Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Welcome to the Toy Store of the Real.

Between the two most recent Penny Arcade strips – “Retales,” Part 1 and Part 2, both of which are hilarious and ring true – and Adam’s Black Friday blog entry, I’ve been thinking about the old days at Children’s Palace.

Yes, it’s true, kids: Once upon a time, Toys ‘R’ Us wasn’t the only big-time massively-awesome-to-a-kid all-toys-all-the-time store. Hell, Geoffrey Giraffe didn’t even have turrets on his building, unlike the Fortress of Toyitude that was Children’s Palace. When we got a Children’s Palace in Canton – years before TRU invaded the Belden Village area – it became a freaking destination. Toys and games and bikes and crap just piled to the ceiling. You’d see employees on these towering ladders up among the haze, mining through boxes and descending with treasures.

I think it was the Christmas of 1988 when I started working there, and my perception forever changed.

I remember only bits and pieces from the newspaper ads and the TV commercials, but what I know for certain is that at some point in the early 1980s, all mankind was united in Rubik’s Cubes, Ataris and Star Wars toys. G.I. Joes; Transformers; Barbie’s perpetual tidal wave of pink. We marveled at our own magnificence as we gave birth to animation and cinematic tie-ins and toy property empires.

There were piles, endless piles, where Cabbage Patch Kids were no longer sold but ripped from red-vested clerks by bloody-toothed moms. For the longest time, I wouldn’t believe it, and then I saw the towering stacks of The Real Ghostbusters figures brought low in frenzy. Watched shoppers shred the Pee Wee’s Playhouse shelves to reach the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles endcaps where they found no Heroes in a Half-Shell, but only row upon row of April O’Neils mocking their ambition.

Standing there, facing the pure horrifying precision, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth. Children’s Palace was a plastic-generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this:

(Apologies to the Wachowskis. Yes, I still love Christmas and no, Children’s Palace wasn’t always that bad. I just couldn’t resist.)

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November 30, 2009 - Posted by | 1980s, Current Affairs, eighties, geek, Ohio | , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JRBooth, Travis Phelps. Travis Phelps said: Welcome to the Toy Store of the Real. « Cornfield Meet: Yes, it's true, kids: Once upon a time, Toys 'R.. http://bit.ly/8zzROm […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Welcome to the Toy Store of the Real. « Cornfield Meet -- Topsy.com | November 30, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] wrote about this in  “Collect All 21!”, and since I was just talking about Children’s Palace recently, and also since I’m all hyper that Star Wars Celebration V has been announced for […]

    Pingback by Star Wars: past, present and future « Cornfield Meet | December 3, 2009 | Reply

  3. In the same strip as Children’s Palace in Belden, I think immediately to the right if you’re facing the front door from outside, was a pizza place/arcade called Good Time Pizza. This was one of the first places I remember that had pizza and games, because we didn’t have a Chuck E Cheese in the area that I can recall. It was tremendous and worked a lot like Chuck E Cheese actually – with purchase of food you got game tokens. Nothing could have been more fun than that at the time. We went there every so often until I was 10 or so and I didn’t think about it for a long time until I realized it was gone. I’ve long since moved out of state, but as an adult coming back to visit around holidays, when I drive past that area I don’t see what’s there, I see what used to be there. Children’s Palace, Good Time Pizza, Shaheen rug store, Mulligan’s, and some others.

    Any memories of that place? So may hours of Pac Man…

    Comment by JS | April 3, 2014 | Reply


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