Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Collectible of the Week: Buck Rogers Action Figures (Mego; 1979)
Mego acquired the merchandise license for the 1979 revival of Buck Rogers and used the feature film (originally a TV-pilot) as the basis for its many toy designs. In past weeks I have featured here Buck’s Starfighter Command Center and Buck’s Laserscope Fighter.
This week, I want to remember the action figures from the series themselves.
Nine were released all together, including Buck, Twiki, Wilma Deering, Killer Kane, Ardella, Dr. Huer, Tiger man, Draconian Guard and Draco.
If you watched Buck Rogers in the 25th Century on television with any regularity, you’ll immediately pick up on some of the discontinuities between the program and the toys. Specifically, Pamela Hensley’s character was named Ardala, not Ardella. And Kane -- a character played by both Henry Silva and Michael Ansara – was never referred to by the nickname Killer Kane.
Finally of course, King Draco appeared in the pilot/movie for about twenty seconds and was never seen again on the series. Not even once.
Despite such problems, I always enjoyed these three-and-three-quarter inch action figures. They could fit easily inside the Land Rover, the Draconian Marauder and the Starfighter, and in general looked a great lot like their video counterparts. The figures’ drawbacks included the fact that they came with no accessories, not even laser guns or helmets.
And additionally, like The Black Hole action figures from Mego of the same vintage, these Buck Rogers figures could break very easily because all their joints were held together by silver pins. Those pins had an annoying habit of loosening up or even falling out.
I still remember seeing Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in theaters. Afterwards, my parents took me to a Toys R Us store to buy me two action figures. I was able to find Buck and Twiki and was pretty happy about it. Our next stop was a carpet store and while my parents shopped, I flew Buck and Twiki around the huge store filled with rolled-up rugs.
In short order, however, Buck’s interior elastic snapped, and the hero came apart into many pieces. The very first night I had him! Buck’s “accident” left me only with Twiki…which was a big disappointment.
The astronaut had survived five hundred years as a popsicle only to spontaneously combust in a carpet store.
When we arrived home, my Dad glued Buck Rogers back together, but the poor guy was never quite the same, being now unable to move his hips.
How could he teach my Princess Ardala figure how to boogie?