15 1990s Toys You Might Not Remember
During the 1980s I played with and destroyed a lot of my favorite toys. It was during the '90s where I started to take better care of my toys, and I started collecting them. I still have a bunch of action figures from that era that are still in the original packaging. One of my favorite action figure lines from this era was Todd McFalane's Spawn. Those things were freakin' awesome! That's also the time I started collecting the twelve inch G.I. Joe figures. I loved going to the various toys stores to collect those things. A lot of those stores don't even exist anymore. There are a few toys, though, from the '90s that completely slipped my mind, until I was going through some boxes and came across some that sparked some fun memories.
This is one of the toys that I found in a box that sparked this whole list you're about to read. The toys were based on an animated series, and it was basically America's response to Japanese anime. The descriptions of the toys and character played a big role in the Exosquad universe. The toy distributor was Playmates, who also acquired the license to the Robotech figures. A crossover between the two properties were considered, but nothing ever happened with it. I owned a lot of these Exosquad toys, and they were cool, just not as cool as Robotech.
These things were disgusting, yet radical. They were rubbery hand puppets that resembled small monsters, goblins, and other creatures. They were inspired by classic '80s horror films, such as Ghoulies, Critters, and Gremlins. The whole point of the toy was to scare other people with them, like your grandma. The promotional slogan for the toys was: "If you take us home, we'll kiss your Aunt Martha, we'll eat your peas, and we hope you know lots of girls."
Each character came with a unique style of packaging that was a cardboard box with a plastic "cage" entrance. They also had unique tails and glow in the dark movable eyes. My brothers and I had fun with these things.
This was a toyline based on a series that tried to ride off the coattails of the Power Rangers, and it was created by the same people who brought us the Power Rangers. However, it completely bombed. These toys never really got on my radar. All anyone ever really wanted were the real Power Rangers toys anyway. VR Troopers never had a chance.
The Incredible Crash Test Dummies
This set of toys was based off of a PSA! How often does that happen? The figures were modeled after the mannequins used in automobile collision simulations. Each one has two "impact buttons" on their torsos that, when pushed, would launch their limbs from their bodies. When I think about it now, and watch the commercial, these toys come off as being a little twisted. I mean, you have kids constantly crashing the toy cars against things as hard as they can so they can see the figures' limbs explode off their body.
Monster in My Pocket
These feature several classic monsters and creatures that were inspired by religion, mythology, literary fantasy, science fiction, cryptids, and other anomalous phenomena. The property also branched out into trading cards, comic books, books, toys, a board game, a video game, as well as an animated special, music, clothing and more. There are at least 229 monsters in the series. My family owned quite a few of them. I thought they were cool. Of course, my dad wasn't very happy when he steeped on them with his bare feet.
James Bond Jr.
This was also an animated TV Series, but I was never interested in it. I loved James Bond and I enjoyed watching the 007 films while growing up, and that's probably why I thought 17-year-old James Bond Jr. was a joke.
This toy line was based on the short lived animated series. I think my younger brother had a couple toys from the set, and one of them was of the main character Bucky O'Hare. I wasn't really a big fan of the series, so the toys didn't interest me. For unknown reasons, the toy line was abruptly cancelled right before two new series of action figures could be finished. Apparently there are several photographs online of the unreleased figures.
Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa
I'll be honest, I don't remember these action figures at all. I don't even remember the animated series. It wasn't until I started looking through toys online that I came across it. The toys featured mutated animals in the old west. I don't know how I missed this. There were Halloween costumes, themed candy, fruit snacks, bath products and even lunch boxes and thermoses.
These stuffed dogs allowed kids to decide what mood they wanted their toy to be in. The lips and eyebrows could be adjusted to make them look happy or extremely pissed off. One of my younger brothers had this thing so I have a vague memory of it. Not sure why kids thought this thing was so cool.
When I was looking through '90s toys there were a couple girl ones that I wasn't familiar with. One of them was this Betty Spaghetty figure that is like a cross between Mr. Potato Head and Bratz dolls. The toy is described as being "stereotypically obsessed with her looks." That's always good for little girls. It came with rubbery hair, which kids could do various hair styles, and it also came with changeable hands, feet, shoes, etc.
This was a late '70s, early '80s talking robot that was reintroduced to the world in the '90s. It was the first smart-toy, in that it had a personality, exhibited rudimentary intelligence, memory, game play, and responsiveness. The robot was also the co-host of the game show Pick Your Brain.
The Yo-Yo Ball was the perfect representation of the early 1990s. You can easily see the transition from the '80s into the '90s in the commercial below. So many kids had these things, but they were also easily forgotten. What made this Yo-Yo so special is that that you never had to rewind the string. It sure did get tangled and stuck a lot though.
Puppy Surprise always seemed kind of disturbing to me. It was a stuffed dog that gave birth to little stuffed puppies. Is the birthing process really supposed to be fun for kids? Who was the guy in the meeting at Hasbro who said, "Hey! I have an idea! What if we make a stuffed dog that has babies in it that kids can pull out, and then shove back in the womb when they're done playing with them?!" More importantly, who actually saw that as being a good idea? This is just one of those bizarre toys that should never have existed.
Micro Machines ZBots
Most popular toys in the ‘90s were associated with animated TV shows, but not the ZBots. Their main purpose was to promote the Micro Machine brand, which is something I never got into. I always thought the Micro Machines were a silly toy. The only thing they were good for was in the movie Home Alone when Kevin McCallister used them to torture the Wet Bandits.
I honestly don't remember toys for Steven Spielberg's Hook at all. I have no memory of these action figures and play sets, but they existed. Apparently they were released in very small quantities, and the majority of them were sold overseas due to the line not selling well in the states.