KNOCK IT OFF! a.k.a. The Wonderful World of Unlicensed Toys

This piece was originally published August 12th, 2013.

tumblr_mzta9fviFZ1qm348ao1_400For years I have been obsessed with knock off, unlicensed merchandise—famous brands, or characters, that are designed and sold with a seemingly complete disregard for anything, other than to cash in on something that has been proved to be a commercial success.

Or, as they are technically termed, Counterfeit Consumer Goods.

While the spectrum of pirated or unlicensed items can reach far into the areas of cigarettes, wine, fashion (fake Coach handbags), electronics (fake iPads) and all types of entertainment media (like that pile of DVD’s on the table at a flea market which has films just released to the theater!) it is for toys that I have a particular fondness. When you research counterfeit food and cigarettes, believe me, it gets scary.

Given any chance, I will happily scoop one up should I see a bogus toy for sale somewhere. Seeking out phony Godzillas has always been a dream knock-off toy for me, and I have collected some good ones of the great monster over the years.

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Knock-off Godzilla, sans fins, is still pretty cool.

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With many of these toys, attention to details are usually thrown out the window, as is any semblance of keeping the individual universes separate. Long before crossovers in comic book storylines, fake toys were mixing it up in gigantic, head-scratching way.

Here then, are some of the goofier finds that you, dear reader, can seek out and add to your collection.
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MAURICE GOSFIELD: From Private Doberman to Benny The Ball

This piece was originally published June 7th, 2011.

Maurice Gosfield TemplateThere are few character actors in the history of television that can equal Maurice Gosfield.

He had a screen presence that is still unmatched and a voice so distinctive as to lend itself to that of a timelessly beloved cartoon character.

Maurice Gosfield, is the 3rd selection for this installment of a regular Mystery Box feature called Great Comedians Of The Past.

Without hesitation, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you:

GREAT COMEDIANS OF THE PAST #3: MAURICE GOSFIELD


With his 5’4″, 200 lb. stature, and devil may care good looks, Maurice Gosfield took over Hollywood and became a man that women swooned over, children called their hero and men dreamed of emulating.
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Joe Shuster and Superman’s “Other” Secret Identity

This piece was originally published December 7th, 2009.

Henchman IconThe story is all too familiar: Artists, no matter what the creative medium they choose to work in, need to make money to pay their bills.

Throughout a career, there are doubtlessly going to be the periods when financial struggle necessitates employment at something that is not all that desirable and has little connection to making their beloved art.

Sure some folks are born lucky and comfortable, with money handed down from the heavens and carted over in golden wheel-barrels, or they have some otherwise solid financial situation that can carry into the later years of a charmed life. Well, these lucky souls managed to find that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. For many however, there is a path strewn with extremely hard work, intense focus, constant devotion and a lifetime of dedication to the craft, despite the highs and lows of any recognition and just getting paid.

So what if you happened to co-create one of the most well known comics’ characters known in the history of the 20th Century. Do you think that even this feat this would guarantee a soft cushion on the settee of lifelong prosperity and carefree worry?

For Joel Shuster, the co-creator of Superman, it didn’t…


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