The riddle of ’80s toy actor Mysterion

Some things never change: old toys everywhere – often they can play, too.

Thursdays are Mysterion day at our house – a national holiday, if you will. And rather than celebrating his own birthday, he turns 62 this year. I am not the biggest fan, but I am aware of his gifts. And it is not hard to see why he is a household name and also an international consultant in children’s mental health.

In his lifetimes, I have watched as his colourful mind games catapulted him to stardom, helping to thousands of people understand the world. He has trained professionals and seen clients around the world. I grew up with a friend who took him out for his birthday. They watched him play. He showed off, of course, and broke three toys and several of his own. She asked if he had ever been in a fight. He said ‘no’.

“Then she said, ‘well, I’ll punch you in the face’.”

Mysterion wasn’t an intellectual but a roguish character who could give average people a profound insight into what it meant to be a human being. He understood what it was like to be had, manipulated, abused and bullied. He knew what it was like to lose everything and to be faced with no future. He has a memory that seems undimmed.

He provides modern mental health practitioners with cutting-edge tools for measuring mental health across all cultural and cultural contexts – cultures he understands so well. Every year, he gives me time to see him perform his infamous “magic”. Often I am just there to laugh and clap. And, over the years, I have learned many things about himself and his magical abilities. I am lucky to have a modern professional relationship with him, but there is nothing in the world that makes my childhood ever feel less magical.

S: a psychiatrist, 55, Dr, medical doctor

PN: a psychologist and children’s mental health consultant

S: an actor, 51, teacher and mental health campaigner

PH: a producer, psychologist and children’s mental health consultant

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