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View Full Version : Anyone remember the Best catalog from the 80s?



Maradona
04-26-2008, 01:01 PM
I used to wait anxiously for each year's new catalog. There would be one per year and it showed the full line of every major toy. I loved how they would set up large dioramas for that year's toy lines. There would be page after page of action figures, all displayed in battle scenes. I've searched around a bit online for these, but couldn't find any being sold or displayed.

Anyone know where pictures can be found?
Anyone even know what I'm talking about?

2-1B
04-26-2008, 01:32 PM
Which one was the best ? :confused:

I always liked looking through the Sears toy catalog...made me drool.

mabudonicus
04-26-2008, 01:34 PM
Up here in Canada at least it was Sears and Consumers had the best catalogues, I would carefully circle anything I kinda liked. I remember up here seing the palitoy Death Star one year- a couple of my friends got it, it was pretty fun, but in the catalogue it looked freakin incredible (coudln't see how much flat cardboard it was)

They truly were exciting things, I have seens scans of them online but couldn't tell you where, sorry!!
:bored: Iso&Baws
My parents HATED them too, which shows how good they were :D

2-1B
04-26-2008, 01:44 PM
I used to make my mom save those things so I could browse throughout the year.

:bearded deuce:

El Chuxter
04-26-2008, 02:25 PM
I recall Best, but they were only around after we moved from one state to another (in middle school), so I don't remember the toys in the catalog that well.

Deoxyribonucleic
04-26-2008, 02:41 PM
Maradona, check out this website...

www.plaidstallions.com

You will not be disappointed. This guy has the best collection of toy catalogs I've ever seen. Plus a bunch of other great stuff from the 60's 70's and 80's, including fashions from the catalogs of these eras. I spend hours at time looking at this site. Good times and brings back great memories from childhood :thumbsup:

Maradona
04-26-2008, 03:14 PM
Maradona, check out this website...

www.plaidstallions.com

You will not be disappointed. This guy has the best collection of toy catalogs I've ever seen. Plus a bunch of other great stuff from the 60's 70's and 80's, including fashions from the catalogs of these eras. I spend hours at time looking at this site. Good times and brings back great memories from childhood :thumbsup:

WOW! That site is an amazing resource! Thank you.

For those that may not know, Best was sort of a department store that existed until around the late 80s in my neck of the woods. They were were famous for their uniquely designed showrooms.

http://www.siteenvirodesign.com/proj.best.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_Products

Deoxyribonucleic
04-26-2008, 03:29 PM
WOW! That site is an amazing resource! Thank you.

Always a pleasure to spread the goodness of those wonderful decades any way possible :)

Glad you like it :thumbsup:

Check out the old playground sets section too, if you get a chance. Talk about memories. And sad that things like that don't exist much anymore. Everything is plastic and "safe". Geez, part of growing up was getting cuts and bruises from rusted, metal playground sets and bum burns from metal slides baking in the sun all day lol :thumbsup:

Maradona
04-26-2008, 03:31 PM
Always a pleasure to spread the goodness of those wonderful decades any way possible :)

Glad you like it :thumbsup:

Check out the old playground sets section too, if you get a chance. Talk about memories. And sad that things like that don't exist much anymore. Everything is plastic and "safe". Geez, part of growing up was getting cuts and bruises from rusted, metal playground sets and bum burns from metal slides baking in the sun all day lol :thumbsup:

Those were the good days...

Dar' Argol
04-26-2008, 06:14 PM
OMG! I remember going to the Best Store in Towson Md several times when I was a kid . . . I all but forgot about it until I looked that the Wiki entry. That store was cool looking . . very unusual for the time.

And the Best Catalogs were the bomb!

Jargo
04-26-2008, 07:07 PM
mustaches and blow dried hair so need to make a come back.

Mad Slanted Powers
04-26-2008, 08:51 PM
I remember when the Best store we had here used to be Jafco. I'm not sure if I recall getting Star Wars toys there. It seems like their focus was more on electronics, appliances and jewelry. I do recall going in there and looking through the records, and also playing the Atari 2600 they had on display.

The Sears catalog was the big thing in our house. We'd get the Christmas Wishbook and I'd look in there and see all the cool stuff I'd like to get.

