Wednesday, December 31, 2014


For fun on this last day of the year, here's a scan of the obscure and brilliant comic strip Hickory Hollow Folks from 1948. This strip was created by Walter Quermann and only ran in the St. Louis-Post Dispatch from 1934 to 1955. Click here and here for some info on this rare strip. 

 Click the strip to go big for a closer look

Thursday, December 25, 2014



Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Barney
Type - Lost
Age - 35 - 30 years
Origin - Manufactured
Height - 2 1/2"
Demeanor - Friendly

Meet Barney, our final misfit toy of the 12 Days of Christmas! Barney started out life as a Christmas ornament, so I suppose technically he's not a toy. But really, aren't all Christmas tree ornaments toys? I know I played with most of the ornaments on my tree when I was little, so like it or not we're saying Barney is a toy. Besides, he thinks he's a toy, so that's all that matters. Like most of the misfit toys I really don't know their story. The same goes for Barney. I saved Barney out of a fifty cent bin of toys in a thrift store. This little wooden snowman was very dirty and his glued on hair was a mess. Barney simply looked lost in a sea of broken worthless toys.

While cleaning Barney up after I got him home, I noticed a little hole at the top of his head. Of course, that hole in the head is like a scar and it tells Barney's story! Okay, work with me now, but I bet Barney was a cherished Christmas ornament for some kid. Every year that kid looked forward to helping decorate the tree and every year he placed Barney on one of the lower branches of the tree. As the child grew, Barney kept advancing upward to a new branch each year. I'm sure he was excited to be moving closer to the angel on top of the Christmas tree. That's where all the special ornaments like to hang out. Sometimes Barney was taken down and played with by the child. Barney's favorite thing to do during the holiday season. But one year something happened. The hook in his head was loose and poor Barney eventually fell off the tree and rolled under the couch. Barney was trapped there throughout Christmas. Dust started to collect over him year after year as he was forgotten about. Each year he missed Christmas. He longed to be hanging on a Christmas tree branch again, but it wasn't to be. One day, the sofa was lifted away. He was so excited to be found, but his excitement faded when someone scooped him up and threw him in a box labeled thrift store. And that's how I think Barney became lost.

Btw, what is Barney? Is he a snowman? A clown? An ice skater that's lost his other skate? Maybe he's holding a wrench and he's Santa's sleigh mechanic. Regardless of what Barney is, he has finally found happiness with all the other misfit toys.  For the first time in many years Barney has his hook back and is now hanging on a Christmas tree once again.

Merry Christmas everyone and check back later today for one last misfit toy post. It's the group photo! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Mr. Nuttenbaum
Type - Homemade 
Age - Unknown
Origin - Handmade
Height - 2 3/4"
Demeanor - Ornery

Meet Mr. Nuttenbaum, number eleven of our misfit toys. Plain and simple, Mr. Nuttenbaum is an old cantankerous nut! He's as small as a peanut...oh wait, he is a peanut. Anyway, Mr. Nuttenbaum is a true Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. Not sure what his problem is, but maybe he spent too much time packed away and didn't get played with enough. You see, I found Mr. Nuttenbaum in a bag of old toy parts from the 1930s at an antique store.  It looked like someone emptied a kids desk drawer from the depression era.  It's possible that Mr. Nuttenbaum could be at least 75 years old. I'm speculating here, but he was probably made from a crafty parent as a simple stocking stuffer toy for a child. Maybe this crafty depression era parent made a bunch of these peanut people and now Mr. Nuttenbaum is the last of his kind. The only one to survive all these years. Amazing for a little fragile peanut with a wax hat and matching gloves and boots. Being unloved, unwanted, unplayed with and the last of your kind would make any toy's personality a bit on the sour side.  

Ever since joining the rest of our misfit toys, Mr. Nuttenbaum has started to soften. No, not in a boiled peanut sort of way, but his attitude is now much better. If you look close you'll see he has a twinkle behind his ornery drawn on eyes. Of course he does his best to keep up the fake scrooge front, but everyone knows the nut in the shell is not as cold and dark as it was once before. 

Look! Mr. Nuttenbaum seems to be enjoying his first Christmas since FDR was in office. Way to go Mr. Nuttenbaum! 

