Amazon Deals

Tuesday, October 8, 2013



Stories of Childhood Toy Triumph and Tragedy



Age: 11 Years
Date: 1985
Place: My parents house
Location: Waltham, Massachusetts

I have always been more of a super hero toy collector/hoarder throughout my life. Those were always the items that I looked for once I hit the toy aisles. Hulk, Spider-man, Captain Marvel, Captain America, etc. were the faces that made my world tick. But every so often another toy would come out and make an impression on me. Some throughout the years have been, the LJN WWF Wrestling Superstars figures, the Remco AWA Wrestling Figures and the Bandi M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. The most important and influential of this group to me was the Mattle He-Man and the Masters of the Universe figures (I had just about everything including the heralded Eternia playset).

Most of the time a toy would just hit the shelves without my knowledge and it would spark my interest. One of these such toys was made by IDEAL called The Manglors. These strange creatures seemed to be out of a horror story. They were encased in large eggs and were said to be "Made of the Strangest Stuff on Earth!" What were these things? I said to myself as I looked them over one day in a Caldors department store. I was always such a stickler for the brutish type of characters so it was "The Manglord" figure that I wanted because he looked like a cross between Frankenstein and the Swamp Thing. On this day my mom said no when I asked her for it, so I left the store empty handed.

As time went on I happened to watch a commercial that advertised The Manglors and when I found out you could rip them apart and put them back together I was even more interested. WOW!! You can tear them apart and stick them back together any way you wanted?? You could even mix-n-match them?? How cool was that? Next time we hit the toy store, I'm getting the Manglord baby, no excuses!!

Eventually I went with my mom to a Kay-Bee toy store and I picked up the Manglord. If I'm correct, I think it sold for 7.99. Hell, that's cheap for an indestructible toy!! When I got home I tore into the box like a kid possessed (and I was)! I popped open the egg shell and the figure was sealed in a clear plastic bag that kept it moist. When I tore that open, the figure felt like a strange, squishy sponge that had a strong soapy smell to it. I crushed it and stretched it and then came the moment of truth... I tore its arm off!! I then put the arm back on to watch it "magically" heal itself -- and then the arm fell off. HUH? I tried to stick the arm on again and it fell off again. Again and again and again I tried to stick the arm back on and it continued to fall off! What was this trash?? It drove me nuts!! The figure didn't work anything like it was advertised. I was suppose to be able to rip his limbs off and then put them back on. That feature didn't work at all, as I just ripped my toy apart and had an armless Manglord figure. To make matters worse, dust and hair stuck to this thing like the plague. But like the delusional fool I am, I had to get another one and keep it pristine. So the bigger problem was how was I going to convince mommy to buy me another one?

In reality my mother would never just get me a new Manglord figure no matter how hard I tried to convince her. I needed a plan, and most importantly -- I needed time. As the fates would have it, another Manglors toy commercial hit the air waves during this time... Manglor Mountain: The Volcanic Fortress Playset! When you pumped the mouth of the serpent god forged within the mountain, the Manglord would rise from the bowels of hell and break free from his steel cage to attack my other toys (well, this is how my imagination saw it at the time). While getting a straight up, stand alone Manglord figure would be next to impossible because my mom just got it for me, with this playset she would never know the difference! How could I be this lucky?

The first part of my plan was to get her to see it. So after getting her to watch a little bit of television with me on a few occasions, the commercial aired. I conveniently told her that this playset would be great with the Manglord figure she just got me a few days ago... and surprisingly, she thought that it looked fun! WOW! My luck just kept on coming. She said that I could get it this weekend if I did a bunch of chores for the rest of the week. No problem, I said as I went to work. I planted the seed and I got the prize. When I get this toy, I was going to be smarter and keep the Manglord intact and mint. Thanks mom!

Getting Manglor Mountain at Bradlees that weekend was full of childhood wonder. My anticipation to open up this playset and raise my Manglord figure from the fiery bowels of the mountain was going to be a blast. When I got home, I tore the box open and set up the spectacle. It felt good to have an intact Manglord figure (he was going to stay that way). The mountain playset, cage and lava-goo-slime looked cool and I noticed that when you press down on the demon's tongue, the air pressure would blow out of a small hole to raise the figure and the cage. So I put the figure into the cage, snapped it shut, slid it down the cylinder-hole in the middle of the mountain and poured the lava slime on the top of it... ecstasy here I come!!

As I pumped away my youthful enthusiasm quickly changed to absolute frustration. The air that shot out was only strong enough to raise the Manglord and his cage about half-way up before it would begin to slide back down. I pumped harder and harder and the same thing kept happening. What a mess!! What a rip off!! This blasted toy was another scam within the Manglor line! Nothing worked like it was advertised to do! And after all the chores I did to get this thing -- I was pissed! After about an hour I was through with this playset and everything that had to do with the Manglors! I never touched one ever again.

Ironically, it wasn't just me who had a problem with The Manglors. A Consumers Union children's publication called Penny Power took action against IDEAL due to the fact that this toy line could not live up to its advertising claims... good for them!


A few years later my mom had a yard sale and this playset was one of the things that I wanted to sell to make a few bucks. I convinced a kid up the street named Brian to buy it for 5 dollars (sucker). I saw it in his trash when I was walking to school about a week later -- that was hilarious. Thanks for the memories IDEALyou guys suck.

to be continued...

Other Tales From the Toy Chest:









   John "The Mego Stretch Hulk" Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John still thinks he's really Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow on twitter at @Elastic_Hulk and have some fun.