When brothers Roy and Walt Disney started their company on October 16, 1923 their goal was to make animated features that would delight and entertain children of all ages. The success of their company gave birth to Disney Land, a place where parents and children alike could have fun. The collective imaginations at Disney have given the world numerous iconic characters that have delighted several generations of happy people.
But as we all know, the world can be a sketchy place. For every one Disney, there are probably dozens of companies that would rather profit from someone else's hard work, than create any original idea of their own. In America, we have some pretty strong copyright laws that protect the intellectual property of its creators. Our legal system frowns upon such theft, and any such infringement is likely to end up with a law suit.
The world at large, however, doesn't always have such a motivated interest. Especially to protect another countries assets. Typically, these are countries where they have MUCH bigger problems than someone producing knock-off merchandise. This is where most of these Disney abominations came from... and they miss so hard. Here are just 25 Disney Bootlegs that keep us up at night!
“Gawrsh!” that kinda looks like Goofy. Except with a steroid-induced body and some chiseled abs. First, let's examine the bizarre nature of this character in its normal state. If Pluto is obviously a dog (walks on all fours, barks, doesn't wear clothes), then what in the heck is Goofy? He is technically described as a large anthropomorphic dog with a southern drawl. He is typically portrayed as slow or dimwitted, with occasional flashes of genius. So in the Disney world, dogs are dogs, unless they aren't. Got it.
So it would be plausible that this “Goofe” could be cast as a wrestler. He's got pretty tough looking all-black wrestlers tights. Although the placement of the 'G' on his lime green boxers is a bit uncomfortable... why not on his chest? Because that would make sense and this product obviously doesn't care about making sense.
Check out Goofe's opponent on the box art. That's right, they've got him wrestling Pluto the dog. The sadistic part is seeing how Goofe the wrestler has the dog's arm twisted so many times it looks like a pretzel. That's Mickey's dog! And look at the expression on Mickey's face. He is cheering against his own dog! That's messed up.
So this is obviously supposed to be The Little Mermaid. Either the language barrier or a weak attempt at avoiding a law suit provided that completely wrong label. It's bizarre how some of these products seem to try and skirt any legal repercussions by changing just enough of their product to avoid going to court. But then they copy enough of the license that it becomes laughably obvious what they're ripping off.
I'm curious to know what changes are intentional, and which ones are just the product of lazy or uninformed toy makers. For instance, if we were to do a Little Mermaid knockoff, we'd think they would have gotten Ariel's trademark red hair correct. It's one of her most defining features! If someone made a mermaid with long red hair, we could call it pretty much anything and most would still see Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Especially when the the box art is covered with characters from the movie.
Well, one character at least. I don't remember a red dolphin. As for what the makers of this toy chose to call this cheap imitation, that's a whole other mystery. The logistics of having a mermaid as a lover are way to confusing for me to even contemplate.
Once again I wonder if the name is a mistake, or a not very well thought out attempt at avoiding a law suit. I have to assume that the makers of this toy just screwed up on their translation. Because just changing the word “story” to “special,” but then appropriating the art and characters from the movie is not going to do much to avoid any legal troubles. As far as knock-offs go, they got it mostly right. Except for those eyes.
You can see the picture of Buzz Lightyear on the box, wearing a “To infinity... and beyond!” look on his face.
But the look in the eyes of this toy Buzz says, “I think I just had an accident in my space suit and I am unsure of how to proceed from here.” The side of the box suggests to kids that they should “collect them all.” So they made a whole line of Toy Special 3 toys! How frightening. Obviously, the creators of this mistake had a firm grasp of the source material. Notice the Sheriff Woody portrait included next to Buzz Lightyear's face. I am guessing that prosecuting copyright infringement in other countries is rather difficult or the makers of this toy would find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
I am going to obsess over this single question for most all of these entries. Did they intentionally spell this wrong to avoid legal trouble, or did they intend to do a direct rip off of the source material and just accidentally got it wrong? The makers seem to understand the characters details enough to replicate the major players from Monsters Inc., but then invert the “M” to a “W” (easy enough mistake for someone that's unfamiliar with our alphabet).
