The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant wants to review The Bradford Exchange Holiday Catalog, but first we have to address the baby monkey in the room. To wit, the Bradford Exchange Holiday Catalog contains a disturbing number of baby monkeys.
Those of The Rant’s vintage will remember The Bradford Exchange, along with The Franklin Mint, as your go-to source for finding Civil War generals and NASCAR drivers emblazoned upon plates and coins. Available by subscription, each month you waited by the mailbox–would it be Dale Jr. or General Burnside this month? Or even the latest Styx release from the Columbia House Record Club. Before guaranteed delivery and tracking numbers, the mind reeled at what might arrive.
But The Exchange gathered in the boardroom and said, “You know what, we need more kitsch, and why waste a perfectly good licensing deal on plush toys when we can make The Nightmare Before Christmas shot glasses and Pirates of the Caribbean cuckoo clocks instead?” So they did. And The Rant rejoiced.
Calm down our religious culture warriors, The Exchange knows you can’t have a kitschy Christmas without a baby-Jesus-in-the-manager sculpture with a musical pillow that plays carols. The Rant forgot about the embroidered velvet pillow in the manager, but then we don’t read the Bible as much as we should. Our personal favorite is the Michael the Archangel sculpture, with Mike decked out like a glam rocker David Bowie would envy (that hair!) and smiting the dragon from the book of Revelation. That it resides next to the KISS Destroyer Masterpiece Lamp makes us wonder if The Exchange might be executing the most profitable punking of all time.
That would be enough for most Exchanges, but not the Bradford. They also have a contract with the estate of Thomas Kinkade, Evangelicals’ beloved Painter of Light, a man so full of the Spirit he died of an alcohol and Valium overdose. Kinkade’s sentimental work tries to erase reality, a reality that included him once yelling “Codpiece!”1 over and over at a Siegfried and Roy show and urinating on a Winnie the Pooh statue at a Disneyland hotel.2
The world seemingly conquered, one day an eager young intern sent a memo to the CEO of The Exchange: you know what America is clamoring for, she asked? Lifelike baby monkeys. Unaware of this Jane Goodall fever sweeping the nation, the boss fired up the So Truly Real doll studio (yes it exists), and the “Annabelle’s Hugs” Poseable Monkey Doll was born. Our first hugging monkey doll! the catalog breathlessly exclaims, as though Bradford Exchange stock had been plummeting due to their inability to deliver a hugging monkey doll after consumers had grown bored with the “Clementine Needs a Cuddle” Baby Monkey Doll. We can’t even post a picture because you need the King James Version of the 23rd Psalm and more alcohol and Valium than even Kinkade consumed to walk that uncanny valley. We will tell you a pacifier is involved.
The Rant needs no gifts during the holidays other than the assurance there will be more Bradford Exchange catalogs arriving in our mailbox.