Run That Past Me Again
I WAS INSIDE THE LOCAL Toys-R-Us store last Friday evening. My wife, the lovely and more socially adept, Dawn, was going to a baby shower on Saturday and wanted to pick up a few small items. I was going along to carry the bag. I’m good at that.
As Dawn was actively looking for the right stuff I was just wandering along and looking around with a lost look on my face.
And, oh, what wonders did I see.
There are about 7000 different “Action Figures” on sale there.
Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and every other Superhero that ever graced the pages of a comic book – correction – “Graphic Novel” over the last forty years.
I think calling them “graphic novels” means that the price tag gets a major boost. The days of the 10 cent comic book are as long gone as the 25 cent movie ticket.
Excuse me – that was just a short “geezer moment” there. I have to remember that it is not 1956 anymore.
OK, back on track again.
There were also “Action Figures” of professional wrestlers, NFL football players (including one who has some felony charges on his resume.), and other sports stars.
Mixed in with the display of these characters I saw a peg that was holding some blister packs with the likeness of someone I wouldn’t consider a “heroic” figure. I had to snap a photo of it. That’s it up top here.
For those of you under 30 let me fill in a couple of blanks.
Travis Bickle was a character in a 1976 movie called “Taxi Driver,” – a psychotic loner who plots to kill a presidential candidate and ends up shooting several lowlife pimps and other pieces of scum in his attempts to “rescue” a young hooker played by Jodie Foster.
And this is a character that Toys-R-Us deems worthy of an “Action Figure?”
“Let’s get the kids some Travis Bickle action figures, Honey. They do need their heroes.”
The only positive detail on the Travis Bickle Action Figure is that they have not outfitted him with the arsenal of weapons he carried in the movie. All that detail would have been a prohibitive extra expense – just like adding the miniature drug syringe would have been for the Jimi Hendrix Action Figure that I saw in Toys-R-Us a couple years ago.
I have nothing against the concept of the “Action Figure.” It is just a descendant of the old “GI Joe” toys that first appeared decades ago. The marketers came up with the name “Action Figure” to get around the fact that what they really were selling was dolls for boys to play with. GI Joe with the $3000 worth of “Action Accessories” is no different than “Barbie” with all of her extras.
My only concern is that the morons in Product Development at the toy companies have spent too much time watching MTV and Netflix. They have a warped sense of character value and what does or does not make sense to kids under 12. It is like they test marketed their products to Cheech and Chong and Charles Manson.
I don’t think my opinion on this is just the ranting of some old Geezer. To whom are they really trying to sell this junk? The presumed target audience isn’t going to know who Travis Bickle is – and the same with Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix died of an overdose almost 50 years ago. Most 12 year old kids couldn’t pick MC Hammer out of a line-up. They certainly aren’t going to be able to ID Jimi Hendrix or Travis Bickle.
So there, Toys-R-Us, look at the stuff you’re putting on the shelves and try to use a little sense, for cryin’ out loud.
Give Your Kid A Book