I’m a big fan of westerns. Movies, books, comics, toys. Whatever. If you listen to episode 68 of the Nerd Lunch podcast, you will hear me lamenting the lack of good western toy lines on shelves today. The best western toy line is probably the Gabriel Lone Ranger toys from the 70s and 80s. Most especially the large scale toys and accessories. Here’s an ad for a western town for the Gabriel 3-3/4″ Lone Ranger toys.
Gabriel also released a 12″ scale Lone Ranger series of figures. Both were extremely popular and set the standard for well done western figures. However, there aren’t many other toy lines that even tried to create western figures, other than generically packed cowboy figures on sale in the discount aisles of Wal-Mart. See the True Heroes Wild West Action Figure Playset 5-Pack. To be fair, the True Heroes stuff is actually fairly well made for generic figures. Check out the True Heroes Wild West Sheriff’s Town Playset. Like I said, actually not that bad. But it’s generic. I want a figure line that’s more specific.
The toys I actually want to talk about today I briefly mentioned in the latest episode of Nerd Lunch. I consider it to be the closest we’ll get to an actual, well realized “Legends of the Old West” action figure line. It was first made by Kenner in 1979 as a tie in to the movie Butch and Sundance – The Early Days. The movie was a prequel to the classic 1969 western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, respectively. The movie had a nice compliment of stars. Tom Berenger played Butch, William Katt played Sundance, Peter Weller played La Fors, Christopher Lloyd played Carver and Brian Dennehy played Hanks. The studio had high hopes for the movie and created a toy line featuring figures of the characters. Here are pics of the carded figures of the title characters.
(via Toys You Had)
There were also figures of La Fors, Sheriff Bledsoe and Hanks. Kenner also produced the hero’s horses, Bluff and Spurs, as well as an awesome armored stagecoach called The Mint Wagon. Here they are in a Kenner catalog from 1980.
(Via Plaid Stallions)