We might have a new series on our hands. A short while after Tweeting a link to my case study of Buzz McCallister’s bedroom, this response came in:
Russ was absolutely right. Fred Savage’s bedroom from The Princess Bride might’ve actually been even cooler than Buzz’s beroom. (Well, no…but it came close.)
Today, we find out why.
The Princess Bride debuted in 1987, and if you’re around my age, you’ve seen it. You’ve probably seen a hundred times. Partially because it’s great, and partially because it seemed to weasel onto network television at a rate of 170 airings per week.
It was an unforgettable tale, filled with fantasy, comedy, and duels and horses, and Andre the Giant. The Princess Bride was so utterly quotable that, to this day, few of us can hear the phrase “as you wish” without picturing the guy from Saw tumbling down a hill.
The film was based on the same-named novel by William Goldman, and while most based-on-book movies only mention that in the credits, here, those origins are weaved right into the story. There’s a wraparound gimmick occurring in the "real world," where “The Grandfather” (our narrator, played by Peter Falk) reads the story to “The Grandson,” played by Fred Savage.
…and that’s where I stop writing about the plot of the movie. In a minute, at least.
See, Fred’s character is sick with the flu or something, so Grandpa comes over to raise his spirits. His grandson is at first averse to an afternoon spent playing hostage to an old guy with a long book, but once the story trots out with liberal use of torture devices, poison cocktails and My Name Is Inigo Montoya, he ends up really enjoying it.
All well and good, but that’s not why I’m wasting yet another Saturday writing about something six people will care about. As Russ pointed out, Fred Savage had an amazing bedroom.
It was the classic kiddy bedroom of its time, filled to the brim with brand name toys, video games, weird posters and ignored pets. I think Buzz’s bedroom was more faithful to the spirit of adolescence (Playboys in a storage trunk, come on...), but Fred’s had its own appeal. Namely, it was like wandering through a mid-‘80s toy store. These were the pages of the Sears Wishbook, come to life.
As I did with Home Alone, it was all about pausing and zooming. The more I inspected, the more I was blown away. If you’re my gender and my age, there’s no way you didn’t have at least one of the things in Fred’s bedroom. No way, no how.
I guess now would be a good time to mention that, yes, I’m calling him "Fred," even though that’s just the name of the actor who played the character. I don’t feel like typing “Grandson” or “The Grandson” a thousand times. It’s clunky and it annoys me. For this article’s purposes, the kid is named Fred. Or maybe Arnold. Potentially Zip.
“Fred” really enjoyed his He-Man figures, as you'll soon see. He also had a thing for Halloween masks. This was a very cool bedroom, and I commend the filmmakers for giving us so many wide shots of it.
I’ve collected thirty items of interest from Fred’s bedroom, but before we get to them, below are several large screengrabs for anyone who feels like playing along. Maybe you’ll spot something I missed. Lord knows, you’ll tell me.
Let the show begin!
A baseball game that was released for ten thousand computers and systems. Fred’s was the Commodore 64 version, as proven by our next sighting.
|#2: COMMODORE 64 DISK DRIVE
I still have one of these somewhere, along with a container of floppy disks, many without labels. Most of the disks are trash, but if memory serves, Summer Games is among them. Now I won't be able to sleep until I play it. Thanks, Fred.
|#3: MOTU ACTION FIGURES
It took every bit of willpower to not give these Masters of the Universe figures individual entries. Behold! Grizzlor, Leech, Webstor and Spikor – four leading reasons for He-Man's bloated life insurance policy. (Grizzlor is my favorite – think Chewbacca on steroids.)
|#4: STAR WARS BURGER KING GLASS
After each Star Wars movie came out, Burger King issued a series of glasses in celebration. Fred’s is one of The Empire Strikes Back glasses, featuring Luke and Yoda. I own and still use this glass. Also note the silly straw. Fred didn’t fuck around.
