Awesome 80s Bedrooms continues: Explorers edition!

By Shawn Robare

I spent a few hours this weekend cracking open the cases on my 80s-centric DVDs and combing through the flicks looking for some more rad kid’s rooms to obsess over and I found some pretty neat stuff.  I really am having a blast doing this, finding things I never noticed.  Usually when I pop these movies into the DVD player I’m immediately engrossed and just watch the flicks with eyes wide and a smile on my face, but I forced myself to detach and just observe this time.  So today I’m gonna share a few things I saw in the 1985 Joe Dante movie, Explorers!


Unfortunately, so many of the shots in Ben’s room are in the dark as most of these scenes are shot when he’s sleeping and dreaming of schematics for building the inner workings of Thunder Road.  So it was sort of hard to make out some of the stuff.  There’s some interesting toys on his desk and on the shelves by the windows that I just can’t make out.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some real treasures here as well…

Explorers 6

1). Issue #9 of the original run of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe, Q-S edition! (I’m hoping Dante or one of the set designers included it because of Rom!)


2). Carl Bark’s Uncle Scrooge comic book, issue #37


3). Robo Force mini comic (packed in with the Toys.)


4). Space Camp Stickers

This next screen shot is a little frustrating.  There are a couple of things I spotted which I’ll detail in a minute, but there are a lot of other things that I just can’t nail down.  For instance, the white robot on the shelf by the window.  I’ve scoured some of the “Old Toy Robot” sites and I just can’t figure it out.  That style of toy is one of my big weaknesses when it comes to recognizing stuff from the 70s and 80s.  If it’s not Rickey’s Robot butler on Silver Spoons, the robot that Rocky buys his kid in Rocky 3, or Conky from Pee Wee’s Playhouse I’m usually stumped.  There’s also some sort of carrier toy to the right of the robot, and a weird purple and yellow bulbous robot-looking toy on the desk that I can’t figure out.  Ah well…

**UPDATE**  Thanks to the keen eye and detective skills of Las Vegas Yankee who identified the robot as a Tommy Atomic toy!

Sierra Exif JPEG

Explorers 7

5). Go Bots Super gobot Psycho


6). Starlog Issue 84 (featuring a story on the Gremlins)


I love how Dante peppers his movies with little things from his previous flicks.  There’s a Twilight Zone the movie poster in Gremlins for instance.  So this issue of Starlog was a fun little hidden gem, though there is something way cooler coming at the end of this post!

**Update** Esteban over at the Roboplastic Apocalypse nailed down one of the toys on Ben’s desk above as the Dred Crawler from Robo Force.  Good eye Steve!  You can clearly see the little clear bubble with the red antenna…


Continuing on…

Explorers 2

Finally, a scene where the lights were on.  Though unfortunately you only get this vantage of his room for the most part.  But there are a couple of neat things, namely…

7). Transformers Lazerbeak (or Buzzsaw, it was hard to tell if the body was red or gold…)


8). Huntsville, AL poster for the Space Academy complex.

Explorers 4

9). It Came From Outer Space poster


10). Japanese robot Halloween masks.  I can’t figure these out for the life of me.  The one at the bottom sort of looks like a green Ultraman, and the other one (as well as a couple other in another section of his room) look like Shogun Warriors, but I don’t think they are.  Again, this is a lacking bit in my pop culture knowledge… :p  Anyway, for a second I’m going to exit Ben’s room and take a quick look at Wolfgang’s kitchen which features one of my favorite childhood toys!

Explorers 3

11). The blue Tonka Hand Commander Jet!

tonka hand commander

This was one of my favorite toys.  I loved that you could hold it like a gun (there was a hand and trigger on the bottom that when squeezed would make the propellers turn.  I used to run all around my house with this jet, crashing it into the sofa, or dunking it in the bathtub for water landings.  Sigh.  This toy also pops up in an episode of Silver Spoons, the second episode I believe.

Alright, now we get to the seriously cool hidden gem in the movie Explorers.  I mentioned that Dante likes to put stuff from his previous flicks in the background of his newer movies right.  Well, how freaking cool is it that Ben Crandall has the following item on his dresser!

Explorers 5

12). Stripe’s Skull from Gremlins!


Is Ben the luckiest kid in the world?  Yeah, I think so.

So, did I miss anything?  And can anyone identify the masks or that big white robot by his window?

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

Mikey’s room from the Goonies

David’s room from Flight of the Navigator

Robbie’s room from Poltergeist

Pee Wee’s room from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride

Josh’s room from Big

  • Retromash

    Just spent ages looking for what the white toy robot was, as I love them from the 80s, but I can’t seem to pin it down. I took the photo into Photoshop and adjusted the lighting levels etc to get a better look at it but I can’t seem to find anything online that looks like it.

  • I can’t identify the masks, but I did have that poster (and still do) that hangs at the head of the bed. It’s a glow in the dark star / constellation chart. One of my favorite posters as a kid.

    • Cool! Yeah, I had a hard time trying to place some of his posters because they weren’t pop-culture-y enough for the internet to “archive”. I remember seeing stuff like that in the gift shops of Tomorrowland at Disney World and at Cape Canaveral growing up…

      • Funny you said that, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly where I got it from – Cape Canaveral. Good call.

        • Rad! All I ever got from there was space food and space ice-cream…

  • Ben Rollier

    These are some pretty awesome finds. I’ve never even thought to look around the bedrooms in 80’s movies.

    • After popping I popped in Adventures in Babysitting recently and saw a bunch of cool stuff in the girl’s room it got me really curious to start checking out other flicks for stuff I’ve missed over the years…

  • Ben Rollier

    And yes, I am the luckiest kid in the world.

  • Jason Campion

    I am pretty sure that the robot is from this set:

    • Hmmm, definitely similar, but not quite there. I think you’re on to something though!

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  • tigertail777

    I love that the TV set has George Pal’s “War of the Worlds” playing. :)

  • LasVegasYankee

    Is the robot perhaps the Tommy Atomic? The triangle is there under his chest. There is a stripe on his head. The legs markings and the arm markings are the same. The only thing is the eyes. They are one piece on the toy, but look separate in the movie. Could they look like that because of the lighting?

    Love your website.

    • Dude, you got it! That is totally a Tommy Atomic. That has been bugging me forever! Also, thanks for the kind words sir. Totally gonna update this and attribute you…

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  • KikaidaLibre

    The japanese superhero masks from “Explorers” are the “Goggle V Robo” from “Goggle v” (1982), toei studios. This is one of the many live action sentai series that came before Power rangers. The bottom mask is “Andro Melos” (1983). This is a spinoff from the popular Ultraman series.

  • KikaidaLibre

    The robot mask in the same photo as the Stripe skull in “Explorers” is from an animated robot series called Galaxy Cyclone Braiger (1981)

    • Oh cool! I’m pretty clueless when it comes to Japanese pop culture. If it’s not Ultraman, Robotech or Akira my knowledge is pretty slim. Thanks for pointing to these!

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  • mfonte1

    What is the brownish colored console device with lots of knobs on it in Wolfgang’s bedroom at the beginning of the movie? It is to his left (the viewer’s right) on a shelf behind his bed.