What were the first TV Action Figures?
It seems AC Gilbert were at the forefront of the TV action
figure market as well as the movie based action figures with several releases
in the early 60’s including Man from U.N.C.L.E and Honey West.
However, unlike the movie based action figures there was a
lot more interest in TV based figures with several releases in the 60’s other
than the AC Gilbert ones.
Another of the main contenders was a toy company called Remco who released a line of three Addams Family action figures as far back as 1964 as well as a line of The Monkees action figures in 1967 and again in 1974.
Another little known company, American Character, released a line of figures based on the popular TV Western Bonanza in 1966.
Other popular TV releases include M.A.S.H from Durham in 1970, and The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman in the mid 70’s from Kenner.
Probably the biggest manufacturer of TV figures during the 70’s was the Mego Corporation who released a whole host of TV related action figures including The Dukes of Hazard, Happy Days, CHiPS, The Waltons ( do you remember them?), Starsky and Hutch ( one of my all time , Flash Gordon, The Flinstones and many more.
Other popular TV shows that had popular lines of action figures during the 70’s and 80’s include Maters of the Universe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Transformer to name a few!
So, as you can see the TV action figure market was a lot more active than the movie based action figures however I would say that this trend has probably reversed in recent years particularly with the number of specialist manufacturers catering to the adult collectors market growing.
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