They even got the “eye” that appears in the original movies logo inside the “W.” So it is truly confusing as to why they get some details spot on, but then miss the mark so hard with others?
The box boasts that it includes, “Roll a scare super”, so I am guessing we are dealing with a toy maker for whom English is not their primary language. The top of the box also proclaims, “Monster funny”. So they did know the English word “monster”, but then basically created a whole new word for the actual toy name.In the movie, monsters used portals to scare children and harvest their screams. Believe me, you don't even want to know what “Wonsters” harvest.
It's interesting how the concept of slapping a cartoon character onto any old piece of merchandise is an idea that seemingly works in any culture. Just think about the plethora of kids cereals who all have some kind of cartoon mascot. Their sole existence is to pimp sugary bowls of cereal to our kids. So many of those cereal icons are instantly recognizable. And all they represent is cereal! It's no wonder the folks in marketing recognize the power that established cartoon characters have to elevate the visibility of their product and create positive associations with consumers.
So when a company tries this tactic, but only manages to make a creepier version of the real thing... it just seems so wrong.
Just take a look at Mickey and Minnie Bear up there. They aren't fooling anyone with their Mister and Miss Bear labels. Apparently the difference between a cartoon mouse and a cartoon bear is the size of the ears and maybe some puffy cheeks. Because everything else is obviously Mickey and Minnie Mouse, only just wrong enough to make us feel uncomfortable. Speaking of uncomfortable, I never did understand why mice, I mean, bears wore the big, over-sized gloves? Mice hands must be wicked difficult to draw.
My brain has this annoying habit of wanting to make sense of the world. Which is why I can usually be seen walking around looking vaguely confused. And it's things like this mish-mash of incorrectness that makes my head spin.
This is apparently the super-secret Marvel vs Disney crossover that nobody has ever talked about. They at least got the box title matched correctly with the right super heroes. That is indeed the Avengers and a pretty faithful rendition of their logo. But the glaring error here is obviously Buzz Lightyear. He has a look on his face like he totally knows he'ss in the wrong package, but is secretly hoping nobody will notice. That's actually not a bad plot idea for a Toy Story movie.
I'm not sure who the bald fella in blue is, but I'm pretty sure that's The Thing in the upper right hand corner. The Thing is a Marvel universe character, so points for at least being in the ballpark there. No idea why he's so little in comparison to Buzz. Apparently, they just threw whatever toys they had laying around under some shrink wrap, stapled it to some leftover Avengers card-stock, and called it a day.
I am a fan of cross-over mash-ups as much as the next guy, but this one comes off a bit disturbing. This is some deranged minds attempt to take a Transformer and cross-breed it with Mickey Mouse. The concept of a machine that transforms into another machine makes perfect sense. A machine that transforms into Mickey Mouse is something that would make Walt Disney cry. My first question is, “What exactly does this Mickey machine transform into?” Judging by the illustration at the top of the package, a little rolling nightmare.
Frankly, it looks like a serious case of lazy toy design.
It's too much of a mouse to be a robot, and too much of a robot to be a mouse. It's almost cute enough because anything Mickey Mouse is generally pretty friendly looking, but then they gave it those cold, black, lifeless machine eyes. Those eyes that gaze sullenly into your soul while whispering, “Yes. There was a mouse here. He is gone now. We are now one. Assimilation complete.” This is obviously from an Asian market which is notoriously fanatical about their robots and sci-fi pop culture. But let's stick to the robot monsters and leave Mickey Mouse out of it. Mmmmmkay?
The only thing this "Bear of the Interest" is interested in is the harvesting of children's souls. I can understand the language barrier that might have resulted in this peculiarly named toy, but those glowing soulless eyes? What toy manufacturer decided to have Pooh Bear's eyes light up like some possessed toy from a Poltergeist outtake?
Something is very wrong with the mouth as well. I am assuming this has some sort of animatronic feature that makes the bears mouth twitch in spastic attempts to simulate speech. I can only wonder what kind of demonic noise comes from within, as it stares at you with those light up eyes of the damned?
I totally get that other countries might try and copy successful brands in order to increase sales. But I am seriously concerned for the children of those countries when, instead of making a fun-loving, pudgy, rolly-polly bear with a obsession for honey, they end up producing this nightmare inducing creation. I've seen a fair amount of Winnie The Pooh, and I don't remember the episode where his eyes light up like a Halloween jack-0-lantern.
