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

Friday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Digital Projectors, Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and Speakers

Amazon
Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 4. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

10 Illuminating Facts About A Christmas Story's Leg Lamp

It's a Major Award!
It's a Major Award!
Tim Evanson, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

When A Christmas Story was first released in 1983, it was a sleeper that attracted only a small (but quite cultish) following. Over the past three decades, however, the film has steadily become a holiday staple on par with classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) and Miracle on 34th Street (1947). And as the film itself has grown in popularity, so has one of its most recognizable props: the leg lamp, that glowing gam otherwise known as “A Major Award.”

1. The A Christmas Story leg lamp was inspired by an old-school soft drink.

Before A Christmas Story was a movie, it was a series of short stories that appeared in two different volumes by the late writer and radio personality Jean Shepherd. The books, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters, were fictionalized accounts of Shepherd’s childhood in Depression-era Indiana (though the movie was filmed mostly in Cleveland, Ohio). Shepherd describes the leg lamp and his father’s obsession with it in a 1966 story titled “My Old Man and the Lascivious Special Award that Heralded the Birth of Pop Art.”

According to A Christmas Story House and Museum (yep, there’s an entire museum dedicated to the subject), Shepherd imagined the leg lamp after seeing an illuminated Nehi Soda advertisement, which featured two shapely disembodied legs up to the knee. Shepherd gave cloaked credit to Nehi by writing that the Old Man’s crossword contest was sponsored by an “orange pop” company whose name “was a play on words, involving the lady’s knee.”

When the lamp finally arrives in Shepherd’s essay, he writes, “From ankle to thigh the translucent flesh radiated a vibrant, sensual, luminous orange-yellow-pinkish nimbus of Pagan fire. All it needed was tom-toms and maybe a gong or two. And a tenor singing in a high, quavery, earnest voice: ‘A pretty girl/Is like a melody…’”

2. The A Christmas Story leg lamp was immortalized by production designer Reuben Freed.

Uncertain of just what a leg lamp should look like, A Christmas Story’s production designer Reuben Freed created a quick sketch and showed it to Shepherd, who surprisingly approved it right away. “I immediately thought of something I had seen in my mother’s front room, which was sort of a gold-colored silk lampshade, pleated with fringe around it,” Freed told Cleveland magazine in 2009. “I thought of it immediately and never thought of anything else—just that classic, big ugly shape.”

3. The “original” A Christmas Story leg lamp no longer exists.

Finding an original leg lamp is considered the ultimate feat for A Christmas Story aficionados, Caseen Gaines wrote in A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic. But “the likelihood of finding one is about as great as locating Pee Wee Herman’s bicycle in the basement of the Alamo.” Freed produced three leg lamps for the movie, but none of them survived the production. All three were broken during filming.

4. There’s a simple reason for the typo on the box the A Christmas Story leg lamp is delivered in.

When the leg lamp arrives at Ralphie’s house in the movie, it’s in a crate labeled not only with the infamous “FRAGILE,” but also “HIS END UP.” Though the use of “his” in place of “this” might seem like a subtle joke, the crate was indeed originally labeled “THIS END UP,” but no one had bothered to measure the container before trying to wheel it through the door. Jim Moralevitz, an actor who played one of the leg-lamp delivery guys, told Cleveland’s News-Herald, “I had the pleasure of delivering the major award 30 years ago. Unfortunately, the crate was so wide that it wouldn’t fit through the door. So they called in the carpenters and they took four inches off.”

5. The A Christmas Story leg lamp is big in Cleveland.

Erik Drost, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Because much of A Christmas Story was filmed in Cleveland, the city has embraced the movie as its own (possibly to the resentment of Shepherd’s native Indiana). In 2013, to celebrate the movie’s 30th anniversary, Terminal Tower in Cleveland’s Public Square was turned into a giant leg lamp, complete with a red garter.

Terminal Tower can be seen, sans leg-lamp accoutrements, in A Christmas Story’s first few opening shots, looming over Higbee’s department store, where Ralphie first spots the coveted Red Ryder BB gun.

6. The A Christmas Story leg lamp is also a big deal in Long Island.

In 2005, the Reichert family, owners of the Northport Hardware Store in Northport, Long Island, got a goofy idea after attending the mayor’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony. They browsed through the store’s generous stock of leg lamps, called over some of the guys from the bar next door, and ceremoniously lit one of the lamps in the store’s picture window. Then they all cheered.

Somehow the Reicherts’s lighting of the leg lamp caught on and it has become an annual Northport tradition, though their store no longer hosts the festivities.

7. The A Christmas Story leg lamp is a hit on Halloween.

The leg lamp has become so popular, you can now purchase ready-made Halloween costumes in its likeness. In 2012, Josh Sundquist, a paralympian, motivational speaker, and author who lost his leg to cancer when he was 9 years old, won Halloween when he decided to make his own leg lamp costume. He even shaved his leg for authenticity.

8. The A Christmas Story leg lamp has been a star on the stage.

In 2012, A Christmas Story: The Musical opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. The leg lamp was celebrated with a kick line—only the Broadway chorus kicked up not only their own legs, but also fishnet-clad leg lamps.

The year before, at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, California, the Troubadour Theater Company performed A Christmas Westside Story, a mashup of A Christmas Story and the epic tale of the Sharks and the Jets. What song did the leg lamp get to sing? None other than “I Feel Pretty.”

9. The A Christmas Story leg lamp is a hot commodity.

Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

According to a post-Christmas press release that highlighted Amazon’s seasonal sales in 2012, the online retail giant boasted: “If you stacked every Christmas Story Leg Lamp purchased by Amazon customers this holiday season, the height would reach the top of Mt. Everest.”

10. The A Christmas Story leg lamp gave rise to a hilarious catchphrase.

“Fra-gee-lay. It must be Italian!” has graced everything from baby onesies to novelty shirts to kitschy home decor.