If you believed the advertising hype, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was going to be the next Star Wars. Now, of course, we all know it wasn’t, but that’s beside the point – we still got some decent toys out of the whole thing.
Mego, who also made toys based on the Buck Rogers TV series and Disney’s The Black Hole, (and had earlier based a 12-inch G.I. Joe-style line of figures on the characters as they appeared in the original series, opted for figures with no more articulation than the original Kenner Star Wars figures (whereas the Buck Rogers and Black Hole toys borrowed the nine-jointed design of Mego’s popular Micronauts toys). Read More
If the cantina scene from the original Star Wars was a gold mine for moviegoers’ imaginations as well as toy collectors, the opening scenes of Jabba the Hutt’s boisterous inner sanctum from Return Of The Jedi were even more so. Read More
Here’s an entire series of toys fraught with bloopers.
In pre-production for Star Trek: Generations, which premiered over the Thanksgiving 1994 holidays, a new costume design – rather a spiffy one, I always thought – was conceived for the crew of the Enterprise-D in their first film. But at the last moment, despite the fact that a lot of money had been spent actually creating these new costumes, the powers that be decided to reduce the number of “new” and unfamiliar elements, opting instead to outfit the Enterprise’s crew in a random mix of their original Next Generation uniforms and DS9-style jumpsuits.
There’s just one problem. Playmates had gotten to work on their new line of Generations toys before the movie ever got in front of the cameras …and as far as they knew, the new uniforms would be in use. Read More
Having enjoyed two years of tremendous success with its line of Star Trek: The Next Generation toys, Playmates released a marvelously-packaged set of seven figures in a window box with an interior modeled loosely after the Enterprise bridge. Unsurprisingly, the Classic Trek boxed set was an instant sell-out during the 1993 Christmas season, despite its $50+ price tag. Read More
Released simultaneously with waves one and two, the third wave of Episode I figures delved into relatively minor characters. Arguably, of the third wave’s characters, Boss Nass got the most screen time in the movie, which isn’t really saying a whole lot. Mace Windu was also highly visible, but sometimes I feel this was due to the character’s prominence in the two trailers that promoted the movie months before its release. Read More
Whereas Coleco only had non-exclusive toy and electronic game licenses for Pac-Man, the company had grabbed almost all rights to Nintendo’s Donkey Kong. The primary reason for this was to ensure that the game would be the first game packed in with the ColecoVision game console. But Coleco also took advantage of the license to produce small PVC figures of three main characters from the Donkey Kong games in 1982. Read More
At around the same time as the first theatrical trailer from Episode I hit theaters, Hasbro started riding the Phantom Menace horse very hard – including the new Flashback figures, which not only included the classic trilogy characters in new molds, but also a “flashback” photo which, depending on whether or not you pulled out the paper strip, would show each character either as he appeared in the Episode I era, or alongside the closest character (for instance, Princess Leia is compared to Queen Amidala, and Aunt Beru to Shmi Skywalker). Read More
In 1982, at the peak of Pac-Man Fever, Coleco introduced a line of Pac-Man toys, including a half dozen bendable PVC figures based on the game. The characters included Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Blinky the ghost, Mr. Pac-Man, Mrs. Pac-Man, and – perhaps oddest of all – “Pac-Angel.” Other companies also cashed in, and Midway – Namco’s American licensee for the game – handed out the rights to produce Pac goods like a bunch of dots in a maze. Read More
Hasbro found itself in dire straits in 2000. Having milked Phantom Menace for dozens of characters (and almost as many duplicates of existing characters, only in slightly different costumes or specialized poses), the toymaker found that many of the Phantom Menace figures were still warming the pegs in retail stores across the country. Fans were railing against the higher price caused by the infamous CommTech chips, and complaining about the repeats of many characters. Read More
Though its success was anything but certain, the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation was, at the time, a marketing bonanza, if not quite up to Star Wars standards. Galoob quickly signed up to produce action figures, accessories, and die-cast metal toys…which never really seemed to catch on. Read More