5 1/2 Inch scale
By: Toys N’ Things
Troll dolls first came to popularity in the 1970s, where a handful of hippies and stoners would place one on their wall. Apparently they were actually invented all the way back in 1959, but for all intents and purposes, Trolls didn’t really exist until sometime in the mid 1990s. You see, up to that point, troll dolls were likely the least popular holdover from the 70s. But sometime in the 90s, some kid found a troll doll and he told another kid it was cool and suddenly we were off to the races!
If you weren’t alive during this period, you might look back on troll dolls and think they were some brief phase that wasn’t a big deal. Of course, you’d be wronger than humanly possible. You see, the troll craze was huge. 1,000 times more popular than He-Man, Beanie Babies and Pokemon combined. I’m not kidding either. Trolls suddenly just appeared overnight EVERYWHERE! And everyone collected them.
Adults bought them. Kids bought them. Hot teenage girls bought them. EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE UNITED STATES (and quite possibly the world) WAS OBSESSED WITH TROLL DOLLS! Why were troll dolls so popular? I can’t say for sure, but I know manufacturers loved them because you could make 100 troll dolls for about a nickel and then resell them for at least three times that. All you had to do was slap some new hair on one and BOOM, new type of troll doll. Even though there were “official” Troll dolls, there was no copyright on the troll design, which meant everyone made trolls. Millions of trolls, of every shape, size and variety.
Eventually they started putting clothes on troll dolls. Then they’d add little gimmicks to them. Even if you didn’t want to collect troll dolls, you were forced to because it was virtually the only toy being sold at the time. I’m not kidding. I cannot understate how much troll dolls just infiltrated every facet of childhood life in the 1990s. This led to Hasbro and Ace Novelty releasing honest to goodness Troll “action” figures with Battle Trolls (“They’re outta conTROLL”) and Stone Protectors. The latter of which ended up with a cartoon, video games and god knows what else.
So naturally, someone would knock those off. At this point troll dolls had reached maximum saturation, with even gumball machines being filled with trolls. This led to the good folks at Toys N’ Things to create Troll Force! The subject of today’s review.
It’s hard to say exactly what Troll Force is. Are they a team? Do they fight each other? Do they all live in one big hippie commune? All I know is that they released 12 different figures in six different themes. Each theme had two figures. Today’s review is of the Viking, from the Medieval Warriors (labeled as just Warriors on the back of the card) theme. His partner in crime (or enemy?) was the Roman figure. Continue reading
While many fans know of the similarities between John Blackstar and his cartoon adventures, to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, not everyone knows that Blackstar actually appeared in an episode of the original Filmation cartoon. Blackstar had been a Filmation cartoon just before Masters of the Universe and in many ways set the tone for the upcoming MOTU show. Incredibly, Filmation reused many character models, sound effects and backgrounds for their new He-Man show. Of course, this was often par for the course in those days.
But in the early Masters of the Universe first season episode, “Temple of the Sun”, a statue of John Blackstar appears. It’s only on the screen for a few seconds, but it’s clearly there. Blackstar’s Starsword is visible, as is his medallion. Clearly Filmation was putting this into the show as a nice little nod to their previous program, but it’s become much more than just a little Easter Egg. For fans of MOTU, this links the two programs together with a nod to the mythos of Blackstar.
Did Blackstar land on Eternia at some point? Was Blackstar’s adventures on an ancient Eternia? It would certainly explain many of the similarities. Ultimately this fun little throw away scene, has added a lot of intrigue and mystery to the Masters of the Universe lore. Something Filmation never would have known they were doing all those years ago.
This week, Isaac Heller, Co-Founder of Remco passed away. It’s rare we mention toy company owners or creators deaths here at Infinite Hollywood, but Heller is a special case because he helped create Remco. Because Remco was such a small company and one that never quite got the mainstream attention that it deserved, we thought it only fitting to pay tribute here to a man who helped create one of our favorite companies.
Heller started his company in 1949 along with his cousin. Their early toys were built around remote control concepts and the name Remco, came from that idea. Eventually they would spread out and do plenty of different types of toys. In the mid 1970’s, Remco was bought out by AHI (Azrak-Hamway International) and went on to produce some of the most memorable toys of the 1980s, including AWA Wrestling Figures, Universal Monsters, Crystar, Lost World of the Warlord and even SWAT Kats.
While Isaac Heller didn’t have any input into those toys, it was his creation of Remco that led to such things eventually being produced under that brand name. Heller likely had no idea his toy brand would eventually become synonymous with classic action figures, but eventually it did. If it weren’t for a pioneer like Heller, we’d likely never gotten those awesome Remco toys of the 80s. So today we memorialize this icon of the industry.
It’s hard to characterize Sungold as distinctly bootleg toys, since the company existed for a long time, marked their product and had many of their toylines legitimately bootlegged. So starting off a new feature on the site about bootleg toys, with a toy that’s not a bootleg in the most direct sense of the term isn’t exactly full of journalistic integrity. But the truth is, Wacky Knockoffs didn’t have the same ring to it and people seem to interchange the terms of knockoff and bootleg pretty freely these days, especially where it comes to Sungold toys.
Sungold produced a ton of Masters of the Universe type knockoffs throughout the 1980’s and into the mid 1990’s with a variety of different concepts. Most were pretty straight forward lines, inspired by the sword and sorcery genre. Naturally it was only a matter of time before wrestlers, mutants and monsters all followed. Today though, we’re taking a look at one of the later releases, which doesn’t really fit into the aforementioned categories very organically. It’s the SKATE MACHINE!
After years of producing MOTU knockoffs, Sungold freshened up their line with a rather obscure and pretty hard to find late addition to their offerings. A spinoff of the Galaxy Warrior line, it was titled, Galaxy Warrior: End of Time – The Last Battle. The figures were more colorful, reflecting the early 90’s neon craze and offered up a bit more in terms of weapons and armor. Perhaps strangest of all, the line used largely all new sculpts of bizarre creatures that seemed more like Mego Star Trek aliens than He-Man bad guys. Continue reading
Dr. Evil (Basic Edition)
12 Inch scale
By: Round 2
$29.99 Retail (Currently Exclusive to Toys R Us)
Captain Action is back! After returning to the toy shelves this past summer, Captain Action has been followed up by a new set of Fall releases. Among them is the Captain’s arch nemesis, Dr. Evil! Yes, this Dr. Evil shares the same name as the Austin Powers main villain. In fact this guy had to briefly change his name to Dr. Eville because of the Austin Powers trademark. However, Captain Action’s Dr. Evil actually predates Mike Myers character by decades.
Introduced in 1968, Dr. Evil is a mad scientist and/or alien (depending on the canon) who hates Captain Action and wants to take over the world. Hey, it may not be the most elaborate back story ever, but it works. Captain Action Enterprises and Round 2 have decided to give Dr. Evil quite a bit of a makeover in their new version, hoping to amp up his status and let him have some 21st Century sensibility. There are two versions currently on the market, the basic one that we’re reviewing here today and the deluxe version which we’ll review later. The basic version is only available at Toys R Us at the moment.