Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

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

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

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

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