15 Unexpected Action Figures You Can Buy

Amazon
Amazon

When most people think of action figures, superheroes and army soldiers come to mind. But isn’t that a little limiting? After all, Benjamin Franklin harnessed the power of lightning and we’re pretty sure Hillary Clinton has a mean right hook. Here are some action figures you might not have expected—but totally want now that you know about them. (Since these toys are geared toward adults and likely have swallowable parts, they're not recommended for children.)

1. HILLARY CLINTON; $15

Now you can re-enact all the fun of the campaign trail with this Hillary Clinton action figure. The 6-inch figure comes with posable limbs perfect for striking presidential poses and giving impassioned speeches. The presidential hopeful is dressed in a signature Clinton pantsuit and sensible heels.

Find it: Amazon

2. DONALD TRUMP; $38

On the other side of the election, we have Donald Trump. While we couldn’t find an action figure based on his current political persona, there is this relic from his time as a reality star. The toy speaks and has 17 different quotes from the television show The Apprentice. Now you can fire all your other toys and build a ritzy golf course in your bedroom.

Find it: Amazon

3. EDGAR ALLAN POE; $12

Recreate famous stories like The Fall of the House of Usher or The Tell-Tale Heart with this Edgar Allan Poe action figure. The hard vinyl figure is perfect for all your macabre misadventures. The set comes with a tiny raven to whisper in Poe's ear.

Find it: Amazon

4. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE; $10

Writing sonnets has never been so exciting as with the help of this William Shakespeare action figure. He even comes with a plastic quill and book.

Find it: Amazon

5. JANE AUSTEN; $11

This Jane Austen action figure comes with a book and quill to help her write commentary about the high society in your toy box.

Find it: Amazon

6. RON BURGUNDY; $31

Relive all the best parts of Anchorman with this Ron Burgundy figure. The 13-inch toy has 12 different sayings from the movie and comes with a pair of aviator sunglasses, a glass of scotch on the rocks, and a dumbbell. You can also change Burgundy into a robe and loafers for relaxing at home with his many leather-bound books. Strangely, when you take off the sunglasses, you can look through the back of the figure’s head and see out of Burgundy’s eyes.

Find it: Amazon

7. VLADIMIR PUTIN (ON A BEAR); $65

Putin is known for his love of outdoor sports and riding animals shirtless, so it’s no surprise that his action figure would choose a bear as his steed. You can make Putin ride the bear into action—whether it be to hunt in the woods or intimidate foreign government officials.

Find it: Amazon

8. ALBERT EINSTEIN; $35

The German physicist might not seem like a superhero at first glance, but when you consider the breakthrough discoveries he made in his lifetime, it’s no wonder he’s been immortalized as a posable action figure. Use his movable arms to write elaborate calculations on blackboards and push back his luxurious, wispy locks.

Find it: Amazon

9. VINCENT VAN GOGH; $14

This van Gogh action figure comes with an easel and art box, and the figure holds a palette and paintbrush. The set has an amazing amount of detail: The easel actually opens and closes and holds a tiny version of a van Gogh painting (Harvest Landscape with Blue Cart).

Find it: Amazon

10. MOSES; $11

Have a biblically good time with this fun Moses action figure, complete with the Ten Commandments. The rest of your toy box is sure to stay in line when the rules are clearly displayed on those two tiny plastic tablets.

Find it: Amazon

11. PULP FICTION; $30

If you’re looking for a little more profanity with your toys, consider one of these Pulp Fiction action figures that spew all sorts of explicit quotes from the movie. You can pick from Vincent, Jules, or Jimmie. Vincent comes with a gun and has 12 different colorful sayings. Jules has a gun, briefcase, gold bracelet, and a “bad motherf*****” wallet; it speaks 11 phrases. Jimmie has a cup and slippers and says seven different things.

Find it: ThinkGeek

12. SNOOP DOGG; $40

This action figure is a full foot tall and ready to go on all sorts of adventures with you. With 34 points of articulation, you can pose the rapper in almost any position you’d like. Since it’s no longer in production, the supply is limited—get one while you still can.

Find it: Snoopermarket

13. ELVIS PRESLEY; $50

Serenade your other toys with this Elvis action figure. The glittering gold suit is certain to impress even your snooty G.I. Joe. Mattel has a huge line of Elvis toys and Barbie brand also makes a variety of Elvis dolls.

Find it: Amazon

14. POPE JOHN PAUL II; $34

Now you can bless your toy box with this Pope action figure. The toy has a historically accurate outfit and has 22 sayings spoken in the Pope’s actual voice.

Find it: Amazon

15. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN; $34

Relive one of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous experiments with this action figure complete with kite. Since this toy is made with hard vinyl, it probably won’t attract any lightning, but it’s possible Franklin never really performed this trick to begin with.

Find it: Amazon

Hard Sell: A History of the Pet Rock

Amazon
Amazon

You may have heard the story of the Pet Rock, the Mexican beach stone that could be purchased in bulk for less than a penny, retailed for $3.95, and made inventor Gary Dahl a millionaire during a kind of novelty gift hysteria in late 1975. But Dahl didn’t really get rich off of the rock.

He got rich off of a cardboard box.

Dahl was working as a freelance advertising copywriter in California that year when, while having drinks at a bar with friends, the conversation turned to the destructive nature of pets. Dogs and cats ruined furniture. Worse, they required constant attention, from being walked to being fed to cleaning up after them. Dahl said that he didn’t have to worry about any of that because he had a “pet rock.”

