Friday, November 30, 2012

November Recap



Below is a recap of all the post we've covered in November 2012. If you missed any, or simply want to see them again, click on each "title" to be taken directly to that post. As always, thanks for reading.

Charmed
Knight Rider (AKA Knight 2000)
Marvel's Gold
Clerks Inaction Figures
Pink Panther
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Animates
300
Cult Classics

Join us December 1, 2012 when we start our annual daily posting with our all new Advent Calendar of the month!

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cult Classics (Neca)



Cult classics come in many different genres - Horror, Comedy, Drama, Action, etc Be it big budget Hollywood blockbusters, or small, independent films, one can never tell what films are destined for this status quo among fans. It simply just happens.

The problem with cult classics is that while the films may go on to spawn several sequels, they don't necessarily have the "main" cast aspect to them that would garner the possibility of a toy line. Take for example your average slasher flick. Sure there are tons of actors in the film, but most of them are just fodder for the real star - The killer.

This is where Neca's Cult Classics line has you covered! Want Eric Draven from The Crow? No problem. The Tall Man from Phantasm? No problem. David and Michael from The Lost Boys? No problem. Between 2005 to 2008 in its basic and Hall of Fame line, Neca has covered a whole lot of terretory.

The quality of each figure sets the bar incredibly high for every other toy company out there. Not only are the sculpts of the figures spot on to their corresponding film(s), but so are the accessories.

The use of the original movie posters for the sidebar section of the packaging works fantastically, and the unique backdrop behind each figure magnificently matches the "world" in which they come from. It is so obvious that Neca put every bit of thought into this line before proceeding, and ensured that no one figure was any more important than the next.

Because each line comprised of several different characters from several different films, there was no need to collect every figure from each series if they didn't particularly interest you. One could easily obtain the figures of their liking, and not feel like their collections were incomplete.

Unfortunately, beyond that, there isn't much more to say on this amazing line. So with that, we hope you enjoy the complete look below at all the figures.


Eric Draven (The Crow)*Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood)*Mohawk(Gremlins 2: The New Batch)*Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)



Frank the Bunnie (Donnie Darko)*Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)*New Nightmare Freddy (Wes Cravin's New Nightmare)*The Tall Man (Phantasm)



Bubba Ho-Tep (Bubba Ho-Tep), Endoskeleton (T2)*Flyboy Zombie (Dawn of the Dead)*John McClane (Die Hard)



Chucky (Child's Play 3)*Plaid Shirt Zombie (Dawn of the Dead)*Sebastian Haff (Bubba Ho-Tep)*Shaun (Shaun of the Dead)



Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs)*Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)*Mdeieval Ash (Army of Darkness)*Jigsaw Killer (Saw)*Jigsaw Killer (Saw) Pig Face Variant



S-Mart Ash (Army of Darkness)*Hare Krishna Zombie (Dawn of the Dead)*David (The Lost Boys)*Michael (The Lost Boys)



Beetlejuice (Beetlejuice)*Kegan (Spider Walk) (The Exorcist)*Kegan (Spider Walk) (The Exorcist) Bloody Variant*Stuntman Mike (Grindhouse) (Death Proof)


While the majority of the Hall of Fame figures were new, a couple were re-released versions from the basic line.


New Nightmare Freddy (Wes Cravin's New Nightmare)*Jason Voorhes (Friday the 13th Part II)*Pinhead (Hellraiser)*Eric Draven (The Crow)


Zombie Ed from Shaun of the Dead was slated to be released, but never was. There have been several eBay listings for prototype versions of the figure, but it is unconfirmed if these are official prototypes or "black market" mock ups. Either way, the figures look pretty nice.


Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The New Beginning)*Jigsaw Killer (Saw)*Jigsaw Killer (Saw) Pig Face Variant



Eric Draven (The Crow)*Captain Spaulding*Micahel Meyers (Halloween)


Four box sets were produced for the line, each based on a specific film series.


The Crow*Halloween: The Night He Came Home*Highlander: Medieval Set: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning


Along with the two pack box sets, there were also two pack PVC packaged sets.


