Sunday, January 23, 2011

#0004: Lowly Worm

Today’s featured fail is of a different standard of pity. Why, he’s a toy so tragic, even his name is a pox upon his very existence. In the so-called ‘busy’ world of Richard Scarry, he seemed to some as an ambassador to all things good. He was upbeat, pensive, wise and amiable. He was the kind of guy to whom you’d say, ‘well shit, I’m in trouble. Bananas Gorilla just burgled my store and raped my daughter. I NEED YOUR HELP.’

He was a worm of the people and a worm of many talents, but unfortunately, a worm who owned the unfortunate title of lowly. I’m speaking, of course, about Lowly Worm.

When I think of lowly, it’s usually in reference to floundering sports teams; the lowly Carolina Panthers, for example. And what sort of comparison is that to bestow upon your offspring through name? The Panthers went 2-14 this season! Their coach got the boot, their QBs wallowed in pathetic misery, and their running game was absolutely abysmal.

To name your own (and perhaps only?) son after such a term is not only cruel, it’s downright malicious. I guess that’s why he’s always hanging out with Huckle Cat instead of his own family; the dude hates those pricks.

Me personally, I always thought of Lowly as being kind of like the positive handicap stereotype. He gets around with only one leg just fine, and is able to play soccer, drive around and fly a helicopter. When I was a kid, I also found the surname ‘Scarry’ quite funny. Admit it, you did, too.

So the Lowly Worm toy. It’s a pretty unspectacular little toy, portraying Lowly driving in his trademark apple-car. The little stem on the top can point in any direction you choose it to, and Lowly looks so enthusiastic at the driver’s seat, he’s almost downright frantic. He’s also too solidly attached to the framework of the apple itself, making him look less like a worm, more like some sort of bizarre Muppet.

It’s a fun little fact about this particular toy, is that he had a damning way of sticking around during all of my little toy races. Like most children with no friends or hobbies, I would sometimes organise tournaments for my little toys, rigged carefully so that my favourite toy would always win. One of those was a series of races. No, I didn’t actually race them around, it was more like a distance thing, or endurance test; ie. Which toy rolled the farthest on this surface, or which toy didn’t fall into the pit of unspeakable horror (the toilet).

In Lowly Worm’s case, he’s so light with wheels so well made, he always seemed to roll further than everyone else, and even had a sixth sense about stopping on command. Dammit, he wanted to win, but I sure as hell couldn’t handle that. You look at the names on that list… Sonic the Hedgehog… Streex from Street Sharks… badass racing champions… then… Lowly fucking Worm?

He’s not supposed to be winning races, dammit! He’d be more inclined to stop inches away from an opponent before declaring that they should ‘play it safe’. The only time Lowly ever got up to any mischief was when he was hangin’ with that bad cat Huckle, and even then, it was more of a character inconsistency than anything else; Lowly only didn’t know better when it was imperative to the plot.

Whoa, am I actually analysing character development in The Busy World of Richard Scarry? A Sunday well spent.

For the more exploratory among you, one side of Lowly features open holes with screws assembling his apple-mobile, allowing you, if you so chose, to literally rip his car in two. I don’t know why you would want to do this, but I note with some amusement/alarm that this divide also cuts Lowly Worm in half. If you really, really hated you some Lowly, you could mess him up something shocking.

This deadly side to Lowly is also the business side, declaring the toy to be from the year 1994 (or as I call it, Donkey Kong Country year). Copyright of ‘Scarry II’.

Research doesn’t explain if the author of the busy world is indeed the second Richard Scarry, but it does reveal that he fought in the army during World War II. That’s awesome. Imagine Nazis being killed by a children’s author. Imagine Nazis being killed by Lowly Worm. Imagine Nazis being killed by Mr. Frumble.

…Too far? I thought so, too. declares this toy to be 2½ inches and made of plastic, but its origin is sketchy. One seller says McDonald’s, but offers no definitive proof. If I cared more, I would do some in-depth sleuthing, but I’ve wasted enough time on this stupid thing as it is. For those who are wondering the kind of mega bucks I’m missing out on by giving my Lowly Worm away, one eBay user is asking for $21, or to ‘make him an offer’. I ‘offer’ him this advice:

Nobody is paying $21 for Lowly Worm, yo.


  1. I remeber Lowly Worm- those Scarry books were the shit, Man!

  2. Mr. Frumble, he was my man. I love how useless he was, I could really relate!


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