Welcome to our Licensing Blog, which takes a light hearted look at our mysterious world.
Action Man and the good old days(Posted: 24-07-2008)
Last time out I briefly mentioned Star Wars lego (which in our household is mainly, but not exclusively, the domain of my 10 year old son), and it got me thinking back to my favourite toys when I was that age - Action Man immediately sprang to mind.
It may have changed rather a lot since I was saving up my pocket money for it (we had pocket money in those days, not an allowance) but essentially it was, and possibly still is, one of my favourite toys. My son wanted AM (as he seems to be now) to fight alien-type enemies, whereas, in those endearing days when we had never heard of political correctness, I would spend many hours supervising a pitched battle between my two favourites, the Parachute Regiment and the German Stormtroopers – oh, those stick grenades! There was also the Red Devil parachutist, the spaceman with his Apollo capsule, and the Canadian Mountie with his faithful hound (a bulldog of sorts if I remember rightly). The greatest Christmas present I ever received was the Action Man Scorpion tank – the tracks may have broken within a couple of days, but that didn’t diminish my pleasure. In fact Palitoy, the owners at that time, replaced the tracks within a week (as they would do free-of-charge with any broken parts if you wrote them a nice letter).
The main difference between then and now is, of course, licensing. I had Action Man. Full stop. There was no merchandise outside the toy range itself. The range of accessories to start with was limited, so if I wanted extras to go with this I made them myself. With a bit of help from Blue Peter over the years I made the quartermaster’s stores, cunningly crafted from a cardboard box, the infamous double-sided sticky tape and some yellow paint; a sledge made almost entirely out of lolly sticks for my Eskimo figure and his husky dogs; and (here I have to give mum and her knitting needles some credit) an entire skiing outfit including mittens and balaclava! My son had (and here I need to take a deep breath, not only to be able to spew out the list, but also to calm myself before realising how much money this has cost me over the last few years) AM, including lots of accessories that needed batteries, plus trainers, pyjamas, t-shirts, various different stationery sets, games, hats, coats, scarf and gloves.
If only I still had it all. Apparently – if you believe my mum – after I left home the mice ate all the uniforms and everything else was ruined, so it all went in the bin. I could cry when I see what the individual weapons and accessories fetch on ebay!
Life seemed, and I’m sure was, a lot simpler when I was 10. We didn’t hanker after all this other merchandise because it wasn’t there. The choice nowadays is phenomenal, so no wonder my kids want all these things. I’d have been told to get on with my chores and given a good smack, and be grateful for it.
In a couple of weeks I look forward to bringing you news of the French licensing industry from a holiday-makers view point. In the meantime I must remember to go to the shops tomorrow to get my daughter those Bratz boots she keeps on about………….
Previous Blog entries
A month of trade shows!
Happy New Year!
Viva Las Vegas!!
Moscow, Bologna, Easter
Where did February go?
Hong Kong and the merry-go-round begins
Welcome to 2012
The Seoul Character & Licensing Fair comes to town
Vegas is hot, hot, hot!
Welcome to 2011. The treadmill starts!
Around the world in licensing events
Brand Licensing Europe delivers for us again
Summer's over so bring on the Licensing Awards
Seoul, kids at the show and kimchi
Las Vegas and all its (licensed) temptations
Easter eggs and volcanic ash
We're Northern Light Fund Quiz winners!
New Hungary show makes it's debut in cold Budapest
March heralds another month of madness
2010 finally arrives, and the new Guide is here!
Brand Licensing Europe delivers again
The Licensing Awards in London
Seoul hosts Korea's Character & Licensing Fair
Las Vegas welcomes Licensing International 2009
Vegas here we come!
Brits on tour in Prague!
STOP PRESS: England closes because of snow!
A Special Delivery before Burns Night
Dubai and Christmas drinks
The joys of Brand Licensing
Exhibiting at the National Incentive Show
Greetings from Mexico!
French motorways, sun, sea and sand
Action Man and the good old days
Hot and sticky Hong Kong
Brits on tour in New York