Ji'dai
04-26-2008, 09:29 PM
Never heard of the Best catalog either. Sears and JC Penny catalogs were my favorites around the holidays. I remember Montgomery Wards too, but I don't recall if they had a catalog. I would never have gotten the POTF Tatooine Skiff, Ewok Battle Wagon, A-Wing, and Raiders of the Lost Ark toys if it hadn't been for those catalogs.

Mad Slanted Powers
04-26-2008, 10:46 PM
Never heard of the Best catalog either. Sears and JC Penny catalogs were my favorites around the holidays. I remember Montgomery Wards too, but I don't recall if they had a catalog. I would never have gotten the POTF Tatooine Skiff, Ewok Battle Wagon, A-Wing, and Raiders of the Lost Ark toys if it hadn't been for those catalogs.

Yes, there was a catalog for Montgomery Ward as well. They didn't have much of a store here. Mostly it was a place to pick up your catalog orders.

The Sears here was pretty good size. It had at least three levels, but I don't think they had a toy section. My mom worked there for many years before I was born. She worked there when that store opened. It closed in 1988 when the one in the mall opened. JC Penney used to be downtown as well, but is now at the mall. Same with the Bon Marché. I remember The Bon downtown having several stories. I remember I'd always see a restaurant on the mezzanine and wanting to eat there, but we never did.

Back in those days, I liked looking at the NFL merchandise at The Bon and in the Sears catalog. If I didn't collect Star Wars, maybe I would take up collecting the NFL jerseys.

Here is the wikipedia page on Best - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_Products

Bel-Cam Jos
04-27-2008, 09:24 AM
For those that may not know, Best was sort of a department store that existed until around the late 80s in my neck of the woods. They were were famous for their uniquely designed showrooms.

http://www.siteenvirodesign.com/proj.best.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_ProductsI believe the actual name was Best Products. I loved the suction tubes they had to send orders to the upper floor, then your box would slide off the rolling bars convayer [sp?] to the pick-up section. The local Best near me was replaced by a Best Buy (could've saved on some money and just added "Buy" to the sign :p ), which is there to this day. I have many a memory of SW purchases there, and I might even have a catalog page saved somewhere in all my SW stuff (doubtful, but possible).

Mad Slanted Powers
04-27-2008, 10:08 AM
Ah, I had overlooked that someone else already posted the wiki page.

I too was a bit confused when I started hearing about Best Buy. I thought, "Hadn't we already had a Best that went out of business?"

Phantom-like Menace
04-27-2008, 10:21 AM
I remember Montgomery Wards too, but I don't recall if they had a catalog.

Montgomery Wards' catalogs were the first things I thought of when I read the title of this thread! I used to look at those constantly and dream of having a Star Wars collection nearly as cool as the one displayed in that catalog. Of course, now my collection blows away anything I ever saw in a catalog.

A couple of years ago, my friend gave me the Holiday Special as a gag gift. The DVD also included several vintage commercials for Star Wars figures, and I had to show my youngest brother (he's 23) that toys used to be such big business that whole commercials would air advertising single Star Wars figures. Now you barely see commercials for the line as a whole.

Yea, there are things I don't miss about the eighties (most of them actually), but they did toys right back in the day.

Exhaust Port
04-27-2008, 11:13 AM
I used to wait anxiously for each year's new catalog. There would be one per year and it showed the full line of every major toy. I loved how they would set up large dioramas for that year's toy lines. There would be page after page of action figures, all displayed in battle scenes. I've searched around a bit online for these, but couldn't find any being sold or displayed.

Anyone know where pictures can be found?
Anyone even know what I'm talking about?

Oh wow, I loved Best. It was the only store with a big selection of toys near our house. We didn't get a Toy's R Us until Best was almost gone and the only other chain was Children's Palace which was a bit of a drive so we rarely went. I remember Best selling the big Robotech/Macross valkyries, the only time I ever saw them in a store. Awesome. I loved the part about waiting for your item to slide down the belt from upstairs when you picked it up. Our Best is now a Dick's Sporting Goods.

El Chuxter
04-27-2008, 11:36 AM
I recall Best was one of the best stores (pun intended) for old toys. They'd take 'em in the back when they got new stuff in, and, every so often, put them back out. I recall seeing first-wave Transformers in the early 90s. And (I'm kicking myself so hard for not getting these) seeing Jetfire and Shockwave on clearance for $15 each at a Best that was closing in 1997.

