The holiday season is upon us, and with it the inevitable chorus of quavering voices from the consumer safety folks. I greatly enjoy their "Ten Most Dangerous Toys" list every year, as it serves as an excellent guide for holiday gifts.
I can't read articles about toy safety anymore without channeling Mr. Irwin Mainway, president of Mainway Toys, and his fantastic line of hazardous toys. My all-time favorites are his "Johnny Space Commander Helmet" (a plastic bag and a rubber band), Johnny Combat Action costume (with real M-1 Garand rifle), the "Invisible Pedestrian" Halloween costume, and the Johnny Human Torch costume (a bag of oily rags and a lighter.)
Here's one of the old Irwin Mainway appearances on SNL, back when the show was funny.
Consumer Reporter: Good evening, and welcome to the holiday edition of "Consumer Probe". Our topic tonight is unsafe toys for children. For instance, this little bow and arrow set. [ holds up ] Pull the rubber suctions off, and the arrows become deadly missiles.
[ cut to full shot, showing Irwin Mainway seated to Joan's right ]
We have with us tonight, Mr. Irwin Mainway, President of Mainway Toys. Uh, Mr. Mainway, your company manufactures the following so-called harmless playthings: Pretty Peggy Ear-Piercing Set, Mr. Skin-Grafter, General Tron's Secret Police Confession Kit, and Doggie Dentist. And what about this innocent rubber doll, which you market under the name Johnny Switchblade? [ holds up doll ] Press his head, and two sharp knives spring from his arms. [ demonstrates ] Mr. Mainway, I'm afraid this is, by no means, a very safe toy.
Irwin Mainway: Okay, Miss, I wanna correct you, alright. The full name of this product, as it appears in stores all over the county, is Johnny Switchblade: Adventure Punk. I mean, nothing goes wrong.. little girls buy 'em, you know, they play games, they make up stories, nobody gets hurt. I mean, so Barbie takes a knife once in a while, or Ken gets cut. You know, there's no harm in that. I mean, as far as I can see, you know?
Consumer Reporter: Alright. Fine. Fine. Well, we'd like to show you another one of Mr. Mainway's products. It retails for $1.98, and it's called Bag O' Glass. [ holds up bag of glass ] Mr. Mainway, this is simply a bag of jagged, dangerous, glass bits.
Irwin Mainway: Yeah, right, it's you know, it's glass, it's broken glass, you know? It sells very well, as a matter of fact, you know? It's just broken glass, you know?
Consumer Reporter: [ laughs ] I don't understand. I mean, children could seriously cut themselves on any one of these pieces!
Irwin Mainway: Yeah, well, look - you know, the average kid, he picks up, you know, broken glass anywhere, you know? The beach, the street, garbage cans, parking lots, all over the place in any big city. We're just packaging what the kids want! I mean, it's a creative toy, you know? If you hold this up, you know, you see colors, every color of the rainbow! I mean, it teaches him about light refraction, you know? Prisms, and that stuff! You know what I mean?
Consumer Reporter: So, you don't feel that this product is dangerous?
Irwin Mainway: No! Look, we put a label on every bag that says, "Kid! Be careful - broken glass!" I mean, we sell a lot of products in the "Bag O'" line.. like Bag O' Glass, Bag O' Nails, Bag O' Bugs, Bag O' Vipers, Bag O' Sulfuric Acid. They're decent toys, you know what I mean?
Consumer Reporter: Well, I guess we could say that all of your toys are really unsafe and should rightfully be banned from the market. I guess I would just like to know what happened to the good ol' teddy bear.
Irwin Mainway: Hold on a minute, sister. I mean, we make a teddy bear. It's right here. [ picks up giant teddy bear ] It's got a nice little feature here, you see? I'll hold it up here. We call it a Teddy Chainsaw Bear. [ revs chainsaw in teddy bear's stomach ] I mean, a kid plays with saws, he can cut logs with it, you know what I mean.
Consumer Reporter: Well, this is certainly a very sad situation. One of the precious joys of Christmas warped by a ruthless profiteer like yourself.
Irwin Mainway: Well, that's just your opinion, you know what I mean?
Consumer Reporter: Well, I just don't understand why you can't make harmless toys like these alphabet blocks. [ points to blocks ]
Irwin Mainway: C'mon, this is harmless? Alright, okay, you call this harmless? [ holds block in hand ] I mean.. [ plays with block and fakes injury ] Aagghh!! I got a splinter in here, look at that! This is wood! This is unsanded wood, it's rough!
Consumer Reporter: Alright, that's enough of this ridiculous display. [ holds toy phone ] Here is another creative toy, safe enough for a baby!
Irwin Mainway: [ grabs phone ] You say it's safe, I mean, look at this cord.. the kid is on the phone - "Hello? Hello?" - then.. [ twists cord around his neck, screams, and falls backward in chair ] You know what I mean? It's an example! You see my point, a dangerous toy like that?
Consumer Reporter: Well, let's try this one. What about this little foam play ball? I mean, even you, Mr. Mainway, can't find anything dangerous about this. Huh?
Irwin Mainway: [ takes ball, bounces it on table, then shoves it in his throat and feigns choking ]
Consumer Reporter: That's all the time we have for "Consumer Probe" this week.
[ show fades black ]