Five Weird Toys Based On Unlikely Celebrities
Here are five dolls and action figures based on real-life celebrities that pretty much nobody asked for...
The first ever Hip Hop single to top the Billboard charts was made by Vanilla Ice.
Let that sink in for a moment.
'Ice Ice Baby' sold over a million copies in the U.S in 1990, and the un-cleared 'Under Pressure' sample managed to make both Freddie Mercury and David Bowie turn in their graves, despite the fact that neither of them were dead at the time.
Ice followed it up with the Oscar-bait movies 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze' and 'Cool as Ice', which provided one of cinema history's greatest tag lines: "When a girl has a heart of stone there's only one way to melt it. Just add Ice."
In 1991 his record label licensed a Vanilla Ice doll, which came in two equally awful outfits and a plastic microphone. The very first batch of Vanilla Ice dolls also came with a Suge Knight doll and a cardboard hotel balcony, both of which are now rare collector's items.
Fun fact: Ice's real name is Robert Van Winkle, and he's a direct descendent of Rip Van Winkle, the fictional bearded farmer who slept through the American Revolution in a secret cave.
"So let me get this straight. You've got Bob Hoskins as an angry Italian-American plumber, Dennis Hopper as a dictator with a big tongue, and a bunch of guys with tiny lizard heads? That sounds like the dumbest idea for a kid's movie I've ever heard. Oh, it's based on a video game? Here's $48 million, you guys go have fun."
The 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie has the rare distinction of being hated equally by both everyone who watches it and everyone who starred in it. Hoskins later described it as one of the worst experiences of his career, and he and co-star John Leguizamo reportedly drank heavily throughout production.
However, you can happily own the action figures without ever having to watch the film. And any line of toys that includes the late, great Eddie Valiant, Frank Booth from Blue Velvet, Vito from 'Do the Right Thing' and the guy who directed The Cove is weird enough to be interesting.
The figure's card states that Mario's favourite phrase is "Nobody touches my tools!", which suggests he secretly likes people trying to touch his tools so he can tell them not to.
Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II was the second-longest serving Pope in modern history, after Pope Pius IX who holds the record at 32 years. But the 19th century Pontiff remains un-canonized, and also doesn't have his own celebrity doll, so suck it Pius IX.
In April 2014 Pope John Paul II was officially canonized as a Saint. Miracles attributed to him include healing a French nun from Parkinson's disease, healing a Costa Rican woman's terminal brain aneurysm, and making the face of Dan Ackroyd appear on a mountainside in Venezuela.
The John Paul II doll was fully articulated, and came with a pastoral headdress and staff.
The box featured The Lord's Prayer in six different languages, and offered details of the Pope's early life including his time running a secret theatre troop in Poland during WWII, and his favourite phrase -which weirdly was also "Nobody touches my tools!"
Years after the original Star Wars trilogy had been released, director George Lucas still couldn't stop messing with them. He claimed that new technology allowed to him realize his 'original vision' for the films, which is fine as long as you believe his 'original vision' was for Jabba the Hutt to look s**t. And when he'd finally inserted terrible CGI into every spare inch of every frame, he managed to insert himself into the toy line as well.
The result was Commander Jorg Sacul, a Rebel pilot who could have been a great Jedi due to his sensitivity to the Force. According to the character's official biography, Sacul is a "reckless dreamer", a "natural leader" and a "visionary storyteller". They forgot to add he's also a "loose cannon", a "superfreak" and a "gangster of love".
The figure was made by Kenner/Hasbro in 2002, and sold exclusively at the Star Wars: Celebration II convention hit Indianapolis, Indiana.
John Travolta may not seem like an unlikely subject for a toy. After all, he was in Pulp Fiction, right? And Face Off? And, well I guess Broken Arrow was ok, and a lot of people love Grease for some reason...and Scientology probably paid for some Battlefield Earth action figures...
The unlikely thing about the figure is that a) somewhere in corporate America, a marketing executive stood in front of their peers and suggested that what people wanted was a doll of John Travolta in 'Hairspray', dressed as a woman in a fat-suit; and b) nobody else in that meeting had a problem with this.
The fact we have an Edna Turnblad doll based on John Travolta, but not Divine who played the role in the original Hairpsray movie, is a bit of a travesty. But it's exactly the kind of action figure John Waters himself would sell in Cockamamie's, his fictional collectibles shop in the brilliant Simpsons episode 'Homer's Phobia'.
The term "ludicrously tragic" was invented for this doll, especially when you put it next to a young John Travolta Superstar doll released in 1977.
Oh young John, you're in for a weird ride...
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