NR interview with Travel Channel’s Toy Hunter host, Jordan HembroughPosted 12:42 am on Thursday, August 16th, 2012 by John 'Spartan' Nguyen
The Travel Channel’s Toy Hunter recently premiered on Wednesday, August 15th. When there’s a show dedicated to vintage 70s and 80s toys, you bet your ass I’m going to watch it. We had a taste of geek collecting shows like Comic Book Men, and I’m glad there are more shows like this popping up. When I received an opportunity to talk to Toy Hunter host and toy collector, Jordan Hembrough, I couldn’t pass it up. He shares a lot of passion in the world of toys, and I had some questions I wanted to grill him on.
John “Spartan” Nguyen: Hello, Jordan.
Jordan Hembrough: Hey! How are you, John?
JN: So I just saw the show.
Jordan Hembrough: How’d you like it?
JN: I love it. I used to be into collecting toys, but I was more of a casual collector. So just watching the show about toy hunting was pretty awesome.
Jordan Hembrough: Thank you. Did it bring back a happy memory?
JN: Yeah, it did. I was thinking maybe I should get back into collecting more.
Jordan Hembrough: Haha. Well, I gotta tell you, that makes me happy because you understand the show.
JN: Tell us about the show.
Jordan Hembrough: Toy Hunter on the Travel Channel really gives America a chance to travel across the country with me on what I’d like to call, “The Great American Toy Hunt.” Each week we’re going to be bringing back a lot of vintage toy memories from when you and I were kids and all the great toys and pop culture memorabilia from the 70s and 80s. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
JN: So that means you travel all the way from the West Coast to the East Coast?
Jordan Hembrough: Yes, sir. We travel to different cities and states all across America like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, and North Carolina.
JN: Can you give us a bit of info on your background?
Jordan Hembrough: Not only do I collect toys, I’m also a dealer who deals with collectibles in the past 25 years.
JN: Then you should have a lot of knowledge about toy collecting.
Jordan Hembrough: Oh yeah. I’ve got the knowledge and I’ve got the passion. I get excited every time I see this stuff and I love to share it with the people I visit.
JN: Since you’re a dealer, what’s your favorite convention to go to?
Jordan Hembrough: Since I’m from the East Coast and New Jersey originally, I always frequent New York Comic Con, which I truly love. And every time they have the Star Wars Celebration in Florida, which is sponsored by Lucasfilm, I’m there as well. I’m hoping next year to get into San Diego Comic-Con.
JN: I’ve seen some toy collectors upset about misinformation on the show. What are your thoughts on that?
Jordan Hembrough: The show is a passion of mine, and I do film a lot. Every now and then, I get a fact wrong, but I do my best to correct myself. I know that in the pilot, I got a fact wrong about MASK and GI Joe, and I apologize for that. I simply can’t get every fact right every time, but I want to let you know that the intention is good and the passion is there. Just hang in there because I know they’re going to enjoy the show and love the series.
JN: On the pilot, you stumbled upon a prototype Rocket-firing Boba Fett action figure that went for a crazy price.
Jordan Hembrough: It was a fantastic sale. In fact, that gentleman who bought it became a good friend of mine. He has actually purchased other items from me.
JN: Oh yeah, he’s Dan “Punkass” Caldwell, the co-founder of Tapout clothing company. I never knew the co-founder of Tapout would be a huge Star Wars fan.
Jordan Hembrough: He’s not just a Star Wars fan, he’s also a huge toy collector. I’m glad that you recognized him, because some people didn’t know who he was. He’s a real person; he really has the money to buy what he buys and he’s got a collection of his own. We’ll be seeing him in a later episode when I’m looking at his collection.
JN: Since you’re the toy expert, I was wondering if my Tortured Souls from McFarlane Toys is worth a lot?
Jordan Hembrough: You know, since it’s a newer line that was actually produced in 2001, they haven’t really accrued that much in value. Did Clive signed the pieces for you as well?
JN: He signed the whole set.
Jordan Hembrough: I would tend to believe that Clive’s autograph is probably worth more than the toys.
Jordan Hembrough: Don’t hate me; you still have something cool. And John, you gotta remember, you don’t necessarily have to attach a monetary value for a toy to be important. It’s about that intrinsic happy memory that goes along with it.
JN: There are trolls out there who like to bash toy collecting, saying that they’re just a piece of plastic and shouldn’t be worth a lot. What are your thoughts on this?
Jordan Hembrough: I would say, “Why do people buy expensive artworks or buy expensive cars.” It’s because it’s giving something very personal to the buyer. It’s giving that joy and memory. Toys shouldn’t be considered any different than a fine art, collectible car, or a rare comic book. You have to be like, “Look, this is why I buy it. It makes me feel good.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Toy Hunter airs regularly on Wednesdays at 9pm.
Photos courtesy of Travel Channel.
John “Spartan” Nguyen is the editor-in-chief at Nerd Reactor and is based in Orange County, CA. He is a graphic designer and illustrator.