ropearce_1999 at yahoo.com.au
Fri Apr 19 06:54:38 MDT 2002
Capitalism's sickness in a nutshell:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - They're not G.I. Joe.
A Connecticut toy maker is selling "life-like action figures" based on
major figures tied to the Sept. 11 attacks, including President Bush,
former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and British Prime Minister Tony
The company, Herobuilders.com, identifies the dolls on its Web site for
legal reasons as "Our Hero," "The Rock" and "The Ally," respectively.
And because collectors began demanding an adversary, the company added a
fourth doll to the line -- Saudi-born extremist Osama bin Laden.
"People started asking specifically for an Osama doll," Emil Vicale,
president of the company, said in an interview on Thursday.
Vicale said that at first he sold only dolls of "real guys who changed
the world -- the presidential figure, the mayoral figure and the prime
minister figure." He added the bin Laden doll, saying "although I
developed this site just for personal reasons, it's a business, too."
Sales of the Bush and bin Laden dolls, the most popular, have been in
the "low thousands" so far, Vicale said. Sales of the bin Laden dolls
are running about one-third higher, he said.
Vicale said he has sold only seven Giuliani dolls, however, and "not
even one" Blair doll. The dolls cost $26.95 each.
Since starting doll sales, Vicale said one e-mail sender "called me
shameless and called me a scumbag" but said overall, reactions have been
"really, really great. I got one from a military sergeant who said he
loved it ... and that he would send it to everyone in his address book."
The bin Laden doll is clothed in combat fatigues, although the Web site
also portrays him in a pink dress. The others are clothed in camouflage
-- the Blair doll wears shorts and tall socks.
Vicale said he may discontinue his slow-selling "Gumby" dolls, which
sell for $19.95 apiece. These also bear likenesses of bin Laden, Blair,
Bush and Giuliani, and are modeled after the green putty-like animated
Vicale also owns BBC Design Group, which engineers products using
three-dimensional digital technology. He said he bought the former
Toybuilders.com, which made custom toys using 3-D technology last
September -- after Sept. 11, although negotiations began earlier.
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