There’s something to be said about articulation, about how essential it is for proper play. As much as I go on about the “power of imagination,” about the ability of child to take something as bland as a block of wood and turn it into a wonderland, I will also be the first to admit that an awkwardly posed, generally inflexible figure delivers nothing but agitation and frustration to the holder. Case in point: The solid rubber WWF toys put out in 1984 by LJN that were oh-so-popular with the shoulder punching, crotch kicking, ear biting boys my age. It never made a lick of sense, even back then when logic played a very minor role in my life, for a figure based on the masters of the squared circle to be incapable of performing the moves that made them famous in the first place. No amount of twisting or forcing could change their position. No body slam was possible when the wrestler in question was frozen in middle of doing the hokey pokey.
Jake the Snake Roberts’ finishing move was the DDT. Yet his figure had both arms permanently affixed in the air (waving like he just didn’t care). How in the hell is he going to drive someone’s head into the mat when he’s stuck, for lack of a better description, raising the roof? The same held true for Hogan. The most his figure could do to the Iron Shiek was give him a piggy back ride around the ring. And don’t even get me started on the lackadaisical runway styling of Adrian Adonis. Surely you can understand and empathize with my disappoint, both then and now. Is it any wonder why each one of those figures underwent a hideous transformation by my tiny, idle hands? If the toys weren’t going to perform properly, I would force them down the right path with cybernetic implants made from office supplies. A shoulder can pivot easily when the arm has been lopped off and reattached with a wood screw. Sure, they looked like shit, but damn it, they were functional.
I recently bought my son some Tron figures from the new movie (yay, bargain bin mark-downs - yay, for my son being old enough to play with and appreciate cool toys). The damn things are amazing. They offer countless points of articulation: ball jointed neck, shoulders and hips; swivel wrists and biceps; peg and hinge elbows and knees. These figures are capable of anything, any pose, any action, any kung-fu chop and kick, and that’s all without even mentioning illuminated chest panels. [Ed. Note: Yes, that was as dorky as it sounds. I have nerd drool on my chin].
Like I said, imagination will only take you so far but at some point the play will falter when your figure is stuck seemingly in mid-jig. The Ultimate Warrior was meant to dominate, not spell out the first letter in YMCA. The Big Bossman shouldn’t be frozen while flexing muscles he never had.
Remember, if you want to help me recapture my youth, feel free to send me money at firstname.lastname@example.org via PayPal. I would love to own even one of the things listed on this Tumblr Account.