Archive | 12:01 am

A Tale of My Father: Black Friday

5 Dec

December 5, 2012

This is likely going to be the first of an occassional series of blogs about my father. He’s already turned up on in Forget It, Jake. It’s Chinatown and in New York Minute 13: King Kong, among others. He was in his own lifetime a figure of, well, I would be stretching it to call it legend, but that isn’t all that far off the mark. The oddest things happened to him, like when he was recognized by a midget who worked in Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park decades before while on vacation in Las Vegas. There was the time he refused to let an 8-seat airplane he was on take off when Dad discovered that the airport runway ended at the lip of a sheer cliff. One of my favorite memories was when he talked a Waldbaum’s employee into giving Dad the hat off his head just because Dad could. (That became my fishing hat.)

Today’s Tale takes place in the early to mid 1970’s. I was a young Kid Blog and for the holidays I wanted toys, and not just any toys, but the hottest boys toys of the era: Mego figures.


These figures were cool than and they are still cool now and they go for big bucks. Back then they were the hot toys of the season. I had a lot of them, and I still have my Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, but I was a HUGE Batman fan and I didn’t have them.

Black Friday in the 70’s was just as insane as it is today, if not more so. Sears was advertising these Mego figures and their accessories for an outrageous price, something so low that I can only imagine, since my Dad was the last person in the world who would get up on Black Friday while the sun was still down and line up waiting for Sears to open. But for his first-born son he did it.

As the story was told to me by my father, when he got there, about an hour before the store opened, it was already surrounded by shoppers. Nearly all of them were women too. They were nuts. As the minutes passed and the opening hour approached, the crowd squeezed tighter and tighter, with the people in the front pressed into the glass storefront. Dad actually saw the glass starting to bow inward and he was sure the glass was about to shatter.

Soon an employee, who had to have drawn the short straw, came forward to open the doors and he couldn’t. The crowd was pressed so firmly against the doors that the lock would not turn due to all the pressure on it. Of course none of the women backed up, they just got more excited over the idea of the store opening and pushed harder. There were no barricades, no security guards, just rabid bargain-demanding shoppers and only a thin plate of glass keeping them back. 

Finally the doors unlocked and they flew, at almost sonic speed, inwards and the mob surged in. The guy unlocking the door was knocked over and trampled. Dad, who managed to get pretty close to the front, saw the tidal wave of people knock over mannequins, leap over displays, and toss tables aside. They fought with each other and tore things out of each other’s hands. It was an insane experience that Dad vowed never to repeat. They pushed, they shoved, the punched, they grabbed, they kicked.

And though I never asked how, Dad got me the figures, all of them: Batman, Robin, the Joker, Riddler, and The Penguin. Whenever he talked about that day he would get a look in his eye, like was back in the store, as if Dad was experiencing, in his own very small way, PTSD.

But whatever happened, not only did he get me the figures, he got out of there with the Batcopter and Batcave too.



That’s my Dad.

%d bloggers like this: