Best Gag Gift Shop


Rob Odell's shop, Middlebird T-shirt Creations, just can't keep the remote-controlled fart machines on the shelves. "It's the perennial favorite," he says with a sigh. The store has been around since 1989, and it's been Odell's for the last two and a half years. Novelties have come and gone, but the technology of the remote-controlled fart machine just might make it as durable as its predecessor, the red rubber-balloon thing that was so obvious no one would actually sit on it. And then there are the Jesus action figures. "There's Moses, too -- they're more of a tag team," Odell says. The presence of Jesus helps when people walk in expecting Middlebird to be a sex-toy shop. "Right when I bought this store, a lady from The Kansas City Star came in and interviewed me, and I told her we have gifts and print T-shirts and have a selection of greeting cards, some with adult-themed humor," Odell recalls. "She took that quote and funneled it down till it said that we specialized in adult humor, like I was a porn shop in the middle of Mission with dildos in the back. Alas." Of his custom-made T-shirts, Odell says, "I had a guy come in and tell me that he wanted his shirt to say, 'I collect antique fans,' with pictures of antique fans all over it."

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Previously in Best of Kansas City

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