Archie McPhee

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Archie McPhee
TypePrivate
IndustryNovelty dealer
Founded1983
Key peopleMark Pahlow, owner
ProductsAssorted novelty items
Websitehttp://www.mcphee.com
 
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Archie McPhee
TypePrivate
IndustryNovelty dealer
Founded1983
Key peopleMark Pahlow, owner
ProductsAssorted novelty items
Websitehttp://www.mcphee.com
Archie McPhee store in Ballard, Seattle, Washington
Chicken suit at the Archie McPhee store

Archie McPhee is a Seattle-based novelty dealer owned by Mark Pahlow. Begun in the 1970s in Los Angeles as the mail-order business Accoutrements, in 1983 it opened a retail outlet dubbed "Archie McPhee" after Pahlow's wife's great-uncle.[1]

The company's line expanded from rubber chickens to glow-in-the-dark aliens, bacon-scented air freshener, and hula-girl swizzle sticks among other items. It became a popular Seattle tourist destination[2] while maintaining enough countercultural credentials that Ben & Jerry's Wavy Gravy ice cream was introduced at a party on the premises in 1993.[3]

Its kitsch appeal received further national attention from the Librarian Action Figure. In 2002, Nancy Pearl told Pahlow over dinner that librarians like herself "perform miracles every day."[4] Pearl later posed for a 13 cm hard plastic doll,[5] and librarians from all around the world registered their dismay at its "amazing push-button shushing action!"[6]

Archie McPhee has since been featured in Scientific American's "Technology and Business" review[7] and Time Magazine's fifty coolest websites of 2005.[8] In June 2009[citation needed] Archie McPhee moved from its Ballard location to Wallingford, a Seattle neighborhood on the other side of Phinney Ridge, west of the University of Washington.

Product Trivia[edit]

The head of the Punching Puppet Nun (from Archie McPhee/Accoutrements and American Science and Surplus, primary Punching Puppet Nun suppliers) is the same head from the older Margaret Thatcher Punching Puppet, prompting a claim of Anti-Catholicism by the Catholic League.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jack Broom, Archie McPhee expands its garden of goofiness, The Seattle Times (June 28, 2004)
  2. ^ Seattle Destinations Frommer's Travel Guide, 2005.
  3. ^ Brian Stephens, A new home for Seattle's rubber chickens, The Daily (University of Washington)
  4. ^ Brian Calvert, Able To 'Shush' All Buildings With A Single Sound?, KOMO 1000 News (2005)
  5. ^ Jack Broom, All booked up: Nancy Pearl's fame continues to grow, The Seattle Times (2004)
  6. ^ Outcry over librarian doll, The Sydney Morning Herald (2003)
  7. ^ Steve Mirsky, Check Those Figures, Scientific American (2005)
  8. ^ 50 Coolest Websites 2005 Time Online Edition

External links[edit]