Thursday, June 5, 2008

Top Toys: Sindy • Action Man

Ah yes, the sorry world of knocked-off British dolls and “action figures”… Not one of our proudest toy-making moments, I have to say.

But then none of us it seems is entirely immune to rank imitation and even the outright theft of intellectual property. As it turns out, that most iconic mascot of nascent American femininity, Barbie® was in fact shamelessly derived from a provocative German antecedent named “Lili” that was originally featured during the 50s in the Bild-Zeitung magazine and then later turned into a doll that incorporated some rather curious patented innovations… a head unconnected to the neck, for example, as well as a cut-out scalp attached by a hidden metal screw and legs that didn’t sprawl open when sitting!

In this episode, May also answers the burning question many of us hopelessly inquisitive boys had about the efficacy of the Action Man/GI Joe parachutes — do they actually work when thrown from a chopper at a height of 250 feet?