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The 1992 Sears Wish Book

One of the most exciting things during my otherwise normal day during my childhood was seeing the mailman walk up to the house.  Occasionally my Uncle would send a note packed with a few goodies.  Or maybe a NHL team would finally return an autograph that I had requested in spam-like fashion through multiple letters because of a book I had picked up at a school book fair (remember those?) that told you how to send away for autographs from sports teams or actors.  Other than that, I didn't get much mail but it was still exciting to see what would show up that day for Mom or Dad.  Junk mail.  Bills.  Letters.  Catalogs!

I'd often grab the catalogs and pour over them before turning them over to my folks.  It didn't matter the store.  It didn't matter what they sold... more often than not they had a toy section!  Most everyone back in the 80's and 90's, myself included, lived for the moment the Sears Wish Book arrived in late Summer or early Fall.  I remember as a kid these things were the size of small phone books and the smell of the ink and paper can take me back if I catch a whiff in a new circular today.

In an effort to do something special for this site and a chance to take another road trip into yesteryear... I picked up an edition of the 1992 annual Sears Wish Book for cheap on eBay and scanned in some pages for you to enjoy!

I couldn't let you go without a little bit of history, though!  Sears originally produced the Sears Wish Book as a separate catalog from their normal sales circulars back in 1933.  Many years later in 1993, however, the Sears company discontinued publishing a big-book catalog and they began to noticeably diminish in size.  By 2005, the company abandoned the Wish Book all together and produced the "Little Wish Book."  The Little Wish Book was a small pamphlet sized thing that was placed inside packages bought on Sears or Landsend's websites or in small displays inside the Sears Auto Centers.  After public outcry (and likely reduced sales) Sears once again created the Wish Book in 2007, but again this was noticeably smaller than the 300-500 page books of yesteryear.

The 2007 issue featured more jewelry, tools, clothes, and appliances than it did toys to many child and nostalgic adult's disappointment.  The 2010 issue was the first available on mobile allowing customers to view the catalog on their smartphone.  In 2017, Sears announced they would bring back the Wish Book to printed publication, although I haven't had a copy mailed to my house since then.

As I mentioned previously I went looking on eBay for a copy of the Wish Book.  Perhaps it's just because it's the Christmas season and everyone wants to relive the better days of yesteryear, but, MAN were they expensive!  I wanted one around 1985-90 but it was just so cost prohibitive.  I mean, these relatively useless bunches of paper and ink were going for anywhere between $75-100!  So, I widened my search into the 90's and was lucky to find an extremely affordable copy of the 1992 issue that, while not in the best shape, was in acceptable enough condition to get some great scans to share with you!

You can see this was still from the era when they were basically a small phone book.  I took a measurement and it comes in right at 1 inch thick!

Right on the inside cover was something that hit me right away.  My Dad had a Sony camcorder just like the one on the bottom of this page.  Can you imagine paying $699 for JUST a video recorder today?  I no longer own my DSLR camera, so aside from a few generations old GoPro camera that I only use when we go on cruises the only photo/video recording device I have is my smart phone!

Another quick blast from the past... remember the old style flip phone?  I remember my Dad had one of these type phones (I think his was Motorola) and he had to carry around a piece of paper with him with a code on it because back in those days, you needed to enter a 8-12 digit passcode BEFORE dialing someones number to connect to the cellular network.  It was quite a problem for commuters in New York City as crooks would sit by the tunnels and bridges and use skimmers to steal peoples codes as they sat in traffic.  What a difference in technology in 17 years.

I don't have any nostalgic feelings toward this following scan other than what a change in exercise equipment!  The only thing missing is the Suzanne Summers ThighMaster.  

This year it would be a Peloton bike and a Crossfit membership...

Some more clothes in the next few scans may not be the toys I remember but I thought it would be fun to look at the fashion styles for 1992.  I would have loved that TMNT baseball styled outfit!

Zubaz striped pants were big in the 80's and here they try to market to children in the early 90's.  What better way than advertise your favorite NFL team than with Looney Tunes and Zubaz?

Up next, a comic book collection!  Your choice of DC or Marvel.

This next scan is a collection of board games.  I would have loved the Home Alone game and I distinctly remember asking my Mom for the Guess Who? game but never received.  I also always wanted to play Mall Madness.  I knew even then it was a "Girl's Game" but I wanted to play nonetheless.  I always loved the commercials for it and thought it'd be fun to play.  I may just have to go look on eBay...

1992 would have been right around the time my Mom and Dad purchased the original NES Nintendo system for me so I had a big touch of nostalgia looking at this page.

While I was still playing NES I was pining away for a Sega Genesis.  My neighbor, the typical kid who got everything he asked for, already had one and I just couldn't wait until my parents bought me one.  I just had to wait until 1995 :)

And last but not least, this was one item I circled, highlighted, ripped out and left on my parents bed... every...single...year.  I always wanted to become an airline pilot but as a child I wanted a remote controlled airplane in the worst way.  The one featured on the top of the page, with it's neon colors, was the item I wanted the most every year.  Since I like bright colors, the neon oranges, pinks, and blues made me want that plane more than the others.  I never did get a remote controlled airplane until I was out of college and bought one on my own.  I flew it a few times, one very memorable time spent flying it with my Dad, and then it crashed it and wrecked it for good.

I hope you enjoyed these scans and with a 1 inch thick book that borders on 350 pages, Lord knows I could have posted hundreds more great photos.  What do you remember about the Sears Wish Book?  What were your favorite Christmas toys from yesteryear that you always wanted and never got?