Oz Welcomes You to the Inner Sanctum…

Oz Welcomes You to the Inner Sanctum…

Bonus points if you can spot an action figure in this picture from the following toy lines: The New Adventures of Flash Gordon (1979-1982), Clash of the Titans (1981), The Black Hole (1979)

While my appearance on these pages has been rather sporadic of late, regular readers of Black Gate will have noted the debut of a new BG blogger, Gabe Dybing, who has been doing some filling in for my weekly slot. I had intended to give him a formal introduction at the start of the new year, but instead we just had him jump right in, and he hit the ground running with a series of reflections on Leiberian Sword & Sorcery. Now that you all know him and an introduction at this point would be superfluous, let me instead announce that he is moving from pinch hitter to starting line-up beginning this Wednesday. Welcome to the roster, Gabe!

Meantime, I have been busy setting up my Inner Sanctum (also sometimes referred to as The Dungeon, since it is in my basement). Gabe has been visiting my rural abode about once a month lately, so he has seen it go from a musty room full of unpacked boxes to a slightly less musty museum and workspace housing my collection of vintage toys, games, books, and comics. It’s not exactly the Ackermansion — but it could pass for a room in the Ackermansion!

Some folks have expressed curiosity about what my collection looks like, and while these pictures represent only a fraction of it, I thought I’d share a few here (click on pics for larger versions — you’ll need to in order to spot all the toys and pop-cult ephemera), as well as slipping in a shameless plug for the business side of this venture.

The dime-store corner, east wing of the Inner Sanctum
The dime-store corner, east wing of the Inner Sanctum

A collector has to support his hobby, oftentimes by selling parts of his collection (also to pay for things like food and stuff), so this past month I officially opened my own eBay storefront, joyously branded Raiders of the Lost Toy Box. (You can visit it HERE).

If you check out my eBay presence, do be sure to visit my Collection “A Gen X Childhood”: it’s an ever-expanding compilation of some of my favorite toys growing up in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s (most of them, as you might easily infer, involved monsters, robots, dinosaurs, and aliens). For many of you of the same generation, it will be a fun trip in the nostalgia ship. (Oh, and John: I’ll be posting some vintage lots of sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks over the next week or two, so I know you’ll want to keep any eye out for those!)

Can you tell I have kind of a thing for Morticia?
Can you tell I have kind of a thing for Morticia?


Now that Gabe is moving to his own new timeslot, I’ll be back here just about every Monday, writing to you from the Inner Sanctum surrounded by all these marvelous things. I have quite a backlog of books I’ve finished and films I’ve watched that I’d like to review, so we’ll just have to see what pushes its way to the head of the pack.

And thanks again, Gabe, for tagging me out long enough for me to get some of these boxes unpacked. Now tag me back in — I’m ready to rumble!



Questions for Discussion

  1. Ozment uses two different sports metaphors in this short piece. What are the sports, and what is wrong with him?
  2. What the heck is the Ackermansion, and (if you know the answer to that) what would you not give to spend a night there?
  3. Why are Gen Xers so cool? Follow-up question: What is wrong with these Millennials (or, if you prefer, Gen Yers)?
  4. What is the one sci-fi- or fantasy-themed toy you remember most fondly? Do you still have it, and how much would you sell it to me for?
  5. What was the point of She-Ra keeping her identity secret, since she and her alter ego Princess Adora shared the same social network of friends and loved ones? The bad guys would target those same people regardless which persona they were trying to threaten.

photo 3-10

photo 5-5

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Wild Ape

1. Pinch hitting and starting line up, unless you are counting hitting the ground running or are you ready to rumble.
2. Forrest J. Ackerman was known for his fantastic sci-fi book collection. What would I not give to spend a night there? I think anything short of a hot date with Scarlet Johanson would be a no deal and since that ain’t gonna happen….as long as I didn’t have to severely violate any morality laws…publically or on camera.
3. Gen Xers are like the X-Men, therefore inheritantly cool. Millenials are spoiled crybabies who secret fawn over Justin Bieber. C’mon, you know it’s true.
4. My Cornilius “action figure” from Planet of the Apes fame. It has been totally been taken out of the box and sent on combat missions with my GI Joe out in the desert. (By the way, my sister’s Barbie looks great in a GI Joe jungle fatigues, kinda looks like pajamas on her–something about chicks and guns that is hot). Cornilius isn’t for sale unless I can get into the AckerMansion.
5.Dames,who can understand them? If they have guns or a broadsword (no pun intended) who cares? They are easy on the eyes.

Joe H.

OK, I found the Black Hole figure, but I think I’d need a larger version of the picture to find stuff from Flash/Clash.

I also recognize the little wind-up dome-headed robot — used to have at least one of those, although it might’ve been a different color scheme.

As far as toys, I would give, well, someone else’s left arm for a mint-in-box set of Micronauts; ditto for mint-in-box copies of the LEGO space sets I used to have. (The ones with the red & white astronauts — I had a big ship and a missile base.)

Gabe Dybing

Thanks for the nice send off, Nick! Going great with your Raiders of the Lost Toy Box, I thought I had a few Raiders of the Lost Ark action figures – Indy, and Toht and Belloq in Ceremonial Garb, but last time I looked I couldn’t find them. Maybe I hid them from myself.

But I also have an old Donatello Turtle figure, and the original Optimus Prime.

They’re not for sale, even if I do find them.

Joe H.

Yep, I went to the larger version. And I do see Clash now. Still missing Flash, but that might just be because I’m not as familiar with the cartoon. (I did get the DVD release a few years ago, and watched it; the first season was really good, but the second season was … not.)

I don’t really have any toys left over from my childhood. Well, a box of mostly-broken Micronauts debris, but that’s about it. The tops of my bookshelves are festooned with Star Wars LEGO sets, but they’re all much more recent acquisitions …

John ONeill


A great set of pics! I’m jealous of your toy collection, especially your CLASH OF THE TITANS action figures. I’ll have to visit your inner sanctum in person some day soon.

John ONeill

Oh — and thanks for the tip on your upcoming eBay paperback lots! I’m warming up my bidding finger now…

Joe H.

Aha! Flash lizard woman! Nope, completely didn’t remember that from the series.

(Speaking of cartoon series from back in the day, did you ever watch the Tarzan of that era?)

Joe H.

[rushes off to Google] — it was Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle from Filmation (I think they also did the Star Trek animated series). It was actually a reasonably faithful adaptation, at least per IMDB — at this point, the only thing I actually remember is that the water in the rivers was particularly well-animated. Here’s the title sequence:


I remember watching most of the same shows you listed, plus Thundarr, which remains my favorite to this day.

The Flash Gordon cartoon is worth checking out; at least the first season, when they were actually doing a relatively serious take on things and having the story arc across multiple episodes. The second season was frankly terrible — they introduced a pink baby dragon and started doing two 12-minute standalone stories per episode.

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