Ah, the sounds of christmas, children throwing snowballs at each other, imported bavarian snowmen being broken in pieces, Rockin’ Ricky Rialto on the radio, and of course, the sound of cashiers stuffing thousands of dollars and pennies into their registers…..
Now I know a lot of you would love to get your grubby little claws on some great gremlins merchandise, and since there hasn’t been a film in sixteen years, you won’t be able to walk into your local Mongomory Ward or Wal-Mart and grab the latest and greatest Gremlin-centric stuffs. You need to use the vast world of e-commerce known as “THE INTERNETS”, but you need to keep an eye out for fakes, as there are more fakes than gremlins in the clamp tower out there!
For most people, the first online site they think of to buy hard-to-find collectables is eBay. Ebay is a wonderful selling and buying tool, but it also is full of Pseudo-Gremlins like these “Super Cute Gremlins 2 Action Figure(sic)” from the ebay seller Toysrjoy. (full story, more pics and important info after the break)
Awwwwww, aren’t they cute? These toys remind me of the scene in the movie where the blue mogwai did that thing…………wait…..there was no blue, yelow, pink, white, or orange mogwai, let alone a surly fight-pickin’ Irish Mogwai!
These are probably the most common of the knockoffs you will see on ebay, and they appeal because they are cheap! The starting bid on this group of little fellows was $0.99, which is a steal for pretty much anything gremlins related.
According to the seller, they retail for $39.99 in some alternate bizarro dimension, but here on earth they are a cheap ripoff of a great property.
After looking into ToysRJoy, I noticed their site was designed with a large amount of broken “engrish” and almost everything on their site was a knockoff of a major license or property, such as another pvc set, this time containing sub-standard Snow White & The 7 dwarves that supposedly retails for $66 but again it is only $0.99 on ebay…..
I already see you asking “how can I, the average consumer, avoid getting a ripoff gremlins product that will shatter dreams of christmases for decades to come?!!”
Well, let’s look at two of those “Super Cute Gremlin” figures up close.
I guess this is supposed to be Mohawk the Gecko Mogwai and…maybe…one of the 101 Dalmogwais?
Now the first thing to notice is the quality of appearance. This is often one of the only things you can go by when purchasing online. These figures look good, but not professional. Both look as if they came out of a toy machine at the local department store, or were hand painted by a fan. Either way, they do not look like Warner Bros. licensed toys.
Here are some licensed toys, while the two smaller figures do look questionable, they are both in fact real WB approved products.
Now just so you know, (and my covering my own ass) the ToysRJoy mogwais MAY be real, but it is incredibly, incredibly unlikely. A common trait you will see when looking over suspicious product, is that many are from korea or hong kong. The reasoning behind this, I am told, is copyright and trademarks are a different breed overseas than they are in the USA. It would cost a company a lot of money to get the makers of these toys to shut down, and even if they did, the counterfeiters would just reopen under a different name or a different location. So again keep that in mind when buying online, if the site or auction used a lot of broken english, and has suspicious looking items, think twice.
What should I be on the lookout for?Well, this part is really all common sense but should truly be kept in mind, especially while rushing for christmas presents for your beloved gremlins fan!
If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is!
Take the above mogwai for example: They supposedly retail for $39.99 but are ONLY $0.99!!! That is a huge discount…check other auctions and sites to see if those toys really are worth the claimed amount…
RARE!!! ONE OF A KIND! LIMITED!!!
This is one of my favorites. I have seen so many items on ebay that claim to be RARE or ONE OF A KIND, right next to twenty other identical items, that all claim to be RARE! ONE OF A KIND! There are rarities out there, and usually a lot of care is taken in the auction, more than a few exclamation points and capital letters. Look to see how many more are available, then check various online retailers.
Have I seen this in a store?
This is a biggie! If you have not seen it in stores or on legitimate websites, and it claims to be NEW! HOT! It most likely is either someone simply trying to get people to look in their auction, or its a fake. Again, do a bit of research, hit the companies sites, and google around a bit, or if it comes down to it, email me or comment here and I will see what I can find out for you!
Just be smart, take your time and do not impulse buy, and check their feedback as well…
Now, toys are great, but there aren’t that many knockoff gremlins toys out there…and it gets trickier deciphering the real from the fake as we go deeper into the rabbit hole.
