Who, Or What, Is Geedis?
August 4, 2017 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Geedis is a character on an old enamel pin. But a character...from what? "'Nerd culture is so good at archiving...The fact that there is so little information as there is on The Land of Ta is proof that it wasn’t a comic book, or a TV show, or even a game.'" Or was it?
posted by Charity Garfein (47 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is just more evidence that there was a reality slip, and we are living in a debased timeline.

It's possible that the Land of Ta is very very popular in an even more debased timeline.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:22 PM on August 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


Something that rhymes with Kiedis may be a drug-induced hallucination? You don't say.
posted by delfin at 3:27 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yes, sir, after I drive home from work in my Takuro Spirit, I get out a cold Nozz-a-La and sit down to the latest from The Land of Ta.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:28 PM on August 4, 2017 [21 favorites]


The rest of the crew is cartoony fun but the Geedis sticker is seriously creepy. There's something slightly horrifying about its' hands and eyes...
posted by not_the_water at 3:36 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is just more evidence that there was a reality slip, and we are living in a debased timeline.

It's possible that the Land of Ta is very very popular in an even more debased timeline.


Like when Peter ends up on the "Over There" universe (Fringe - TV Series) and discovers there is no Batman. In the other time-line they have a superhero named Mantis which is their Batman stand-in.
posted by Fizz at 3:44 PM on August 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


My initial thought was that it was a pin from some small-scale amusement park with their own set of characters, but the rest of the characters don't fit that at all. And why only pins of Geedis, not any of the other characters?
posted by tavella at 3:45 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


The other characters look kind of dull to be fair. Apart from Ursula. I sort of want to go out drinking with Ursula, I bet she's got some stories.
posted by Catseye at 3:52 PM on August 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


The existence of Geedis enamel pins implies that there are enamel pins of the other characters waiting to be discovered.
posted by ardgedee at 3:54 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


All of the stickers feel like they were illustrated by someone who had the tropes of science fantasy described to them verbally.
posted by poe at 3:57 PM on August 4, 2017 [12 favorites]


Geedis of Nazareth, savior of Ta.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 4:03 PM on August 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


"Hey, can we put boobs on a lizard thing?"

I got you.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:03 PM on August 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


I think Land of Ta is just Masters of the Universe in the timeline where reptiles evolved intelligence.
posted by theodolite at 4:08 PM on August 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Stickers to "cash in" on the popularity of D&D with middle-school kids in the early 80s ? Bad marketing decision from an out-of-touch office products company ? Still does not explain the pins...
posted by UhOhChongo! at 4:10 PM on August 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


Stickers to "cash in" on the popularity of [D]&[D] with middle-school kids in the early 80s ?

I remember the late 70's and early 80's as having a great many products that looked like merchandise for thing (like a movie or a tv show) but were not actually related to anything but themselves. Precisely this thing that UhOhChongo! is expressing--just stickers (or a diary or a t-shirt or a notepad) with a "character" which vaguely resembled some popular media product but was just a bit of crap you could buy.
posted by crush at 4:21 PM on August 4, 2017 [21 favorites]


I agree with the "looks like merch for a show but isn't" hypothesis. These definitely look like things you'd get in a plastic bubble out of a two-quarter knob-operated vending machine at a chain supermarket in the early 80's.
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:25 PM on August 4, 2017 [10 favorites]


Yeah, it reminds me of Slap Jak. You have He-Man, Ugly He-Man, Wonder Woman, Han Solo, Ancient Greek Jerry Lawler, and Sexy Greek Diner Waiter.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:27 PM on August 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


When you get right down to it, though, logic pretty much leads you straight to the obvious conclusion that I'd like a pin from The Jam too.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:27 PM on August 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


Stickers to "cash in" on the popularity of D&D with middle-school kids in the early 80s ? Bad marketing decision from an out-of-touch office products company ? Still does not explain the pins...

This seems right. Some stationary/office supply company was trying to cash in on a D&D or He-Man knock-off. Just a few years later all of that printing and manufacturing capacity would move overseas, complete with a new style of bootlegs and knock-offs.

