Cutting Hitch Down to Size

Inside Mondo's new collectibles line

Cutting Hitch Down to Size

Alfred Hitchcock famously treated his actresses like living dolls, micromanaging their looks down to the exact shade of (icy) bottle blond and pushing them to their physical and emotional limits (Tippi Hedren, for one, went briefly catatonic after a particularly punishing day on The Birds set). Turnabout, as they say, is fair play, and soon enough you'll have the chance to subject a sixth-scale Hitch to all kinds of horrors ... or you could just give him a place of pride on the mantle and marvel at how gosh-durn cool he is.

Tiny, toy Hitch comes courtesy of Mondo, the Austin-based art gallery and online purveyor of posters, T-shirts, and other pop-culture miscellany. Mondo has been quietly contemplating a move into collectibles since 2010, CEO Justin Ishmael relates, but the wheels kicked into (secret) high gear this past year. "[It wasn't] necessarily like, 'lock the door and turn up the music, we're talking about toys right now' – it wasn't that type of secrecy," Ishmael says. "But it was something that we really wanted to debut the correct way, which I think was at San Diego Comic-Con."

Last month, the Mondo team arrived at Comic-Con's Exhibit Hall to show off a hand-painted Hitchcock prototype, as well as a 16-inch Iron Giant figure based on files from the 1999 film ("completely screen-accurate ... very intricate, highly detailed, lots of articulation") and vinyl Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles inspired by the original comics, rather than the more widely known Nineties animated version. The reception, from both fans and other collectible makers, was great, Ishmael reports.

Tweaks are still being made to the Hitchcock prototype, which has been approved by the filmmaker's estate. (Ishmael hopes to start taking preorders by the end of 2014 or early 2015.) "There are little things we want to change here and there. One of the ideas we had was – since this is a sixth-scale figure scaled down from a real person – we're going to email his estate and ask for his measurements for his suit, because we're going to try to replicate his suit. That means if he has a size-52 jacket, we'll make a smaller size-52 jacket and then essentially fill him up to where his actual girth, his actual shape would be represented properly."

Truth be told, prototype Hitch does seem a little slim in the picture.

"It's very flattering, yes. We're going to chubby him up a little bit. ... That's just one of the fun things about toys that I never thought would happen – the kind of problem-solving that you have to do."

With the flagship line, Ishmael stressed that they wanted to show diversity. But more importantly, a Mondo toy has to meet a simple criterion: "Basically, anything that's cool. Anything that we're fans of and that makes sense, that we think that you guys would like, too."

Next week is Hitchcock Week at the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series! Ten films from the Master of Suspense screen Aug. 12-17 at the Paramount and sister venue Stateside. See Special Screenings for the lineup.

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