Lego JFK Assassination
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“No man can predict his future. But he can plan for it...”
“And this is the president's motorcade coming up Elm Street, daddy...”
Lego JFK Assassination (copyright Villian Emulators Inc.) is a Lego set that allows you to re-enact everyone's favorite presidential assassination: that of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, thirty-fifth president of the United States. It was first produced as one of the original Lego kits including the new mini-figures in 1978. The kit has seen several version updates since then, most notably 1988's "10th Release Anniversary" incorporating successful component's of the 1985 Light and Sound features tested on other products.
Lego JFK Assassination was also originally released as the fourth installment in the "Lego: Designing History" series, which includes other popular sets such as Lego Holocaust, Lego Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster, and Lego September 11th. However, unlike the rest of the Lego sets based on historical themes, Lego JFK Assassination allows the builder to resimulate the assassination as they please. This is that controversial kit's story.
edit A Successful Election
January, 1964: the president’s special commission meets under the chairmanship of Chief Justice Earl Warren. Congressmen Gerald Ford reports that investigators are having difficulty simulating the president’s motorcade. Across the table, Representative Shale Hoggs, who has recently bought his son a new kind of toy for Christmas, offers: “How about making it out of Lego?” There is stunned silence.
“Jesus Christ, Shale,” the chief justice grimaces after a moment, “just try keeping your hole shut for the rest of the meeting, will you please?”
And so Hoggs did. But when he returned home that night, he had to answer to his boy, who asked Daddy what he did and why the terrible events at Dallas had happened so few months before. Remembering his own suggestion, Shale began laying out the scene of the Kennedy Assassination for his son with Lego blocks.
Shale’s son, Ryan, grew up loving Lego. As a student, his private time was consumed with Lego passion. And when he graduated from college with a business degree from Yale, Ryan joined the Lego USA headquarters at Enfield, Connectthedots as a brand manager. His idea, the one fueled by his father and that he had worked on perfecting year after year—obsessively so after Shale had been killed in a mysterious small plane crash in Alaska in 1972—was offered to the board of directors as candidate for the upcoming Christmas 1978 smash release. It’s main competitor: Lego Watergate. Ryan spoke eloquently for his pet project. The board members heard the proponents of his adversary. Then the board voted.
They barely swung his way, 6-5: Lego JFK Assassination was born.
edit A Private Bay of Pigs
Lego JFK Assassination was rushed into production. Christmas shoppers in 1978 were bombarded with spliced-together voiceovers of Kennedy exhorting them to buy the product. The company undertook a media blitz to counter any negative reaction and promote the set.
|We feel that the country has moved on, and although it may never fully heal, the scar tissue is sufficient to bear the load. And what a way to say: Merry Christmas!|
–Ryan Hoggs on Face The Nation
The Lego JFK Assassination Kit comes with all you see here. NOTE: 1978-87 versions pre-dates Light and Sound. 1988+ versions include buttons on motorcade vehicles which produce siren or voice sounds. Batteries not included.
Instructions provide clear diagrams on handcrafting buildings and diorama arrangements in strict detail. Some assembly required. Assistance by adult may be required for children under 8.
- Depository - Where LHO threw many books at JFK from a building storing rifles. Assemble from block pieces as shown.
- Lee Harvey Oswald - Everyone’s favorite assassin. Supplied complete with Mannlicher-Carcano rifle and evil smiley face.
- John F. Kennedy - The waving guy in the motorcade. Comes with removable hole in head. Is actually revealed to be a jelly doughnut, hence his speech in Germany.
- Motorcade - Has a top speed of 5 mph, but is still faster than US Mail.
One Lego 1961 Lincoln Continental, seats 4 -2003+ version includes Governor Connally "OMG They're going to kill us all!" announcement button
One Lego 1964 Lincoln limousine for Senator Johnson and his wife
Four Lego police motorcycles -2003+ version includes sirens and flashing lights
One Lego Press Bus with reporter bobbleheads viewable through windows
- Thousands of people lining the street - Too hypnotized by JFK's smile to notice the many books being thrown out the depository. As a result, heads cannot bend up.
- Magic Bullet - Capable of weaving and turning in a 'lol' pattern. Spring-loaded firing mechanism fits into book depository. Addition based on the failed and discontinued 2003 Lego Inventor product line
Lego JFK Assassination offered a broad range of possibilities to consumers. Ms. Mindy Hamilton, of Concord, MA, organized a petition against the toy, however, and soon appeared on rival morning shows.
“This...toy...is an abomination and an immoral pile of plastic junk that insults the memory of our beloved president. Teaching our children to simulate murder?! No wonder this country's going down the drain.”
Public opinion began to swing against the kit, and the result was mediocre sales figures for the Christmas season.
edit Recovery and Expansion
Lego executives immediately fired their public relations manager, and called Ryan Hoggs in to a special meeting.
Ryan entered the boardroom. The directors regarded him silently. He gulped.
“Ryan, all we believed we had to do was sign on the dotted line,” the president told him as he sweated. Another moment passed, and then the president continued: “But this will not be a failure. We at Lego stand behind our products like an interlocking system. Let us go forward!”
|Ask not what your Lego set can do for you; ask where you can buy expansion packs.|
-spliced-together JFK in 1992 advertisement ("Lego" was sourced from “Leggo of Laos, you heaah?” in a 1963 interview)
JFK People Pack
An unpopular expansion pack released in 1998, which included both Jack Ruby and Lyndon B. Johnson figures. Production was discontinued in 2000, but individual figures from the pack can be found on e-bay for upwards of $20.
