Toy Archaeology


So this is how my brain works. Last night I was making the rounds at the local thrift stores when I happened upon this very random Lost World Jurassic Park figure of Eddie Carr. Whoever that is. I was mildly amused, but not mildly amused enough to plunk down the three dollars and hoard it in the mancave for the rest of my life. But then, right behind it, I discovered there was not one, BUT TWO of them. TWO SEALED EDDIE CARR FIGURES. Again, whoever that is. But that’s what pushed me over the edge. One may have been mildly amusing, but two was ridiculously amazing.

I bought both of them. I mean, I had to. They had just survived the last seventeen years together intact on the cards. They had survived being opened, being scattered, being thrown out, being stored, being donated. And at the way this particular thrift store is organized, they had even survived making it to the same shelf together. At this point, splitting them up would be like finding a fossilized dinosaur tooth and yanking it up, while ignoring the entire jaw just beyond.

Besides, it’s like I’m rescuing these figures. Who else is going to buy it if not me? A parent who’s buying it for their dinosaur-loving kid? That would be like buying the Hope Diamond for your Bedazzler-loving kid. This is a rare artifact, and something like this belongs in the hands of only those with the specific knowledge and understanding of such things, like an archaeologist.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park came out in 1997, the much-anticipated follow-up to Jurassic Park. To me, it lacked the joy and wonderment of the first film, replaced with a sledgehammer plot about environmentalists and corporate swine squaring off over the fate of the dinosaurs. The target audience was no longer kids, but instead the fans of the darker and more cerebral Crichton novels. Except The Lost World wasn’t really like the book, either. No matter—The Lost World still ended up grossing a zillion dollars, even with mixed reviews and an admittedly-disenchanted Spielberg at the helm.

Bad plot and a phoning-it-in Jeff Goldblum aside, The Lost World commits a far worse offense in my book: a dog dies in the film. In a supremely hackneyed moment, the corporate guys somehow manage to bring the T-Rex back to San Diego (my head hurts). Maybe it’s supposed to be an artful nod to King Kong, but instead it’s just bad. Bad. And that’s when the T-Rex stomps through the suburbs and eats a dog for a snack.

What the hell, Spielberg? It’s kind of a taboo to kill the dog in the movies. The dog is always supposed to come back heroic at the end. The dog is supposed to leap through flames, lunge at the dinosaur’s neck, and save everyone at the end. The dog isn’t supposed to die.

Unforgivable, folks.

That they released a complete series of action figures related to the Lost World is a true testament to evil money-making geniuses at Kenner Toys. Which brings us back to Eddie Carr and just who he is:


In the film, Eddie Carr is the balding field equipment technician who is unceremoniously killed by a pack of raptors somewhere halfway through the movie. Kids will really want an action figure of this guy.

Seriously, this guy:


You got to hand it to the evil money-making geniuses. They didn’t have much to go on. At least they packaged him with an adorable baby Triceratops, which even then, feels at odds with the also-included “Capture Claw Launcher.” You know, for capturing and launching that adorable baby Triceratops over and over. For the sadistic kid, I guess. For the kid who went to see the movie and didn’t avow to boycott everything related to it because a dog died in it.

And now I own two figures of this guy. Which I proudly tacked up on my basement wall side by side. I’m more a collector of ideas than of objects. And I just like the idea that I randomly found two of them. Which I then wrote seven-hundred words commemorating while managing to compare it to the Hope Diamond. It’s okay. It’s normal. It’s archaeology.

17 thoughts on “Toy Archaeology

  1. Who would want to squirrel away TWO of that figure (I mean, besides you?) My guess is that actor’s mom or grandma live near you, and even they eventually tired of hanging on to two sealed action figures that don’t even look like their kid/grandkid.

  2. Haha, Eddie Carr doesn’t look happy about showing up in thrift stores, but maybe that tough look kept him safe for 17 years.

    I haven’t seen that Jurassic Park movie, but the thing about the dog reminded me a lot of Frankenweenie, which we just watched and I cried more than I care to admit. And it had a happy ending (spoiler?).

