Glow Ghost / Glow Ghost Capers Collectible Figure
Item No.: n/a Manufacturer:Pineapple Ind. Includes:n/a Action Feature:n/a Retail:$1.99 Availability: ca. 1987 Other: At least two versions exist, one has a shamrock and one is even more unpainted. Also I wrote this in 2014.
I've missed out on a lot of these guys over the years - I lucked into this Boohoo figure as part of a small lot in so-so condition in 2014, with this probably being in the best shape of all of them. Boohoo, an orange 2 1/4-inch vinyl spectre, looks something like a rubber part of the male anatomy and is labeled "PINEAPPLE IND MADE IN CANADA" on his back near the bottom. My sample has a clover on his front, but I remember early versions in stores without the added deco - but I'm having difficulty finding much evidence of them online. These were sold as mail-order items in the USA through Muppet Magazine, and I recall seeing them in arts & crafts stores. eBay sellers frequently label them as Kooky Spookys (which they are not) or Count Chocula premiums, and I can't find much evidence of them being in cereal. The 4-pack was a mail order boxed set for $4.
I had a fascination with ghost toys and glow-in-the-dark toys, so I don't know how come it took 27 years to track these down - the orange figure glows yellow and has this eerie, unnatural look. If you play around with different lights a lot, the figure looks like it's being hit by a black light when it glows - it's disturbing and remarkable. The scared ghost - that's the joke, you see - covers its face in fear as its defining characteristic. It came with a pamphlet that was sort of a story book, an interesting element in many 1980s toys that usually took the form of a file card, a mini comic, or in some truly insidious cases mail-order catalogs or actual letters from characters in the franchise. (See: G.I. Joe, late-era Star Wars.)
As a kid I wanted the set, but getting the set was not in the cards - if I was lucky, I'd get a toy from a line. Maybe two. The implication that I would complete this set over someone's dead body was not far off, which may be one of the reasons it took so long to really clamp down and find them. The soft vinyl figures have a hole in the bottom due to the molding process, and unsurprisingly feature no articulation. The only deco on this figure are his clover, part of his frown, and the black part of his eyes cast to the side. The manufacturer Pineapple Industries did quite a bit with very little - toys in the 1980s were still made exclusively with children in mind, so tons of paint and action features were not the order of the day. It's a fun little figure, and you could run around with it or (as was my assumption) have your Peter Venkman and The Real Ghostbusters toys chase it down. Now knowing more about how the toy industry worked I have to assume this was a "plays with" toy for the two competing lines with "Ghostbusters" on the box, but until I can find an employee of this company I may never know for sure.
These figures are incredibly uncommon, and I assume it's mostly because unlike Star Wars there's no built-in cult to elevate them to iconic status. These were forgotten playthings, relying entirely on the three or four people who care to write about them in a given year. If you like what you see, I'd say pick one up if the price is right. Boohoo is not as impressive as a Kidrobot piece, but these older vinyl toys have a rare charm that I have yet to see anyone try to duplicate - maybe now that we're in a sofubi revival for collectors this sort of thing will come back, but I'm not banking on it.
As far as I can tell, the first release of this figure (no clover) came in a small box with bars and a window. The second release (clover) came blister-carded with a small booklet.
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