I recently had a chance to talk with Theodore Roosevelt about a new LEGO set based on his life.
Canfield: Thanks for taking time to talk with me, Mr. Roosevelt. So how does this LEGO set work?
Roosevelt: Please, call me “Colonel.” Polling is now open for a LEGO set about me. People can simply follow the instructions here to view and support the project. You need to make a simple login so that LEGO knows you are not a virtual form of John Schrank, the man who followed me around for a couple thousand miles at one point in my life, but it is very easy to do.
Canfield: Thanks Colonel, so how did you get the idea for a LEGO set about your life?
Roosevelt: When I saw the LEGO Movie I noticed that Abraham Lincoln had a prominent role. I thought: “Why not me?” I mean, what did Lincoln really do to make himself qualify for LEGO enshrinement? There was of course that Civil War issue, but I asked myself, why is he engaging? Because he chopped wood? I figured my life had some interesting moments, and I have always been a bit sore about the fact that Lincoln’s face overshadows mine on Mt. Rushmore.
Canfield: Why do you think that the Badlands is a good backdrop for your set? As you say, your life had so many sensational moments. You mentioned John Schrank, and it seems that the scene when you gave an hour-long speech after being shot could have been a good one for a LEGO set.
Roosevelt: The Badlands was a formative place for me, and it really allowed me to develop my love of narrative and storytelling. I like the idea of telling a story with LEGOs. I think that the boat thieves story is one of my best, and some of the other ones, like when Schrank shot me, are a little too gruesome for LEGOs. You can’t portray real-life violence in LEGO sets. Like I showed the crowd in Milwaukee at the time, my shirt was a real mess that day. The speech with the bullet hole was pretty cool though.
Canfield: What elements of this set are you most proud of?
Roosevelt: I like the packrat under the house. I loved that little guy. I had always kept pets in my house when I was a kid, and it was fun to watch that little rodent gather things from the ranch house. I also like my fur cap. People always seem to portray me in my Rough Rider campaign hat. But they used that for the bobblehead, and the fur cap was better in the Badlands because it was so cold.
Canfield: Any last thoughts on why this is something that LEGO should actually make? You know that 10,000 people have to support the project to have it considered for production.
Roosevelt: On the topic of support, you know that over a million people gathered in New York City to greet me when I returned from Africa. 10k seems pretty doable for a LEGO set. I also think that one aspect that can make a LEGO set successful is when it emphasizes a superlative. Like the strongest person, say Superman, or the best space station ever, like the Death Star. Not to sound full of myself, but I wonder if I should be under consideration for the most interesting person. People love the question of the human superlative, as we have seen with the popularity of the “Dos Equis Guy.” I have to say that I have this lingering feeling that that character is partly based on me. I know he is a bit of a rake, and I was quite the opposite, but someone told me once that it was the same with the James Bond stories. All of those British secret agents were actually nerds. I’m not sure if that is true, but you get my point. I may not be at the very top of the “best president” list, but as for an interesting life, I feel that a case can be made. The boat thieves story is just one of many.
Canfield: Colonel, I know you just had five cups of coffee and ate a dozen eggs, so I’ll let you go. We will do what we can to help you get your LEGO set.