If you’re a child of the ’90s, you probably remember Street Sharks, a TV show about transgenic sharks designed to promote a toy line of man/shark action figures. What you may not know is that the show was actually based on the real-life experiences of Vaughn VonRiche, who built a billion-dollar business empire by creating mercenary armies of man/shark hybrids. As income inequality has grown, VonRiche recently saw the opportunity to create a new line of luxury Boulevard Sharks, and of course, we needed to know all about them. The interview below has been edited for texture and consistency.
Bunny Ears: Street Sharks was developed to promote a line of toys. How are Boulevard Sharks different?
VonRiche: With Street Sharks, we were casting a wide net. Boulevard Sharks are designed to appeal to a more exclusive clientele. For instance, Street Sharks was available on BKN. Boulevard Sharks is only available on a solid gold record, like the one Carl Sagan shot into space. Also, Boulevard Sharks are unbelievably expensive.
Bunny Ears: What inspired you to create this line of toys?
VonRiche: I wanted rich children to be able to hold a really beautiful toy and know that it was better than the toys available to less hardworking children.
Bunny Ears: What’s your favorite thing about the Boulevard Sharks?
VonRiche: One detail I’m very proud of is the sharks’ tiny monocles, which were handcrafted by an Italian lens grinder who is a direct descendent of Galileo. The monocles are made from leaded glass, which would be extremely dangerous for a child to swallow. Fortunately, all the children we’re selling these products to have excellent insurance.
Bunny Ears: Personally, we loved the tiny suits.
VonRiche: I’m so glad you enjoyed those. They’re actually so small that they had to be handsewn by children, so every parent who buys a Boulevard Shark for their child or orphaned ward can go to sleep on their swan down mattress knowing that they are helping to employ a vulnerable population.
Bunny Ears: Let’s talk materials.
VonRiche: Of course. The bodies of our Boulevard Sharks are made from an ultralight platinum alloy that will actually sound an alarm if it senses someone nearby with a net worth under $100 million dollars. Sure, this has been a hassle for some of the nannies, but that’s what we pay them for, right? And the sharks’ teeth—and this is really cool—were carved from the bones of fossilized megalodons. I think it’s really special any time we can privatize a piece of our collective natural heritage.
Bunny Ears: And, of course, Boulevard Sharks have an environmental component as well.
VonRiche: That’s right. For every Boulevard Shark we sell, we murder an actual shark. Because sharks are apex predators, this saves a lot of fish lives. We send customers a handcrafted oil portrait of the shark we murdered in their name.
Bunny Ears: Aren’t sharks threatened?
VonRiche: Threatened by our profits! Also, by widespread environmental collapse.
Bunny Ears: Are you at all concerned that your products aren’t accessible?
VonRiche: Absolutely not. What’s the fun of having a toy if it’s something your nanny could buy for her kids? We want to send kids a message: If your parents work hard or inherited a lot of money, you deserve nicer stuff.
Bunny Ears: Sure.
VonRiche: Wait, did you mean that the toys aren’t accessible to children with disabilities?
Bunny Ears: No.
VonRiche: Good, because they’re definitely not.