As for catalogs, my favorite was Sears. My favorite image was the GIJoe USS Flagg. They apparently didn't know each Joe was a unique character, and had about fifteen "Sailors" on deck. In other words, this was apparently a mission where Shipwreck was able to clone himself fourteen times. lol

Exhaust Port
04-27-2008, 11:48 AM
I recall seeing first-wave Transformers in the early 90s. And (I'm kicking myself so hard for not getting these) seeing Jetfire and Shockwave on clearance for $15 each at a Best that was closing in 1997.

A friend of mine picked up a few MIB G1 Transformers from them. I can't remember which one's he has but even then I thought it was odd that so long after they were gone he was able to buy them, and buy them cheap.

The 3 big catalogs for us growing up were Sears, Best and JC Penney's. Many, many hours were spent memorizing every single toy in those things. I distinctly remember knowing every toy in the catalogs, even the girls stuff. There is no modern day comparible way to daydream about toys. The internet isn't the same as sitting on the couch flipping through a catalog as big as a phone book.

Deoxyribonucleic
04-27-2008, 04:44 PM
There is no modern day comparible way to daydream about toys. The internet isn't the same as sitting on the couch flipping through a catalog as big as a phone book.

And the smell! Do you remember the SMELL of those catalogs?

I used to have this set when I was a wee thing, before Star Wars toys came out...I like how they have a boy there, very progressive thinking back then lol

TeeEye7
04-27-2008, 04:46 PM
I think that's Emeril when he was 5 years old! ;)

BAM!!

Mad Slanted Powers
04-27-2008, 06:21 PM
And the smell! Do you remember the SMELL of those catalogs?

I used to have this set when I was a wee thing, before Star Wars toys came out...I like how they have a boy there, very progressive thinking back then lol
I had a shirt similar to that. I wore it for my 3rd grade picture.

Maradona
04-27-2008, 07:23 PM
I recall Best was one of the best stores (pun intended) for old toys. They'd take 'em in the back when they got new stuff in, and, every so often, put them back out. I recall seeing first-wave Transformers in the early 90s. And (I'm kicking myself so hard for not getting these) seeing Jetfire and Shockwave on clearance for $15 each at a Best that was closing in 1997.

As for catalogs, my favorite was Sears. My favorite image was the GIJoe USS Flagg. They apparently didn't know each Joe was a unique character, and had about fifteen "Sailors" on deck. In other words, this was apparently a mission where Shipwreck was able to clone himself fourteen times. lol

1997!!!?! Wow! What part of the country was this? The ones near me were all converted to Best Buy by then. My dream, and many of ours I'm sure, is to one day roll into small town, go to their toy/department store and see something from the 80s still on sale for retail or clearance. I've literally dreamt this scenario at least a dozen times in the last 10 years.

El Chuxter
04-27-2008, 08:07 PM
This was in Bakersfield, CA. It was going out of business. I still should've bought all ten or so of each, but was telling myself I was too old for non-SW toys. :frus:

Jedi_Kal-El
04-27-2008, 08:27 PM
And the smell! Do you remember the SMELL of those catalogs?

I used to have this set when I was a wee thing, before Star Wars toys came out...I like how they have a boy there, very progressive thinking back then lol


My sister use to have that set too Deox. I remeber when she got it for Christmas. She played with it for a year, and then it sat in our backyard rusting for another 3 before my dad finally hauled it off.

I remeber the smell of those catalogs too. We used to get the JC Penny, and Sears catalogs in Oct, and I'd circle all the SW stuff I wanted for Christmas that year.

figrin bran
04-27-2008, 08:55 PM
I remember perusing through the Sears, JC Penney's and Best catalogs whenever I visited my grandma. I'll bet she must've been so impressed that I would just sit there quietly and not run all around the house like her other grandchildren.

There were no Best store locations around me and so I didn't spend as much time looking through their catalog. At least with Sears and JCP were stores that my parents brought me to periodically so that's where my toy daydreams were focused on.




