I know, I know. It’s been quite awhile. But you see, work has been pretty hectic lately, and a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. So be patient with me, as I swing left and write about a topic that’s not quite my usual subject matter. Rest assured, I feel pretty strongly about it though. Allow me to set the mood…
The Strong: National Museum of Play aka. the National Toy Hall of Fame, just released their three 2016 inductees. You wanna know who made the cut this year? Fisher-Price Little People, Dungeons and Dragons, and the Swing! How in the world did the Transformers get shut out by the Swing, people?! Are you kidding me?
Optimus Prime is an icon of heroism! If you’re 40-something, chances are you sat in a movie theater, in 1985, and watched Optimus Prime and Megatron engage in the battle to end all battles. You probably cried when Optimus died. Rightly so. His death was such a profound and traumatic experience for millions of kids, that the film’s producers actually received hate mail from parents. They had no idea the Autobot leader had such an impact on fans.
Now, I don’t want to diminish the popularity of the Swing, and sure, everyone had at least one Fisher-Price Little Person when they themselves were little people. Okay, Dungeons and Dragons does still maintain a cult following among the more, oh how shall we say, nerdy persuasion. But folks, stay with me for a moment. The Transformers have been an American staple for over 30 years. They’re still making movies about the ‘robots in disguise’ even though the world is moving toward a more technological-toy plane. I can give my lil guy a vintage Autobot, and he’ll play with that thing for hours. Vintage Megatron is selling on eBay for $299.99 as we speak! The point is…they’re not going away anytime soon. Theirs is a timeless struggle between good and evil. Everyone can relate to that.
Over the years, the Transformers may have gone through a few cheesy reboots: Transformers-Beast Wars and Transformers-Prime to name a couple. But the franchise always manged to keep its patriarchs of good and evil with every new iteration, namely Optimus Prime and Megatron. No matter how bad the television series became, those two always remained core figures of the Autobots and Decepticons.
Maybe I’m a one-man advocate for the franchise. Maybe there are others who keep their love of the toy packed safety in the closet. I think The Transformers deserve the recognition and honor that other iconic toys have achieved; their long overdue in my opinion. Star Wars Action Figures were inducted in 2012; The Atari 2600 made it in 2007; G.I. Joe made it in 2004; Barbie made it in 1998. I think it’s time that Optimus Prime, Megatron, the Autobots and Decepticons earn a place in the Toy Hall of Fame.
P.S.: The theme music is mine. I tried to give it to Hasbro in the hopes of sparking the idea of them returning to Generation 1, for a new generation of young fans. Guess they didn’t see it as marketable. Que sera sera.