1983 - 2004: TV Character Dolls Part 2

All of the dolls in my collection that are based on TV shows have been included on the "TV Character Dolls, Part One" page and on this page (part two). Here is the link for Part One: http://mikeysdolls.blogspot.ca/p/tv-character-dolls.html

Some other TV character dolls are shown on the "Talking Dolls" page: http://mikeysdolls.blogspot.ca/p/talking-dolls.html

A-Team, 6" action figures by Galoob, van by ERTL, 1983

Here are the A-Team action figures that I played with as a kid in the early 1980s, made by Galoob. Although these are action figures rather than dolls, I find these 6 inch figures fit in with the collection nicely. They were made a year after Mego stopped producing their 8 inch dolls, and at a time when "dolls for boys" were falling out of style to make way for sculpted action figures such as He-Man. I've always considered this set of A-Team figures as bridging the gap between the two styles of toys, due to the size of the figures and their squishy doll-like heads which are very Mego-like. 

In addition to these 6 inch figures and a smaller series of 3 inch figures, Galoob also produced two 12 inch dolls of Mr. T, offering both a talking and non-talking version. Each doll had a different removable cloth outfit but the socks and shoes were sculpted. Aside from the fabric clothes the 12 inch Mr. T dolls were essentially a larger version of the 6 inch figure and jointed the same way. The talking version is dressed identically to the 6 inch figure, with a denim vest, a pile of gold chains (which are attached to the doll's body), and black pants. It also came with a doll-sized tool box and various tools. The non-talking doll is wearing denim overalls with a brown belt and a long sleeve red shirt. This version has an actual removable gold chain wrapped around the doll's neck, with a round "Mr. T" medallion at the front. Both dolls come with two blue plastic feather earrings. Two additional outfits with various accessories were also sold separately. They included a camouflage patterned army outfit and a firefighter outfit. These separate outfits are less common to find than the dolls themselves.

When these 6 inch figures first arrived in stores I was around nine or ten years old and remember saving up my pennies to buy each one. In fact, I recall being very determined to get all four. The A-Team was one of my favourite shows, and I thought these figures were awesome. At the time there was a Zellers store at Carlingwood mall with a toy department that was tucked in the corner of the basement level. I still remember bringing my Murdock figure to the checkout to pay for it. It was a triumphant moment of glory for me because I was so thrilled to finally have saved up enough to get my first figure. The same store also had several Return of the Jedi action figures on clearance, reduced to $1, which I bought on another occasion, and I still have them too. I never saw the action figure of the fifth A-Team member, Amy A. Allen, in stores or the four "Bad Guys" figures and was surprised to learn about them years later while reading an action figure price guide.

The A-Team: Hannibal, B.A., Face, and Murdock.

These 6 inch action figures were made by Galoob in 1983 based on the popular TV show. This is the same year that Galoob also made Blackstar action figures. Each figure A-Team figure came with a bunch of accessories, shown below. B.A. came with a tool belt, tool box and tools, while the other three figures each came with a belt and a unique back pack. Murdock also came with a string with a hook on it (which I'm missing) that could be tied onto his unique belt. Murdock also came with binoculars. Hannibal and Face have the same belt. All four figures came with the same gun. Hannibal came with an additional unique gun (shown in the bottom left corner).

Head Variations: I love discovering variations in mass produced toys! Not sure exactly why... it must be the obsessive collector in me that "wants them all". I never knew until as recently as February 2015 that there were head sculpting variations for two of the 6 inch figures. Hannibal has two different head sculpts and one of them (the one that I don't have) can be found with dark grey hair or light grey hair. This version has the chin, smile and hair sculpted to be more pronounced than the one shown above. So I can confirm that there are three distinct variations of Hannibal!!!

Face also has two different head sculpts (Face had two faces!). The one that I don't have has a very wide smile. The head on the one shown above looks much nicer. I've also noticed that the earlier produced heads for Murdock have a slightly different look to them than later versions, but the difference is quite minimal. I think it may just be the way the detail is painted for the eyes and eyebrows! I'll have to do more comparisons before confirming if there is a Murdock variation.

