Nightmare Bugs & Monster Boppers.

I rarely remember my nightmares, and when I do, they’re mostly of the boring, work-related variety. Last night’s was a little different.

In the dream, I had a tank full of various lizards, and I needed to feed them live bugs. That’s not the “nightmare” part, but it’s worth noting that there is almost zero chance of me ever owning a pet that requires live bug lunches. I’m only good at five or six things, and on a list that short, there isn’t room for cricket handling.

So I whip out this container full of bugs, presumably storebought, and as I open the lid to make the sacrificial pour, I was startled: These were weird bugs. Certainly not crickets. They looked like fleshy, four-legged knobs, sort of popcorn-shaped, with spidery features and insane agility.

Immediately, many of them hop to the floor and scatter. Panicking and unable to close the lid (closing lids can be difficult when you’re in the middle of a nightmare and really need to close the fucking lid), I just dump the whole container into my made-up lizard tank, hoping that my made-up lizards will take care of the problem by eating heavily.

But the lizards were disinterested. The bugs effortlessly made their escape, whether by leaping out of the tank or by casually walking up its glass walls. Soon my apartment was absolutely crawling with the things, which is interesting because the container I had them in would’ve barely fit two ounces of kidney beans. It was a total clown car scenario, but with fictional fleshy spiders instead of clowns.

They looked much grosser and more evil than this, but to give you some example, a recreation:

After twirling around in circles and seeing the spiders everywhere, they just seemed to vanish — no doubt to the safety of under our furniture, or in our walls, or wherever it is that bugs go to plan their attack. In the dream, the clear implication was that they were waiting for the right moment to strike. Meanwhile, the lizards just sat there all drowsy and useless. No help at all.

One’s deductive powers aren’t exactly spot-on during dreams, and somehow, I drew the conclusion that the best thing to do was go to sleep. (This is a recurring piece of business in my nightmares. As a child, I’d “escape” them by dropping the ground and going to sleep…in my dream. It’s kinda meta, and I once used this tactic to avoid a lion who was the size of a planet.)

There I was, sleeping on the couch and dreaming about sleeping on the couch, only to be woken up — in my dream, I mean — by pink popcorn spiders who delighted in crawling all over my head and secret parts. Then I woke up for real, unable to separate fantasy from reality. It took five minutes for me to understand that, in the real world, I was not under siege by alien spiders.

It doesn’t sound like much when I relay it, but I really want to remember this dream, and I don’t feel like starting a lame dream diary just to do that. So, you get this.

Oh, I ate popcorn right before bed. This may explain why my nightmare bugs looked they way they did.

Have any weird dreams, lately? Confess in the comments.

…and then there’s this.

In the ’80s, Worlds of Wonder rocked us with all sorts of previously unseen toy technology, evidenced in everything from Lazer Tag to Teddy Ruxpin.

Their company history is one of great sadness, as they actually grew bigger than they could handle, and through no fault of their toys, Worlds of Wonder completely imploded.

Still, you had to admire them, whoever they were, for really taking it to other companies who were miles ahead of them in retail connections and dolla dolla bills. I grew up in a sea of amazing playthings, but nobody knew how to battery-operate a plastic mofo like Worlds of Wonder.

In 1988, they introduced Little Boppers, a risky venture into the uncharted territory of “dolls that dance to music.” The general skippy is that they had all of these great licenses — for Disney characters, for Muppets and for their own creations — and instead of just dumping boring plushies onto the market, they turned ‘em into little electronic hyenas that danced around to the beat of whatever was on your stereo.

These were simpler times, and toys that could dance to the specific riffs in “Paradise City” were not easily ignored. Sadly, by 1988, I would’ve been more interested in toys that came with small rifles or tubs of killer slime, and Little Boppers did not cross my radar. Except for that one kind.

Little Boppers made its fortunes on the likes of Mickey Mouse and Miss Piggy, but for the sake of depth, deadly depth, there was a Little Boppers off-shoot just perfect for Halloween Countdowning.

Monster Boppers! I can’t recall if they had cutesy names, but the terrifying trio consisted of a werewolf, Frankenstein’s Monster, and what was either a generic vampire or Dracula himself — hopefully the latter, because as Watterson taught us, things are better when they’re specific.

