10 Devastating Action Figure Disappointments
IMAGINE you’re a kid, it’s 1978 and you’re opening birthday presents. Your heart is full of optimism and joy in anticipation of what lies underneath the festive wrapping. As you tear away the paper, your smile fades to an expression of horror. “A Love Boat action figure?” Surely, this cannot be. No one would be insane enough to bypass the Star Wars figures and get this abomination instead… or would they?
Indeed, an untold number of children of the 70s wound up with exactly the worst sorts of action figures imaginable – the kind that make you wonder what sort of sick mind conceived of making them in the first place. Star Wars lends itself perfectly to the action figure business, as do comic book heroes. The Love Boat, not so much. Here are 10 such figures (in no particular order) which must have been bitter disappointments.
1. SET A COURSE FOR DISAPPOINTMENT
You could’ve had the Darth Vader action figure, but instead you got Captain Stubing. I suppose, in many ways they were similar: They both captained massive ships, both had family issues, and both were part robot. (Okay, I’m not sure that last one applies to Stubing, but you can’t prove he wasn’t.) Regardless, an Isaac the Bartender figure would’ve been cooler than either one.
2. ELDERLY AND FEEBLE BUCK ROGERS FIGURE
Do you remember Dr. Huer from Buck Rogers? He was the elderly fellow in the second season who did nothing but shuffle around his office. This is like getting a George Burns or Wilford Brimley action figure. While the Buck Rogers figure came with a laser gun, I believe this came with a miniature foot bath.
3. GRIZZLY ADAMS: HAIRY FIGURE OF REGRET
Let’s be clear – I loved the Grizzly Adams TV show, and not every action figure needs to be Star Wars. There were plenty of cool figures to go along with Battlestar Galactica, GI Joe, and a motherload of comic book heroes. The fact is, some TV and movie tie-ins don’t translate well to the action figure universe. In the case of Grizzly Adams, this is just a shade better than having a Waltons or Little House on the Prairie action figure….. which, if you need me to spell it out, is a very, very bad thing.
4. WHO THE HELL IS KATE MCCRAE?
If there was a bigger letdown than seeing the movie itself, it was getting the Kate McCrae action figure. My heart goes out to the poor kid stuck with this dud. It doesn’t quite fit into the Barbie niche or the sci-fi action figure category. Instead, it resides in this hideous limbo between, unlikely to ever even make it out of the box.
5. THE BALD CHICK FROM THE STAR TREK MOVIE….. REALLY?
Oh, the humanity! I wonder if the shmuck who wound up with the Lieutenant Ilia doll put on a brave face and pretended to like it. Such existential disappointment can sometimes be hard to mask. Hopefully, his tears of sadness were interpreted as tears of joy.
6. THE BUCKWHEAT DOLL: LET THE AWKWARDNESS BEGIN
Let’s hope the children receiving the 1975 Buckwheat figures were blind to the racial overtones. Neighborhood kids who also own the Farina, Stymie and Amos ‘n’ Andy figures should probably be avoided.
7. HULLO, HOW-WAH-YA? I’M THE WORST FIGURE OF ALL TIME.
Want the Millennium Falcon for your birthday? How about a Six Million Dollar Man action figure with a Kung Fu grip? Well, too bad. We’re giving you this short wheezing character from Welcome Back, Kotter instead.
8. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE LAME KIND
Of all the alien figures, this has to be the worst. This will literally get you beat up if you bring it to school. How does one even play with a figure like this? True confession from yours truly: I actually had this stupid thing, and I’m still bitter.
9. HAPPY DAYS FIGURE – UNHAPPINESS GUARANTEED
If you’re going to get a figure from Happy Days, get the Fonz and stop while you’re ahead. Having a Ralph Malph figure is like having the Oscar Goldman (Six Million Dollar Man) or Bosley (Charlie’s Angels) figures – they are the characters that have no business being in action figure form. Yet somehow they exist.
10. PROOF YOUR PARENTS NEVER LOVED YOU: THE ROSCO ACTION FIGURE
Just what every kid wants: a frumpy, semi-retarded, corrupt sheriff action figure. Let the fun begin!