There are, however, differences in the colour of the plastic used for some face and Murdock heads, as the skin tone can be slightly darker or lighter. Some of the rubber heads for these skin colour variations are also squishier than their matching counterpart. So far I haven't noticed any variations for the B.A. figure aside from the bizarre Wrestling figure shown below.

My Uncle Mike gave me the A-Team van for Christmas. It was the "must have" item on my list for that year. I've always found it odd that Galoob did not make a van for their 6 inch figure series, yet they made a van for their smaller 3 3/4 inch A-Team figure series along with Face's Corvette, a patrol boat, an interceptor jet, and an armoured car with trailer. For the 6 inch figures Galoob made a gyrocopter, an ATV with trailer, and a large multi-level "Command Centre" playset for the 6 inch figures, but no van! The A-Team van shown above was made by ERTL in 1983. It was the only one available at the time that was anything close to the scale of the 6 inch figures. The picture below shows how B.A doesn't quite fit in the driver's seat. The top of his head sticks out of the opening in the roof. ERTL also made the white corvette (that Face drove) in the same scale as this van. Both vehicles are made out of plastic and were sold without any packaging.

In addition to their A-Team line of toys Galoob reused their 6 inch Mr. T figure to profit off his stint as a WWF wrestler. Above is a generic, non-WWF wrestling figure of Mr. T. This version of the 6 inch figure comes with a fabric "wrestling robe".

The body of the figure has a white shirt with red pants.

Exclusive Premier dolls, mid 1990s

During the early to mid 1990s a company called Exclusive Premier produced several collections of Mego style dolls based on TV shows including Dukes of Hazzard, Gilligan's Island, and my favourite, Happy Days. I have yet to add any of them to my collection but they can still be found often on e-bay so I'm not worried...yet! They are nice looking dolls and seem to be well made. (I have a George Burns doll by Exclusive Premier that is nicely made.)  However, I've never seen these specific dolls next to the Megos so I'm not certain about the size. They may be 7 or 8 inch dolls. With a style of their own, this series did not attempt to be exact re-issues of the Mego dolls. Below is a list of the characters that I know of for each set:

Beverly Hillbillies: Jed, Ellie May, Jethro

Dukes of Hazzard: Bo Duke, Luke Duke, Daisy Duke

Gilligan's Island: Gilligan, Skipper, Professor

Happy Days: Fonzie, Ritchie, Potsie

Honeymooners: Ralph, Alice, Ed,

Munsters: Herman, Lily, Grandpa

Beverly Hills 90210, 12 inch dolls by Mattel, 1991

Although I never watched the TV show, I had to add these two 90210 dolls to my collection. Brandon and Dylan were the only male characters that Mattel included in the series. They did an excellent job on them. It's too bad they didn't make a doll of Brian Austin Green's character David to complete the set.

Blossom, 10.5 inch doll by Tyco, 1993

Here is the Joey Russo doll from the TV series Blossom. As with the 90210 dolls, I never watched this TV show but thought this doll was neat so I added it to my collection. Joey comes with a "leather" jacket, jeans with holes torn in the knees (this was the new style in the 90s!), as well as two extra shirts. The boots were not designed correctly to allow the doll to stand up, as the heals are too big. Otherwise this is a very well made doll.

Jerry Springer, 12 inch doll by Street Player, 1998

Here is a piece of fromage. I like campy things and this doll of Jerry Springer certainly fills that criteria. It's 100% cheese. This was a very cheaply made doll though I wouldn't expect quality for a doll of Jerry Springer. This is more of a novelty item or joke gift rather than a toy. Still, it's quite bizarre so had to add it to my collection. Below is the back of the box.

WWF Wrestling, 6 inch action figure by Toy Biz, 1999

Here is an awesome Toy Biz action figure from 1999 based on the WWF wrestling character Sting, who quite obviously based his character on the Crow, specifically Brandon Lee's film version of the character. Not only does Sting have essentially the same hair style as Lee's version of the Crow, but he also dresses the same (the black leather trench coat... not the tights) and has similar face makeup. Normally Sting has white makeup on his face with black details, just like the Crow, but this figure has a red face with black details as it's a variation of the original figure that had the white face. The figure shown above is "New World Order (NWO) Sting" from the "Smash N' Slam" series of figures. It came with a WWF logo base to stand the figure on, although the post on the base is to wide for the hole on the bottom of the figure's foot. I have the figure standing in front of the post for the photo.

