Monday, December 6, 2010

"I'm An Ornament, Not A Doctor!" How Hallmark Failed With Dr. McCoy!

The Good: It doesn't explode?!
The Bad: Not a great likeness of Dr. McCoy, Expensive for the quality, Slight balance issue.
The Basics: Lacking in realistic coloring detail or a distinctive McCoy pose, the Dr. McCoy ornament from Hallmark is a low water mark for Star Trek ornament fans.

Sometimes, I find myself mired in a few of the Star Trek ornaments that did not live up to the exacting standards of Star Trek fans. Let's be honest, fans of the Star Trek franchise - and I am one - can be meticulous and demanding. The thing is, we have good reason to be; Star Trek items tend to be expensive to pay for the licensing fees and as a result, we want our collectibles to look good and hold up over time! Unfortunately, with their ornaments of crew members from Star Trek, Hallmark began to put profit above quality. It is possible the perfect example of this is with the Dr. McCoy ornament.

For those unfamiliar with Dr. McCoy, he was the chief medical officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise for almost every episode of Star Trek (click here for my review of the series!). Played brilliantly by DeForest Kelley, Dr Leonard McCoy became in iconic character in popular culture with his acerbic wit and the interplay he had with the ship's first officer, Mr. Spock. McCoy was defined by his compassion, medical brilliance and loathing of the transporter. So, it makes a lot of sense that Hallmark would make Dr. McCoy the third in its series of original Star Trek ornaments right behind Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Unfortunately, this incarnation of Dr. McCoy is a poor showing.


The "Dr. McCoy" ornament poorly recreates the famed Chief Surgeon of the Enterprise in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 1997, is a thoroughly disappointing work, lacking in detailing, realistic shading or even a pose that is essential or insightful for McCoy. Measuring five inches tall, one and three-quarters inches wide and one and three-quarters inches deep, the Dr. McCoy ornament is a poor representation of the doctor and a lousy excuse on the part of Hallmark to demand $20.00 from the fans of the series. As a result, discerning collectors at the time waited and many would not even buy the ornament after it went on clearance because of the quality. When actor DeForest Kelley died, there was a jump in the sales of this ornament, though.

The Hallmark "Dr. McCoy" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the doctor standing on a transporter platform looking like he is ready to beam down. He is colored correctly with his blue Medical and Sciences shirt and the transporter pad looks good, whatwith its sparkly background.

Dr. McCoy is detailed adequately, for those who are casual fans and those who are just considering this an ornament. Star Trek fans, as mentioned before, tend to be a bit more demanding, though. McCoy is not scowling, which was pretty much the only way he looked when on a transporter pad, so the smile is completely inappropriate. Rather than having McCoy holding a hypo or appearing to scan with a medical scanner, Hallmark chose to have him on a transporter pad and that was a poor choice for the character depicted on this ornament.

Even worse, though, is the depiction of the character. This is an ornament, yes, but the skin tones are brutally pale and lack any definition. This, in fact, looks more like the way Dr. McCoy looked on Star Trek: The Animated Series than he did when Kelley portrayed him in the live-action shows. The paint job on the ones I have opened were hardly impressive and details like the eyes are missing, so there is a rather generic, general sense that this is McCoy rather than being a true likeness. Moreover, the ornament is lacking in details like the fingernails or coloring on the Tricorder. Having seen what Hallmark CAN do, it is astonishing they did not do it for this ornament.

This ornament remains ridiculously easy to find in the secondary market, due largely (one suspects) to its lack of popularity when it was released, owing to the poor "construction" of it.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Dr. McCoy could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but does not. This is just an ornament, a low-cost (comparatively) option for those who might not want to shell out for the starship series of Star Trek ornaments. This is McCoy, attached permanently to the transporter pad, all it does is hang.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Dr. McCoy" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the "Dr. McCoy" ornament is one that may be safely avoided. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the transporter backdrop. This "base" is essentially a tube and the loop is in the top, center of that base, which is where it ought to be the most stable.

However, the Dr. McCoy ornament is unbalanced; the person is standing near the front of the alcove and as a result, the ornament tilts. The ornament, hanging from the loop leans forward some, so it always seems like McCoy is about to fall forward. The ones I have hung pitch forward about thirty degrees, which is quite noticeable.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for that review!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all of the major starships from the franchise and when they started on the personnel in 1995, they were quite a bit more mass produced than that first one. The "Dr. McCoy" ornament was a colossal failure commercially. Despite the popularity of this character with fans, the general public which is not as familiar with Star Trek largely passed this one by. As well, fans of the series and of the ornaments were generally disappointed by the sculpt, coloring and overall quality of this ornament.


Fans of the Star Trek franchise, DeForest Kelley and Dr. McCoy are likely to be largely disappointed by the Dr. McCoy ornament; it is a poor recreation of one of the most lovable characters from one of the classic science fiction television shows of all time. Everyone deserved better treatment from Hallmark than this. It was certainly within their ability and for the price tag

For other character ornaments from the Star Trek franchise, please check out my reviews of:
2010 Legends Of Star Trek Captain Kirk
2009 Lieutenant Ilia (limited edition!)
2005 Khan


For other ornament and toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment