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Old 25th November 2014, 09:08 PM
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Default Flashback: Last year it's Trivia, this year it's Transformers

The Canberra Times: Sunday 22 December 1985

Last year Trivia, this year it's Transformers
By POLLYANNA SUTTON

As the retailers rub their hands together in glee comparing notes about the consistency of crowds and the bouyancy of the Christmas period in terms of profit, the shoppers are packing themselves into the stores.

When it comes to buying presents for a certain age group, there is no individuality, merely a push, shove and a grab towards the ulitmate gift.

While last year's top-selling Christmas gift was Trivial Pursuit, this year's winner is the Transformer, a plastic toy with space-age leanings, which enthralls children with its ability to transform from microscope to robot, tough four-wheel drive to robot, laser gun to robot, helicopter to robot, robot to pseudo cassette-player — pretty punk but it doesn't play music — and so the list goes on.

The retailers cannot get enough of them and admit, much to their chagrin, that there will be no more stocks before Christmas. The sales success of other gifts pales to insignificance beside this phenomenal seller.

At Grace Brothers in Belconnen Mall earlier this week, 90 Transformers sold in less than an hour—there was not even time for an announcement over the public address system.

I witnessed the sale of some of these futuristic titan-like toys at K-Mart on Wednesday. The store had received only two shopping trolleys full and the scene was chaotic as mothers and children crowded around trying to choose one that had not already made its way into the family home.

By lunch time there were only two Transformers left.

The publicity brochure for the Transformer speaks of "a world of heroic Autobots and Decepticons", and shows the many different Transformers of all shapes, colours and sizes in various space-age terrains and positions. The toys range in price upwards of $10 to about $40, the trend being to have more than one.

Joshua Smith, 8, of Chapman has five transformers and is something of a fan. He said he liked them because they transformed into something else and continued with explanations of the different types of Transformers and which particular models his toybox held.

If parents think maybe Johnny has enough Transformers to keep him happy think again. - A new range called Voltron, in the same vein as Transformers, has just been released and should be the talk of the playground when school begins in 1986.

Encouraging news is that Stack Hats, a safety helmet which children can use for cycling, roller skating, skateboarding, etc etc have also been big sellers.

The somehow inoffensive Cabbage Patch Doll is still selling well but manufacturers have been crafty enough to realise that accessories are all the go. After all, the proud parent of one of these dolls cannot let it wear the same clothes day in-day out, and how can the doll enjoy life without a Cabbage Patch swing? The one saving grace of this doll is that it seems to have diverted attention from those revolting models which burp when thumped in the right place, chew, and with the right powder shuffled down its throat, dirtys nappies and develops a rather nasty looking nappy rash.

K-mart also reported that Inspector Gadget cars, dolls, games and mini-figures were popular sellers.

Considering current sales in menswear departments, there is a good chance that dad will wake up to yet another pair of socks for Christmas — unless the shopper has shown some initiative and chosen a wallet, tie, or item from the mens toiletry range.

Mum may find makeup or French perfume in her stocking, with the relevant departments reporting profitable trading.

There is one thing for certain, the Christ mas table will be heavily laden with chocolates, nuts and speciality food items and there will be plenty of Christmas cheer to fill the toasting glasses.



Joshua Smith, 8, choosing Transformers in K-Mart last week.

Source:
Sunday THE BACK PAGE Last year Trivia, this year it's Transformers. (1985, December 22). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 18. Retrieved November 25, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article118180715
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Old 25th November 2014, 09:09 PM
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Joshua, are you among us?

Thanks to Skullcruncher who got me in the mood to search newspaper archives that led me to finding this article.
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Old 25th November 2014, 09:14 PM
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That was fantastic. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th November 2014, 09:20 PM
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Thanks for the nostalgia Paul, those were good days
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Old 26th November 2014, 07:46 AM
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That was awesome I bought my first Transformer from K-Mart also. It was Sideswipe. I can relate to this article because I really wanted Sunstreaker but you basically got what was left on the shelves. I treasure him now.
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Old 26th November 2014, 09:12 AM
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I remember this article. Josh was in my class at school. (I also grew up in Chapman, and we went to the same Primary School.)
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Old 26th November 2014, 09:30 AM
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Josh you opened (openly ruined) a crispy MISB G1 Perceptor! Don't you know the future and about grading stuff yet? Silly Josh.
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Old 26th November 2014, 04:39 PM
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thanks for putting that up Paul, it's a very interesting look into the start of the phenomenom.
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Old 27th November 2014, 07:34 AM
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Just noticed that Voltron in the background of the photo. Cool
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Old 27th November 2014, 08:06 PM
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Ah found it, I couldn't find it searching under your username (threads created by etc)
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