Arizona Doll & Toy Museum
March 13, 2010

So, I’ve fallen off the ’ol AFi radar for a while. Not by choice, mind you, but just thanks to life getting in the way. This is an action figure blog and not a therapy session so I will spare those of you kind enough to be reading this the details. Suffice it to say I’ve been engaged in swell activities like packing up my entire collection and moving it to a studio apartment! Anyhoo, I was exploring my newish environs here in downtown Phoenix today and stumbled on a couple geek culture related spectacles. Forgive this dull attempt to ease back into the blogosphere…

I was walking through Heritage Square, home of things like the Arizona Science Center and numerous cool historic homes that have been turned into little museums and such. I’ve been here before but never noticed one of the old buildings now houses the Arizona Doll & Toy Museum. Having some time on my hands I wandered in. I told the woman managing the little museum that I was interested in older toys. She said they were closing in a few minutes but if I’d like to take a peek she’d bring me back (sans admission fee. Yay, manager lady!)


Turns out a couple local collectors house their vintage Star Wars and G.I. Joe collections here. The displays were dusty, unorganized, and a general mish mash but when you’re expectations are zero its something cool to stumble upon. Being a bit of an action figure display snob I cringed at things like dismembered and floppy G.I. Joe figures with damaged o-rings and just a lack of proper organization. But these are not my cabinets and I was enjoying them for what they were.


For action figure Illuminati like ourselves there wasn’t anything awe-inspiring but there were some decent pieces. For instance, the Star Wars shelf had a Yak Face, a Blue Snaggletooth, and a vinyl cape Jawa. The G.I Joe shelf had most of the first series of RAH Joes (albeit, swivel arm.)


There was another cabinet that had some of the older 60’s era G.I. Joe toys. Not knowing much about that line I can’t say whether or not there is anything particularly fascinating on display. But rareness did not seem to concern a 10 year old boy who was completely enraptured by the stuff.




Epilogue I. Turns out Heritage Square had a couple other items of geek culture to amuse me today. There happened to be a classic British car show going on and I enjoyed checking out this DeLorean very reminiscent of Doc Browns from Back to the Future. Apparently, this was the model year before they introduced flux capacitors.


Epilogue II. It got to be lunch time and I decided to check out Heritage Square’s Irish Pub, The Rose & Crown. I almost choked on my Guinness when I looked up and saw that the bar mistress was wearing a very cool Star Wars tee shirt. Really? So as I ate my corned beef I had the pleasure of discussing the finer points of Episode IV with what turned out to be the friendly owner of my new favorite pub!

As you know, I’m always on the lookout for geek culture happenings and coincidences. Today’s triple play at Heritage Square was a welcome reprieve and succeeded in slapping a nerdy grin on my face. Hope to be getting back to the boards soon!


Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann
Action figure anthropologist, Professor Cantina Dan Neumann has been a scholastic contributor to the online community studying the complex world of parumplasticus populus {little plastic people} since the turn of this millenium. His primary focus is the visual cataloging of species exhibits through photo-journalism.
Read other articles by Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann.





  • Jim Abell says:

    The 12″ Joe display does have a few rarities in there. The foreign soldiers and that blow-molded motorcycle being the main ones that I know. Great story, looks like an interesting little museum.

  • Erik superfriend says:

    Just a crazy idea. I wonder if the museum would be interested in showcasing part of your own collection? Perhaps an aspect they do not currently have? Security of your pieces would be an issue, but you might end up being its curator. And it would give you an excuse to go visit that bar frequently.

  • chad says:

    cool seeing those displays even if they are a mis mash the museme sounds like a fun place to check out . and you should look at seeing if they can work out something of displaying some of your collection.

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