Halloween: The Evolution of Evil*Shaun of the Dead: Winchester Two Pack*Labyrinth: Jareth the Goblin King and Hoggle


Towards the end of the line a couple figures were released under the banner, "Cult Classics Presents". The real prize from this set was the figure based on David Bowie's character Jareth the Goblin King from the film Labyrinth.


Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs)*Jareth the Goblin King (Labyrinth)


Since the initial line, Neca has gone on to produce several sub sets of "Cult Classics" sets - Typically under the banner of "Cult Classics Presents." Neca shows consistent care for the figures they produce, and hold to a standard of quality that far surpasses many toy companies today. We look forward to seeing what they have in the works for the future.

Join us next time when we take a look at The Year Without A Santa Claus!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

300 (Neca)



"THIS IS SPARTA!"

It's a line that has been quoted since the film was released. It's been the object of many a parody, and remixed into numerous techno songs to date.

However, there would be no movie if it weren't for the 1998 limited comic series by Frank Miller. The series was initially published as five individual monthly comics, but since then has been reproduced countless times in collected editions with over ten different print runs. The collected editions themselves have sold over 100,000 copies. As far as comic books are concerned, that's a lot.

Much like the movie, the book follows King Leonidas of Sparta who gathers 300 of his best men to fight the upcoming Persian invasion. In the end, the remaining Spartans are aware of the suicide battle of which they are about to take place, and accept is as the humble and strong warriors they are, fighting to the very last man.

Though the book has been critically acclaimed, probably more in part due to the success of the film, several comic artists and writers have criticized Miller as being historically inaccurate, and even made remarks such as, "Pick up a history book, Frank." However, the biggest outcry over the series are from people who are up in arms over the line, "Those boy-lovers," which is said by a Spartan in reference to the Athenians, and was meant to imply that they practiced blatant homosexuality on the battlefield. This again circles back to those saying that the book is historically inaccurate as even Spartans are believed to have done this. Miller has since responded to these particular comments saying;

"If I allowed my characters to express only my own attitudes and beliefs, my work would be pretty darn boring. If I wrote to please grievance groups, my work would be propaganda. For the record: being a warrior class, the Spartans almost certainly did practice homosexuality. There's also evidence they tended to lie about it. It's not a big leap to postulate that they ridiculed their hedonistic Athenian rivals for something they themselves did. "Hypocrisy" is, after all, a word we got from the Greeks. What's next? A letter claiming that, since the Spartans owned slaves and beat their young, I do the same? The times we live in."


But, we digress. We've gotten slightly off topic here.

With the success of 300 in movie theaters, Neca licensed the rights to produce a small set of figures based on the film. While the figures where high quality, and impressive in detail, the line failed to find a strong foothold in the toy isle. This is due in part to the fact that the majority of the figures produced were secondary characters from the film. Neca should have instead focused on the main characters, which would have most likely boosted sales to at least warrant a second series.

The packaging itself was also not very eye catching. When every other toy company out there is producing figures packaged in standard PVC packaging, it's best to have a colorful, eye catching backdrop for the packaging. The series instead went with a darker tone, which while it matched the look and feel of the comic series and film, failed to be noticeable in toy isles.

Neca followed up the series with a San Diego Comic Con exclusive of King Leonidas. However, this was just the same basic figure with red paint meant to mimic blood splatter on the figures body. Much like the basic line, it didn't excite many fans.

Today the figures do incredibly poorly on the secondary market. Figures mint in package can be found for as cheap as $5.00. That's pretty bad for a line that cost three times that for one figure when they were first released.

The figures aren't bad, but they fall into the same trap that so many toy lines have fallen into since the dawn of time. That trap is that people think that just because a movie has the potential to be successful, that a toy line is necessary. We're not saying that a toy line of 300 should have never have been made, but perhaps its success would have been found around a ten year anniversary point of the film when people could potentially be looking for a piece of that nostalgic feeling from seeing them. It's tough to say, and every answer is potentially right or wrong. But, that's how it always is in the world of action figure marketing.

Join us next time when we take a look at Cult Classics!

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Animates (LJN)



For those of you who fondly remember the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, consider reading the original novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf, in which the film is loosely based on. You'll get a whole new story, and quite honestly, a less Kid friendly version.

