Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pauls Valley, OK: Where All The Action Is

There are some very focused and very bizarre museums out there, devoted to the strangest of collections. There is a museum devoted entirely to collectible lunch boxes in Columbus, Georgia. One can gaze at over 20,000 salt and pepper shakers at the eponymous museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. And, of course, Loren Coleman's menagerie of crypto critters in Portland, Maine. But if you're like most guys (and the little boys inside us still), you (and some women, too) will be happy to know that there is a museum dedicated to slaking your lust for action.

Action figures, that is.

Yep, sitting along I-35 in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma like an oft-beloved roadside oddity of our childhood, is the Toy and Action Figure Museum. The collection boasts some 10,000 items and is a giant plastic tribute to the impactful realm of toys, comics, and figurines (and we're not talking LladrĂ³ here).

The museum is the inner-brainchild of collector and artist Kevin Stark who, in 2000, persuaded the local city council that the town needed an attraction. After five years and a lot of effort, the museum opened its doors to an eager crowd. Thus far, the collection is going strong.

I, for one, love these things. And while I didn't stop to see what the "Thing" was on I-10 just past the Arizona border, I have been to places like the UFO Museum in Roswell. I have to say, these quirky little collections are an integral (and some would say essential) part of Americana. Roadside attractions, funky diners, and curious collections are among the quintessential elements that define the road trip and, ultimately, the American experience.

Should you get a hankerin' to see the Toy and Action Figure Museum, it is located at 111 S. Chickasaw in Pauls Valley, OK. You can visit their website at http://www.actionfiguremuseum.com/

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