The fact that the art here seems so western might be what's keeping everyone from admitting that this is just some weird non-licensed product. We're so used to Chinese bootlegs that seeing something with this 70's western fantasy art style makes people want to believe it was part some sort of greater product and not just some print shop in Rhode Island hiring a college kid to paint some weird fantasy monsters.
posted by thecjm at 4:28 PM on August 4, 2017 [9 favorites]


This would be a great beginning to an ARG.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:34 PM on August 4, 2017 [10 favorites]


On its own, the Geedis pin isn't worth much, but if you have the accompanying Liifsan and P'rrt pins, the set is said to be fairly desirable.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:36 PM on August 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Greedis also looked familiar to me, and sure enough, I had those "Land of Ta" stickers in my "sticker book" as a kid!
posted by WaylandSmith at 4:54 PM on August 4, 2017 [15 favorites]


Pretty sure this was a spinoff from Dash Swordslash and the Defenders of Everything.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:11 PM on August 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


This reminded me of the whole Milkwalker debacle (who is certainly a local milk person). I was unable to dig up any concrete evidence of him, despite spending more hours than I would care to admit reading archived back issues of Northwest Dairy Association magazine.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:13 PM on August 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


I remember the late 70's and early 80's as having a great many products that looked like merchandise for thing (like a movie or a tv show) but were not actually related to anything but themselves.

Yes. I grew up then, and I can confirm that the late 70's and early 80's were basically the dollar store, but everywhere.
posted by The World Famous at 5:16 PM on August 4, 2017 [40 favorites]


Oh, hey! I remember this guy. He was in that genie movie with Sinbad.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:39 PM on August 4, 2017 [10 favorites]


So this is what's trendy in Tlön these days.
posted by ikea_femme at 6:58 PM on August 4, 2017 [22 favorites]


But is it pronounced hard-g gee-dis or jee-dis?
posted by emjaybee at 7:10 PM on August 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


That's a G as in GIF.
posted by ardgedee at 7:26 PM on August 4, 2017 [24 favorites]


Ok, the "Land of Ta" stickers are (c) 1981 and numbered 80-218
The "Women of Ta" stickers are (c) 1982 and numbered 80-224

So now I'm wondering what were 80-219 through 80-223. But then I notice that the 1981 Teddy Bear Monkey Koala Stickers is marked 80-216, so there is no guarantee that those would be "of Ta". UPDATE: I found 80-223, and it's disappointingly just footprints.

There was another ebay auction for "Women of Ta" that has a scan that includes the packaging and back. It says there are 4 sheets per pack (all the same?), and the back lets us know that these are PRES-a-ply(R) stickers.

I've tried searching but haven't found any vintage Dennison catalogues for that time frame.
posted by fings at 7:37 PM on August 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


The article mentions there being more than one sheet besides the one with Geedis. Digging through the Twitter responses, I found it. Number 80-219.
posted by BiggerJ at 7:38 PM on August 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also, the big logic jam in 'it's not actually an attempt at a franchise' (e.g. thecjm's comment) is what started everyone's obsession in the first place - the fact that one of the chracters has pins of him.
posted by BiggerJ at 8:01 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's really interesting how wikis and blogs and search engines have together turned fame on it's head, in a sense. As a consumer of culture, celebrity is ubiquitous, cheap, accessible. Obscurity is rare and precious in a sense.

Now we have fake news. In the future will we have fake history, fake nostalgia, fake enthusiams, fake traditions?

Has all this always been true? Am I full of shit? Fake profundity?
posted by Western Infidels at 8:12 PM on August 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think it's pronounced "JEEdis," as in: "Gee, dis is confounding."

I'm sorry.
posted by Kemma80 at 8:28 PM on August 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


Oh man, last I saw Geedis he and Mr. Zip, Kool-Aid Man and Andy Dandytale were headed out to the west coast in a custom van they'd fixed up in my uncle's back yard... said he was gonna meet some righteous babes in Malibu. Camp on the beach, surf, just drop out. That was about '87-88? It was right after all the Rockafire characters got the hatchet and all the anthromorphic mascots were starting to realize the times were changing. No more little brands, no more little stories, no more little characters, everything was big and national. There was a lot of changes then... some, like the Cheerios bee could handle the change, others like Quisp and Dig 'Em found their solace in the bottom of a bowl and no one came to the funerals.

