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The Mystic Seer - Twilight Zone

Twiilight Zone Mystic Seer Nick of Time by Bif Bang Pow

Just last week, AOL picked the best television shows of the 1960's, listing their favorite 40 in order. Like you, I wasn't completely sold on every pick (Andy Griffith at number 5 when Star Trek is down at number 10? I think not!), but I wholeheartedly agree with their number 1 pick - The Twilight Zone.

It's rare that a television show can hold up for more than 50 years, but Rod Serling's Zone is one of those true rarities. Due in large part to his writing (he wrote almost two thirds of the more than 150 episodes), the show has remained relevant and entertaining to this day.

Bif Bang Pow has released a couple new bobble heads based on the show. There's a small version of the Invader, from the episode "The Invaders", and the Mystic Seer, from the episode "Nick of Time". I'm checking out the Seer tonight.

This is one of those episodes not written by Serling, but when he passed the writing torch to someone else, it was always someone exceptional. Richard Matheson, another of my favorite script jockeys, did the honors.

The episode was also notable for it's male star - William Shatner. He would return to the show in the episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", several years before hitting it big with Star Trek. Interestingly enough, that episode was written by Matheson as well, and directed by the now famous Richard Donner.
Twiilight Zone Mystic Seer Nick of Time by Bif Bang Pow
Twiilight Zone Mystic Seer Nick of Time by Bif Bang Pow
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Twiilight Zone Mystic Seer Nick of Time by Bif Bang Pow
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Twiilight Zone Mystic Seer Nick of Time by Bif Bang Pow
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Twiilight Zone Mystic Seer Nick of Time by Bif Bang Pow
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Twiilight Zone Mystic Seer Nick of Time by Bif Bang Pow
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Twiilight Zone Mystic Seer Nick of Time by Bif Bang Pow

In "Nick of Time", Shatner plays a man who is traveling with his young wife. Their car breaks down in a small town, where they spend a little time at the local diner while waiting for the mechanic to repair the car.

At their table is a 'mystic seer', a napkin dispenser that doubles as a fortune teller. For just a penny, you can get an ambiguous answer to any question. When it appears that the seer is right every time, Shatner is tempted to stay until the seer says it's okay to leave. His wife convinces him that life is to be lived without knowing, and to take charge of your own destiny. After they leave, we see a couple sit at the table and begin asking it questions...and it's clear that this couple is trapped in the town, unable to leave.  Classic stuff!

Now you can have a bobble head that is a pseudo reproduction of the Seer. It's selling for about $13, through Entertainment Earth.

Packaging - *
I like the graphics and text, but the box doesn't do job one - protecting the contents - and that's unforgivable.

As you can clearly see in the photo, mine was broken where the post was glued into the base.  This is because they used one twisty tie, wrapped around that post, but allowed the heavy head and heavy base to move. Take two heavy ends, a weak post in the middle, and tie said weak post down so it's immobile, and it should be no surprise that this happens.

In fact, I accidentally ordered two of these. Hey, it's the old age setting in. And guess what? They both came broken in exactly the same spot. It's relatively easy to glue the post back in place, but shouldn't be necessary.

Sculpting - ***
The actual Seer was based on the 1950's 'Swami' napkin holders - it's pretty obvious. These were popular in diners back then, and not a pure invention from the fertile mind of Robert Matheson. In fact, I'd heard they simply took a Swami, removed the extended napkin holders on the sides, and put a box over it to use the mechanism underneath. Makes sense to me! There are already some pretty sweet accurate hand made replicas out there, and you can even buy a kit or pre-built one from this guy, who's built a kick ass B-9 as well.

But the biggest problem I've seen with the replicas is the devil's head. It never looks quite like the original.  Thankfully, that's not a problem here, and the sculpted head is almost a perfect reproduction of the original. The sculpt details are sharply defined, including the hair, teeth and fangs. The ears even have a bit of a point to them!

Unfortunately, the lower section of the bobble head is a distant cousin to the movie version. We're talking fourth or fifth cousin at least. It's made from resin, and is only a couple inches thick by about 4 inches wide. This is much smaller than the original, and as such, doesn't make much of a prop replica.

Of course, you might be perfectly fine with that. The 'stickers' on the original are sculpted with raised letters here, and the stars are even cut in relief on the front. As a bobblehead goes, it's a pretty decent looking piece of work, and at such a reasonable price point, the more basic design is not a surprise.

The overall bobblehead stands about 6 1/2" tall. The bobble action works extremely well, moving in a very agitated way with the slightest touch.

Paint - **
None of these photos were converted to black and white. The bobble head itself is painted in the very gray tones that you see, just as it appeared on screen.

I'm not sure if I prefer this in this gray color scheme, or a more realistic color scheme (like the red reproduction I pointed you to above). While these are the colors we saw on screen, my eyes are foolish enough to think that this is the actual color. I end up feeling like Lassie when I look at this thing.

But I'm not docking it for the choice of black and white - like I said, I'm not really sure if I prefer one over the other at this point. The lower score is due to technical paint issues, not color selection.

There's a lot of slop here. You can see how sloppy the eyes are, especially the small jeweled left eye. And yes, the small 'jewel' is reflective, and glued in place. It's not particularly well centered, however.

The gray skin tone also has issues, especially on the forehead, where you can see the drip marks.

Articulation - Bupkis
It's a bobble head - how much articulation could it have? I'm not deducting anything from my overall due to this category, as it's more of an FYI.

Accessories - ***
Normally, a bobblehead doesn't have accessories, but the Seer comes with eight fortune cards. The fronts of these cards include the specific fortunes that were used on the show, but the back has a Twilight Zone logo that obviously isn't screen accurate. The cards can't be placed in the Seer either, which is a bit of a disappointment. I don't suppose it was possible at this price point, but one can always dream.

Fun Factor - **
Hey, it's a bobblehead - they're always at least a little fun! Stick him on the dashboard of your car, and let him guard your travels!

Value - **1/2
Thirteen bucks is pretty cheap these days, even with the issues that are here.

Things To Watch Out For
If your Seer gets to you in one piece, you should be fine.  Just don't ask him any questions...you might not like the answer that you get.

Overall - **1/2
I have a thing for prop replicas, and I was hoping that this guy would be good enough to pass as the original mystic seer. Had the paint work been better, I would have been a lot happier, and been more willing to overlook the undersized base.

The head would make an excellent addition to your own home made version, however. If you have the idea of buying one of the old Swami machines from the 50's and doing your own, you might want to think again - they tend to go for $200 and more these days. But if you were looking to make one without the working mechanism, the base shouldn't be too hard to reproduce - and is certainly easier to create than the devil's head.

Score Recap:
Packaging - *
Sculpting - ***
Paint - **
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - **
Value - **1/2
Overall - **1/2

Where to Buy -
Online options include:

- Entertainment Earth is the place to pick this guy up, along with the 'Invaders' bobble head. He's just $13.

- of course, you can always hit ebay looking for a deal.

Related Links -
This isn't the first Twilight Zone merchandise:

- I checked out a great custom Rod Serling head sculpt awhile back.

- Back in 1960, the episode that aired right after Nick of Time was Eye of the Beholder, which produced some great action figures by Sideshow.

- Sideshow also did the Kanamit, the Invader, and the Gremlin from Shatner's other TZ episode.

- there's also some great stuff from Outer Limits, including the Zanti Misfits, Ikar and Ikar's Soldier, Gwyllm, the Ebonite Interogator, Andro and the Helosian.

Discussion:
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Twiilight Zone Mystic Seer Nick of Time by Bif Bang Pow


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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