The Daily Ping

P is for Ping. That's good enough for me.

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

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.

What is this then?

The Daily Ping is the web's finest compendium of toilet information and Oreo™® research. Too much? Okay, okay, it's a daily opinion column written by two friends. Did we mention we've been doing this for over ten years? Tell me more!

Most Popular Pings