You Can Buy a Lot of Ridiculous Merch for Pope Francis’ Visit
It’s Pope week! And whatever you think of how the city has handled the advance of Pope Francis‘ visit to Philadelphia, there’s one thing we can absolutely all agree on: Entrepreneurs are cashing in!
From independent vendors selling shlocky, legally questionable t-shirts on street corners to the official World Meeting of Families merchandise sold online and in the Aramark Tower, you can get virtually any item with the Pope’s face on it.
Here are some of the best and weirdest ones:
Pope Francis/Eagles bootleg tee
$15, sold on a corner in Center City
Usually this time of year, the vendor at 19th and Market would be selling shirts that say, “The Eagles are playing like shit — pass me another beer.” But due to Francis’ visit, he’s selling shirts with Pope Francis wearing an Eagles jersey. (It’s either a reference to the year, or it’s supposed to be Tim Tebow‘s No. 15, but Tebow actually wore No. 11 while on the Eagles this preseason. And he got cut anyway.)
“This shirt is like if Pope Francis were an Eagle fan,” the guy selling the shirts told me when I bought one (obviously). With the way the team’s playing, he’ll be back to his usual wares soon enough.
$48.95, available online
The Pope Toaster allows you to put in inserts that will mark your toast with a burnt image of Pope Francis, or the phrase “SPREAD THE LOVE.” It’s the creation of Debby Fireman, a Narberth woman who told PHL17 she usually gives toasters to her clients with their logo on it.
“People have been making toast forever,” she told the station. “This is a very different kind of toast.” Indeed it is.
Philly Bobble Pope
$39.99, available on Etsy
Do we think Pope Francis has ever seen the movie Rocky? It was a popular film internationally, I bet the Pope could have seen it back when he was just a priest named Father Jorge. If so, this is a scenario that could actually happen: The Pope at the top of the steps of the Art Museum, wearing boxing gloves, holding a cheesesteak in one gloved hand and a soft pretzel in the other. Hey, if the pope is actually going to eat a Wawa hoagie while in town, literally anything is possible.
Pope Tote Bag
$10, available at Papal pop-up shop at 11th and Market or online
Perry Milou’s Pope Francis painting may cost you $1 million for the original, but you can get it on a tote bag for just $10. That seems like a slightly better deal.
Pope Francis mock LP
$20, available online
Todd Kimmel, an Overbrook Farms resident who founded Mambo Movers in the 1980s, has collaborated with Norwegian artist Fred Lammers to create a series of colorful, early 1960s-style pope art. This gets bonus points for “In monotheistic sound.”
Perhaps even better than the fake Francis LP is this print for sale:
I have no idea what’s going on, but I like it.
Cartoon Pope Francis “Welcome to Philadelphia” t-shirt
$12.95, available at the St. Jude Shop
I like this: It’s a sly Rocky reference that actually stands well on its own, and the drawing style would be appropriate for a children’s folk album. The bootleg t-shirt vendors this week are going to have a tough time topping this one.
Pope Francis tumblers
Available at the City Hall gift shop
Lest you think City Hall isn’t getting in on the action this week, the City Hall gift shop — located right near the center courtyard — has tumblers with the pope on them. Remember the pope’s visit every time you’re sipping a drink at work!
Pope Francis plush doll
$20, available at the pop-up shop or online
I cannot do better than the official description of the Pope Francis plush doll: “The Pope is one of the most beloved and influential leaders on earth! Now you can bring home.”
Follow @dhm on Twitter.