Arkansas is great for Chuckles


Being a kid in the 70’s and 80’s was indeed a fun time thanks to all the awesome pop culture tie-in’s we enjoyed. From Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes to G.I.Joe’s miniaturization to become Real American Heroes, play time was simply fantastic. Sure the tie in television cartoons of the day helped push the national unity of our pre pubescent pop culture, there was a disconnect for a kid in Arkansas. Well that is until Hasbro gave us Chuckles.

Chuckles1Debuting in 1987 I was just barely able to get to know this undercover specialist before being whisked away into junior high land were the focus shifted from fun to flirting and the simple joys of playtime were traded for face time with the girls that just a year prior were invisible, I guess. Back to Chuckles…

chucklesIn the comics Chuckles was a bit of a bad ass. Leading missions, faking his own death. Overall HOO-RAH kind of guy. He got a little screwed in the cartoon movie, being turned into nothing more than a big and strong mute but whatchagonna do? More important than any of those things was Chuckles place of birth: Little Rock, Arkansas! Wait, what? A member of the Joe team heralded from my home city and state? Sweet!

tumblr_njq78trxPj1u5v50co1_500This really was a big deal for a kid from the Natural State. You gotta figure, this is before Bill Clinton became President and Hillary only scared children inside the 501 area code. True story. I’ll have to share that tale from 1981 one of these days. I’ll just say this, first grade was never quite the same as the future Presidential candidate red us all a book. I don’t remember the title but I do remember the glasses and the headband. Spooky, I tell ya.

images (2)images (1)Prior to this celebrity making the grade on the national stage the only other such famous Little Rocker I was privy to was TV’s Buck Rogers – Gil Gerard. Now this was and is a cool fact but Buck was 1. already off the air and 2. not from Arkansas. Gil was but not Buck. There are lines. Still love him though even if his toys produced by Mego were small and extremely bland or have now turned into zombies. Chuckles though didn’t have this problem.(Not to slight the awesome job done by ZICA Toys a few years back) 

downloadJust enough detail and paint scheme to bring out his face detail but more importantly was the Hawaiian shirt that everyone in Arkansas wore. Okay maybe not but I do recall a wave of those shirts making the style circuit around that time. And if nothing else we Arkansans are fashion conscious. We were way ahead of the Seattle grunge look withal the plaid shirts.

As the years passed so did my thoughts about Chuckles. That is until I started thinking about features for the Toy Box. Thinking about Gil Gerard as a famous Arkansan forever captured in plastic I started researching and found a rich history of entertainers from the “Land of Opportunity” that I had no clue about that I really should have learned in school instead of being terrified by Hillary Clinton reading me a children’s book. {Shiver}.

The short list is incredibly impressive:

imagesCreature from the Black Lagoon star Julie Adams, which led to this fantastic opportunity to chat with here. 


61HNkYSCOML._SL1001_The original Man in Black Johnny Cash (of course but not until recent years was there a toy),



$_3541EHH08VR1LActress and View Askew-niverse Alumnus – Joey Lauren Adams



0d95e83e0c95475313caf8efb9e29648WKRP in Cincinnati’s Sales Manage Herb Tarlek – Mr. Frank Bonner. Sure there’s no action figures of Herb and the crew and that’s a shame. Bif Bang Pow should totally do a line of 3&3/4 inch figures that could come with pop out playsets like the new Big Bang Theory figures do. Just saying.

You can see the complete list of Famous Arkansans via the state’s official tourism page:

GI_Joe_Cobra_1_Howard_ChaykinWow, look what we just did, gang! We learned something neat and fun all the while chatting up toys and pop culture. All thanks to Chuckles. You, good sir are a Real American (and Arkansas) Hero.

What about your home city and state? What famous folks have been cast in plastic from where you reside that you didn’t know? Share with me and grow our pop culture, playtime knowledge!

Now Go, Play.

Jim 07/07/15


Author: Jim Bumgardner

Jim's Toy Box features programming that is inspirational, uplifting and motivational all the while offering encouragement to those who wish to make the most of this life in preparation for the next.