By the late 1990's I had stopped watching the wrestling TV shows. Yet, I thought this figure was cool because of the resemblance to the Crow and because it has such an awesome "leather" doll jacket. Here again, just like when the original G.I. Joe dolls were introduced in 1964, we have a very macho, manly event, in this case wrestling (in G.I. Joe's case it was the army), and the toys that are being made to represent it have doll's clothes! This is such an oxymoron, I just love it!!! It shows how hypocritical people can be. That is, in order to be macho and manly it's not okay for boys to like dolls, but apparently it's okay for their action figures to have doll jackets, because dolls aren't cool, but action figures with doll jackets are. Huh?

I've also seen wresting action figures with doll T-shirts, doll wresting tights, and doll pants, but don't call them dolls... no no, these are "action figures". How silly! Add to this that the same year the above Sting figure was made, Toy Biz also produced an 8 inch doll version of Sting with removable jacket and costume, which is actually a lot cooler looking than this action figure. Toy Biz was also producing their 8 inch dolls of the Marvel superheroes at the same time, so the 8 in Sting doll likely has the same type of doll body.

Here's a back view of the doll jacket to show the detail, such as the inset shoulder sections, which is quite impressive for the 6 inch format.

Here's the 6 inch Sting figure next to the Mego 8 inch Spider-Man for size comparison.

A closer view of Sting's face.

This figure has an awesome action feature that doesn't work with the jacket on.
If the arms are placed out in front of the figure like this....

...and the legs squeezed together (I put an elastic to hold them together for the photo) then the arms open wider and Sting's head tilts back, as though he's doing some kind of barbaric yell. This type of action feature was first seen on Kenner's "Super Powers" action figures that were based on DC Comics superheroes, and produced in the mid 1980s.

The Sting figure also has scorpions on both sides of the outfit that aren't visible unless the jacket is removed.

A back view of the figure. 

S Club 7, 12 inch doll by Hasbro, 2000

Does anybody remember S Club 7? Yet another show that I never watched... this TV show became a fad in 2000, so naturally a series of dolls were made based on the young cast members. Hasbro, who had made the New Kids on the Block dolls in the early 1990s, and who had produced G.I Joe and Star Wars 12 inch dolls throughout the 1990s, made the dolls for this series. Normally Hasbro does an excellent job, but it seems that in the rush to capitalize on this fad Hasbro's quality went out the window. Firstly, I found that none of these dolls looked anything like the actors and are actually quite ugly. Shown above is the ugly doll that is supposed to be "Jon" next to a picture of the actor, who is quite attractive. How do you mess up making a doll of this guy's face? He already looks like a doll! As for the clothes, they were well made but poorly designed and executed with cheep fabrics. Look at how boring this doll looks! I think it would have been better if they had used light blue cotton-like fabric for the shirt (same as the photo of the actor) and an under shirt (as Tyco did for the Joey/Blossom doll shown above). A white pair of pants would have looked better than biege, and is what the actor is wearing in the photo on the back of the box (shown below). The photo card shown above was included with the doll along with a pair of grey shorts. (You can see the photo card above in the box behind the price sticker). I used to have the Paul doll from this series but it was just as bad, so I got rid of it and just kept this one as an example.

Happy Days, 8 inch dolls by Classic TV Toys, 2004

In 2004, more than 25 years after Mego produced their Fonzie doll, a company called Classic TV Toys (CTVT) re-issued all four of Mego's Happy Days figures with different head sculpts. Unfortunately, these reissues were very cheaply made and do not look as nice as the Mego dolls. I say unfortunately as CTVT also expanded the series and made several characters that were not made by Mego, though these were also very cheaply done. New characters included Al, Mr. C, Mrs. C, Chachi, Joanie, and various outfits for Fonzie including his "Jump the Shark" outfit.

It's quite odd that a company in 2004 would produce an inferior product as compared to the original made in the mid 1970s! The head sculpt for Al was exceptionally poor. I've wished for many years for such a series of Happy Days dolls to be made, but I didn't bother collecting the CTVT Happy Days series because they were so cheaply made. I'm talking dollar store cheap! I only bought the CTVT Fonzie as an example, which is shown above in the package next to the original Mego doll.

