsule.

Quanthor said...

Cool post! I've never taken the time to slow it down and analyze the rad shit in the store.

It takes me back to a time when toy stores were cool and not just for "early learning" kids or corporate juggernauts like Toys "R" Us.

Moxie said...

Seeing as I'm obsessed with anything to do with 80s shopping centre scenes (especially toys) I'm surprised I didn't know about this one. Methinks I need to amend this.

-Chris- said...

Awesome post! I totally enjoy reading stuff like this. Thanks!