Previous Article - X-Entertainment - Next Article --- By Matt - 7/19/'02

Leon Neon - never thought I'd see these again. Finally, the powers of neon represented by a full-fledged toy. You didn't need some lame excuse to get your hands on one of these. Everybody loved glowsticks, but back then you were only really handed one if you had to go walking around alone at night. You had to literally put yourself at risk of a bear attack to play with something neon. Not anymore. Leon Neon was the first, and probably the only toy that let kids glow the house down without any clear cut reason or special occasion.

Sold in small strips, either pink or blue, most kids happily overlooked the fact that the colors were closer to yellow and orange. All this was way too exciting to be held down by misrepresented hues. They were inexpensive, too, so creating scenes like the one above wasn't entirely impossible. You very well could line your guitar with glowing strips of plastic if you wanted to. Course, there were probably better ways to utilize this kind of immense power. You could go to some really secluded beach on Nassau and spell out really cryptic 'help' messages in the sand, confusing the helicopters purely for your own amusement. Leon Neon didn't come with directions - it was all up to you.

These three kids have something in common - total misery because their parents bought them such hideous school clothes. They don't have bad parents, just ones without any sense of style. So, after they get home and start crying because all their friends laughed at them, the parents collectively decide to buy them all Leon Neon toys, since the only way to get kids over a social faux pas is by giving them the almighty power of neon.

It works. No less than five minutes after tearing the formation of entire rivers, the kids are more interested in molding little bracelets and comical sunglasses with their Leon Neon Magic Strips. But it's not just for fun. These kids - ostracized from their fellow classmates because they wear such stupid clothes - have formed a sort of secret society...a club where they can just be themselves without fear of verbal annihilation. Unfortunately, the idiots decided that a cave would be their perfect headquarters. Caves are dark. That's where Leon Neon comes in...

Secret club meetings in caves need not be without sight forever more! Neon Leon saves the day again!

Okay, so they only kept their glowing powers momentarily. You needed to keep exposing them to light if you wanted the effects to go on for a while. That's why the kids always brought flashlights to the cave. It's not like they were gonna run home, stand under a heat lamp for two minutes, run back, and repeat that ungodly process fifty times. No way - don't judge a book by it's cover. They're dressed dumb, but these kids ain't stupid.

Wow, does the kid on the left look ticked off or what? That's what happens when you give the parents authority to sign your contracts, and end up being forced to dance like a retard in a commercial that'll be shown to millions of people worldwide. At least he was still professional enough to bust out the robot moves.

All of the Leon Neon kits came with little plastic clasps that let you hold the strips into whatever position you desired. They ended up marketing larger 'party sets', but really, you didn't need a whole lot more than the simple strings of glowing plastic. The party sets came with things like cardboard games and idea booklets, basically just a huge bad excuse to sell Leon Neon for three times the normal price. This company better be careful. Making subversive ripoffish moves like that might piss that kid off even more. What if he's packing heat?

You have to remember, anything back then that had the power to glow in the dark was considered cool. If bananas or door knobs did it, bananas and door knobs would be cool. So let's all breathe a sigh of relief that bananas never glowed in the dark, otherwise it would've just been a matter of time till kids starting wearing Nike sneakers shaped like bananas. They're fruit, not fashion.

The kid's neon glasses is what originally sold me on this shit as a child. I remember dreaming about wearing those things. When I finally got a few sets, which wasn't too hard since they were cheaper than Star Wars figures and I didn't have to argue with my mother over which ones I already had first, I tried making my own pair of neon glasses. The results were less than impressive. My glasses ended up looking more like a giant hourglass turned sideways - and worse yet, I couldn't make working ear clasps, so instead I just taped them to my face.

I always liked to think things like that were the reason I was always picked last in kickball. It's a lot easier to swallow, and easier on my pride, than admitting I just sucked at it. So damn you, Leon Neon. It's all your fault.

This commercial was usually shown in the midst of episodes of The Smurfs, so you can imagine my concern upon seeing a girl fondling her breasts here. I know sex sells, but you really shouldn't be selling that to a six-year-old. Unless you're gonna at least turn on the lights.

Jamie: Why hello there Larry Leon, I'm Neon Neil.
Nikki: Hi Neon Neil, how are you today?
Jamie: Delightful. And how are you today, Larry Leon?
Nikki: Not so good. I just found out I have cancer.
Jamie: Really? That makes me sad. Will you be okay?
Nikki: The doctor said I could stop glowing any minute.

Sure, Leon Neon weren't very important toys in the grand scheme of things. But neither is a Slinky and that doesn't stop people from buying 'em. Part of me wishes they were still around today, but let's face it, neon's gone the way of the Dodo. It's a dead fad. But, for the 250 seconds it took you to read this article, neon was alive and well. I'm sure no matter where it is today, neon feels avenged. Thanks for making it feel better.

- Matt
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