Friends, the other day while finishing out my shift here in the Retroist Vault, I was browsing eBay for many of the toys I’ve lost through the ages. I was in fact looking for the infamous Spider-Man Webmaker set when I stumbled across another Marvel Comics hero offering, 1978’s The Incredible Hulk’s Hideaway playset. The crazy thing is, Rockford Jay just so happened to pop in for a visit…and he had actually just bought one of the playsets himself off eBay!
I suppose it’s a case of great minds think alike and all that but it was nice to get a chance to check out The Incredible Hulk’s Hideaway playset in person. This was released by Tara Toys back in 1978 and as far as I can tell it was a Sears exclusive – which might explain why I didn’t know about it in my youth. Although for what it’s worth I did have a Batman version by Ideal from back in ’73 – it wasn’t as big as the Hulk’s playset but I still remember spending afternoons in the living room floor with the Dynamic Duo.
Unlike the Batman and Robin version, the Hulk playset only featured two cardboard characters – Dr. Bruce Banner and his gamma-irradiated ego. Using the transmutation chamber, by spinning the tray within Bruce would turn into the Incredible Hulk.
It appears the playset itself was scaled for Mego’s famous World’s Greatest Super Heroes line of action figures. Although I suppose Mego’s equally celebrated Pocket Super Heroes would work just as well.
The playset acted as a carrying case and kids could open it up, folding itself out to depict what I believe is the inside of an abandoned mine, a hiding spot for the Hulk. In addition to a lab table for Dr. Banner to conduct his experiments on, made of cardboard of course, there are additional pieces of scientific equipment in the artwork. For those long days when Bruce is attempting to free himself from the curse of the Incredible Hulk…or possibly to be used by the other Mego heroes when they drop by for a visit?
That was truly a great thing about the Mego line back in the day – in particular the Pocket Super Heroes series of action figures. It totally made sense to have Batman and Robin hanging out with Spider-Man and Captain America. To be honest, as awesome as I think The Incredible Hulk’s Hideaway Playset is…I would kill for the Batcave playset or the unproduced Spider-Man Alley set!
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