The Daily Ping

The 1st Ping was published on January 6, 2000.

May 16th, 2005

Nickelodeon Super Toy Run

When you’re a kid there are about two things that you really need in life: candy and toys. That’s it. Sugar, plastic, it’s all good. Therefore when I was a kid one of my dream events was the Nickelodeon Super Toy Run.

Every year Nick would give one lucky kid the opportunity to run loose in a Toys ‘R’ Us with an empty shopping cart and a really short amount of time (2 minutes, I think?) to grab whatever she or he wanted. Of course, when I never won after years of entering I got a little discouraged.

I did have a perfect plan for how it’d work at my local Toys ‘R’ Us, though. I’d start out by skipping the front area – that’s where they had the seasonal items like beach toys and the like. I’d head straight for the computers (surprise) and pick up at least four new Commodores. Then, of course, every game and every accessory. I’d backtrack a bit and get a slew of games – I wonder if Boggle was on my list? – before heading over to Lego. I was big into Legoland, and having a complete collection of Lego (including the battery-operated Lego train!) would certainly be quite awesome.

And really, that’s it. I figured I could get a few things for friends of course, but I had to maximize my time. It was all about the strategy, and not the luck.

I think if anyone ever tried to do an adult version of this, and needed a locale, Costco would be ideal. I’d be up for the Costco Super Large Quantities of Items Run!

Posted in Childhood Memories

FROM: Greg
DATE: Monday May 16, 2005 -- 10:26:22 am
Costco, Paul? Great store but how do you plan on getting 4 car tires, 27 rolls of toilet paper, 10 pound box of Cheerios, a barbecue grill, a lifetime supply of Britta filters, a flat panel t.v., and this weeks groceries in a shopping cart? It would make for good television watching someone trying to push all that stuff around. I vote Paul be the first one on that show.

FROM: aharris
DATE: Monday May 16, 2005 -- 4:06:33 pm
There was! Well not Costco but...

Do you remember that show Supermarket Sweep? There were 3 teams of 2 and the winner of the question and answer section got a certain amount of time (depending on their score I think) to get whatever they wanted from the supermarket. I noticed that a lot of people got toiletries (toilet paper, paper towels, etc.) and meat! Crazy.

I used to watch this when I was in elementary school. It was really entertaining to me (I was easily amused :) I also liked seeing the teammates get mad at each other when the other didn't get the things they "agreed to" before the show. Funny.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Monday May 16, 2005 -- 5:30:48 pm
It's no Toy Run, but I did win this today.

FROM: Rob [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday May 17, 2005 -- 8:22:03 am
Oooh! One can only wonder what a prize package includes.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday May 17, 2005 -- 8:55:08 am
Yeah! Whadja get, whadja get, whadja get?

By the way, the ol' tied together shoes in the utility wires used to be, and maybe still is, a ghetto advertisement that a crack house is on that block.

FROM: Douglas Berry
DATE: Saturday June 11, 2005 -- 11:45:03 pm
Actually, I won the Toy Run in 1993. :-D

FROM: Paul
DATE: Sunday June 12, 2005 -- 9:03:42 am
OK, Doug, you can't do that. You must provide details!

FROM: Douglas Berry
DATE: Thursday June 16, 2005 -- 4:44:35 am
Well, the year was 1992, and my mom came out to the school, dragged me out of class and told me she had a surprise for me. She asked if I remember her entering me in the Nickelodeon Super Toy Run like I asked her to, and then proceeded to tell me I won.

So on February 12, 1993 (I found out in... October, I think), my family and best friend boarded a plane in St. Louis International Airport in a blizzard 12 degree condition morning. We made liftoff just before the runway shut down. We landed some nine HOURS later in Honolulu, Hawaii and proceeded to take Hawaii by *fights the urge to say tropical* storm.

6 days and 7 nights. The most unbelievable experience. I met Mike O' Malley (he stars on "Yes, Dear" now) and the cast of Wild & Crazy Kids.

Further details can be arranged, and I'm providing my e-mail if such curiousity merits you to contact me about it. :)

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday June 16, 2005 -- 1:27:53 pm

We're on the edges of our seats! Do tell, here at the Ping.

FROM: Douglas Berry
DATE: Thursday June 16, 2005 -- 1:33:03 pm
Oh fine, you twisted my arm. I'll type up a detailed post in word and have it up for you guys either today or tomorrow. :P

There's a lot to tell, understandably.

FROM: Douglas Berry
DATE: Sunday June 19, 2005 -- 2:46:49 pm
Meh. Sorry. I'll need another day or so. Hehe.

FROM: cybotron
DATE: Sunday November 13, 2005 -- 9:52:31 pm
wow, I was thinking about this very thing recently and it was cool to see your posting.

I was having an involved discussion (fueled by ---), about my own stratedgy to get the most toys.

do you remember there was one kid once who totally flaked at got shit? man, they were a loser.

Me September 8, 2006, 1:11 am

so much for the follow-up Douglas

aaron December 9, 2006, 2:31 am

my thoughts exactly. so much for the follow-up indeed

Douglas Berry December 17, 2006, 6:30 am

Sorry everyone. I have been busy with college, and thus unable to really collect my thoughts.

I touched down in Honolulu, Hawaii on February 13th, 1993. My family and I departed the airport in St. Louis in a 12 degree near white-out blizzard. I heard rumors that it was the last plane to take off that night, but I have no confirmation. I didn’t care. It was Hawaii and we stepped off the plane into a balmy 68 degree open windowed airport… in full winter dress. I don’t think I’ve ever ripped a coat off faster in my life, especially with about 50 people staring at us and muttering “tourists” under their breath.