I can only imagine what their take on the manic-depressive Eeyore looks like. Actually, I don't even want to picture that. I need to sleep tonight.
Why is so hard for foreign toy companies to get Mickey Mouse right? He is a lovable, happy-go-lucky mouse who tends to laugh his way through any problems life might toss at him. What this company has created, belongs in a Stephen King movie! I'm not sure what got lost in translation, but this Mickey Mouse obviously has rabies. They paid enough attention to the original character to give his front hands gloves, and his rear feet shoes. But then they put him down on all fours in an attack position.
I understand that in reality, mice run on all fours.
But since we suspended reality to dress the mouse up in clothes, why did they do away with having him walk like the anthropomorphic mouse this was based upon? Putting Mickey down on all fours, with that grin full of monster teeth, really takes this from being a fun toy to something that is going to make a little kid cry. It is truly bizarre the parts that they copy, and the parts that they just make up. Even the 'brand' name of this company is “Winner.” But they use a similar font as Disney, with that little loop on the W that they normally use on the D. Who they kidding?
And here we have some voodoo dolls for when you really want revenge on an animated Disney character. These could almost qualify as cute. But then you stare into those eyes. And those eyes stare right back into your soul. Those eyes have seen things, man. That is the thousand yard stare of someone that has witnessed something so tragic that words fail to capture the horror. It goes past fear, and paralyzes the body with the stunned expression of someone that is going to be scarred for life.
The Goofy doll, or what I assume is a Goofy knock-off, is the only one who can keep his mouth shut and process the unimaginable dread. The three Mickey's and the Donald Duck are all slack-jawed, frozen in their eternal suffering. They tried to scream, but their mouths just stuck that way. One can only speculate on the event that caused such terror.
On a much lighter note, what is the logic with the clothes in the Disney universe? Even bootlegs tend to get the clothing fairly right. But that leaves me wondering, why does Donald Duck have a shirt and no pants, while Mickey Mouse has pants, but no shirt? Goofy gets both. Makes no sense, even on a bootleg.
Sometimes to skirt copyright laws, the creators of these toys take a loose interpretation of the source material. This can lead to creations that are so outside of the original material, it boggles the mind. At no point, ever, did Winnie The Pooh ride a quad? He lives in the forest. Because he is a bear. Who likes honey. He wasn't tearing around on four wheels while Piglet rides in back. Points for at least keeping the vibe of this toy fun. Pooh actually looks like he's enjoying his four-wheeled ride.
The box art is a bit confusing, though, as it shows Pooh and Tigger dancing excitedly at the arrival of Pooh on a quad-runner.
Why not just picture Pooh on the cycle with the other characters dancing around? The doppelgänger effect just confuses an already confusing scene. If they took this concept to the next level and gave ALL the Winnie the Pooh characters their own ride, this could swing from just weird to totally awesome. They should have just run with the concept and turned the whole bunch into the worlds cutest biker gang. Of course, Eeyore would be the enforcer since he has the most issues with coping and could snap at any second. Eeyore is my favorite.
This one is just bizarre, but at least it's intentionally bizarre. This is actually a piece by artist David Bondi. Right away you know that Mr. Bondi thinks that he's a clever boy by writing his name in the Disney font. This toy is a mash-up of Disney's Pinocchio and Tezuka's Astroboy.
The figure is cast in a bright yellow resin that is black-light sensitive so that it will glow under the appropriate lighting. The mash-up kind of makes sense as it takes two boys from different worlds and timelines and combines them together into something fun, if not weird.
The toy comes with a card-stock that illustrates the parts of the robot skeleton inside the 'wooden' boy. The artist even put a lot of thought into the backstory here. “This is the story of Astronocchio - The real boy who wanted to be a robot. He sought the wisdom of Krishna, Buddha and the God of Abraham. They told him to forsake all desire to see the truth. It was revealed: suffering and happiness, love and hate, compassion and cruelty, all manifesting at once in the great catastrophic being. He was no longer human. His finger pulled the trigger, but it was someone else.”
Why oh why must they keep making Mickey Mouse so scary looking? There must be something about his over-all jovial nature that just begs toy bootleggers to morph the mouse into monster proportions. It kind of looks like they slapped some Mickey Mouse gloves and shoes unto an old He-Man action figure, spray painted it black, and then stuck on a crazy angry Mickey head. And we aren't talking rage-like anger. We are talking that brutal cold and calculated anger. The kind of anger that comes from years of plotting revenge in a tiny cell.
This Mickey has done hard time.
This Mickey has seen things. This Mickey is out for revenge for all the mice who fell for all the traps before him. Never mind his pants still have two cute little buttons to hold them up. This is not about buttons dammit! This is about a mouse who was trapped behind bars. Honing his physique into a machine of destruction. The more I look at this, the more I am convinced this could be like a World Wrestling Federation spin-off animation series. Take all the Disney crew, throw them in the slammer for about 10 years, then make them fight. Sorry, all these dark Disney characters are starting to effect me.
This entry takes weird to a whole new level. Admittedly, I do like trying to pronounce, “Star Warsiors” and if I saw this on a toy shelf, it'd soon find a place in my home. It looks like a cross between Yoda from Star Wars and George Jefferson. I've got the whole, “There is no try... do or do not” speech running through my head, but with the agitated voice of George 'moving on up' Jefferson. Tell me you wouldn't pay full ticket price to see that movie. I dare you to look me in the eye and refuse this.
Butchering a translation in language is completely understandable, but how Yoda ended up with a mustache and goatee is beyond perplexing. They got his clothing, little walking stick, and trademark ears correct... but just completely missed the mark on the face.
The packaging is equally confusing. It has references to the "Karate Farmer," which I am assuming is supposed to be from The Karate Kid. But why he is included in the Star Warsiors universe is anybody's guess. Wise Puppet is actually a pretty close guess at what Yoda is, which makes that face-miss all the more funky. As for the “Door Ladder,” I can't even fathom a guess as to what that is supposed to be.
My inner-third grader is still giggling over “Pooh train.” Although that awful bio-mechanical hybrid of Winnie the Pooh assimilated by a train pretty much squashes all those childish smiles. Why couldn't it just be Pooh Bear driving the train? Or riding on the train? Why does the train have to have been morphed into part of his body? The smokestack is coming out of his back! I don't care if it emits light and music, they are only to cover up the unholy screams of a bear that's fallen victim to some crazed toy-maker's nightmare.
The word 'pleasure' stamped on the side looks more like a trap than a promise.
What is pleasurable about this rolling horror show? At least the Pooh and Tigger on the box are happy. That picture was before Dr. Scary brought them into the super-secret toy lab, though. You don't even want to know what they did to Tigger. “This will be a gift to give children the best” promises the box. The best what? Head-start on some serious psychotherapy from the night-terrors this Pooh Train is sure to inspire? The best chance at wondering why Santa Claus hates them so much? How about, “The best lesson about why you don't buy bootleg Disney toys.”
You remember that part in Star Wars where Darth Vader worked for the highway patrol and pulled over the Millennium Falcon for doing light speed in a 55 mile per hour zone? Yeah, me neither. I can almost make sense of calling Darth Vader a star knight. If one had never seen a Star Wars movie and was shown a picture of Mr. Vader with his glowing red light saber, mistaking him for a knight from the stars would be understandable.
However, in what bizarro world would he then be at home on top of a police motorcycle? Although if someone actually put together a C.H.I.P.S. and Star Wars crossover, that would be quite awesome. It still doesn't explain why Darth Vader would work for the cops. Does that mean the rebel alliance are actually the bad guys? It wouldn't be the first Star Wars fan theory to suggest that.
But instead of Tie-Fighters and Death Stars, there would be motorcycles and doughnut shops. Because even Star Knights like doughnuts. It's a cop thing. I'm wondering if this was the only toy released from this line? I'm curious as to what role Luke, Han Solo, and Chewie play in this crazy universe where one of the most powerful Sith Lords works for the fuzz.
More like In Every Sense of Wrong Alliance, amirite?? The number of copyright lawsuits this one package alone contains enough legal paperwork to employ a whole team of lawyers for years. Saban Entertainment has claim to that Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger. DC holds the rights to Superman and Batman. Spider-Man is a Marvel creation. One of the vehicles from the Cars movie is from Disney. And, last but not least, we have Shrek from Dreamworks! Put'em all together and what do you have? The craziest Sense of Right Alliance ever created! As if they hadn't stuffed enough variants into one package, the card-stock throws in some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and one of the family members from The Incredibles just for good measure.
Whoever made that packaging at least had some sense of the source material.
Look at the Shrek on the box art. Now compare that to the bug eyed golem in green they created for the toy. The look on its face shows that this toy knows full well it doesn't belong in this group. Neither does the car, but cars are notoriously clueless and lack the self-awareness of fictional ogres. They got the colors right for Superman and Spider-Man, but Batman is an inexplicable teal. And his head is also squished in a way that's just not right. Nothing is right about this package. My inner nerd has a headache.
Except for the movie title, they actually got the packaging right here. Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Bullseye the horse are all smiling at us, even though they know darn well they were never in any Space Boys 3. The creepy factor comes in with that mutant they are trying to pass off as a Sheriff Woody. Why are his hands so huge?
We can chalk up the misprint of the title as either a translation error, or more likely a tepid attempt at avoiding a copyright claim. But in what culture of the world do they blow up characters hands like they have some kind of case of plastic gout? This has to be frightening to any child. Even Woody has a look on his face like, “My hands! What did you do to my hands?!”
All those hands would be good for is pummeling all the other toys into submission. He could do an impressive Incredible Hulk impression as he screamed, “Woody smash!”. From what I've learned from the Toy Story movies, being a toy already comes with a long list of challenges. Blowing up their hands like a couple of water-balloons isn't making things easier for anyone, especially the unlucky kid who gets to play with this.
While I don't think this is technically a bootleg, it really should be. A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away... the producers of Star Wars figured out that they could cash in by slapping their logo onto a wide array of products. The actions figures have done quite well to say the least. But there should be a line. And waaaaay on the other side of that line is this badly planned creation. In case you haven't figured out from the picture, the tongue is a candy sucker. So yeah, you suck on Jar Jar Binks' gnarly looking tongue.
The head closes up around the sticky treat to keep it fresh in case you can't get through the whole thing in one sitting.
Tell me you wouldn't want those bug eyes staring you right in the face as you wrap your mouth around an alien tongue. I got a little sick just typing that. There were already about 78 reasons to hate Jar Jar Binks. His character was so bad, fans have re-cut The Phantom Menace with all of the Jar Jar scenes deleted. This is basically a waste of good candy because even kids draw the line at putting something that grotesque in their mouth. At least I hope they would.
I tried so hard to find the packaging for this one, but to no avail. This is obviously another Woody from Toy Story. There seems to be an abundance of Toy Story bootlegs. I guess it is sort of a no brainer that if you are going to make some knock-off toys, you start with a movie about toys.
But what happened to this Woody? He looks like he's under the influence of something. Or perhaps he has finally come to terms with his toy existence. The whole premise of the Toy Story movie hinges on the toys learning to cope with the rules of their existence. This Woody understands he is a toy. That is his purpose. And with that purpose comes peace.
Usually, these bootlegs end up on the wrong side of creepy. This one... is just relaxed. Which is still confusing and a just a bit disturbing. He's got little pegs on his legs so I am guessing he had a horse at one point in his life. His bowlegged stance and hand position also suggest he was riding and holding the reigns. I wish I could be half as much at ease with my existence as this blissed-out Woody.
Once you're done trying to actually pronounce this (go ahead, it's kinda fun), you'll probably realize that this was supposed to be a Finding Nemo toy. Apparently it was rather loud on the toy factory floor when they explained what this was supposed to be called. They had to yell out the last couple of letters twice, not realizing the guy heard him the first time. So we get a Findinging Nemomo. They mostly nailed the characters. Sort of.
I think that Angel Fish is supposed to be Gill from the fish tank and the other clown fish with no white stripes might be a poorly designed father to Nemo.
But there was a surfing turtle. And like so many of these toys, they screw up the eyes. These are all in a perpetual state of frozen shock, wondering who the heck Nemomo is. I like that Bruce the Shark is featured front and center. And yes, his name really is Bruce. Hands down, Bruce, the great white shark. was the coolest character in that movie . If they couldn't have a Bruce the Shark toy included, at least they got him front and center on the packaging. Remember, “fish are friends, not food.” But maybe these fish are ones I wouldn't wanna be friends with.
So close, yet so far. It just boggles my mind how they can get so much right, then call it Donkey Brains. That's so not even in the ballpark. I wonder if this where that laid back Woody from a few pictures ago came from?
By the way, in case you haven't seen a Toy Story, that is actually a horse that Sheriff Woody there is riding. His name in the movies is Bullseye. The picture they used for the packaging is spot on. The toy is a bit cringe-worthy with how they have the bridle wedged into the horses, I mean, donkey's mouth. There seems to be a fine line between a cartoon-ish grin and the grimace of intense, searing pain.
The box promises sound and lights. So this abomination makes noise and illuminates its own flawed existence. The packaging also boasts some features about the tail and moving feet, but no explanation of why we should call this Donkey Brains. Bullseye never had a blanket on him either. Aha! That's because this is NOT Bullseye, but rather, Donkey Brains. All it takes is a blanket with some crudely drawn x's to go from Bullseye the horse, to Donkey Brains... the donkey?
I am pretty sure the first bootleg stuffed toys I ever saw was at a small town fair in the middle of Wisconsin. I knew what the various knock-offs were supposed to be, but something was always slightly askew. I am sure I had little idea of copyright infringement, but even my 6 year old brain knew that something was shady about these all these fair toys. So when I saw these monstrosities hanging above an obvious sucker-bet carnival game, my inner child shuddered. Winnie the Puff. Why not just misspell “Pooh?” They went with Puff.
The Minnie Mouse isn't too bad at least.
The words on her heart are almost classy cute. But I'm getting bad vibes from the Minnie on the far left. What happened to its body? Legs attached to a head is beyond lazy toy making. There looks to be a piglet or two on the other side. I've always been a bit put off on how these guys are always displayed. Suspended by invisible nooses, lifelessly awaiting a home, but rarely finding one because those games are usually rigged. Those big stuffed animals are nothing more than bait for your money because this ain't Disney World, son.
When Disney and Pixar struck gold with their Cars franchise, of course copy-cat toys would soon follow. You've got to admire the thinking here. What is the essence of cars that make them so super-cool and car-like? It's gotta be the wheels. Without them, all you have is a chunk of metal with a steering wheel and roll down windows. Or a car that's been in a bad neighborhood too long.
Full disclosure, I have not seen any of the Cars movies. I'm sure they're cute, as are all Pixar movies. But the question these toy makers asked before making this was, "how do you make cars even cooler?" The answer is to stick on some more wheels. A ridiculous amount of wheels. Add so many wheels that the whole function of the machine now comes into question and people even wonder if it still qualifies as a car.
While it does admittedly look kind of rad, I have my doubts as to how it actually rolls. “Who cares if it rolls?” says the toy designer. “Just look at it. Look at all the wheels!” And no argument was to be had. Because I typically don't get into those kinds of arguments with the voices in my head.
And we will end this list with something so disturbing that it's hard to look away from. The eyes, man. What did they do to the eyes? I can't stop staring at them staring at me. And when I do finally wrench my gaze away from those hypnotizing glares, my brain stutters on whatever they did to that camels mouth. It's like the guy who was painting this said to his boss, “I got this nailed, but like I told you... I can't do camel's mouths. Some people can't draw hands. With me, it's camels mouths.”
The boss said, “I don't care. Make something happen. This is due tomorrow.”
So the guy took a selfie, Photoshopped out his mouth and slapped it on the camel. “People will be so hung up on the eyes that stare right into your soul that they will barely notice the human mouth on the camel”. I can only imagine the horrors that await some kid within this coloring book. Aladdin there on the cover is swooping in like he knows this is all so terribly wrong. He's got a look of determination that says he's out to destroy this evil genie and his dark spawn of a human-camel. So make sure you color in the lines, children.