When I first started writing for this blog, my very first post was about a toy that I would never get rid of. My 12 inch Darth Vader doll with the cape my Grandmother made me since I lost my original one. (Thinking more on that subject, it isn’t the doll that is so important rather than the cape. It is my last concrete piece of my Grandmother, and losing the doll wouldn’t be a loss, but losing the cape would be.) I also said in that first blog that there was a second toy that I never would get rid of, and finally, I’m going to write about it.
Back when I was a kid, my mother told my brother, sister and I, that if we helped her with the yard work, she’d buy us each a surprise. Not ones to give up a free surprise, and not knowing what it was, we agreed to it and began the yard work. We worked for a few hours, and then when it was all finished, we went inside, cleaned up, had something to eat, and got into the car. As we drove there my mother asked us if we knew where we were going. Both my brother and sister did, but I didn’t. Heck, she could have been taking us to an orphanage now that the yard work was done, but instead, minutes later, we pulled up in front of a toy store.
As we walked into the store my mother said to us, “You can pick any toy you want”. Any toy we want? That was unheard of. Toys were always given at Christmas, Easter, birthdays, or the occasional once in a while when one of us would be out with my mom. This was like Christmas, Easter and our birthdays all in one day. We began to walk down the aisles and I looked at the bottom shelf and I knew immediately what I wanted. It was a yellow rectangular box with hieroglyphics written on the sides. The Kenner 12 inch Indiana Jones doll from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
I first became aware of this toy while one day waiting for our carpool to take my brother, sister and I to school. I was in the first grade and was glued to the set as the commercial began. I remember the kids using a basketball to replace the giant boulder from the movie, to chase the Indy doll. I knew right then I wanted it. When I got to school I took my seat in front of my friend Will and turned around to him. “Do you want the Indiana Jones doll?” I asked him. “No, I don’t,” he replied. I turned around as class began destined to get this doll.
Back at the store I looked at the doll. Here he was in all his “fortune and glory”. His whip, gun, leather jacket, his hat? Wait, where was his hat? I looked at the top of the box and realized someone had ripped open the box, stole the hat, to most likely replace the one they lost for their own doll. I really wanted this toy, but my mother said buying the toy without all the pieces just wasn’t worth it, and in the end I didn’t get it. (As far as the hat is concerned, it was a large piece of felt somewhat designed to look like his fedora, not much of a loss to be honest.) I wound up getting a toy to this day I do not remember, nor do I remember what my brother and sister got. But I knew one thing. I was going to get that doll. I didn’t know how I was going to get it, but I knew that I would have it one day.
Skip ahead to the spring of 1989. I’m 14 and a subscriber to the magazine Lucasfilm Fan Club, the BEST George Lucas related magazine ever. It had great articles on everything Lucas was involved in from the soon to be released Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Willow, Tucker, even the TV show Maniac Mansion. It covered what ILM was working on as well as what their video game division was working on, and had a great catalogue to order merchandise from. (Eventually, years down the road, the magazine would be renamed The Star Wars Insider, focus on Star Wars, and lose every aspect of what made this once great magazine great.) As I read the magazine there was an article about collecting Indiana Jones merchandise, and mentioned that the 12 inch Kenner doll, out of the box, was going for $75. How was I, a 14 year old teen, supposed to get that kind of money? Despite learning the price, I was still determined to get the toy.
When high-school began I began going to conventions. The very first convention I ever went to was with my buddy Rich, my brother, sister, father, uncle and cousin. It was a horror movie convention that for years afterwards we would always go to. We went to movie conventions with them next, and as Rich and I got older, we began going with his cousins to sci-fi conventions, but still no doll.
Then, during October 1992, Rich and I, now seniors in high-school, went to the latest horror convention we always went to. Rich would wind up buying lots of vintage Star Wars toys while I bought the Kenner Raiders of the Lost Ark Streets of Cairo and Map Room play sets. But no 12 inch doll.
Skip to Christmas morning 1992 and my family and I are opening presents. “Here, open mine next,” my sister said. I took the present, opened it, and exclaimed, “Holy shit!” I said, then looked to my parents with a look of apology on my face, and turned to my sister, “Where did you get this?” I asked. “At the horror convention in October. He’s missing his gun, whip and hat but I figured you’d still want it.”
I was at that very same show. How could I have missed it? Either she got there first and bought it, there was too much merchandise that I just didn’t see it, the dealer put it out sometime after I left or she got it on a different day of the convention. Either way, my twin sister bought it for me and I knew how much it cost her. $75.00. I looked the toy over, it was out of the box, nearly mint, except for the missing hat. “Hey, his whip and gun are here,” I said.
The fact that my sister bought this toy for me is one reason why I could never get rid of it, but it goes much deeper than that. See, the three of us as siblings played together and also fought each other. I mean we fought. A lot. Mortal Kombat style fighting. In fact, whenever my brother beat the living snot out of me, I’m surprised my sister didn’t say in a deep voice, “Finish HIM!” (OK, back when we were kids Mortal Kombat wasn’t around, but still, I thought it was a cool reference). As much as we fought, I really can’t remember what one fight was about with either of them, and I’m sure they don’t either. What I do remember is the three of us always being there for each other, whether it was when someone bothered my sister at school and I went all Wolverine “berserker” style on him, or when our Grandmother died, or just the sacrifices we made for one another. They’ve done tons for me, and I just hope that I’ve done tons for them as well. That’s the reason I can’t get rid of that doll, my sister sacrificed most of her convention money to get me a toy that she knew I wanted ever since the first grade. We’ve always been loyal to one another and I know we always will be.
In fact, there was one time that my brother appeared out of no-where like my own personal Guardian Angel. I swear, at that moment, I had never been so happy to see him as much as I did at that moment . What’s that you say? What happened?
Well “True Believers”, that story begins with an entirely different toy and it’s for another blog.
Until then, I remain,