5 Misfit Toys, from the Flea Market.


Saturday was spent at the Englishtown flea market with Ms. X and Jay. We three marveled at old records, cajun peanuts, and what I swear was a lipstick-wearing John Cena, immortalized on an unlicensed throw blanket that was large enough to double as a circus tent.

The highlight — if you don’t count the part where poor Jay’s car got stuck in the snowy mud — was another stop at Englishtown’s famous Toy Room.

You might remember last year’s article about that vendor, who sells an ungodly amount of vintage toys, from Transformers to Masters of the Universe and beyond. His indoor booth is as much “museum” as “store,” and it’s impossible to spend any length of time there without drooling like a sick dog.


Since I’ve already covered Toy Room’s good stuff, I thought I’d spend this post writing about their not-so-good stuff. Just outside Toy Room’s booth are many shelves filled with lower-end thingies. Thingies that are too unpopular or in too poor condition to bother displaying in a meaningful way.

It was there that I stumbled upon the bin shown above. In it were more than a hundred beat-up action figures. I mean, EXTREMELY beat-up action figures. Missing limbs. Chewed heads. Mud caked in every crevice. Ink stains, paint stains, and stains I’m not sure I care to identify.

That bin was pure action figure hell, but for some reason, I loved it. It seemed artsy. It seemed like it had something to say. Most importantly, everything in it was super mega cheap. The dealer could hardly hide his surprise when I inquired about the prices, I guess because there isn’t a huge market for Dick Tracy “Flattop” figures with no arms or legs.

The toys were between a quarter and a buck each. I went home with a substantial bag filled with absolute trash. These are my five favorites finds:


Jitsuboto. (1983)

From the original Masters of the Universe collection, here we have Jitsu… but with Roboto’s left arm and somebody else’s right arm.

Making your He-Man figures trade arms was an unadvertised but completely incredible part of collecting those toys. The thing is, I don’t know why you’d ever do it with Jitsu. In his natural state, Jitsu had a shiny, large, gold-plated “chopping hand.” Why would you ditch that? I will only accept this if it was part of a longer process that involved putting Jitsu’s chopping hand and Fisto’s giant fist onto Battle Armor Skeletor.

‘Cuz that would look great.


Lisa Simpson, Cenobite Edition. (1990)

I immediately recognized this as one of the Simpsons dolls Burger King gave away back in 1990. Poor Lisa has lost her dress, but that’s only the start of it. Some animal or demon saw fit to bite off more than half of her individual “hair spikes,” turning Lisa’s head into a many-holed, completely porous tribute to pain.

What was originally just a happy smile has taken on new meaning. I suspect that death was unexpected and instantaneous, and Lisa’s face just froze that way at the moment of impact. Or maybe she’s still alive, but in zombie form? Whatever the case, I plan to dye her skin in a pale purple color. Then I’ll use Wite-Out to get rid of her pupils. Then I’ll kick back and relax.


Shredder Can’t Shred Much. (1988)

The original TMNT Shredder figure was interesting. Everyone had to have one, even if it really wasn’t all that great.

Fans of the cartoon took issue with the color of Shredder’s clothes and accessories, which weren’t remotely faithful. More irritating was Shredder’s action pose, which permanently marked him as a “sneaker,” and made it nearly impossible for Shredder to stand under his own power.

The worst thing was how you couldn’t keep from cheering during those rare times when you were actually able to make Shredder stand up, which in turn caused just enough sonic vibrations to knock him down again. And so the vicious cycle continued, with nobody winning and everyone crying.

It’s even worse in this figure’s case, since Shredder has no forearms to help balance himself with. He can’t stand and he can’t hold anything. And he has no cape. It’s like the Turtles finally said “fuck it” and used their weapons to do honest-to-goodness damage, estimating that they wouldn’t have to endure daily Shredder shenanigans if the stupid idiot had no arms.


Carey Mahoney and the Troubled Head. (1989)

I’ve never seen a single Police Academy movie, but that didn’t stop me from collecting the figures… mainly because they spent so much of their shelf life with delectably slashed clearance prices. I never knew who “Larvell Jones” was, but I loved that I could buy six of him for the price of one Splinter.

I totally had Carey Mahoney back then, too. He came with a gun, a nightstick, and a vicious police dog that for some reason squirted water.

Finding action figures with chewed heads is not entirely uncommon, but the way in which Carey’s head was chewed is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s like some crafty savant with weird teeth decided that he wanted to make an 8-bit Carey Mahoney. I could spend ten weeks chewing the heads of countless action figures, and I’d never be able to duplicate that exact effect.



Pizza No Face. (1990)

Another from the original Ninja Turtles collection, Pizzaface was one of the weirdest figures in the set. Presented as a lunatic chef with green slime spittle and a goddamned circular blade in place of his right leg, Pizzaface may have been the most disturbing villain the Turtles ever faced.

Of course, he’s much more disturbing without his head. I love this trashed action figure to death. I never would’ve imagined that ditching Pizzaface’s face would somehow improve the figure, but it DOES.

Pizzaface has the word “JOEY” on his ass. It seems somehow incongruous that a figure wearing some kid’s personal brand could’ve ended up like this. Maybe “Joey” was just meant to be this guy’s second name, because having a headless action figure named “Pizzaface” makes no sense.