A huge market on eBay and similar sites is “logo products”, such as clothing, buttons, lighters, clocks, anything else you can think of. A lot of people have home T-Shirt kits or a Button Making machine. these can be had easily, and some people make a lot of money selling merchandise with logos on them that they have no right selling.
Batch of Bootleg Buttons
This is an awesome set! Gremlins pins for only $4.95! I have always wanted a full set of these!
Bootleg Buttons are incredibly common on ebay, due to their being inexpensive, and can be made quickly on demand.
How can we tell these are bootlegs? Well first of all, let me make it clear that the seller of this auction made no mention whether these are “official” or not, so technically they aren’t lying or cheating people, but if you are a fan like myself, you want only official high-quality swag!
The biggest giveaway here is the inclusion of two button images from Gremlins 2. The buttons all appear to be about the same age, and if you have ever had anything for 20 years, it sure does not look as good as it did in the 80’s.
Also after following a link on the seller’s auction, you will notice they have hundreds of these style of buttons for every genre of every topic imaginable. If you really want to dig into things, just use Google Images and look for Gremlins and also look for Gizmo, and you will find these exact images that were used on the buttons.
The same goes for most of the pictures below, that they are not official products, and if you are concerned about getting official collectables for Gremlins,this is just a sampling of products you should avoid.
There are a few eBay sellers that sell custom clocks, and they should be avoided like the plague, as again, they are unlicensed, unofficial, and make no attempt to mention the legitmacy of the product in their descriptions. Note: The “gizmo” you see in the picture is believed to be either fan made or concept art from the unreleased PS2/Gamecube Gremlins video game.
“Retro” Lighters like this pop up from time to time, with various actors, movies, logos, phrases, etc. Most are unlicensed, but when you are unsure, your best bet is to find it in a store, and look for the Warner Bros trademark. The one shown is most liklely not official, since you cannot see the Copyright logo, nor has there ever been a Licensed Gremlins lighter in the past….it seems unlikely.
Here we have one of the multitude of knockoff t-shirts. Usually you can somewhat easily tell that it isn’t official if in the auction you only see a “mockup” or just the image on the shirt, not an actual photograph of the whole product. Again, just shop smart and you should be able to avoid these pitfalls.
The last thing I want to go over is homemade items.
There are also a number of fan made items out there that are truly unique. Many propmakers like to practice with familiar properties before going into the scary world of new licenses. After they make their Gizmo recreation, they sell it on ebay.
Now this is where things get fuzzy!
TECHNICALLY, it is illegal to sell anything that you do not own the rights to. So if you make a popsicle stick gremlin and sell it on ebay, you are breaking the law, and that’s bad.
Personally speaking, I would say if you make any Gremlins or Gimo items by hand, and want to share it with the world, put up a gallery on your site (or send a pic here, and I will post it, showing your work to the world!), or give it away to a friend as a gift.
As a buyer, it is ultimately your decision to purchase a handmade Gizmo statue, or a bunch of handmade buttons, or anything else, and it really comes down to personal preference.
I really have no problem with people putting up handmade works, provided they label them as such. The issue comes when people claim a bootleg product is official, or just don’t mention it at all.
My take on the whole knockoff products and piracy and whatnot is simply:
The creators, cast, and crew of Gremlins and Gremlins 2 worked incredibly hard to entertain us, and if we want to see a Gremlins 3, or more gizmo dolls come out, we need to vote with our wallets. If a product sells well, the company will respond most likely by making more products along the same lines.
This goes along the same lines as those who have requested I post the entire Gremlins film for download here.
No. Not Ever. (unless Warner Bros. gave permission and bandwidth to do so…)
I am aware it is availble on other sites around the internet, but if you want to see it, go buy the special edition or rent it from your local video store, or borrow the dvd from a friend. Have a Gremlins viewing party! Just don’t support those trying to make a buck off of others hard work. Fan projects are done out of love for the license, and so are parodies, but selling the merchandise is just mean-sprited.
Anyways, I hope this helps you make a more informed decision on what to purchase in the near future, especially with the holidays right around the corner!
Besides, what screams Christmas louder than GREMLINS?