leprecon

Promotional Bendy Leprechaun movie promo toy

I seem to be forever doomed to write about bendy toys, or it would seem that way as of late. I mean there’s probably in total somewhere between 3 to 7 bendy toys I wouldn’t mind owning, every other one I find outside of that I’d sooner set on fire to rid the world of it. I have an extreme love/hate for these overproduced pieces of rubber but once every so often there’s one that I gravitate towards. Sometimes it’s because a genuine action figure for the character doesn’t exist, sometimes it’s because the price is right or sometimes it’s because I’m strangely drawn to it for reasons beyond my comprehenison. This piece is roughly all 3 of those reasons rolled into one.

My facination for the Leprechaun bendy started over 20 years ago. My aunt ran a collectibles shop where I’d help out by sorting new collections, cleaning toys and piecing them together. One day a collection of miscellanious figures came in with 3 of these bad boys in it. Three was the magical number because it meant I could grab one and the owner’s son could get one too since he liked horror based toys. This was a time before the internet and I had no background on where it came from or what it was worth, all I knew is I wanted it badly. Somehow, my aunt and the owner couldn’t come to an agreement over price for what he was selling and all 3 walked off; never to be seen again.

20 years later most memory of the Leprechaun figure had slipped into the murky recesses of my mind. I had once or twice looked the figure up online but never found any active or closed auctions for the piece, I found rumors about it being a promotional giveaway if you bought the VHS tape when it came out. Sounded logical since VHS tapes back in the early 90s cost a small fortune and there had to be a reason to shell out a bunch of money on a plastic brick with a movie on it. But the internet is vague and no one had much of any real information other than if you wanted the toy it was going to cost you a lot of money for no good reason whatsoever. Screw that noise, I’ll do without.

Years passed and word of a NECA or McFarlane Toys Leprechaun action figure hit the web but the toy never got past prototype stages. Many more years passed before I found the Leprechaun bendy sitting in a collectibles shop in a flea market. Picked up for a quick $10, I gleefully grabbed him up knowing the figure commands $40 or more online. $10 is about right for the toy. He’s a solid and sturdy rubber figure that while his likeness isn’t the best, it’s passable that even my coworkers know who it is when they walk by my desk. No frills here except for the fact the Leprechaun stands on his own unlike his bendy brothers and sisters which is a nice touch and makes him far more displayable than other bendies I own. I can’t see why some people spend so much on this figure unless the Leprechaun franchise is their favorite series of horror movies with a dwarf as the main character.

If I had an editor, lines like that previous one would never make it to print.

He’s also holding a gold coin in his left hand, just in case you forgot the premise of any Leprechaun story in existence.

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Rocketeer Bendy from Justoys Image

Rocketeer bendy by Justoys

 

Those who read my Who Framed Roger Rabbit flexies review know the extreme love/hate I have for bendy toys. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, bendy toys were in abundance. If the movie or TV show didn’t have enough cool points to warrant an action figure line, there was at least a bendy made of a key character. While the movie Harry and the Hendersons would have been exciting to have gotten an action figure of John Lithgow or David Suchet, we were “blessed” with a bendy of Harry himself. But on the flip side, if it was expected to be a dynamite blockbuster, we got action figures and bendy figures too (i.e. – Land of the Lost, Who Framed Roger Rabbit or MMPR: The Movie). There was a strange corelation though with lines that had both action figures and bendy toys; the whole line usually flopped hard and ended up on clearance shelves shortly. I’m sure someone can point out an exception to that observation but I can’t recall one off the top of my head at the moment.

 

You’d think bendy figures would be awesome, right? In theory, yes. A figural toy with infinite options for posing. Something that could sit and stand and everything in between without obscuring the sculpt with all the cuts traditional articulation leaves you with. These bendies were usually very droll and if you got them as a gift you knew that person obviously didn’t like you that much or got you a gift last minute. That may sound harsh but I’m totally aware of what it’s like to get sucky gifts. One year my mom’s brother got me a puzzle and a flashlight. Some might say I’m being petty but it’s the reason why I won’t refer to him as my uncle.

Most all bendy toys of the era came on very basic card and bubble packaging. The card art was sparse, usually utilizing few colors and little to no use of movie or show based photos. No matter what the character was they were always in a very creepy arms stretched out pose. Some might say it’s in a ready to hug you pose but I more relate the pose to a crusifixied body.  That may sound harsh but I just really hate bendies. Another major letdown was the lack of accessories and the price was roughly equal to a decent action figure, there was no value in purchasing a bendy.

