Kids, don’t try this at home…or not.

Last week I posted a piece ( “I think I can, I think I can…but I prefer my beer from a bottle, thanks.” August 14) that include a favorite rant of mine about how Mr. Potato Head (MPH) was a better toy when I was a kid, and you had to supply the real potato and not use the fake plastic one with the pre-made holes.

This prompted a message from a friend, who asked if I had seen Toy Story 3, and the scene “where Mr. Potato Head loses his potato body and is, at one point, a tortilla, and comes back in the end with a cucumber for a body, which his wife likes because he is so tall.”

I have indeed seen the film (it’s wonderful as were the first two) and have always enjoyed Don Rickles work at bringing the character to life. (I love Rickles in general; see my post Funny, the things you miss most, August 6)

We watched the film at a family night event at church, and that particular scene in TS3 where MPH loses his plastic body made me laugh harder than anyone in the room because I was the oldest guy there and know the original MPH story. Once again, I was trying to explain to the confused younger generation adults that while Mr. Potato Head is always cool, he was a very different kind of cool ‘back in the day’.

That someone remembered that scene from the movie based on my last blog post gave me an idea to give your kid the best of both toy playing  worlds; theirs and yours…or at least, theirs and mine.

Two ways to approach this; you can frequently find vintage MPH sets cheap (or NOT) on Ebay. For example, there is a boxed set there today priced at just $90, current bid as of this writing $65.  A bargain? Your call.

EBay also has the very-strange-and-I-don’t-remember-it-at-all Jumpin’ Mrs. Potato Head for $90.00 with no interest as yet. (She has wind up legs that make her bounce; wonder how many large bakers they would handle?)

On the cheaper end of the EBay produce aisle, Katie Carrot is priced at only $29.99. Or you can find Oscar Orange for just $9.95. Oscar might be your chance to give the kids a really unique play experience. Be the first on your block-head, as it were.

I know what you’re thinking; ‘this retro idea has some merit’ but I tell you, DO NOT try to use a real potato and contemporary MPH pieces. The plastic isn’t tough enough and they break. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)

But IF you get a real potato…and an ice pick or something similar…and then give your kid the potato (or rutabaga, or turnip, or green pepper) and a Sharpie marker and tell them to mark where he/she would put the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, legs, hat…and then YOU poke the holes…

…you could replicate the 1967 toy experience. Be a kid again like you never were but want to be. Of course, your child will never want to play with the plastic potato ever again, but that might be a small price to pay for the joy of it all. Hey, we’re makin’ memories here!

Come on, give it a try. Then send me the reulting pictures. I’ll share. Or not, your call. In return, I promise – no more Mr. Potato Head posts.


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