Tomorrow is Christmas and you'll be meeting the last toy in our misfit toy group. Everyone have a happy Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Boo
Type - Unwanted
Age - 4 years
Origin - Manufactured
Height - 5"
Demeanor - Bouncy

Our tenth misfit toy sure is a spiffy dresser. Since Boo looks sharp wearing his green bow tie, I was surprised he was so unwanted at the Hobby Lobby! A couple of years ago, the first lady of Neato Coolville and I were walking through the craft store checking out the Christmas decorations. I noticed the store still had a few Halloween things leftover on clearance. Everything was 90% off. At that "almost free" price, the shelves were practically empty. Only things left were a few plastic pumpkin pails and sitting on a shelf all by himself, was Boo. I always like a little Halloween with my Christmas and so I picked him up and intended to buy him. Then I noticed he was scratched and dented. I set him down and went back looking at Christmas decorations. I didn't need a dented up Halloween ghost. Needless to say, I guess I felt sorry for the spring loaded bouncy ghost toy and bought the old chap.     

Ever since I brought him home, Boo can't stop bouncing. I guess he was happy to finally be wanted.

We're almost to number twelve, but first we'll look at number eleven tomorrow.

Monday, December 22, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Bread Wrapper Man
Type - Homemade
Age - Unknown
Origin - Handmade
Height - 9 1/2"
Demeanor - Content

Bread Wrapper Man is the ninth misfit toy. I'm not sure about his age, but he's probably from the 1960s or 70s. At first I was going to call him Candy Wrapper Man, thinking he was made out of butterscotch and Tootsie Roll candy wrappers. I was wrong and further inspection makes me believe that he's made out of bread wrappers. Yes, someone took the time and cut up bread bags into strips and intricately weaved them into a toy.

Bread Wrapper Man can't stand on his own. Bread Wrapper Man has no points of articulation. Bread Wrapper Man is fragile. Bread Wrapper Man is almost void of any playability. You'd think with all these weaknesses, Bread Wrapper Man would be one sad and lonely toy. Nope. Just look at the simple smile drawn on his wooden thread spool head.

He's at peace with himself. Content and happy.

I found Bread Wrapper Man hanging on a wall in an antique store. You can see his red yarn band that once was attached to his price tag. I can't remember how much he cost, but I'm sure he was cheap. I can't imagine there's much collectible value in bread wrapper men. 

He's well liked among the other misfit toys and even though he never utters a word, he seems to bring calm to the band of misfits. Besides, he simply likes just hanging around.

Check back tomorrow for number ten!     

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Happy the Executioner
Type - Inappropriate
Age - 19 years
Origin - Manufactured
Height - 3 1/2"
Demeanor - Happy

Meet Happy, our eighth misfit toy of the 12 days of Christmas. Happy might look like a menacing figure of death, but he's really the happiest of all the misfit toys. It wasn't his fault he was created as the official Axeman of Playmobile back in 1995. He can't help it if he wasn't appropriate for children back in the mid-90s. He always tried his best to educate 90s kids all about the wonderful world of capital punishment. Educate and entertain was always his motto, but for reasons he didn't understand he was always frowned on as a plaything. You would think this would zap Happy's happiness, but not Happy, he's just too happy to be unhappy. Happy is kind of a jokester and likes to walk up behind someone and yell, "Off with their heads!" or "Heads will roll!" Oh that Happy!   

He joined the misfit toy group in 1995 after the first lady of Neato Coolville found him in a toy store. She knew I'd get a kick out of the Playmobile executioner with the big smile. She was right and he's been part of the group every since. He always keeps the other misfit toys on the bright cheery side of positivity. I'm not sure how he does this....

....but I have a feeling it's not just his smiling face that keeps everyone so up and happy. That axe might have something to do with it too.

Check back tomorrow for misfit toy number nine.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Larry Snurgle Danberry
Type - Weird
Age - 45
Origin - Manufactured
Height - 6 1/2"
Demeanor - Trippy 

Our seventh misfit toy is kinda zany! Meet Larry Snurgle Danberry, a vinyl squeeze toy with googly eyes. He was made by the novelty company Parksmith Corporation in 1969. Is he a dog's chew toy? A silly party toy? An advertising character toy? I have no clue, but he's one weird toy, that's for sure. 

I found Larry in a junk shop. He was on a shelf next to a stack of dirty magazines and Avon bottles. I can't remember how much I paid for him, but he was cheap enough that I wasn't able to pass him up. Anyway, after squeezing Larry and seeing those eyes spin around, he was a no-brainer purchase. I'm not sure what Larry's ice cream cone is laced with but those eyes are just crazy wild!

Watch Larry's eyes spin below. Try not to fall into a trance!

