Knock Off Toys: When You Can’t Afford To Give The Very Best

It would take less than five minutes for me to drive from my home to a well-known shopping area here in Southwest Houston commonly called “Harwin”.  

Harwin is actually a street on the city’s Southwest side and it’s home (as my grandmother would say) to, “Every color of the damned rainbow”.  It is an area rich with Arabs and other Middle Easterners.  They live next to Latinos who are from countries MUCH further south of our border than Mexico and they’re neighbors with a slew of non-Occidental types.   I dare not even venture to guess their specific home countries, but suffice it to say that they all live and work in this area with few issues and their shops are wondrous places jammed packed with incredible “wrapped in plastic” things, floor to ceiling.

And at these stores, you can get incredible deals on “brand name” merchandise such as:

  • Louis Vwitton handbags
  • Coco Channel parfum
  • Soney Playstations (with Panasonic guts, they’ll tell you)
  • Oscar D. Larenta clothing
  • Aramoni suits for men
  • Ralph Lawren Pollo shirts (contrary to the title, these are not shirts with chickens on them) 

Ah yes, the knock offs. 

In Houston, Harwin is king when it comes to knock-offs and if ye seeks, ye will find some halfway decent stuff.   I mean, you won’t find great deals on the real thing.  These are fake and the prices reflect that–not to mention the quality, but it gives the everyman…and woman…..the chance to clutch or wear or take home a false semblance of how the proverbial ‘other half’ lives.  

Harwin is no different from being in New York.  I remember the last time I was in the Big Apple.  I was on Canal Street and heard hawkers standing by sidewalk tables shouting, “Louis Vuitton purses, here.  LV, ladies. Come on now!  Lawd have mercy!!”

The well hidden fashionista in me had to check it out.   I looked at his wares.  Oh, it LOOKED like Louis’ best–from a distance…and if you squinted, but up close, you knew it was a purse made of naugahyde and you could practically scratch the recognizable golden-colored L and V off the front. 

I would imagine every metropolitan city has its share of knock off districts like Harwin, but these cheap facsimiles aren’t limited to clothing or electronics, such as a Pannisonic clock radio and DVD player (with Sony guts, as the accented salesman will insist)

Toys have their knock offs, too.   For example: 

Behold!!!  It’s “Benign Girl”.  Why?  I guess that’s because “Malignant Female” was already taken.

This is Spaderman. 


And I think you say it all together–like one big last name, as if he was Jewish.  I’m not even sure what’s with the wild eyes or the mouth.

Or how calling it, “Spaderman” even fits.  

Maybe that’s not webbing all over him.  Maybe he’s really a cock-eyed tailor who’s a smidge zaftig (for a man), suffers from rosacea and that’s just renegade thread all over his body from trying to make Mr. Leibowitz a nice shoit, already.

Yeah, Nightmare Feddy is sweeping the nation. 

Every little boy and gender confused girl will no doubt want…nay, DEMAND a “Robert Cop 3” in their stockings this Christmas.


Titanic-Bot sounds like ALL kinds of fun waiting to happen.   

At first glance, it’s an innocent luxury ocean liner–the pride of the White Star line and its large,  protruding rudder is the envy of every other vessel.


Then will a little digital maneuvering, you’ve got a robot.   What fun!!!

Some assembly required.   Iceberg sold separately.

Every boy I KNOW wants a Prist action figure. 

This one comes complete with  cassock, a white collar, a large gold Plus Sign necklace and ten (count ’em) TEN Diocesan transfers to smaller, out-of-state parishes once all the nasty “accusations” start to rear their ugly heads.


Some assimilation required.  Altar Boys sold separately.

“Speed Racing”by Brick.  Marketed specifically for its “Handsome Appearance”

Now, the obvious joke would here would be to say something like, “Oh yeah, the Pirate Cutlass.  Guess the Pirate Olds 98 or the Toronado was already taken”.

But I actually LEARNED something from this knock off toy.  I never knew what a cutlass was, other than some automotive line from Oldsmobile.   But it’s actually a knife.  Yeah, it’s a is a short, broad sabre or slashing sword with a straight or slightly curved blade, like the one you see here.

Who knew?   I will admit, didn’t.

“Up in the air…It’s a bird!  It’s a plane?  Nah, it’s just SpecialMan”.


What gave it away?  The tiny head?   The odd, elbow macaroni shaped hands which for some reason, are the largest things on his body??

His talents include changing clothing in a phone booth, fooling with world with his uncanny disguise–black horn rimmed glasses and on his good days, he can count to seven.

And finally…


Pocket Monica Jump-Jupm Chess.


The instructions say, “Kick others back in the race-ahead game, but don’t get caught or you been kick out”.

How true.  How many times has that happened to me when I’ve unsuccessfully tried to Jump-Jupm Chess and got caught then kick out in this race-ahead game.

Gee, no wonder this game is a choking hazard.  

PS…I was sent these photos as an email.  I didn’t get them from or epicawesome or,  but obviously, that’s where most of these photos came from.  Please support these links and tell ’em, Laurie sent you…but I will gladly do as long as I’m not playing Prist or with my new Benign Girl.



  1. DUH DUHDUHDUHDUH DAAAAH DAAAH DAAAAAAH… DUH DUHDUHDUHDUHHH…….SPE-CIAL-MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey, it has the same ring to it.

  2. That was great. Some of those are hilarious. When I was younger and really into pro-wrestling, I used to buy knock-off wrestling action figures. That was actually kind of fun because you could make up new wrestlers that didn’t exist and have them fight your other, real action figures.

And now, you may opine your ass off...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s