Thursday, March 7, 2013
#0067: Snoopy World Tour
Fast food toys are a mixed bag, in all honesty. Occasionally, you'll go through droughts where the prizes are uninspiring: generic cars for the boys, generic miniature dolls for the girls. Most of the time, they're modelled after whatever television show or movie is hot at the time, and even then, it's hit or miss: for every fantastic Sonic the Hedgehog, there's about three auxiliary characters with lesser intrigue. I was six years old, I didn't want Robotnik! He was a fat, bald man, and I had been conditioned to hate him.
To this day, I can still remember the two most thrilling toy offers from my youth: McDonald's Teenie Beanies, and Burger King's Pokemon plushes. Seriously, if you want kids to gobble shit up, make it a plush item. This applies to all range of toy exchange, really: in gaming arcades, plush toys go off like nobody's business. Whether it's as a redemption item, or a claw machine prize, stick it in there. I don't know why I'm informing you of this as though you're likely to make these decisions.
One of my favourite range of prizes, plush hysteria notwithstanding, were these charming Snoopy World Tour figurines that did the rounds of McDonald's in 1998 and 1999. The premise is simple: each week, four new international Snoopy's would be released. The sheer collectibility of these little gaffers made people go crazy. Apparently they became a hot commodity, which is hilarious when you consider the apathetic expression of the Snoopy's themselves: the population of Hong Kong is ripping each other apart for a small plastic toy. Snoopy don't give a shit.
In two series, a whole slew of nations were represented, ranging from a Norwegian viking to a Canadian Mountie. Personally for the latter I would have just had a despondent looking Snoopy crying into his beer like a Leafs fan.
It would have been hilarious if they had gone with a Peanuts character other than Snoopy. Imagine how much less hype there would have been if they had made it Pigpen's World Tour? In fact, just jettison the Peanuts license entirely for a moment, and make it someone completely random. ...No, more random than that!
...What about Margaret Thatcher's World Tour? I love it! The English one would be totally easy, it would just be Margaret Thatcher, I guess. The Libyan one would be brandishing a bomb in a sort of self-destructive omen of things to come. The Jamaican one is still being workshopped.
I myself didn't manage to assemble that many Snoopy's, (and by that, I mean my poor dad who had to fork out the dosh for something that would ultimately be shoved into a drawer within the month), or (m)any Margaret Thatcher's, for that matter, but I'm rather fond of the little sampling I do have.
#1 is the United States of America. Here, Snoopy is adorned in traditional American garb: like all Yanks, he struts his shit about while dressed like the Statue of Liberty. I'm being facetious of course, though now that I think of it, I did see at least three people dressed up like that in New York City. No, I'm not including the Statue itself.
He's supposed to be holding the Declaration of Independence in his left hand, but it's much smaller than I would have imagined. He might just be holding Tuesdays with Morrie.
Next up is local boy Australia, or if you want to say it like the locals, 'Straya'. He originally came with a detachable slouch hat, but unfortunately in typical Tony fashion it is lost and will never again be tachable, leaving uninformed tourists to assume that it's Australian tradition to have just been assaulted by the Driller Killer. He's still got that fantastic stereotypical bandanna that Aussies are always associated with, though I've never actually seen being worn in real life, and not one but two boomerangs. It would be entirely impractical to try and dual-wield boomerangs, but fuck it, let's suspend our disbelief: Snoopy makes it possible.
The laidback chum on the right is Hawai'i, leaving excluded nations frowning that there were two American entries. In their defence however, Hawai'i is one of the greatest places on Earth, and Snoopy's fairly generic surfer attire could be applied to your nation, if you really wanted it to. I'm sure there's a big surfing scene in Kazakhstan.
Now we enter Fiji: a tiny collection of islands that I vaguely remember as being very rocky. My sister stepped on a shellfish in Fiji, and I think we tried to touch some kind of venomous reptile before being deterred by a local. Christ, Fiji seems really dangerous the more I think about it in retrospect. Despite the many hazards, the Fijian Snoopy seems cheery all the same, tappin' his toe and sporting a grass frock, just 'cause he can. I can't think of many more things to say about Fiji, but apparently the most popular sports are rugby, boat racing and varieties of wrestling. And I suppose the Fijian Snoopy looks about ready to rassle, so that holds true enough.
The last one is the Swedish Snoopy. He's dressed like a traditional Swedish leprechaun, holding a Swedish pot of gold, and appears to be as drunken and loutish as your typical Swede. But I kid, simply because I wanted to make this paragraph bigger. This is obviously the Irish Snoopy, and when it's all said and done, he's likely my favourite. It's probably the pointy shoes that do it for me.
Overall, I'd rate these Snoopy toys fairly highly in the echelons of Happy Meal toys. They certainly did the job (of making money), and allowed cultures from around the world to have their own personalised little beagle. Hopefully they'll resurface someday with even more nations, and fresh new takes on existing models. After all, Aussies are also occasionally known to disguise ourselves as other nationalities...