Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Krofft Superstars Series (Living Toys)



The Krofft Superstars Series
Living Toys
2000

The best part of The Krofft Superstars series is that it doesn't encompass just one source for the figures. Instead, it's made up of some of the cast / characters of three television series developed by Sid and Marty Krofft's; H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund and the Sea Monster and The Krofft Supershow.

(Photo: H.R. Pufnstuf and Electra Woman)

The Krofft Supershow

The 70's were a good time for variety shows. It was an easy way for networks to massively dump "talent" onto airways for massive blocks at a time. Be it Carol Brunett, Andy Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Sonny and Cher or the television family, The Brady's, there was big money involved. As such, it was only natural that variety shows would also make their way into the Saturday morning cartoon scene. Enter Sid and Marty's The Krofft Supershow.


The first half of season one encompassed a full ninety minutes of "skits" (or segments if you will) featuring characters such as Dr. Shrinker, Electra Woman, Dyna Girl, and many other. The show was hosted by the band, Kaptain Kool and the Kongs - A band which was manufactured by studio execs specifically for the show. Before the season would end, the show was shortened to sixty minutes, and dropped the aforementioned characters above in lieu of Bigfoot and Wildboy, and Magic Mongo.

During the shows 32 episode run, more changes came down the pike, including the band dropping one member for season two, and then eventually being replace in full by the Bay City Rollers - A popular Scottish pop band of the era for their hits Saturday Night, Shang-A-Lang, Summerlove Sensation, and more.


H.R. Pufnstuf

Probably the most well known character created by the Krofft duo was Mr. H.R. Pufnstuf. He was the star of the very first live action star from the brothers, and despite running for just seventeen episodes became a pop culture icon.

The series evolved around the tried and true fairy tale premise of good vs. evil, and featured a cast of puppets, actors in foam suits and live actors. The show centered around the boy, Jimmy (portrayed by Jack Wild) who has been shipwrecked on Living Island. Because everything on Living Island is alive, almost everything that could be used as a character was used as a character - Often voiced in a parody fashion of the popular actors and actresses of the early 70's.

The show featured numerous characters such as; Cling and Clang (as portrayed in this particular action figure line), Wilhemina W. Witchiepoo and of course H.R. Pufnstuf (alongside numerous others).

Fun fact - Though Jack Wild portrayed and eleven year old on the show, the actor was actually sixteen.

Sigmund and the Sea Monster

After the days of H.R. Pufnstuf, but before the Krofft Supershow, there was Sigmund and the Sea Monster.

The show centered on two brothers,Scott and Johnny, who discover Sigmund, a friendly little sea monster who has been thrown out by his family for refusing to be frightening. As such, the boys take to hiding Sigmund in their clubhouse in order to keep him safe.

(Photo: Sigmund and Cling and Clang)

Most of the episodes featured Sigmund doing something silly in order to arouse attention, and the boys working to cover up what he's done to keep him a secret. Each show incorporated songs to move the plot development along - Mainly comprising of songs to depict what Johnny was thinking.

Sigmund and the Sea Monster also became the Krofft's first series to be picked up for a second season. However, after twenty-nine episodes, the show had run its course, and was take off the air.


Join us next time when we take a look at Print Putty!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

The Dave Clark Five (Remco)



The Dave Clark Five
Remco
1964

The Dave Clark five are most commonly referred to as the, "Second group from the  British invasion" - The Beatles of course being number one. The band found success with numerous hits between 1958 and 1970 such as; Glad All Over, Catch  Us If You Can, You Got What It Takes, Because, Everybody Knows, and so many more. They even managed to knock The Beatles I Want to Hold Your Hand off the top of the UK singles chart in January 1964 with their hit Glad All Over.

The band often times shadowed the success of The Beatles. For example, following in suit to The Beatles A Hard Day's Night film in 1964, The Dave Clark Five released their own film, Catch Us If You Can.

Their success continued in the US until around 1967. That was when their last hit charted - You Got What It Takes. Fortunately they still found mild success in the UK until 1970 when the band disbanded.

During the height of the band's popularity, Remco gave Dave Clark the big head treatment in a set which also featured the remaining members of the band. However, unlike Clark, the rest of the group was produced in smaller plastic figures that more so resembled cake toppers.

The entire band was only packaged as a one shot all or nothing deal. This is probably a good thing considering that the remaining members seemed more like an afterthought for Remco.

Today this set isn't very common, and when found typically sells for around $200.00 in the package. A complete loose set sells for around $40.00 to $60.00.

What has kept the band from making much of a resurgence is the stubbornness of Dave Clark himself. Mr. Clark owns the rights to all of the band's music, and between 1978 to 1993 he declined all opportunities to license the recordings to anyone. It wasn't until Disney met with what was considered a ridiculous agreement that he allowed a compilation CD to be released in 1993. Unfortunately the deal soon soured, and Clark backed out of the arrangement. As of 2008, a new compilations CD was made available, but to date the band's studio albums have yet to be released on CD format.

