Thursday, July 26, 2012

Toy Flashback: Twins

"Has anyone ever told you we look alike?"

#0060: The Talented Mr. Cluck

Yet another puppet, eh?? At this point, you might start pondering exactly how many of the suckers I've got lying around the joint (both the finger variety and those for the mighty fist), but I swear, it's not that many. I could almost promise this as being the last. Almost, but not quite, because there are probably more I've forgotten about. A veritable puppet potpourri!

Tonight, at 11.30, alone in my room, I attempt to analyse the Talented Mr. Cluck. Not his given name, I assure you, but such is the fun of shirty finger puppets (typed shitty, but iPhone suggested otherwise. On closer inspection, I suppose he is rather shirty): you can name them whatever you please. Today, he's 'the Talented Mr. Cluck', tomorrow, he's 'Commodore Buttons', next week, he's 'Dom DeLuise'.

To put it kindly, he's not exactly easy on the eyes. His plastic yellow head looks like a leftover skull from a toy factory shut down in the 1940s, Frankensteined onto a most displeasing orange fabric. Slap on some vaguely hand-like white bits, and a green flower design as the piece de resistance, and voila! We have nobody's favorite finger puppet.

His only purpose in this life is to boogie on up and down, and sing whatever tune his finger master chooses. He's kind of like the flowers in the windowsill of Pee-Wee's Playhouse, except not really at all and good lord that comparison was hard to make.

In closing, it's a really, really good thing I'm not getting paid for this blog, because when my yearly review came up, it's posts like this that would draw the boss' ire. Not often failure correlates directly with finger puppets. In an attempt to salvage some semblance of credibility, I leave you now with the greatest video known to man, woman, or finger puppet.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

#0059: Tweety Bird Airplane

In the inimitable words of the pilot of Star Fox 64’s Meteo Crusher, ‘I admit defeat.’

For today, we encounter a rare beast; a toy so dreadfully obscure and confounding, thorough Googling yields no answers. I have hopes (or fears) that soon after making this post, someone will cite their wisdom, share their story, and solve this mystery with the panache of Tin-Tin, but me personally, I got nothing. I didn’t even have an appropriate way of associating this thing into my playtime session due to it’s nature: ‘Oh look, Raph, here comes an airplane with a small bird on it – Cowabunga!’

So what do I have? I have, for lack of a better term, the Tweety Bird Airplane.

And it is exactly as advertised: a blue airplane toy with Tweety perched on the hood. And sure, that would be perfectly reasonable, except for one sinister question: Who in the flying fuck (pun only 12% intended) is sitting in the cockpit?

I’m neither a historian nor a Rainman of Looney Tunes lore, and this guy here, he is entirely unfamiliar to me. With his untamed red mane and square-rimmed glasses, he looks to all the world like an adult Chuckie Finster.

…But wait, what is this? A quick inspection of the young man’s buttocks yields a clue: copyright details I originally thought missing! So it would appear as though this was a Burger King toy from 1990… Wow, was I going to Burger King in the year 1990? Or was my dad just a big fan of kid’s meals?

Now armed with this crucial nugget of knowledge, my Google search shifts from searches about ‘Looney Tunes character red hair’ and getting 1,000 different results of fucking Gossamer, and focusing instead on ‘Burger King 90s mascot’.


So this is the Burger King Kids Club Gang, a group of culturally diverse and politically correct friends who, if my recollection of 90s children’s advertising serves, are fit, active, healthy, promote safe sex and, coincidentally, eat every single meal at Burger King.

The Wikipedia article for the Gang is pretty thorough; it describes at length each member’s personality, as well as their ethnicity, for some reason. I mean, how exactly is that relevant? Do Jaws and Lingo have to sit at the back of the BK bus?

This particular ‘male Caucasian nerd with ginger hair and freckles’ is known as I.Q., and I can’t imagine him as having been anyone’s favourite. He’s the archetypical nerd, and if there had been a cartoon, he would probably ‘do machines’, or some shit like that.

He actually reminds me a fair bit of Arnold from the Magic School Bus, who in turn had a corresponding redheaded equivalent in Wheeler from Captain Planet, so perhaps this is the awkward middle phase, transitioning from wussy Jewish boy to environmentally-conscious heartthrob?

Gracious. What a thinker. Now that that riddle has been un-riddled, the only question I’m left with is, shit, why is I.Q. trying to kill Tweety Bird?

Personally, I can relate; I was a big Sylvester fan as a kid, so I’d revel in any opportunity to see Tweety squashed between a large piece of chalk, and what appears to be the Bible, but isn’t it a strange marketing ploy to represent one of BK’s mascots as a malicious villain? I don’t think there’s much room for interpretation here. You could claim that he is just really enjoying his flight, and is making a grandiose scientific declaration, or singing ‘Pure Imagination’ from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but you’d be stretching more than Mr. Fantastic himself.

Otherwise, the toy is bog standard. Its propeller spins, which is marvelous, and the wheels operate in order to make your dreams of I.Q. taking off and touching down complete, and I.Q. himself is removable, but is tragically a single plastic cast. So he can hobble around in his uncomfortable seated position like someone with really bad hemorrhoids, but little beyond that.

Me personally, I’m just chuffed as chips that I was able to unravel the origins of yet another stupid toy from the Bush administration. Could its ‘HTF’ nature render it invaluable? Frankly, I don’t care. I just know I won’t be missing it much after this.

Because fucking hell, I wish I had gotten Kid Vid instead. He was awesome.

PS: If you're hungry for more info on that crazy Gang like they hunger for burgers, take a squiz at this entry from Diary of a Dorkette: it's much more factually accurate, and not laden with swearing, unlike the blog of another fucker who shall remain nameless.