On the left is a closer view of the CTVT Fonzie's hand to show how poorly the dolls were assembled! The seams in the plastic don't even line up! On the right is the Mego Fonzie hand. 

The only positive thing I have to say about CTVT is that they later produced a series of Munster dolls in the Mego format based on the Munsters TV show (shown below), and these are of much better quality. I'm glad to have those Munster dolls in my collection and I never even watched the show. If only they had done the same quality for the Happy Days series I'd likely have purchased two of each! In any case, it's interesting that the Mego Fonzie was re-issued at all, as it speaks to the popularity of the character and the awesomeness of the original Fonzie Mego. Below is the back view of the card.

The Munsters, 8 inch dolls by Classic TV Toys, 2004

I have two of the CTVT Munsters dolls, Eddie and Herman, that were made in the Mego style. The other three in the series are Lily, Marilyn and Grandpa. The backs of the cards are shown below.

Space: 1999, 8 inch dolls by Classic TV Toys, 2004
This is another Mego series to be reissued by CTVT in 2004. As with the Happy Days line, the original Mego characters were made and the collection was expanded with additional characters. I only have one of the dolls from this series, Captain Zantor.

It's not visible in this picture, but this character has long white rooted hair. Below is the back of the card showing (top to bottom) Paul Morrow, Alan Carter, Captain Zantor, and the Mysterious Alien (in the purple outfit).

Doodlebops, 10 inch plush doll, made between 2004 - 2007

This is Moe from the Canadian children's TV series Doodlebops. I'm not sure what company made this doll but it is very well made. This plush doll was sold at the souvenir booth from the Doodlebops' live touring shows. The other two Doodlebops, Deedee and Rooney, were also made as plush dolls in this collection. I found this one at a thrift store.

Battlestar Galactica, 8 inch dolls by Bif Bang Pow, 2012
Bif Bang Pow did an awesome job on this Mego-style series, produced in 2012. It's based on the Battlestar Galactica TV series from 1978 that was itself produced to capitalize on a Sci-Fi craze initiated by the very first Star Wars movie in 1977. These 8 inch dolls are the first figures to be made since Mattel's action figure series from 1978.

Above is Lt. Starbuck (played by Dirk Benedict who later played Face on The A-Team, seen at the top of this page) and Capt. Apollo (played by Richard Hatch). Click on the photo to see a larger version. The heads for these dolls are a tad larger than what Mego would have done, but I don't think that takes anything away from the awesomeness of these dolls. In fact I find the slightly larger heads work really well for this doll series. The costumes are perfect too. Incidentally, the only difference with these two costumes is that Starbuck has his gun holster strapped to his right leg, while Apollo's is on his left leg.

Here is Commander Adama (Canadian actor Lorne Green) and the Cylon Centurion. I find that the likeness of the head sculpts to their original actors is very well done for this series. Commander Adama's hair should have been white instead of grey, though I still think it's an awesome doll.

The back of the card shows the other two dolls that were available in series 1: Cylon Commander (in gold armour), and Battle Damaged Cylon (grey armour). Both are identical to the Cylon Centurion shown above only the costume pieces are made in different colours. In addition to being available individually on cards, these two Cylon dolls were released as a pair, without card packaging, inside a retro styled tin lunchbox. This was for an exclusive set available at the San Diego Comic Convention.

Two additional dolls, Lucifer and Athena, were later released on card packaging. A second convention exclusive set was also made that included a retro styled tin lunchbox and three 8 inch figures: Boxey, Muffit (Daggit), and a Tucana Singer for a total of 11 dolls in the collection. These last three dolls are the only ones from the collection that were not available on cards.

In addition, photos can be found online that show prototypes of other dolls that were planned for this series but never produced. These include Baltar, Imperious Leader, Lt. Boomer, Tigh and Ovion.

Here is a closer look at the head sculpt for Starbuck, which is my favourite doll from this set. I find this is such a well done Mego-style series that I'd like to collect the entire collection.

Text and Photos © Mike Artelle

No comments: