Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Holy Slot Cars, Batman!

One of my annual Christmas wishes when I was a kid was a slot car set.  Each year I'd circle every single slot car layout in the Sears and J.C. Penney's Christmas catalogs. Year after year Christmas came and went without finding one under the tree.  The tracks I was used to were the HO-scaled Tyco tracks of the 1970's. Then one day while watching an episode of the 1966 Batman TV show, I was surprised to see Bruce, Dick, Alfred and Aunt Harriet embroiled in their own slot car race.

The sheer size of the track made me assume it was a prop made for the show, particularly since one section of the track appears to dead end underneath another. (Actually, the track makes a hard left and goes into the corkscrew in the back right corner). Then last week, I found this July 1967 issue of "Model Car & Track".

Apparently, these 1/24th scale sets were all the rage of the 1960's.

 I was hoping the magazine would provide a little information about the actual track, considering it was model car magazine.  Instead, they opted for some silly (and downright baffling) dialogue bubbles.

"nerf me in the corner"? Holy innuendo, Batman!  I don't want to know what's going on with Batman and Robin in the dark here.

One hobbyist actually went as far as to recreate the track layout.

And I did eventually get one of those slot car sets around my 12th Christmas. This one. It was glorious.


  1. In my elementary school library in the late 70s were a string of young-adult books from the 60s about kids playing sports, by an author named Matt Christopher. I enjoyed them even though I didn't care at all about sports and didn't really even know the rules. But when I got to one about a kid competing at the local slot car parlor with a car he made himself (IIRC) that was shown in the illustrations as way bigger than any slot car I'd ever seen, I sat up and took notice. I demanded to know from my parents if there really were such places --- the idea that they'd existed and vanished never occurred to me.

    1. Thanks for sharing the memory, Alec. There was a resurgence of slot car parlors (at least around me) in the 90's. There was one at our local mall that was pay by the hour (or maybe even shorter). I was tempted, but I never did go. It didn't last long as I recall.

  2. Yeah, that resurgence was pretty widespread. I remember a parlor opening up near my old junior college in the Bay Area. The opening was featured in a short local TV news piece. It had at least one huge custom-built track as its centerpiece. And yeah, they didn't last very long.

  3. i had forgotten that slot car parlors existed! crazy dens of iniquity and the scourge of our precious childhood minds before arcades came along, i'm sure.

  4. I had the same Tyco set! Thanks to Santa that was a wonderful Christmas. I played with that thing for years buying new cars every chance that I could


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