Posted by marc February 04, 2016
#TBT | Cheech Wizard by Mark Vaughn Bode

It's Thursday! Hop in the DeLorean and join me in 2003, AKA Year 1 B.D. (Before Dunny) in Kidrobot time. Actually, let's go all the way back to 1967, which is when Vaugh Bodē's Cheech Wizard character was first published and quickly became a staple of National Lampoon. Basically a stoned, hedonistic, and psychedelic version of Gandalf, Cheech Wizard lives in a magical forest, speaks in an urban dialect, and kicks a lot of people in the nuts. A character that ridiculous - and that strangely designed - had to be committed to vinyl.

Fast forward back to 2003. Kidrobot is an infant of a company and Tristan Eaton has been brought on board. Vaughn Bodē's legacy has been passed on to his son, Mark, after his extremely early death in 1975. Mark Bodé and Eaton put their heads together to redesign Cheech Wizard in a way that will be conducive to a 3D sculpture. Soon thereafter, Kidrobot's very first toy was on the shelves for $49.99 a pop. 888 editions of the 10 inch toy were created, each coming with adjustable legs and removable wizard hat.

A GID version was created later that year and has become a sleeper of an urban (vinyl) legend. Apparently 222 editions were cast of the GID version, but a shipment was lost to the void, leaving only 100 editions for retail. Being more limited, these were slightly more expensive, at $59.99. Bodé's website mentions 300 of these were sold, possibly casting some doubt on the legend, but he's likely referring to the number of toys he sold to Kidrobot, as opposed to collectors. The 78 remainder is still a bit of a mystery, though.

Finally, a "Golden Nugget" variant was developed in 2004. Oddly enough, this one retailed for $29.95, despite being limited to only 333 pieces. This could be explained by the fact that only one color of paint was used, eliminating the need for masks and additional layers of paint. Kidrobot must have run out of boxes when these were produced, as they came in cloth bags, closed tight with twine and a tag. 

Pictures really don't do justice to this piece. I was lucky enough to get my eyes on the OG colorway in real life during Kidrobot's tenth anniversary retrospective in NYC. It's a pretty rare article from the golden age of designer toys. So while they retailed for less than an 8 inch Dunny does now, expect to pay for at least $150 for a loose edition. Boxed editions go for over $400.

Check out previous #TBT entries here.



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