With that said though, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was an amazing movie. Not only did it push the limits of technology during its time with its flawless blend of live action and animation, but simply put, the movie was good. The characters were likable, the cast superb, and the story fun.

With its blending of Disney and Looney Tunes characters, the film brought with it a re-emerging interest in golden age of American cartoons. The down side this was that with this, it also brought fourth a lot of attention on what may have been periodically correct jokes at the time, but certainly wasn't politically correct anymore. This unfortunately led to a lot of classic cartoons being heavily edited when being re-aired for a new generation.

The film follows characters Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer), and Detective Eddie Valiant (played by Bob Hoskins) as together they try to solve the mystery of just who framed Roger Rabbit. In the process we meet several interesting and key animated characters such as Benny the Cab, Baby Herman, Smart Ass (the leader of the weasels), Jessica Rabbit, and the live action characters Dolores and Judge Doom. Everything is weaved together perfectly to provide a film Noir sense and setting, with a fun yet interesting story.


Unfortunately LJN was a company well known for doing things cheaply, and ruining a lot of franchises. They have been blamed countless times for producing some of the worst Nintendo Entertainment System franchised based games, and when it comes to toys produce some of the lowest quality ones you'll find. This is sad, yet interesting at the same time.

It's sad because a lot of big name franchises such as Roger Rabbit, which have a plethora of characters to choose from ends up being a short lived series due to the lack of excitement the toys generate.

It's interesting because despite this, LJN seemed to be awarded a lot of contracts during the 80's for high budget movie licenses.

LJN produced two separate lines based on the film in 1988, but both were essentially the same. The first line, which we will look at today were the Animates. The second line was the Flexies (AKA bendable figures).

The Animates figures had limited joint movement, typically only in the legs and arms, and were pretty poor renditions of the characters from the film in terms of sculpting.

Out of the entire series, Benny the Cab was the only saving grace, and to be honest, while packaged the same, and almost large enough to accommodate one figure at a time, has no indication on the actual package that it is part of the Animates line - Though most collectors consider it to be.

All and all, it's a pretty sad line, and if anything it is a perfect example of what not to do. As we said above, LJN has a history of repeatedly destroying high budgeted movie licenses, and we really aren't sure how they continually got contracts for them.

Unfortunately for Who Framed Roger Rabbit no other company has ever stepped up to the plate to produce a definitive collection of toys. With Disney holding the rights to film, we don't see this happening any time soon either as they have always been incredibly protective of their licensed properties. I suppose this one just has to be filed under, "Take the good with the bad."

Join us next time when we take a look at 300!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (McFarlane Toys)



It's a double edged sword for independent artists to make it big. A lot of times they lose the original fan base that made them what they are, all while hearing accusations that they've sold out, or lost sight of what made their concept "good".

On the other hand, they gain a new fan base, and sometimes in the process, a whole lot more money than they ever would have made with their original fan base, and even more so important than the money, worldwide notoriety.

Fortunately for Nick Park, there was a small middle ground he was able to take between the two paths. Mr. Park has been able to bring his creation of the characters Wallace and Gromit to a worldwide notoriety standpoint, while at the same time keeping his series of characters grounded in the realm of which they were first introduced. We're sure that with that came a whole lot of money as well.

The characters have been described as, "positive international icons of both modern British culture in particular and the British people in general." The short films themselves have won several Academy Awards, and even spawned a full length feature film - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.


When the feature length film was released in 2005, McFarlane Toys followed suit with eight action figures to coincide with the movie - Though technically two of those eight figures are different versions of the main characters.

What stands out the most in this set of figures is how McFarlane Toys was able to capture the actual look of the claymation counterparts in every aspect. From facial features, to clothing, the figures are easily recognizable to fans thanks in part to their spot on plastic renditions.

McFarlane Toys never seems to stray far from the standard PVC packaging they are accustomed to for their basic figures - Figure on the right side in a bubble, cardboard tab to the left. This has worked for them for so long that we dare say they will never seek alternative packaging options. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it gets bland for collectors seeing the same packaging style over and over again. Yes, we know that packaging adds to the overall cost of the figure inside, but we sure wish someone would get creative with it. The Goonies packaging from Mezco comes to mind when we say this.


