Battle Stations! Rig the ship for Hyper Space, we got Toad-Trouble!
If you were a kid in the late 80’s or early 90’s you might have noticed a slight trend in kids entertainment. There seemed to be mutant, humanoid animals everywhere! Here are just a few examples:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Byker Mice from Mars
Samurai Pizza Cats
There was one franchise that caught my attention a little more than the others, and that was Bucky O’Hare! I’m not sure exactly what it was about a green rabbit fighting toads in an animal universe (aniverse!), but I was hooked. The TV show was fantastic and had one of the catchiest theme tunes in existence.
Bucky O’Hare was the brain child of Larry Hama and Michael Golden. There imaginative comic book idea was eventually transformed into a hit TV show. The characters were so colorful and eye catching that an action figure line seemed perfect.
Hasbro created a series of action figures for the show. The figures were approximately 3.75 inches tall, very colorful with basic articulation. The entire line consisted of the following main characters:
Storm Toad Trooper
There were more figures set to be released but for reasons unknown they were shelved. I remember owning a good number of these figures as a kid and they were a whole lot of fun! The molding was quite chunky and it felt like the $8 you spent to purchase it was well worth it!
They also released two vehicles for the line – “The Toad Croaker” and the “Double Bubble”. Both of these were highly recognisable from the TV show and were fantastic toys. The Toad Croaker had room for deadeye duck to sit in the cockpit and featured a rubber underside. This made a very satsifying squishing noise when you squashed a storm toad trooper.
The double bubble could sit two toads inside and had spring loaded claws which could fire out and capture enemies. This was a really nicely designed vehicle and instantly recognisable from the shows intro scene. As an added feature it would croak as you rocked it from side to side just like a toad!
This was one of my all time favourite action figure lines as a kid. The show is brilliant too and still highly watchable all these years later! Thanks for reading.
In the late 1980’s there was a TV show that sparked the imagination of every kid who saw it. I am of course talking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! To complement the insanely popular TV show, a huge toy line was also created by playmates. I can still recall every figure and accessory I collected from that period. There were some incredibly original ideas in this toyline from a working “pizza thrower” to a mutating Michelangelo figure! This was the beginning of a life long obsession with action figures.
I’m sure you can also remember your first childhood action figures, but where exactly did these plastic beings come from?
America’s movable fighting man
Action figures have been around since the mid 1960’s. In fact it was in 1964 that Hasbro first created the now infamous G.I Joe figure. The term “action figure” was used to appeal to a young male audience and the toys were a huge hit. The original G.I Joe stood at 11.5 inches tall. The army themed figure featured interchangeable clothes. These were designed to suit the different combat situations that Joe might be facing (Usually stuffed face down in a sand box!).
Hasbro was quick to cash in on the GI Joe line and made several licencing deals with companies from other countries. This led to variant products showing up with region specific accessories. In fact it was as a result of a sub licensing deal with Takara that the Microman toy line was produced. This line spawned ideas that would eventually form the Transformers action figure line in america.
In the 1970’s action figures generally shrunk in size to around 3 and 3/4 inches. This was due to the global oil supply crisis affecting many nations at that time. Kenner was another american toy company that was eager to have a piece of the action figure pie. They obtained the rights to produce the Star Wars action figure line. The runaway success of this line was incredible and cemented kenner into action figure history. Sealed versions of these figures have increased in value substantially over the years, with some now rumoured to be worth over $20,000!
If you are a fan of the simpsons you may recall the episode where Ralph Wiggum wins the school science fair due to owning all of the original sealed star wars characters! As time went on these products cemented themselves into populare culture and helped paved the way for an incredible explosion of action figures in the 1980s. Stay tuned for The History of Action Figures – Part 2, where we will be looking at many of the biggest action figures in history! Thanks for reading.