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In Search Of The Elusive Gizmo Furby
Matt - 12/05/00


As you can see, X-E is currently enamored in the holiday spirit. My bud Blacksuns drew us up that X-Mas logo on the front page, and since we're now in December, its perfectly legal for me to review every bad Christmas horror movie ever made. More on that later. Today, I took a little break from posting because there was something out there I had to have.


The Gizmo Furby. Most of us remember the infamous Furby craze of a few years back. Aside from being the most popular toy of the season, it was also the most controversial. Yes, Furbies managed to be controversial. I remember the first time I heard about this...some news show kept plugging how they were going to 'blow the lid off Hasbro' and expose the Furbies' most heinous crimes. My mind was blown. What could Furbies have to offer to warrant such a fuss? Were they liberals? Pro-legalization? Dumbfounded, I needed Kaity Tong to make it clear....they were ripping off Gizmo.

After some legal wrangling, there was an out-of-court settlement, and thank GOD for that. Courtrooms are a pretty standard silent place...could you imagine being on the jury, hearing this case, and not being able to laugh about it? 'Well, as you can clearly see as evidenced by Exhibit G, the size proportionate between a Furby's eyes and feet are in direct correlation to Gizmo's. Furthermore, some Furbies are white. Gizmo is white. And, might I add, they both speak.'

Luckily, cooler heads prevailed, and a better deal was struck...why not cosign with the Gremlins camp to make a Furby directly fashioned after Gizmo? Everybody wins! And that's exactly what they did. Now all I had to do was find him. So, in my hour of need, I called up Dr. Rocket.

3:45 AM:

Matt: Hey...Chris?
Chris: ....hello?
Matt: Hi its Matt. Do you know where I can find any of those Gizmo Furbies?
Chris: Matt? Matt X-E Matt? You do realize...it's fucking 3:45 in the morning, correct?
Matt: Yeah Gizmo Furbies?
Chris: Okay. Here's what you do. Go to the far, far end of the haunted woods in Charleston. Look for the magic tree. At its root, you'll find the Gizmo Furby.
Matt: YES! Thank you!

8:30 AM, Haunted Woods:

Matt: Hmmm... "Dear Matt: If you ever call me in the middle of the night asking where a Gizmo Furby is again, I'm going to take this fucking ten-pound can of tuna fish and bash your skull in. PS, I reuploaded the Mr. T download. Love, Rocket."

Bastard. I tried again...

10 AM:

Matt: Do you know where I can find any of those Furbies that are fashioned after Gizmo? Like right now?
Satan: Ha! I have one of those. But you can't have it.
Matt: No shit! Why not??!
Satan: Ohhh! You don't understand! ...You are not ready.
Matt: Haha, nice, I caught the movie reference there. Like that kid in the anti-smoking commercial says...I feel you, I feel you. But, where am I gonna get one?
Satan: I dunno....eBay?


Satan: Fine!!!! Then how about FAO Schwartz? They have everything, and Tom Hanks goes there.
Matt: Shit that's a great idea, thanks!

So, back off to the city, to the world's finest toy store. Determination was a key factor here...I had called up beforehand and found out that the lousy bastards there were having some sort of business party, meaning they'd be closing at 7. So while that meant I wouldn't have time to even think about hitting their Pokemon section, I should've had enough time to make it in and walk out a proud Gizmo Furby owner.


As much as I would've liked to join the flock of 10,000 people looking at the giant Christmas tree, there simply wasn't time. These people will stand there four hours looking at this thing, and I never could quite understand it. Hey, I know its Christmastime and all, and sure, it looks pretty, but what are you supposed to do, count the lights? There's no kitschy ornaments on it or anything. Plus, everyone in a three mile radius of this tree is a tourist, and half of those damn foreigners don't speak English. So its tough to admire the tree when you're worried about people insulting you in another language. And let's face it, we've all seen big trees. The world's full of them! So you're basically just standing there to see a bunch of lights. I wasn't about to fall into the web...there was a Furby out there with my name on it.


And we made it. FAO Schwartz, the prettiest, most overpriced toy store on the planet. You may remember the store from its various media appearances, everywhere from Big to Home Alone 2. Its a cultural mecca for all the latest in what no parent can afford to buy their kids for Christmas. Luckily its uptown with all the richies.


