The 16 Most Baffling Pieces of Official Merchandise Ever
We get that stupid kids and distracted parents are going to shill out big cash for action figures or SpongeBob SquarePants macaroni. And we totally get that there are adults out there who are thrilled to spend bigger cash on collectibles from their own childhoods.
But the stuff on this list isn't for either of those groups. Or anyone else, as far as we can tell.
Alien Micro Machines Toys
Look to the upper right of the box. That's a bloody, disemboweled man on a box of Micro Machines, tiny toys that were typically sold to "ages 4 and up."
"Warning: Small children may present a choking hazard when consumed."
Yes, they made a line of Micro Machines based on the Alien franchise, R-rated movies that are kind of about rape. Though parents can't claim they were deceived -- the box housing the tiny terrors goes out of its way to feature illustrations from the most horrific parts of the movie. There's the guy with the alien exploding through his gut, and the salivating alien chasing a green suited victim and a huge close-up of the behemoth head and chompers of the alien itself. Hey, there's the headlamp guy seconds before he gets face raped!
All that's missing is the facehugger itself for some sweet tiny vehicle/psychological horror pretend play. Still, maybe this line of ridiculousness was intended for hardcore adult collectors of, uh, tiny cars. We can't say the same for...
Dune Children's Activity Books
If you're not clear on why these are a whole other ball of misguided wax, get a load of the illustrations:
"Color in the postmortem lividity!"
A whole heap of things went wrong here. One was that someone commissioned a line of activity books based on a trippy sci-fi drama about space drugs, complicated galactic political intrigues and Sting in wing panties.
"Sting has lost all his clothes. Connect the dots to find them!"
And they commissioned it without realizing that Dune's themes were clearly too mature for kids, even as they were drawing pictures of murdered corpses on a cold tile floor. Also on the list of things the creators didn't realize: that no kid in his right mind was going to give a second shit about this shitty movie. Which is too bad, because now we're looking at these illustrations and thinking no-bake spice cookies probably deserve a second chance.
"Ask an adult for the required awareness spectrum narcotic. If none is available, cinnamon will probably do."
Jar Jar Binks Candy Tongue
When it came time to create merchandise to promote soon-to-be-released The Phantom Menace, the licensing guys outdid themselves. Especially when they came up with a candy that featured Jar Jar Binks thrusting his dick-shaped candy tongue out of his gaping mouth while smiling eagerly and holding a wide-eyed frenzied gaze.
Because French-kissing the penis mouth of the most hated Star Wars character in history was exactly what kids were into those days. Or any days, really.
Thor Dumbbell (and Alarm Clock)
It takes some franchises years to degrade to the point where they just start sticking a label on any product out there, but Thor decided to start that stupid shit right out of the gate. This alarm clock, seemingly only available overseas or in Thor promotional prize packs, not only has nothing to do with the movie, as gods generally don't have to pump iron to stay in shape, but it's also the worst designed alarm clock we've ever seen.
Both ends are completely round, which means when you turn it off in the morning there is a very good chance that it will actually roll away from you, then fall to the floor or destroy your lamp or your dignity, whichever it runs into first.
The only thing harder than losing a loved one is losing a loved one and then watching him meet his final resting place in a coffin plastered with a band advertisement. Specifically one that is covered in flames, which clearly signifies a place where you don't want your loved ones to go after they die.
Never ones to back down from an ill-advised commercial venture, KISS has put their koffins up for sale not once, but twice, apparently because dead people couldn't get enough of them. And if the thought of spending eternity in the equivalent of a 1979 Trapper Keeper isn't bad enough, the always klassy Gene Simmons actually made sure everyone knew "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was buried in one, presumably because Pantera hadn't yet got their shit together to market their own gaudy coffin yet.
Lando Calrissian Disguise Kit
We have to admit, we're a little bit torn on this one. On the one hand, this lazy ass stain of a mustache is on sale for $7.99 right now -- not 25 years ago, not in your wet dreams, but right now. And not from the neighborhood Spencer's either, from Lucasfilm itself.
On the other hand... notice that instead of capturing the iconic stache-skin-stache of the real Billy Dee mustache, a specimen of facial hair that gracefully descended from the nostrils into two separate caterpillars of awesome, these jokers slapped some fuzz on a cardboard cutout and took off for a smoke break. We have to admit, the audacity of the disguise is in itself pretty badass. And considering we're 95 percent sure the makers of the disguise are in on the joke, and that every single member of the Cracked staff is sporting one right now ...
Lando? Is that you?
... we're going to go ahead and proclaim this product a raging success.
We'd be lying if we pretended to understand the phenomenon that was Steve Urkel. Or Family Matters. Or the entire early '90s TGIF lineup. So why anyone would consider putting the likeness of a nasal teen whose junk is perpetually crushed by his own ill-fitting pants on a strawberry and banana flavored breakfast food is beyond us. Toys, yes. Novelty suspenders, of course. But on nourishment that you soak in milk and then put into your mouth hole? Eww.
Also note the total lack of effort on the cereal itself. It's two-color Froot Loops. They didn't even bother to make the pieces shaped like nerdy glasses or something. Still, like Elmo or the blond one from You Can't Do That on Television, Urkel was a character that kids inexplicably liked. So it at least made a little sense. We can't say the same for ...
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Cereal
Just like Urkel-O's, this cereal was also released by Ralston in 1991, otherwise known as "The Year Actual Monkeys Took Over the Management of Ralston." Despite the fourth-grade art on the cover, this was, in fact, the official cereal for the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. And you know it was official because it was full of dicks.
