20th Century Toy Collector

More Than Meets The Eye!

The 1980s had the Best Toys!

Every generation will look back with fondness at their childhood. For me -and I will wager for the majority of the male audience visiting this website- the decade called the 1980s was the decennium where most of our childhood years were spent…. and that was an awesome time to be alive and growing up! I was born in 1975, so for me the 1980s started when I was almost 5 and they ended when I was almost 15. Those are very important and formative years for a boy growing up. The 1980s had some of the coolest toys and cartoons ever!

Orko says hi!

“1980s rule!”

Yeah, I know that’s a bold claim and some will say that every generation will say the same about their childhood decade(s). But there really is something different about the 1980s and I think I can back that up with facts. The 1980s were the decade where some of the most classic toy lines were launched. Some of these have seen numerous reissues and relaunches since then and some of them still exist to this day!!! The 1980s were also the first decade where toy based cartoon series exploded onto our television screens!!

Your childhood says hi!

While pessimists might claim that these cartoons were nothing more than 30 minute advertisements for the toy lines they were based on, the kids of the 1980s will tell you a whole different story!!


Allow me the priviledge to step on my soap box and to be so bold as to represent a whole generation of kids worldwide, who grew up in the 1980s, whether they grew up in Europe, the Americas or Asia….. These cartoons and toys were a fucking blast! They have stimulated our imaginations like nothing else and for some of us they still resonate profoundly in our adult lives and still fill our lives with pleasure! Hands up all of you who consider Optimus Prime a personal hero. Hands up all of you who got all choked up inside when Optimus Prime died in the 1986 Transformers Movie. Hands up all of you who still get goose bumps every now and then when He-Man holds up his magic sword and says “By the Power of Grayskull!”. Hands up all of you who think the intro theme to the M.A.S.K. cartoon is one of the coolest pieces of music written evah!! :-)

Yo Joe!!

“The 1980s are still rockin’!”

I guess some sceptics might still claim that the 1980s are nothing different from the decades before and the decades after. Well, I beg to differ. Let’s have an objective look at some of the 1980s properties that are still alive today, shall we? The Transformers exploded onto an unsuspecting planet in 1984 and have remained with us ever since! The toy line just never stopped and kept being reinvented and has recently reached new levels of awesomeness in the 21st century with three major motion pictures and no end in sight yet!!! Next up: G.I. Joe! In the 1980s Hasbro relaunched their G.I. Joe line and it became a major, major hit worldwide. Again, today we still have G.I. Joe toys being released and two succesful blockbuster motion pictures!


But those are not the only 1980s properties that saw re-releases or re-issues. How about the numerous Masters of the Universe re-issues and relaunches over the years and the MOTU Classics line still going strong? How about the Inspector Gadget movies? How about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles revival around the corner? How about the Battle Beasts trademark being brought back by Diamond Select Toys and Takara gearing up to release the true successor to the Battle Beasts line: Beast Saga! There’s probably loads more examples you could come up with.

Kick ass packaging design

“Wonder, magic and adventure”

That’s one of the many reasons I like to collect vintage toys from the 1980s. They’re so frickin’ cool! Another reason is that it recaptures some of the enthousiasm and joy that I felt when I was a kid. I would certainly not want to give you the impression that I don’t feel joy and enthousiasm in my adult life, far from it. But there’s just something about that sense of wonder, magic and adventure that you would feel as a kid that rarely happens anymore in your adult life. Coming home and opening a package that arrived from the US, the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands or any other place on this planet makes my heart beat faster and I feel like I’m 10 years old and it’s my birthday when I’m tearing the package open! And that’s a good thing if you ask me.

My childhood friends!

Thank you for allowing me to get all emotional on you and to indulge in a little personal nostalgia here. I’ll step off my soapbox now. Normal blogging will resume shortly. ;-) I’ve added a lot of goodies to my collection in the past few weeks that I hope to feature here as soon as I can get them photographed.




posted on July 3, 2012 by 20th Century Toy Collector in G.I. Joe,He-Man,M.A.S.K.,Majokit,MB Transformers,Transformers and has Comments (9)

9 Responses to “The 1980s had the Best Toys!”

  1. Maz says:

    *puts hands up 3 times*

  2. Arkvander says:

    *Hand stays up*

    I think a big part of why so many memorable properties were created in the ’80’s was because of the deregulation of TV in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s paving the way for toy companies to bombard kids with their product. Before the ’80’s there was basically Star Wars and Planet of the Apes. But after there were literally hundreds of new properties and as you said many are still with us today. The ’80’s were the golden age of toys and I don’t think it is a time that will ever be repeated. I’m so glad to have grown up during such an awesome time.

