Friday, 19 August 2011

Another Adventure with the Ready Rangers.

comic book Ready Rangers Field Pack advert
Hooray! I've had a request - and just for once it's not the usual one.

In response to my post about the Steve Scout advert, R.W. Watkins has asked me to dig out and post the legendary Ready Rangers advert, which in this case comes from the back cover of the 100 page Witching Hour #38.

What a marvellous thing a Ready Rangers Mobile Field Pack was. To those of us unused to the ways of Ray Mears it might seem like a flimsy plastic box with flimsy plastic toys inside it but to the dedicated survivalist it's all you need to launch an all-out war-of-will on the Great American Wilderness. "Bow before my flimsy plastic box!" you'd shout, as nothing nature could throw at you could stop you.

Why, with its periscope and signal light, I wouldn't be surprised if you could stage an assault on the North Pole itself and be back home in time for tea.

Witching Hour #38, 100 page special
Personally, with its ponchos and Distance Computer, I wouldn't trust it to keep me alive in my back garden, let alone the American wilderness, but it all takes me back to the days of Clarks' Wayfinders, the legendary shoes that had a compass in the heel, so you'd always know where you were as long as you went everywhere stood on one leg. I seem to recall they also had animal tracks reproduced on their soles so that if you saw strange animal footprints, by taking your shoes off and staring at the soles you could tell what animal had left the tracks. While you were doing this, the animal in question would no doubt take advantage of the fact you were stood in bear country, distracted by staring at your shoes, and kill you.

Ray Mears, eat your heart out.


Kid said...

Had those shoes - also had the astronaut ones which came with a magnetic space capsule you could slide around the cosmic backdrop inside the box. Remember those? Boo hoo! I want to be a kid again.

Steve W. said...

I don't remember the magnetic space capsule shoes at all. I'm not sure if I ever had the compass shoes or not. I have a feeling I might have but I'm not certain.

B Smith said...

Have to admit I was completely baffled as to what a distance computer was or how it worked....and I'm still none the wiser these many decades later.

R. W. Watkins said...

Ah, yes! A comic-book classic from the Golden Age of advertisement exaggeration and child manipulation!

Sean Cassidy and Parker Stevenson faced UFOs while cruising in sports cars in the cornball '70s television version of The Hardy Boys; the late Michele Gallagher was regularly abducted and bound and gagged by slimy-looking smugglers in the late '70s version of The Famous Five; but the former could always depend on famous father Fenton Hardy to bail 'em out, and the latter had Timmy the dog to save her precious pubescent arse. Neither did anything so romantically foolish as wander in avalanche-addled mountains at age 11 with nothing but a plastic case of parlour tricks and amateur science and a cheap nylon tent at one's disposal.

This advert really sucked the youngsters in--the nocturnal panels in particular. With their robe-and-cowl-like ponchos, the boys actually took on the appearance of a secret mountain sect or fraternity, turning their dials, flashing their mysterious lights--probing the secrets of the universe. The boy affront the tent even appears to be in a state of prayer or the like. The Bobbsey Twins and The Famous Five merely thwarted smugglers and poachers; in the fourth panel of this strip, the boys seem to be staring over the edge of eternity, making contact with God. Also keep in mind that they are 'huddling together' in their ponchos in the dark. There's something latently sexual inherent in that message; I sensed it even as a five-year old.

Still, despite the lies and manipulation--and impending dangers that projected from them--give me the mobile field packs, candy cigarettes, lawn darts, and chemistry sets that could level Mount Logan any day over the political correctness and accompanying hypocrisies of today! At least children and adolescents were allowed--even encouraged--to grow up in those days. Most young 'men' I encounter today in their early twenties resemble my friends and I when we were between 8 and 11; they look like tattooed little leaguers. And speaking of latent child sex, has anyone noticed the inane double messages that are being thrown at youth today? Here in Canada, sex laws have become ridiculously tougher than ever in regards to youth conduct--even amongst themselves; yet one can purchase prepubescents' undergarments bearing dirty messages and Hallowe'en 'pimp' costumes, and the secondary schools are full of thong knickers and tattooed breasts.

So I'm quite content with my fond memories of childhood delusion at the hands of the Aurora company. I never did get a mobile field pack, sadly. In fact, I'm not sure if they were ever available here in Canada. Whatever the case, the company went out of business a long time ago, and the only other product I've ever seen available from them was some sort of strange gun or crossbow that turned up on eBay a while back. I think it took photographs or some foolish thing!

John Lueckenotte said...

Hi guys... lots of laughs seeing these adverts... I still have my ReadyRanger ad on the back of a "Sgt. Rock" comic from c.1973

Come by and check out my ReadyRanger Facebook page:

Steve W. said...

Hello, John. I've just checked out that page. Who'd've thought there were so many fans of the Ready Rangers?

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