Classic TV Toys

Retro 60s Batman

Batman Classic TV Series
8 Inch Scale
By: Classic TV Toys

There’s something inherently awesome about the classic 1966 Batman TV show. While the show played up it’s campy nature, with ridiculous concepts, over the top fights and well placed humor, it all worked for one reason or another. For decades fans have flocked to this show and it’s become a cult classic with a massive following of fans. At one point Adam West was so recognized for being Batman that he couldn’t escape the role and the public had a hard time separating West’s campy portrayal from any incarnation of the character.

Classic TV Series Batman Figures
Despite the show’s continued licensing longevity, there was never much in the way of action figures and toys until this year. Mattel was the first to market with their 60’s Batman 6 inch figures, but that toy line flat-lined almost as soon as it stepped foot out of the Batcave. None of the figures quite worked and Mattel made it clear they weren’t intending to make it a full fledged toy line, thus killing it before it ever really hit shelves.

Retro Batman Figures Review
Enter Figures Toy Company and it’s Classic TV Toys brand to bring us their take on the 1960’s Batman show in action figure form. Classic TV Toys have had mixed results in the past with their 8 inch figure brands, but to many folks the vintage 70’s Megos served as the unofficial toy line of the William Dozier show. So it’s a pretty natural fit that this “Mego-like” style of figures would be a good vessel for a classic TV series Batman toy line. Over the next few days I’ll be reviewing all of Series 1 of these new Batman figures, but today we start with Batman himself, as portrayed by Adam West. Continue reading

Adam West Batman
Classic TV Toys have finally unveiled their prototypes for their upcoming 1966 Classic TV Batman line. These figures were announced a year or so ago, but up until now we haven’t seen any images of what they would look like. CTVT just recently released their Mego Batman recreations to mostly positive reviews, but these figures aren’t recreations of previous toys, but a new line altogether. The first wave includes Batman, Robin, Joker and the Riddler.

1966 Batman
I have to admit, I’m really impressed. If the final product looks close to this, it’s definitely going to warrant a purchase. I already put in a pre-order, because I just like the look of these.

Ceaser Romero
The Joker is clearly the winner of the bunch, but I think they all look pretty good. Mattel’s 1966 Classic TV Batman line had a lot of potential, but Mattel pushed the line through quick and ended it before it ever really started. The potential for Classic TV Toys to take this line to another level is very high. Continue reading

Today is a historic day for fans of retro action figures in the “Mego” style format. Figures Toy Company, the parent of the often disregarded Classic TV Toys have unveiled nine new licenses today, including some of the most popular and sought after figure designs in the format’s history. Earlier this week, rumors were leaked that Figures Toy Company was planning a retro Batman line. Almost immediately the reaction from the Mego community was one of interest, but resistance. CTVT has built up a so-so reputation in the community and isn’t generally considered a favorite.

Personally, I’ve always had great experiences with Classic TV Toys and have ordered hundreds of dollars of merchandise from them through the years. Of course, some of the backlash has been warranted as quality was not always at the forefront of their products. For every Will Scarlet, there was a Sandra Benes. However, in recent years CTVT has released a ton of new and drastically improved product. Their Kiss line which was introduced late last year, has been a roaring success for Mego and Kiss fans alike.

But now even the biggest critics of Figures Toy Company have to stand up and take notice, as Figures Toy Company have unveiled some truly impressive licenses covering a wide array of formats. Perhaps the biggest is that not only will they be producing a Mego-ish Batman line, replicating the classic Batman Megos and adding new characters to the mix… But they will also be doing a Adam West, Batman ’66 line as well.

Yes, they’re doing two retro Batman Mego lines. Rather impressive. Some names announced for the 66 line include Batman, Robin, Joker, The Penguin, Catwoman, Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne, King Tut, Mr. Freeze, Egghead (YES!), Shame, Bookworm and the Mad Hatter. Variants are planned as well.

But the news doesn’t stop there. They’re going to finally officially create Evel Knievel in Mego scale with his own line. They’ve got Conan coming out, including not just a recreation of the hard to find classic Mego Conan figure but also Solomon Kane/Kull The Conqueror and potentially other characters from the books.

They’re also adding Tarzan to the mix! You may recall my loveletter to the classic Mego Tarzan, so this news has me greatly excited. The Dukes ride again, as Figures Toy Company have added the Dukes of Hazard, an often overlooked but very popular Mego line into their portfolio as well. They’re also producing 12 inch exclusive lines, such as Dallas and Gilligan’s Island. It’s truly an amazing rollout of product, unlike any seen before in the format. To say that Figures Toy Company just immediately jumped out to the head of the pack in retro Mego-like licenses, would be an understatement.

