I'm Michael Crawford. No, I can't sing, and I have
never had anything to do with the Phantom of the
Opera. I've never even seen the Broadway show.
I am a toy collector. I have been for about 30
years now, starting in the mid-80's with kid's meal
toys. I still have tons of them, and break down once
in awhile and end up buying a bunch more.
been involved with the online toy collecting community for over 15
years, and here's a run down of some of my experiences. In some places
you'll notice a ??? - that means I have to get my butt around to
tracking down exact names or dates.
- I currently pontificate on a podcast with two other terrific collectors, Jeff Parker and Eamon O'Donohue, called the HotToyCast.
- in the early and mid-90's, I was very active
with the news group rec.toys.misc, doing reviews,
area reports, and running the annual RTeMmies, our
version of the best of the year awards.
- in the mid-90's, I worked closely with several
other folks to develop the mission and charter for
the new newsgroup, rec.toys.action-figures.discuss.
RTAFD was the place to be back then, extending the
size and membership of the older RTM.
- After doing reviews for the news groups for
years (and having developed the style of review you
see me use today with separate groupings for Sculpt,
Paint, etc.), I was frustrated by the lack of photos
and the fact that the reviews were lost to
posterity. I started this website in February
of 2000 to counter those two main issues.
- in the early days of this site, I also wrote a
column on toys for
Galaxy, a site that originally had many
contributors managed by Alan David Doane, but which
has become his regularly updated blog.
- for a year or so I also provided reviews for
Star Wars related of course.
- I also write a regular weekly column for Kevin
Quick Stop Entertainment. It's called the
Toy Box, and covers toys and collectibles, natch. I've been writing the column since the
very start of Kevin's first entertainment site,
originally called Movie Poop Shoot.
- I have ran my own best and worst contests since
the inception of this site (with the RTeMmies and
the Taffies going back much further than that), and
also did the People's Choice Awards where readers
voted. Back in 2001, MROTW was mentioned on the big
promotional sign at the Playmates booth at Toy Fair. Click here for the photo.
Expanding on that theme, in 2007 I began the
Poppies. These awards are voted on by industry
judges, and are an industry event.
- I did several guest reviews for
Collector, a website dedicated to showcasing
- I've also provided reviews for Sideshow
Collectible's own website, including Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Ardeth Bey, Invisible Man, The Monster Legacy DVD Set, Connor MacLoud, Outer Limits,
the first Hot Toys Alien, and a brief history of collecting action figures.
- I've also been the subjed of a short cartoon. Yep, it's different, that's for sure!
I've provided opinions and consulting to a number
of companies over the years, including Playmates,
Sideshow, Mezco, Palisades, Toys R Us, Electronics
Boutique and others. The most direct and on
going involvement was with the World of Springfield
line from Playmates, a line that will forever hold a
special place in my heart.
Another wonderful learning experience (I have to
keep telling myself that) was my part ownership and
investment in Flatt World Figures. We got one
action figure to market before going out of
business, but that figure (Bela Lugosi as Dracula)
was number 34 on Toyfare magazines Top 100 toys of
- Michael Miller did an interview with me that
ran in the print version of the Toledo Free Press,
as well as on his
- Another print interview was with the Ann Arbor
Magazine, a cool local full color pring mag. I
was in the section "Celebrities in our Midst", a
monthly interview that covered someone local,
obviously. The month before myself was none
other than Jeff Daniels.
- A third print interview I did was for Lo-Fi
magazine. I was their first "Geek of the
Month" in an ongoing feature.
- Back when Palisades Toys were still in
business, they did a regular 'Daily Bits' section,
and I did an interview with them.
- I also did an interview for the
Mezco Collector's Club website, as well as
online interviews with The Toy Pirate and
- I've provided background information and
responded to questions with Monte Williams, who
writes the column
Lowbrow Literati at Pop Matters. He also
runs his own blog, Geek Creek, and did a nice interview/article
on the site.
- I was the subject of a three part interview with Action Figure Resource.
- And there's another interview at the Toledo Free Press.
My photos show up all over the place online, from
advertising banners to avatars. But there have
been some notable print uses as well:
- Toyfare magazine used one of my Batman photos
in issue #???.
- I provided a photo of the WOS Stephen Hawking
for the U.K. print magazine ???.
- for their inaugural print issue, the Latavian
DVD magazine Gidas DVD used a bunch of my photos to
put together a full page spread in their very first
- I've provided photos for a number of toy
companies for their own marketing and publications,
as well as for various online retailers and sellers.
- I wrote a section of the informational
The Mythical West. This non-fiction
hard cover book covers
the relationship between the Old West and our
current pop culture, and I provided the entire
chapter, text and photos, on action figures and the
influence of the American West. A book review
from the Library Journal called out my section as
one of the entries of interest within the book.
- I contributed commentary and background
information for an Associated Press article on the
Lara Croft character and toys, back when the second
film hit theaters.
- I was the 'content advisor' for the text book
on Global Products: Toys for the 21st Century Skills
Library series of books. This series was
designed to teach 3rd to 5th grade students about a
world economy and how globalization works, and this
particular book focused on the toy industry.
Written by Kevin Cunningham, I was brought in to
check facts and review the content, making
suggestions where appropriate.
- I wrote an article on Indiana Jones
collectibles for the Toledo Free Press that was in
print on opening day of KOTCS. It was picked
up by the AP wire, and ran in a number of papers
around the country.
- I've written a number of articles for Sideshow
Collectibles that have been featured on their site,
and am working on one on the history of collecting
for their next print catalog.
- I was one of several featured contributors in an article in the August 2008 Playthings Magazine, the official magazine of the toy industry. They loved 'nerd hummel', btw.
If you have any questions, or just want to talk
toys, please drop me an