So when does a hobby become an obsession, you ask? When that hobby takes over your home leaving little room for you. Can you even spot the dining table in Randy Jackson's dining room?
“I like the art of the elephant,” Randy says. “I like what people have done with the image of the elephant.”
Fifty years of collecting everything elephant has turned Randy Jackson's Fort Wayne home into an elephant shrine. He says the collecting bug bit him when he was a kid watching a 1950's television show.
“Circus Boy,” Randy says. “I think the major interest was Circus Boy. When I watched the program mom always gave me raisins and peanuts in a tin cup, that tin cup had elephants embossed on the side of the cup.”
That cup and that show made one heck of an impression on Randy, launching him on a lifelong mission to accumulate everything he could even remotely related to elephants; figurines, cookie jars, toys, games, Chia Pets, elephant cigarette dispensers. Randy Jackson drinks elephant coffee, heats water in an elephant tea pot. His prize possession, a Breyer model of 'Circus Boy' himself, Corky, and his baby elephant Bimbo.
'So how often do you get gifts from people that are elephants?' we ask. “My first thing I tell people when they say they found an elephants and they almost got it for me I say 'please don't buy it 'cause I probably already have it'.”
There's a scholarly side to Randy's infatuation. He's an expert on commercially made elephant items, their patents and trademarks, and has a national reputation as an elephant collectibles expert.
“They'll send me a picture and they'll say 'can you tell me what this is worth, where did it come from how old is it?' Randy says. “I can go back to my patent books and I can research what I have on it and let them know what I know.”
Randy Jackson's retired after a twenty year career with the Red Cross so elephants are now his full time focus. And apparently with no end in sight.
'When are you gonna give it up?' we ask. “When I die,” he answers. 'That's pretty serious collecting,' we say. “I like elephants,” is the answer.