Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era

Discussion in 'Vintage Vinyl' started by liquidsky, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. joeytwintail

    joeytwintail Fresh Meat

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    46
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Oh, there were so many cool record stores in the city in those days! I used to spend just about every weekend scrounging for vinyl (albums) with my then girlfriend- we had a set run of like a dozen stores we'd hit looking for the latest imports. '87-'89 was the BEST time to track down vinyl (albums) as the whole world was going CD and people were just basically throwing records in the trash. Never again would you be able to get even the rarest punk and New Wave 7"s for $1-$5 a pop. Luckily I had the foresight to buy as many bags and bags of these things as I could afford. All the greats such as Bleeker Bob's, Rebel Rebel, St. Mark's Sounds, Venus Records, Pier Platters, Golden Disc, Revolver Records, See Hear are now gone or changed beyond recognition. Good times.

    Sorry for the off topic post- but it's regarding vintage pre-eBay VINYL shopping so I guess it can slide?
     
  2. ElvisFromHell

    ElvisFromHell Comment King

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,492
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Don't forget Second Coming Records ;) - (and what was that really good toy store across the street?)

    Even in the halycon days of record buying, though, I always thought Bleeker Bob's was really expensive. I was living in Boston at the time (80's through mid 90's - although i went to NYC frequently) which had to be one of the best places on the planet for quality vinyl. Second Coming (Boston branch), Tower, Newbury Comics, Pipeline Records, In Your Ear, Planet Records, a bunch of stores in Kenmore Square - yeah, sorry to go off topic but those were amazing times. Spending nearly every weekend hunting for good vinyl and other assorted cool crap.
     
  3. joeytwintail

    joeytwintail Fresh Meat

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    46
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Ah yes, how could I forget Second Coming? They had their 20ft. walls covered in album covers and a dusty display case filled with vintage music books. I went to London in '96 and vinyl was still strong there; by 2000 (the 2nd time I went) it was just like NYC in the late 80's- cheap and plentiful!

    Back to vinyl- While in London I went to the original Forbidden Planet 'cause I thought it would blow my mind (since it was the original, after all) with tons of cool Tank Girl and Doctor Who stuff- but the store was small, 'Americanized' and filled with crappy new Star Trek and Star Wars import toys from the U.S! There was a comic shop right next to Venus Records around 1988 that would have a few odd Japanese toys from time to time as I remember...
     
  4. joeytwintail

    joeytwintail Fresh Meat

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    46
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    ...and remember that store called 'Anime Crash' right on Broadway near Canal Jean Company (or was it Urban Outfitters?) in the early 90's? It was a rather large, trendy shop years ahead of it's time. Lots of vinyl and just about anything else that was Japanese and a toy. I got most of my Ultraman Powered kaiju there (the sweet 8" figures with the plastic tags) for $25 each (smaller figures like Pigmon, Da-Da, and Jamila $18 each.) Pricey at the time- but where else would you find such wonderful things in 1992?
     
  5. LamourSupreme

    LamourSupreme Mini Boss

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Messages:
    4,010
    Location:
    now
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    ah, I miss the "old New York". New York city was amazing mid to late 80s. Japanese vynil and records were just a few byproducts of how awesome the city was at that time.
     
  6. abelincolnjr

    abelincolnjr S7 Royalty

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    3,284
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Tho I was no means a collector in any way (I was probably 7 at the time) I had a few spots where I would spend my Xmas money on "Japanese Toys" in the Bay Area in the 70's . Fueled by a love of Godzilla Movies and Captain Cosmic reruns of Ultraman Spectreman and Space Giants not to mention watching Channel 26 anime w/o subtitles, I would beg my moms to take me up to SF on our annual pilgrimage to Jeff's Toys (was that it?) in Ghirardelli Square. They had numerous cases of Japanese toys, mostly Die Cast. Nothing in English of course, which made it even cooler. I remember getting what was probably a Kamen Rider figure at Jeff's pink and white chick on a motorcycle. Also there was a Japanese general store in Menlo Park of all places that had a good amount of Japanese Vinyl (for Menlo Park that is) They had the OG japanese versions of the Shogun Warriors from what I remember. I made a couple trips to Japantown but couldnt find anything really fresh.
     
