Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A "Toy a Day" habit or how I became the American Toycoon

This is my exciting first foray into the deep, wonderful world of cyberspace! I can't believe that I finally made it here; it's been a long time coming.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am an adult male who has been working as a toy designer for the past twenty years. Most recently I worked for the biggest toy company in the world, Mattel, famous for Hot Wheels, Barbie and Monster High dolls.

 What people don't know about me is that I have been obsessively collecting toys for about 42 years. I acquire a toy every day. Yes, every single day. Sometimes, the toy will be something bigger like a 24" plastic Godzilla figure or something really small like a mini troll from a vending machine but regardless of size, value or age, a toy is acquired every day.

It all started innocently enough one day when I was ten years old and I found a marble in the street. It was clear glass tiger-eye about two inches around with a greenish swirling ‘iris’ in the center. It was a little scratched and had a tiny chip but it was beautiful to me. What incredible fortune to find such a cool object for free! That was my first toy find.

The next day after school while I was sitting on the bench waiting for the bus when I spied a lumpy mass in the gutter. It looked like a dead lizard so I kicked it. There, laying in the gutter was a little rubber alligator caked with mud, leaves and twigs. I quickly grabbed it and shook all the debris off. A little rubber alligator! Wow! I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to find such a treasure.
The weekend was off to a great start!

Saturday, my favorite cousin, Bruno, came over to our house to spend the weekend. He rode all the way over on the RTD back when a ten-year-old kid could safely ride alone on the bus from Hollywood and Gramercy to Silverlake. Bruno started to unpack his overnight bag. He dumped out his pajamas, house key, underwear, toothbrush, two Hot Wheels and his socks and there among his belongings was a little orange figurine. I recognized it immediately as a cereal premium for the show, “Josie & the Pussycats”. Bruno said he got an extra ”Josie” in their cereal box and he asked if I wanted to trade for it. I didn’t have one so I said, yes. My mother worked for Mattel when I was a boy and she always brought home little gifts for me so I had a few Hot Wheels to trade. I swapped the “Beatnik Bandit” car for the “Josie” eraser with Bruno that day.

I didn’t know it at the time but that weekend had set the wheels in motion for my life as a toy collector.