Classic Rings From Pop Culture

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It’s amazing what one finds when one decides to scour the realm of pop culture for an item that at first seemed to be so innocuous. Maybe a few spots here and there was the original thought. But oh no… as it turns out rings in one form or another have literally permeated every facet of media genre from everything including books, comics, movies, TV and even a few nestled in our own reality. Rings are everywhere, and once you crack open that can of worms it seems that so very many are present that a few have either gone  into hiding (maybe not as popular as they once were) or have just been overshadowed by other, more well-known rings (think The Phantom). So after an exhausting search, I give you the definitive list of pop culture rings.

That Ring From El Superbeasto

We start off a little obscure. Why not? Obscurity is fun! There's a scene in this modern-day animated classic from Rob Zombie (The Haunted World of El Superbeasto), where Dr. Satan (Paul Giamatti) is about to offer his hand in marriage to Velvet Von Black (Rosario Dawson) when he finds that the ring he needs is stuck to the previous corpse he was attached to. A minor tussle ensues, including the aid of his monkey-genius (Tom Kenny). It's funny and it's a pretty pivotal scene, too.

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Magnum, P.I.’s Ring

On the show Magnum, P.I. there is one object shared by the three main buddy characters: Magnum, T.C. and Rick all wear rings bearing the Croix de Lorraine insignia. This was explored slightly more in the final season.

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Six-Pack Rings

If you're old enough, you remember that beer and pop cans used to come in a plastic yoke that had ring shapes so the beverages wouldn't fall out. These things were convenient, but they were also really bad for the environment. Evidently they began polluting bodies of water and ensnaring fish and sometimes birds and suffocating them. They made a little bit of a comeback, however, the more recent versions are made from a harder, more breakaway plastic.

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Class Rings

Josten's. The name everyone knows when they begin thinking of class rings right about the time they're sophomores in high school. They really are kind of silly, because the rings consist of designs featuring what you plan to be when you graduate, or what you hope your career path will follow. In high school, kids want to be engineers and movie directors, but then reality sets in and class rings become  harsh reminders of what actual life might have in store for us all. I wanted to be an astronaut. Guess who isn't an astronaut.

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The Ring That Held The Resurrection Stone

Harry Potter discovers that the only way to finally bring Voldemort to his knees is to destroy all the Horcruxes, in which reside pieces of the Dark Lord's life essence. One of these Horcruxes is the Resurrection Stone, an object that allows the bearer to speak to the dead, but it can also create malevolent souls who can destroy the living. When Dumbledore first finds the Stone it has been set into a ring, and he foolishly uses it to communicate with his dead family. After being punished for his vanity, Harry is given the Deathly Hallow at his first ever Quidditch match inside the Golden Snitch. It was unable to be opened until Harry faced his most desperate time: his own death.

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The Stone Cutter’s Ring (The Simpsons)

The long and short of it is they are rings worn by a secret society in The Simpsons that is not unlike the Free Masons/Illuminati in our own reality. Homer gains acceptance, but blows it just like everything else he does. The episode is from 1995, and is called "Homer the Great."

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Ringu (The Ring)

If you're even a little bit of a horror fan, chances are you've seen The Ring. Based on, and slightly better than, the Japanese flick called Ringu, the story follows a possessed video cassette that when played shows a glowing ring and immediately prompts a phone call proclaiming the viewer has seven days. The countdown begins and unless you decide to move to an impenetrable cave, Samara is going to crawl from the TV and kill you. To DEATH!

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The Yellow and Green Rings (Narnia)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, sometimes Wikipedia spells it out perfectly:

"In C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of NarniaThe Magician's Nephew, two magic rings, which take people to the Wood between the Worlds, a linking room between parallel universes, are central to the story; a yellow ring, when touched, sends a person to the Wood Between the Worlds, while a green ring is used from there to bring that person into a world of their choosing. These rings were created by the magician "Uncle Andrew" by the use of magical dust from Atlantis."


The Shadow’s Ring

The Shadow. From radio drama to film to TV series, he was the hidden crime fighter who 'knew what evil lurks in hearts of man'. He was, as his namesake implies, a shadowy figure who used an ability to cloud people's minds, but rather than hypnotically doing so, The Shadow's high-tech cloaking uses his girasol ring that is actually an exotic energy-emitter, with a power-source feeding energy to the "girasol" gem emitter. The invisibility mechanism acts on light waves' interaction with the meta-material. And The Shadow's girasol emits an aura of energy that engulfs his cloaking meta-material, creating his invisibility. Cool.

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The Wonder Twin’s Rings

Who could possibly forget Zan and Jayna? While watching The Superfriends back in the day, these two alien teens (and their monkey, Gleek) would get to hangout with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman and tag along on adventures! I loved these two and really dug the rings that they used to become something made from water (Zan), and any animal (Jayna). Granted they weren't always the most useful people on the team, but they certainly helped save the day a time or two. "Form of: An Ice Ladder! Shape of: A Tibetan Yak!"

