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.

Karate Kid Remco

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.

Realm of the Underworld Hercules

Realm of the Underworld
5 3/4 Inch scale
By: Zoloworld

What better way to celebrate Earth Day, than with a barbarian that’s from the salt of the Earth?! It’s the mighty HERCULES! Okay Hercules isn’t really a barbarian, but let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story. The truth is, Hercules is a legendary figure with roots dating back into ancient mythology. He’s also the central hero in Wave 1 of the Realm of the Underworld toy line.

So just what is Hercules story in ROTU? Well, in a nutshell, Hercules is everything you would imagine him to be. Incredibly strong, heroic and always out for adventure. His father Zeus sends him to retrieve the “Sword of Heroes”, which holds great power. Using that sword, Hercules must battle the evil Hades and his minions of the underworld.

Hercules In Battle

Realm of the Underworld is a new “retro” toy line in the same style as the classic Remco lines of yesteryear. A lot of people will immediately compare this toy to vintage Masters of the Universe, but this toy line is much more. It’s an epic love letter to the incredible work that Remco did on their various toy lines in this style and it’s an homage to a time when toys were simpler, but flat out cool.

OLD Ice Warrior

It’s sort of strange that there would even be a market for figures that were essentially knock-offs when they were created way back when. And yet, there is! The real question of course, is can a toy line made in the modern era with modern prices, be a worthy investment if it’s an emulation of toys from 20+ years ago? Realm of the Underworld week kicks off with a bang as we examine the Mighty Hercules and discover what’s really at the heart of ROTU. Continue reading

Every Friday we’re going to hop into our toy time machine and take a look back at a classic older toy. We already review a lot of older toys on the site, but starting today, Friday will be the home of one guaranteed classic each week. This week, we’re hopping back to 1983 with the title character of his own comic and toy line… Crystar!

This is not a complete Crystar, but those are nigh on impossible to get these days without sacrificing your first born. Crystar was a little line by Remco that only lasted for a brief time. All of the figures can typically still be found, but for whatever reason, Crystar himself is harder to come by. A complete Crystar would come with a blue translucent sword, a translucent blue shield and a blue prism crystal. He also had a helmet that was red and you guessed it, translucent blue.

He’s seen here with wizard Ogeode’s axe/staff. It’s the only other weapon I have that’s blue and translucent. A lot of the weapons were interchangable in this manner because they were made of the same materials.

I absolutely loved this line. I’m a sucker for translucent figures and this one really takes the cake. There wasn’t anything else like this out in 1983 and in fact, there haven’t been many toys like this since! It seems unlikely that Crystar will ever make a proper return to the toy aisle, but the Working Class Villains crew are putting together their own fantasy line inspiried by Crystar. I can’t wait until that project is active.

As a kid, my Crystar broke pretty early on. A fall from high altitudes caused his hollow chest to burst into a million pieces. It was like he was made of glass! I also think it didn’t help that my brother and I used to put him into the freezer and make him cold. I’m not sure what that was about.

However he was one of the few characters we managed to “save”. With a hefty amount of Scotch tape and using part of his prism crystal, we rebuilt his chest and Crystar lived on to battle Moltar! Of course he had to be pretty gingerly played with in battle… But it was worth it. I don’t recall the battle that finally saw his death, but I’m certain it was epic.

Crystar remains one of my favorite figures (and toy lines) of those crazy days gone by. I think we must have lost his helmet right out of the package as I never recall him wearing it much. So aside from lacking his sword, this guy feels mostly “complete” to me. Crystar didn’t need any fancy gimmicks to get by, he just looked so cool… Plus he had articulated knees! That made him more articulated than about 75% of the figures in the early 80s!

Although the line was being clearanced out by 1984, you could still find the remains of Cyrstar figures for quite some time at K-Mart locations. Much like the heyday of K-Mart and Remco itself, Crystar is a distant memory for many. That’s why he makes a perfect first entry into Flashback Friday!

There used to be a great time when we had secondary “major” toy companies like Remco. I love all the old Remco stuff, as some of it was really cool. Remco was the kind of company that would license AWA to make toys or in this case, give the Mighty Crusaders a bunch of figures. On the surface it doesn’t make sense, but underneath was some pretty cool figures.

Certainly these weren’t a hit and you can tell by this comic ad, which advertises they were only going to be at K-Mart as a likely part of the problem. Of course you have to remember that when these came out, appearing at K-Mart was a pretty big deal. Remco had a lot of great lines though, even if they were all short lived and while this classic ad isn’t that exciting, it does explain all the figures in the series and give you a lot of information.

I miss toy ads like this in comics. I remember when I first discovered that there were X-Men figures, via a comic ad. I imagine someone was just as excited as I was, when they saw this Mighty Crusaders ad just a few years before. I don’t think comics even run toy ads now, it’s all deodorant and power drinks these days.

Details are sketchy at the moment, but a new toy line is being created by the guys at Zoloworld. It’s called Warlords and Warriors and it appears to be a retro toy line based on the “knock offs” of Masters of the Universe. Of course, if you’re like me, you see this as so much more.

At 5 3/4″ these toys will rekindle my love for old toys like my Imperial Dragons and my Conan from Remco. Along with a ton of other figures that I mixed right in, including guys from Sungold and the like. While I don’t know what all this line will encompass, I’m hoping it will borrow heavily from that Remco spirit.

I have no idea what all this toy line will include and the figures above are just examples of some of my old Remco loves. However, the concept is sound and I hope it can grow and be successful.

More information can be found at their Facebook page Warlords and Warriors and I can’t wait to see what reveals they have next!