Their dull-eyed looks will haunt you
May 10, 2013 10:00 PM   Subscribe

A Tumblr that features animated gifs and photos of the mass-produced Kenner Star Wars toys showing their deterioration and degradation over the decades.
posted by Mezentian (25 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
You know why every ridiculous 2-bit character in the prequels has a name? The reason for that, the only reason, is so they wouldn't have to call the action figures things like "Walrus Man" again.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:09 PM on May 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


The GIFs are pretty neat, but the photo sets turn into some sort of weird enervating abyss-looks-into-you existential art comic as you scroll though them.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:10 PM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Let's do the same thing with Harrison Ford.
posted by mazola at 10:15 PM on May 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well that was all creepy and stuff...
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:27 PM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Somehow, the Talking Heads makes a great soundtrack for this tumblr.
posted by not_on_display at 10:34 PM on May 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


The reason for that, the only reason, is so they wouldn't have to call the action figures things like "Walrus Man" again.

No. You're right. Names like Elan Sleazebaggano are much better. (I forget some of the stupid names in Clone Wars already, but there were some clangers).

Walrus Man, Snaggletooth and Hammerhead were all fit and proper names in the '70s, and I think they started being serious when they realised how well the figures were selling. So we got Amanaman and Ephant Mon (he's a rasta elephant!.

As a kid I never could work out why Walrus Man didn't really look like walrus though.
Or Hammerhead like a shark.

Or what the Death Squad Commander was, really.

Or how the numbering.naming system worked for droids. There were (IIRC) a limit of 67,600 possible names using the letter-number-letter-number combination. Which I suppose is where we got Power Droid and Death Star Droid from.
posted by Mezentian at 10:40 PM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


No. You're right. Names like Elan Sleazebaggano are much better. (I forget some of the stupid names in Clone Wars already, but there were some clangers).

I was thinking of Dexter Jettster, the fat alien diner proprietor from Attack Of The Clones, specifically when I wrote that. If there were no figures, he'd just be Fat Alien. I totally agree that would be better, anything would.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:56 PM on May 10, 2013


No. You're right. Names like Elan Sleazebaggano are much better.

It's a testament to the prequel-era names that my first thought was "That must be real," my second thought was "That can't be real, but ha ha! How realistic!" -- and then I looked it up.
posted by thesmallmachine at 10:57 PM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a testament to the prequel-era back stories that I am sure, if I look it up, Dexter Jettster will probably have some sort of EU backstory wherein he was a Bond-like secret agent before retiring.
posted by Mezentian at 11:02 PM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


A secret agent, no; an absurd backstory, yes; named for George Lucas' son, yes, indeed.
posted by thesmallmachine at 11:12 PM on May 10, 2013


I'm sorry. I thought they all got real names from Empire on.
No.
No, they didn't.
posted by Mezentian at 11:23 PM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even people who didn't get action figures received a backstory. I seem to recall that during an episode of Judge John Hodgman, they delved into the backstory of a character who's seen walking through Cloud City for two seconds, holding an ice cream maker.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:54 PM on May 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Someone I know may or may not be very stoned and this may or may not have made them want to watch Cloud Atlas under a laser light show in the middle of a thunderstorm.

I like this

This is glorious.

posted by Malice at 1:26 AM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can't help but wonder about the lives of the people who painted these.
posted by nutate at 1:46 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find them nightmare-ish
posted by mister_kaupungister at 2:30 AM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The reason for that, the only reason, is so they wouldn't have to call the action figures things like "Walrus Man" again.

My Walrus Man figure was actually named Butt Face.
posted by orme at 5:15 AM on May 11, 2013


Faces of the planet M'eth.
posted by surplus at 5:18 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Even people who didn't get action figures received a backstory.

I don't want to disappoint.... but he got an action figure.
posted by Mezentian at 8:01 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you need a sign that merchandising now is much more complete, consider that back in the old days, although Kenner released 300+ figures, they never got around to Grand Moff Tarkin. Yes, one of the two villains of the first movie never made it to three and three-quarter inch form, despite several different Ewoks being thus immortalized.

Tarkin is introduced in the movie in the briefing room scene. Now not only does he now have a figure, everyone else who sat around the table does as well, including at least one guy who spoke not a word and never appeared again.

You know why every ridiculous 2-bit character in the prequels has a name? The reason for that, the only reason, is so they wouldn't have to call the action figures things like "Walrus Man" again.

It is not just that, it is the geek tendency to want to leave nothing unexplained. The aforementioned nameless mute extra now has a name, an 8,000-word biography and an action figure. Consider that not only did the character not even have a name in the 1977 movie, no one even knows the name of the guy who portrayed him. He looks to be maybe sixty in the movie, which would put him close to the century mark now. He is quite likely long dead, and if the guy was just a day player, his name might never surface and his family might not even recall the connection. Maybe a year from now some kid playing with his figures will leave them lying around and his grandmother -- a teenager when Star Wars came out but who never bothered to see some silly robot/spaceship movie -- will pick them up, pausing for a second and musing that "this one in white looks just like my late uncle Jack. Isn't that odd?"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:06 AM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


and his grandmother -- a teenager when Star Wars came out

YOU SHUT YO MOUTH!
posted by Mezentian at 8:15 AM on May 11, 2013


YOU SHUT YO MOUTH!

I know. But I also know a guy who was in kindergarten in 1977 who now has a two-year-old grandson. Freakish.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:19 AM on May 11, 2013


YOU SHUT YO MOUTH!

AND KEEP IT SHUT.
posted by Mezentian at 8:21 AM on May 11, 2013


Got as far as the Nien Nunbs... Ghastly.
posted by Rustmouth Snakedrill at 2:04 PM on May 11, 2013


Tarkin is introduced in the movie in the briefing room scene. Now not only does he now have a figure, everyone else who sat around the table does as well, including at least one guy who spoke not a word and never appeared again.

From the link:
Star Wars Imperial Briefing Room Action Figures Box Set
...
WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD
Har!
posted by mazola at 7:45 PM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have never wanted a Briefing Room Action Figures Box Set more.
posted by Mezentian at 7:00 AM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


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