Saturday, April 28, 2012

When my Backyard was my Movie Backlot.



 By - Steve Mezo




Who remembers when the old dirt patch in your back yard was the greatest movie set ever for the film crew in your head?

I'll never forget the Christmas of 1976 when I got  The Navarone Playset from  The Marx Toy Company.
 

Now before you roll your eyes and say "Dude this is supposed to be about monsters!" just bear with me for a second.
This playset kicked the ass of anything that's out now with flashing lights, sound effects or batteries. It was just a big old plastic mountain with a ton of army men, tanks, boats, jeeps, half tracks and howitzers and a printed plastic mat.
 It even had a ton of extras like ammo crates and gun racks. There was even medics with a stretcher and an injured soldier.
 
I just wish it had the dog because he's cool!!!

Well, after a few months of playing with it, all of the soldiers German and American were all M.I.A. (but somehow I kept all of the accessories). My mother thought "Well that's the end of that toy". The soldiers are gone, so now this big plastic mountain is going to sit in back of his room or under his bed". But I had other plans...

One day we were in a five and dime store (Kind of like a Seventies version of a dollar store with better stuff) and they had a huge bag of green army men with a couple tanks and jeeps for a dollar fifty.

And right next to it were a bunch of five inch tall monster looking dinosaurs that were fifty cents each. So for six bucks I had a whole new cast of characters.

When I got home that summer day with my Mom she saw me run in the house with my bag of epic battle. And then run right back out seconds later with a few of those plastic jugs full of colored chemical sugar water called "Little Hugs"
along with the bag of Green Army Men and Dinosaurs in one hand and my plastic mountain in other before she was even half way across the driveway. Then I ran to my favorite dirt patch in the back yard and orchestrated a skirmish that  Michael Bay would pay out the ass to have done digitally. 

These battles went on for years with the Green Army Men
 fighting everything from Robots
 

To Giant Gorillas
  

To Giant Spiders
 
I wish they had Silly String back then because
 that would have been sick!


Then there were lots of other monsters to fight the Green Army Men that were bought by relatives because they looked cool but didn't do much other than that. 

There was...

Suckerman
 
I can't remember who bought him for me, but he didn't impress me much. I mean he stuck to stuff, but after having my mother screaming at me for leaving sucker marks all over the windows, fridge and mirrors I didn't have much use for him. Till I discovered he could stick to the fiberglass bathtub I wrote about in my last article "The Bathtub That Contained The Ocean of Blood".

Then he became cool, now he wasn't only fighting the Green Army Men in their mountain fortress he was killing the crew of the Battle Boat. 


And there was Rodan
  I got him along with the Shogun Godzilla
 
I guess they were supposed to fight each other but they would always team up to destroy the Green Army Men and their mountain fortress. I guess it was a good idea since Rodan didn't do much but flap his wings.


Another one that just flapped his wings was 
Gre- Gory
 
He was bought with good intentions too,  but if it weren't for the mountain he wouldn't have seen much action.

That went for his friend 
"KRUSHER" too.
 



Someone had given me a Squish Brain
 

And with the help of Saturday afternoon horror movies
 that had become 
THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS
 



Then thanks to Star Wars I was given Star Bird
and the Star Bird Intruder
 

There was no room to put any figures inside like my Star Wars toys, but Star Bird's Astronaut Crew
 


And The Intruder's Evil Alien Crew
Had no problem doing battle against the Green Army Men since the Star Bird Crew were helping the Green Army Men. These guys also saved my Star Wars toys from getting trashed by sacrificing themselves.