Chris Doyle’s alter ego: Mysterian, a psychic who reads minds and performs real tricks around the world. He also has an alter-ego as a collector of thousands of retro toys, including wrestler figurines, original Star Wars action figures, He-Man knockoffs, and Smurfs.
Doyle began collecting wrestlers in the late 1980s, when he would go to the Maple Leaf Gardens to watch his favorite performances live. He’d buy them from Toys “R” Us, scour garage sales, even get them secondhand ones from kids at school. “Big brothers always had better ones,” he says. Growing up in a small Toronto apartment with a large family, he discovered himself in the milk crates he kept in his closet. “Then when I found my place, I found another shelf. Then it got a little bigger and bigger.”
Now nearly every square inch of Doyle’s West-End apartment, which he shares with his girlfriend, online talk show host Liz De Savoy, is filled with old toys, tchotchkes, and macabre oddities. devoted to The “toy room” alone contains some 12,000 figurines that are more than a dozen floor-to-ceiling bookcases, each shelf named for a particular toy line.
“I collect anything I didn’t have as a kid,” he says, ,So everything from 1974 to 1990. I want everything from Happy Days to GI Joe, Dungeons & Dragons, to obscure toy lines like Insect Warrior Sect. Which nobody bought.”
An entire bookcase is dedicated to his wrestlers, ranging from classics like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant to new reproductions of icons like Japanese wrestling personality Tiger Mask. One shelf is full of authorized He-Man toys, while another is overflowing with ripoff Galaxy Warriors, which Doyle says were only available at dollar stores. His oldest piece is the 1939 wooden Superman, the first action figure ever, Who He shopped at a toy show in Hamilton.
Despite his vast collection, Doyle is not overly fussy about keeping it in museum-like conditions. “It’s plastic. It decomposes,” he says. “It shouldn’t be treated like a Faberge egg.”
In addition to toy shows and hobby shops, Doyle finds some of his rarest items while visiting Mysterion. For more than 20 years, Doyle has performed as the Mysterian, and as the sentimentalist pairing with Steffi Kay, he played Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Fools Penn & Teller and “America’s Got Talent”. But stay where he made it. quarter finals. And although many of his toys are worth thousands, he has no interest in selling them.
“To me, toys are a memory that can bring back a time in one’s life,” Doyle says. “I remember when I went to Lawrence Plaza with my grandmother and was getting the Smurfs. When I see the Smurf Village that I’ve set up, I miss my grandmother.
Over the past 20 years, Doyle has also accumulated oddities such as a stuffed-spotted calf with a shrunken face from hydrocephalus and an albino deer with scoliosis; a “cursed” doll whose previous owners allegedly set fire to several houses; Victorian-era dentures made from corpse teeth; A human skull from the London plague. “I still get thrilled when I see an unusual piece and learn the stories behind them. Whether the stories are dark or interesting, or based on myth, magic or superstition. They’re a horror when you peel back the layers. Stories are like that, “says Doyle.”
His fascination with creepy artifacts also goes back to his childhood, when he loved pulling pranks (one included plastic hands, fake blood, and a chorus of screaming companions) and Ripley’s Believe It or Not at Niagara Falls. were passionate about.
Although Doyle’s house seems full, he says he can always make room for more. He is currently looking for the three remaining American Wrestling Federation Remco figures he needs to complete his collection (Shawn Michaels, Doug Somers and Sheikh Adnan Al-Kaisi) and Weebles Haunted House from the 1970s.
He’s also collecting vintage Halloween masks, and the dream is to one day make Mysterian masks. “I’m an entertainer and I love pop culture,” he says, “and I love the idea that all these things we immortalize as these little toys.”