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The Mandarin’s Rings

When it comes to villains in any comic book universe, sometimes it's the most ridiculous that really sticks with an audience. Enter, The Mandarin, one of Iron Man's most destructive foes. Unfortunately for Stark, Mandarin is one badass dude who is strong enough without rings to actually do damage to armor just by punching it! But with his ten rings, he is nearly invulnerable: on his left hand he wears Ice Blast, Mento-Intensifier, Electro-Blast, Flame Blast, and White Light. On his right hand, Black Light, Disintegration Beam, Vortex Beam, Impact Beam, and Matter Rearranger. That's a lot of fire power.

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Flash’s Ring

Though maybe not as iconic as some of the other comic book rings, The Flash's still played a prominent roll. In order to quickly undress and reapply his costume, Barry Allen (the second Flash) would keep it tucked away in a ring.

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That Ring From Beetlejuice

In order for Beetlejuice to remain in the real world after being sprung from his world (thanks to saying his name three times) he has to marry a virgin. So, against her will (though she knows there is no other choice if she wants the Maitlands safe), Lydia Deetz becomes the unlucky bride. When Beetlejuice locates the ring, he has to pry it off a dead finger claiming, "She meant nothing to me, nothing..."

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The Legion Flight Ring

So, you want to be able to fly in and out of the atmosphere? Well, if you're a superhero and you happen to be a member of the Legion of Superheroes, then that might be possible, even if you aren't someone like Superman or Martian Manhunter. How, you ask? Especially if your power doesn't grant you the ability to fly? Well, when you're issued the Legion Ring (the one with the 'L' emblazoned there-on) it's all good, because that's what the ring does, my friend. I have one, but I blame my inability to fly on... mass.

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Ming’s Ring

Ming the Merciless is a vicious dude. He is the main villain to one Flash Gordon. Flash is 'just a man, with a man's courage' but also the ability (thanks to his past as a football player) to kick major ass. Ming, on the other hand, employs any number of troublesome weapons including his Weather Machine and his ring that can hypnotize and disintegrate folks. It's the last thing we see in the move when some unknown hands snatches it after Ming's 'suicide'. Who was it? Nobody knows...

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The Ring of Cheops

There is a ring that exists on this planet that is largely considered the most priceless antique on earth. The ring of Suphis, or Cheops, King of Memphis, (who erected the Great Pyramid for his monument) is covered with hieroglyphics, figures of Isis, Osiris, the lotus, the crocodile, and the whole symbolic Egyptian mythology. This ring is now in New York in the possession of a famous collector.

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Decoder Rings

When I was a kid (and much more so when my parents were kids), certain shows (both radio and TV) and even snacks offered games and challenges, like treasure hunts and puzzles, that required the use of a 'Decoder Ring' to assist in the cracking of said code. One of the most famous in movie history was the ring that Ralphie used in A Christmas Story during the airing of the radio play 'Little Orphan Annie'. He was somewhat irked to discover that it only informed him to 'Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine'.

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Underdog’s Ring

In the original run of Underdog, Shoeshine Boy kept the pill that granted him his powers in a ring he wore. "The secret compartment of my ring I fill / With an Underdog super energy pill". However, the scenes of him actually taking the pill were quickly stopped for fear that impressionable youths would start popping pills in hopes of gaining powers. The worst part is that in the release of the DVD sets, which are supposed to be uncut and unchanged in my opinion, have replaced 'energy' with the word 'vitamin'. A small thing, I know, but ridiculous none the less.

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The Rings of Dante’s Inferno

Represented by the Nine Circles (or Rings) of Hell journeyed by Dante in the Divine Comedy:

Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery.

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Dracula’s Ring

Simply put it's the ring worn originally by Bela Lugosi's Dracula. Though not seen as a close up, it was designed with the arms crest of Dracula's lineage. It's even referenced in Castlevania and used as one of the items with which to destroy the titular vampire.

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The Schwartz Rings

How does a movie director homage the Light Sabers from Lucas's Star Wars films without directly ripping them off? Well, if you're Mel Brooks and you're making Spaceballs, you make the Force the Schwartz and you make the sabers rings! "I see your Schwartz is a big as mine!"

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The Godfather’s Ring

If you're ever lucky enough to actually meet The Godfather, it's best that you kiss his offered pinkie ring or you might end up sleeping with the fishes.

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The Olympic Rings

The symbol was originally designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. It is said that each color of the rings was represented by each of the original competing country's flag colors. This has changed over the years and has been amended to mean that each ring represents all the colors of anyone country who wants to compete. Either way, the symbol is iconic.

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Green Lantern’s Power Ring

Of all the classic and most iconic of the comic book character's rings, Green Lantern's stands out above the rest. His entire power base revolves around the ring he wears through which those powers are focused. Sure, the wearer has to be picked by the Corps, but it's still the ring that enhances the wearer's already strong sense of being and heroism. The ring most prominently features the insignia of a lantern, which represents the lantern used as the ring's battery. They are epic and have gone on to spawn any number of colored rings and bearers each representing a specific allegiance.

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The One Ring

Here it is. The most iconic and well-known ring of all time. For years, one had to have read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings books from J.R.R. Tolkein to have known just what 'The One Ring' was, but soon,Ralph Bakshi and eventually Peter Jackson, brought the ring to a whole new audience and now it sits as perhaps the most traveled and important piece of fictional jewelry of all time.

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