Always a pleasure to spread the goodness of those wonderful decades any way possible :)

Glad you like it :thumbsup:

Check out the old playground sets section too, if you get a chance. Talk about memories. And sad that things like that don't exist much anymore. Everything is plastic and "safe". Geez, part of growing up was getting cuts and bruises from rusted, metal playground sets and bum burns from metal slides baking in the sun all day lol :thumbsup:

Right on! :thumbsup: I got so many scrapes on my knees from bicycle accidents, usually from riding down steep hills at moderately high speeds and then either falling off or hitting a rock or crack in the pavement and spinning out. Once I got home, my parents would never baby me the way that parents nowadays seem to when their children are hurt. My folks were more of the "put a bandage on it yourself and quit yer cryin'" types.

Deoxyribonucleic
04-28-2008, 12:36 AM
I remember perusing through the Sears, JC Penney's and Best catalogs whenever I visited my grandma. I'll bet she must've been so impressed that I would just sit there quietly and not run all around the house like her other grandchildren.

Priceless!! After meeting you last year, I can totally picture you in my mind's eye sitting on a pee green davenport, with your legs hanging off the front, not even close to touching the ground, happily paging through the sears catalog and granny running through the house chasing her other grandchildren with a broom! ;)

Dar' Argol
04-28-2008, 05:46 AM
I had a shirt similar to that. I wore it for my 3rd grade picture.


I had a Hair cut similar to that in 3rd grade as well . . I'll have to find that pic . . .he heh he.

It was the greatest thing in the world flipping through those catalogs. And yeah, Deox, i do remember that smell. It was the smell of awesome wonderment. Heavy ink and plastic pages. Opening the Best or Sears Catalog the first time is like your first Mouse Droid Sniffing . . . something you never forget. I can remember that was my bible around my Birthday and X-Mas, something my kids will never really experience. Its sad really.

bpr2
04-28-2008, 07:08 AM
Sears was great for me. That's where I got most of my 'Sears' exclusives of course. My favorite being the Cloud City Playset. The catalog is something we never ordered from, but you used it to pick out what you wanted. I loved seeing the new SW stuff before it hit the shelves. Best/Best Products was good too. I remember getting my first 'Empire' Yoda from there. We had another store called Rices Nachman. It was more of a clothing store. They never really had a toy department, but they got in some SW figures because they were so hot I guess. That is where I got my first Jawa.

CaptainSolo1138
04-28-2008, 07:39 AM
Catalog smell is the greatest smell in the world.

:grillmarks:

Bel-Cam Jos
04-28-2008, 09:28 PM
1997!!!?! Wow! What part of the country was this? The ones near me were all converted to Best Buy by then. My dream, and many of ours I'm sure, is to one day roll into small town, go to their toy/department store and see something from the 80s still on sale for retail or clearance. I've literally dreamt this scenario at least a dozen times in the last 10 years.I know I bought a few first series POTF2 figures from Best, so that was around late '95 or early '96. And toy dreams, according to Freud, are something-something psychotically neurotic maybe. I make sure to have some at least once a month. :D

figrin bran
04-29-2008, 02:10 AM
Priceless!! After meeting you last year, I can totally picture you in my mind's eye sitting on a pee green davenport, with your legs hanging off the front, not even close to touching the ground, happily paging through the sears catalog and granny running through the house chasing her other grandchildren with a broom! ;)

If you only knew how close to the truth you are! lol

On a somewhat related note, I remember grandma had a huge birthday party, possibly her 60th and so relatives from all over showed up at her place. There were lots of kids too, some of them whom I'm only distantly related too and this was probably around 85 or 86 and so many of them brought Transformers with them. Even at that age, I was appalled by how recklessly they were handling and playing with their TF's. I had no concept of toy collecting at that age but somehow I figured out to keep the box as well as the instructions and the little catalog and then when I wasn't playing with them, I'd always put them back in the boxes, lest my mom scold me for leaving my toys out. In many ways, I look upon that as a precursor for my future toy collecting endeavors.

Unfortunately I was rather reckless with my SW figures so I hadn't learned this lesson just yet when ESB and ROTJ figures were in stores. My stormie got a leg severed when I dropped him into the crevices of a foldout lounge chair (leg got caught in the fold out mechanism). Boba Fett had lots of paint scratches and became so worn that I begged my folks to get me another one. And accessories would always, always get lost and never found again.

Exhaust Port
04-29-2008, 05:01 PM
And the smell! Do you remember the SMELL of those catalogs?

Smell and texture. I can still imagine the feel of those catalog pages as I flipped. Good times. :)