The prettily wrapped gift sat on my pillow when I walked into the bedroom. I called out, “What’s this on my pillow?!” so my partner RJ would hear me from the other room. He came in to watch me unwrap his gift–his competition–a Casanova Action Figure!
He wears a blue plastic coat and green plastic waistcoat over white breeches, white stockings, white shoes. Where are his heels? Where is his plumed hat? Yet he does hold in front of his face a volto mask, though it’s black instead of the typical white of his day. Though his hair is long in back, I wouldn’t say it’s styled to deserve excommunication, as the Abate Tosello admonished him. His little plastic cage fits atop a sexy red and black rendition of the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal.
The best part is the text on the packaging. “More than just a lover,” it reads, “Casanova was also a secretary, soldier, preacher, alchemist, gambler, violinist, spy, journalist, fugitive, author, traveler, diplomat, entrepreneur, librarian.” An impressive–and accurate–list! They got it right! And they didn’t merely capitalize on his reputation as a seducer. (The funny thing is, shortly before RJ gave my Action Man to me, I had been preparing a presentation on Casanova and made a list similar to this one on my first slide, before seeing that Casanova’s makers had had the same idea.)
The back of the package is even better. Boxes of text outline his exploits, from his seductions and adventures to his writings, including his obscure sci-fi novel titled the Icosameron, “about a brother and sister who spend 81 years dwelling among the Megamicres of Protocosmos in the interior of the planet.” One sidebar labeled “Legend” defines a “casanova” but then points out that “However, many scholars maintain that Casanova was not a casanova, but rather, a caring and thoughtful lover who had honest feelings for many of the women he had relations with.” An accurate depiction based on his memoirs and biographies! Whoever created this little gem did his (or her) homework.
One big problem, though: his name. It gives his name as Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, which does appear in some sources, but is, in fact, erroneous.
My favorite line: “Weapon of Choice: Seduction.”
The packaging does warn me that this Action Man could be a choking hazard. I blame that line.