The Transformers (Generation One), 1984 – 1990

Christmas, 1984. It was a hell of a time to be a kid. We’d reveled in seven years of Star Wars and Star Wars toys, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (also Hasbro) and Mattel’s Masters of the Universe franchises launched in 1982, using Lucas’s simplistic moral universe as a backdrop, and then Hasbro struck again with these diecast shape-shifting robots yanked from Japanese company Takara…

Spaceport Employee Training Video, 1981

Spaceport was an East Coast mall arcade chain active in the early 1980s, competing with Time Out and Aladdin’s Castle. The interior was designed to resemble the inside of a spacecraft, with “escape hatches” protruding from the ceiling, cylindrical “E.V.A boosters” lining the walls, and various future-forward portals and struts…

Comic Book Sound Effects, 1939 – 1985

Sequential art goes all the way back to cave paintings, and word balloons start to appear in political cartoons in the late 1700s, but the combination of the two in newspaper comic strips was a late 19th century development, spurred by the “circulation war” between Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal

Bob Pepper Cover Art for Isaac Asimov’s ‘Lucky Starr’ Series, 1971 – 1972

Originally published between 1952 and 1958 under the pseudonym Paul French, Isaac Asimov’s Lucky Star series details the exploits of David “Lucky” Starr, a prototypical pulp hero waging prototypical “Us vs. Them” adventures. The books were originally intended as the basis for a children’s television series, a sort of science-fictional Lone Ranger, but the project was abandoned when a competing network started developing Rocky Jones, Space Ranger (1954)…

‘Bureaucracy’ Board Game, 1981

In Avalon Hill’s Bureaucracy, players attempt to “simulate the bureaucratic behavior which constitutes so much of what we call government” and “[rise] up through the masses” to become Director, which amounts to marching around a Monopoly-style game board seeking promotion…

‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ by Rockwell, 1984 (Music Video)

Rockwell, born Kennedy William Gordy, is the son of Motown founder Berry Gordy. Despite his father’s discouraging comments regarding his early songs, Kennedy wrote “Somebody’s Watching Me” in 1983 and submitted a demo to Motown under the name Rockwell because, as he claimed later, he didn’t want his father’s legacy to influence his success…