***BONUS***

Lyndon B Johnson and Barry M. Goldwater
Remco
1964

Remco found little to no success with a theme of political big heads that they released in 1964. Focusing on President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Senator Barry M. Goldberg, it was somewhat of a, "Kids will like this, right?" tactic from the company.

If you can find an original display case for the Lyndon B. Johnson figure, it actually has a fairly comical sales pitch on it, "Great for kids!" Hmm...Not so much, but we can imagine many grandmothers seeing this and saying, "Oh, Billy will love this. Such a nice toy." Meanwhile grandpa is standing over her shoulder shouting, "America!"

Most kids don't care about politics, and even those that do - Yeah, they're typically not looking for figures based on said folks. Heck, even for people like us who love Action figures, we're kind of on the side of , "Lame."


Lyndon B. Johnson

Barry M. Goldwater

Unlike the above The Dave Clark Five figures, and the prior discussed The Beatles line, these don't sell for too much on secondary markets. You can easily get them for between $20.00 and $25.00 mint in the package.

Join us next time when we take a look at The Krofft Superstar Series!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Samurai X (Toycom)



Samurai X
Toycom
2001

Samurai X, or as it's known in Japan as Rurouni Kenshin (Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story) - Or るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪漫譚, was a highly popular Manga, later adapted into a feature film in 2012 starting Takeru Satoh. The original comic book story was written and created by Nobuhiro Watsuki, and follows the life of former assassin Himura Kenshin, turned wandering samurai who protects the people of Japan with a vow to never take another life.

When the story was first developed, it appeared in the weekly magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump. It unfolded in serial fashion, I.E. small chapters each magazine, between April 1994 to November 1999, much like many Manga style stories did - Such as Katsuhiro Otomo's 1982 story, Akira.

Toycom began producing toys in 2000 with its first line, Future Ninja. From the get go, the company was determined to export Japanese Manga style characters to the US in the form of plastic, and did so fairly regularly until 2004 when the company folded.

Its 2001 venture (as you probably could already tell from the title of this post) was Samurai X. Much like most of Toycom's lines, the series was incredibly small, confined to just four figures. A separate line of PVC style figures were produced as well, but many fans don't contribute them as part of this particular series - We won't go into those here.


 Kenshin Himura

 Kaoru Kamiya

 Hajime Saitou

Sanosuke Sagara

The figures aren't too difficult to find these days. Unfortunately the problem lies with most sellers having them priced too high to sell. The average asking price is between $20.00 and $35.00. However, most people aren't willing to pay more than $10.00 for them mint in the package. Unless you can find a seller that is willing to face facts, you're going to be playing a game of patience to get these at the best price.

Join us next time when we take a look at The Dave Clark Five!

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Monday, July 20, 2015

The Beatles (Remco)



The Beatles
Remco
1964

Truly horrifying, or awesome vintage collectible? You be the judge.

In the 1960's Remco began producing a line of toys based on the various television and music icons of the era. Though never officially entitled as such, fans came to know it as the Big Head series. One of the first items produced were four figures based on the British rock group, The Beatles.

Featuring John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, there's not much we can say about the band that we honestly haven't covered in our prior posts about Beatlemania type toys - Nor could we honestly say anything that hasn't been said a hundred times over by so many others - Or that isn't common knowledge at this point.

Each doll was approximately five inches tall, with the head taking up approximately two inches of that encompassing measurement. The series featured real hair, which many people oddly enough cut when they opened them. As a result, opened ones are difficult to find with a full mop top.

The packaging was big on using the "Yeah, yeah, yeah" from the Beatles 1963 single, She Loves You - Which was actually never used for a full Beatles album (with the exception of greatest hits/collections). It featured a small window in the box for the figure to be displayed, and shared half the front of the package with photographs of each member's head. The back of the package was reserved for more photographs of the band, as well as an advertisement of sorts for the series.


John Lennon


Paul McCartney

Oddly enough, the packages themselves don't tell you which figure is inside. Rather, the name of each member of the group is painted on the instrument the actual figure holds.


George Harrison


Ringo Starr

Remco continued their Big Head series with other notable characters, but never came back to The Beatles for updated looks.

These days the figures are fairly common, but still rather pricey. An entire set typically sells for around $400.00 to $500.00 - Mint in the box. Loose ones sell for about fifty dollars each - Pending they have a full head of hair.

Join us next time when we take a look at Samurai X!

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Flaming Carrot (Dark Horse Comics)



Flaming Carrot
Dark Horse Comics
1999

Flaming Carrot was a character we personally got introduced to in 1993 when he was featured in a crossover with Mirage Comic's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Though we don't really recall if the story was good or not at this point, we do know that it was enough to intrigue us in the character in general, and seek out more stories.

