unreasonable birthday wishes

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Tomorrow’s my birthday, folks. As such, I thought I’d take a break from writing about things I’ve bought at thrift stores for myself and move on to more important matters; things I WANT to buy for myself… but haven’t the capital.

Perhaps there will be some kind, rich benefactor reading this will decide to gift one of these “Holy Grail” items to me.

Or more likely, this was just yet another excuse for me to indulge myself in some nostalgia. Either way, these are the Top Five Things I search for on eBay but will never buy for myself.

1. Amelie Kubrick

Despite being a fan of block toys in general (Hello Minimates!) I don’t own any Kubricks. Considering their status as imported toys, Kubricks are mostly outside my collecting price range. These particular Kubricks come to the world by way of the French film Amelie, staring Audrey Tautou. The movie’s a beautiful trifle and a flick I thoroughly enjoyed both in theaters and on DVD.

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These were made to coincide with the film’s release on DVD, and include two “standard” versions of Amelie Poulin (one in a green blouse, one in a red blouse) and a version of Amelie dressed as Zorro. There was also a two pack made of Amelie and her lawn gnome, a prop from the film which figures largely in some of the plot points later in the movie. All of these toys were only available overseas, which means eBay retailers sell ’em for big bucks. I could do without Zorro Amelie, but I’ve always wanted a standard version of the character for sentimental reasons.

2. Minimates Max Galactus

Here’s one I almost pulled the trigger on when it was originally released. I collect Minimates, Art Asylum’s line of small, articulated block figures. It’s a long-running toy line, encompassing almost every superhero character from the big two publishers as well as dozens of smaller licenses. As I understand it, one of the quirks about the Minimates line involves Art Asylum not being allowed to make Minimates bigger than something like 3 inches. In this way, they can’t compete with other toy lines.

At any rate, AA got around this a few years ago when they crafted gigantic unarticulated statues of Marvel characters like a Sentinel or Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds.

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I’ve always wanted the Galactus statue to stand amongst my various Marvel Minimates but they usually run about $500 dollars on eBay, and that’s before shipping costs. I’m hoping to run across one at a comic convention someday.

3. Stacked Deck: The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told HC

Published by Longmeadow Press in the late 1980s to coincide with the Tim Burton Batman movie, Stacked Deck is a compilation of a bunch of great Joker stories including classics like “The Joker’s Five Way Revenge” and “The Laughing Fish.”

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I used to own a copy of this book and it was a lovely hardcover presentation with faux leather binding dyed purple (naturally) and a Kyle Baker designed cover image. I believe I lent my copy to a student during my first year of teaching in Brooklyn and never got it back. It’s a pity – people routinely sell them for like $50 bucks on eBay and the Amazon Marketplace. It’s funny to see it listed for that price as I remember remaindered copies of Stacked Deck cluttering up our WaldenBooks for YEARS into the 1990’s.

4 and 5. Disney’s Halloween Treat/Muppet Family Christmas

Both of these are seasonal, holiday specific made for TV specials featuring beloved characters from my childhood… and both are not available on DVD in a way that a fan would want to watch.

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In the case of A Muppet Family Christmas, that’s particularly shameful for a few reasons. Firstly… it’s the last time all the Muppet properties (Muppets, Fraggle Rock, and Sesame Street respectively) would inhabit the same space before the Muppets were sold to Disney. Getting crossovers between the Muppets (owned by the House of Mouse) and Sesame Street (independently owned by Children’s Television Workshop) is more than a challenge these days. Further, this special features a lovely Jim Henson cameo… one of his last before his untimely death in 1990.

Disney has released AMFC on DVD, but it’s a weird hack job where several of the songs and sequences are cut. I’d love to have the original presentation for yearly viewing.

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Disney’s Halloween Treat is a bit less prestigious. It’s just an hour-long special that used to air every year when I was a kid. It has a pretty memorable theme song, but the special is essentially just a compilation of “scary” Disney clips, including a lot of shots of the villains from the animated movies.

I’ve never gotten serious about getting either of these for a couple of reasons. One… I don’t have a VHS cassette player handy, which is what I’d need to watch either special. Secondly, of all the things I’ve talked about in today’s post, these videos seem most likely to be the things I’d run across in my thrift store/flea market shopping. Finally, and most significantly, I hold out hope an affordable DVD pressing of either one of these or both will eventually be made available. With Muppet Family Christmas, I can almost guarantee that will happen somewhere down the road. How far down the road, I can’t really say…

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