Toys are a $20 billion industry in the U.S., and not just because kids love them. Adults are as much of a target market as the kids who fall within the age range listed on a toy's packaging.
Take a look at the highly coveted Star Wars merchandise. According to Reuters, the line of Star Wars toys raked in $700 million in sales in 2015 because they are purchased by adults who leave them in the box — not just children who actually play with the toys.
Some collectors have so many toys that are still in their original packaging that they've been able to build their collections into lucrative businesses. Vintage Toy Rescue in Grand Prairie (1451 Empire Central Drive, No. 700) not only takes old toys and turns them into brand new playthings that look like they just came out of the factory, but they also sell an impressive collection of classic and collectible toys. We took a tour of the place and came across some truly twisted toys that once hung from toy displays in stores all across the country.
1. Superman's "Supermobile" Plane
Store owner Bill Lawrence says he picked up this plastic relic from the mid-1980s from the son of a hardcore toy collector with an affinity for Superman who inherited the items from his collection. They include this strange addition to Superman's arsenal. Why does a man who can fly need a plane? That's like The Flash having a frequent renter account with Alamo Rent-a-Car.
2. Kryptonite Rock
The same Superman collection also came with this bizarre step up from the pet rock: a glowing piece of "kryptonite" that appears to be a piece of limestone painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. It's a pretty rare piece and hearkens back to the days when a painted rock was considered a perfectly good gift.
3. Spider-Hulk Spider-Man
Comic book toys sold so well that toy manufacturers eventually ran out of ideas and starting cramming superheroes together, like this mashup of Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk. This was released and sold in 2007 so it's only a matter of time before Marvel releases figures like "
4. Stone Protectors
Just as the troll doll craze came to an abrupt end in the early 1990s, toy companies tried to salvage whatever they could from the brand with toys like this action-figured themed troll doll lineup. Their choice of weapons is what makes them bizarre.
The Ace Novelty Company, a toy company that sounds like a front for a mob operation in a Get Smart episode, produced a line of weaponized lawnmowers and barbecues because apparently the Stone Protectors were suburban dads turned troll vigilantes. Their weaknesses included old high school football injuries that they talk about constantly and being seen in public in jean shorts.
5. The "Fonzie" Doll
Store owner Charlie Horton has a private collection of TV and music icon dolls including this rare keepsake. A doll of the Fonz, the most popular character from the TV sitcom Happy Days, isn't a strange concept for a toy in itself. He's a huge pop-culture touchstone and there are even pieces of his costume hanging in the Smithsonian Institute. The doll's signature feature is a little weird, though. A lever on Fonzie's back makes his wrists rotate so he's giving his signature thumbs-up. "Ayyyyyyeeeeees" sold separately.
6. The Andy Gibb Doll
The late 1970s also gave us a dancing Andy Gibb doll that let kids pretend to make the Bee Gees singer shuffle his feet to the beat at will.
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7. "The Love Boat" Dolls
These are not modern productions of the crew of the Pacific Princess sold in gift stores to easily amused hipsters. These are actual toys produced for children in the 1970s. That means that somewhere out there in the collectible world, there must be some ultra-rare, never released Falcon Crest action figures.
8. Sewer-Spitting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (pictured at top)
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line got even more bizarre as it went on, since apparently man-sized amphibians with black belts in kung-fu aren't novel enough. So they came up with offshoots (no pun intended) like this "sewer" squirting line. Barbie has been around a lot longer and Mattel never released a line of "Scorned, Drink-Throwing Barbies" to help increase their sales.
9. Star Trek Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are already an amalgamation of biological sci-fi and martial artistry and with this toy they added a third element. It's like the backstory involved a chemical company accidentally dumping mutagen on a rejected spec script for an odd-numbered Star Trek movie written by the team who created Biker Mice from Mars.
10. Transformers' Mudflap
Imagine you're an Autobot who arrived on Earth just a bit later than the rest of your crew. All of the cool cars to transform into have already been claimed, like the cab of an 18-wheeler, a Chevrolet