Ah, the ’80s. While some people may write this decade off to spandex, big hair, and voodoo economics, there is something about this decade that makes it the best in history – we were born in it.
Sure, we’ve grown up and out of our legwarmers and Transformers pajamas, but many children of the ’80s still carry a special part of this decade with them in their heart.
And some people go a little further. (Like this reporter, who has 80 My Little Ponies and everything “Garfield and Friends”).
Collecting ’80s memorabilia has become increasingly popular with students as we start feeling nostalgic for a world in which our most pressing engagement was the premiere of “The Secret of the Ooze.”
Stores such as Hot Topic cater to our memories, and the phenomenon of Thundercats T-shirts and Rainbow Brite bags grows more mainstream each year.
Play With This, a Pensauken store that sells toys from the ’60s to the ’90s, said that the ’80s are especially popular, since most toys take about 20 years to become hot collectibles.
So what speaks most to your soul?
Junior English major Linda Gallant’s screenname is based on Fraggle Rock, and she has been collecting memorabilia since 1986. She has stuffed toys, books and T-shirts, but her most prized possession is her collection of episodes.
“Since it’s not on TV anymore I’m glad my mom taped the HBO Family Showcase episodes when I was young,” she said.
Nicole Moinhos, sophomore psychology major, loved the Care Bears, and about a year ago, decided to start collecting. While she had some things saved from her childhood, she has since collected five pairs of pajamas, notepads, pens and T-shirts.
Patrick Shea, junior communication studies major, has collected Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle memorabilia since the show’s beginning. He also owns Batman figures from the old series with Adam West and the Michael Keaton movie.
He also has a Turtle van, a Batmobile and a Batcycle, but his most disturbing purchase was “the ooze.”
“I don’t even know what went into that stuff, but it probably came from an animal somewhere,” Shea said.
Shea is looking forward to the new Christian Bale Batman movie. However, the new Turtles just aren’t his style, since they appear to be lacking eyes, and, as Shea explains, “It’s like the turtles got replaced by Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Helen Keller, and Andrea Bocelli, and I don’t know how they would fare in a fight.”
Jonathan Tran, junior English major, believes in “Turtle Power” too. He has about two dozen figures, from the first production line (that came with the cheesy break-off weapon rack) to the “theme” Turtles. He also has the later ones, including those that were transformers and morphed from regular turtles to the fighting ones – his favorite – and keeps them in a collector’s case.
He had a talking Michelangelo. His favorite accessory was the pizza thrower that shot out rapid-fire plastic pizzas, along with a warning not to aim it at people or animals. “Of course my brother and I always tried to get each other in the eyes, which totally hurt and ruled,” Tran said.
Christine Brozyna, sophomore journalism major, had about 30 My Little Ponies, with a stable, which she started collecting before she could even talk. While the ones with jewels for eyes scared her, her favorites were the ones with the hair that grew when it was pulled.
“I don’t really remember this, but my mom said I would line them up by color and I would name them all,” Brozyna said.
Though not as beloved as the ponies, she also had a troll collection, and one year every one of her friends bought her a troll for her birthday. She liked the large plush troll doll, but looking back, Brozyna realizes that they were ugly. She remembers she must have always thought so, since she never kept them out.
“I still have all ponies,” Brozyna said. “It’s nostalgic for me, but I could care less about the trolls.”
Bill Bruno, junior information systems major, bought the first two seasons of “Saved By The Bell” on DVD. “I started collecting because the show is one of my memories from being younger and it’s not on TV much anymore, so I had to find some way to watch it,” Bruno said.
While more seasons have yet to be released on DVD, Bruno said he would purchase more when they become available. “But not that ‘Saved By The Bell: New Class’ or ‘the College Years,'” he said. “That was crap.”
So, for many people who may occasionally feel similar malcontent for ‘TCNJ: the College Years,’ a little dose of ’80s comfort sounds just like what Dr. Huxtable would order.