  3. I don’t know what’s sadder, you for stowing away two Eddie Carr figures, or me for knowing why Spielberg included the T-Rex rampaging in San Diego scene. I was reading Fangoria a lot back when the film came out, and they naturally had an article on it. Because nothing screams “horror!” more than Spielberg and dinosaurs.

    Anyway, as you guessed, Spielberg really didn’t enjoy making Jurassic Park II. So much so that he had already opted out of III, which was when the dinosaurs were supposed to make landfall. But Spielberg REALLY wanted to shoot dinosaurs tearing up a city. So, he tacked that scene on, so that he could have his cake (childhood dream of making a dinosaur tear down a city film) and eat it too (i.e. not show up a third time). ‘Cuz who can say “No” to Spielberg?

    1. Ha, interesting. Explains why that landfall section is so jarring in the movie.; I’m intrigued by the vision for III and what they came up with instead. I think I’m the only person who actually liked III. I love cheesy CGI pterodactyls and I like the awkwardly-nostalgic Dr. Grant storyline. Now there’s an actor phoning it in for an easy paycheck. I dunno, but the whole movie works for me.

  4. Pretty cool find mate.I myself collect Jurassic Park action figures/Dinosaurs and being in Australia thats no mean feat considering that most of the toylines had a limited if no release here.Im just lucky my partners American with an American ebay.Luv ya work!

  5. I’ve always loved The Lost World, just on a different level than Jurassic Park. I was still a kid when it came out and appreciated it being different but still being fun, and the dog-eating part may have been my favorite.

    Also, it’s too bad the Eddie figure doesn’t look more like Richard Schiff. I love that guy.

  6. This is one of the best damn articles about action figures I’ve ever read. Comparing buying one figure and not the other to an archaeologist discovering a fossilized tooth? The whole Hope Diamond comparison? BRILLIANT. I am completely sincere about this. Well done, sir.

  7. There are relatively few toy stores in my home town. The only store dedicated 100% to those beauties has this thing for sending their unsold merchandise to the farthest dephts of the building. The section reaks of dust and old plastic, but, oh man….the loot…the loot…

  8. AAAAAAAHhhhhhhhHH!!! You got Two Eddies!!!! Eddie Carr is my favorite action figure ever!!
    Well, before you torture and kill me, I’ll tell you my story:
    When I saw The Lost World toys I was amazed. I love these action figures. The movie? Which movie? I don’t care about the movie (I like Jurassic Park 1 only) but I love the toys! I love the “Indiana Jones” hats of Alan Grant and Eddie!
    I have Indiana Jones figures too but they’re less awesome then Eddie.
    I’m insane.
    Also, I love when dogs get eaten, they deserve it.

  9. “Unceremoniously killed by a pack of raptors”?!?

    He died trying to save three people trapped in an RV hanging off a cliff.

    He risked his life to get to them, his limbs to rig the winch, and he stayed in the drivers seat of that Mercedes SUV despite not one but TWO T-Rex’s baring down on him. He stayed at his post bravely mashing the gas pedal while in reverse trying to hold the RV from falling giving his friends the precious seconds they needed to secure themselves to the rope that EDDIE had thrown to them.

    He also secured the little girl up in the high blind where she would be safe.

    The man is a GOD DAMNED HERO. He saved both Vince Vaughn and Jeff Goldblum. His actions are directly responsible for saving the lives of four people.

    Even as the T-Rex’s tore apart the vehicle around him he held his post and that gas pedal. He didn’t do that for himsel, he did that to save his people because he was a beautiful, caring, selfless man.

    I think he deserves a presidential commendation for his bravery and for sacrificing his life to save his comrades.

    It’s the only scene in a movie where I’ve openly wept for such a great characters death.

  10. I had a “Bob” (Batman goon from Batman ’89, you may remember him as Joker’s “number one a-guy!”) action figure somehow and when I decided to be a ‘big man,’ I sold it in a garage sale for a buck or two. The day after and forever since I’ve regretted stepping up to sell something. Its on eBay (well, not MY Bob, but yeah..), so I can get it back someday. If/when I win the lotto, I should corner the market on Bob action figures. Seems fitting somehow. My duty / my heaven / my hell. All in one.

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