Mordles Are Back!

I have a saved search on Ebay. I have several, actually. One of them is for mordles, the little, unarticulated figures that came with the Rocks, Bugs, and Things toys from CBS. Apparently, real mordles are real rare and real valuable, because I hardly see them, and when I do, they are priced at $50 or more. Today, though, I got an email about the 2013 mordles. “Ruah?” I asked in my best Scooby-Doo voice. It turns out that Toyfinity has acquired the rights to Rocks, Bugs, and Things as well as to Robo Force and Manglors. I’m not exactly sure, but it looks to me like they are going to start producing replicas of the original toys. Here’s an example of their mordles, which look pretty spot on to me.rsz_solar_storm1
If you’re interested, you can check out the mordles and the glow-in-the-dark Manglor eggs here. And here’s hoping we get a complete Gravleguts figure soon!

T.H.I.N.G.S.

Did you ever have one of Milton Bradley’s T.H.I.N.G.S.?

Me neither, but I always wanted one. T.H.I.N.G.S. stood for Totally Hilarious Incredibly Neat Games of Skill. They were little wind-up plastic games that came out in the late ’80s and had the same purposefully-outrageous vibe you’d find on Nickelodeon and in Saturday morning cartoons. They had bright colors, funny names (Astro-Nots, Eggzilla, Flip-o-potomus, Sir Rings-A-Lot, etc.), and outrageous premises. Just the kind of things, er, T.H.I.N.G.S., that 80s kids loved.

Each of the T.H.I.N.G.S. was a race against the clock. In one you had to assemble an egg around a dinosaur before he sprang from his perch, in another you had to rescue a group of astronauts before an alien got them, in still another you had to direct a knight as he grabbed rings.

Like so many things from that time, I never got to have, play, or even see any of the T.H.I.N.G.S. in real life. My only exposure to them was the TV commercial. And seeing the videos on YouTube, I probably would have been disappointed if I had gotten one. They seem quite noisy and they don’t seem to have much long-lasting entertainment value. I’d probably have gotten pretty tired of them pretty quickly, and if I did keep playing with them, it would be as a toy, not a game. Still, I wanted one badly back then, and to be honest, the little boy inside me who is infatuated with all purposefully-outrageous 80s things still wants one.

Rocks & Bugs & Things

My Mom used to give me toys in my Easter basket. I’m not sure how that tradition got started, but why question a good thing? One year, hidden in the plastic grass with the malt balls, Peeps, and chocolate rabbits, there were a couple Go-Bots (Cop-tur and Tank, I believe) and this:

I had not seen this before, neither in real life or on TV. It was one of the figures from Ideal’s Rocks & Bugs & Things line. The concept of the line was that carnivorous monsters disguised themselves as rocks and insects in order to surprise and eat their prey.

There were ten figures (at least in the first wave; I’m not sure if there was a second) total. Five were rocks and five were insects. Of those five, I thought my rock and the tarantula were the best.

The best thing about the one I got was that his hand popped his prey into his mouth. Not only so, but when his prey was in his mouth, he could then go back into his rock form. So you could store the prey inside. As Retroist readers might know, I’ve always been fascinated when things disappear entirely into other things (like NES games into the NES), so this was a big plus for me.

The prey in question were little bipeds called Mordles. They looked a little like an angry Q*Bert.

But while the Rocks & Bugs & Things preferred Mordles, they could eat other things. MUSCLES would fit easily into Gravelguts’ maw, as would Space Creatures. Plastic men of various kinds could also be eaten, and so could Kenner’s Yoda. I’m pretty sure Gravelguts even tried to eat Cop-Tur.

As far as I know, I was the only kid in my neighborhood to have and enjoy a Rocks & Bugs & Things figure. They disappeared as quickly as the Manglords did. And I haven’t been able to get one off of Ebay (though I have seen a few). For all intents and purposes, they have disappeared. But you know, there’s a lot of rocks my house, and on some evenings I will look at them and be thankful I’m not a Mordle.