Interview with Toy Hunter’s Jordan Hembrough on Season 2

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The Travel Channel’s Toy Hunter is currently in its second season, which airs every Wednesday night at 9pm. If you’re into vintage toys, you should definitely check out the show. We had the chance to chat with host Jordan Hembrough about the recent episodes and what we can expect in future episodes.

John “Spartan” Nguyen: Hey, Jordan. How’s it going?

Jordan Hembrough: Hey, how are you, man?

I’m doing good. I am trying to catch up on the episodes.

Jordan: How do you like them?

Well, I love your show. Any show about toy collecting is okay in my book.

Jordan: Oh, fantastic. That makes me happy. For season 2, we’re trying hard to really just up the ante. The keyword on season 2 is “bigger.” Everything is bigger this year around.

Speaking of bigger, I guess the big one that I saw would have to be the one where you meet up with Gene Simmons. You checked out his collection. So what was that like?

Jordan: Gene was fantastic. I loved talking to him. When the camera stopped rolling, we sat and talked about business. You really get an idea of just how smart this guy is when it comes to business and marketing brands. I had a ball with Gene. We absolutely left the door open to come and shoot with him again. I’m really looking forward to that.

I was looking at the cliffhanger where he wasn’t pleased with what you offered, but you brought something to the table – can you tell us a little bit about that item?

Jordan: We actually got him a rare KISS remote control van that was only produced in limited numbers back in the 1970s. It’s extremely difficult to find. Gene actually didn’t have one, so he got that from us, which was good because I was able to really pull through and get him something he wanted. I was very happy about that.

That funny, because for me, I wouldn’t even think Gene Simmons would care about collecting his own merchandise, since he makes them.

Jordan: I think it’s more about having souvenirs of the brand and everything, just keeping track of everything that was made. It’s good because it really is a testament to how much he cares about what he’s doing. He really does want a sample of everything that’s ever made.

It was funny – I love the part when you’re in the car and you’re trying to give him a call and he’s like, “I’m busy right now” and he hangs up on you.

Jordan: He’s a busy man. It’s okay. I didn’t take it personally.

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I like that part because sometimes when you see someone making a call, it looks like it’s set up. But that one, that’s when you see the show is pretty real.

Jordan: Oh, yeah. Funnily enough, someone was just asking me this the other day. This show is real. I mean, the cameras roll on me all the time. When somebody hangs up on me, it’s in real time.

Not that you would want to say that, but yeah.

Jordan: People hang up on me all the time. It’s fine.

Don’t worry, I’m not gonna do it to you. One of the items that I liked in particular was the Ninja Turtle pizza vehicle that you were looking at.

Jordan: That was great. I love the Turtles line. It’s really, really popular right now. It was actually a giant pizza oven, on wheels. It was like a souped up pizza oven and what it did was it hurled giant pepperoni pizzas at you.

Oh wow.

Jordan: It was cool. It was battery operated.

So it’s able to cook the pizza, then throws it and completely ruins the pizza.

Jordan: Right, absolutely.

Aw, what a waste of pizza.

Jordan: Exactly.

Speaking of Ninja Turtles, are you excited about the new movie coming out from Michael Bay?

Jordan: You know, I don’t know enough about it to really get excited. Right now, I’m really excited about Iron Man 3, I’m excited about The Avengers because stuff like that really drives the franchise. And that gets me excited because it’s good for the market all around.

Yeah. The show pretty much caters to vintage toys, but any of the new toys that you’re looking forward to?

Jordan: The thing is, I think there are a lot of great new toys on the market right now. When it comes to collectibles currently on the market, I really love the Monster High Dolls by Mattel because I think they’re gonna be worth a lot of money in the future. They’re highly collectible, they’re very, very cool toys. The Monster High Dolls are something that I always tell people to pick up when they can.

The Monster High dolls are a cross between zombies, monsters and Bratz dolls, like teenage girls. They’re all in high school together and they all have really, really cool features. One can light up. All her limbs are electrified like electricity. Another one is like a teenage werewolf girl. They’re just really, really fun, cute dolls.

And speaking of collectibles for females, there was one episode where I thought it was really creepy where this one guy had the Farrah Fawcett head.

Jordan: That was great! It was very reminiscent of what they were doing back then. At the time, Mattel had the Barbie doll heads and Mego came out with the Farrah Fawcett heads. What this was, it was just a toy that allowed girls to sit around and really practice makeup techniques. They could dress her up and style her hair and put makeup and fake eyelashes on her. It was just a really great, fun toy that was out back then. They keep redoing toys like this. Mattel made another Barbie doll just like this a few years ago, so it’s something that’s still very, very popular today.

The thing with the Barbie doll, I think it would be all right. But something about a Farrah Fawcett lifelike head just gives me the creeps.

Jordan: Oh yeah? Well, you’ve got to remember, back in the ’70s, Farrah was the #1 icon so if you think about it, it fits a little more. Back in the 1970s, she was so big. I don’t know if they’d actually do it today. I don’t know if you’d see a Jennifer Aniston or an Angelina Jolie head.

That would be something.

Jordan: That would be creepy.

One of the other items that was interesting on the show was the Batman space probe.

Jordan: That was a great piece. That was actually a very, very rare piece. I was surprised Rick had that. We didn’t film it, but we saw that afterwards, he had acquired that while he was traveling through Europe. The Batman space probe was actually from Germany. He picked it up over there, at an antique store and brought it home. It was a really, really cool piece.

Speaking of items from other countries, do you ever think about going to another country to do the show?

Jordan: I would love to go international. It’s something that we’re always talking about. I’m sure going international truly fits with the Travel brand. It’s something that I’m always up for.

That would be good for you, “Send me over there. I’ll do a good job!”

Jordan: Absolutely, absolutely.

Anything that pops into your mind about the best location you’ve been to for toys?

Jordan: They’re all good. It’s always great when you can go to a location where a toy factory was, like Cincinnati, Ohio. Kenner Toys was out there. And in California, Mattel was based out there. So it’s always nice when you can go and hopefully find former employees floating around. But pretty much everywhere is good. I have a good time going anywhere I go.

Can you tell us about the Nerdseum?

Jordan: The Nerdseum was great. It’s funny. I wish you guys could have seen a little bit more of it. It was really cool. These two guys are best friends and business partners. They’re just two giant geeks that collected all their toys from when they were youths. I really connected with them – I’m a giant geek myself, and we just had a great time hanging out and playing around with all these old toys in their room. It was fantastic. They brought their collection to work with them, which was so cool.

What can fans look forward to in upcoming episodes?

Jordan: Oh, that’s a great question. In season 2 of Toy Hunter, I’m going to be working with Travel Channel. We’re going to go all across the country, a lot more celebrities – we’re going to have a few celebrity guests sprinkled in all throughout the series. You’re going to see a lot more pop culture that you haven’t seen before. So we’re going to be coming with a lot more pop culture stuff than we have in the past. Everything is bigger. More auctions, more collections, harder to find toys, bigger stakes. All that stuff that really – we sort of combine the drama in reality of a toy hunt with all this pop culture nerdiness and vintage goodness.

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John 'Spartan' Nguyen
John 'Spartan' Nguyen 9944 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.