The Man From Uncle ... Mame's

A toy story comes true in the Castro

Just imagine: Somewhere in the heartland are garages and warehouses packed with priceless troves of Fat Albert trading cards and Marla Maples exercise videos, Liberace matches, and Jimmy Durante charms.

"Most of our customers are from the generation where the '70s is nostalgic," Sinkler says. "We were thinking of changing the name of the store to 'I Used to Have One of Those!' because we hear that so often."

With the help of Lon Murphy of Design Realization, the firm that put together the Nature Company concept stores, and artist Michael Brown, Sinkler transformed the former Wild, Wild West Boots & Leather into the ultimate garage sale: Plaid picnic hampers overflow with rhinestone cat-eye glasses (your choice of pink or black); someone's summer-camp arts-and-crafts bottle-cap sculptures now hold Kryptonite pins ("they make your Superman defenseless") and cartoony sperm key rings (with blue eyes or pink eyes for boy or girl). A candy dish brims with Barbra Streisand fingernails (complete with press-on fingers).

Elvis, Marilyn, and Star Trek each have their own department. Get your Elvis cologne-and-cassette combo for $14.99 ("Even a queen can smell like a king"). And an entire wall is devoted to Barbie and friends, including controversial Earring Magic Ken with lavender leather vest and cockring (With Real Clip-On Earrings for You!) priced at $100. For substantially less, you could go home with a Xuxa doll, modeled on the lascivious queen of South American soft-core kiddie shows, or a truly scary Mommy-to-Be Doll, with a "snap-off belly" revealing a curled up plastic baby and a "snap-on plastic flat stomach" for after birth.

Of course, Uncle Mame's has vintage lunch boxes, but that's passŽ -- the kitschy-cool crowd has already moved on to cereal boxes and cereal box art. Sinkler gets $20 for a box of Quisp with cereal inside, $70 for the hard-to-find sugary C3POs.

And there's candy, of course, from old-fashioned penny candy like hose strips of paper with rainbow-colored dots and Spencer Gifts-style novelty gags like Virgin Again Pills to neo-candy: pizza and french fry gum, chocolate-cherry Dork bars, and Snot, a sticky green lemonade-flavored liquid that you squeeze out of the nostrils of a clear plastic nose.

Before they exit, visitors are encouraged to leave their name and address and "what you are searching for" on the Wish List by the door, a revealing catalog of people's most poignant and banal desires:

" 'Sea Monkeys.' "
"Shrinky Dinks."
"A Lucy Vitameatavegemin light-switch panel."
"A 90210 'Donna' doll."
"Felix the Cat."
And finally, "A life.

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