While I cannot say this is the gospel truth, I have longed believed that for those of us that grew up in the late 70’s and through the 80’s – we had a pretty amazing childhood. Granted much of that was thanks to the likes of Star Wars, Atari, Masters of the Universe, Barbie, and The Transformers to name just a few standouts of those eras. I obviously do realize that my fond memories from that time mostly center around various toy and video game companies attempting to reap in huge profits… however they managed to transcend that in my honest opinion. There is a good reason some of those toy lines and film franchises are still being produced today – or why Tim Seeley had the opportunity to produce The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Nostalgia is certainly an element but a lot of art and hard work went into creating the packaging and characters and lore of some of these toy lines. Plus while Mego was first, it was thanks to Kenner and Mattel that many of us that grew up reading Marvel and DC comics had the opportunity to play with the likes of a Wolverine or Dr. Fate figure for the first time. This is an incredibly drawn out explanation I suppose of explaining why when I walk into Tee Rex, a toy store situated in Eureka Springs, Arkansas – I start to freak out. Hard. Part toy museum and part toy store – strolling through Tee Rex with me, I always feel like my Wife is equally bemused and possibly even impressed that I can rattle off the names of characters from Dino-Riders, Micronauts, and the Shirt Tales!
Naturally I would be lying to you if I didn’t admit that I have to truly resist slapping down my credit card some of the times while getting a chance to visit Tee Rex. Especially since 95% of the toys on display are vintage with many of them still in package and in jaw-dropping condition. Those as you might guess fetch fair but higher prices than the many action figures and playsets that are without packaging, etc. I mentioned that Tee Rex is part toy museum because there are a few toys in the cases that are not for sale – like this Star Wars display near the entrance. I will ask you to direct your attention to the photograph I took featuring a Bendy Emperor from Return of the Jedi – have you ever had the pleasure of seeing one of these ‘collectibles’ for 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back before? While I cannot be absolutely positive of it’s origin or purpose it appears this bill is something that was handed out for a dollar off admission to see the film itself!
Since I mentioned Masters of the Universe at the beginning of this article, I suppose it is only fair that I show off a few photos I took of that collection. Plus the brand new figures they received from the mad geniuses at Super 7 – the vintage line as well as the Powers of Grayskull series featuring He-Ro and Eldor.
In every single part of the store you can enjoy blasts from the past like a Barbie plane or Fat Albert, The Real Ghostbusters, as well as Weebles!
There are also some treasures that only a cult film fanatic such as myself would lose their mind over… such as these action figures from David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Dune. Besides Feyd, Rabban, Stilgar, and Paul Atredies – Tee Rex also offered the Spice Scout vehicle – this was most definitely a moment where I had to muster all of my willpower to not take them home.
From Secret Wars to Mego action figures – Tee Rex has an impressive offering of vintage toys for a comic book aficionado – to say the very least. I am however continuously drawn to what I believe is the greatest comic book toy series ever produced – Kenner’s Super Powers Collection!
In addition while visiting Tee Rex, I had as much enjoyment chatting with Caleb – head of this particular store as I understand it – because there is nothing more amazing than getting two fans of pop culture and retro toys in a room together.