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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Whatta Hunk!

I am not (GASP!) actually referring to a horse here, but rather this guy and his horse:

If you don't know who this is, you were born after 1980.
Yes, it's the Lone Ranger and Silver, as imagined by the Gabriel Toy Co., ca. 1973.  As I have mentioned, I looooved to play with my model horses. And I totally adored Silver and his rider for one reason/two words: FULLY POSEABLE. As in, the LR was the only doll I had who could perform proper equitation. Barbie and Ken were a total wash, for pete's sake; you couldn't pry their legs far enough apart to even get them on a horse, much less ride one in any semblance of form. (Side note: To think there were all those rumors about Barbie and Ken - between his missing anatomy and her non-functioning hips, there wasn't much chance of anything going on in that Dream House).

Silver's wonderful jointed legs meant that I could mold him into perfect hunter knees-to-the-eyeballs form and send him soaring over my book "jumps." The Lone Ranger could hold the reins, keep his heels down, and even assume 2-point with a little coaxing. This made for wonderfully realistic play times. The Breyers were definitely jealous of their stablemate, who got a lot more airtime then they did.

Unfortunately, the pair pictured above are not my Lone Ranger and Silver. Those two were recently up for auction on EBay, and I wish I could have justified shelling out thirty bucks for something I already have, albeit in not nearly as good condition (I'd love to know how they survived 37 years in such good shape - maybe they belonged to some strange kids who never played with their stuff?). Here's my own fella:

But wait, you say, who's that aboard the faithful steed? Well, if you recall the LR had a sidekick, a Native American named Tonto. Some well-meaning relative gave my brother Tonto and his horse Scout. Here's that pair, currently for sale on Ebay:

I just realized this horse looks like he's missing his RF leg. I certainly hope not!
Needless to say, they didn't spend too much time with my brother, as they too were quickly drafted into my Olympic showjumping team. Scout has disappeared (maybe Brother has him? We're all pack rats.) and so has my Lone Ranger, thus you get the remaining duo. Poor Tonto had a hand get broken off, so his left arm now ends in some electrical tape. Silver's reins wore out and were replaced with some gold-covered gift wrapping elastic. Really classy, but hey, they were my buddies and have a home forever.

Here's another equine from the childhood collection:

Whew, talk about Fugly! However, this little red pony from the Marx "Johnny West" collection is actually very important to me. Like about a zillion other little girls, my most fervent wish was to own my own horse/pony. Ideally, the equine would magically appear at my house, tied to my favorite tree and grazing contentedly on the front lawn. Many a birthday morning I would wake up, creep over to the window and look out, hoping against hope that somehow my prayers would have been answered.

Alas, that never happened... but what DID happen was one morning I woke up and found a box with that plastic pony in it sitting on the bedroom floor. My dad had been on a business trip to San Francisco, and I knew when I went to bed the night before that he was supposed to come home. He rarely brought us toys when he travelled so a gift had not even been on my radar.  Imagine my surprise and delight when Little Red was there waiting for me! I was just overjoyed. I played with that guy so much, making him jump things, that I broke his tail clean off from using as a handle.

Unfortunately, that gift horse also caused me a bit of trouble in the future. For years afterwards when Dad went on a trip, I would wake up the morning after he got back and open my eyes just...a... little... bit... at a time, hoping that another super present was awaiting my discovery. Nope - the pony was a one-off thing. But that's okay, he was SO good that I will always remember Dad's thoughtfulness. I know he gave me that pony with a lot of love and wishes that it could have been a real one. :-)

1 comment:

  1. My older sister had that very same Marx model right down to the broken tail. I coveted him greatly, and even after I started accumulating my own herd of plastic ponies, I was always trying to claim him as my own.

    P.S. All my models were showjumpers, too!


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