 

The Rocketeer is a bendy I’ve held off buying for a very long time. I know you’ve read through what amounts to a manifesto against producing and buying bendy figures but hear me out. 99/100 times I find the Rocketeer he is always missing the jetpack. Rocketeer without a jetpack is just a bellhop figure with horse riding boots and a silly helmet. Finding it with the jetpack I see as an accomplishment because I didn’t sacrifice money for an incomplete toy, the only added bonus would have been to find him still carded. While I hate bendy figures I love the Rocketeer and hate that an action figure or affordably priced 12 inch doll hasn’t been made in over 20 years.

***Update*** – Thanks to the fine folks at Plastic Heroes, I was able to add a carded Rocketeer figure to my collection. I’m not sure if that’s reason for celebration but I’m going to count it as such.

 

 

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1978 Bendy Godzilla from GLJ

If I was asked which character in history has had the most impact on my life, I would have to say Godzilla would more than likely outrank Benjamin Franklin but would be just about equal with Nikola Tesla. Godzilla has been a very big part of my life, it was the first monster movie I was introduced to as a child. Throughout my earlier childhood and up to her death, my grandmother bought me Godzilla toys for my birthday on a yearly basis. Several Imperial brand Godzillas, the Shogun Warriors one from Mattel, numerous model kits and even a couple of Horizons large vinyl figures. She had a connection with someone in her doll club who’s daughter was a professional wrestler in Japan and every so often I got 3-6 inch Bandai vinyls too. This, of course, led me to buying Godzilla and other Kaiju toys into my adult life. But there has been one particular Godzilla I’ve wanted for a very long time.

(I just like this photo.)
(carded photo care of www.plaidstallions.com)

Well, there’s several I want to add to my collection but one in particular that’s been slightly out of my price range and pretty much unbeknownst to me until recently. Back in the mid-late 70s, AHI made many monster related toys. Granted, for an officially licensed product of Universal Studios and by today’s standards the designs are comical and childish looking but they hold a particularly fond place in my heart. I mentioned in an earlier blog I had acquired an AHI Dracula and I consider him a prized possession, but it fueled the fire to acquire more of the collection. These are a pricey venture, even loose and beat up AHI bendies fetch $30+ and I just can’t consciously spend that much on something I know I’ll find in a 4/$1 bin at a flea market. I’m good at biding my time till a deal comes my way. Even Creature from the Black Lagoon and King Kong got in on the AHI bendy action but, sadly, no Godzilla. He wasn’t part of the Universal Monsters, Godzilla belongs to Toho and Toho rarely ever licenses their brands outside Japan. But one day while searching Plaid Stallions website I found the perfect Godzilla to compliment the AHI collection I was amassing.

(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)
(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)

A company I’m still researching about released a licensed Godzilla bendy very much in the same vein as the AHI monsters. In 1978, GLJ released a bendy Godzilla on a very goofy looking card depicting the figure itself engaged in battle within what looks like a model train table. Honestly, the creativity makes me want a carded example even harder now. During one of my recent trips to Planet Retro in downtown St Pete I saw a loose bendy Godzilla nestled between different sofubi in a glass cabinet. I was already there on another mission to buy something for my wife so I had to take a gamble and leave it behind till my next payday. The owner of the shop and I are cool and he would have held it for me, I just have a strange thing about being one of “those guys” who gets into a habit of having friends hold things for me till I got the money to buy it. I’m very particular how I handle business, I pay people what they want and if I can’t afford it then let someone else buy it. It’s a strange thing to some people but being a vendor at times myself, I’ve gotten to be a very “money talks” kind of guy. To make an already long story short, I came back and bought it.

(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)
(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)

Finally getting the GLJ Godzilla in hand makes me happy I didn’t get him when I was a kid. I was never rough with my toys but he has a feel about him like he wouldn’t survive long in the pocket of an rambunctious 7 year old. He’s the right color green to be complimentary to the memory of the Godzilla he represents and the spines that run down his back and tail are painted white at the tips so the stand out against the green. The whole body is given a black paint wash to make what I assume is their idea of sculpted scales to pop out. The scales in question make Godzilla look more like your fingers after a long swim, all pruned and wrinkled. The look on Godzilla’s face is somewhere on the scale of “I want to give you a hug” and “I want to give you a hug and poke you a little with my penis….and maybe eat your face”. The big goofy grin is infectious though, I could just sit and stare at this toy and still get the same kind of joy out of it in a year from now that I’m getting at this moment. It is a bendy and while all of the wires in mine are intact, the thickness of Godzilla’s body prohibits much of the movement. The tail bends freely but only looks good in it’s original prone position. I still consider the toy a win for myself and my collection, I wouldn’t have bought it if I hadn’t felt differently. There’s a lot of crappy Godzilla merchandise but this is far from it.

(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)
(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)

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