Fun 80′s Ads….


By Shawn Robare

So here’s another bit of nostalgia goodness that’s partially in a Halloween-y kind of vein (all puns intended.) So a weird interest I had as a kid was the ability to flip through catalogs for hours on end picking out phantom purchases that I’d never be able to afford in a million years. The Sears catalog was my favorite, but I’d take a gander at anything as long as there were pages upon pages of well laid out pictures and order numbers.

Well sort of an offshoot of this pastime was an obsession with the full pages ads in comics and magazines that had products for sale. In particular I had a soft spot for Fangoria magazine and the latex mask ads they’d run in every issue. Here’s an example of one of my favorite mask ads from the Creature Flesh & Blood company:


This ad is from a 1988 issue of Fangoria. Though I remember this one, my favorite version was a two-page spread that had a lot more of the bloody limbs and body parts (like the most realistic eye in a pool of blood I’ve ever seen.) This was back when my initial interest in horror was just beginning to bloom and I couldn’t get enough of the gory stuff. I always wanted to dress up super gory for Halloween, with these masks in mind, but it never happened. In fact I’ve never really worn a latex mask for Halloween. One year I got the whole Freddy Kruger get up including the cloth glove with the plastic finger knives and a really shitty rubber mask and foam fedora, but I didn’t wear it out as we never found a convincing sweater.

In particular I love that Gusher mask.  Hey what the heck is up with the super realistic monkey mask?

Another magazine that I loved to flip through was Black Belt monthly because all boys loved ninjas and karate action in the 80’s. Seriously. Every frickin’ single one of ‘em. I’d be willing to be that most boys who grew up in the 80’s would know exactly what you meant if you jumped up and shouted “Sweep the leg Johnny!? I’d be willing to double that bet that at least half of those boys would then say something in the vein of “Put ‘em in a body bag, yeah…!? Well I only ever bought one Black Belt magazine actually but I cherished it and loved it literally to pieces. See that magazine is practically filled with ads for ninja weapons. From batons to samurai swords and grappling gear to nun chucks you were bound to find something you liked in the grand ninja weapon selection. I couldn’t find my old issue of Black Belt, so I broke down and purchased one on Ebay just so I could scan and post these lovely ads for your perusal. Here’s the best of what was in the issue I got from 1985:


My favorites were always the full color ads like this one for Cobra Imports Ltd. In particular I coveted the ninja star belt buckle. Many days I imagined walking home from school and getting ambushed by ninja, only to be saved by my trusty ninja belt buckle (of course in my day dreams the ninja star would come back to my hand magically like a homing boomerang.)


This ad is pretty darn cool if only for the insane amount of styles you could get your ninja stars in. Of course this ad also feature the awesome Ninja Board game, because we all know that aspiring ninja are all tabletop gaming nerds at heart. This ad also gets points for offering butterfly knives.


This ad wins for the most pointless silly purchase a parent could make ever. What infant this young can even hold their head up let alone do a pint sized roundhouse. So silly.


I couldn’t finish this post without including at least one Chuck Norris approved ad. Mr. Norris was like on every other page of this magazine, so I’m assuming 1985 was a prime year for Chuck. This is also the coolest product endorsement ever, hands down. Argue with me and Chuck Norris will punch you with his beard.