I think Larry has a lot in common with the weird kid that's standing next to Ralphie from A Christmas Story.

All the other misfit toys like Larry and they like to watch his eyes spin. I think he was self-conscious about his spinning eyes at first, but now realizes he can bring some laughter to his fellow misfit toys and that pleases him.   

Check back tomorrow for misfit toy #8.

Friday, December 19, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Emperor Lefty
Type - Factory Mistake
Age - 31 years
Origin - Manufactured
Height - 3 3/4"
Demeanor - Awkward

Misfit toy number six comes from the land of Kenner Star Wars action figures and was the first member of my misfit toy group. Emperor Lefty came into my possession back in 1984 when I was in junior high. A kid told me he had a Star Wars Emperor figure with two left legs. He felt ripped-off when he received the defective action figure through the mail. He didn't want it and knew that I was a Star Wars collector and offered to sell it to me. We agreed on the big price of a shiny quarter.  

Emperor Lefty had it kind of difficult in my Star Wars action figure collection. I think the normal figures made fun of him. They never let poor Lefty join in any Star Wars games. He was lonely until the other misfit toys started to show up. He didn't have to feel so different anymore. He regained his confidence as a toy.

Even though he has two left feet and can't dance, he does get around fairly well. Sometimes he's not sure if he's coming or going, but his cane accessory is a big help. He does get into trouble once in awhile when he gets all high and mighty and attempts to rule the galaxy. That's just the emperor in him. Overall, Emperor Lefty is one A-OK toy.

Check back tomorrow for misfit toy #7.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Judy Buttonface
Type of Misfit - Homemade
Age - Unknown
Origin - Handmade
Height - 4 3/4"
Demeanor - Studious 

Judy Buttonface, our fifth misfit toy, joined our misfit toy group when I discovered her on display at an antique mall. The booth seller had her sitting on top of a showcase along with a bunch of other old toys. Judy stood out from the other toys. Actually she kind of creeped me out. Her painted eyes on her faux mother of pearl button face seemed to follow me as I scanned the booth. I really had no interest in buying her but I picked her up and thought she might be odd enough to stick her in my own antique booth for resale. I always had good luck selling buttons, so I thought she might catch the eye of a button collector. Instead she seemed to fit right in with the other misfit toys, so I kept her.  

Judy might be a bit introverted but she is very well read. Check out the old books she's carrying.  I think Judy's favorite book just might be Rapunzel. Just look at her long locks of blonde hair.  

By the way and to add to her creepiness, Judy's hair is real human hair. I did the flame test and everything. Who's hair is on Judy's button scalp? What's Judy's past history? How old is she? When was she made? These are questions I'll never know.  

I do know Judy has a bad habit of spacing out and just stares a lot. Some of the other misfits try to break through but she's not sharing her secrets just yet.

Check back tomorrow for misfit toy #6!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Rootin Tootin Lil Ducky
Type of Misfit - Inappropriate
Age - 60 years
Origin - Manufactured
Height - 3"
Demeanor - Trigger happy

Yippee-ki-yay plastic ducky! Our fourth misfit toy suffers from Inappropriate Time Displacement or better known as I.T.D. If something is branded I.T.D, it means that it was acceptable in a past era but not in the current era. (I totally just made that up!) Rootin Tootin Lil Ducky comes from the 1950s during the TV cowboy craze. So many toy companies were trying to cash in and added six-shooters where six-shooters didn't belong. I don't think a pistol packing Easter duck would fly as a toy for kids in today's market.

 I found Ducky in the bottom of a box of old junk that I purchased at an auction many years ago. I can't remember what was in the box that caught my eye to make me bid. It certainly wasn't Ducky as I didn't know he was in there. He was a nice surprise even though he was missing one six-shooter and his red base was chipped. He's from a famous line of holiday candy containers made by Rosbro. Originally he would have been glued onto a little plastic cart pulled by a lamb or chicken. For whatever reason he jumped the cart and never looked back.

Before he came to join our band of misfit toys, Rootin Tootin Lil Ducky was kind of a rogue. A journeyman. His only friends were his beret and six-shooter. Don't let that cute face fool you, 'cause apparently he has a past. A past filled with meanness and regret. Now he's moved on and found a home. Don't ask, because he doesn't talk about his rough-and-ready past.

Hopefully he's found peace with the other misfits. Oh and don't worry about his six-shooter, it's not loaded.

