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March 15, 2019 / Posted by:

The entrance of Imaginarium!

During the golden era of malls in the 1980s, Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. dropped some educational magic into malls by opening up Imaginarium, which to my sweet nectar-loving adult mind sounds like a magical wonderland where they only sell GIN. But Imaginarium was an enchanting emporium of educational toys. Since I’ve always been dumb trash, the idea of “educational” toys put me to sleep then and it puts me to sleep now, but I still loved to skip through its magnificent square pink entrance.

There was an Imaginarium at the “nice mall” in Brea, CA, which was a couple of towns over from where I grew up. My mom never bought me anything from there, and I never asked for anything from there (because again, I was dumb trash whose brain went into sleep mode over the idea of an educational toy), but it was still one of my favorite stores in the mall for its entrance alone. You can’t tell from that picture, but the stars sprinkled in its name twinkled. One thing that tickled my young gay gene in the 80s was the sight of the twinkling stars in the Imaginarium sign. Imaginarium was also highly inclusive, because they included a special entrance for children and Tom Cruise.

Imaginarium wasn’t long for this world country. Toys ‘R’ Us began closing them up in the 90s, and by the mid-2000s, no mall in America had one in it. But it lives on in many other countries. Its entrance got a makeover, though. It now looks like this:

While my child mind prefers the original, my grown mind is into the new one and solely because it looks like a pair of lopsided upside down balls (or lopsided upside down chichis).

Pics: La Vaguada, Ghost of Retailers 

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