Yesterday I took a road trip to Pauls Valley, Oklahoma yesterday to meet with the one and definitely only Kevin Stark. He’s invited me quite a few times and I have never been able to make it. Kevin is really good at keeping a strong presence of himself through social media as well as just attending several events in Oklahoma City. He’s also sending the message of the Toy and Action Figure Museum that he helped develop. Additionally, he’s opened Stark Fine Dining and there was a dinner offer. Hard to turn that down! Kevin is also a brilliant artist, a toy maker, a musician … et al?
It was about an hour and a half, easy drive. My iPad’s maps app took me right to the front door. The T&AF Museum is right on main strip in a building built in the 1920s. The Museum Store is what you first walk into. I was greeted immediately by the man himself! He shows me right away the Cartoonist Hall of Fame inductees section. Interesting how so many have Oklahoma ties. After that it’s toys, upon toys, upon toys! Here’s a 360 view.
Of course I was immediately drawn to the Bat Cave area. My sister Janet and I were raised on Batman, the television show starring Adam West. I went right for the Batmobile kiddie ride. Additionally I found an autographed photo of Lee Meriwether as Cat Woman. I mean- we can all agree she was the best!
The really good thing about the Toy and Action Figure Museum for grownups like me is it jars the memory of what action figure you truly loved as a child. I saw my brother Stan all over the Western toy section with several 1950s toys. Then the action figures of the 80s?? Hilarious! Then were very creepy action figures like Pinhead, The Crow, monsters of all shapes and sizes. Mommy I’m scared!
There is just so much to this museum. People ask Kevin – ‘how long will it take to get through.’ That is up to you. You can look at every single toy and read all the labels, it could be an hour and half. People that just want to breeze through – that’s just too bad. Why bother?
I asked Kevin, “how do you stop kids from wanting to play with all of these?” The solution was to create a play area where kids can dress up in costume, build things and more. It’s dedicated to his late wife Linda who passed away two years ago this April from cancer. It’s a great legacy for her.Somewhere along the way I’ve developed a penchant for laser swords. Oh yes, they had them – Star Wars laser swords. So cool!
After the tour we drove over to Stark Fine Dining. A beautiful winery restaurant. I had crab cakes – meaty crab cakes. Kevin had yellow curry chicken. It smelled soooo good! The rolls were so well made. The Cesar Salad was delicious. The artwork on the walls by Kevin was so cool.
I could go on and on about Kevin but I’m just going to end it here and tell you to make plans! Go out there soon.