All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
This item traveled down many highways, and had several different themes and names. I can’t remember which came first, “Fantastic Fossils,” “Super X-Rayders,” or “X-Ray Racers. In the end, the concept was sold to Galoob’s Toy Boys division, and they called it, ”Then and Now!” Let’s face it, the idea turned out to be a lemon, and Galoob did what they could to save it, in a valiant attempt at making lemonade.
Last week, I attended a gallery show, right here in Beacon, that featured “Art Toys.” The Outer Space Men were included. I noticed several items there that involved skeletons incased in outer transparent shells. The transparency was crystal clear. Eat your heart out, Mel. This is exactly what we were attempting, way back in 1990. Alas, Galoob’s supplyer couldn’t accomplish it, back then. To our basic concept of an object being imbedded in a transparent outer layer, we added another feature. The outer shell would be painted in colors similar to the Magic Diaper Babies. The paint used on those remained invisible at room temperature, and disappeared when dipped in cold water. We hoped to raise the transition temperature, so that the paint would be visible at room temperature, and disappear at higher temperatures.
We showed three variations. The first, “Fantastic Fossils” was the version that Galoob bought. It involved dinosaurs and other animals.
The second version was, perhaps, the most exciting. Super X-Rayders were a series of action figures that became transparent to reveal the secret creature inside. This would have been a whole new kind of action figure with an exciting new feature, never done before 1990.
Last of all, was a series of Hot Wheels size vehicle with their interiors visible, called, “X-Ray Racers!”
Galoob dove into this concept with enthusiasm. According to the KISCOM Blue Book, I had given them a model. I don’t remember it. In all good faith, they sculpted the various elements for seven different dinosaurs. They made the molds and everything. Then after investing a ton of work and money, they discovered that their factories couldn’t achieve anything approaching true transparency. Oy Vey! This is what the product looked like. Unlike the transparent toys I saw the other night, it was difficult to see the bones inside.
So in a masterpiece of ingenuity, Galoob cast each of the two elements separately, and sold them as a set. One figure was the dino’s skeleton and the other showed how it looked in the flesh. And they called the concept “Then and Now.” As far as I know, it didn’t sell. Mine might be the only set.
“Then and Now,” appeared in the Toy Boy’s Catalogue. All in all, the Toy Boys did their best to save this ill-fated attempt!