The one and only deluxe figure was the larger Were-Rabbit. The figure came packed in a larger window style box, and was about two to three times larger than the basic figures.

Today the figures sell for about ten dollars each, not bad considering that actual retail prices were around twelve to fifteen dollars when the toys were initially released.

Join us next time when we take a look at Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Animates!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pink Panther (Palisades)



When most people think of the Pink Panther, they say, "Oh, that was that cartoon." While this is of course true, many don't realize that the cartoon only came about as a result of the opening sequence to the original live action movie staring David Niven and Peter Sellers. In the opening sequence, the animated Pink Panther as seen in the cartoon series is shown interacting with the credits in a comedic way. The character became so popular with United Artist executives that they ordered a series of theatrical animated shorts.

The first short, 1964's The Pink Phink was so highly acclaimed that it won the Academy Award for best Animated Short Film. By 1969 the shorts were being broadcast on television for The Pink Panther Show, and with the popularity of the show spawned new shorts for both television and theater screens.

Today the Pink Panther has been seen in several more formats - Comics, video games, advertising campaigns, and several venues of merchandise. However it wasn't until 2004 that the iconic character would be made available in plastic via action figure format.

Palisades is not a company best known for its honest business practices, but despite this major flaw that led to its eventual bankruptcy and unfortunate closing down, they made some fine action figures during the time that they had. The figures based on the animated Pink Panther series are no exception to this rule.

Each figure was masterfully sculpted to match the characters on screen, with wonderful paint jobs to top it all off. The figures were all packed with an assortment of accessories, and were typically those as seen in the various shorts.

The packaging was the familiar PVC style bubble package that Palisades was accustomed to using. It was eye catching with its bright pink background and white magnifying glass artwork incorporated into it, but at the same time wasn't all that impressive. Small pictures of the characters were at the top of the package, designed in an interactive nature around the logo, but at the same time are very easily missed if one is skimming (as opposed to focusing on) the front of the package.

Variants also seemed to be the name of the game. In the one and only series produced there were a total of 3 variants. Considering there were only four characters produced, that's an impressive ratio of chase figures to hunt down.

The four figures produced were; Pink Panther, The Man, Aardvark and Ant (technically a two pack), and Inspector Clouseau. From those four two variants of Aardvark and Ant were produced (colored clothing versions), as well as a variant of The Man (blue paint splatter).


To round off the series, there were four exclusives made available. Unfortunately these weren't necessarily of any new figures, but rather variant versions of the prior basic series of figures.

It's true that it could be argued that the Pink Panther in tuxedo figure is a new design, but upon closer investigation it's the exact same figure, just with a tuxedo sculpted on top. This hardly passes as anything new in our book.

The following is a list of the exclusive figures as well as the locale in which they were available;

Pink Panther - Black Tuxedo (Toyfare)
Pink Panther - White Tuxedo (Sam Goody)
Inspector Clouseau - Blown Up (Palisades Direct)
The Man - Pink Paint Splatter (Wizard World)

All of the exclusive figures were available in the same PVC packaging as the basic figures with the exception The Man which came in a small black and white box.

With Palisades out of the picture in terms of toy companies, the future of Pink Panther figures looks bleak. With people tightening their wallets more and more each day, companies are taking less risks with new items, and sticking closer to the tried and true merchandise. This is a shame because we as collector's are missing out on some potentially really great merchandise, and companies are missing out on what may very well be the next biggest and best thing.

Join us next time when we take a look at Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Clerks Inaction Figures (Graphitti Designs)



Kevin Smith seems to be one of those writer/directors that you either love or hate. Rarely have we met anyone in the middle ground of that spectrum. Of course, now we're going to tell you that we are some of those rare few in the middle ground. For us, his movies are hit or miss. Either it's incredibly entertaining, or a flat out dud. We'll spare you our own personal opinion on which movies we think which way about.

Smith started his career with the film Clerks, which was coincidentally filmed at the convenience store in which he himself worked. The film was sent to the Sundance Film Festival, where it was picked up by Miramax. Despite its limited running, the film picked up a strong cult following of fans, and Smith went to work on his second film, Mallrats.

