Flight of the Bumblebees

One of the best little Transformers ever is Bumblebee. He's undeniably a fan favorite character, who can resist a cute little yellow Beetle that transforms into a cute little robot?

Personally, I've always been fonder of his "brother" Cliffjumper. Probably because Cliffjumper was my first transformer ever...

...and because he was voiced by Casey Kasem. Just like Shaggy and Robin. And the American Top 40.

I remember getting Cliffjumper as a gift before the cartoon or commercials began (or at least before I saw any of them.)

I was in awe, a toy car that was also a toy robot! Two great tastes that taste great together! Pure, unadulterated genius!

I couldn't wait to get over to my cousin's house and start playing Hot Wheels. I was planning on whipping ol' CJ out and nonchalantly rolling him around like a regular toy car, only to suddenly transform him into a robot and blow my cousin's mind!

When I arrived at my cousin's house, I readied my plan. We grabbed our Hot Wheels cases and headed out to the sand box.

I pulled out my Cliffjumper...and to my chagrin my cousin pulled out HIS Cliffjumper!


Bumblebee however proved to be a very elusive toy. I remember having a hard time trying to get him. People talk about toy hunting today as if it's tough, but in the days before the internet it was even tougher. You got what you saw on the shelves if and when you saw it, and that was that.

After years of searching, I finally got him on an out-of-state trip to Grandma's house. I think we were in a drug store or grocery store when I spotted his yellowy goodness, and I was elated.

Fortunately I also had a few bucks vacation spending money. Bumblebee was better than any lame souvenir I could have picked up, and that specific trip is now and forever etched upon my mind.

"...misty water colored memories..."

I always preferred Bumblebee's toy face over his cartoon face. He has a more robotic, Optimus Prime like look to him, and it's a nice contrast to Cliffjumper's more human face. There was a comic book published a few years back that approached the concept, showing this to be a battle mask, and that Bumblebee's human-like face is underneath. A similar concept was shown in the live action Transformers movie as well.

Even later in the line, Bumblebee was reformatted into Goldbug. These cars were a bit bigger and had a pullback feature.

The vehicles in this sub-set, called the Throttlebots, were very simplistic and had none of the charm of the earlier mini-cars.

Sadly the Throttlebot phase was not Bumblebee's finest hour. But maybe it wasn't his darkest hour either, depending upon your stance on mute Camaros.

So which do you prefer? Bumblebee as a mini-car VW, Bumblebee as the Throttlebot Goldbug, or Bumblebee as either of his movie Camaro incarnations (seventies and modern?)

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