Continue reading

Every year new shows get picked up and last season’s shows are often canceled. It’s tough to build a following for any particular show because of these very reasons. I try to pick up a show or two each fall season to watch, but it’s tough. You know that with any new show that there is a 50/50 chance it will get canned. Last year I lost Eastwick, right when the show was really starting to get interesting.

But no network has managed to screw up as bad as NBC has. This former network giant is now in last place amongst the networks and only months after pissing all over the legacy of the Tonight Show and alienating a huge chunk of their fans by ousting Conan O’Brien in favor of Jay Leno, they manage to do it yet again. The good news is… Chuck’s back for another season. Although the last few episodes of Chuck have been good, here’s the dirty little secret: Chuck was neutered this past season. The show lost a lot of it’s charm and while I’m glad to see it’s back for one more season, we all know this is going to be the last season of Chuck and Jeff and Lester will be lucky to have 20 minutes total screen time. NBC is pulling the funding out from the show, no doubt like they did this season.

But that’s really it as far as NBC is concerned. First the big bombshell, Heroes is canceled. Boo hoo. Look, I loved the first season of Heroes too. It was excellent, despite an anticlimactic ending. Season 2 blew chunks, Season 3 was even worse and this past season was good, but still not quite up to form. Heroes probably should have been canceled. Live and let die. Reportedly, Heroes will get some sort of sendoff.

But what about a show that’s been on NBC for a record 20 Seasons?! What about LAW AND ORDER?! Well… NBC canceled it. Even though Law & Order still does good in the ratings (phenomenal by NBC standards these days) and had it made it to it’s 21st season it would have been the longest running Prime-Time drama in the HISTORY OF TELEVISION!

Now I’m not a marketing genius, but wouldn’t a record breaking highly hyped FINAL season of Law & Order be a gold mine? People LOVE to watch this final seasons of a show when they know that they’re getting closure. Sure, a show that’s been on for a year or two might not get the distinction of having that final season, but a show that’s been on nearly 20 years, yeah… It probably SHOULD.

Instead NBC has greenlit another Law & Order spinoff, while the original Law & Order, an NBC staple since Carson was on the air, ends in a random episode at the end of this month. It’s a real shame too, as the current cast of Law & Order is one of their best. The show still appeals to older people, but the cast is young enough that it’s trendy. Mike Cutter is the best DA on television people! Plus Jack McCoy has been great in his new head DA role. Heck I even like Anthony Anderson on Law & Order!

So for the lack of something more philosophical to say, I’ll just say that the legions of fans who have made Law & Order a hit for NBC and Universal for the past 20 seasons, here’s a hearty Jerry Orbach styled, SCREW You, to NBC. You missed out on history, you missed out on setting a milestone and oh yeah, you’re going to be missing out on millions of viewers weekly. NBC isn’t in the dumps because of Law & Order’s low ratings, Law & Order has low ratings because NBC is in the dumps. Perhaps had you created another hit show in the past 20 seasons, Law & Order wouldn’t be the only show left on your network that hasn’t had the axe.

I’m not saying Law & Order should be on for another 20 years. Maybe it is time to wrap things up. Then wrap them up proper. Law & Order deserves one last season, one last hurrah and one last time to ride off into the sunset.

Robin Hood & His Merry Men
Will Scarlet
8 Inch Scale
By: CTVT (Mego?)

Last year when I started reviewing Mego figures, I did it on a whim because I thought it would be neat to look at some old style toys. Little did I know that by the end of 2009, Mego-style figures would no longer be retro but TOYS OF THE FUTURE! At least that’s how it seems with everything from LOST to Venture Brothers to DC Superheroes and Ghostbusters getting the “Mego” treatment…

Robin finds a finely dressed young man shooting deer in Sherwood, and offers to let him join the band; they quarrel and fight. Robin asks who he is; he says he is Young Gamwell, who killed his father’s steward and fled his father’s estate to seek out his uncle, Robin Hood. Robin makes him welcome and renames him Scarlett.

To me, Christian Slater will always be the immortal Will Scarlet… Hey, I like that movie. Anyway, this figure is a Classic TV Toys reproduction of the original Mego figure. For various reasons these repros didn’t light the world on fire back in 2004, but now that the style is what all the cool kids are talking about these days, I suspect we’ll see even more of these guys pop up. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s Mego was smart in offering figures of public domain characters like Robin Hood and Frankenstein, because they didn’t have to pay for licensing rights.

