Previous Article - X-Entertainment - Next Article --- By Matt - 7/12/'02
Uncle Fester's Mystery Light Bulb's best attribute isn't the toy itself - it's that fantastic packaging. Novelty bulbs might've been a hot item a few decades ago, but you can buy them anywhere now. And I mean anywhere - your local gas station probably sells them because they're that damn common. Basically, it was a toy light bulb that lit up without the help of a lamp. It was allegedly safe - so safe that one of the advertisements literally suggested putting the thing in your mouth and prancing around like you were some weird evolution of the electric eel. Admittedly, most kids would really get a kick out of a toy like this. If you check precedent, any plaything that lit up was considered worthwhile. Kids are like moths, they can't avoid the light no matter how hard they try, being drawn to it so consistently and with such voracity than every last toy with light-up powers was gobbled up like Stove Top Stuffing. Real Stove Top, not that homemade shit with raisins your aunt brings over on Thanksgiving.
The Addams Family has been represented by a ton of cool toys over the years. I've already told you that monsters were considered 'in' during this era, so you can just imagine how popular the Addams characters were. In fact, just last week I built a time machine so I could return to the 60s and learn first hand what the public opinion was of The Addams Family, and it was unanimously positive. One person made fun of me for going through all the trouble of making a time machine just for that purpose, but he was wearing a Monkees t-shirt so who gives a shit about his opinion.
The light bulb's box is what really does it for me. I'm more interested in that than the bulb itself. Fester represented with a huge smiling bald green head and absolutely nothing else presents a subtle piece of outsider art even the most highbrow collectors would have to appreciate. Plus, if you cut the head off the box, stuffed it into an envelope, and shipped it off to one of your most hated neighbors - it'd be a lot less illegal than a death threat but you know the recipient's going to be a whole lot more freaked out by it. They'd run to Barnes & Nobles to pick up one of those Mafia symbolism guides, thinking the Fester head must represent something terrible like getting a fish in the mail or finding shoes dipped in cement on your porch. Not only would you have some fun, but you'd be helping the Great Literary Cause by indirectly funding money to book stores.
One of the advertisements claimed the bulb was unbreakable, but I doubt they'd sell the world's first indestructible resource for just a buck ninety-eight. If it was truly impervious to breakage it'd have to at least cost three or four bucks. By the way, in case you're wondering - Fester actually did put light bulbs in his mouth on the show. It's not like they just decided that light bulbs were the obvious choice for Addams Family marketing without reason.
CAPTAIN PLANET VS. FESTER'S BULB
While Uncle Fester's Bulb could light up, you couldn't really pretend it was doing anything heroic. Captain Planet beats him out there. On the other hand, I can't think of a single child I've ever known who'd be interested in portraying an environmentally-obsessed blue guy in a red Speedo who's focal jobs were trying to instill self-worth into five annoying teenagers while telling the rest of the world to never throw out the plastic top part that holds together a six-pack without ripping it up first. Fester might not have been a hero in the true sense of the word, but at least he did cool shit every once in a while, most involving self-electrocution and eating bats. The only thing remotely cool about Captain Planet was that he lifted Kirk Cameron's hairstyle, and even then, it's ten years too late to be considered a plus.
I don't think these two guys would like each other much. Fester doesn't strike me as the recycling type, unless we're talking about finding a use for corpses. Their whole relationship would probably consist of the good captain complaining about Fester's habit of unearthing toxic chemicals and decaying bodies for his amusement, and I'd hate having to sit in a car with 'em listening to that for a few hours. It's tough for me to say that a light bulb is better than an action figure. Then again, I throw so much garbage on the ground that Captain Planet wouldn't ever be my friend even if I said he had a cooler toy. At least I've got a shot with Uncle Fester.
Vincent Price's Stupid Shrunken Head
................................. The Friend Frankenstein Kit
Uncle Fester's Mystery Lightbulb
................. Yipes! The Scariest Board Game Ever!