  7. akumaizer

    akumaizer Toy Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    462
    Location:
    SF Bay Area Vallejo
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Way back then in SF
    There was Johnson Imports in Chinatown, A couple of other stores with names
    that now escape me, (impossible to find stores in tiny hole in the wall shope in the back alleys of Chinatown) The Mikado in Japantown, Another toy store which is now long gone in the Kintetsu, SF2 which is now called Heroes club, Kimono My House Jeffreys Toys on Sutter and Toy Shop magazine.
    I sold some toys through ToyShop to some very big name collectors ! :lol:
     
  8. abelincolnjr

    abelincolnjr S7 Royalty

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    3,284
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    That was the place!
     
  9. jmachinder

    jmachinder Fresh Meat

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    pre internet collecting

    I kind of forgot how insanely hard core I was during the pre-internet era until I read this thread. There's not a lot of places or people on this thread that I didn't go to or interact with. Mr. Big Toyland was big for me also and they were around while Force Five was on. I think I went there as early as 1982. Probably from the moment I got the Shogun Warriors, I never really stopped collecting. I never went back to try and "reclaim" childhood. It was never about nostalgia really.

    A big part of it all was sending photographs to other collectors through the mail. I've still got a giant box filled with pictures from other collectors. Also, reading Hobby Japan and looking at the pictures in there was huge. there's nothing like looking at these horrible, grainy black and white tiny pictures with a magnifying glass and saying "what is THAT?! I've never seen it before." I had contacts in Japan as early as 95 and would bug him to try and get stuff that I saw pictures for in HJ. He'd also call me up and tell me what he'd seen in Tokyo toy shops.

    For anyone who's interested, I did videotape my first trip to Japan in 96 and put up a clip of me visiting Third Uncle and Tokyo Robot.

    http://www.myspace.com/tomfranck

    I'll put up the Superfest clip later. Danzig is in that one.
     
  10. Chad Hensley

    Chad Hensley Post Pimp

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    2,679
    Location:
    San Diego
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    well, well, well - now everybody's at the party!


    Hey Frank, was that Danzig during Samhain that crawled around on your floor?
     
  11. ElvisFromHell

    ElvisFromHell Comment King

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,492
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Here, here - now all we need is Jim C. to join the table. ;)
     
  12. Frank Kozik

    Frank Kozik Mini Boss

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,668
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    it woulda been around...1984. so ?
     
  13. Chad Hensley

    Chad Hensley Post Pimp

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    2,679
    Location:
    San Diego
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Then, yes, it would be during Samhain. Danzig still buys toys (he bought 2 different Steven the Bats at the booth during SDCC) so I'm willing to bet he still has some good Japanese pieces.

    Re-reading this thread, I actually went to Showcase Collectable's store front in Atlanta sometime in the late '90s. (I'd completely forgotten!)
     
  14. nekrodave

    nekrodave Fresh Meat

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Messages:
    97
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    I'd only been to Showcase once while I lived in Atlanta, but unfortunately, I had absolutely NO interest in vinyls at the time, so much of it's appeal was lost on me.

    There are very few things regret that my parents didn't do for me, but bringing me to Mr. Big is one of them (and getting me the Panosh Place Voltron instead of the Matchbox. Ugg!)

    Even further off topic than some of the other shops mentioned earlier, but Pix Poster Cellar was a decent one in Harvard Sq if you are a movie fan. I think they're gone now too.
     
  15. akumaizer

    akumaizer Toy Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    462
    Location:
    SF Bay Area Vallejo
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    I scored when they closed out their Sutter Street location.
    All the diecast and vinyl had been reduced to less than 25% off
    the already low price. Wrong time, wrong location....
    I still have a few pieces left from that haul.
     
  16. jawkdna

    jawkdna Addicted

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Messages:
    931
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    What the hell is Showcase Collectibles?
    I lived in Atlanta from 89 - 03 and never heard of it?

