Used to be a time when the entire Kid Year revolved around the Sears Wishbook, which always had page after page of toys that were available through the now defunct department store chain. The Wishbook was released around September, usually mailed to every house, and it became a point of obsession. For me, the action figure section was always the main draw, but I also paid close attention to the Lego sections as well. Star Wars, Batman, Ninja Turtles, and Transformers were all there, and the only thing separating me from that giant pile of plastic goodness was several thousand dollars and a fat demon named Santa.
It was a complicated relationship with the Sears Wishbook: the catalogue itself was a surrogate for the actual items it advertised. I’d be lucky to get one or two items from it, but the book itself contained so much commercial and capitalistic potential. To look at the book was to learn the pain of longing for things that were not practically attainable, nor did they serve any purpose other than diverting my attention until the toy would become broken or lost. The potential, in many respects, was the pleasure of the Wishbook.
In Canada, we also had for a short time the Consumers Distributing catalogue. Arguably, the toy section was even more thrilling in this one for me, but the company went out of business in the early 90s, leaving me with just the Sears Wishbook.
Anyway, have at it on all things Toy related below.