My family and my best friend (some 7 years older than me) drove to our hotel, exhausted from a 9 hour flight with a 30 minute layover in San Francisco. The Kahala Hilton is an astonishing sight, especially at night. The price — $468 a night for 4 people, was equally shocking to a middle-class family from rural Illinois. Looking out from the balcony of a small suite into a tide-green ocean on one side and a professional golf course on the other in the dead of “winter” was something nearly incomprehensible to my 11 year old eyes. It would be difficult now to describe such splendor, let alone when I saw the world with so much more naivety. On second thought, perhaps that same innocence would have the ability to impart the sights and sounds better than I am able to today. I wish I would have felt the drive to write then as I do now.

Waking in paradise is something that is a subjective but humbling experience. I am a lover of all seasons, but as I ran through the hotel at 9:00 am on our first full day of being there, I couldn’t help but notice that a dolphin show was taking place outside. Talk about poignant moments in a young boy’s life!

Some of you may or may not remember the show G.U.T.S. on Nickelodeon. It was on just before Legends of the Hidden Temple, if memory serves, and it was my favorite show as I was a young athlete. How amazing was it then to see none other than Mike O’Malley standing in the middle of my hotel lobby, waiting to talk to no one else but this year’s winner of the Toy Run! I was shocked. I don’t remember much of that conversation, but my mother was wise enough to film it. Looking back on my body language, I was nervous beyond belief, and he seemed a little tipsy (though it could have easily been the flight to Hawaii). We chatted for a bit in the hotel, until I mentioned the dolphin show to him, which he was slightly disbelieving that a hotel could have a dolphin show every few hours.

It wasn’t long before we were chatting it up like old friends, discussing… honestly, that escapes my memory as well. However, at some point, the rest of the crew for Nickelodeon arrived. We began to shoot a 60 second commercial that would later be televised nationally. Over the next 4 days, I was TORTURED! I was in Hawaii, 10 feet from a beach, and I couldn’t enjoy it because I had to do 15 different takes of walking into a hotel or sipping a local strawberry drink for the commercial! Grrrrrrrr. I did my best to cooperate with the staff, and at some point Peter (the director for the commercial) and I actually began to get a long. Not that I hated filming any less. The commercial became a wonderful production though, and I look back on it fondly, even if my voice has dropped about 6 octaves since those days.

Well…. I’ve rambled for a bit. Shall I continue with this or get straight to the Toy Run? It’s your choice at the Ping. I promise it won’t be a year between posts again.

Douglas Berry January 2, 2007, 9:53 am

I tried to follow up. They never posted it.

Sorry. I guess it’s not up to me.

Aaron January 11, 2007, 5:35 pm

fine but can u at least tell us the grand total of everything that u grabbed?

Douglas Berry February 14, 2007, 5:46 am


And I hung out with Mike O’ Malley for a whole week.

Ryan February 14, 2007, 9:00 pm

Doug – please try posting again. It doesn’t seem to be in the queue.

Douglas March 22, 2007, 4:14 am

Actually it posted, it’s the lengthy post up there, but it took several weeks for the server to actually list it, for whatever reason.

It’s okay though. =) No worries.

aaron December 27, 2007, 2:24 am

i have to ask, you did get the autographs of mike and the “Wild and crazy kids” gang right?

Douglas Berry July 22, 2008, 4:23 am

Aaron, I think I have Mike’s sig somewhere. I didn’t get the W&C guys because it was ridiculously packed there. I would also like to add that Donny Jeffcoat was a total jerk and wouldn’t even talk to me except on stage. Omar Gooding was awesome, though, if memory serves. I didn’t see the female host.

Not sure if anyone still reads this little section, but I recently got a scanner and threw some photos through. Thank my mom for keeping them in mint condition all these years. 🙂

Me giving the “hang loose” sign:

A local newspaper clipping:

My stack of toys and my parents:

And my friend and I, 13 years later.

aaron November 23, 2008, 1:55 am

what were mike o’malley and the cast of wild and crazy kids doing there anyway? (i know they always aired another “commercial” that showed a sped-up version of the run, and mentioned the winner’s total.) (could you upload either that one or the one of you sipping the drink in the hotel?

Douglas January 5, 2009, 9:44 am

I’m attempting to get the videos converted from VHS (obviously no digital formats were available in 1993) to AVI or MPEG. No such luck yet.

Mike was there because he was the host of that year’s Toy Run. They flew him in early I guess, because let’s face it, it’s Hawaii. Most of the Nick crew had never been to the islands, either.

Wild & Crazy Kids was doing a special episode from Hawaii. I never saw it aired, but since it coincided with the Toy Run, they put me on stage with my father. After a furious game of musical pies, we both got pied with whip cream. Hilarious.

If I get the vids converted, I will definitely upload them to youtube and link them here for any that are still interested.

Ryan January 5, 2009, 10:48 pm

Douglas — Take a look at the Dazzle DVD converter. Super cheap (< $30) and it works surprisingly well for quick VHS -> AVI conversions.

Douglas Berry June 18, 2009, 6:28 pm

Welllll, it’s several years after my initial post here, but I got the video uploaded (finally!)


Ryan June 21, 2009, 7:44 pm

Doug — That’s a great video! Thanks so much for sharing… looks like you had a blast.

Paul June 22, 2009, 2:18 pm

Seconded – that’s just fantastic, Doug. Thanks for sharing!

Ted Eckerman February 1, 2010, 7:19 pm

Thanks for posting the story and video, they should really bring back the Super Toy Runs.

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