One of my favorite childhood books of all time, and one of the first books I remember enjoying, was The Monster At The End Of This Book.
A Little Golden Book featuring Sesame Street‘s Grover, TMATEOTB is a “post-modern” book in which Grover breaks the fourth wall, pleading with readers not to turn the pages so that they won’t meet the monster he has read about in the title. Along the way, he tries to fix pages so that the reader can’t turn them, nailing some and bricking up others. These plans are repeatedly foiled as the reader turns the page, and the destruction of these plans can be found on the subsequent pages (fallen bricks, busted wood planks, etc). When we get to the end, we discover that the monster at the end of the book is (SPOILER!) Grover himself, a joke that delighted me as a kid and still delights me today.
Recently I was able to share this experience with my 2-year-old daughter via an Amazon app called Another Monster At The End Of This Book. This app features Elmo and Grover in an updated, interactive remake of the original. My daughter loved it, and I thought it was okay, but, as with most remakes, I prefer the original.
When I was a kid, my dad and I used to make many trips to a store called TSS which stands for “Time Square Stores”. I remember them having a clothing department, sporting goods department, tobacco section, toy department, a candy shop and a music store called “Record World”. My pops used to spend a lot of time in Record World; bought many 45 records. I remember the toy section. Lots of bikes and board games. You could say it is similar to Wal-Mart, but looking back it felt like it was slightly more upscale. Sadly, most of these stores were closed by late 1989 and completely gone by 1990. After that we had to rely solely on “Green Acres Mall” in Valley Stream, NY.
I found this miniature Mach 5 at a garage sale for a quarter about a month ago. Back when I was in grade school Speed Racer cartoons used to come on right around the time I got off the school bus and I used to watch it every day. Fact: it is impossible for me to pick up a toy Mach 5 without making the “CHA-CHa-Cha-cha” noise at the same time.
The car’s trunk doesn’t open, which is a good thing as I fear it may contain Spridle and Chim-Chim’s bones.
Their is a great photo group on Flickr that collects photos of re-purposed Fotomats. For those not in the know, years ago, when people still used film their were these cheery little film kiosks all across America where you could drop off and pick up your film. They were called Fotomats and they looked like this…