Bob Burden created Flaming Carrot back in the 1970's and his first appearance in comic form can be traced to Visions number 1 - A magazine published by the Atlanta Fantasy Fair in 1979. Since then, he has been featured in numerous volumes of his own title published by Dark Horse and Image Comics, and is even credited as a founding member for the group Mystery Men. Wouldn't that have been awesome if he was in the movie?

The "hero's" origin story depicts him as your average everyday comic book fan who on a bet read 5,000 comics back to back. Unfortunately this caused him to suffer brain damage, and thereafter he appeared directly as the Flaming Carrot. He has no super power, just a large carrot mask that lights on fire, and has a storage compartment for his nuclear pogo stick - an invention from Dr. Heller of the Mystery Men. Carrot also wears a utility belt akin to that of Batman. However, unlike Batman's belt which contains several useful gadgets, FC's is stuffed with the likes of rubber bands, sneezing powder, silly putty and random playing cards - All of which are deadly weapons in his hands.

When Dark Horse Comics began developing and releasing action figures based on their own brands, one of the choices was Flaming Carrot. Though only one figure was produced, it can be found in two variations - The regular figure which has red pants, and a chase variant with green pants. The figure came packed with a few accessories; a hook launcher, pistol and two grenades. The top of the carrot also featured an LED/battery feature that allowed it to light up showcasing the flaming feature.

Though the front of the card was rather plain, a unique feature on the back of the card was that it contained an origin story under the title of "Man on the Street Wants to Know! What is This Flaming Carrot?" Because the character is so obscure to many people, this was a nice added touch. We especially like the comic book format that was chosen as the layout.

While uncommon, the red pants version can be picked up on secondary markets for $15.00 to $25.00 mint in the package. Unfortunately if you're wanting to track down the variant green pants version you're going to need two things - A lot of patience, and a lot of money. Very rarely do we see them come up for sale, and when they do they average about $120.00 mint on card. If you buy the figure loose, make sure to inquire if the LED feature is in working condition or not. Otherwise you may end up paying a premium for a non working feature.

Join us next time when we take a look at The Beatles!

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Elvis (Hasbro)



Elvis
Hasbro
1993

We went into a lot of detail on The King in our original post of McFarlane's Elvis line. As such, we'll stick to the basics of this particular Hasbro line.

Merchandising has been a big part of keeping Elvis relevant to an ever changing musical society, and as such, though he may be gone his likeness is no stranger to any form of item to be bought and sold.

These 1993 renditions of Elvis from Hasbro are a fantastic item for fans and doll collector's alike. The gold to the packaging really draws you in, and the likeness in the head sculpt is spot on - Not to mention the fantastic cloth work for the clothing. One look, and you can definitely pick out that this is Elvis Presley - Even if it weren't in the package.


Teen Idol


'68 Sepcial


Jailhouse Rock

Hasbro actually had future plans for the series, but sadly never got around to fulfilling that plan. Whether it was due to poor sales, or licensing coming to an end, three additional dolls that were in the works never got released. They were; Aloha from Hawaii, Gold Suit and Military. There has been one known collector to not only have but be selling these three dolls. His last asking price in January of 2015 was $10,000.00 which nobody purchased.

We asked the seller if we could use his photos for this article, but were told no.

As for the other dolls, despite being priced between $5.00 and $75.00 (yes, that's a massive range), not too many sell. Mind you, that price range is for mint in box ones.

Join us next time when we take a look at Flaming Carrot!

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Emily the Strange (Toynami)



Emily the Strange
Toynami
2005

Much like our prior post on Mr. Bacon, Emily the Strange is a character that was developed as a mascot, and transcended into her own iconic character which has numerous fans around the world. Since her inception, Emily has been featured on clothing, skateboards, stickers, stationary and more-  To and include a comic book from Dark Horse Comics.

Emily was created in 1993 by Rob Reger for use in his own company, Cosmic Debris Etc., Inc. These days, the company seems to focus strictly on developing merchandise based on the character. However, it doesn't appear that much has been done with her since 2013.

In 2005, Toynami produced a figure based on the character. It was sold mainly at specialty shops, and noted bookstores such as Borders and Barnes and Noble. Two variant figures were also produced - One featuring the character with her arms crossed, and the others with her arms down. They did make these two figures unique by way of giving each one their own name which was printed on the package.

Problem Child


Armed and Dangerous

Bendy Emily

You can typically pick these figures up for around $10.00 each on secondary markets. However there are a few sellers out there who ask as much as $50.00 for them. Obviously these sellers don't end up selling the figure to anyone.

Join us next time when we take a look at Elvis!

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