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Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings Perfect Paperback – December 21, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

It is a fascinating study. As you flip through it, you'll find a mixture of I had that!! moments, followed by just as many I had NO IDEA that made that!! moments. And by the time you're finished, you ll be asking, Hey, how come they never made a Rack Toy for (insert the name of a late 60s-early 80s property here). I, for one, am glad this book exists, the first of it s kind. A reference for a cherished corner of our childhoods, and guide to future collecting. A carry along time machine. --Introduction by Jason Lenzi

About the Author

Brian Heiler was born in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada and enjoyed a quintessential 1970s orange and brown childhood.

As a freelance pop culture writer and photographer his work has been published in Toy Shop, Lees Action Figure News, Toyfare Magazine and Model & Collector Mart He has often written the daily list for the Village Voice medias celebrated nerd website Topless Robot .

His website PlaidStallions is a repository for his childhood obsessions including toys, 70s clothing, Superheroes making mall appearances and pictures of long defunct toy retailers.

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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Plaid Stallions Press; 1st edition (December 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0991692209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0991692200
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
Cheap toys that break easy; Truly one of my biggest pet peeves as an adult. Even when I was a kid such items were quite heartbreaking. So with that said I can't help but find the irony in the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed this 144 page tome dedicated to some of the cheapest hunks of plastic that were ever made.

Rack Toys by Brian Heiler is a fantastic collection of toys that you either never knew existed or broke so fast that you forgot about them until your subconscious kicked in while looking at these beautifully laid out pages.

For the uneducated Brian Heiler is the mastermind behind Plaid Stallions.com celebrating 70's catalog cheesiness and of course the co pilot of the Mego Museum (second only to founder Scott Adams). Brian is a fantastic example of someone who truly enjoys his geekdom. I mean that in the most respectful way.

His passion for the aforementioned websites has led to the creation of some of the coolest collectibles I personally have ever been privy to. Specifically the Brick Mantooth / Super Collector Re-Mego figure and the 1978 Re-Imagined Mego Catalog (and of course the new Megozine) Brian and his collaborative pals have taken quite the personal hit for the team of fanboys and girls (like myself) to have a little extra fun with our hobbies. For that I salute you all proudly as I get another paper cut thumbing through the item at hand.

Having acquired this particular copy through Amazon for a mere $19.99 (free shipping with your Prime membership kids) I have been imbibing each and every page. The brief write ups are just enough info on the provided specimens that actually speak volumes all by themselves. From absolutely terrible tie-in's such as a Superman with parachute toy (really? Superman needs a parachute?
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Format: Perfect Paperback
If you grew up in the 70's to mid 80's this book is a true treasure. While there many famous toys we all loved, it's easy to forget these nonsensical (Hulk on a motorcycle) but tremendously fun products of the time period. You could go almost anywhere and see these things and the best part was the parents would usually say "yes" due to the low price point.
Page after page I challenge anyone not to crack smile. Batman water rocket? Check. Mr T. Jewelry set? Check. Spider-Man police set with badge and handcuffs check. Everyone from Capt Kirk to Capt America with a parachute. Check! The book also contains some fantastic shots with displays that capture exactly what is was like to see these in a store. Highly recommended.
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If you are a child of the 70s or 80s, and ever went into a grocery store with your parents, Rack Toys is sure to rekindle long forgotten memories. You don't have to be a hardcore toy collector to appreciate the snapshot of pop culture Brian Heiler has taken here. From the inspired (Space:1999 Moon Buggy) to the ridiculous (Spider-Man "Exterminator" set complete with 38 special revolver), each toy displayed is treated with the utmost affection. As Heiler manages to do on his Plaid Stailions website ([...] the material, no matter how incongruous, isn't ridiculed in a mean-spirited, cynical fashion. Instead utter absurdity is celebrated, the weirder the better, and the more interesting. There are plenty of examples in this book that will make you ask yourself "they made that?!?". And of course you have ask yourself "Why is there a Love Boat barber set? They never showed a barber shop on the series!".

But ultimately, it's the journey that is important, and this book takes you through every grocery store, convenient mart, gas station and drugstore of the past. The design of the book is simple but effective. Unlike many toy collector books, the pages are not over-designed and artsy. This allows the photographs to really shine and makes one feel as if they were looking at a private collection, or opening a time-capsule of 20th century pop culture, piece by piece. The text is brief and concise, but gives you just enough information that you slowly begin to understand the thinking processes of these toy companies, even if many of their ideas were pretty far afield.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love for pop culture, toys or just likes to relive fond childhood memories. These toys were never meant to occupy more than just a few minutes of any child's time, but somehow they reserved a small corner in the back of many of our minds, and Heiler has provided us an avenue to revisit them again.
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I am an avid collector of Vintage toys, toy reference books, and old catalogs and this book is full of fun! Flipping through every page is fantastic. It is refreshing to have a fellow collector put their heart into something they love and turn a great product as Rack Toys. The writing is on point and the pictures are full of color and beauty! Thanks again Brian!
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I have read Don Quixote, Ulysses, The Catcher In The Rye, The Werewolf Vs. The Vampire Woman, For Whom The Bell Tolls, etc., and believe me, none of these books can compare to Rack Toys. This is the classic that the world has been waiting for. Did Homer write about the Azrak Hamway collection of Universal Monster action figures? Nope. Did you ever see images of officially licensed Mr. T plastic rings in a Faulkner novel? I doubt it. But Brian Heiler tackles these important subjects right here in Rack Toys in glorious full color. I bought multiple copies of this and handed them out randomly on my last trip to the Island Of Misfit Toys. They were all happy to see that the world finally was paying attention.
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