Posted by
• 04.19.12 11:00 am

Please say hello to my “vintage” 1980s Tonka Plush Wrestling Buddy. The more I say that out loud, the more it sounds like some kind of creepy sex doll.

This soft, pillowy pal of mine, along with the Hasbro WWF action figures of the late eighties and early nineties, is now on the wrestling memorabilia-endangered-species list.

So with that in mind, you can probably imagine the nostalgic joy I felt one sunny spring afternoon in the year 2004, when I happened upon this sunken treasure of Hulkamania in a thrift store in the Clarke and Belmont area of Chicago.

You know, a thrift store. One of those neat places with a name like “Blast from the Past” or “Gems ’n’ Junk” where skinny guys in tweed coats and girls with armpit hair sell you unwashed clothes that might look cool if you wear them with a pair of giant sunglasses.

“This is so awesome,” I remarked to the clerk, as I placed my Hulk buddy on the checkout counter. “I bet this is probably worth a lot of money.”

The tight-panted, checkered-shirted, Buddy Holly-spectacled clerk just glared at me. He was squinting at me with such menace, I thought the rolled cigarette above his ear was going to jump off of his head.

“It’s sixteen dollars,” he said.

I was merely a freshman in art school and right then I realized I had broken a cardinal rule. I had alluded to the coolness (and actually attached value) to an object in a hipster-run thrift store. As a newcomer to the big city, what I hadn’t realized was that things I actually liked growing up, such as Iron Maiden T-shirts, for example, had now become objects of quasi-religious non-reverence in an age of post-irony. To suggest that the wrestling doll had any worth besides the junk-pile status assigned to it basically made me a total jerkoff in this guy’s eyes.

Even though he was dressed like a twink lumberjack with a haircut like Uncle Jesse from Full House.

In the interest of fairness, I probably did, in my nerdiness, assign too much worth to the doll . On eBay, it appears they are going for anywhere from thirty three to one hundred dollars. It’s necessarily “a lot” of money, but it’s not peanuts either.

Recently though, when I worked for Borders, I met Hogan at a book signing he gave at our store. After everyone had left, he gladly scrawled his name on his pillow-padded likeness. This may increase the net worth of my wrestling buddy, at least to some degree.

I also wonder if an interest in Hogan wrestling buddy dolls will spike on account of his recent sex-tape scandal, but I don’t wish to speculate any more about that for the time being.





  1. Guy who enjoys eating apples says:

    I once geeked out when I found a “Lil’ Penny” doll in a thrift store in Chula Vista south of San Diego. I too fucked up because I was so excited when I brought it to the register that the look on the face of the clerk was that he never knew they had a “Lil’ Penny” in the store so he took it behind the counter and said it wasn’t for sale. That fucker stole my Lil’ Penny.

  2. Nate says:


  3. gangstalicious says:

    oh man, i had one of these. i also had an incredible hulk sleeping bag. i thought wwf was so cool that i signed up for the wrestling team in second grade. obviously, it did not measure up and i ended up quitting after the first meet.

  4. Adolfo M. says:

    Chicago snide jerks love the smell of “vintage” farts. I know exactly what you mean.

  5. paul corvino's daughter says:

    i like that pic of jim carrey and brooke hogan you included at the bottom. brooke’s clothing is colorful and inventive. and jim’s headband is the same one my mom used to wear to going to health club in the 80’s lol

  6. Beef says:

    Hmm, I wonder if this hipster thinks everyone who works and shops at that thrift store are hipsters?

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