Stephen King was everywhere in the 1980’s. His charisma and spooky nature made him just as big of a star as his wild and legendary creations. We’re talking movies, TV, and even credit card commercials. You name it, he was a part of it!
But one King creation has slipped under the radar over the years.
See the guy above? That’s Crystal Ball from the GI Joe toyline. In 1987, he was introduced along with other insane creations as Raptor (a guy who dresses like an Eagle), Croc Master (a crocodile wrestler) and Big Boa (a boxer, created after Hasbro lost the Rocky license). He didn’t do a lot for the line and was a lousy seller.
But Crystal Ball’s biggest contribution to GI Joe, and yes, horror history? His origin story!
While comic writer Larry Hama handled mostly all other GI Joe characters and origins, this one was handled by the most unlikely of people. The creator of the Vincent Price-inspired Crystal Ball, who subsequently appeared in comic books?
The master of horror himself… Stephen King!
As it’s told, Crystal Ball was pitched to Hasbro by Stephen because his young son Owen was such a huge fan of the line. He apparently pitched the character’s origin and even wrote his filecard. It’s later been disputed that his son Owen was the one who came up with the character and suggested it to his dad to pitch. Either way, the name King will always be responsible for this character. Which makes sense seeing as it’s one of the most creative yet bizarre characters… even if he was the most maligned.
As an interesting (and related) side note, Owen King was himself blessed with a character in his likeness and name. Sneak Peek was also released in 1987, with an origin of Bangor, Maine and his file name being listed as Owen King. That figure is rumored to be part of an agreement between the King family and Hasbro as a thank you/payment for Crystal Ball.
So next time you see a Crystal Ball figure at your local flea market, maybe pick him up for your horror shelf. After all, he is a creation from the mind of Stephen King!