Grassy Knoll Comes with random person on it and alternate LHO. Stackable. Causes anyone standing on it to go back and to the left.
Dealey Plaza Overpass
The Dealey Plaza Overpass section allows for integration with other standard Lego Townscape sets, as well as providing an easy escape route for your killer in black, unmarked Lego automobiles.
Texas School Book Depository
For the lazy, incompetent or merely impatient Lego enthusiast who wants to get on with the killing right away! Lego offers this one-piece, injection molded facade with sixth- and third-floor assassin window ledges for variable killing experiences.
edit Fighting Big Plastic
On April 16, 1983, seven of the largest world producers of plastic, including those who produced the ABS plastic used to make Lego blocks, announced simultaneous large price increases. Crying foul, Lego attorneys subpoenaed Big Plastic firms’ records and inconvenienced executives by influencing the Justice department to have agents arrive in the middle of the night to conduct home file searches. After four days of this treatment, Big Plastic backed down and rolled back prices to previous levels.
edit The Too-Small Rifle Crisis
The original kit manual was rudimentary and contained little more than a few crudely drawn diagrams. On October 29, 1995, though, a four-year-old boy named Edward “Yeller” Rickles in Green Bay, WI, choked on an original edition Lego Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. Mindy Hamilton, now executive director of Ban Lego Assassination Play, immediately appeared on Fox News screaming bloody murder.
When the news story broke, Ryan Hoggs rushed into the boardroom.
”What do we need now?” he cried. “Childproof caps?”
Lego responded with a new, highly-detailed instruction manual with specific how-to sections, a redesigned rifle too large to swallow, and a positive PR campaign. Unknown to the public was a secret deal with Ms. Hamilton to exchange New England Patriots box seats six months later for her silence now.
Premise and Suggested Usage
This set contains all people and parts necessary for a fun killing experience. Comes complete with Magic Bullet™ that weaves and changes direction.
Note To Parents: Playset involves destructive testing which may upset small children. Some sanitization and government cover-ups required.
Allowing the fun-loving the opportunity of creating an ongoing assassination universe, Lego JFK Assassination provides the builder the maximum fun of a repeatable regicide experience. The My Little Warren Commission Handbook will assist you in undertaking your first few run-throughs to help you get the feel for carrying out your own executions.
First Person Shooter
You're the bad boy of the book depository. Your wife doesn't respect you and your mom still calls you "Little Harvey." There's only one thing left to do to prove your manliness: kill the president.
Climb up, up, higher than you've ever been before (Russia has no buildings taller than four stories, does it? You've been there and know all photos of higher structures are doctored.) The sixth floor. Place your manly rifle on that big wide windowsill. Feel the hate flowing through you. Wait for it...Sega!
Shout "Bang! Bang!"
- (Note: The presidential motorcade must be abreast of the traffic sign.)
Depress the firing mechanism of the Magic Bullet™! The magnets will do the rest. Now head up to Patton Avenue and 10th Street and kill Officer J.D. Tippit.
Standing there, on the edge of the street where it turns, it seems like a good idea, doesn't it?
NOTE TO BUILDER: Ensure that wrap is clipped onto Babushka Lady's head.
- Wait until president is alongside in car.
- Watch his head a splode.
The Secret Service Is Faster Than Normal
|Agent Clint ran, ran faster than the Six Million Dollar Man: he was up, up, over! the top of the back of the presidential limo...he cradled the president's head, took the bouquet of roses, got blood on his shirt; Jackie was really pissed off at the upstaginess of it all.|
For this alternative assassination scenario to work, Lego recommends the following:
- Tear out the entire Dealy Plaza facade and remove book depository from play
- Rearrange motorcade route to simulate Dallas/Love Field area: set up barricades
- Cram crowd of adorers and curious behind barricades
- Place LHO inconspicuously in background
- Enjoy turkey shoot.
In order to buy the set, you need to buy all the documents in the Warren Colbert Report, and send in the proofs of cross-check. Each set sold separately.
Overall, critics were delving into apparent inconsistencies in the set design. However, no real evidence has come up to disprove its integrity.
edit 10-Year Release Anniversary Contest
To intensify marketing for the upcoming release of the 10th anniversary of the product, Lego invited children 10 and under to submit their designs for new box cover art.
Seven-and-three-quarters year-old Annie Durant, from Poughkeepsie, NY, was the lucky little winner.
Some controversy followed with the revelation that the winner was the niece of the Chief Marketing Manager for the Lego Corporation, though official spokespersons have claimed it "to be one big coincidence. We're Through the Looking Glass here, folks. Obviously no one of any importance could possibly be living in Poughkeepsie."
edit The Final Countdown
Chief Justice Earl Warren, it was revealed in 2003, wrote a note to Representative Shale Hoggs dated shortly prior to the publication of the commission’s report. Handwritten in a friendly tone, the note reads:
As I have children of my own, I know only too well the desire to keep them amused and motivated. Therefore, for your happiness and that of your son, I have made a couple of modifications to the report. First of all, the assassination is going to be ruled the action of a lone gunman. Second, I’ve taken a bullet away from Lee. This should really keep Ryan’s head spinning in the years to come!
All the best, "Chief" Earl.
When Ryan Hoggs was informed of this note and its contents on a tabloid television show that year, he shot himself. Conspiracy theorists contradict and insist that his death was not self-inflicted. Rather, they say, his intimate knowledge of the Lego JFK Assassination set and years of experimentation had resulted in a successful run-through of the 1963 killing, and that he had deduced who the conspirators were.