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Hide – Go – Bleak: Mezco Toyz’ Annabelle Scavenger Hunt @ Ripley’s Odditorium

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Dolorous Dollies…
The Mills Brothers once sang “I’d rather have a paper doll to call my own, then a fickle-minded real Iive girl.” They may have had second thoughts had they met Annabelle. Not since The Twilight Zone’s Talky Tina has there been such an unholy host. Introduced to audiences in The Conjuring (2013) the doll has become a pop culture icon warranting a self titled film in 2014. On August 11, 2017 New Line Cinemas and Warner Brothers will reveal the backstory of the menacing muñeca with the release of Annabelle: Creation, directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out & the upcoming DCU Shazam).

Finders Weepers…
To celebrate the film’s imminent arrival Mezco Toyz – sole authorized maker of the official Annabelle prop replica – and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Times Square – the fine folks who pride themselves on displaying all things weird and wonderful from across the globe – partnered for a special scavenger hunt. On August 4, all intrepid Ripley’s visitors had chance to track down 13 Mezco Annabelle replicas hidden throughout the maze-like Odditorium complex.

Of course Ms. Annabelle was in fine company surrounded by the over 500 unique items on view at the Believe It Or Not! exhibition. The collection of curiosities now known worldwide began in the 1920’s as a newspaper feature created by illustrator Robert Ripley.

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Polk Salad Annie (belle) – Gators got your granny. Chomp! Chomp!

Ripley’s visitors armed with guide maps peered into dark corners and peeked behind closet doors to uncover each Annabelle. Sharp-eyed participants found dolls perched in the rafters and even in the terrific jaws of a stuffed alligator or shark. Each doll had a corresponding letter which had to be logged for verification of discovery. Those who were diligent enough to ferret out all 13 Annabelle replicas earned a chance to win tickets to attend a special preview when the film opens.

annabelle, ripleys believeit or not, the conjuring, mezco toyz

Actress Jessica Mellow, as the Annabelle Demon, scared up plenty of attention in Ripley’s Times Square lobby.

Mellow, Not Mellow…
Meanwhile in the Ripley’s lobby, the demon who inhabits Annabelle sat alternately greeting customers with a dead-eyed stare or a malevolent snarl. Actress Jessica Mellow applied her own make-up to conjure up the creature. Seated in a rocking chair and cuddling an Annabelle replica, she gave unsuspecting passers-by on the crowded Manhattan street a fun scare. Those brave enough to pose with the wraith and post their images to social media (with the proper collection of hashtags) gained a shot at winning one of the 13 Annabelles used for the event.

Another Fine Mez…
Mezco is of course no novice to the world of outsider collectibles and Annabelle is quite at home in the midst of the company’s Living Dead Doll series that has been delighting left-of-center collectors for nearly 20 years. Their One:12 Collective action figures are top of my list for quality products that are a fan’s dream.

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Annabelle gets a “time-out.”

SkeletonPete Says…
A sad aside that needs to be noted is the passing of voice artist June Foray. Her characterizations of Rocket J. (“Rocky”) Squirrel, Natasha Fatale & The Grinch’s Cindy Lou Who are only the tip of a massive career behind the microphone. Along with voicing Twilight Zone’s Talky Tina, she was also the voice of it’s inspiration, Mattel’s pull-the-string and hear her talk Chatty Cathy doll.

I like to think that June will be heard forever throughout the universe as those 60’s Saturday morning cartoon transmissions continue to waft through the ether.

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All You Need is Love Bugs: Beatle Songs Drive Netflix Series

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This is HiJinx Toy’s Fab Figure of Buzz, the “Beat Bugs” youngest member.

Getting a Buzz…
OK, I admit I’m late to the gate on this one but thanks to Toy Insider’s review merchandise from Sweet Suite 2017 (AKA “The SWAG Box”) I’m now hip to the joys of NetflixBeat Bugs series. After encountering a HiJinx Toys’ Fab Figure with a blister pack touting “inspired by music made famous by The Beatles” I just had to know more.
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Wright-On: Hermes Press Highlights Bernie’s Animation Art

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Hermes Press will hold a special panel discussion at SDCC17 to launch their new Bernie Wrightson publication.

SDCC17 Panel Discussion This Week…

Fans of the late horror and fantasy artist Bernie Wrightson who are attending San Diego ComicCon 2017 (SDCC17) will not want to miss a special panel discussion being held by Hermes Press. The event will herald the publication of the company’s Bernie Wrightson: Art & Designs for Gang of Seven Animation Studios and be hosted by Gang of Seven Animation director/producer Tom Tataranowicz.
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Going Bots: Diamond Select’s “Forbidden” Mini-Mates

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Diamond Select Toy’s Dual Pack of “Forbidden Planet” mini-mates features Robby The Robot and a C-57D Crew Member.

Diamond Select Toys gives Classic Science Fiction fans something small to celebrate about in a big way. Recently hitting store shelves and online retailers are the company’s first Forbidden Planet Minimates. The 2-pack features the iconic Robby The Robot and a crew member of the spaceship C-57D. Each is nicely detailed and articulated for your posing pleasure.
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Your Own Private Dunkirk: Lyme Disease

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Art Director Sarah Rose Andrew’s evocative poster for “I Have Lyme, The Movie” now in the crowfunding stage of pre-production.


You Are Surrounded…
I predict that the most exciting “superhero movie” of the summer will be Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Though it doesn’t include any character with powers beyond our galaxy or scientifically enhanced abilities it serves as a historical reminder that when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds simple humans can and will rise to the challenge, persevere, and maybe win – even if only for trying. That’s what the “little ships” did at Dunkirk in spring of 1940. That’s all Superman fighting depression era thugs or Captain America slugging Hitler were ever meant to represent, “us” at our zenith.

So where is this going? Well, it’s not a summer movie preview, but it is my decidedly right-brained metaphor for a scenario created by actor and screenwriter Valerie Rose Yawien. It’s a real story that takes being stranded and surrounded by an enemy to a very personal level. In this case the enemy is Lyme Disease, and the stranding is a social and financial one.
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