Smith Spotlight #9

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It probably goes without saying, but Smith Design is full of creatives. In our Smith Spotlight blog series, we’re highlighting the talent of our team and their endeavors outside of our studio. Follow along to get to know the people who make Smith Design awesome.

Our ninth Smith Spotlight features our resident FanGirl, Tricia Trozzi, who has a lot of stuff. A. Lot. Of. Stuff.

Tricia has been a pop culture fan and collector for essentially her whole life. She can recall being around 5 years old and her parents buying her some Winnie-the-Pooh plush toys, pajamas, and bedroom accessories. Although those items are long gone, the desire to possess items on things that interest her has remained. Tricia was 12 when Star Wars: A New Hope was originally released in movie theaters, and that was a life-changing event. All allowance money and Christmas lists were used to acquire the original classic Kenner Toys action figures and vehicles. Being an only child allowed her to use a spare bedroom as a storage and display area. Her mother was a doll collector, while her father used his fix-it skills to repair any broken toy.

In the early 1980s, Tricia started seriously collecting on additional fandoms. This was the beginning of the affliction she calls “MHD – Multiple Hobby Disorder.” More and more fandoms and collections have been added over the years. While she sometimes misses the simplicity that comes from being interested in only one thing, her tendency to passionately like a topic and want to possess souvenirs and extensive knowledge of that topic is far too ingrained. Many hours are spent reading books and researching the internet for more information on her hobbies.

Beginning in early 1983, Tricia took her fandom of all aspects of the character Little Orphan Annie — the Harold Gray comic strip, radio show, Broadway musical, and various movie adaptations — to the next level by working on a paper Fan Club Magazine called “Annie People” for 16 years. Through this Fan Club, Tricia interviewed many performers, attended productions of the show all over the country, reviewed merchandise, and researched history and details about the various aspects of Little Orphan Annie. She was very proud of the work she contributed to the Annie People Fan Club and all the fun experiences she had. Parts of her Annie collection have been loaned for six public displays and she was featured in a nationally syndicated Associated Press article as well as in four New Jersey newspapers.

The complete 1983-1999 90-issue run of the “Annie People” newsletter can be found on the web.

Also in the 1980s, Tricia discovered classic Hollywood movies, especially The Wizard of Oz (1939). From there, she delved into the entire world of Oz, not realizing this was a 40-book series stretching back to 1900. While a first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is out of her price range, Tricia has assembled a “respectable” set of the 14 novels by original author L. Frank Baum amongst hundreds of other more modern items. A member of The International Wizard of Oz Club for over 30 years, Tricia was an active member of its East Coast Convention Crew throughout the ‘90s and early 2000s, and joined in their online community.

In the 1990s, Star Wars began to take off again, and so did Tricia’s collection. Star Wars is definitely her largest collection in terms of item count and also how much space it takes up. During the Prequel movie era, she grew a real Padawan braid and got into Jedi cosplay. She also takes pride in having attended every Star Wars Celebration Convention that has been held in the USA.

While Annie, Oz, and Star Wars are definitely Tricia’s main collections, her Multiple Hobby Disorder extends to an eclectic mix of other topics. In the 1990s, the syndicated TV action-adventure shows Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess caught Tricia’s eye, and initially she tried to resist buying stuff on them. But it was no use, and eventually four shelves and five storage boxes were filled with the faux-Ancient Greek characters, and she went to their fan conventions for years. Her interest in The Wizard of Oz spun off to following other aspects of Judy Garland’s storied career, with an extensive assortment of vinyl LPs and DVDs. The Beatles and The Looney Tunes cartoons were also actively collected on during the ‘90s. Currently, there are various Disney properties in her mix, as well as Harry Potter/The Wizarding World. Professional sports are represented by her ardent fandom for the NHL’s New York Rangers, the NBA’s New York Knicks, and the WNBA’s New York Liberty (Season Ticket Holder since 2009).

Tricia does admit there have been around five “minor” collections that she has completely sold off, at a loss, on eBay. While sad to part with them, it was a way to send the items off to other collectors, while clearing a bit of display/storage space for newer acquisitions. Never having collected for possible financial gain, Tricia finds it unfortunate that “how much is it worth in dollars” is such a prevalent attitude nowadays. Her advice to any collector is to collect what you love, and if it rises in value later, that’s great. If not, it’s more important that you appreciate the item and what it means to you. She gives the example of her childhood 1978 Kenner Toys X-Wing Vehicle, which she custom-repainted because she felt it was inaccurate as manufactured. That has completely destroyed its value as a collectible on the secondary market, but Tricia would rather have hers than a NRFB (Never Removed From Box) X-Wing.

Tricia has inherited her parents’ house, which she has now turned into her own Collector Land. While other collectors choose to keep their collections segregated into different rooms or areas, Tricia doesn’t mind that one collection spills into another. “My fandoms live together within my heart, so I don’t mind they live together throughout the house,” she says. “I actually think it’s kind of funny to have Little Orphan Annie next to Dorothy Gale next to Darth Vader.”

Tricia has been a Production Manager at Smith Design for over 28 years. She graduated with a BA in Art/Graphic Design from Montclair State (when it was still a college back in 1989) and always knew that her detail-oriented perfectionism was best-suited to Production tasks. Through Smith’s industry connections, Tricia was able to attend the New York Toy Fair and Licensing Shows for many years, which were great opportunities to see new merchandise and come home with some unique swag.

Whenever she reaches retirement from Smith Design, Tricia plans to spend her time slowly distributing her collections to other collectors. As the current caretaker of these items, she feels a strong responsibility to ensure that it all goes to other people who will appreciate these items as she has. But in the meantime, she’s still buying!

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