Immediately upon entering, you're greeting by a guy dressed like a wooden soldier who's entirely too eager to take pictures with strange kids who obviously don't belong there. While waiting for the camera to boot up, I engaged in some small talk with our friend. I guess I felt obligated to...its pretty hard to stand next to a 6'5" guy in a soldier outfit with red polka dots painted on his cheeks, so if I didn't want us both to just stand there, look at each other, and scream 'what the fuck?' in our heads, talk talk talk was essential. I didn't get much info out of him...first he informed me that FAO had a huge candy section with a giant licorice statue. I'm not kidding. I would've settled for a the standard 'nice weather we're having', but you take what you can get from giant, talking toys. Maybe we would've been better off not speaking. But he did tell me that they had a life-size R2-D2 made of Legos, so it looks like he reads the site afterall. It was still early...guess there was time to check out the Star Wars section...


Faith restored! There must be a higher power...the evolution of science would never be this kind. FAO's got more Star Wars toys and memorabilia than any single convention can hold, and its all priced much too high! It was impossible not to appreciate the genius on their part...the 12" dolls were marked 50% off. 50% off FAO's normal price of 40 dollars. Interesting when you consider that the same dolls are sold at virtually every other toy store in the world for 9.99. But, you've got to look at it in relative terms. You don't expect to pay the same amount for a steak at the Four Seasons as you do at, let's say, Taco Bell. FAO overpriced? Sure, but half the cash goes to the ambiance. This place was a black tie affair in the world of toys.


Ah, and there it is! Lego R2! But more importantly that that, a half-life-sized AT-AT! It was impossible not to get into the spirit of emptying your wallet on plastic crap when you've got giant, mechanical vehicles beckoning you from above with their lusty robotic humming and assorted laser lights. The Star Wars section looked like one of those old Photon arenas, so in an empathetic trance that forced me to believe I had to beat out the red team's clock, I grabbed everything in a ten foot diameter and charged it to my MasterCard.

I'd also like to mention that, fittingly enough, the customers in this section were not unlike the patrons of the Star Wars cantina. At first the place looked empty, but as I walked around, and I kid you not, I saw everything from a mother trying to change her baby in private by shielding her activity with three life-sized Jar Jar Binks dolls, and as I was looking at a table of models, a guy who had to be at least 30 and at least 300 pounds crawled out from underneath the table, got up, picked up a Queen Amidala Journal, and went to the register. The whole thing was like one of those really odd dream sequences you could never comprehend, but I didn't have time to play Freud...remember, there's a Mogwai I had to have.


Even Hello Kitty and that damned frog friend of her's got their own giant section. The most amazing thing about the store was that I the adult:child ratio was like 10 to 1, and I don't mean parents either. Most of the patrons were either tourists looking to dance on a whimsical floor piano, or people like me and Lolita, looking to blow whatever money we could steal from each other's couch cushions on stuff we'd look at for the typical five minutes before throwing to the back of our closets. Lolita, shown up above drooling over the sheer majesty of an oversized Hello Kitty doll, managed to leave this part of the store with around four bags of crap - everything from Hello Kitty wallets to Hello Kitty address books to Hello Kitty frying pans. I goaded myself into believing I needed to buy the famed Chococat doll, a real steal for just 9.95.


Hey, say what you want about the prices, but you can't knock 'em on the presentation. What you're looking at on the left is probably the greatest invention since Post-Its, The Robot Elevator. Ever go to a shopping mall that had 15 sets of escalators, but you always found yourself pining to ride up the one crowded elevator? Well, imagine what you'd feel like when posed between an escalator and a robot elevator. Resistance? Futile. On the right, the famous weird spinning clock statue that you've probably seen in a dozen movies by now.


Up above, Lolita and I show off two of this season's coolest items.

I'm holding up the Transformers Beast Machines SUPER GIANT ULTRA HOLY FUCKING SHIT Cheetor, a transforming cheetah that's almost TOO LARGE TO HANDLE! At FAO, the price is too high for me to legally relay, but its available at most retail outlets for 39.99. I know what you're thinking.... '39.99?! For one toy?! FOR ONE CHEETOR! BLASPHEMY!' But you're neglecting the obvious facts...to get all the fun of this one Cheetor elsewhere, you'd have to buy both a Transformer and a tiger doll. And that would take you well above 40 bucks. So its a steal, and a giant. I'd also like to mention that, at least in this representation, Cheetor has a slimmer waistline than Black Arachnia.

