Movie: The Toy
Release Date: December 10. 1982
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Richard Pryor, Jackie Gleason, Teresa Ganzel, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Ned Beatty, Scott Schwartz.
Tag Lines: “When Jackie Gleason Told His Son He Could Have Any Present He Wanted, He Picked The Most Outrageous Gift Of All…Richard Pryor.”
Relevance: ‘The Toy’ was one of those movies I watched over and over again when it played on HBO in the early 1980’s. I absolutely loved this ridiculous, silly movie. It made me laugh, it made my father laugh and it made my mother roll her eyes. She’s not a fan of “silly.” And her eye rolls seemed to make me laugh even more.
As a kid, I knew Richard Pryor through smaller roles in other movies I had seen on HBO as well as commercials for his HBO stand-up specials. I say commercials because I wasn’t allowed to watch the actual special as it was too “mature” for me at the time. Basically that meant that he said “fuck” a lot, and my mom hated that word. She still does. No matter what movie, show or commercial I saw him in though, Mr. Pryor always made me giggle. So the fact that I could watch a full movie with him in it as the lead was awesome for a young kid. And I did watch it, every time I could.
To an 11 or 12 year old kid, this movie was comic genius. I mean, “Master Bates!?” That would make me fall off of the couch laughing every time it was said in the movie. There are so many great lines and characters in this movie. But it also had a great story about friendship that seemed to help my younger, shy, geeky self make his way through those awkward early years by smiling and laughing and forgetting about life for awhile.
I quote this movie a lot and talk about it quite often. And every time that I do, I laugh. Despite its awful reviews by critics when it was released, ‘The Toy’ will always old a special place in my heart.
Today’s Thoughts: I probably haven’t seen ‘The Toy’ since sometime in the 1980’s. After watching it again today after such a long period of time I can say it is still a simple, ridiculous, silly movie. And I loved every second of it.
At 48, “Master Bates” doesn’t get old. (Both the joke and the act!) But there are so many other funny lines throughout this movie:
“Angela! Jesus H. Christ!” “Is that her full name?”
“Eric bought a black man.” “I wasn’t aware that we sold them.”
“You ass.” “It’s U.S.!”
And the entire scene at dinner when the Bates’ relive the story of when they met is priceless. “…and he gave me hair and then he gave me new boobs…” Teresa Ganzel is a comic genius in this scene. “Propellers!”
A movie doesn’t have to be praised by critics, win awards or make billions of dollars in the box office to be appreciated and loved. ‘The Toy’ is a prime example of this and my plan is to not wait another thirty years before watching it again!
Ways to Watch: Crackle, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, DVD Availability.