    Before living in Atlanta I grew up in SF collecting Macross and Mospeda toys from various hole in the wall China Town shops...
     
  17. ElvisFromHell

    ElvisFromHell Comment King

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,492
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    They were, like, one of the biggest dealers of Godzilla stuff in the country - the owner, Sean, is author of this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Unauthorized-Godz ... 798&sr=8-2

    They had a good inventory of vintage stuff - Bullmark, Nitto, etc. but my memory is that the stuff was VERY expensive. Showcase and Club D were the two big players in Japanese Godzilla toys back in the day.
     
  18. booschwobe

    booschwobe Addicted

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    830
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    After many years of not recognizing my love of the 70's kaiju flicks and TV shows, I stumbled into Eide's in Pttsburgh to buy some cd's. I was living in the Strip District at the time, struggling through classes at Pitt. In the basement, Eide's had all of their comics and toys and I was blown away to find early 90's Bandai figs of Ghidorah '91, Hedorah, Kamakuras, and several Ultraman Powered and other Ultra Kaiju. I also found G-Fan, which informed me that not only had Toho been producing Godzilla films after G '84 but that the upcoming Godzilla film, Godzilla would die!!!
    I was hooked again just like I was when I was 7. All the shows I watched as a kid, like Ultraman, Ultraseven, Space Giants, and Spectreman came roaring back to my memory and I was instantly intrigued.
    This was before I had the internet so I would call all the dealers advertised in G-Fan to find out what exactly was out there. Greg Cordero at Xian would send me photographs via snail mail, Jim C of Club Daikaiju, Fabian Medina at Creature Featre, Sean Linkenback at Showcase, and Steve Agin at Vintage Japanese Toys would all listen to my questions and help identify kaiju I remembered as a kid. I remember specifically Paul at Club Daikaiju describing each of the new Bandai Ultra kaiju and telling me how cool each one was and that each year a new Ultra Hero had a new show running.
    Those flyers I would get from Club Daikaiju, Creature Feature, and Xian were priceless for me. Like so many others I would prioritize which toys I would buy next on my college budget. I'ved to drink a lot of very cheap draft beer specials since then. I'm tempted to scan those old flyes and post them for nostalgia's sake. Thanks for bringing this thread up, it's so cool to hear how the OG's got started and where they hunted. Cheers!
     
  19. brianflynn

    brianflynn Post Pimp Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,681
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    I think all of us scoured the cities of the U.S. for every possible scrap of toy information, and any store that had anything at all was burned into your memory for future trips. In NYC I remember a couple shops not yet mentioned.

    1. Up on the east side around 60/70 about two blocks in from the water. A long narrow, dusty place, I bought the white castle Godzilla set there, and they had a few godaikins in with their tin stuff. they were gone the next time I went.

    2. around 25th st, there is a flea market every weekend on the west side. Next to this flea market was a multi story building that had some antique shops in it, and the 6th or 8th floor had a toy store. I found a couple 5" popy toys there, and after chatting with the owner a while he said he had a few larger toys at home. I met him at his apartment that evening over by NYU, and bought a Tigermask Egypt Mirror from him.

    3. Does anyone remember when Zakka was on Broome and only carried martha Stewart books? I swapped toys with hime before he carried toys in the store.

    4. I bought popy Chogokin figures from the "old" Forbidden planet, in fact I got a GA-01 mazinger there without missiles.

    5. Love saves the day always had the potential to have amazing stuff, but never lived up to it. I still check it every time.
     
  20. Chad Hensley

    Chad Hensley Post Pimp

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    2,679
    Location:
    San Diego
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Scan old flyers and catalogs if you want to!

    I didn't really participate in the catalog mailing craze some of you mention.

    When I moved to Seattle at the end of '97, I started meeting more collectors who gave me a few of these but, mostly, it sounds like I missed out.
     
  21. joeytwintail

    joeytwintail Fresh Meat

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    46
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Another long rambling story of years past…

    I only went to Showcase Collectables once, and only by chance. It was in 2002. Not exactly pre-internet but oh well. Sean had a website but it was always hideously behind in the update department. I live in upstate New York with my wife Penelope. She’s from Tallahassee Florida and every year we try to get down there to see her folks at Christmas. We were heading back to Buffalo after one such trip with a layover in Atlanta but our plane was delayed due to a snowstorm back east; we would be stuck in Atlanta for three days. Luckily Penelope had an aunt that lived in town (who she hadn’t seen in five years so the whole deal was kinda awkward) so we crashed at her place. But that’s another story for another forum…

    I looked in the phonebook and sure enough there was a Showcase Collectables, and it was only a few miles from where I was staying! I called and called for two days, left a message or two, but no one answered or returned my messages. I didn’t have access to a car but half way through the second day we managed to wrangle one of Penelope’s cousins into giving us a lift down to the shop.

    It was rather tricky to find. The store was in a strip mall BEHIND another strip mall, the type of commercial space you’d expect to find a tanning salon or dentist’s office in. As we pulled up to the store my heart sank- the lights were out at three in the afternoon. Had I come all this way by chance only to be denied?

    I got out of the car, pressing my face against the glass door like a puppy left out in the cold. Ok, I didn’t actually do that but that’s how I felt. Their only sign was some crude artwork airbrushed onto a piece of cardboard strung on the front door. I believe the main image was a large squarish Frankenstein’s monster head; it said more ‘Timmy’s Playhouse’ than ‘High-end Import Store’to me, and not in a good way. The store was dark and deep so I could only see into the first few feet- I saw several well framed American 1-sheets and lobby cards (non Japanese titles), some Trendmasters figures (ick), and on the far wall in the deepest gloom a tantalizing selection of bagged 9” figures. Their stores hours were clearly marked on the door (they should have been open) with no special messages about being closed for the holidays (although it was around January 19th.) I tried calling on my cell and could actually hear the phone ringing in the store, but again no luck.

    Defeated, I left. Our plane was scheduled to leave early afternoon on the next day so I pretty much gave up hope and tried to put the whole thing out of my mind as best I could. This meant watching some bad mid week television and playing the lame ‘Worst Case Scenario’ game that my wife had gotten for Christmas. Not fun.

    But unexpectedly around 5:30 I got a call on my cell from Showcase! It was Sean’s wife, calling to apologize for the store being closed. The reason was mundane (something about having to leave town for a few days mumble mumble…) but the important part was that they would be open tomorrow. After anally confirming that they actually WOULD be open tomorrow (in that way that only a jilted toy fanatic can) I thanked her and said I’d be in first thing tomorrow. Geek.

    At 11am the next day we arrived back at the strip mall. I was told they opened at 10am so imagine my shock when we pulled up and the lights were still out and door locked! Just kidding, the store was open. Ha ha. Anyway, this was it… if at this point my description seems vague or at times I seem rude to my hosts please keep in mind that this was the last several hours of an exhausting trip, I had a plane to catch, and literally eight feet of snow awaited me at home.

    It didn’t live up to my expectations- but weighed against the years of wistful day dreaming of someday getting to this shop I shouldn’t have been surprised. The carpeting was a well soiled tan color, just the right hue to pick up any splotches or spills and magnify them greatly. The shop itself was broken up into several claustrophobic rooms connected by a central walkway, each room no larger than perhaps fifteen feet square. Upon entering the store the first thing I saw was the aforementioned wall of Trendmasters figures. I guess if you’re into that sort of thing then this would have been exciting; he seemed to have many of the boxed Doom Island figures including Varan… but with actual import stuff still to see I had little interest. I think he had some carded Spawn or Pee Wee Herman figures mixed in here- all worthless filler in my current state of mind.

    The first room on the left was a jumbled mish mash of stuff. A low display counter made this room really cramped, behind the counter on the floor I found a loose M-1 Titanosaurus and Biollante, $25 each. The next room on the right was filled with ephemera. I only spent a few moments in here ‘cause I’ve never been much of a paper collector. I’m still not. But a poster and magazine nut would have wet his/her pants.

    The main room at the deepest part of the store housed a fair selection of import and vintage vinyl. Sean’s wife sat a business desk next to a door leading to a back room. She was very nice, but occupied with something other than toys on that day. Sean would pop out every now and again, flitting from room to room- also apparently elsewhere. He’s a tall thin man with wispy blond hair, pleasant to speak with but rather shy. Or just quiet by nature perhaps.

    Back to the toys- This main room had a series of display cases (perhaps 6 or 8 units 5 feet high, 4 feet long and a foot and a half deep) set up along the wall forming a ‘U’ shape. The shelves were perhaps 70% full with the product spread out nicely; not as solidly packed with merch as a shop like Toy Tokyo or Outer Limits (which I visited a few years later) would be. There were a few Toho Popys but surprisingly little vintage stuff. I was after just one good Bullamark on that day, but I was to leave disappointed. The only Bullmarks he had were an Eleking missing his horns and one of those giant size trash monsters from Captain Ultra- also missing its horns. I saw the then new B-Club giant size reissue Baragon- I really wanted one and he looked pretty sweet, but at $125 I had to give him a pass. I’d find one a few years later on eBay for $80 including postage so don’t feel too bad for me.

    When Sean saw that I was one of ‘those’ type of collectors he went to the back and brought out the brand new M-1 Megaguirus and Godzilla. Can’t remember the price but I had to have them. As the visit progressed (and my wife and cousin in law began to toe tap listlessly) I was allowed to arrange a pile of stuff on the floor for negotiation purposes. Sean and I then hashed it out ‘dealer room style’ until we were both happy. I paid for my stuff and thanked him profusely for having a brick and mortar shop. Online shopping is convenient and usually more of a bargain, but there’s nothing like buying ‘in the flesh’ IMO.

    2001 was certainly a transition time for the hobby. Dealers like Showcase and Dai Kaiju had passed their prime and were on their way out. Showcase’s website became stagnant and eventually just faded away. I heard that Sean was trying to become a lawyer or something. I’ve never checked up to see if Showcase storefront still existed since my one visit but I could tell at the time business was slow, the hours were erratic, stock diminishing, and the staff’s minds elsewhere- if they survived long into 2001 I’d be surprised. As negative as all that sounds it was a real honor to meet Sean and his wife and see the legend that was Showcase for myself. Oh yeah, for those who are curious Atlanta does have a Chinatown of sorts but it BLOWS- at least compared to the rockin’ Chinatowns found in cities like NYC and Toronto.

    An interesting post script to the story: being just post 9/11 the modern day airport security features we all know and love weren’t fully in place yet, but the attitude was certainly there. They wanted to unpack every toy I had purchased. One lady started to clumsily pull the head off of one of my M-1’s. I stopped her and told her she couldn’t do that. She gave my a hostile look and I told her that if she was that concerned about weapons or drugs hidden inside plastic toys then she was free to X-ray them but not destroy them. Grumpily she put them back with no further fuss.
     
  22. jmachinder

    jmachinder Fresh Meat

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
  23. logang1

    logang1 Mini Boss

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    4,015
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Holy shit, Tom Franck is in the house???

    BOW before his high exalted jumbo-badness!!!!!!!!!!
     
  24. kaiwi

    kaiwi Addicted

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Messages:
    549
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    These are just some of the Bullmarks that were bought at Long's Drugs Store in Lahaina in the mid-70s. Some of them currently reside at an undisclosed location on the Mainland!
    [​IMG]
     
  25. ElvisFromHell

    ElvisFromHell Comment King

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,492
    Collecting in the Pre-Internet Era
    Holy shit! You could buy a nice house with what's on that table. I've never seen a garamon that color before. Are you the guy who found these in his attic - saved from childhood - a collection that also included a super-rare hawaii version Eleking?

    If so, we emailed back and forth a bit several years ago - either way, welcome and that's a mind blowing collection you've got there.
     

Share This Page