I must assume that the Monster Boppers collection was a proper Halloween offering, because very few kids give a shit about vampires and werewolves at any other point during the year. I hate children.

They were just such random additions. You’ve got Kermit, okay, Goofy, okay, Rowlf, okay, Daisy, okay…and then Frankenstein’s Monster? It was as if one of the puzzles from the back of a Highlights magazine came to life in dancing doll form. Not sure what I meant by that, but it sounded good.

I’ve procured one of the Monster Boppers. I’m glad it’s Wolfie, because he reminds me so much of Zipper Cat from The Get Along Gang. Zipper Cat was great. He did more for roller skates than Tootie ever could.

First, a warning about Boppers dolls, too little and too late: The battery compartment is RIDIC. The cover is screwed in place, and if you want to open it, you’ll need one of those screwdrivers that absolutely nobody has. Not the big one, and no, not the little one.

Not even the one that’s one size up from the little one. No, you’ll need the one that’s two sizes up from the little one, and five sizes down from the big one. I am confident that this particular screwdriver works on NOTHING but the screws in the backs of Little Boppers.

And by the time you give up and concede that you must find this exact mystical tool, you’ll have already stripped the screw from trying eight other sizes, anyway.

Hours later, I was finally able to introduce Wolfie to four new “AA” batteries. I turned him on, hit the music and waited for my show. The show sucked. Evidently, as Wolfie has grown old, he’s lost 95% of his hearing.

I’m sure he had some smooth moves in his day, but Wolfie’s ears, knees and everything else aren’t what they used to be.

I had such grand visions of making him dance along to Toccata and Fugue in D minor, but no matter how loudly the speakers blared, he refused to budge. Only by banging a pot with a metal spoon was I able to get him to dance at all.

I should be happy that an ancient wolf can still boogie in even a moderate way, but I want more. I also wasn’t pleased to so quickly top my personal loseriffic best of spending hours trying to pry a battery cover off of a werewolf’s ass by then banging pots to make him subtly shrug.

You’re not trash, Wolfie. But you’re getting cloooose.

91 thoughts on “Nightmare Bugs & Monster Boppers.

  1. Captain Will

    Morfnblorsh: I’ll make you a deal, you can dream about drowning when you’re about to screw hot chicks, and I’ll dream about screwing hot chicks when someone’s about to die. Fair exchange, I think. LOL.

    Thanks for the sympathies to you and Teddy Ray. It means a lot. God bless you both.

  2. Amy

    Each of these dreams is scary in its own special way. Bill’s doll had moved to the back of my mind over time, but now she’s right back up front.

    I think I was a little too old for these Little Bopper characters, but I do remember the commercials were on way too often. There was a time when the novelty item du jour was anything that moved to the beat of music. I had a fake plastic flower who wore tiny Ray-Bans and bobbed to my boombox. I guess I thought that was more cool. I kinda wish I’d had Kermit instead.

  3. Boner Jams 03

    Wow, little boppers. I thought there was nothing left to uncover, and this gem comes along. I totally forgot about those and yes the commercials ran constantly

    Matt, please cover the collectible Lego Mini-figures at some point….they are kind of a big deal

  4. Jaclyn

    My boyfriend’s apartment is about 100 degrees right now, and I was blow drying my hair which made it even hotter…..and I got CHILLS reading about the dreams where things became real. I’m creeped out now!

    I don’t have any scary recurring dreams. I did have a dream that my friend cut his hair and dyed it black (turns out, he did that night). Not too frightening, lol.

    I went on a couple dates with this guy…who told me (WHY? I don’t know) that he has this recurring nightmare where he’s at the top of a long staircase and Ronald McDonald is at the bottom holding his arms out for a hug, and the guy starts floating down the staircase to him unable to stop. That creeps me out too, hahaha. But really, it does.

  5. Thomas

    I don’t really have scary dreams; my dreams tend to be mundane but vivid. I had one the other night that involved my old junior high school PE teacher and an unfamiliar locker room. A common element of my dreams are that they often occur in places I know and yet not match the design/layout of the aqcutal place they’re supposed to be; I just know what they are.

  6. Morfnblorsh

    Jessica Marie – You just blew my fucking mind and I adore you for it. That is the most bizarre and excellent dream ever! My brain is rollicking in a bizarre form of afterglow having read that. Thank you!

    Captain Will – I think my original proposition was pretty fair. You don’t dream of me, so I won’t die – and I don’t dream about you so that we don’t have to fornicate. Everyone wins!

    Mystie – You, however, can dream about me.

  7. Pete

    “I also wasn’t pleased to so quickly top my personal loseriffic best of spending hours trying to pry a battery cover off of a werewolf’s ass by then banging pots to make him subtly shrug.”

    lol’d hard

  8. jango

    when i was a kid my first remembered dream was a recurring one in which a robot that looked like my grandmas vacuum would come into the room and set fire to everything with long hoses. it took me weeks to break the dream, it seemed so real i would set traps for it during the day… that my mom would always fall for. now i only really get nightmares on a day or two before Christmas, or during fevers. ive had one in which i ran into the lord of the flies, only to wake up with a fly under the blanket with me loudly buzzing… in the middle of January. or one that started off nice but then i got on a bus that was showing a documentary on thalidomide poisoning in babies and having the landscape turn to black with a red sky. shits crazy!

  9. ZYX

    I rarely, rarely get nightmares. Aside from the latest one, though, they ALWAYS involve elevators and tall, unstable buildings. The elevator cars swing like pendulums, then plummet to the bottom. D:

    but this latest one… oh god.
    It started off with me being dropped off at some school to start training for teaching a Science Camp of some sort. The instructor didn’t show up until 3 the next morning (another thing that creeps me out: fluorescent lights really late at night). It’s all going fine until he pulls out of his bag the CORPSE OF A HOLOCAUST VICTIM. D=
    and then he wants me to _dissect it_. So, naturally, I DO… make the main incision, pin the dry and thin skin to the table… and then out of nowhere, the person’s eyes start moving. I realise he’s still breathing. He’s too shocked to scream, but tears start streaming down his face and you can tell this is literally Worse Than The Holocaust for him.
    But I follow the teachers directions and keep picking him apart.
    D:

    I was messed up for like, a week, after that.

  10. shamwow

    Maybe if you actually played some music instead of beating on a damn bowl he might have done greater things.

  11. Morfnblorsh

    shamwow – Matt explained that music didn’t work, it’s in right there in the article.

    …but no matter how loudly the speakers blared, he refused to budge. Only by banging a pot with a metal spoon was I able to get him to dance at all.

  12. Amanda

    You know, I had two of those little boppers and the damn things didn’t really dance out of the package in ’88, so i’m not surprised.

  13. Nick

    I always seem to get nightmares this time of year, and I had one just the other night-
    It started with me driving through a forest during a rainstorm with two female passengers. I was really struggling to keep the car on the road (this happens a lot in my nightmares). At some point I got a flat tire and had to pull off to the side of the road in the middle of what looked like a soybean field. As one of the girls fixed the tire I realized that I had to keep a swarm of rats with glowing yellow eyes away from the girl. So I ran in big circles in the field being chased by these black rats. I knew they couldn’t cross the road so i went to the other side, where I saw there was a monk in a black robe, caring a spear floating in a mechanical fashion. also where his head was there was a glowing golden dog skull. That’s when I knew we were screwed. for some reason at that point in the dream it cut to a scene of a bunch of dead carnies getting dumped into a “gravitron” except with an open top. and then i woke up. it was super scary, but it was kinda fun too.

  14. Aconite

    Fun Fact: The song used in the commercial, “Keep On Dancing” was written by the Mouth of the South, Jimmy Hart of evil WWF manager fame.

  15. Brent

    In the most recent dream I had I had just been kicked out of my village and was wandering the country side. Eventually I found my way to the frozen north where I joined the defense of the northern boarders from orcs. We weren’t all that organized, just a bunch of small bands form various tribes and some outlaws. The group from farthest north was the water tribe and I romanced one of the girls from there. She was basically Katara but with brown eyes and didn’t take part in much of the fighting.

    The weird thing about this dream is I guess the fact that me and Katara weren’t the main heroes, we actually were pretty average in skills and abilities.

    You’d think the normal fantasy dream is with you running around killing stuff and like Conan.

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