As we continue our journey through these six $.95 die-cast toy cars, I wanted to take a moment to discuss my Big Bird record player.
In the previous article I made brief mention of this artifact, so I figured I should share it with all you lovely folks.
Yep, there it is. My first record player. The folding cover is long-lost these days but it still works when I plug in four new “C” Sized batteries. This phonograph dictated my childhood as I played alone in my bedroom, surrounded by everything from Supertramp to Queen to the Gremlins soundtrack (featuring Michael Sembello). Of course The Beatles were always close at-hand and later John Lennon as I became ever-so-slightly obsessed with (and may have had a crush on) the artist that had died far too early, two years before I was even born.
This picture is to give you a sense of scale, as normal 33 1/3 albums dwarf the player. On the turntable is K-Tel’s Looney Tunes which I may have to write another thousand words on in the near future.
Enough nostalgic distractions, let’s look at toy cars!
Kool Kombi – Blue Meanie
The Blue Meanie was the deal-maker. I had to have this set when I saw the Blue Meanie.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Blue Meanie, and I have no idea why. Maybe because his design was so off-the-wall even for the yellow submarine film, maybe because he was the inspiration for a founding member of the bWo. (That’s Blue World Order for those not versed in semi-obscure professional wrestlers)
Just look at this guy! If he doesn’t sell you on professional wrestling, then I don’t know what will. Seriously, he is entertainment personified.
As for the car, or more accurately, the VW van, it really fits the oddball personality of the animated Beatles’ antagonist perfectly. The colors are crisp and it looks almost like it could be something airbrushed onto a van you see at the state fair, full of “free spirit types”.
The only problem I ran into among all six vehicles is that the front set of wheels do not turn on this model. I think the body might be a bit misshapen or put together incorrectly, causing stress on the wheels. I am slightly put off, since I wanted to race the Blue Meanie vs Ringo and see who could do a loop-de-loop better. Ah well I might just have to take a trip back to the store and buy another one or eight. Gotta be sure, you know.
Fast Felion – Ringo Starr
Let’s stop before we dig in to Ringo’s car and appreciate the art on the package itself. It simply is stellar. Every time I look at these cars I wish I had bought a second set just to keep for the packaging art. I would likely try and frame the cards and quickly be murdered by my dear wife for spending a few hundred dollars that we don’t have on a mahogany frame for hot wheels cardboard garbage.
But it is so pretty. The characters pop out at you in vibrant colors, seemingly directly ripped from the film itself and arranged with such love that little else compares aesthetically.
Here is Ringo’s car. It has flowers. I do like the color scheme, but it just doesn’t do anything for me. Yep, there is Ringo. Yep, it has flowers. Let’s move on. I just want to get to writing John.
Cockney Cab – John Lennon
I have been sitting here, not distracted by 90’s Saturday morning commercials, trying to think of words to describe the beauty we see here. This exemplifies the animated version of John, a bit quirky and yet sophisticated, and completely sexy.
Ok so I am super biased on this design, but it seems to be the most creative of the four Beatles-inspired cars. The color scheme matches John, and has him popping up by the passenger rear wheel well saying “Hey old chap! I’m John with a British accent!”
I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about the history of Hot Wheels cars, and I am sure this model has been used many times in the past, but this is the first time I have seen it in person. It stands out from the rest of the pack with the awkwardly sized wheels and rear window exhaust pipes that I am sure are not street-legal. But it’s John. He’s a rebel. He does what he wants. He eats ramen while driving with his knees. Don’t ask questions because he will just flash you that world-winning smile and you will forget that you are talking to a reanimated corpse.
That got weird.
Anyway I hope you have enjoyed this overly long breakdown of six Hot Wheels cars inspired by the animated Yellow Submarine film from so many years ago.
Buy them, and make vroom vroom noises all around your house all day long.