It was, of course, a joke. And it got a laugh. But Dahl decided there could be more to it than that. He went home and began writing an owner’s manual for this hypothetical pet rock, which detailed how best to handle it, the tricks it could perform (“play dead” being the most popular), and how it could remain a faithful companion due to its “long life span.” The gag was not so much the rock itself but the way it was presented. In addition to the manual, Dahl conceived of a cardboard box with air holes that resembled the kind used by pet shops. It also bore a passing resemblance to a McDonald's Happy Meal container.

 

Dahl's motivation in making a serious effort to monetize his pet rock idea was due in large part to his precarious financial situation at the time—he was struggling to keep up with his bills. He recruited George Coakley and John Heagerty, two colleagues, to come on as investors. They both signed on, with Coakley investing $10,000—a not-inconsiderable sum in 1975, especially when the intention was to sell virtually worthless rocks.

The Pet Rock packaging is pictured
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Dahl, however, knew what he was marketing. Like chattering teeth, the Hula Hoop, and other fads, the Pet Rock was the beneficiary of good timing. Vietnam had ended but Watergate was still fresh; the country’s mood was slightly downcast, and Dahl believed people would see the inane nature of the Pet Rock and recognize the humor of it. He boxed the rocks with the manual and packed them in excelsior, which may be best known as comic book legend Stan Lee’s catchphrase but also means a softwood shaving pile meant for protecting fragile items. The rocks were purchased from a local sand and gravel company, which sourced them from Mexico’s Rosarita Beach. Dahl debuted the rock at a gift show in San Francisco in August of 1975, then waited for a reaction.

He got one. People understood the appeal right away and he began taking orders. Neiman Marcus wanted 1000 rocks. Bloomingdale’s later signed on. Newsweek did a story with a picture, which spread the word. Dahl had retail and media credibility for what was superficially a nonsense product. His bar joke was turning into a national phenomenon.

When the holiday season arrived, Dahl estimated he was selling up to 100,000 Pet Rocks a day. Ultimately, he would sell between 1.3 and 1.5 million of them within a period of just a few months. Coakley made $200,000 back on his initial $10,000 investment. Dahl gifted both Coakley and Heagerty with Mercedes. Making 95 cents in profit on each Pet Rock sold, Dahl earned over $1 million. He launched his own firm, Rock Bottom Productions, which was itself another joke. “You’ve reached Rock Bottom” is how the receptionist answered their phone.

 

The fad did not last—by definition, they’re not designed to—but Dahl was satisfied. His two investors were not; they "claimed they had received too small a share of the profits" and later sued Dahl for more revenue. After a judgment in the investors' favor, Dahl wrote them a six-figure check.

The Pet Rock is pictured
Amazon

There were attempts to prolong the life of the rock by offering a Bicentennial version in 1976—it had the American flag painted on it—and mail-order college degrees for them. Dahl sold Pet Rock T-shirts and Pet Rock shampoo. There were also copycat gifts, since Dahl could not really patent a rock. (He might have been able to obtain a utility patent because of the rock’s particular purpose as a companion, but he did not.) The humor was transient, however, and people had moved on.

Dahl had other ideas. There was the Official Sand Breeding Kit, which claimed to provide guidance on growing sand, and Canned Earthquake, which consisted of a coffee can that had a wind-up mechanism that caused it to jump around on a table. Neither was particularly successful. Dahl’s real passion, though, was buying and renovating a bar in Los Gatos, which he named Carrie Nation’s Saloon.

This was not without its problems, as people who believed they had the next Pet Rock would often stop by the bar to try and secure an audience with Dahl for his insight. Many times, their idea consisted of packaging bull or elephant excrement. There were also proposals to market a pet stick. Dahl had no patience for these inventors, believing the Pet Rock could not be duplicated. Later, he went back to advertising after taking what he described as an “eight-year vacation” following the success of his project.

The Pet Rock can still be found online, though it’s no longer Dahl’s business. He died in 2015. Of the unsold rocks he had left over at the end of the fad, he was indifferent. If they didn’t sell, he said, he would just use them to repave his driveway.

Costco Is Now Selling a $20 Cheese Flight

Costco
Costco

Whether or not you know why Costco employees check receipts at the exit or have a handle on all the perks the company offers, there's one thing about Costco you probably do know: In addition to getting awesome deals there, you can also get more unusual things like huge tubs of Nutella and mac and cheese—and now, you can add a cheese flight to that list.

Cosmopolitan recently reported that Costco Deals, an Instagram account “not associated with Costco Corp,” posted a photo of Kirkland Signature Cheese Flight, Variety Pack.

“Now a new summer cheese flight is available! Only $19.99! These sell out fast and seem to be in select stores! Grab it if you see it! This was found in NW Region,” the Instagram post reads.

That’s right—for less than $20, customers can buy a total of 1.8 pounds of fancy cheeses in one package: Yellow Door Creamery, Tuscan Hand-Rubbed Fontina, Jasper Hill Farm Cabot Clothbound Mature Bandage Cheddar, El Pastor Spanish Red Wine Soaked Goat, Busti Il Tartufo Pecorino Toscana (white truffles from Italy), and Yellow Door Creamery Monteau Alpine (aged for 150 days). Three of the cheeses are made from cow's milk, one from goat's milk, another from sheep’s milk, and four of them don’t contain the rBGH hormone.

Instead of paying a lot of money to get a wine-and-cheese flight or charcuterie board at a wine bar, you can now DIY a cheese-wine flight at home. The packaging even describes what kinds of wines and beers you should pair the cheeses with. For instance, the alpine goes well with pinot noir, champagne, and a hoppy or amber beer. (Luckily, Costco is also known for its affordable booze selection.)

The post has more than 3000 likes and almost 400 comments, so there’s a chance your local Costco might be out of this life-changing product. But while you’re looking for Costco deals, they have Eggo Waffles, boots, head boards, plants, and non-wine-soaked string cheese on sale, too.

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