The popular vintage toy based TV show “Toy Hunter”, hosted by Jordan Hembrough, is apparently now on indefinite “hiatus”, and is unlikely to return.
Will we ever see another vintage toy show like it?
Some time ago I wrote about the TV show Toy Hunter, and how I thought it was a fun show that did a good job of showcasing vintage toys within the context of buying and selling them. It was also the only mainstream TV show I had ever come across that was based around the fun of collecting vintage toys.
But sadly it seems as though Toy Hunter won’t be back for another season.
The show has been on the air since 2012 and has run for three seasons, following the escapades of New Jersey toy dealer Jordan Hembrough as he tracks down rare toys for his own toy business.
Toy News International has reported on comments by Jordan that suggest the show is now on-hold, but that he could be returning as part of a new project with a more “international” flavour in the future…
The show was not cancelled, my contract was up after four years, and I wanted to work on something else. I got a “once in a lifetime” chance to work with not only a movie studio, but a theme park as well.. and still continue commentary for both Marvel and DC. It was simply “the next level” for me. Something is being developed for the International Market… that is really all I can say right now. Yes, I will be attached to the project. – Jordan Hembrough
Jordan also stated that while he did receive a lot of support, there was also some online hate over the show’s tendency to focus on his efforts to turn a profit from the collectibles he finds.
I put myself out there. I opened myself up to the market, and collectors.. and fans. Some people still hate me for it and to this day.. and choose to make comments about from the anonymity of a computer keyboard. I see vile and hurtful posts about me and my business on social media sites.. from people I dont even know, not have ever met. Guess what… it hurts. For the most part, however, people enjoyed it. It brought back memories and really put the collectors in a positive light. – Jordan Hembrough
Toy Hunter has been regular viewing for me ever since it debuted in 2012, and apparently I wasn’t alone with the show rating quite well in all of the countries it aired.
If you’ve never seen the show, you should give it a go. While predominantly a fan of action figures, sci-fi and comic book related merchandise, Jordan did feature a wide range of toy collectibles from the trivial to the spectacular – with the vast majority dating from the 1970s and 1980s. It also featured at least half a dozen R/C cars throughout it’s run, although most were only noteworthy for their connection to other properties (such as Spiderman, Batman etc), and none were hobby-grade.
Still, it was the fun of seeing people geek-out over the items from their childhood that made the show so worthwhile.
It also taught me that a rare mint-in-packet Wonder Woman action figure that was only ever released in Australia is now worth up to US$28,000 (!)…
I also learned that if you hunt down a rare “KISS” branded R/C car for Gene Simmons (you can see it on the table in the image below), he won’t actually buy it from you. Instead he’ll pay you with a gift of his own memorabilia (he gave Jordan a signed, framed record – to which Jordan later quipped on YouTube that “My first instinct was like – oh this sucks“)…
(I highly recommend you watch that entire Youtube interview too, as it reveals plenty about the show)
I also learned that Darryl McDaniels, aka “D.M.C.” from legendary rap trio Run-D.M.C is a huge fan of vintage toys, and has a thing or two to say about the toys of today…
Incidentally, Darryl is also a big fan of Kyosho R/C models, as evidenced by his appearance in Kyosho’s 50th Anniversary booklet on page 13…
Meanwhile we learned that Vanilla Ice is a huge fan of vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle play sets (he did after all appear in the 1991 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and even composed the theme song “Ninja Rap” – ahh, you’ve gotta love the early 1990s)…
All in all, Toy Hunter showed us some pretty crazy collectors willing to spend a small fortune to own certain rarities, plus a huge variety of vintage toys – everything from vintage colorforms, to rare Thundercats and Star Wars figure prototypes that are almost priceless.
Best of all though, was Jordan’s energetic personality. Without it, the show wouldn’t have been a hit. And obviously much of the show’s plot was carefully pre-planned in as much as the producers knew where to send their charge, to find vintage toy gold. But that’s to be expected – TV viewers expect a show to finish with a punch line. Half an hour of watching a guy rummage through dusty attics only to come up empty-handed, would have made for pretty dull TV!
Let’s hope Jordan returns with something equally fun in the future, or that perhaps some other network will give the green light to a similar program.