Since then, he has gone on to develop several films; Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, Clerks II, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Cop Out, and Red State. The majority of his films center around New Jersey, and while not directly related share acknowledgements to specific events, and make references to recurring characters. Fans have come to call this the "View Askewniverse", named after Smith's production company View Askew Productions.

In 2000, Clerks was adapted into an animated series for ABC. After two episodes out of the six ordered aired, the series was cancelled. While the major contributing factor to the series quick demise was ratings, it is argued that the ratings were so low due to the episodes being shown out of order. ABC launched the show with episode four, and then proceeded to episode two. However, since the audience wouldn't have known this at the time, it's hard, if not impossible, to find any truth to this argument.

In 2003 Graphitti Designs developed a series of action figures based on the concept designs for the animated show. However, unlike the show, the toys found major success in the toy isle. Despite being based on the overall design of the animated series, the toys didn't stay bound to this particular realm, and instead spread out from series to series to the various films by Smith.

CLERKS


Series one was based solely on the figures from the film Clerks, and included the majority of the major characters - Dante, Randal, and of course Jay and Silent Bob. Unlike your typical action figure, these were sculpted to have no moving parts, and also contained no accessories. With this in mind, we're not actually certain that these qualify as action figures, or miniature plastic statues. Either way, fans loved them.

CLERKS EXCLUSIVES


Each character from the first line was produced in black and white, and mounted on black and white cards as sort of a nod to the movie which was filmed in this fashion. These four particular figures were sold exclusively at Wizard World, but despite the lack of color were the exact same figures as seen in the first series.



MALLRATS


Series two was based on the film Mallrats, and while five figures were produced, there were several other characters that could have and should have been made, to and include the main character and focus point of the film, TS, and to a lesser extent his girlfriend, Brandi. Of course, there are others we would have like to have seen included, but listing them all could make this list go on and on.

We did however get Brodie, Rene, Willam, and another set of Jay and Silent Bob figures. Surly the last two could have been substituted with other characters, especially considering the first series included them...

MALLRATES EXCLUSIVES


...And here's where those particular main characters not being produced really annoys us. Rather than produce character that were actually essential to the film as figures, two of the three exclusives produced were nothing more than characters with one line in front of the comic shop.

San Diego Comic Con got the exclusive Steve-Dave and Fanboy - Two characters that were on screen for no more than five minutes and between the two of them said (maybe) ten words.

An exclusive Brodie was also produced for Wizard World, but the only difference between the exclusive version and the series 2 version is the label on the front of the package, and the item held in the figure's left hand.



These three figures would be the last "film" related exclusives released in the series.

DOGMA


Series three moved into the film Dogma, and with it brought five new figures, which again included another Jay and Silent Bob. This time around, Graphitti Designs really dropped the ball in producing the main characters from the film.

Linda Fiorentino's character Bethany, who is only the main focal point of the film, doesn't even appear to have been a thought in anyone's mind when producing the figures. Out of the five figures produced, three seemed fairly unnecessary - Jay, Silent Bob, and Golgothan. The Jay and Silent Bob figures were mainly unnecessary because so many versions had already been produced.

The other two figures released were Loki and Bartleby.

JAY AND SILET BOB STRIKE BACK


Series four based on the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back would be the largest series produced. While another set of Jay and Silent Bob figures were produced, this time around it was actually appropriate as the characters assumed their alter egos Bluntman and Chronic.

The other five figures produced were Marshal Willenholly, and the four fem fatales, Missy Chrissy, Sissy, and Justice.


CHASING AMY


The final series, series 5 was based on the film Chasing Amy. Here is where Graphitti Designs dropped the ball yet again. How can you create a series of figures based on a film called Chasing Amy, and then not produce a figure based on the title character? Out of the five figures produced, not one was the aforementioned Amy.

Instead, what was produced were; Banky, Holden, Alyssa, Hooper and Tracer.

KEVIN SMITH EXCLUSIVES


Graphitti Designs and Kevin Smith took the idea of exclusives to the brink of ridiculous. While they're done in the style of the series, many collectors don't consider the 10,000 Kevin Smith variations to be a part of it.

