14 Awesome and/or Perplexing Collectibles of Dune

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 8:07 am
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Longtime TR readers might remember my "salute" to David Lynch's Dune movie, a film that was epic, visually stunning and well-acted... but also confusing, uneven and occasionally downright goofy. Among the film's many problems is that it was also poorly marketed. It was 1984, and Universal was hoping they had the new Star Wars on their hands, because the biggest lesson most of Hollywood took away from the success of the Star Wars trilogy was the merchandising. Just hold on tight to those licensing rights, and get ready for a deluge of sweet, sweet revenue. License anything and everything, because that's where the real money's at!

What Universal failed to realize is that while Star Wars was kid-friendly, Dune was anything but -- anyone who's either seen the movie or read the book could tell you in a second that it's neither appropriate for, nor appealing to youngsters. This meant Universal licensed a ton of merchandise for a movie kids never saw (or if they had lax parents who did let them see it, didn't understand or like). Here's a collection of some of the Dune movie's most bizarre merchandising, as well as some honestly rare and actually awesome bits of memorabilia (special thanks to Dune Index, Collectors of Dune, and DuneStuff). Enjoy, and may the Hand of God be with you.

14) Jigsaw Puzzles
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Waddingtons actually put out several of these 150-piece puzzles made from movie stills and promotional images. This one of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen was selected in particular because it's frankly a larf to imagine that when assembling this, you'll find a puzzle piece with Sting's codpiece on it (or possibly four).

13) Belt Buckle
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Who says elaborate pants-retaining systems are the sole province of cowboys and other macho stereotypes? Maintain the integrity of your lower garments in style with this pewter beauty featuring a simple, yet elegant Arrakeen skyline showing both moons and some Guild Frigates in the distance.

12) Children's Book and Record Set
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Remember these from the '70s and '80s? A picture storybook with an accompanying 45 RPM record (ask your parents, younger readers), you read the book and play the record simultaneously, with audible cues telling you when to proceed to the next page. I like to think in this case, when Feyd screams "I WILL KILL HIM!!!" you immediately have to turn the page.

11) Paper Dolls
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Who knows why or how these things exist? It's doubtful there's much overlap between Dune fans and paper doll enthusiasts. These don't even have the excuse of attempting to market the film; apparently they were made in 1991, somewhere, for some reason. Sorry, this one has me baffled.

10) Revell Models
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Model builders will tell you with absolute assurance that there's a model for pretty much everything, and you should believe it. The Sand Crawler actually looks pretty cool, while the Sandworm model looks even more inappropriate than the Sandworms in the movie looked, which is saying something.

9) Bedsheets
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Christmas morning, 1984: "But MO-OM! I asked for Return of the Jedi sheets!"
"I'm sorry, honey, they were all out. But they had loads of these, for half the price -- and it's still one of those spaceman movies like you like!"

8) Action Figures
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LJN was no Kenner or Mattel, but the Dune toys were actually pretty well made. If the film had done better, the line might have actually gone somewhere. The figures are quite sought after by collectors; the catalog here shows Lady Jessica and Gurney Halleck figures that were never released, though toy collector myth claims prototypes exist somewhere.

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