It was apparently Mario day a couple of days ago, being March 10th or Mar10. Although fashionably late as always, I figured I’d use the opportunity to talk about some extremely obscure Super Mario Bros product that has been nearly lost to time. Before that, I should probably explain to some people what a ‘Christmas cracker’ actually is, as it’s quite relevant. Unless you are from the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or South Africa, you might be a bit confused at what this image is depicting.
It’s a Christmas cracker. I can’t speak for those other countries, but here in the UK, Christmas crackers are usually placed at the dinner table on Christmas day, until two people sat at the table decide to pull one open. Inside the cracker (made of foil and paper) usually is a paper hat, a terrible joke and a cheap plastic toy. There is also a chemically coated cardboard strip inside the cracker which will make a loud bang noise when the cracker is pulled, similar to a cap gun. The cracker always tears with one person ‘winning’ a larger side of the cracker containing the cheap toy, hat and joke. Here are the contents of a cracker that my girlfriend kindly went searching for in the attic, just so I could write about Christmas crackers here!
As you can see, this cracker contained a ‘fortune teller’ fish, an abysmal joke and a yellow paper crown. Anyway, back in 1993 some lucky bastard’s were lucky enough to pull Christmas crackers and instead of getting some cheap and crappy tat, found themselves in possession of Super Mario themed toys!
They aren’t of the highest quality, but they feel infinitely better made than the cheap and flimsy toys I have always found in Christmas crackers. In fact, the reason I decided it was necessary for my girlfriend to retrieve me a cracker from the attic was because Google search results yielded images of things that were just too high in quality to be found in a conventional cracker. So these Mario toys look positively luxurious compared to the usual cracker crap.
Anyway, I shall poke fun at each figure individually.
Mario actually doesn’t look too bad, though he does seem to look a bit like he has been stung in the face which has then swelled up some. But other than that, it’s a perfectly acceptable Super Mario figure.
Luigi looks like he has shit his pants and is hastening to the nearest bathroom to try and sort things out. The visible concern on his face and his hand strategically placed on his rear (perhaps in an attempt to stop things from spreading) are telltale signs. Poor Luigi. It happens to the best of us.
Princess Peach looks the most snooty and stuck up that I’ve ever seen her. For a monarch, she always seemed quite down-to-earth and fairly pleasant, but here she just looks a bit judgemental and high-and-mighty. Perhaps she has just witnessed Luigi’s incident and perhaps is wondering if she has made some poor life choices to be associating with Italian plumbers that do things like soil themselves.
Toad doesn’t look like Toad, but instead what I imagine Toad’s younger brother looked like if he was dropped on his head a few times as a baby. His mushroom head looks a bit flattened, adding credence to this theory. His expression doesn’t denote that much is going on internally, but despite that he looks happy enough. Perhaps he is just digesting some recently consumed crayons and is blissfully ignorant to all other goings on in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Yoshi doesn’t seem to be a bad portrayal of the character at all. Perhaps he’s a little darker green than usual, but other than that, I can’t really criticise to much!
Bowser looks like a businessman that is angrily shouting on the phone because he wants results, not excuses. He’s probably my favourite figure in the set, just because I never saw much merchandise featuring King Koopa as a kid, and I dig how spiky he is.
That is the whole lot, and I love them! There is very little information about whether the Christmas crackers contained any other things apart from the figures, or even where they were sold, but going by a picture of a Sonic the Hedgehog Christmas Cracker set sold in Boots Pharmacy here in the UK in the ’90s, some of the crackers would also contain stickers or badges. So I am going to guess that the Mario ones were also exclusive to Boots, but until anyone can prove otherwise, that’s just a guess.
I actually own a few of the Sonic Christmas cracker figures and if I can eventually source a complete set, they will get a proper post on here.
Anyway, I have prattled on long enough. If you have enjoyed reading about these cracker toys, you might enjoy reading about German Super Mario toys exclusive to Mars chocolate bars back in the early nineties that I wrote about aaaaaages ago.
Merry Christmas to all anyway!