Jewish World Review July 16, 2002 / 7 Menachem-Av, 5762

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Hasbro should consider new inaction figure | I wish the folks at Hasbro had checked with me first before they released their Ernie Pyle action figure.

Not that I have anything against Pyle. He was a great World War II war correspondent and possibly the greatest newspaper columnist of all time. He was a Pulitzer Prize winner and American hero who died doing what he did best: Telling the world about the war from the common GI's point of view.

My beef with Hasbro is that Pyle, for all his gifts, was basically a stoop-shouldered little guy who went about his business quietly and never wanted to make himself the center of attention. He chain-smoked cigarettes and knocked out his columns with two fingers on his manual typewriter.

In keeping with his personality, the Hasbro Ernie Pyle action figure comes with a humble number of accessories. All there is is a table, a trench shovel and a tiny plastic manual typewriter. Conspicuously missing are the usual action-figure accouterments like flame-throwers, laser swords, ray guns and battle wagons.

Somehow I don't think the Ernie Pyle doll is going to fly off the shelves at the same speed as Batman, Megatron and Count Dooku.

While my journalistic accomplishments don't rival Pyle's, I think Hasbro would have had a much bigger hit if it had come out with a David Grimes action figure. (Or inaction figure, as it were.) For one thing, I am more substantially sized than Pyle, leading kids (or their parents) into thinking they're getting more for their money. My plastic doll could be stuffed with lead weights to further add to the heft. (This would also make me a more formidable weapon when kids throw me at one another.)

A David Grimes action figure would also come with a lot more accessories than an Ernie Pyle doll. Since I work at home a lot, I'd need my robe and fuzzy-bunny slippers, coffee cup, personal computer, hammer for adjusting personal computer, TV clicker and pillow for the occasional nap.

I'd also come with my personal medicine cabinet, inside of which would be an array of pills, inhalers and ointments for my various maladies, including but not limited to asthma, gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, allergies, athlete's foot, psoriasis, arthritis, anxiety and the occasional bout of hemorrhagic fever.

Standing by my side would be my loyal plastic pug dogs, Porkchop and Buster, each posed with a rear leg in the "lift" position. A small bag of little, brown plastic doots could be included in each box, for added authenticity. (These, of course, would have to come with a warning that they could present a choking hazard to young children.)

The Ernie Pyle doll comes with a trench shovel that the real Ernie Pyle undoubtedly used often. My doll could come with a lot of lawn and garden tools that I almost never use, including a lawn mower, hedge trimmers, loppers, weed whackers and something that is either used for drilling holes or stabbing mole crickets, I've never been entirely sure.

Ernie Pyle was a little guy who smoked two or three packs of cigarettes a day. I quit smoking about 10 years ago and promptly gained 30 pounds. Instead of having a plastic cigarette dangling from my lip, the folks at Hasbro could have me stuffing my face with plastic pizza, plastic cheeseburgers and plastic fried chicken. (My little plastic bottle of plastic cholesterol medicine could be within easy reach.)

Ernie Pyle was a great man and a credit to his profession. But as an action figure, I see a lot of room for improvement.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune