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Yes, I'm Michael Crawford. No, I can't sing, and I have never had anything to do with the Phantom of the Opera. I've never even seen the Broadway show.

I am a toy collector. I have been for about 20 years now, starting in the mid-80's with kid's meal toys. I still have tons of them, and break down once in awhile and end up buying a bunch more.

I've been involved with the online toy collecting community for over 15 years, and here's a run down of some of my experiences. In some places you'll notice a ??? - that means I have to get my butt around to tracking down exact names or dates.

Online:

- in the early and mid-90's, I was very active with the news group rec.toys.misc, doing reviews, area reports, and running the annual RTeMmies, our version of the best of the year awards.

- in the mid-90's, I worked closely with several other folks to develop the mission and charter for the new newsgroup, rec.toys.action-figures.discuss.  RTAFD was the place to be back then, extending the size and membership of the older RTM.

- After doing reviews for the news groups for years (and having developed the style of review you see me use today with separate groupings for Sculpt, Paint, etc.), I was frustrated by the lack of photos and the fact that the reviews were lost to posterity.  I started this website in February of 2000 to counter those two main issues.

- in the early days of this site, I also wrote a column on toys for Comic Book Galaxy, a site that originally had many contributors managed by Alan David Doane, but which has become his regularly updated blog.

- for a year or so I also provided reviews for Yakface, all Star Wars related of course.

- I also write a regular weekly column for Kevin Smith's website, Quick Stop Entertainment.  It's called the Toy Box, and covers toys and collectibles, natch.  I've been writing the column since the very start of Kevin's first entertainment site, originally called Movie Poop Shoot.

- I have ran my own best and worst contests since the inception of this site (with the RTeMmies and the Taffies going back much further than that), and also did the People's Choice Awards where readers voted. Back in 2001, MROTW was mentioned on the big promotional sign at the Playmates booth at Toy Fair. Click here for the photo.  Expanding on that theme, in 2007 I began the Poppies.  These awards are voted on by industry judges, and are an industry event.

- I did several guest reviews for Eternal Collector, a website dedicated to showcasing people's collections.

- I've also provided reviews for Sideshow Collectible's own website, including Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Ardeth Bey, Invisible Man, The Monster Legacy DVD Set, Connor MacLoud, Outer Limits, the first Hot Toys Alien, and a brief history of collecting action figures.

- I've also been the subjed of a short cartoon. Yep, it's different, that's for sure!

Company Involvement:

I've provided opinions and consulting to a number of companies over the years, including Playmates, Sideshow, Mezco, Palisades, Toys R Us, Electronics Boutique and others.  The most direct and on going involvement was with the World of Springfield line from Playmates, a line that will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Another wonderful learning experience (I have to keep telling myself that) was my part ownership and investment in Flatt World Figures.  We got one action figure to market before going out of business, but that figure (Bela Lugosi as Dracula) was number 34 on Toyfare magazines Top 100 toys of the decade.

Interviews:

- Michael Miller did an interview with me that ran in the print version of the Toledo Free Press, as well as on his own website.

- Another print interview was with the Ann Arbor Magazine, a cool local full color pring mag.  I was in the section "Celebrities in our Midst", a monthly interview that covered someone local, obviously.  The month before myself was none other than Jeff Daniels.

- A third print interview I did was for Lo-Fi magazine.  I was their first "Geek of the Month" in an ongoing feature.

- Back when Palisades Toys were still in business, they did a regular 'Daily Bits' section, and I did an interview with them.

- I also did an interview for the Mezco Collector's Club website, as well as online interviews with The Toy Pirate and Poe Ghostal.

- I've provided background information and responded to questions with Monte Williams, who writes the column Lowbrow Literati at Pop Matters.  He also runs his own blog, Geek Creek, and did a nice interview/article on the site.

Photography:

My photos show up all over the place online, from advertising banners to avatars.  But there have been some notable print uses as well:

- Toyfare magazine used one of my Batman photos in issue #???.

- I provided a photo of the WOS Stephen Hawking for the U.K. print magazine ???.

- for their inaugural print issue, the Latavian DVD magazine Gidas DVD used a bunch of my photos to put together a full page spread in their very first issue.

- I'm in talks to have my photos used in the next edition of the board game ???.

- I've provided photos for a number of toy companies for their own marketing and publications, as well as for various online retailers and sellers.

Other Publications:

- I wrote a section of the informational encyclopedia The Mythical West. This non-fiction hard cover book covers the relationship between the Old West and our current pop culture, and I provided the entire chapter, text and photos, on action figures and the influence of the American West.  A book review from the Library Journal called out my section as one of the entries of interest within the book.

- I contributed commentary and background information for an Associated Press article on the Lara Croft character and toys, back when the second film hit theaters.

- I was the 'content advisor' for the text book on Global Products: Toys for the 21st Century Skills Library series of books.  This series was designed to teach 3rd to 5th grade students about a world economy and how globalization works, and this particular book focused on the toy industry.  Written by Kevin Cunningham, I was brought in to check facts and review the content, making suggestions where appropriate.

- I wrote an article on Indiana Jones collectibles for the Toledo Free Press that was in print on opening day of KOTCS.  It was picked up by the AP wire, and ran in a number of papers around the country.

- I've written a number of articles for Sideshow Collectibles that have been featured on their site, and am working on one on the history of collecting for their next print catalog.

- I was one of several featured contributors in an article in the August 2008 Playthings Magazine, the official magazine of the toy industry. They loved 'nerd hummel', btw.

If you have any questions, or just want to talk toys, please drop me an email!

 
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