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Season 3, Episode 3: Gimme Some Merch, Baby!

Frank’s not offering History at Risk mousepads, he’s offering merchandise history.

Frank's Thoughts

If anyone were to step into my home, you would instantly see that I’m not stranger to character-based merchandise. Quite the opposite…if I like a movie, a comic, a video game, a book, a television show…heck…pretty much anything, I’m kind of more likely to pick something up related to it, whether it be a toy, a t-shirt, etc.

(I mean, I’m not even going to begin to talk about my heroclix collection…it’s best to leave that in the box.)

So when I went to Geppi’s, it was like walking into a geek’s dream. I saw toys I used to own, posters that used to adorn my walls, basically a lot of the stuff that I bought into, because in reality, the entertainment field, especially comics, thrive on the merchandise sold. Movie tie-ins are a way of life now. Walk into any store…you can’t go more than a few feet without seeing something with the latest craze slapped on it.

Still, the amazing thing about all this, is how old the idea is. Humans, as a species, seem to be great at trying to sell everything. You’ll see in the episode how old character-based merchandise is, but there is more to the topic of selling than just character-based merchandise.

In my research, I came across an interesting fact that I couldn’t figure out how to work into the episode, so I will just tell you now.

Did you know that Roman gladiators endorsed products? We didn’t start the trend of a pro-athlete slapping their name on a product. Gladiators were doing it. But these ideas are so modern, that it seems ridiculous that they could be so ancient. (There was actually a scene cut from the script of Gladiator because they thought no one would believe that Maximus was sponsored by olive oil…even though it’s a historically accurate idea.)

Keep that in mind the next time you doubt how advanced ancient civilizations actually were. You might be surprised.

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