Humble beginnings

What inspires a person to collect anything?

I'm sure I don't have a clue. The fact is that, like most, I was expected to grow past the toys I had in my youth. They make you "immature", I was told. You have to "grow up". Time to find other interests. The custom was that you need to leave the things of your youth behind you as you mature into adulthood.

They were so wrong, no matter how well intended.

I found that my interests and play as a child had an enormous role in my later-in-life skills and pursuits. Not to get to terribly deep into a philosophic view regarding this, but I came to learn when studying the history and overall encompassing subject of movement and dance, that all the movement of the human experience can basically be organized into two fundamental categories of purpose - work and play. The play of childhood turns out to be extremely important to prepare for the work of an adult, as I later came to find. There are studies that indicate that less developed or more primitive societies basically trained their offspring in the work of hunting, gathering, weaving, manners, and so forth, through song and dance, basically, play. We do this in modern times, knowingly or unknowingly. The gist is there is clearly value in it. Why it seems to become so discouraged in more modern times is a mystery. It is rather sad to see how the joy of play gets redefined and converted into the drudgery of work, but, that was the norms of the society I grew up in.

It was my blessing that I just didn't care to listen to that "advice".

The collection begins

In the later part of the 2000 decade, I encountered something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies... and I'll leave it at that. A consequence of that, was the opportunity to restart my life all over again from, essentially, below scratch, in my 40's. (Lord, the lessons I learned in that time.) One thing that came from this chance, was to cleanly define myself, as myself, than the chimera of action patterns and conditioned responses I'd gone forward in life with (as I learned them) previously, that I thought was "me". It's something to see yourself stripped down to absolutely nothing, to then find out what is absolutely essential. So, despite the pains and anguish, confusion and despair of the time - it was incredibly therapeutic. Well, something stayed with me from my previous life. A small pack of toys, I've since learned called "gashapon" (apparently Japanese for "a small toy sold in a vending machine"), marketed in the US as "Pack of Destruction" with a few very small Godzilla and friends characters. I managed to keep those with me during a small homeless phase I'd gone through during the great reset of my life.

Not that I was planning on becoming a "monster wrangler", a sci-fi artist, or anything of the sort. It is just that these little trinkets reminded me of a more bright, positive and eager time and that burned bright and new with those feelings as tangible and real to me 35 years later -despite what life was to me at the present moment. I was glimpsing not only what was an aspect of happiness, but also that I could manifest it into the now and the future. It helped me begin to shatter the great mass of despair and failure that seemed to sum up my life at that time. More of this, please.

As I continued to rebuild my life from the foundation up, I found moments where I had a desire to recapture more of the playthings of my youth, particularly those I once had, and the items I couldn't get back in the day. Luckily, eBay was there to give me a hand (plus a few flea markets). It was an odd sort of phenomena. As I succeeded in the present to move into the future, I was also building my present by regaining my past loses, represented by my growing collection. This wasn't something I planned to undertake. I didn't approach any of this formally. It is just that it pretty much manifested itself as I continued to grow and build my life further. 

The Return of Mego

There were two significant toy lines that summed me up as a child. One was a toy manufacturer named "Mego", and their plethora of action figures across lots of properties - my favorites being "World's Greatest Superheroes", "Mad Monsters", "Planet of the Apes" and "Star Trek". I got a few of the heroes, but none of the other lines (but wanted them). The other was, to me, probably the best toy ever made - the Six Million Dollar Man. (A third would have been anything Godzilla-related but in the '70s, very little was ever produced from that character - I wouldn't start seeing anything of a toy line for him until the very late 1990's.) There was another toy line that became popular in the '70s, you might have heard of it - "Star Wars" by Kenner (the same manufacturer of the Six Million Dollar Man). As interesting as it was, it really wasn't my cup of tea.

So, there begins my quest. Looking at my own photo journal (thanks Apple), and my own recollection (thanks age), I start digging eBay for my 1st target, the Six Million Dollar Man. My 1st acquisition was a happy accident in 2015 or '16. As I will likely be going into detail on in a later post, I encountered a version of this action figure I didn't even know existed, and got him for a song, with his vehicle (another big deal). After this discovery, I began haunting eBay and other online sellers and flea markets to build my collection. I started finding treasures and acquiring them to the collection.

As my Six Million Dollar Man collection started finishing up (I'd acquired all the major key pieces I wanted - the product line only ran from '73-'78, if I'm not mistaken), my sights turned to Mego action figures. It was a funny coincidence that in the time I started pursuing vintage Mego figures, the company, Mego, came back. In 2018, the CEO of the old Mego company brought back Mego again and with it's 1st wave, started a whole new world of collectors. At present, I am still happily collecting those. I'm also able to start collecting my giant movie monsters as product for the Godzilla franchise has become rather prolific in the last decade. So, that aspect of my collection has grown since 2016 as well. 


I can go on, and probably will in subsequent posts. I set out to talk about what got me into being a collector and toy enthusiast and discovered much of what I written as I wrote it - God love 20/20 hindsight. I find I might have been more accurate to title this post, "Humbled beginnings…". As it turns out, my modern collection started as a few trinkets that reminded me of a more creative time when I needed to see that capability in myself the most. It has since evolved to become representative of a "love-letter" (if you will) to my younger self. I come to realize it is also a personal accountability, a respect and reward to the timeless qualities that make individuals truly themselves as well as what keeps them going - surely so for me.

Trinkets. Who knew?

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Thursday, 22 February 2024