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Annual Christmas Tree Climb

The giant chocolate I won at the local Deli. 

Touch the star at the summit and free your people! Yes, the annual Christmas tree ascent was my favorite game to play in the 80s. The once a year nature of the event definitely made me look forward to it and I considered the concept an exhilarating stroke of genius!

Every year the massive Christmas tree would land on the figures planet. A six foot tree inhabited with booby traps and creatures. The tree held the figures planet hostage and the only way to redeem freedom was to scale the enormous tree to the summit. There, a powerful star was glowing and if touched, the figures would be saved!

So there they were at the base of the tree, lined up as volunteers much like being drafted for national service. An official would announce who was the next name on the list when the last figure was seen to be in trouble or killed high above. Only one at a time were allowed to climb. Wives cried and begged their men to not go. Gallant words of “I can do it!” were all too common. Priests (Anakin Skywalker or Ben Kenobi figures) were on hand to bless the travelers before they ascended.

Now the unbelievable fun commenced! You see, all the decorations of the tree were characters in their own right with traps and manipulating ways.

There was the electrical cables that ran through the tree providing enough zap to kill a figure instantly. The lights of the tree were laser guns that would turn on when a figure was in range (an exciting on/ off on the wall socket). There was a crazy clown with balloons! “Pick a color!” he would blurt out with cheek. The figures, with comic book naivety, would happily pick their favorite color. Then Boom! or a gas that would leave them dazed. If they did not lose their footing, they would seek shelter in the inner dwelling of the tree, which was safe from predators. It was amazing when other figures would bump into these survivors. Assumed dead by the panic of their loved ones at the base of the tree.

Another famous predator was the sultry lady in the pink feathered dress. She was actually already a legend being from the 70s! She lured men closer with a sweet aura and loving words. Even figures loyal to their wives, who were worried to death below, fell victim to her charms. They begged no but cried yes! The lady lured them to under her dress and an explosive charge blew them up. Cheating never pays.

70s veteran complete with tobacco stained trim

I do not recall any figure ever making it to the star. Some made it to the summit but fell to their deaths. It was exciting to drop a figure and see if they got caught deep in the tree on descent, marking their final resting spot. Worse still if they crashed below onto the following volunteers!

The game was recreated in December 2013 for a motion picture. Even this 21st century attempt has all the charms evident of the original sensation!

It was the way you played with the figures

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