Monday, August 15, 2011

#0022: Clifford the Rock Climber

I try and do due diligence (three times fast, go!) prior to making each of these entries. Most toys don’t need much research, because I’m already fairly clear on their origins. Though I occasionally meet an enigma like the smug Snoopy, more often than not, I can tell you each toy’s back-story, where I acquired them from, and why I’m feeling so compelled to get rid of them as though they were cursed.

This guy, however, he’s another story altogether. When I spotted him in that big translucent tub, I instantly saw that he was prime INAKA material. However, I knew next to nothing about him, except for his flashing chest feature, and the sparse info carved into his buttocks. For a solid six minutes, I cycled through the possible Google searches to unveil his shady past.

‘flashing chest toys’: Bad idea, do you realise how many toys have flashing chests?
‘spark lighting chest toy’: Lots of things about spark lighting, nadda about our boy here.
‘1992 spark lighting hair’: That one was just weird.
‘1992 ace novelty toys lighting chest’: Bingo. I doubt I will ever use that search phrase ever again.

So here, we have Clifford the Rock Climber.

If it wasn’t painfully obvious by now, the key to every little boy’s heart in the early- to mid-90s was emulating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If something had a team of ‘teenagers with attitude’, we were gonna love it. That’s why we loaded up with a series of ravenous Street Sharks. That’s why we giddily followed the adventures of the Biker Mice From Mars. And that’s why a small, sad percentile of the population ever even glanced at the Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa.

…Or maybe it was because of Tim Curry; in which case, I certainly cannot fault them.

Apparently, even the infamous Troll dolls, floundering in the cutthroat year of 1992, made an attempt to nab a slice of that (pizza) pie.

The result, tragically, was the Stone Protectors, a team of hip troll musicians pitted against the vices of the wicked Zok. That’s about as much as I could stomach from Wikipedia’s description before banging my head against the desk in fury. For all I know, the story could have taken a drastic turn towards an epic of Citizen Kane-like proportions.

Or more likely, it would have been so mediocre I would be wielding Rosebud like some description of melee weapon.

orson wells clap Pictures, Images and Photos

Orsonwellesclap.gif successfully inserted into my blog. Win.
Orsonwellesclap.gif successfully inserted into my blog entry about the goddamn Stone Protectors. Ultimate win.

My particular Stone Protector friend is the band’s drummer, Clifford, and I’m uncertain what his stereotypical personality may be. Though his facial features suggest the meek temperament and genius intellect of a Donatello, his country bumpkin accent and fancy of scaling mountains makes him seem more akin to a Michaelangelo.

I really can’t say for sure, because honestly, watching the cartoon intro makes me just assume them all to be the same horrible archetype. Except perhaps Angus, who’s a refreshing injection of Scottish army derelict.

Frankly, I'm amazed they were able to fill an arena. The lack of wide shots of the crowd could suggest that it was a particularly small arena, I suppose.

Unfortunately for Clifford, I have lost all of his tools of the trade, a necessity in these figures, which has rendered his rock-climbing capabilities shoddy at best. I mean, the dude’s got some boots and goggles, plus a purple knife he keeps dangerously close to his left leg, but he’s lacking in all of his sweet gear.

For those of you interested in what that gear was, and unconcerned for the amount of outsourced pictures and videos I have pilfered for this entry, here’s the super exciting bio card for big Cliffy, courtesy of a website called Comic Attack. Credit delivered where credit due for something as important as Clifford the Rock Climber™.

The most horrifying revelation behind seeing this imagery (besides the ludicrous notion that this man would go rock climbing with a plunger), is that he once had some sort of yellow bondage costume accessory. I am quite familiar with this accessory, having once attempted to locate its origin. I attached it to several Turtles and an unwilling Scrooge McDuck before giving up and chucking it away.

I am unclear exactly how this apparatus would have assisted Clifford in his exploits, but darn it all, it was his and I’m truly sorry for sending it away. It would be like someone throwing out my Paratroopa toy. I don’t know what purpose it could ever serve, but I’d hate to see it go. Plus, it’s yellow, too.

Before I proceed in my misery, however, allow me to question the validity of a purple equipment belt. I mean, why purple, exactly? Wouldn’t brown have been a more appropriate colour for a leather belt and the handle of a knife? I’m left assuming only that Clifford is a massive fan of Prince, and as such, is adorning himself with violet equipment. Plus, I suppose enemies won’t take you as seriously when you’re brandishing a shiny blade of purple. Thinking in these terms, it almost seems logical. Almost.