Lolita's holding up representative from the resurgence of interested in Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. Most everyone I know, and yeah I know plenty of normal, rational people...they're going nuts for these guys. In all actuality, these figures/dolls are some of the best I've seen in my (sob) YEARS of dealing with stupid toys. The price on them is absolutely ridiculous though - one doll will cost you 50 bucks...the full set of four that Lolita's holding up will cost you a flat 200. They also had 4' versions of the dolls, who were smartly left unpriced so as to not cause riots in the store. Speaking from experience though, if you are a big fan of the movie and would like these guys, I suggest picking them up as soon as you possibly can. Once they're gone, they're gone, and the prices will absolutely skyrocket. The action figures that weren't selling at all on shelves a few years back now cost 1-2 hundred dollars.

You people are wasting your time with stocks and mutual funds. Just buy a bunch of toys and rent out some locker space somewhere.


The store also featured some pretty eerie animated window art on the outside. First up, dog on mnemonic drugs. Second, Monkey Girl. For a second, I was starting to feel like Cameron from that scene in Ferris Bueller where he stares at the weird painting for a half hour. These things were definitely scary, but I couldn't take my eyes off them. Now I'm not going to liken these scary dolls to the curiosity one gets when passing a car wreck, but I will say that it was a smart move to stick them on the side of the store, out of harm's way. If I was a little kid prone to drag my parents into toy stores, these things would definitely dispersuade me. In any event, I'm really tempting fate here, its around 6:45, and still...no Gizmo. Fifteen minutes to find a Mogwai turned into 15 minutes to make the most important decision of my life.


GIZMO OR E.T.?! I was not prepared for this one. Turns out E.T.'s been Furbyized too. And he's wearing a red jacket! Surely I couldn't buy both...I had already spent my life savings in the Star Wars and Star Wars Books and Star Wars Colorforms sections. Its one or the other. Sorry E.T., there's always next time. I came for a Mogwai, and life just won't be as sweet if I left without one.


I haven't turned him on yet, but according to the box, Gizmo is far more intelligent and interesting than anyone I've met. He's full animated with a 160 word vocabulary, and in his grand esteem, has the ability to play games and learn tricks. The official Gizmo Furby Dictionary is what really blows my mind though. Check out some of these brilliant translations...

To let you know he's awake, Gizmo says 'Gizmo ipo.'
If Gizmo hears a noise, he lets you know by announcing 'wha dat? skree! bang.'
If Gizmo's hunger is an urgent matter, he'll say 'mim biggie yi yi'.

Obviously, before starring in movies, Gizmo fronted several Japanese pop bands.

So, I got my Gizmo. I'm happy. I'm so happy that I'm going to give you the chance to win something of your very own. Tired of getting all those lame Christmas presents? Let X-E take care of you. I spared no expense (3.99) in this one, and its something we all know and love. If you don't want this, you shouldn't be reading the site.


BOO BERRY BANKS! The cereal that time forgot finally makes a comeback, and this time, he'll help you save cash! This official Boo Berry bank is made of hard plastic, cheaply painted, and stands in at an ominous 7" tall! And here's how you can win him...

As a special feature starting mid-month, we're going to have a special featuring your greatest Christmas memories ever. What I want you to do: send me an e-mail detailing the greatest Christmas present you've ever received. Tell me the whole story...why you wanted it, who gave it to you, the whole storybook. I'll be posting all of 'em at some point this month. Let's pay homage to the greatest toys we've ever received. Oh, and yes, it doesn't have to be a Christmas present. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever...send it on in! Specifically, your e-mails should be at least a few paragraphs in length, and there's no limit on how long they can get. Send 'em on over to matt@dotcult.com. The rules are simple: be honest, write well, send money. The best of the bunch will receive, absolutely free, their very own X-E Boo Berry Bank!

Send in those e-mails!

And while Gizmo isn't quite a Venusaur, he's enough to keep me entertained for the next hour. If interested in purchasing one, check out an online auctionhouse. They're actually pretty tough to find in the stores.

'Wha Dat? Lambada Gizmo.'

- Matt
matt@dotcult.com
Always feel free to e-mail - and send in those X-Mas memories! (or whatever religion you are...as long as you got a fucking present)
AIM: xecharchar

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