Early Mego figures came in window boxes. They were probably one of the first real collector toys to do so. Of course back then, nobody knew they would be “collectibles” in the future. I assume people just figured we’d be too busy with our flying cars and interstellar space ships to care about retro toys from the 1970’s. Turns out, they were wrong.

The box art is a pretty good reproduction of the original art, or at least I assume so. I didn’t really examine them a ton. Even so it’s a nice little box with pretty cool artwork on it that screams 1970’s.

The side of the box shows off the other figures in the series. Interestingly, Robin Hood didn’t get any villains. You’d think a toy of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham would be a more natural selection than Friar Tuck. Then again, who am I to question a toy company that urban legend has it passed on Star Wars in favor of Buck Rogers? That’s Mego I’m referencing of course, CTVT would have loved to get some Lucas love.

There’s also a great picture of the toy on the back. This is retro artwork, so there are a handful of differences between the actual figure and this picture. Either way it looks pretty cool. These boxes used to sit on registers in cases until kids were opening them too often and the blister card was invented.

Hardcore Megoheads can tell you all the minor differences between the vintage Will and the repro Will. Since there is a Whole Website dedicated to that sort of thing, I’ll just say that generally speaking this is a pretty good reproduction. If anything the details overall have been softened somewhat.

Even if the details have been softened on this replica, the end result is still pretty full of depth. This is one of the more charming head sculpts for a Mego. I suppose that Mego knew that too, because they reused this guy’s head several times for other popular characters.

He’s got a bit of a grin and a smugness about him, but while his cockiness and confidence shine through it works very well for the character. Again maybe Christian Slater’s performance in the 1990’s Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie have clouded my judgement, but I imagine Will Scarlet as a bit of a smug fellow.

Of all the Mego replica bodies out there, CTVT’s is arguably the worst… Well, actually Mattel’s is hands down the worst, but for a different reason. The CTVT body isn’t bad it’s just made out of really brittle plastic which makes it prone to breakage and such. I haven’t stripped this guy down but I don’t see any problems with him at all.

That doesn’t really mean anything… You sort of gamble when you get these bodies. Sometimes they fall apart, sometimes they don’t. At least they LOOK good, which is definitely better than what Mattel’s offering. The hands have some excess plastic and such on them and generally look pretty cheap, though.

Mego-style figures have always been surprisingly poseable. They are sometimes referred to as the “father” of the modern action figure. That might be a bit of a stretch, but even by today’s standards they have a fair amount of points.

They start out with a simple cut neck, but they have a simulated ball joint shoulder. I say simulated, because it is a ball, but is constructed with a rubber band holding it in place. That means you won’t get a full ball joint movement without it snapping back down.

Hinge elbows, swivel hinge wrists, swivel waits, simulated ball joint hips, hinge knees and swivel hinge ankles complete the articulation. Again the entire inside is held together via a rubber band, but these bands are notoriously strong.

As well, you can restring a figure if the band was to get too loose or snap. Pretty cool. You can pose this guy quite a bit, but since he uses real clothing, that will restrict movements. Something you don’t run into with most modern figures without soft goods.

This vintage reproduction comes with replicas of all the original stuff that Mr. Scarlet had on tap. Some Megos came with absolutely nothing, but others like this guy were loaded down.

“Take that imitation Sheriff of Nottingham!”

He has a cool little dagger which fits into the top of his boot. Make sure to take note of that, I almost lost this knife right off.

He has his bow and quiver of arrows. Both are decent little sculpts, but nothing to write home about.

Scarlet rounds out his arsenal with a detachable belt with a holster for his sword. The sword is a nice piece but it got a little warped by being in the holster. I suspect setting it between two heavy books would straighten it out.

These Megos originally retailed for a couple of bucks in the 1970’s. I’m not sure what these replica went for in 2004, but I’m guessing about $10 or so. Now they can be found for about $5 which makes them a pretty decent value. Sadly, that’s a markdown price and all of the stuff coming from EMCE and Mattel are closer to $20. I love this throwback stuff and it has a certain charm to it, but it’s not worth premium pricing, in my view.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Sword, Bow, Quiver, Knife, Belt
Value – 9
Overall – 8 out of 10

I’m giving ol’ Will Scarlet a pretty high rating. Why? Well he’s a gosh darn fun toy at the $5 price point. If this guy was $20 like most of the recent Mego-like figures his rating would be closer to a 6. So there’s a big gap here because of price.

If you’re interested in looking at some reviews of other Mego-esque figures, here’s some I’ve done:
Space 1999: Sandra Benes
Space 1999: David Kano
Commander X
POTA: Ape Soldier