Straight Up Weird Toys

“Hey Doug, were there any off-brand unpopular toys that you didn’t have?” I’m glad you asked. Apparently, the answer is, “No.” As you know, I frequently got my toys from the bargain bins at Kay Bee toys, such as these wonders from the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons lines. They were only the tips of the proverbial loser toy iceberg, though. There were several other toys that I pulled out of those bins, toys that I just barely remember and only just now happened upon in a search for some other toy I had.

This is the Demon Rider from Dimensions For Children Dragon Riders of the Styx line. I distinctly remember getting this one on a Friday night. A friend was with me and he got one as well. We played with them while watching the New Twilight Zone. The “demon” is nothing to get excited about; it looks more like the car for a haunted house ride than an actual demon. The rider, though, is pretty cool. He has knee joints and his faceless face makes him a real unique figure. As I recall, it was very difficult to get him inside the demon, and once he was in, you couldn’t get him out.

The Other World line from Arco had bendable figures. They didn’t have joints or articulation points; they could just bend. I was extremely young when I had these and can’t remember just how many I had. But I do remember the little figures that came with the main figure and their weapons. There were a lot of these figures (including a two-headed one named Skitzo, I kid you not), some mythical animal steeds (motorized, no less) and even a playset, which you can see here.

Ideal’s Manglords (or Manglors, I think it was spelled both ways) were pretty strange. I only had the set above, which had a Manglord and a slime pit playset, but there were several others. The slime pit worked okay. I seemed to remember that it kind of lowered and raised the figure into the slime (which was hidden inside the “mountain”). It took a lot of pressing the button, though, and you could hear the bubbling as the slime fought to keep the cage from raising. The figure didn’t work anything like advertised. You were supposed to be able to rip his limbs off and then put them back on. That feature didn’t work at all, as I found out as soon as I opened the package and tore the Manglord’s leg out of its socket. I had a legless Manglord from that time on. I still had fun with him, though. I imagined that he was a Swamp Thing-like character who could jump from tree to tree in a primeval forest.

Dimensions For Children also made some fantasy-themed plastic figure playsets. This is the toy I had been orginally looking for this evening. I had the “Tower Of The Night” set (which is not the one pictured above but very similar). It had all sorts of fantasy characters, including wizards, elves, and orcs. The set was, in fact, was my first exposure to the orc race (I had never heard that word before), and for that I’ll be ever grateful. There were several of these sets, and you can see them here.

So what can I say about these toys? Well, they’re weird. I think we’d all agree. They are straight up weird, maybe a little too weird for an impressionable young kid on the west side of Columbus. But, as I think we’d all also agree, they’re a little wonderful as well.


Doug is a child of the 80s who was raised in Ohio and is now living the life of oblivion in the bay area of California.

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