Okay, we were over exaggerating the amount when we said, "10,000". It was more like 14. Still, it was overkill at its best.

None of the figures were any different in design other than the paint job they got, and they were sold all over the place - Mainly at conventions where Smith was making appearances. Thus the cancelled orange and black colored jersey figure as seen in the first photo. Due to Smith cancelling this particular appearance, the figure was never produced - or rather, never released.





It doesn't appear that any new figures are on the horizon (unless of course there are more variations of Kevin Smith exclusives in the works), which is a shame. This series had so much room to grow with characters that were never included the first go round. The final series, Chasing Amy was officially released in 2006, and with how much time has passed, there is really no reason to expect anything new for the series - Though stranger things have happened.

Join us next time when we take a look at Pink Panther!

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Marvel's Gold (Toy Biz)



Marvel's Gold was a short lived series that was produced by Toy Biz between 1998 and 1999. What made this line unique from others was that ever figure (out of the eleven produced) were limited edition productions (ranging from 7,500 to 10,000 per piece), and were initially released only in specialty shops. The line comprised mainly of figures that had never been produced before, and at the same time didn't fit into any lines that had already been developed. While it's arguable that without this line, several of these figures would never have been made, at the same time it's disappointing the way it was handled.

Each figure was produced by cannibalizing other figures, and slapping a fresh coat of paint on them. While this is common practice in the action figure world, it was so blatantly obvious in the Marvel's Gold line. Especially since none of the figures contained any new sculpts (with the exception of some clothing items).

However, this is not to imply that the line is bad. In fact, it's rather impressive. The fact alone that some of these characters have been immortalized in plastic is enough to get any fan to seek them out. Plus, customized from another figure or not, with the paint job, they look pretty cool.


Due to the high wholesale cost of retaining the figures as exclusives, several shops later sold their overstock to various retail franchises, or lost them in bankruptcy settlements. As a result, what once started out as an exclusive item became fairly common in retail hot spots - until the production numbers ran out that is. This in turn has killed what was otherwise anticipated to have been a high value item on the secondary market - With most figures selling for as little as ten dollars each today.

For those seeking to hunt down the figures, they are as follows;

Black Knight (Limited to 10,000)
Black Panther (Limited to 7,500)
Black Widow (Limited to 7,500)
Captain Marvel (Limited to 10,000)
Falcon (Limited to 10,000)
Iron Fist (Limited to 10,000)
Marvel Girl (Limited to 10,000)
Moon Knight (Limited to 10,000)
Power Man (Limited to 10,000)
Task Master (Limited to 10,000)
Vision (Limited to 10,000)


Join us next time when we take a look at Clerks Inaction Figures!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Knight Rider (AKA Knight 2000) (Kenner)



Say what you will about David Hasselhoff. The man has a way of turning garbage into gold. Be it television, movies, or music, he's managed to turn a buck in them all, sometimes purely by playing himself, and not even a character at all. Do you realize how popular you need to be to be able to play yourself in a movie?

The original Knight Rider series began airing in 1982 and ran until 1986 for a total of 90 episodes over four years. While David Hasselhoff was billed as the star of the show, a good portion of viewers tuned in for Kitt, the talking, self driving and self aware car.

The series revolved around the partnership of Michael Knight (Hasselhoff), and Kitt (voiced by William Daniels). The two are brought together in the pilot episode when self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police detective Michael Long after a near fatal shot to the face, giving him a new identity via plastic surgery, and a new name - Michael Knight. Wilton selects Michael to be the primary field agent in the pilot program of his Knight Industries-funded public justice organization, the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG).

Other notable characters were Devon Miles played by Edward Mulhare. Devon was the leader of FLAG, who appeared in nearly every episode to provide mission details to Knight and KITT. He was shadowed by Patricia McPherson as Dr. Bonnie Barstow in the first season who served as KITT's chief technician and as romantic tension for Michael. McPherson was dropped after the first season, and replaced by Rebecca Holden who played April Curtis throughout the second season. After tremendous fan backlash, including lobbying by Hasselhoff and Mulhare, McPherson was returned to the show for the final two seasons (3 and 4).

