I love vintage items, and you've probably seen the app on the right highlighting items from my vintage curiosity shop Nickadizzy. While after more than a year and a half into this blog I still get a tremendous kick out of selecting shiny new Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars from the store displays, I also love the old ones, like this week's Matchbox Series No 64 M.G. 1100. This is one of the early Matchboxes, when they were made in England by Lesney.
|a vintage Matchbox comic of |
mine that has nothing to do with
this blog -- it's just cool
As a child, my favorite toy was one similar to that driving man, a little toy guy affectionately named Yellow Man. Yellow Man was molded yellow plastic and about an inch and a half or so tall. He had once been part of a fireman set -- he was the guy jumping onto a plastic trampoline from a burning building.
Yellow Man was the ultimate hero, smarter than Bond, braver than Batman, and more mysterious than Racer X from Speed Racer -- odd, really, since he originally was the only guy in the toy set fleeing the scene and he was, well, yellow, but that's how it went -- the firemen in the set were soon lost, the trampoline broke, but Yellow Man lived on for years, building a legacy that eventually transferred to my younger brother.
Yellow Man wasn't much to look at, mainly because his hands and feet had been broken off after somehow getting stuck in the bathtub faucet, but that had been in the formative period as his character was being built in my mind. Like the ghostly guy in the car above, he had never been painted, but after the bathtub and other incidents he had become even less human like, with most of his mannequin face eventually scraped off. Basically, he was a little blob of dirty yellow plastic, with stumps.
I will never understand how or why Yellow Man became the legend he did, or how it was I never lost him, but he was always there. My guess it was his singularity -- there were green toy soldiers, red toy fireman and brown toy cowboys, but he was yellow, completely different than the others, with no duplicates in the set. He even had an entirely different pose with his bent knees and little stumps up in the air, which could make him look like he was flying, swimming, or jumping over rubble, depending on the imagined scenario.
Yellow Man became mythic, developing a rough, unflappable demeanor that was tested in virtually every type of dangerous situation I could imagine. His power came from the history that developed -- other toys came and went, but he seemed to change with me, and it was that accumulation of many years of loyalty that gave him his power, for even though he matured, he never aged. At some point, I completely stopped seeing the actual plastic toy, instead seeing who he was -- now tell me that isn't a great symbolic lesson for a kid.
At some unknown Puff the Magic Dragon point, Yellow Man and I parted ways, but I'm sure he isn't moping in some cave in Honalee -- he always was a bit of a loner, so is probably right now stumping down some lonesome road, stoic and noble, ready for adventure but never looking for a fight.
If you see him, don't wet yourself.
NEXT WEEK: WAS YELLOW MAN ACTUALLY CHUCK NORRIS?? (Okay, that really won't be next week, but you have to wonder.)
Photo of my vintage M.G. courtesy of Phil Pekarcik. This car, by the way, was not one from my childhood collection -- none of them fared so well. This came from a group of old Matchbox cars my folks picked up for me at an estate sale, so thank you -- this one, particularly, is a beauty.