OK, we owe Urkel-O's an apology. You should stick with the basic cereal shapes because once you translate something like, say, an arrow to an industrial cereal press, you have no idea what you're going to wind up with. And a lot of stuff looks like dicks.
G.I. Joe Shampoo
It's a known fact that kids, particularly boys, don't give a shit about how bad they smell at any given point. Which is why G.I. Joe shampoo is kind of genius. The people at Hasbro and Avon who made this 1988 product were fully aware that 10-year-old boys didn't care all that much how feathery soft their hair was, so they cleverly neglected to write the word "shampoo" anywhere on the bottles. Probably so they could trick children into thinking they were buying pure, liquid G.I. Joe characters.
Notice none of the characters endorsing the shampoo even have visible hair, and that when the franchise was rebooted, it was sold in badass "Berry Blast" scent and featured a character missing not only visible hair, but an entire face.
Of course, he couldn't be a very successful ninja if he went around smelling of delicious berries.
Related: Why Comedy Needs Joe Pera
WWE Talking Soap
Do you like cleanliness but hate good self esteem? The WWE has the soap for you.
Stone Cold Steve Austin soap included the catchy phrase, "Pick up the soap NOW!" and The Rock soap politely informed customers to "Go wash up, jabroni, because frankly, you stink!" To make matters worse, this was not some audio clip activated by hitting a button; the audio was turned on by the water itself. Which meant that if you actually used this soap in the shower, you would be assaulted with a barrage of insults until you were clean or chucked the soap out of the shower in a stream of tears, whichever came first.
Jackie Chan Organic Skin Care
For ladies who care about their skin but only trust products from male Asian action stars, Jackie Chan has literally got you covered. In 2006, Jackie announced the launch of his cleverly named Jackie Chan Organic Skin Care line of skin care products. Not only were the lotions and creams organic, but they were also made out of recyclables, just like Jackie's movie plots -- OOH! BURN, CHAN!
"BURN CHAN" was coincidentally the name for his range of heat massaging products.
Star Trek Marshmallow Dispenser
Have you ever found yourself in desperate need of a marshmallow dispenser? One that was needlessly complicated and came with a fork so big you could toss bales of hay with it? Kraft Foods and Star Trek have got your back, THANK GOD.
This product was released in 1989 with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, a film that includes exactly one reference to marshmallows.
Seen here, if you don't blink and miss it.
That was more than enough for the people at Kraft to roll out this official Star Trek marshmallow dispenser that inexplicably comes with a fork, spoon, belt clip and burdensome plastic container, in case you need to carry exactly four marshmallows but aren't concerned with comfort or convenience.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Posing as the Starfleet Crew
For everyone who has fantasized about mashing up different generations of science fiction characters, but not sexually, or logically, there's this.
In 1994, someone got it into his head that not only were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ripe for a Star Trek crossover, but also that they needed heads full of glorious hair to do it. More importantly, the reptiles didn't just play dress up and pose like Comic-Con pretenders; if this packaging is to be believed, they temporarily became four officers of the Star Trek Enterprise, Starfleet ranks and all.
"Dammit, Leonardo, I'm a bodacious dude, not a doctor!"
Which begs the question -- where are our toys of Spock and Kirk dressed in nothing but turtle shells and eating pizza?
Redd Foxx, the Cuddly Children's Doll
Here's a doll that needs no explanation, other than the one you'll have to give to your kid's therapist.
Redd Foxx was a groundbreaking, incredibly popular comedian in the '70s and '80s, but to be very clear, he was a comedian for adults, as a lot of his material was sexual and his most famous routine was called "You Gotta Wash Your Ass." No one apparently told this to the people at Shindana Toys, who released this official Redd Foxx doll in 1976. Clearly marketed for children, the doll also talked and include some variations of his famous sayings, such as "Please, wash your face before you kiss me" and "You are uuuuuuuuuuuuuuugly," just the kind of self-esteem boosts little girls need to hear when they're growing up.
"I will kill you in your sleeeeeeeep."
The Little Mermaid's Shark Ring
You'd think that when coming up with a piece of bling that reminded people of Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Disney Couture would have jumped on something iconic, like a fish or seashells.
Instead, Disney Couture went with the next best thing. The jaw of a shark.
"Your bleached skeletons will make an adorable bracelet!"
Though this Shark Jaw Ring is supposedly inspired by the film, the only shark in the whole movie appears for about 58 seconds of screen time near the very beginning and holds no plot significance whatsoever. As a result, they wound up with something that was accidentally pretty badass. Didn't Tony Montana wear a ring like this in Scarface?
Letters to E.T.
It's not unusual to see a popular movie or TV show get a book tie-in as a cheap way of continuing the story line, but normally these books have things like "plots" and "an actual author." Not Steven Spielberg's Letters to E.T. This is less of a book and more of a gallery of fan mail telling Spielberg how great he is.
All the letters are supposedly real and completely ridiculous, especially considering that half of the letters aren't addressed to Spielberg at all but are actually written to E.T. himself. Apparently, delusional children and adults around the world yearned to make contact with their favorite movie prop by telling him how great he is ...
... or, in one case, how he caused them great financial distress.
It takes a lot of balls to publish your own fan letters, especially when they include little old ladies trying to bilk money out of you. On the other hand, what is Twitter if not a huge Letters to E.T. of self-published narcissism? Nice job, Spielberg. YOU INVENTED THE FUTURE.
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