Paris Themmen was young, living in Germany and working alongside the great Gene Wilder on the set of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and about to experience every boy’s dream.
Representatives from a toy company were on hand this particular day taking measurements for Themmen’s very own action figure: the first Mike Teevee collectible.
“Eleven-year-old me thought it was the coolest thing ever,” Themmen, now 60, said of the anticipation. “But it never happened.”
So you can image Themmen’s glee at the initial sight of Pop! Mike Teevee.
“Now I’m a 21st century version of an action figure,” Themmen said.
The 1971 fantasy film still resonates with the actor and world traveler, as well as with millions of fans worldwide.
“They show it to their kids, who show it to their kids once they’re older,” Themmen said of the film that inspired an entire Willy Wonka franchise. “Which is pretty cool.”
This is the only place you’ll find a complete set of Pop! Willy Wonka children that comes with a rarity of just 375 sets — all assembled by Themmen himself.
Rounding out the set is the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive Violet Beauregarde (not autographed).
Each Pop! features a numbered holographic label along with a certificate of authenticity signed by Themmen. It also comes with a Replica Golden Ticket, as well as an autographed 8×10 photo personalized by Paris/Mike Teevee.
One chocolate factory to another
The process of assembling the set was a production in and of itself.
After buying close to 500 Pop! figures of each Wonka character, Themmen set out to personally collect all 375 SDCC exclusive Violet Beauregarde figures that he would need via eBay and other outlets.
“Every day I would come home and there would be a pile of these things waiting for me,” Themmen laughs of the tediously-fun process.
From there it was a matter of unboxing each Pop!, flattening the box and carefully shipping them to his fellow Wonka kids in New York, London and Munich to be autographed.
Once the boxes were returned signed, they were re-boxed and affixed a hologram to go along with a certificate of authenticity.
“It was like Lucille Ball and the conveyor belt,” Themmen chuckles.
Taking the tour
Ever wonder if someone who has their own Pop! Figure also collects Funko merchandise?
But the Pop! Alex Trebek might be the personal household fave of Paris and Nikki, both of whom appeared on Jeopardy, the latter as a two-day champ.
The Wonka Sale
The collection prices at $179 and is limited to a run of 375 sets. Find yours in Themmen’s PPG Marketplace store at Miketv59 and his personal site Wonka Pops. Enjoy 10 percent off on the entire store through the end of the year.
- Charlie Bucket signed by Peter Ostrum
- Veruca Salt signed by Julie Dawn Cole
- Augustus Gloop signed by Michael Boellner
- Mike Teevee signed by Paris Themmen
- Violet Beauregarde 2016 summer convention exclusive