Anyway, Geedis... I never heard from him again. I always assumed he made it. Sitting on the orange shag carpet of that bitchin' van, listening to Endless Summer on 8-track, watching the sun set over the Pacific, that weird, crooked smile still on his face...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:35 PM on August 4, 2017 [14 favorites]


Oh, and I highly recommend the Mr. Product books if this sort of nerve fizzing recognition gives you the grins...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:41 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


My own theory is that this is/was a thing in a non-english-speaking country. Perhaps Finland or Poland or something. Thats why it looks well-developed. Also explains something like 'Geedis' which is odd phonetically even for an invented name.

The pin is in the native language. There is a hoard of them somewhere in someone's attic in Vilnius or Vladivostok. The stickers were an attempted and failed crossover attempt to English.
posted by vacapinta at 2:14 AM on August 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


But is it pronounced hard-g gee-dis or jee-dis?

Your best hope is that it also came out in Japan, as then there'd be a kana transliteration that would settle this.

That, incidentally, was how I discovered that I had been mispronouncing the name of the arcade game Gyruss for most of my life, after reading that, in Japanese, it's named "Jairasu"
posted by acb at 3:15 AM on August 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


"My partner says I gotta hire his idiot stoner nephew for a summer 'internship' at the sticker factory. Well, I show him! I'll copyright the kid's doodles and it'll be KA-CHING and KA-CHING until this Dungeons & Dragons fad wears out."
posted by jonp72 at 6:48 AM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


"Excuse me young man. I'm trying to buy a present for my grandson. He's really into that... Now what is that called? Oh yes, it's something like Dingoes and Dragonflies."

"Dingoes and Dragonflies, you say? It sounds like your grandson needs the rare Geedis and the Land of Ta expansion pack. That'll be 15 dollars."
posted by jonp72 at 6:51 AM on August 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


BiggerJ: "Also, the big logic jam in 'it's not actually an attempt at a franchise' (e.g. thecjm's comment) is what started everyone's obsession in the first place - the fact that one of the chracters has pins of him."

Yeah, seriously. I mean, I imagine that the manufacturing process for enamel pins (especially back in the 1980s) would have meant a much higher incremental cost for introducing a new design as compared to the sticker printing process.

Also, did Dennison even make enamel pins? According to this link which shows the back of one of these Geedis pins, there's no indication of manufacturer. If these pins weren't made by Dennison, that would mean that somehow a completely different company picked up this weird, one-off, not-a-real-thing-but-meant-to-look-like-a-real-thing character and cranked out a bunch of pins. Did they rip off Dennison? Was there some collaboration or partnership? Or was there maybe someone else who created/owned these characters and was pitching them to different companies?
posted by mhum at 7:28 AM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Graphics EEnDIrShange format
posted by tobascodagama at 8:26 AM on August 5, 2017


The characters have a really amateurish feel to them, even if the art is somewhat okay. My theory is that this is a failed children's product line from an unfinanced entrepreneur.

Probably, Land of Ta is some amateur's "brilliant idea" for a line of children's toys/cartoon series/tie-in products. They wrote up the basic character descriptions, hired conned a professional artist into doing concept art and then tried to sell licenses to various companies. The stickers and pins were either produced out of pocket to make it look like there was a viable product there or produced by licensees who believed they were getting in on the ground floor of a great new thing.

And then, the whole thing fizzled, leaving a few artifacts behind.
posted by suetanvil at 8:31 PM on August 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think those are from that Berenstein Bears and the Bad Dreams book. You know, the one that describes nightmares for small children after Brother Bear watches Space Grizzlies: The Mandela Effect.
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 12:15 PM on August 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


Or was there maybe someone else who created/owned these characters and was pitching them to different companies?

That's what I was wondering. For a while in the 90s I was the graphic designer for an industry council that did a lot with recycling, and at one point I had someone pitch me their art and characters from a pre-designed recycling/environmental package. From which I learned that some people just make up frameworks and go around seeing if anyone wants to buy them.
posted by tavella at 8:47 AM on August 7, 2017


They may be characters from a book (Tomb of the Dragonspeaker)--but I can't find any other record of that book on the internet.
posted by Emera Gratia at 1:33 PM on August 13, 2017


I'm pretty sure that's a joke, Emera (thus the repetitions of 'definitely not a fake'). If you look at the picture of the book with the pages held open, the 'Ta' pages are clearly paler pages inserted in an older book. Look at the bottom of the lefthand pages, particularly.
posted by tavella at 1:58 PM on August 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


The right hand side is also unevenly cut.
posted by tavella at 2:32 PM on August 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


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