  3. Fighbird says:

    Word. Effing word. :)

    • 20th Century Toy Collector says:

      LOL, glad I struck a chord there. It’s easy to dismiss our generation’s feelings about the 1980s as pure nostalgia. Sure, nostalgia has a lot to do with it, but it’s not *only* nostalgia. Every decade of the 20th century has its own “thing”. The 1940s are remembered for World War II, the 1960s were a time of great social change and cultural revolution in the western world, but the 1980s has definitely *got* to be the decade that will go down in history as the decade that has brought forth an amazing amount of entertainment and pop culture like no decade has done ever since. The couple of toy lines and tie-in cartoons I mentioned here are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. TV also brought us classic stuff like the Dukes of Hazzard, A-Team, Airwolf, M*A*S*H, Miami Vice, Knight Rider, Perfect Strangers, V, WWF Wrestling, The Cosby Show, Night Court, Family Ties, Cheers, ALF, Moonlighting, Alien Nation and Married with Children!

      Music wise you had pop artists who acquired super star status and sold unheard of numbers of records like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and George Michael and a little channel known as MTV launched in 1981 (followed by MTV Europe in 1987). And don’t get me started on 1980s movies! Two sequels from the epic Star Wars saga, the Back to the Future trilogy, Ghostbusters, The Goonies, E.T., iconic horror movies like the Nightmare on Elm Street series, the Friday the 13th series, the Halloween series, John Hughes teen flicks like The Breakfast Club, Weird Science and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman flicks (LOL!) The meteoric rise of home computers like the Commodore 64, and the awesome, awesome Amiga computer. Video game consoles like the NES and the Sega Master System. Renting videos and the VHS vs Beta wars. Phew! And I am *still* just scratching the surface here. :-)

      @Arkvander : You’re spot on with your remark about FCC deregulation in the early 1980s. The relaxing of these rules was what made cartoons like G.I. Joe, Transformers, M.A.S.K., Masters of the Universe, the Wheeled Warriors, Thundercats and many many more possible. These cartoons would not have existed if it were not for these changes in U.S. regulations with regards to broadcast television. I wonder how different my youth would have been without these cartoons growing up…

      Isn’t it also amazing to realize how much of all this cool stuff comes from the U.S.? Love ’em or hate ’em, my opinion is they sure do know how to make entertainment and I’m thankful for the exposure I’ve had to US entertainment from an early age (and still do). Props to the US for that. Credit where credit is due.

  4. Man, another great post and like Arkvander, hand stays up!

    For a while, I have been convinced that I was delusional and that I loved the ’80s because it was “my golden age”. If you saw the movie Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen, you;d know what I mean – gist is that everyone looks back to a time of nostalgia, they time they love and cherish the most – their golden age. For my parents it was the 60s (they won’t stop talking about it); and for me it’s the 80s.

    I just thought it was a silly sense of nostalgia, but after reading your post and the comments above, I do agree that the 80s were really onto something and will go down in history as the pop culture explosion decade.

    So many of the things, bands, music and toy lines that were mentioned were at one time or other a part of my childhood.

    Thanks again for this trip down memory lane!

  5. Katie Parker says:

    You’re all right Dude! My 1980’s toys are still the best for me. Thanks for posting this. And yeah, *Hands stays up* :)

  6. Simon says:

    How could I not agree? I feel so lucky having being part of the 80’s as a kid.

    Your childhood friends are my childhood friends as well, and everytime I look at them displayed in my windows they greet me and say thank you for having not forgotten them and kept them the best way possible for all these years.

    Hands up! :)

  7. steve says:

    could not agree with you anymore, i was born in 1980. m.a.s.k he-man transformers battlebeasts m.u.s.c.l.e…. so so many memories :)

  8. Pretty cool! Did you have any Dyna Flites planes? God bless!

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