In the history of licensed property toys, there have been some awful choices. Sometimes they just don’t make sense to be toys at all (The Love Boat) and sometimes they’re just dreadfully executed. But could there have been even worse toy lines out there? Of course there could have! Here’s a humorous look at some downright terrible toy lines, that actually didn’t exist. Although this list is numbered, it’s not in any particular order of importance.
#5. Northern Exposure
Based off TV show and two cartoons (that also didn’t really exist).
It’s the great outdoors in toy form! Relive the excitement of a transplanted city doctor in a folksy Alaskan town at 3 3/4 scale! This line from Hasbro serves as a precursor to their doomed Indiana Jones line. Despite being packed with accessories for extra value, it failed to connect with consumers on every level.
Wave 1 contained Joel Fleischman and a moose, Maggie O’Connel with lenticular beauty mark, Chris Stevens with a stack of CDs, a Holling & Shelly Marie Tambo Vincoeur comic two pack and a Maurice Minnifield build-a-figure.
Wave 2 included Phil Capra (repainted Joel Fleischman figure), Rick Pederson with satellite, Walt Kupfer with cap firing action, Ed Chigliak with real leather coat and a collect & connect Ruth-Anne Miller with General Store playset. Interest in the line failed when Northern Exposure: The Animated Series was canceled and the Northern Exposure Kids Mystery Hour cartoon had spotty syndication.
Based on TV series of same name.
M*A*S*H already had a “great” toy line from Tristar (no joke) in the early 1980s. Few people know that AfterMASH, the largely forgotten spin-off to Mash got a toy line as well. Tristar tried to reuse the sculpts from their M*A*S*H figures in hopes of saving costs. The line, much like the TV show, was a short lived disaster. All three major characters, Colonel Potter, Klinger and Father Mulcahy were produced in Wave 1.
Wave 2 was to feature Night Fighter Father Mulcahy, Jet Pack Potter and Arctic Klinger, but unfortunately the line was in direct competition with Galoob’s A-Team figures and soon lost it’s shelf space. Only a handful of prototype Night Fighter Father Mulcahy figures have emerged in recent years on Ebay.
#3. King Vitamin
Based on the cereal.
In hopes of competing with Masters of the Universe, this obscure line from Remco in the 1980’s failed to excite kids as much as the cereal it was based on. The toys promised all the excitement of the King Vitamin cereal, but in action figure form. To say that this line suffered from poor character selection would be an understatement… The entire line included only one figure, the King himself!
The rest of the characters were made with interchangeable paper masks which you had to cut off the back of the King Vitamin packaging. He had only one vehicle, the Royal Racing Coach, which was a mailaway promotional item if you collected 50 Vitapoints. No one ever mailed away for one.
Unfortunately the toys have gained infamy in recent years when it was recently revealed that Jerry Sandusky is actually King Vitamin!
Remco would later recycle the molds for a Ralston cereal Crisp Crunch line. Captain Chris Crisp didn’t excite kids anymore than King Vitamin before him, and eventually thousands of these were given to inner city youths as part of a drug awareness and prevention program. Legend has it that kids turned to drugs just to avoid getting these toys.
#2. Leisure Suit Larry
Based on the computer game series.
Coleco sort of got back into the video game business briefly, by producing a series of toys based on popular computer games. Leisure Suit Larry had all the makings of a great new toy line: A marketable main character, tons of females and of course “real feel” rubber skin. Unfortunately parents were outraged at some of the action features on the toys, including “Fist Pumpin’ Larry” and “Jiggle Time Julia”.
#6. Bloodfist Classics
Based on films and fan fiction.
Bloodfist, the direct-to-video blockbuster that spawned EIGHT sequels and defined master thespian Don “The Dragon” Wilson’s career, was launched in an all encompassing “Bloodfist Classics” line from Jazwares. Incredibly, they managed to secure the rights to all the big name stars from the films including Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Matt Mullins, Richard Roundtree, Billy Blanks and Kris Aguilar.
The line featured characters from every film, including Bloodfist I-VIII and even Bloodfist 2050! When that well ran dry, Jazwares made licensed figures from some fan fiction where Cynthia Rothrock’s China O’Brien teams up with Don Wilson’s Jake Rayeto to face off against a kung-fu mobster who looks like Michael Berryman. We’re not sure why this toy line failed, it sounds freaking awesome!
If you like this list, be sure to check out our Ten Cartoons And The Toy Lines They Need list from a few years ago.