I've always loved the General Mills Monster Cereals, but I've never been sure which I love more, the actual cereals, or just the characters (specifically Count Chocula, Frakenberry and Boo Berry). I'm gonna go with the latter, since I'm a little bit of a product mascot nut.
And if I was going to pick a favorite from the General Mills selection of monster mascots, I'd go with Count Chocula.
It was this love for the chocolatey vampire that had me jumping for joy back when I found this rare Count Chocula vinyl figure at a toy show in a bin marked "This bin $3" a couple of years ago...
Sadly, when I took this guy to work the following Monday to show my boss (a major player in the world of product mascot collecting), he promptly crushed my dreams by informing me that this particular piece was nothing but a shoddy knock-off. I was bummed to say the least.
But the collecting gods do tend to shine upon and make things right again from time to time and over two years later, I would finally get to see an original vintage Count Chocula vinyl when Brian from Cool & Collected sent along his toybox o' plenty (yes, I'm still working my way through all of that toy goodness).
Seen side by side, the differences between the knock-off (on the left) and the original are painfully obvious. The colors and size are completely different and even the materials used show a stark contrast, with the knock-off being a harder plastic and the original being made of actual vinyl.
There's a weird part of me that loves comparing knock-offs to their original counterparts. It makes me feel like some sort of relic-hunter traveling the world uncovering fakes and forgeries. Of course, a plastic Count Chocula doll isn't exactly like a fake Mona Lisa or anything. Well, maybe it is a little bit. To me, at least.
And as a conscientious collector, I will be passing this beauty on to another fellow collector who has been looking for one for quite some time, and thus continuing the circle of good toy karma started by Brian, passed through me and sent on to others in our strange little field. But I will forever treasure the day that I got to examine the differences between a nefariously deceiving example pure balderdash and a shining real McCoy, brimming with verisimilitude and gleaming like a master painting.
To me, at least.