One evening my dad came home from work with something for me. This was unusual, but not unheard of. Sometimes these gifts would be the cool plastic boxes some of the lab equipment came in. Sometimes it was photocopies of Dungeons and Dragons character sheets I asked him to make for me. But in this case it was something in a bag. He’d bought something for me? That was weird.
It turned out to be a Clash of the Titans action figure of Charon, the ferryman of the dead. I had seen Clash of the Titans and loved it, but most of the action figures weren’t too interesting to me. Charon, however, with his skull face and hands, was by far the coolest of the lot. How did my dad know this was the one I’d want the most? And, more to the point, why on Earth would he buy it for me?
I thanked him and ripped Charon out of his package to check him out. My mom, equally puzzled by this unexpected gift, asked what the deal was with it, and my dad explained. He’d been leaving work, walking towards the parking lot, when he noticed the bag laying on the ground. He picked it up and looked inside, and looked around for an owner. None was around, so he brought the bag home and gave it to me.
I was an odd kid and I was crushed hearing this. Not because I thought my father had done something nice for me and it turned out no, he just happened to find it on the ground and thought I might like it, but because I was imagining the kid the figure had been intended for. I knew very well the times when I’d been taken to Lionel Playworld or Le Jouet and was told I could get one or two Star Wars figures. I’d choose very carefully and couldn’t wait to get home to play with them. What if I’d dropped the bag on the way home and my treasure was lost? I’d be heartbroken. I put Charon on a shelf in my room and didn’t want anything to do with it. It felt dirty to me.
I eventually got over it and Charon joined the Dave’s Action Figures Players. When I started doing Doctor Who based stories he became The Master, who I mainly knew from his skeletal, robed portrayal by Peter Pratt in “The Deadly Assassin”. At some point I got hold of some glow-in-the-dark paint and applied it to him, which made him extra creepy. To this day the paint still works:
When did I get it? The line came out in 1981 and didn’t stick around long, so about then.
Do I still have it? Yep. This one’s a keeper.