Secret Fun Spot

SecretFunSpot is the online lair to house every creeping little image, toy or piece of entertainment that is “retro-culture.” This site is so much fun. Author Kirk D. compiles an inexhaustible catalogue of ’50s pop culture novelties. Sci-fi cups, fake Star Wars merch, bike decals and even essays lamenting the dissipating appearance of pirates in advertising only begins to open up this site.

The site has a slightly macabre feel to it, a dark-carnival look which is probably best described as “spooky” but never “scary.” Classic horror icons such as Frankenstein’s monster, the creature from the Black Lagoon and more tend to pop out from a black background through some hyperbolic comic colours and fonts.

The toys section is also a must. For those children of the ’70s and ’80s, the nostalgia might become a little addictive. Clicking through the endless pic-reel of Boglins, Nerf products and rusty-coloured novelty boxes made me feel like I was locked in my grandmother’s basement. Each toy’s container comes from a day when hands still penned the images and little faces of boys and girls would be poorly printed on the front in a locked expression of utter amazement.

One such expressions belongs to “Flip,” the site’s young, flash-animated vintage toy enthusiast. The two short episodes show Flip dreaming of an enormous, mail-order Frankenstein monster complete with shooting laser eyes, heading over to the carnival to explore the truth behind the haunted-house rides. The shorts are great little dialogue-free departures from the straight vintage catalogue feel of the rest of the site.

My favourite, however, is a section which satisfies the curiosities of anyone who’s ever scanned the last pages of a pulp comic-that’s right, “Truth in ads.” Kirk D. goes to the trouble of presenting the original, dime-store comic ad next to the actual item one would receive in the mail. After spending a hard-earned allowance, some young chap expecting a “Ventrilo” (voice-thrower) would instead receive two pieces of tin wrapped in a ribbon as a convenient choking hazard! To truly explore the bizarre and wonderful depths of the novelty world, check this one out. (James King).