With the success of Knight Rider on the rise, Kenner licensed the rights to produce toys based on the show in 1983. The line focused mainly on the car, and never really capitalized on the characters with the exception of producing one version of Michael Knight.

The figure came packed on a fairly bland red card back which had a small square to the left of the bubble for a photograph of David Hasselhoff portraying the character. The figure was touted as being poseable, but really only bent at the arms and legs, and had the ability to turn the head. This was an unfortunate aspect that was leaving Kenner behind quickly in the world of action figures due to the impressible poseability of new toys such as G.I. Joe and Transformers.

The line didn't tend to stick with formatted toys to the size of the figure. For example, the Whip Shifter was approximately the same size as the figure (in length), and the Turbo Booster utilized the size of a car typical to those found in Hot Wheels sets.


The Voice Car was really the only toy compatible with the Michael Knight figure. Even then it was somewhat of a pain to cram the figure inside the front seat due to its limited poseability. Interesting enough is that the car actually comes with a packed in figure, making the individual carded one a rather pointlessly produced piece.

The Crash Set was a truck designed to coincide with the Turbo Booster set. The idea was to launch the car from the booster station through the side of the truck.

Last was the Radio Controlled Knight 2000. The vehicle was exactly what you would expect from the title - A remote control car.

Despite the vast differences in compatibility and proportion to each other from toy to toy, many collector's feel that all these pieces encompass the entire set, and anything less would be incomplete.

It's a curious question as to why the toys were titled Knight 2000, and not Knight Rider. Even today it causes confusion among collectors who confuse the line as something more current due to the "2000" in the title.

Today it's rather easy to track down the majority of the items from the series. The difficult part is finding someone selling it for a reasonable price. Depending on the items you're looking for, sealed pieces can sell anywhere from $100.00 to $300.00. Opened ones go for considerable less (typically under $50.00).

In a recent poll, Knight Rider was voted as one of the top twenty shows that fans would like to see remade for television today. Whether or not that dream becomes a reality is yet to be seen. But, in this day and age of television, anything is possible.

Join us next time when we take a look at Marvel's Gold!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Charmed (State of the Art Toys)



Charmed was one of the leading shows for the now defunct WB Television Network from 1998 to 2006. The show initially stared Shannen Doherty, Alyssa Milano, and Holly Marie Combs as sisters Prue, Phoebe and Piper. Doherty's character was removed from the series after series three, and replaced by youngest sister Paige played by Rose McGowan. While it has never been confirmed why Doherty left the show, it has been confirmed by both her and Milano that the two actresses never got along.

With the sudden departure of Doherty, the future of Charmed was questionable. However, rather than lose ratings, the series actually became even more popular, running for an additional five season. When the series ended at the end of season eight, there were 178 episodes in total.


In 2004, State of the Art Toys (or SOTA for short) produced two series of figures based on the show. The basic line included characters from the current cast line up including protagonist Belthazor played by Michael Bailey Smith for 14 episodes.

CineQuest.com offered four exclusive figures through their online site which included the same figures from the first series, just in different clothing. What is interesting about these exclusives is that the character Paige received two figures, as opposed to the other characters who only got one variant.


The final exclusive for the series was the transparent Belthazor figure which was released at San Diego Comic Con. To date it is one of the most difficult figures to get, especially mint in package.

In 2005 SOTA released a second and final wave of figures. The series once again included the three girls from the current cast line up, as well as Leo played by Brian Krause.

Unlike the first series which utilized large bubble packaging over cardboard backers, the second series came packed in PVC packaging. It is arguable that astatically wise, the first series packaging was more appealing. Both series came packed with an incredible amount of accessories and background pieces - Such as the attic "playset" which could be assembled by accumulating all the series one figures.

Despite repeated requests from fans and collectors, a figure based on Doherty's character was never released. It is possible that the actress would not license her likeness to the company due to her sudden departure from the series, but much like why she left the series, its unknown as to why the figure was never made. We attempted to contact SOTA toys regarding this, but as of this posting have received no comment.

Today the figures can be found for roughly ten dollars a piece with the exception of the San Diego Comic Con Belthazor which sells for fifty to sixty dollars.

Join us next time when we take a look at Knight Rider!

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