Yes, that’s gotta be it. This figure is named Joey. There are dead bugs inside of him.

Next, go visit Jay at The Sexy Armpit to see what he found in Englishtown. IIRC: Randy Savage and a car covered in mud!

  • http://nostalgicdaydream.wordpress.com Deigh

    Extremely sad to hear of Ramis’ passing. Amazing writer and genuine and funny guy. It is really strange, the relationship of celebrity and fan. There is a connection from one end. We sit and watch and feel like we know them, like we might even be friends. When they pass, we mourn our image of who we thought they were. In reality, we only knew an image. But still, there is a connection that cannot be explained. It is amazing that I can be mourning a man I never met, never shared a drink with, never watched a ballgame with, and that I can feel his loss this deeply.
    R.I.P. Mr. Ramis. You will be missed.

  • http://theassortment.tumblr.com Zycrow

    The most hilarious thing about that Shredder is realizing how tall he would be if he were to stand up straight.

  • drew do

    Add my name to the majority who mourn Harold Ramis. Love his movies and acting. At least now (hopefully) we can put Ghostbusters 3 to rest. His legacy can live on minus the requisite sad trip back to the well. He’s a legend!

  • http://www.neovideohunter.wordpress.com Larry P.

    Man you ain’t kiddin’ about The Shredder figure; even as a young babychild that LIVED for TMNT, I was disappointed in Shredder. Then again, I was also pissy when they released a Dick Tracy fig without the yellow raincoat, so maybe I was just overly bizarre.

    Love this one Matt!

  • http://www.youtube.com/TheBrotherNights Jered (Brother Nights)

    Funny that even without a head, I recognized Pizza Face. Nice finds, definitely worth the money :)

  • http://www.angelfire.com/ult/ace/MarksArtPage.html Patraw

    I purchase a lot of thrift store toys every month, so I get my fair share of chewed up and destroyed pieces as well, although I (almost) never buy those purposefully like you did (the wrecked ones I get are usually unwanted flotsam from the bags of random toys that I love to buy). Jitsuboto is the most interesting out of this quintet to me, because, instead of being damaged like the others, he represents someone’s attempt to make a customized MOTU figure.

    I picked up that same original Shredder, albeit in better condition, for fifty-nine cents, back in September, from one of the two local St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores:


    @Brian (Review The World)
    I egged my younger brother on to gnaw all the paint off his DC Super Powers Wonder Woman figure’s breasts when we were kids. I’m not sure what marvels we expected to uncover, even at that young age we must have known that there weren’t going to be nipples under her bustier (but, then again, maybe that’s exactly what we thought–kids are stupid). Of course, the end result was nothing more exciting than two plastic nubs disfigured with unattractive teethmarks. Shortly afterwards, when our aunt saw the results of our shenanigans, she colored in WW’s boobs again with a red Sharpie, so, alas, all my brother’s chewing went for nought (hopefully that paint didn’t have lead in it, I’d hate to think that he suffered any permanent detrimental effects from our misguided scheme to ogle Diana’s bare plastic ta-tas).

  • http://www.somethingsensitive.com/ !Kancho! カンチョー

    I had the Carey Mahoney action figure when I was a kid. Even without his spinning Billy Bat and Gun (which actually looked like a real pistol, not some bright orange piece of crap), Mahoney packed one hell of a karate chop and could easily beat the crap out of my other action figures. Good times.

  • http://traveling-pics.livejournal.com/ Traveling Pics

    The worst thing I have is a lovely GIJoe guy made from the parts of other lovely GIJoe guys…
    These toys are in terrible conditions, except Carey Mahooney, he just need some cleaning and a repaint :)

  • Sawdust

    Matt back.

    Love this article, the marks people leave can be fascinating

  • Onion Rings ARE Vegetables!

    “I’ve never seen a single Police Academy movie”

    Wha? Oh, and those Police Academy toys are also based on the cartoon series. I only ever had the Mahoney figure, but there was a Captain Harris mail-away that’s supposed to be rare.

  • Storm Shadow

    Is that one of those slavebots from the old Christmas catalogs in that first pic? I seriously hope you left the junk shop with that. I’d be sending that fucker to the fridge to bring me back something to drink. And look at the smile on his face! Now that’s service.

  • KennyD

    Have you ever been to Big Fun? We have one by Cleveland but idk if there are others… It’s basically a retro toy museum where everything is for sale. I think you’d love it… No, I’m certain you would.


  • http://www.facebook.com/therealteddyray Teddy Ray

    I don’t think any of my toys ever ended up in a condition anywhere near what these are. I took care of my toys, dammit! Anyway…this was a lot of fun to read and I would love to check that place out sometime. A couple of thoughts:

    -I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any of the Police Academy movies, either, and I’m not sure if I watched the cartoon or not, but I DO know I bought the comic books that Marvel released that were based on the cartoon. I’m pretty sure I had a couple of the action figures, too. In fact, I think I had Mahoney, because that water-squirting bulldog sounds familiar.

    -I had a ton of TMNT figures back in the day, including Shredder, but I don’t think I realized how shitty the Shredder figure was until I read this. Of course I see it now, but damn, how did I miss that when I was younger? That thing was awful!