|#5: DEVIL MASK
Fred had many scary masks. Too many to not think he was secretly complicated. And don’t go blaming Halloween, because other set dressings clearly told us that this took place during the Christmas season. Speaking of which, doesn’t that mask look like a demon version of the nasty female elf who urged Ralphie to hurry it up with Santa?
|#6: SKULL MASK
It makes a more subdued statement than the loud devil mask, sure, but skulls are just cooler. You walk taller as a skeleton than a devil. I’d prove it if there weren’t so many steps involved.
|#7: GERBIL CAGE
I suppose it could be a hamster or mouse cage, too. Note the exercise wheel and water bottle, verifying that this wasn't, say, a snake cage. Fred kept it near his door, as far as possible from his bed. From this we may surmise that the cage’s combined elements smelled nothing like fresh cantaloupe.
I love ancient packaging styles of still-existing junk foods. Proving that I have written about everything and should retire, a bag in exactly that style appeared during my Stay Puft tribute. Fred’s was just bigger, because sick kids need more Cheetos.
|#9: GARFIELD CARD
Could be a general greeting card, or a birthday card, or some sort of congratulatory message for a job done well in school. So long as it isn't a “get well soon” card, we're good. Fred wasn’t that sick. If he was faking the whole thing, it wouldn't shock me. I’ve held thermometers to light bulbs for a lot less than a lazy day of Cheetos and video games.
|#10: TRAPPER KEEPERS
I can’t rule out the possibility that these are merely textbooks with zany covers, since they seem a bit small to be Trapper Keepers. Imagining Fred with a collection of Trapper Keepers just makes me happier. Some could've been for school, others could've been for organizing the official membership contracts to his top secret Voodoo Death club. That would also explain the masks.
|#11: HORDAK & SPYDOR
Niiiice. The original Hordak transcends He-Man for me – it’s easily one of my favorite action figures from any line, ever. Here, Hordak rides the cumbersome robot spider known as “Spydor.” For that extra touch of realism, Hordak is missing his chest plate. Every kid lost those. Fred was one of us.
|#12: DOCTOR DOOM MASK
No mistaking this one; the green hood and silver face could only belong to Victor Von Doom. Spotting this may prove the existence of the long-rumored deleted scene where Fred interrupts his grandfather's story by wearing the mask and shouting about Laverian political intrigue. Then they kiss.
|#13: LAZER BLAZERS STICKER (!!!)
Oh, mang. This bedroom just went from reasonable facsimile to really real deal. Lazer Blazers! The hottest stickers of the ‘80s! And because I wrote too many words about them a bazillion years ago, I can actually identify that exact sticker. It’s Skeletor.
|#14: BATTLE CAT
He-Man’s mighty green tiger was tough to spot. He only appeared on Fred’s back shelf for a second before vanishing into thin air. I’m tempted to submit that to IMDB as a continuity error, but I can’t think of a smarmy username.
Another Masters of the Universe character. Sy-Klone was the guy He-Man called when the battle could only be won by someone who conjured tornadoes.
|#16: JAR OF OLIVES
This half-empty jar of olives was kept right next to Fred's gerbil cage. That’s unsanitary for every person and animal involved. It's likely that jar had been sitting out like this for months, with the brine fermenting and the olives growing those horrible pock marks. I wish I didn’t notice this jar.
|#17: FISH TANK
Practically hidden behind mountains of assorted crap is this basic fish tank, starring a goldfish and one of those tape-on undersea backgrounds.
|#18: BATTLE ARMOR HE-MAN
No, I’m not repeating the same picture in error. Look close – it’s Battle Armor He-Man! The one with the spinning chest thingy, which indicated various stages of battle damage!
|#19: REGULAR HE-MAN
Fred had the “regular” He-Man figure, too. It's looking like Fred had the entire collection. Maybe he's the kid who won that old make-a-mobile contest from Masters of the Universe Magazine. Someone had to.
|#20: SANTA KRUEGER
Several Christmas decorations can be spotted in Fred’s bedroom. Most notable is this weird Santa, hanging from his closet door. It's strangely scary, and seems to have a Freddy Krueger face and claw. Hard to tell for sure, but this definitely isn't a straight up Santa.