So finally, and most importantly, I suppose you’re hoping to see the Stone Protectors’ trick of the trade, a ‘flint module’ that ignites when you spin their right arm. As near as I recall, this archaic mechanical quirk was once used to ignite gunpowder, and shit, that sounds dangerous to me. Could a modded Stone Protector be used as a weapon, bullets whizzing from their grinning visage? What if a particularly exploratory child tore their toy to pieces, and then played with the exposed ‘flint module’? I can only assume the results to be pure disaster.

Though, come to think of it, touching these magic stones turned the lanky fools into mighty Stone Protectors to begin with, so maybe it won’t be that bad. Go ahead, TOUCH THE ‘FLINT MODULE’.

As you can see, the once benevolent hand of god prevalent in Greek tragedies has seen fit to smite Clifford forevermore.

…Did I just use benevolent and prevalent in the same sentence? I think staring into the blinding flash of the ‘flint module’ has fried my brain. Perhaps now, I can accurately pen a second series of Stone Protectors.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

#0021: Shameful Furby

So there I was; flicking through my bucket of old toys with a look of deep consideration upon my face. Each one with its own strengths and flaws, each with a story to tell. Which would I select for tonight? To be clutched for that fleeting, treasured moment, before being rejected into the harsh reality of society forevermore?

Suddenly, there is the thundering of little pawed feet. Before you could blink a particularly laborious eyelid, my dog had hit the scene. Apparently it was time for him to come in for the evening, and I was standing between him and a good night’s sleep. Now, I had to rush things along, lest my selection of playthings be the recipients of fervent gnawing.

After plucking out a multitude of Ninja Turtles toys (as if I would jettison them!), my hand landed wildly upon our subject. Suffice to say, I care not for this toy. Frankly, he pisses me off a little. So you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not exactly a lingual dynamo during the process of trying to relay the mediocrity that is the shameful Furby.

Aye, he should be ashamed, shouldn’t he? He’s not even a real Furby. Why, they laugh and dance and sing! They were the hottest toy on the market during the Christmas season of 1998, and everyone remembers where they were when they first met their Furby.

Fewer people recall with such fondness, the day that their Furby died. In my case, it was in the middle of the night after he had flown back to Australia with me. He awoke with a fright, spouting some garbled gibberish before declaring that the room was filled with monsters. His final moments were tragic, held upside down with a screwdriver lodged up his rectum as my father removed his batteries for good.

Perhaps because it was the presumed procedure, or perhaps as a gesture of mercy towards this dying creature, my dad had seen fit to stick his finger in Furby’s mouth during this ritual. That Furby, he loved them fingers. ‘Yum’, he cooed, before finally perishing.

…This is all very touching, but ultimately irrelevant to our plasticky comrade here. I note with a degree of sadness that his colour scheme appears to mimic that of this aforementioned ‘true’ Furby, a bastardised facsimile of a toy much more grand.

To his credit, the shameful Furby is not without his own ability. If you press his tail, his ears close over his eyes in a true display of misery. This is a curious ability for him to feature, because of all the things Furbies did, closing their ears was not one of them. True, they’d wiggle them back and forth as they sang ditties and demanded to play hide and seek, but nothing like we see here. Probably should have just gone with blinking eyes or a closing mouth if they wanted to stay loyal to the formula.

In the same way that Shakira’s ‘hips don’t lie’, all secrets of a toy’s true origins lie scrawled upon their ass. Out of curiosity, I took a good look up the clacker of the shameful Furby, and was met with a familiar discovery. This Furby was in fact a Happy Meal toy from McDonald’s.

So many years, so many eras of toys, so much McDonald’s. Why was I not a fat child? I assume it to be the blessing of fabulous metabolism: a quality that has garnered much jealousy from other, less fortunate people over the years, their chubby fists clenched in rage.

As near as I recall, one of the other toys in this line had wheels. Again, completely inappropriate for the things Furbies were known to do, but much more exciting than my Furby toy. Wiggling ears are tricks for eccentric grandfathers, I want a Furby who’s a motherfucking car!!

…Can you tell I lost access to Photoshop?

Finally, there’s something unshakable about this here Furby toy. It’s… his eyes. Though they don’t feature the hidden mysteries of the festive white bear, they’re simply unnerving. They bulge out of his skull, locked in an intense stare more deadly than that of the mystical basilisk. Furbies were always a tad bit creepy, but this guy right here? Oh, he’s not quite right.

With all these facts considered, I should feel lucky, perhaps even grateful that I was able to separate myself from the shameful Furby before it was too late. His lacking skill set made him disappointing initially, but now I have seen a side much more sinister.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m beat, and headed off to bed. Like my dog, I’m ready for a good night’s sleep…