10 Weird Action Figures No Kid Wanted
Fictional cruise ship captains, celebrity relatives, 18th century American orators - there's almost nobody toy companies won't make an action figure out of. But that doesn't mean kids will play with them. Here are ten figures to cause the maximum disappointment...
10) Love Boat action figures
“I want to be Captain Stubing!” said no child in the world ever. Mego showed an insane amount of misplaced dedication to this toy line based on The Love Boat, creating six different figures when literally none would have done. The company even made a giant plastic Love Boat playset, complete with cabins and furniture – perfect for recreating those romantic misunderstandings that kids just can’t get enough of. But they only released it in Canada, where it probably out-sold Castle Greyskull.
There is no action figure on this list, or perhaps in the world, that kids stopped playing with faster than Stinkor. Mattel called him the ‘Evil Master of Odours’, and parents called him “that ing toy that smells like the queue for a Grateful Dead concert.” The manufacturer mixed the plastic for the figure with patchouli oil, a smell that can easily permeate fifteen layers of hemp clothing and a floor length leather coat, to create an action figure that would stink forever. Thirty years on, these figures will still make you retch – which is actually quite an impressive achievement.
(Image: Wiki Grayskull)
8) Jay J. Armes
Jay J. Armes is perhaps the most interesting guy you’ve never heard of. After losing his hands in an explosion as a teenager (he stole a railway torpedo and hit it with an ice pick!), Armes became one of the world’s leading private investigators with a series of celebrity clients. He rescued Marlon Brando’s son from kidnappers, worked for Elvis and Howard Hughes, and cracked cases even the CIA couldn’t solve. And he did all this with a prothetic gadget hands that included steel-shredding claws and a .22 Magnum which implanted into his wrist. The guy even had a pet white tiger which he used as a ‘lie detector’ when interrogating suspects.
Armes’ story makes him sound like a real person based on an action figure, rather than the other way round. In 1976 Ideal produced a Jay J. Armes action figure, which came with tons of cool interchangeable hands, a mobile detection vehicle and an amazing base which included a shooting range, a working morse code machine and a hand-to-hand combat robot! It was one of the most interesting action figures of the 70s, and kids across America came together as one to say “Meh.” Nobody wanted one. But they should have, dammit.
“Hey kids, meet Dondy. He’ll be haunting your dreams until you leave for college.”
6) Frank Stallone
Sly’s brother Frank appears briefly in ‘Rocky’ as a guy stood on a street corner singing for loose change. To this day no one knows whether they specifically cast him in the role, or just filmed in his neighbourhood and caught him at work, but it was enough to earn him immortality as an action figure. The Frank Stallone figure was perhaps the least popular figure from the Jakks Pacific line which – to put it into perspective - also included a slab of meat, an inanimate bronze statue and a badly injured Rocky in a wheelchair. It is, however, incredibly true-to-life, as it looks just like a South American bootleg copy of a Sylvester Stallone figure.
(Image: Collector Dash Action Figures)
5) Zogg the Terrible
Zogg the Terrible was the world’s first action figure whose name was also a review. He was the arch-nemesis of Electro-Man, himself a 16” travesty of a figure with a huge torch embedded in his forehead. This fired out a light beam which, when it struck a similar reflector in Zogg’s head, would make him fall over face-first like a passed-out drunk. Zogg also came with a light gun so kids could shoot him with the same effect – but because the figure only stood up properly when its arms were raised, this gave the impression of kids executing an unarmed monster trying desperately to surrender.
The Ideal catalogue described it as “An epic battle between Electro-Man, Zogg the Terrible, and you!” In reality it was an epic battle between you and your parents, trying to convince them to buy you enough batteries to make the damn thing work.
4) Patrick Henry
“Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was an American attorney, planter and politician who became known as an orator during the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786.”
Have fun kids!
3) Dennis Nedry
Ask a kid to name all the Jurassic Park characters they’d like to own toys of, and they’ll end up listing the prehistoric plants before they come to Dennis Nedry. As played by actor Wayne Knight (Hello, Newman), in the movie Nedry was a yellow raincoat-wearing overweight slimeball who tried to screw everyone over and gets eaten alive by tiny dinosaurs. As an action figure Nedry is a slimmed-down, sunglasses-wearing badass with black gloves, a shoulder holster and a blue roll-neck sweater. He looks like a European mercenary from a 1970s hi-jack movie, and bears literally no resemblance to the character whose name is on the packaging. The film even had two computer geek characters to choose from when they made the figures, and the other one was Samuel L. Jackson.
“I’m bored of Velociraptors Mom, can you buy me the fat nerd that ruins everything?”
In 1977, every boy wanted to be The Fonz. Despite being a supposedly violent ex-gang member who hung around with teenage boys and had an ‘office’ in a men’s bathroom, he was the epitome of cool for millions of Happy Days viewers. Mego’s Fonzie action figures sold by the bucket-load and were the must-have toys for kids across America.
However, nobody wanted to be Potsy. Not even Anson Williams. Potsy was the figure you got when they’d run out of Richie Cunninghams. And they never ran out of Richie Cunninghams. The only people who bought their kids Potsy figures were elderly grandparents who couldn’t read the packaging properly and deadbeat dads who couldn’t care less.
“Merry Christmas kid, here’s that dumb Happy Days guy you wanted.”
“Gee, thanks dad! Is it Fonzie?”
“Yeah, probably. Say hi to your Mom for me, I’ve got to get to the track.”
1) Spider-Man adventure hero
Did you hear that? That was the sound of a toy company literally scraping the barrel. Otherwise known as the Spider-Man ‘Adventure hero’ line. Each figure seemed to show another ‘side’ to Spider Man, away from the crime fighting and badly-paid photo-journalism – and each of those sides made him look really lame. Apparently, Spidey wears elbow pads and safety goggles when he rides on his scooter. He takes an inflatable volleyball with his own name on it when he goes to the beach. He wears a tie when he plays golf. He plays golf. And according to the toymakers, in his downtime he likes to go bungee jumping with a rubber cord tied around his ankle, despite the fact that he’s, y’know, SPIDER-MAN!
But by far the worst figure in the line, the one that absolutely no kid wanted, was Soccer Spider-Man. Combine the soccer ball and boots with his bare bulging thighs, obscene booty shorts and the fact that he’s still weirdly wearing his mask and gloves, and Soccer Spider-Man resembles a cross between David Beckham and an overtly-sexual Mexican wrestler.
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