That was a lot of chunky descriptions of grainy images to digest in such a short time. Perhaps a break is in order. Before we get to the last ten, here is a photo of an attractive orange.
I did not say that this would be a long break.
|#21: CAPTAIN AMERICA
This would be from Marvel/Mattel’s “Secret Wars” toy collection. Mattel was also responsible for All Things He-Man. It could be a coincidence, or it could be proof a side deal between the makers of fantasy movies and the makers of fantasy toys. Say it ain't so, Fred.
|#22: ROLLER SKATES
I can't shake the feeling that these roller skates were meant for four-year-old girls, and unless I’ve lived my life believing wildly incorrect stuff, Fred was never one of those.
|#23: T-SHIRT OF MYSTERY
This shirt is driving me bananas. There’s a licensed character on it, probably belonging to Mattel, but for the life of me, I cannot ID him. I want to say Captain Power or one of the Centurions, but neither seem to fit. Who is this guy? He seems to be a human in a nearly recognizable power suit, but I just can’t finish the puzzle. Ugh. Help.
|#24: SKELETOR'S LAND SHARK
Patting myself on the back for this one. It’s onscreen for a fraction of a second and virtually impossible to spot without the aid of intense magic. The Land Shark was another of Skeletor’s goofy vehicles, and if I’m remembering things correctly, the commercial for it aped the Jaws theme.
|#25: DONALD DUCK WALL HANGING
It’s the only Disney item in the room, and we can take it to mean that Fred was a Donald loyalist. So was I. I have not lived a day of my life more on the side of Mickey than Donald. Fred knows what I'm talking about.
|#26: APPLE CLOCK
Boring, but I had to include it. A list of 29 things in Fred’s bedroom sounds nowhere near as impressive as a list of 30. It was either this or the framed picture of a Lamborgeenee. I didn't want to waste time learning to spell Lamborgeenee correctly. Hiya, apple clock.
|#27: HOMEMADE ROBOT DRAWING
I like that Fred thought enough of his robot painting to hang it in a high, safe place. It’s pretty psychedelic and seems to have some type of fruit sprouting from its head. My best guess is that Fred finished it an hour before Gramps arrived, under the influence of too much Robitussin.
|#28: CRAZY FUTURISTIC POSTER
There were posters all over Fred’s walls. If I listed all of them, we’d be here until everyone was dead. I think this one, depicting a futuristic car race staged in outer space, was the right call to include.
|#29: POTTED PLANTS
Every kid had a cactus in their room. A cactus, a Venus flytrap, or both. It was an unspoken rite of passage, and specifically in the cactus’s case, an excuse to touch bad things just to see what happened.
|#30: CHRISTMAS STOCKING
Lastly, this Christmas stocking. It’s somewhat folded and a bit hard to identify, but I had one from the same collection. They were ultra thin (you weren’t going to fit anything wider than an apple in these) and had weird pom-pom balls attached to the tops. Not so great for their intended purpose, but they worked wonderfully for kids who cared little about fashion but much for wearing giant socks.
Good haul, and I think this whole “spot fun things from real life in old movies” is my new hobby. If I’m cursed to spend my remaining days doing nothing but pausing DVDs to find errant shots of Wuzzles and Nintendo games, there are worse fates. This series will continue. Not tomorrow, but soon. Probably when I remember that I’ve already written about everything else. Anyone up for a tribute to pens with board game attachments? Well, shit.
Thanks again to Russ for the suggestion. When the bean counters at my local Best Buy smiled over the first-in-years purchase of a Princess Bride DVD, you were the reason why.Posted by Matt on 04/23/2011. E-mail me!