Check back tomorrow for misfit toy #5. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Farley the Whale
Type of Misfit - Homemade
Age - 50+ years 
Origin - Handmade
Height - 7"
Demeanor - Nervous

Here's Farley the Whale, our third misfit toy of the 12 days of Christmas. I found Farley many years ago for sale in an antique mall. He was stuck in a showcase with that nervous expression frozen on his face just hoping someone would take him home. Sorry, Charlie! I didn't want to buy him at the time. I always keep my misfit toy budget very low and Farley must have been too expensive. I usually visited that antique mall a couple of times a year and I'd always spot Farley still stuck in that showcase. Year after year, I'd say hello to Farley, but keep on walking. I guess no one wanted poor Farley. Finally one day Farley's price tag was slashed. I can't remember how much he was, but apparently it was a deep enough discount to add Farley to the misfit toy group.

I think Farley the Whale was intended by the crafter to be a tuna instead. He's really a poor man's Charlie the Tuna, complete with glasses and a little hat. Farley is a sharper dresser than Charlie as you can see by his sporty yellow polka-dotted tie. He is hand carved and hand painted. Really, Farley probably isn't the best toy for children because of his thick coat of lead-based paint. I don't see teeth marks, so thankfully he wasn't a baby's chew toy.  

Also, Farley can't stand up on his own. He simply just flops over on his back. Poor, poor Farley.

Farley is kind of shy too. So I guess that's it for this misfit toy. Check back tomorrow for misfit number four.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats
Name - Dragon Force Donny
Type of Misfit - Frankensteined
Age - Head 38 years old Body 29 years old
Origin - Manufactured 
Height - 6 3/4"
Demeanor - Punchy

Meet Dragon Force Donny our second misfit toy. Donny is a frankensteined toy. His head once belonged on a Mattel Donny Osmond doll from 1976. His body is a Lanard Toys Dragon Force Karate action figure from 1985. HAIAH!! I wonder what made some kid play mad scientist and transplant Donny Osmond's head on the Dragon Force body. Is there a Donny Osmond body out there with a Dragon Force Karate head on it?   

(photo from Ebay)

Donny is the most recent edition to our group of merry menagerie of misfit toys. I found him just a few weeks ago in a small town flea market. He was lost in a sea of old baby dolls. The photo below shows Donny at the moment I found him. He was cheap. Fifty cents cheap!

Dragon Force Donny is a little bit Rock 'n' Roll and little bit sweep the leg! He's now trying to teach his fellow misfits how to sing 1970s bubblegum pop and the five-point-palm exploding heart technique.


Check back tomorrow and meet Misfit Toy #3!

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Misfit Toy Stats 
Name - The Naked Elf
Type of Misfit - Unwanted and incomplete
Age - Sixty to seventy years old
Origin - Manufactured 
Height - 10 1/2" 
Demeanor - Mischievous

Meet our first misfit toy, The Naked Elf. I rescued this misfit toy from an antique mall during the holiday season of last year. When I spotted N.E. on the bottom shelf of a booth filled with collectibles and questionable antiques, he looked kinda down on his luck. The poor elf was half buried in happy meal toys and Beanie Babies. For some reason his black as coal glass eyes caught my attention when I was scanning the booth and I picked him up. I had never seen an elf doll quite like him before. He was much older than anything in the booth and his price tag was marked at eight bucks. Even though the price was right, N.E. was one dirty elf and was naked as a frozen jaybird on the North Pole. I decided I didn't want to spend my money on an incomplete toy. After striking out in the rest of the antique mall I didn't want to leave empty handed and decided to add The Naked Elf to my small collection of misfit toys. Now he's The Naked Elf on the shelf!

I took him home and cleaned him up the best I could. Some of the dirt has stained his composition face, but that just ads to his character. I think he's kinda like Pigpen from the Peanuts...only naked.

He's very flexible and likes to do cartwheels during his morning workouts. The other misfit toys try to look the other way when he does this. No one wants to see a naked elf doing calisthenics.

He has the reputation of being a little imp. He's a bit on the mischievous side and sometimes we have to keep him from sliding down the banister.

Check back tomorrow when we meet Misfit Toy #2!


Welcome to Neato Coolville's annual 12 Days of Christmas....Misfit Toys edition! Ho ho ho! Yep, you read that right. We will be counting down to Christmas with a different misfit toy each day. 

This merry group of twelve misfit toys were rescued from flea markets, department stores and a kid from junior high. Each toy has been given a name and you'll learn what makes each one a misfit. Check back this afternoon to meet the first toy. Merry 12 Days of Christmas!