Something a bit different this time around... in Gold Key's Harlem Globetrotters #4 (as well as in all the current Gold Key books, so far as I can tell), Kenner ran a special advertising insert with 16 pages promoting various items! Here are those pages, with some comments from me along the way!
First, the "cover" of this insert! More after the jump!
As you can see, the first four pages of this catalog are promoting Kenner's SSP Racers, which I recall quite fondly from my childhood! Basically, there was one moving part in these cars... a wheel that was basically a gyroscope, with a ridged section on the axel that you could feed a t-strip into. When you pulled the strip with all your might and let the car go, it would speed along at amazing speeds! Eventually, they added more variety to the line, such as the Smash-Up Derby set (which I recall having as a child). Given how popular this line of toys was with my siblings and I, I'm amazed it lasted as short a time as it apparently did!
Next up is Kenner's Blythe fashion doll, which as you can see could change color and even hair (with the appropriate wig)! Now, I have to admit I have no memory of this creepy-looking line of dolls at all (I'm pretty sure my sisters never asked for it, as they were loyal to Barbie). Given the size of the head in proportion to the body, this seems to have been a precursor to the much later Bratz line of dolls (which were amazingly popular for some time).
Next up, it's Gabbigale, which apparently was just a remote-controlled talking doll that you could record your voice in... although I'd imagine it could only take one recording at a time.
I definitely recall seeing this same Easy-Bake Oven ad in other comic books! The Easy-Bake Oven was one of Kenner's biggest successes, even lasting beyond Kenner itself (they're still being made today). Yes, you could use a simple lightbulb to bake cakes... but when I suggested to my wife that we buy one for our daughter last Christmas, it was pointed out to me that cake mixes are much cheaper at the grocery store, and without having to buy a whole oven we don't really need!
The 1970s were an era of merchandising of the Peanuts characters! Along with this power toothbrush featuring Snoopy, there was also a Snoopy Sno-Cone machine, and Monogram's Snoopy Sopwith Camel that I can recall off the top of my head! Oh, and there were figures of the Peanuts gang with removable clothing, too, now that I think of it!
Naturally, I'm familiar with the Screen-A-Show Cassette Projector, as it was basically a variation on the Give-A-Show Projector! Plus, several of the parts were identical to their Cassette Movie Projector. This unit is pretty self-explanatory. So far as I've been able to determine, there were only two releases of the Screen-A-Show, and this may have been the second one... I've yet to see any evidence that cassettes were ever sold separately.
I definitely recall the Chip Away "sculpting" sets... and for people who weren't all that handy with that kind of thing, this appealed to me greatly... except for the idea of having to paint the figures afterward, something I've never been too skilled with!
The Whittle Away toy, on the other hand (despite being very similar to the Chip Away), is something I don't recall at all!
Pla-Doh (and the fun factory) was probably THE biggest success Kenner had, although I don't know for sure if they originated it or not!
I don't remember the Presto-Molder sets, either, but I do recall an earlier toy called Johnny Toymaker that had a similar premise (and that toy I desperately wanted one Christmas, only to be disappointed on Christmas day).
And here's the last page, with Spirograph, also a huge success for Kenner! Note the special offer for the pen with multiple colors!
Next time: Another 16-Page Kenner Catalog!