Friday, May 15, 2015

1970's Bizarre Toy-O-Rama

One of the things that has always made the rest of Hollywood jealous of Walt Disney Studios is its seemingly endless revenue stream from licensed merchandise. Children of all ages love those famous Disney characters and Disney has always found ways to profit from that. It looks so easy that the other studios have often tried their hands at it, often forgetting that Disney's biggest advantage is having characters and shows that kids love.

Now kids did like Welcome Back, Kotter but did they like it enough to ask for a Mr. Kotter action figure?

"Dear Mattel- What were you thinking? Even I wouldn't buy an Epstein action figure. Sincerely, Epstein's Mother."

Probably not, though admittedly the Barbarino and Horshack action figures might have been popular. And remember that place you more than likely hate having to go to every morning, kids? Well we made a playset out of it!

"Corny Catskills one liners not included!"

Happy Days was a huge hit during its heyday and kids did love The Fonz a lot. But did any kid really want to own an Al Delvecchio figure? Sorry kid, but if this is the first gift you open on Christmas, you should probably lower your expectations for the remaining presents.

"I thought you liked that Happy Days show. Why are you crying?"

Then there are the toys that make one wonder if the studio licensing team is high on something. Did anyone honestly believe that kids would be clamoring for toys based on a show they most likely weren't allowed to watch? 20th Century Fox apparently did.

"The youth of today will love this action figure based on a cross dresser from a depressing dramedy!"

Admittedly, the M*A*S*H toys could have been intended for adults, but not many adults were collecting toys at the time. Besides, this box cover actually shows a child playing with the toy:

"Thanks for the toy, grandma! I'm going to be Hawkeye!"

If there's a more inappropriate franchise to base a toy line on, we certainly haven't seen it.