1982 Sears Wish Book

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I know Matt over at Dinosaur Dracula looks at Christmas catalogs, specifically the Sears Wish Book and I don’t doubt he does it much better but I’ve got some of these things laying around and they just demand to be looked through. These are like little picture time capsules organized neatly through the years.  The Wish Book would come every year (do they still put these out?) and inside would be everything from bad clothes to over priced video cameras to toys and today I’m going to pick out a few highlights that stick out from the year 1982.

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Let’s start off with the INSANE prices on electronics. A video camera for $1500 and a 19-inch TV for $540! That is just absolutely insane.

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Pac-Man was huge in 1982 and this catalog contains plenty of evidence to support that claim. The ghost eating yellow maniac is littered all throughout the 1982 Wish Book and starts early with some jewelry abd that awesome game watch. The watch is actually $30 which seems fairly steep for 1982 prices but I guarantee these suckers sold.

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Star Wars was another thing riding high in 82. A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back had been released and Return of the Jedi was on the horizon. I’ve been eying those shampoo bottles for a while now on Ebay and I think it might be time to start bringing a few of them in. It’s the weirder things that gets me going these days.

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Mike here is sporting more evidence that Pac-Man was hot in 1982. I dig that shirt as well but the E.T. and especially the Dungeons and Dragons shirts are the ones I’d love to have as an adult.

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Smurfs got a double page spread in the 1982 Wish Book. The little blue guys were on tons of stuff from roller skates to drums to toothbrushes but my favorite has to be the Super Smurf Piggy Back Riders. It’s like a Smurf stuck uncomfortably to a bicycle and it was only $11.88!

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I remember having my own Sesame Street kids sleeping back which I’m pretty sure I still have around here somewhere. Once again Pac-Man gets thye big splash here but those superhero bags look great as well.

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Garfield was apparently big in the early 80’s. I remember liking Garfield quite a bit but that was from the cartoon, Garfield and Friends, which didn’t run until the late 80’s. He got a pretty good treatment in 1982 though with an assortment of stuff from shirts to a sweet lunchbox.

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Lego has been around for a long time and though it seemed much simpler in 82 compared to the sets we are getting today it didn’t seem any less fun. There’s actually some charm in these unlicensed sets.

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The Dukes of Hazzard were apparently strong in 1982. I knew it was popular and that there were a few tie ins to the show but I had no idea it was this big of a deal with this kind of variety.

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Yo, Joe! I’m no expert when it comes to GI Joe but I’m pretty sure this is the first assortment of ARAH (correct me if I’m wrong). I love that Cobra Command headquarters. I wish more playsets would take advantage of cardboard. They make some great sets.

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Now we are getting to the good stuff! This one page is packed full of awesome. We’ve got Remco Monsters, Lone Ranger, a sweet looking castle with little knights and fantasy figures plus the heavy hitter, Masters of the Universe! Castle Grayskull could be yours for only $25.49!

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This page just reminds me that I NEED to pick up some of these Remco monsters.

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Masters of the Universe circa 1982 was a much simpler MOTU than the one we have today. The cartoon was still a year away and the toyline was much smaller than what it would eventually become. Mattel probably had no idea they could get away with making a new Castle Grayskull decades later and sell it for 10 times as much as the original.

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Now here we are, Star Wars toys! Starting with the Micro Collection which is overlooked too often these days. This was basically Star Wars Micro Machines before Micro Machines existed and there were tons of playsets as part of the Micro Collection that never made it into the larger Kenner galaxy.

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Speaking of the Kenner toys, here were are! I didn’t know the Imperial Troop Transporter was a Sears Exclusive but it’s listed here as an Imperial Cruiser so maybe it was sold through Sears under a different name for some reason. There’s tons of other great Star Wars toys on this two page spread and I’d gladly take one of everything.

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There was some great figures from the Empire Strikes Back, most notably for me is those Bounty Hunters but that Bespin Luke has always been one of my favorites as well.

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$15.99 for the Slave 1? Those were the days.

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How did I make it through childhood without ever at least asking for one of these for Christmas. I was only 2 in 1982 but surely these mini pinball machines were still around for several years through the 80’s. I’d love one of these even today.

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Those mini arcade games were so great back in the day. I currently still own a working Frogger mini arcade and even though I rarely play it for more than 5 minutes at a time I still love that thing. The other handheld games shown are pre-Gameboy portables and they simplicity is their charm. I’d be happy with all of them.

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The king of video games in the late 70’s and early 80’s was undoubtedly the Atari 2600 or as Sears sold it, the Sears Video Arcade. It’s weird to think of Sears selling these systems under their own name but it was pretty standard back then. It wasn’t just Atari systems either, they sold the Intellivision under the name Tele-Games. I couldn’t imagine Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft agreeing to such a marketing deal these days.

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1982 was a great year for a pop culture junkie to look back upon. Pac-Man was definitely huge, Star Wars was still going strong and both Masters of the Universe and GI Joe were in their infancy. The Video Game Crash hadn’t hit yet (Thanks, E.T.) so Atari was still riding strong and everything just seemed simpler yet had more charm.

 

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